In January 1776, Arthur St. Clair accepted a commission in the Continental Army as a colonel of the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment and saw service in the Quebec invasion. He was appointed a brigadier general in August 1776, and was sent by Gen. George Washington to help organize the New Jersey militia. He...
In January 1776, Arthur St. Clair accepted a commission in the Continental Army as a colonel of the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment and saw service in the Quebec invasion. He was appointed a brigadier general in August 1776, and was sent by Gen. George Washington to help organize the New Jersey militia. He took part in Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on the night of December 25–26, 1776, before the Battle of Trenton on the morning of December 26. Many biographers credit St. Clair with the strategy that led to Washington's capture of Princeton, New Jersey on January 3, 1777. It was shortly after this that St. Clair was promoted to Major General. In April 1777, St. Clair was sent to defend Fort Ticonderoga. His small garrison could not resist British Gen. John Burgoyne's larger force in the Saratoga Campaign; St. Clair was forced to retreat, and his forces played no further part in the campaign. In 1778 he was court-martialed for the loss of Ticonderoga. The court exonerated him and he returned to duty, although he was no longer given any battlefield commands. He still saw action, however, as an aide-de-camp to Washington, who retained a high opinion of him. St. Clair was at Yorktown when Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army. St. Clair went on to become President of the Continental Congress in 1787.
A Free Frank signed by Washington, addressed to “Major Gen’l St. Clair.” Washington wrote St. Clair numerous letters throughout the war, all relating to military matters. This cover would have carried a letter from Washington dated after St. Clair’s promotion to major general in early 1777 and prior to the end of the war.
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