Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to Samuel Huntington, 12 February 1781

To Samuel Huntington

Richmond February 12th. 1781.


The enclosed extract of a letter from Governor Nash which I received this day being a confirmation of the intelligence I transmitted in a former letter, I take the liberty of handing it forward to your Excellency. I am informed through a private channel on which I have considerable reliance, that the Enemy had landed five hundred Troops under the command of a Maj. Craig, who were joined by a number of disaffected; that they had penetrated forty miles: that their aim appeared to be the Magazine of Kingston, from which place they were about twenty Miles distant.

Baron Steuben transmits to your Excellency a Copy of a letter from Genl. Greene, by which you will learn the events which have taken place in that quarter since the defeat of Colo. Tarlton by Genl. Morgan. These events speak best for themselves and no doubt will suggest what is necessary to be done to prevent the successive losses of State after State to which the want of Arms and a regular Soldiery seem more especially to expose those in the South.

I have the honor to be with every sentiment of respect Your Excellency’s Most obedient & Most Humbl Servt.,

Th: Jefferson

RC (DLC: PCC, No. 71, ii); in a clerk’s hand, signed by TJ; endorsed: “Letter from Govr Jefferson Feby 12th. 1781. Read 20th.” Enclosure: Extract of letter from Abner Nash, 2 Feb., printed above. FC (Vi). Tr (DLC); with caption and signature by TJ. TJ sent an identical letter to Washington on this date.

A private channel: See David Ross to TJ, 11 Feb. 1781. A letter from Genl. Greene: Both Washington and Huntington interpreted the words “Baron Steuben transmits” as meaning that TJ was enclosing Greene’s letter to Steuben. Washington on 26 Feb. wrote Huntington that Greene’s letter “appears from the manner of Governor Jeffersons speaking of it to be an interesting one” and added that “it was not among Your Excellency’s dispatches. I should be happy to be favoured with a sight of it, as I have no letter from General Greene since that containing an acct. of Morgans affair” (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxi, 302); to this Huntington replied that through “some mistake of the Governor’s Secretary, [Greene’s letter] was not inclosed in his Dispatches to me and has never come to Hand” (DLC: Washington Papers, Huntington to Washington, 2 Mch. 1781). Actually, Steuben sent the letter directly to Washington, who received it on 26 Feb. and acknowledged it the next day (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, xxi, 310).

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