[N.p., but Valley Forge, Pa.]: Jan. 10, 1778. p. plus integral address leaf. Quarto, on a folded folio sheet. Old fold lines. Minor soiling, heavier on address leaf. Small paper loss on address leaf from wax seal. Very good. In a folio-sized blue half morocco and cloth clamshell case, spine gilt. Item #WRCAM42584
William Bradford, Jr., Deputy Muster Master General for the Continental Army, writes to Joseph Clark of the New Jersey Militia from the brutal winter encampment of Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-78. Bradford expresses concern at not having seen Clark personally and states he is leaving Clark in charge while he is away. William Bradford Jr., son of the famous Revolutionary War printer of the same name, was a Philadelphia lawyer. He later served as Attorney General of Pennsylvania, on the state Supreme Court, and as the second Attorney General of the United States in 1794-95 (until he died at age forty). His service in the American Revolution included action at the Battle of Trenton and a term as Deputy Muster Master General, 1777-79. The recipient of this letter, Joseph Clark, was a soldier from New Jersey who attended Princeton and became a minister after the war. Bradford writes: "Sir, I was extremely disappointed by your going to Elizabethtown without seeing me. I have waited several days expecting your return; as I wanted you to superintend the department during my absence, & give you some instructions on that head. I have at length determined to set off for Philada. in confidence that your prudence will bring you to camp in a day or two, & that you will give such directions relative to the Department as the exigency of affairs may require. I have left notice at the Adjt. Genls. office that all officers do apply to you during my absence. You will direct Col. Thomas to muster Van Heere's corps of horse which is stationed at Schanks Mills on Millstone as soon as possible." The corps of horse to which he refers is that of Capt. Barth Van Heer's dragoons - the group that served as Gen. Washington's Lifeguards. This letter was written from Valley Forge, where the Continental Army spent the legendary winter of 1777-78. Within weeks, Baron Friedrich von Steuben would arrive to drill the troops, turning ragtag colonials into disciplined soldiers. It was at Valley Forge that Gen. Washington's army became a cohesive fighting force that would gain our nation its independence from Britain. APPLETON'S CYCLOPÆDIA I, p.351.