Marblehead Museum accepts delivery of George Washington’s letter to Gen. Glover

The Marblehead Museum has acquired a historical letter sent to Gen. John Glover by the nation’s first president.

The letter, dated 1779, features George Washington’s signature in a response to the town’s Revolutionary War hero, who had sent a request to resign from the Continental Army following the death of his wife, Hannah.

Glover’s ship, the Hannah, named after his wife, was chartered by Washington. It became one of the first ships in what would later evolve into the Continental Navy. Glover is also known for increasing the Marblehead militia, which became the 14th Continental Regiment, to nearly 500 men, including seamen, mariners, and fisherman.

In a press release, Marblehead Museum Executive Director Lauren McCormack shared an excerpt from the letter, penned by Washington’s aide-de-camp.

“I am sorry for the unfortunate occasion that urges you to leave the service; but as I cannot take the measure on myself of accepting your resignation, I have therefore referred your letter to Congress… (S)hould your resignation (be) accepted, it will be with that concern which I cannot help feeling on the loss of a good officer,” the letter reads.

“This significant piece of Marblehead’s history was purchased at auction from Swann Auction Galleries thanks to a generous donation by Glover’s Marblehead Regiment,” McCormack said in the statement.

An official unveiling of the letter will be held on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m. in the second-floor J.O.J. Frost Gallery and Carolyn Lynch Education Center at the museum. Afterward, the letter will be on display once the museum reopens from its regular winter shutdown on March 1.

After the event, the regiment will make its annual march to Glover’s tomb at Old Burial Hill to commemorate Glover’s life. The march will start at approximately 5 p.m. in front of the Old Town House.

Prior to the march, Commander of the Regiment Capt. Seamus Daly will present an oration remembering Glover’s “service to the country, state, and town.” The oration will be followed by members of the regiment firing three muskets.

“While members of the regiment will be in 18th-century attire, members of the public are welcome to attend in 21st-century attire, and are encouraged to bring candle-lit lanterns,” McCormack said in the statement.

Last week, the Historical Commission also received a gift relating to Glover. Model-maker Tom Conant donated a 12-inch model of the Hannah to the museum. As the exact designs of the ship had been lost to history, Conant did extensive research into the schooner’s designs to create as close to an exact model as possible, making the model, and the donation, even more significant.