Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Robert Mitchell, 15 March 1781

From Robert Mitchell

Hoods March 15. 1781


Your favour I Received this day by Mr. Pryor. I am Happy to find that The Marquis is Safe arrived. I Sat of[f] from Richmond the 12 Inst. With Twenty Militia in a Scow. On our Way down, I Put five men on board of a brig, lyeing At Warwick, Cald the marrs and Gave the Captain orders to make all the despatch In his power down to this place to Join the fleet, then proceded down The River in the Scow. The Wind Proving fowl and blowing Very Hard, Could Not Get her any further. I Took to my horse and Reachd This place this day. The Vessels lyeing Here is the Ship Renown, 16 Guns. The Willing lass brig, 10 Guns, the Brig Wilks, 12 Ditto. and Sundry Small Vessels fitting to Carry Troop[s], Likewise the Two Craftes with the Cannon and Morters &c. [are] Safe here. There are Two more armed Vessels Expected down here this Evening to Join the fleet. The field pieces that Came from the Northward Will be put on board to day. I am much Affraid that proper persons Cant be Got to Vallue the Vessels, and the Captain Will Not Gow any lower till that is don[e]. There are No provissions here for The Vessels, likewise the Saylors is Much Dissatisfyed at there not being Servd Spirrets. Mr. Brown Commisarrey I Think ought to Appoint a person for that line to Serve out the provissions to the different Vessels, and that Commiserry To Continue on board the Victueling Vessel Appointed for that purpose. Else am affraid a poore account Will be Given of them, and Vessels Will be alowd to Take What the[y] please. Please Excuse Such a Scrawl. I am Your Mo. Obd. Sevt.,

Robt. Mitchell

NB Necessaries Wanting for this Expedition, Grape Shot, Cartrige paper. You have omitted in your orders to Autherize me to have the different Vessels valued. As before, R: M.

RC (Vi); addressed and endorsed.

Your favour: That is, TJ’s letter to Mitchell or Lewis, 14 Mch. The vessels lyeing here: On 12 Mch. Lewis reported to Steuben (RC: NHi) giving more and somewhat different details about these vessels: the Renown carried 16 6-pounders and was manned by 25 men; the Willing Lass carried 12 4-pounders and was manned by 20 men; the Wilkes carried 12 4-pounders and was manned by 18 men. The two craftes with the cannon and morters: There is also in NHi “A Return of Ordnance and Military Stores ship’d at Richmond on board a Vessell Commandd. by Capt. Mitchell. Hoods,” &c.; this return shows that Mitchell had assembled two 13-inch mortars, four 18-pound cannon, 6,000 pounds of cannon powder, 55 13-inch “Bomb shells,” 700 18-pound balls, 26,376 musket cartridges, and other stores. On 22 Mch. Mitchell compiled “a list of the Vessels taken in the Service, now Lyeing at Turkey Island” which, in addition to those already mentioned, included the following: “Brig Marrs Capt. Thomas, Mounting 8 four Pounders and 10 men. Brig Morning Starr Capt. Beatey Mounting 2 four Pounders and 13 men. Schooner Heron Capt. Howell mounting three Swivels and 7 men. Sloop Eminence Capt. Weastcoat. Mounts 1 Howat and 8 men. One Decked and one open River Crafte belonging to Jno. Cooke of petersburg with 5 Negroes on board. One Decked Craft the property of Capt. Murry [Maury] with three Men on board”; in this list the Wilkes is described as mounting 12 3- and 4-pounders and having 20 men (MS in Vi).

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