From Mahlon Ford1
Fort Norfolk [Virginia] April 4, 1800. “… such a picture of destruction, I never saw at any post, when I took the Command—and in endeavouring to remedy it I have affronted the late Commanding Officer, who was Capt Blackburn2 (who knows nothing about Military Matters and never will, as he says himself, he only serves for the lo[a]ves and Fishes) in such a manner, that I was reduced, either to give up my Command, or Arrest him, the former, did not at present suite me—& I was necessitated to do the latter. If I hold my Commission, on the tenour, that he, and some other Virginians, pretend to hold up, It’s good for nothing, and as such I shall consider it, & he will stay, & I’ll return to some more peacefull employ.”
ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. Ford, a resident of New Jersey and a veteran of the American Revolution, was a major in the First Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers. Because of illness Ford had not reported for duty at his headquarters at Norfolk until September, 1799 (Ford to H, September 20, 1799 [listed in the appendix to Volume XXIII]).
2. Richard Scott Blackburn of Virginia was a captain in the First Regiment of Artillerists and Engineers.