Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Davies, 16 April 1781

From William Davies

Chesterfield April 16. 1781.


The badness of the weather has prevented my return to Richmond today. I am, however, so firmly persuaded of the enemy’s intentions up the rivers, that I cannot refrain from renewing my request for the impressment of a number of waggons not only for the removal of the stores at Petersburg and Chesterfield, which amount to at least 150 waggon loads, but also for the removal of the cannon at Newcastle. If Captain Young could receive your authority for this purpose, it would greatly facilitate their security: indeed, in my opinion, they will infallibly be lost, unless a step of this kind is immediately adopted.

I have the honor to be, sir, most respectfully, Your Excellency’s most obdt servt,

William Davies

RC (Vi); addressed; endorsed in part: “April 17th 1781.”

On the matter of obtaining waggons for the removal of stores, see Carrington to TJ, 31 Mch. 1781; on 16 Apr. Carrington also wrote to Davies: “For transporting supplies from Virginia the Legislature … directed that the Executive should make proper regulations for giving us the aid of private property waggons when necessary; by the Act the duties of the County Courts were evident. At my suggestion the Executive directed Mr. Brown to have all the private waggons Registered and so arranged as to be at our service when called on. Neither of those duties have been done. Pray is there no means of bringing to punishment some of those people who abuse the public by neglecting the duties incumbent on them?” (Vi). On this same date Claiborne wrote Davies from Richmond: “I can only repeat again to you my willingness to aid and assist in everything that is in my power, but as I have not the means of transportation under my direction, it will be impossible for me to remove the stores you mention from Petersburg. A few days since I requested Capt. Holmes to send the superfluous Quarter Master’s stores from Petersburg to Carter’s ferry, but he writes me that it will be with the greatest difficulty he shall get waggons for those things” (Vi).

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