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Hessian Commander of the Troops at the Battle of Trenton JOHANN GOTTLIEB RALL Killed Christmas Day 1776

After General George Washington Crossed the Delaware River

Colonel Johann Rall's Military Order From British Major General Howe and Signed Less Than Two Weeks Before His Death

as Commander at the Battle of Trenton
JOHANN GOTTLIEB RALL (Also spelled Rahl) (1726 - December 26, 1776). Hessian Commander and Colonel of the Troops at the Battle of Trenton in the Revolutionary War, Killed at the Battle of Trenton by George Washington's Soldiers fought on Christmas Day, December 26th, 1776 after Washington historically Crossed the Delaware River.
December 13, 1776-Dated Revolutionary War, Manuscript Document Signed, "Rall - Colonel," 3" x 7.5," Very Fine. This is a military order from British General Howe, written most likely by Lt. Piel, Rall's adjutant & English translator and then signed by Col. Johann Rall, a Hessian officer serving with the British during the Revolutionary War. Actually a sort of pass, this rare document was signed less than 2 weeks before Col. Rall's death at the Battle of Trenton, on December 26, 1776. This important Military Document reads, in full:

"Tis his Excellency General Howe's express orders that no person presume on any account to molest or injure Samuel Belerjian in his person or Property. - By order of his Excellency - (Signed) Rall Colonel - Head Quarters - Decr. 13th, 1776".

On Christmas night into the next morning, December 25-26, 1776, General George Washington led 2,500 American troops across the Delaware River, 8 miles above Trenton, New Jersey. Planned as a predawn attack, Washington's Continental Army troops were delayed by floating ice and a snow storm. They did not reach the town until 8:00 A.M., now in broad daylight. The Hessian garrison had let their guard down to celebrate the Christmas holiday, and their commander, Colonel Rall himself was misled by John Honeyman, a Spy working for George Washington, who had told him that the American Army was not nearby. In the attack, Colonel Rall himself was mortally wounded. At the end of the battle, while wounded, Colonel Rall personally presented his sword in surrender directly to General George Washington from his sickbed. Colonel Rall died shortly thereafter.

The monumental Battle of Trenton is known as the "turning point" for the American Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. The dramatic battle plan and "impossible" surprise route taken Washington and the American Army to Trenton is recalled by the famous painting of "Washington Crossing the Delaware." This celebrated victory literally saved the American Army. The victory caused the American Continental Army troops to reenlist, saved Philadelphia, and the very America we live in today!

This boldly Handwritten Document is an order for the protection of an apparent Tory (British Loyalist) living in or near Trenton, NJ. The Docket on its blank reverse reads: "Sam. Belerjian - Sworn Feby. 21st 1777". That later Revolutionary War period date showing his use of that British and Hessian "protection" pass from Colonel Rall for just over one year.

The autograph of Johann Rall in the American Revolutionary War Period, is exceedingly rare, as he died very early in the war on Christmas Day, December 26, 1776. This Document has a contemporary laid paper reinforcement repair to a chip partially affecting the word "express" in the upper right corner about 1" x .5" at the edge. Folds have been reinforced on the blank back using two thin fine strips of archival tape. Overall, it is pleasing in appearance, well written and easily readable, that is nice for display. Truly, an immensely historic original Manuscript Document Signed, "Rall Colonel" less than two weeks prior to the Battle of Trenton and his death. Accompanied by Certificate of Professional Authenticity issued by PASS-CO with this items printed description and partial image.

Accompanied by a printed typed form from dealer William J. Campbell of Philadelphia, having the pencil notation on its reverse: "(Lot) 311 - Dec. 6, 1909, Henckels - $8.50 ... A military protection issued by order of Sir William Howe. - Fine and Very Rare". (Additional information is presented in pencil on the reverse side.)

