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Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Description: NATHANAEL GREENE
Very fine content war-date manuscript D.S. "Nath Greene" 2pp. folio, Charleston, Feb. 23, 1783 ordering the execution of a soldier for desertion. The charge reads, in large part: "...Whereas at a General Court martial held by Order of Brigadier Genl. Gist in Camp at James Island... the following soldier was tried -- Thomas Nicholson of the first Pennsylvania Regiment for Desertion -- And was Sentenced to suffer Death (two thirds of the Court agreeing thereto). Which said Trial and Sentence was approved by me... These are therefore to Charge and command you Lt. Jacob Whitzel [sic]--- to have the said sentence put in execution between the Hours of Ten and twelve oClock this Morning, by having the said Thomas Nicholson Shot to Death... " Below Greene's signature, Lt. Jacob Weitzel endorses the document to confirm the execution was carried out: "I Do certify that according to the within Warrant to me Directed Thos. Nicholson was Shot between the hours within mentioned. Jab Weitzel Lt. Comman[din]g the Guard" An unusual piece signed in the final year of the Revolutionary War. We have never before encountered Greene signing such an order. After expelling the British from most of the Carolinas and the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Greene faced the difficult task of keeping his army together on the outskirts of British-occupied Charleston. Due to lack of pay and provisions, Greene's troops became increasingly unruly and desertions became more common, even after he gave his men the honor of marching into Charleston when the British evacuated the town on Dec. 14, 1782. Because of a lack of money forthcoming from Congress, Greene ended up paying his men with most of the 10,000 guineas that South Carolina awarded him for his service to the state. Despite these efforts, Greene had to occasionally resort to such measures to ensure order among his men. Usual folds, very light toning, else very good condition. Housed in a frame revealing both the recto and verso of the document.

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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