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Major General James Irvine of Pennsylvania Militia ALS Seeking French & Indian War Veterans Land Grant Claims
JAMES IRVINE (1735-1819). Revolutionary War Major General of Pennsylvania militia, later Vice President of Pennsylvania; Delegate to the Pennsylvania Provincial Congress in 1775; Commanded Pennsylvania militia at the Battle of Germantown; advised Continental Army Commanding General George Washington to “Winter” at Valley Forge, PA.
August 28, 1815-Dated War of 1812, Great historic and fiscal French & Indian War Content, Autograph Letter Signed with Integral Address Leaf, 1 page, measuring 7.75” x 12.5” (legal folio), Head of Big Spring, Cumberland, Pa., to THOMAS SEYMOUR (1735-1829) of Hartford, who served in the Revolution, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, who was a member of the Conn. General Assembly from 1774 and served as Hartford’s first Mayor. This letter reads, in part:

“ Sir ... I Rec’d your letter... respecting Claims granted by the Crown to the Troops that served in the French war. I have a copy of the King’s proclamation dated 19 Feb’y 1754... likewise the order of the Governor of Virginia... to have the lands laid off... they are situate on the Mississippi about 100 miles above the mouth of Ohio - and are of the first quality of any Lands in that Country. A Lieut. Col. & Major are each entitled to 5000 Acres, a Captain 2000 & Lieut Ensign waggon master Pack horse master & Chaplains 2000 A[cres]. I cannot presently say the quantity that will be coming to non commissioned officers & privates but assume it will be the same to New England claimants as Virginia... they [the claims] are very valuable... they are situate on the Mississippi...”.

Plus, much more good content. Boldly penned in rich dark brown and easily readable on clean laid period paper, folded for mailing, with “30” (cents) postal rate paid. A few tiny marginal tears, else very nice. The distribution of land to war veterans became standard procedure in the years following the Revolution.
IRVINE, JAMES. (1735-1819). Continental officer. Born in Philadelphia on 4 August 1735, Irvine was a hatter who joined the militia in 1760, rising quickly to the rank of captain in 1763. During Pontiac’s Rebellion, he took part in Colonel Henry Bouquet’s expedition of 1764. Elected a Delegate to the Pennsylvania Provincial Congress in 1775, Irvine resigned to accept a commission as Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Army.

After service in Virginia, he joined General Richard Montgomery’s invasion of Canada in November 1775. Disappointed with his failure to gain promotion to general he resigned from the army in June 1777 to become brigadier general of the Pennsylvania militia, commanding it at the Battle of Germantown in October.

It was Irvine and General William Alexander who advised George Washington, contrary to the wishes of the other senior officers, that the army should spend the winter together in a single location at Valley Forge.

When General William Howe led his army out of Philadelphia on 5 December 1777 in an effort to lure Washington into battle, Irvine and six hundred Pennsylvania militia were ordered to determine the enemy’s strength. At Chestnut Hill they discovered most of the British army advancing; the militia then fled, leaving Irvine, who had been wounded, a prisoner of the British. He was not exchanged until 1781, receiving the rank of major general of militia and a small pension from Pennsylvania the following year.

He was also elected to the state’s Executive Council in 1782, becoming its Vice President in 1784. After serving a single term in the assembly, Irvine quit politics in 1786. He died in Philadelphia on 28 April 1819.
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