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"Answering Liberty's Call" - by Don Troiani

Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Print & Canvas

Image size: 26 3/4" x 24 1/2"

Edition size: 350 signed & numbered

Price: $225 (When this is sold out it will only be available on our secondary market---call then for current price and availablity--800-237-6077)

… Our men inlist very slow and our Enemy have got a Reinforsement of five Regiments and if the new Army is not Reased in season I hope I & all my townsmen shall have virtue anofe to stay all winter as Volentears Before we Will leave the line with out men for our all is at stake and if we Doe not Exarte our selves in this gloris Cause our all is gon and we made Slaves for Ever … In his letter to wife Sarah of November 28, 1775, Lieutenant Joseph Hodgkins of Little’s Massachusetts Regiment defined the primary motivation of most Continental Army officers serving near Boston that critical year. Having assisted to raise and command a “minute company” in his home town of Ipswich the prior winter, and through responding to the Lexington Alarm of April 19, the 32-year-old shoemaker was convinced his family’s welfare and future – “our all” – required the success of their “glorious cause.” When she married the recently widowed cobbler in 1772, becoming mother to his seven-year-old daughter, Sarah was twenty-two. By its third anniversary, the union had yielded two additional children. As she read Joseph’s letter wherein he seemed to hint of reenlistment for 1776, she might have feared to foresee the full extent of his commitment. In reality, he would indeed serve throughout 1776 in the 12th Continental Regiment and, in early 1777, would enroll for “three years or the war” as a captain of the 15th Massachusetts Regiment. Joseph’s experiences in camp and field, and Sarah’s home front trials – as well as the deep concerns each had for their respective “Companion till Death” – are all exceptionally well documented through their war-time correspondence, totaling a remarkable 106 surviving letters. Repeatedly throughout Sarah’s writings are three themes: her profound desire to have Joseph at home; her struggle to manage chronic disappointment in that regard through focusing on Joseph’s hardships and safety; and unwavering reliance on the promise of her Christian faith. After nearly a year in the Boston camps, Joseph’s unit served in the 1776 New York Campaign. He recorded his experiences of the Long Island disaster in lengthy letters to Sarah. Her September 16 response reflected commiseration, but also glimpses of her innate strength and dedication: … my heart akes for you to think of the dificultys & fateagues you have to undergo … as you say I think things Look very dark on our side … if you Should be called to Battle again may [God] be with you & cover your heads & Strengthen your hands & encorage your hearts and give you all that fortitude and resilution that is left for you and in his own time return you home in Safty … for my part I am not wholy discoraged many times the darkest time is jest before day … By October 19, though, she had received at least two further letters from Joseph and learned of the heartbreaking retreat through Manhattan. With anxieties and loneliness heightened, and aware of the approaching close of yet another year, she debated: … I understand you have gone through a grate deal of dificultys & hardships … it greives me to think what you have to undergo but I hope it will be for our good … I hope if we Live to See this Campaign out we shall have the happiness of living together again I dont know what you think about Staying again but I think it cant be inconsistant with your duty to come home to your family it will troble me very much if you Should ingage again … you may think I am too free in expressing my mind & that it would have been time enough when I was asked but I was afraid I Should not have that oppertunity So I hope [you] will excuse my freedom … For nearly three more years thereafter, - with Joseph at Trenton and Princeton, Saratoga, Valley Forge, the Providence siege, and the scores of interspersed skirmishes, marches and camps, but also on intermittent furloughs home to Ipswich - Sarah continued to struggle with the age-old fundamental challenges of being an American soldier’s wife.


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