John Hancock, Document, Signed


Hancock Appoints a Soldier KIA at Yorktown

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John Hancock signs an Appointment for Epaphras Bull, Esq. “…to be a Captain in a regiment of Light Dragoons commanded by Colonel Elisha Sheldon…in the Army of the United States, raised for the Defence of American Liberty, and for repelling every hostile invasion thereof….”

Captain Bull, later a Major, had an illustrious career fighting for the American cause.  Previously  he had fought with Benedict Arnold, being part of the force that captured Fort Ticonderoga in 1775.  In 1776 he became a Captain in the Connecticut Light Horse Militia and, two years after this appointment, was commissioned a Major in the same regiment of Dragoons.

Bull died of wounds received at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.  Colonel Elisha Sheldon served until the end of the war and was appointed Brevet Brigadier General in 1780.  Hancock served as President In Congress from May 24, 1775 to October 1777.

Among the most notable resolutions to have passed under Hancock’s term as president were, of course, the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, the March 1776 resolution appointing a general day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, and the issuing of the “Privateering Act” that empowered privateers to harass British shipping.  

Very good condition, containing a large, bold Hancock signature (such as the one easily read by King George!) and a bold ink accomplishment; fold separations have early professional repairs on the verso and the same with a few small marginal chips. 

A handsome piece with a fine association and ready for framing and display.

Hancock, John. Partly Printed Document, signed “John Hancock” as President In Congress.  [Philadelphia]:  10 January 1777.  Oblong folio 13-3/8″ x 8-1/4″; 1 page with docketing on verso.  Counter-signed by Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson, who also had filled in the document in manuscript.

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