George Washingtons Watch Chain
Public Limited Edition - $225.00
Image Size: 16" x 29-1/2" Overall Size: 21" x 33-1/2"
Edition Size: 250 Signed and Numbered
The story of the chain is a fascinating one. During the Revolution, the British ruled the seas. The English with their Hessian allies, occupied Long Island and New York City. The Continentals held New England, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. If the British could sail up the Hudson from New York City and connect with their forces in Canada, they would essentially be able to cut the United States in half. Washington endorsed a scheme that would string a giant chain across the river, resting on pine floats. The entire system of chain and floats had to be removed before the river froze over and then put back in the spring. If frozen into the Hudson, the chain would have been destroyed by the ice. That is the moment I chose to depict.
“After taking special notice of Colonel Timothy Pickering’s leadership abilities, General George Washington offered him the position of Adjutant General of the Continental Army in 1777. When Washington moved his headquarters to West Point, Pickering oversaw the construction of forts; batteries, redoubts and the ‘Great Chain’ designed to block the British Navy from sailing up the Hudson River. Forged at Stirling Iron Works under Pickering’s watchful eye, the chain was completed in six weeks. In spring of 1778, the heavy chain supported by huge logs stretched across the Hudson from West Point to Constitution Island, a point where the river narrowed and turned sharply to the west. The ‘Great Chain’ protected the Patriot fortress from attack for the duration of the war.”
On January 5, 1778, Alexander Scammel was appointed George Washington’s new Adjutant General, the seventh in the brief history of the Continental Army. Pickering remained at West Point with Washington and would go on in 1780 to become Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army. This gave me the opportunity to paint both the acting Adjutant General and the previous Adjutant General in the same painting. Colonel Scammel would remain in his post until 1781, when he was succeeded by Brigadier General Edward Hand.