Raab Acquires George Washington’s Original Spy Letter

The war-date order, for more than a decade in a private collection, is valued at $115,000 and is one of the only such documents of General Washington to ever reach the market; He also arranges to pay his spies in gold

PHILADELPHIA, PA – May 29, 2018 – The Raab Collection, the nation’s leading dealer in important historical documents, announced that it is offering for sale the original and famous letter of General George Washington to his spymaster, seeking urgent intelligence on British troop movements from the greatest spy ring of the American Revolution. Valued at $115,000, this letter, a vivid demonstration of General Washington’s skill at the spy trade and vision for the war, has been in a private collection for over a decade.  Orders of Washington to his Culper spy ring to gather intelligence rarely reach the market.

You can learn more here: https://www.raabcollection.com/presidential-autographs/washington-spy

Historical Background: British forces occupied New York in August 1776, and the city would remain a British stronghold for the duration of the Revolutionary War. Though getting information from New York on British activities and plans was critical to General George Washington, there was no reliable intelligence network that existed on the Patriot side at that time. That changed in 1778, when a young cavalry officer named Benjamin Tallmadge established a small group of trustworthy men and women. Known as the Culper Spy Ring, Tallmadge’s homegrown network would become the most effective of any intelligence-gathering operation on either side during the Revolution.

In 1780, world circulated that the British might be heading to attack the South. Washington needed intelligence, and fast. So he turned to his spymaster, Tallmadge, and his spy network.

Excerpt: October 20, 1780, from General Washington to Tallmadge. “Be pleased to find an opportunity as soon as possible of obtaining the following information, with accuracy. Of what number of Men and of what Corps the late embarkation consisted? Whether Sir Henry Clinton went with them? Whether a reinforcement arrived lately from Europe – the number, and whether of which Corps or Recruits? In what manner the British Army is at present disposed – designating as nearly as possible the Corps which lay at the different places? I am anxious to receive intelligence of the foregoing particulars, and you will oblige me by obtaining it Speedily.”

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