James Monroe Museum Acquires Revolutionary War Document

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library today announced the acquisition of a significant artifact from the Revolutionary War. The museum has obtained a furlough signed by then-Major James Monroe on February 23, 1778, at Valley Forge. The furlough is believed to be the earliest-known official document bearing Monroe’s signature.

Front of the furlough document

Support from the Friends of the James Monroe Museum was instrumental in purchasing the furlough from a nationally recognized documents dealer. The effort involved several weeks of negotiation and fundraising.

“Securing such a rare and interesting artifact as this furlough for the museum’s collection would be good news under any circumstances,” said Scott Harris, director of the James Monroe Museum. “To do so with the help of so many supporters is especially gratifying.”

The furlough, or military pass, was issued to Second Lieutenant John Wallace, Jr. of the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment, an infantry unit in the division of Major General William Alexander, also known as Lord Stirling. At the time, 19-year-old James Monroe served as Stirling’s aide-de-camp.

Back of the furlough document

Donations made specifically for the purpose of buying the document came from the following: Paul M. Jones Revocable Trust; Stewart Jones Charitable Trust; Clan Munro Association, USA; Champe and Mary Randolph Corbin; Mrs. Mary Alice Regier Hoes; Charles and Mary Wynn McDaniel; Mrs. Rita M. Stone; and Judge Jere M. H. Willis, Jr. and Mrs. Barbara Willis.

The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is a National Historic Landmark owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by the University of Mary Washington.  Founded in 1927, it is the nation’s largest repository of artifacts and documents related to the fifth President of the United States.  For hours of operation, directions, and other information, call (540) 654-1043, or visit www.jamesmonroemuseum.org.

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News release prepared by: Scott Harris              

About Brynn Boyer

Brynn Boyer is assistant director of media and public relations and a 2010 graduate of UMW.