During the Revolutionary War, British Generals and diplomats sent back glowing reports about Britain’s military superiority. In private letters, however, they expressed grave doubts, recorded in eighty documents to be sold next month at Sotheby’s.
San Diego’s Copley Library will sell its entire collection in series of eight auctions offering letters, manuscripts, books, and maps. A frequent correspondent was Henry Strachey, General William Howe’s secretary, who expressed wonderment at the rebels’ determination, which he described as “beyond nature as well as reason.” The offering also includes letters written by General John Burgoyne, who even after Britain’s victory at Bunker Hill still assessed the Redcoats’ prospects as “gloomy.” “Our victory has been bought by an uncommon loss of officers,” he wrote, “…and I fear the consequence will not answer the expectations that will be raised in England.”
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