From William Davies, with Reply
War office May 8. 1781.
One of the Assistants of the Quartermaster general is going over to the Eastern Shore. It appears to me an opportunity, which ought not to be neglected, of disposing and securing the public stores of every kind that are there. A great deal has been lost, a great deal more is in danger, and I submit it to the decision of your Excellency whether it will not be proper to sell what cannot be immediately secured.
I have the honor to be, most respectfully, Your Excellency’s very hbl Servt.,
If Colo. Davies will be pleased to originate instructions for the above I will countersign them. There have been some partial orders given on the subject, so that the new instructions should be so framed as not to interfere with them.
RC (Vi); addressed and endorsed; TJ’s reply is written, in his hand, below Davies letter.
Colo. Davies … instructions: See the letter following. No partial orders … on the subject: given by TJ are known to have been preserved; indeed, three weeks earlier TJ had informed the president of Congress that British control of Virginia waters made it difficult even to get an “advice boat” across to the Eastern Shore (see TJ to Huntington, 18 Apr. 1781). This was written in response to Congress’ specific request that the supplies from Accomac and Northampton be removed and, since that letter was scarcely on its way before TJ became engrossed in preparations to meet Phillips, it seems unlikely that he had had an opportunity to issue partial orders after 18 Apr. for this purpose.