Item #368833 Autograph Letter Signed (“Ja. Wilkinson”) to General Anthony Wayne. James Wilkinson.
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Autograph Letter Signed (“Ja. Wilkinson”) to General Anthony Wayne.

Greeneville: July 12, 1796.

Price: $1,750.00

About the item

1-1/2 pp. Docketed on verso by Wayne. Folio. Usual colds, remnants of prior mounting at left margin.

Item #368833

An interesting association between the two generals in the midst of a political feud and accuations against Wilkinson of being a Spanish spy. Wilkinson, Wayne's second in command, had spent years undermining him for his own advancement by writing negative letters about him to Washington insiders but also publishing negative articles in anonymously in newspapers. All the while, Wilkinson was in fact a Spanish spy, delaying rations and supplies to hinder the growth of the army and passing intelligence to Spain. Wayne was in the midst of investigating Wilkinson after being alerted to the possibility by Henry Knox, when Spanish couriers carrying payments for Wilkinson were intercepted. Wayne died before Wilkinson could be court martialed.

In this letter, Wilkinson anticipates Wayne’s arrival at his quarters and writes of his decision to delay the travel of a regiment of dragoons: “Lt. Smith my aid de camp, goes in to prepare my old Quarters, with your permission, for the accomodation of my family during our short stay at Fort Washington, and to make some necessary arrangements in my private affairs, previous to my ascent of the River to Pittsburgh. The Dragoons here, would in the first instance, have been sent to your Excellency, but that they were not judged competent to the Journey in & out, and I considered it more essential, that they should be kept in flight, to attend you to the Head of the Line. Mrs. Wilkinson being accommodated in a back room, put up during the winter, I must hope, Sir, you will resume your old apartments, which are ready for you, and make use of my Table during your stay here”.