Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Horatio Gates, 6 October 1780

From Horatio Gates

Hillsborough 6th: October 1780.


Forty of your 18 Months Men from Bottetourt County Arrived in this Camp Yesterday, they are intirely unequiped, and unprovided, with every thing that is necessary for the Service they are intended to perform, and for the Term they are engaged to serve. I must beg Sir this may be Seriously consider’d by the Executive, whom I must request, will not send any Men into the Field, or even to this Camp, that are not sufficiently Clad, well furnish’d with Shoes, Blankets, and every necessary for immediate Service, as I have not a Single Article here to Supply them with. Some Tent Cloth, and Linnens, are all that can be procured from the Prize I wrote to your Excellency about sometime ago; nor can the Board of war of This State, from every part of it, find sufficient to Equip their Own—not a Blanket to be purchased at any Price. In regard to the Rendezvous of the Militia, I must entreat Your Excellency will fix upon some place from whence they can be well Supplied with Provisions, and Carriages, for they ought not to Quit the State of Virginia, unless they bring Thirty days of the Bread Kind with them. Inclosed are Copies of Letters received Last night from the Westward, and One Original from Mr. Hooper of this State. I request they may be forwarded immediately to Congress. Surely it is Time, some Determind Resolve of that Honourable Body, should be sent to Lord Cornwallis, to restrict his unjustifiable and Tyranical Proceedings; no part of my Baggage, nor a Single Public, or private paper of mine, fell into Lord Cornwallis’s Hands. They were very Fortunately all saved as was every paper and private Letter of all the Gentlemen belonging to my Family. I also inclose Your Excellency a Copy of a Letter of Lord Cornwallis’s, and another of Lt. Col. Balfours, taken upon Spy.

I am Sir &c.,


Dft (NHi); endorsed. Tr (DLC) of Dft. Enclosures: presumably the papers transmitted by TJ to Huntington, 14 Oct., q.v. The missing recipient’s copy of this letter must have been dated 7 Oct., since TJ in his acknowledgment of 15 Oct. so dates it; moreover, the text of Dft is evidently incomplete, for TJ quotes one sentence in his reply that is not in Dft.

On 10 Oct. Gates wrote to Muhlenberg (Dft: NHi) about this “party of Forty three Men under Lieutt. Smith … from Botetourt County” who had arrived “in a manner Naked, being intirely unsupported with a Single Article a Soldier ought to Possess,” and added: “Colonel Buford says, he Expects More of these Eighteen Months Men will shortly arrive in Camp from the Adjacent Counties.” In view of this, Gates requested Muhlenberg either to provide these men with clothing and other materials or else cause them to rendezvous in Virginia where they could be more conveniently fitted out.

Index Entries