Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to George Weedon, [ca. 16 January 1781]

To George Weedon

[ca. 16 January 1781]


The Executive will undertake to impress any boats which may be necessary in the opinion of the military officers. We are endeavoring here to build some light boats for transporting troops across the river. But they are not to be waited for or depended on. I am with esteem Your most obedt. servt.,

Tj: Jefferson

RC (PPAP); addressed and endorsed.

This undated letter was probably written about this time because Weedon was in the process of moving his troops, and on this day TJ ordered the manufacture of small boats (TJ to James Maxwell, 16 Jan.). Furthermore, in the Contingent Fund Vouchers (Vi) there is an order to the auditors, dated 15 Jan. 1781, directing that a warrant for £6,000 be paid to Granville Smith “for the purpose of procuring a number of Canoes for public use”; the order to the auditors is in a clerk’s hand, signed and with the following annotation by TJ at foot of text: “The treasurer will be so good as to pay the above as it is for an immediate purpose and the Auditors not here”; see also TJ to Richard Claiborne, 18 Jan. 1781. On 21 Jan. Joseph Thomas reported lack of success in impressing canoes: “Agreable to instructions, I have proceeded as far up James River as this County and am sorry to inform you that I fear it will be out of my power to compleat my purchase of the number of Canoes wanted, at least of such as you Mention, new sound Tobo. Canoes”; Thomas added that there were few new canoes on the river, but that he had purchased four which he had dispatched to Westham by Joseph Childress, bearer of the letter (RC in Vi, dated at Albemarle). These canoes were vessels capable of carrying from eight to ten hogsheads of tobacco.

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