The oldest-known signature of James Monroe, a Revolutionary War furlough signed by the future president while he was serving at Valley Forge, has been acquired by the museum that honors the Virginia native.
Monroe issued the pass, acquired by the James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library in Fredericksburg, Va., to 2nd Lt. John Wallace Jr. of the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment on Feb. 23, 1778, as Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army suffered through the traumatic winter at Valley Forge.
Negotiations for the document, which had been in the hands of the same collector for decades, took several weeks, said Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum.
The furlough is believed to be the earliest-known official document bearing Monroe’s signature, according to the museum.
Support from the 180-member Friends of the James Monroe Museum was crucial for the institution, which is administered by the University of Mary Washington, to be able to purchase the furlough from a nationally recognized documents dealer, he told the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star.