"The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776" is the title of a historical Oil Painting by the American artist John Trumbull, depicting the capture of the Hessian soldiers at the Battle of Trenton on the morning of December 26, 1776. The focus is on General George Washington aiding the mortally wounded Hessian Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall. Nearly 900 Hessians were captured at the battle. It is one of John Trumbull's series of historical paintings on the war, which also includes the Declaration of Independence, and The Death of General Mercer at the Battle of Princeton, January 3, 1777. The original painting is on view at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut. The artist intended to show the compassion of General George Washington in this painting, as he wrote in the catalogue for his exhibited works at Yale University:

"The magnanimous kindness displayed by Washington, on this occasion, offers a sublime example of true heroism, and well deserves to be imitated by all military men. The artist chose this subject, and composed the picture, for the express purpose of giving a lesson to all living and future soldiers in the service of his country, to show mercy and kindness to a fallen enemy, " their enemy no longer when wounded and in their power. - John Trumbull"

Starting in 1775, Trumbull himself served in the war, having been appointed second aide-de-camp to Washington. He later resigned from the Continental army in 1777. The study for this painting was begun in London in November, 1786. In the study, George Washington enters from the left to order that Rall, upheld by two officers, be cared for respectfully. Trumbull returned to New York on November 26, 1789, to continue work on the painting by making portraits of Washington. He continued making changes on the painting until its completion in 1828.

In the center of the painting, American General George Washington is focusing his attention on the needs of the mortally wounded Hessian Colonel Johann Gottlieb Rall. Rall is being helped by American Major William Stephens Smith, aide-de-camp to General John Sullivan. Washington orders Smith to "call our best surgeons to his assistance, and let us save his life if possible." During the battle of Trenton, Rall had been shot twice and needed to be carried into his headquarters, where he died that night. Behind Washington, on horseback, are his aides, Colonel Robert Hanson Harrison and Captain Tench Tilghman.

To the left and behind Rall, severely wounded American Lieutenant James Monroe is attended to by Dr. John Riker. He saved Monroe's life by quickly clamping the damaged artery to stop the heavy bleeding. On the far left, dressed in white, is American Colonel Josiah Parker. He had the honor to receive Rall's sword of surrender and he alone holds a sword in the painting. Next to him are Colonels Edward Wigglesworth and William Shepard.

American Major General Nathanael Greene is shown on the right on a light-colored horse, facing Washington. Behind Greene are American Generals John Sullivan, Henry Knox, Philemon Dickinson, John Glover, and George Weedon. Standing to the right of Greene is Captain William Washington, who was wounded in his hand during the battle.

In the foreground, a fallen Hessian Flag is shown. General Washington was later presented one as a war trophy.
Johann Gottlieb Rall (ca. 1726-1776 ), a veteran German officer, was the Colonel in command of a unit of Hessian troops in Trenton, New Jersey during the Revolutionary War. Rall was born about 1725, the son of Captain Joachim Rall from Stralsund, who served in the regiment of Major General Donop. The first mention of Johann Rall was as a new cadet of the same regiment on 1 March 1740.

He rose through the ranks, making Lt. Colonel in January 1763. In April 1771 he was promoted to full Colonel and became the commander of an infantry regiment in January 1772. During these years, Rall fought in the War of the Austrian Succession and participated in campaigns in Bavaria, on the Rhine, in the Netherlands, and in Scotland. From September 1771 until August 1772, he was in Imperial Russia fighting for Catherine the Great under Count Orlov in the Fourth Russo-Turkish War.

By 1776, Rall belonged to an infantry regiment of the 1st Division under General Heister and commanded approximately 12,000 men fighting for Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War. He was at the Battle of Brooklyn, the Battle of White Plains, the Battle of Long Island, and figured prominently in the Battle of Trenton, where he was killed in action.

On Christmas night, December 25, 1776, General George Washington led 2,500 American troops across the Delaware River, 8 miles above Trenton, New Jersey. Planned as a predawn attack, Washington's troops were delayed by floating ice and a snow storm. They did not reach the town until 8:00 A.M., now in broad daylight. The Hessian garrison had let their guard down to celebrate the Christmas holiday, and their commander, Colonel Rall himself was misled by John Honeyman, a Spy working for George Washington, who had told him that the American Army was not nearby.

In the attack, Rall himself was mortally wounded. At the end of the battle, Rall presented his sword in surrender directly to George Washington from his sickbed, dying shortly thereafter. This famous battle is known as the turning point for the American Army in the Revolutionary war. The dramatic route taken to Trenton is recalled by the famous painting of "Washington Crossing the Delaware." The victory saved the American Army, caused the troops to reenlist, saved Philadelphia and the very America we live in today.
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