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Time Machine: 6 December 1775
237 years ago today James Macpherson wrote this letter to Gen. Philip Schuyler of the relatively new Continental Army. The purpose of the letter is to request that Shuyler remove him from what was essentially a desk job and let him join the soldiers on their way to Canada:
"The Happiness I experienced while I was in yours & since I have been of General Montgomery's family is lessened, when I reflect that I am but half a soldier, as being at Headquarters exempts me from many Fatigues which others undergo — This, a natural desire of Rising, which is I believe common to every one lead me to request the favor of your recommendation for such a Commission as you think I deserve. If this takes Place, I should not desire on that account to quit the present service till the Reduction of Quebec (an event I imagine at no great Distance) till when I think the service of all here indispensibly necessary — After that many of us may be spared."
Macpherson was granted his request, but he wasn't spared. He died in battle only a few weeks after the letter was penned, together with Gen. Richard Montgomery during the assault on Quebec.
(This is the second in a series of posts highlighting newly-accessible and re-housed items from our Updike Autograph Collection. View the original of this post and others like it at the Notes for Bibliophiles blog.)