Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to John Browne, 3 February 1781

To John Browne

Richmond Feby. 3d. 1781


I have last night received such a representation of the condition the Southern Army, is like to be in, for want of provisions as to give serious apprehensions, that it may be obliged to retire into this State, and of course to draw the Southern enemy into it. It therefore becomes absolutely necessary that whatever pork can be procured, should be laid in on the Roanoke, and that the forces and posts within this State be subsisted on beef. For this purpose it will be proper that you immediately appoint a deputy in each county with orders to furnish you without delay with all the beef that can be eaten, and put up and prepare by feeding what may be necessary to continue the Subsistence of these posts through the winter.

I am Sir Your Humble Servt.,

Th: Jefferson

Tr (Vi); endorsed. FC and another Tr are in Vi.

The Council’s proceedings of this day help to clarify the complex arrangements being made for provisioning the southern army: “The board on consideration that one Deputy Commissioner in each Senatorial District, under the Act of Assembly for reviving and amending the Act for procuring a supply of Provisions & other necessaries for the use of the army may not be sufficient to answer the purposes of the said Act; advise that Mr. Brown the Commissioner of the provision law, be directed to appoint a Deputy in each County, with instructions to procure immediately all the eatable beef possible; the said Deputy shall be allowed at the rate of 4,000 ℔ tobacco by the year, or its worth in paper money according to the valuation made by the grand Jury at the Court next before the date of their warrant” (Va. Council Jour., ii, 285). See the following letters to Browne and Claiborne. There is in Vi a letter from Browne to Francis Lee, 8 Feb. 1781, appointing Lee deputy commissioner for Warwick co. and outlining his duties in detail. For the charge that Browne had disregarded TJ’s orders for supplying Greene’s army, see Carrington to TJ, 1 Feb.

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