Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to the County Lieutenants, [before 1 August 1780]

To the County Lieutenants

[Before 1 August 1780]


Understanding that there are dispersed through the several counties of the Commonwealth a considerable number of draughts or substitutes heretofore raised [blank for the name]1 is instructed to attend to receive them at2 your court house and will give you notice of the day on which he will attend. Our Eastern garrisons being extremely weak, we are under an absolute necessity of [rein]forcing them, and as I am very anxious to keep every burthen of that kind from our militia, let me entreat you for their quiet as well as for the safeguard of your country to exert yourself in collecting these men and also any others which may have been raised for the Eastern service and in having them punctually delivered at the time he shall appoint.

I am Sir Your very humble servt.

Dft (Vi); entirely in TJ’s hand, with numerous deletions and corrections, the more important of which are noted below. On verso, also in TJ’s hand: “75. copies to be printed”; endorsed in an unidentified (probably later) hand:

“Govr. Jefferson to County Lieuts. relative to dispersed drafts. 1781.”

In spite of TJ’s notation on verso, there is no evidence that this letter was printed or even sent. It is printed in Official Letters description begins Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends (ii, 380), without date, in a note on TJ’s letter to Nathaniel Burwell, 1 Mch. 1781, as possibly belonging to that period. It is printed at this point in the present edition because the dates in the deleted matter (see note 2, below) suggest July 1780 as the more probable date and because during that month the governor and council were concerned with building up the defense of the eastern frontier under an Act passed in the May 1780 session; see Memoranda of Executive Agenda, 19 July 1780.

1Brackets in MS. TJ first wrote: “Major Quarles”; he then deleted it and substituted the present text in brackets.

2Following this TJ first wrote: “Petersburg on the 1st. day of Aug. next, at New London on the 6th. of the same month, at Staunton on the 12th., at Winchester on the 18th. and at Fredsbg. on the 24th.”; he then deleted this passage and substituted the matter from here to the end of the sentence.

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