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Superb Revolutionary War broadside from April 1778, a scarce ''Call to Arms'' for the men of Massachusetts to help build the ''Great Chain'' on the Hudson River that extended from West Point to Constitution Island, constructed in the spring of 1778. The Great Chain was a feat of inspired engineering, comprised of iron links each weighing 114 pounds that extended 600 yards across the bend in the Hudson River at West Point. As control of the River was tantamount to controlling the waterways from New York City to Montreal, several Battles had been waged on the Hudson before the Colonists conceived of the idea to construct chains across specific points in the River, so that the Army could bombard British ships when they were stalled as a result of the chains. The most effective of these chains was the Great Chain, which took advantage of a narrow ''S'' shaped curve on the River at West Point. Although Benedict Arnold famously told the British that ''a well-loaded ship could break the chain'', the Great Chain held and prevented British boats from crossing. The Hudson River would remain in the hands of the Colonists.

Issued on 20 April 1778 by the State of Massachusetts-Bay, House of Representatives, the broadside also calls for men to aid Rhode Island in what would be the Battle of Rhode Island fought on 29 August 1778. Broadside reads in part, ''Whereas Congress by their Resolve of February 18th, 1778, has called upon this State for Thirteen Hundred of the Militia thereof, with other States, to fortify and secure the Passes of the North River, Resolved, That the Brigadiers, or Commanding Officers of the several Counties herein after expressed, be directed to detach from their Brigades, the Number of Men as follows: That the Brigadier or Commanding Officer in the County of Suffolk, detach therefrom One Hundred and Sixty Three Men, and form them into Companies, with proper Officers to command them, with One Major...'' The broadside then lists the number of men called upon from each County: Suffolk, Essex, Middlesex, York, Plymouth, Cumberland, Hampshire, Worcester and Berkshire. It continues,

''The above Detachment to be formed into one Regiment; when they shall arrive at the Peek's-Kills, and the Commanding Officer of each County, to march his Division to the aforesaid Destination immediately, accoutred as the Militia Law of this State directs.

And it is further Resolved, That the Selectmen of the several Towns, from whence the above Regiments are detached, are hereby required to pay each Man so detached, four pence per Mile, in Lieu of Rations, and two pence per Mile for transporting their Baggage, and lay their Accounts before this Court, for Allowance and Payment.

And as the State of Rhode-Island, is in pressing Need of immediate Relief, from her neighbouring States, and for our own Defence, and to fulfil our Engagements with the said State of Rhode-Island: Is it Resolved, That the Brigadier or Commanding Officer in the County of Barnstable, to detach Seventy Men, with proper Officers to command them, and march them immediately to Providence, in the State of Rhode-Island, to do Duty there in Wade's and Jacob's Regiments, for the Term of eight Months, unless sooner discharged upon Continental Establishment, with an Addition of forty Shillings per Month's Wages and that the aforesaid Detachments may be compleated without the least Delay...

Any Person detached for either of the abovesaid Purposes, being of able Body in the Opinion of the Officer who shall detach him, and of the major Part of the Select-men of the Town where he is detached, shall not within Twenty-four Hours, hire some able bodied Man in his Room, or pay a Fine of ten pounds to the Officer who detached him, shall be considered as a Soldier, and marched accordingly to the Place of his Destination, and the Officer who shall receive the Fine as abovesaid, shall proceed to hire therewith, or detach others as the Case may be, 'till he shall have compleated his Quota and any Person detached as aforesaid, who is in the Opinion of the Officer detaching him, is not of able Body shall neglect or refuse to hire an able bodied Man in his Room, or pay the said Fine as aforesaid, if of Ability to pay it in the Opinion of the major Part of the Select-men of said Town, shall be committed to the Goal of the County to which he belongs, by the officer detaching him, there to continue the said Term of eight Months on his own Expence, and the Goaler is hereby required to receive such Persons accordingly: and the said Officer neglecting to commit such Person to the Goal, as aforesaid, for the Space of Ten Days, shall pay a Fine of thirty pounds, to be recovered by the Brigadier of the County, or any other Person by Action of Debt, before the Inferior Court of the County, where the delinquent Officer dwells, and shall be cashiered...

The Brigadiers, of the aforesaid Counties...may appoint Officers, other than those belonging to the Militia, who have had Commissions in the Continental Army, and are approved good Officers, and not otherwise, and recommend them to the Council, that they may be commissioned accordingly...''

Signed in type by John Avery, Deputy Secretary of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and James Pitts, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Broadside measures approximately 9.5'' x 14.75'' on laid paper, with ''Select men & Committee of Safety of Attelborough'' handwritten on verso. Folds, some dampstaining, and creasing. Overall very good condition, especially given age. A rare Revolutionary War broadside with exceptional content regarding one of the most important projects of the War.
1778 Revolutionary War Broadside, a Call to Arms to Build the ''Great Chain'' on the Hudson River, From West Point to Constitution Island -- Broadside Also Requests Forces for Battle of Rhode Island1778 Revolutionary War Broadside, a Call to Arms to Build the ''Great Chain'' on the Hudson River, From West Point to Constitution Island -- Broadside Also Requests Forces for Battle of Rhode Island
1778 Revolutionary War Broadside, a Call to Arms to Build the ''Great Chain'' on the Hudson River, From West Point to Constitution Island -- Broadside Also Requests Forces for Battle of Rhode Island
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$10,000
Auction closed on Thursday, October 31, 2019.
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