Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the County Lieutenant of Botetourt, 24 July 1780

To the County Lieutenant of Botetourt

RICHMOND, JULY 24, 1780.


You will receive by this express an act to prevent dese[rtion]; an extract on the same subject from another act; an act for drafting your militia; and sixt[y]1 tobacco loan office certificates. For the last mentioned act, and the certificates, be pleased to return your receipt by the bearer. You stand debited in the Auditors books with these tobacco certificates. You will be pleased therefore to take a receipt from every soldier for the certificate delivered him, which receipts, with the certificates not delivered but, being transmitted to the Auditors, they will pass them to your credit, and give you a quie[tu]s. To prevent danger from misapplication before they get to your hands, we are obliged to declare that none of these certificates shall be deemed to have been duly issued, or to oblige the state to payment, unless they are attested by the County Lieutenant or other Commanding Officer, on delivery to the soldier, which attestation you will, at the time you fill up the blank with the name of the soldier, enter in the lower left hand corner in some such form as this: “Witness A.B. County Lieutenant of .” According to authority given the Executive by another act of Assembly: Brunswick and Pittsylvania courthouses are appointed additional places of rendezvous: And as it is almost certain that these troops are to join the southern army, I would recommend that you have regard to this in determining to which place of rendezvous you will send your recruits. To subsist them to the place of rendezvous, you are hereby authorized to call on the commissioners of the provision law for your county (if any were appointed therein) for a day’s subsistence for every man and every twenty miles he has to march to the rendezvous, out of the stock they have on hand, or if they have none, or not enough, they must obtain it as directed in the act “For procuring a supply of provisions and other necessaries for the use of the army;” their powers are also hereby extended for this special purpose to live cattle, horses, waggons, boats, or other vessels and their crews; and for their guide herein, I send you the inclosed extract from the law authorizing this extention. If no such commissioners have been appointed in your county, you are hereby authorized to appoint one for the same special purpose of subsisting and carrying your recruits to the place of rendezvous, where provision will be made for their further subsistance and transportation.

I am Your hble Servt.,2

Th: Jefferson

P.S. Be pleased to make me an exact return of your M[ili]tia after your draughts shall be taken out.3

RC (International Business Machines Corporation, New York, 1948); a printed form letter (not recorded in Swem’s “Va. Bibliog.”), with handwritten additions (see textual notes below); signed by TJ. Addressed: “The County [Lieu]tenant of Botetourt.” The lieutenant of Botetourt co. was presumably still William Fleming, appointed in 1776.

This is apparently the sole surviving copy of a circular sent to many if not all of the county lieutenants. The Memorandum of Executive Agenda, printed under 19 July above, makes clear what the enclosures were: (1) an Act the more effectually to prevent and punish desertion (Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends x, 263–7); (2) the paragraph providing for court-martialing deserters in an Act for giving further powers to the governor and Council (same, x, 314); and (3) an Act for speedily recruiting the quota of this state for the Continental army (same, x, 257–62). According to the memorandum of 19 July, 1,500 copies of enclosure No. 1 were to be printed (Sabin 100326 records a copy in DLC); No. 2 was likewise to be printed; and No. 3 is known to be printed, for a copy was sent in TJ’s letter to Huntington, 27 July, and is preserved with that letter, q.v. Authority given the executive by another act of assembly: After the fall of Charleston had become known to the General Assembly, an Act was passed authorizing the governor to designate some other place of rendezvous for the militia, since “it hath become inexpedient to rendezvous at Hillsborough” (Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends x, 229). The act “for securing a supply of provisions …” is printed in same, x, 233–7; a contemporary printing was enclosed in TJ’s letter to Huntington, 27 July.

1The word “sixty” is inserted in a clerk’s hand.

2The complimentary close is in a clerk’s hand.

3The postscript is in another clerk’s hand.

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