To Daniel Morgan
Charlottesville June 2d. 1781
I have the pleasure to inclose to you a resolution of the House of Delegates assented to by so many of the Senate as were here, by which you will perceive the confidence they repose in your exertions, and the desire they entertain of your lending us your aid under our present circumstances. I sincerely wish your health may be so far reestablished as to permit you to take the field, as no one would count more than myself on the effect of your interposition. I inclose you Commissions for the officers of three battalions. They are of necessity dated at the time of my signing them, and it will be well if you endorse on each the date from which it is to give rank. [The more immediate this aid the more valuable it will be.]1 I am with great respect Sir Your mo. obd. & most [hble. Servt.,
RC (NN); MS mutilated, the signature and possibly some of the text being cut out (see note 1, below); in a clerk’s hand, addressed by TJ: “Brigadr. Genl. Morgan Berkeley; endorsed. Enclosures: (1) Resolution of the House of Delegates of 2 June 1781, requesting the Governor to “call for the immediate assistance of Brigadier General Morgan to take the command of such Volunteers, Militia or others as he may be able speedily to embody and march to join the army under command of the Honble Major General Marquis la Fayette; that this Assembly have the utmost confidence in the active exertions of General Morgan in the present emergency; and that the Governor do transmit to the said General so many proper Commissions as may be necessary for the field officers, Captains, Subalterns and others to be by him appointed” (Tr in the hand of John Beckley, signed and attested by him, in Vi; JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1781, 1828 edn., p. 9–10). (2) Commissions as specified in the resolution (missing). FC (Vi).
This resolution was not agreed to by the Senate until 11 June, but TJ had dispatched the above letter and Morgan had accepted the call by that date (CVSP, ii description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 154–5; Morgan’s letter of acceptance is missing, but he refers to it in another to the Speaker of 15 June; same, 162). Morgan, in consequence of this resolution, appealed to Horatio Gates, Col. William Darke, Maj. John Smith, Col. John Nelson, county lieutenant of Frederick, John Morrow, county lieutenant of Berkeley, Col. David Kennedy of Frederick co., Major George Scott, Captain Francis Willis, Jr., and Col. Charles Mynn Thruston. These gentlemen, with Morgan met at Winchester on 14 June 1781 “to consider of the most speedy and proper methods of carrying a late Act of Assembly [sic] for General Morgan to raise a number of Volunteers for the defense of this Country and for other purposes into Execution.” They met as “a Convention” and adopted various resolutions making recommendations to the legislature: (1) that magazines for provisions, carriages, entrenching tools, axes, and all kinds of military stores be laid up at Winchester and other places; (2) that proper persons be impowered to “make, repair, and collect all kinds and sorts of Millitary implements, from every person with whom such necessaries may be found, for the general defence”; (3) that “it appears absolutely necessary that a number of horses to mount the light dragoons be had … and that some method be immediately fallen upon for the supply thereof; (4) that Gen. Morgan be impowered to employ “all kinds of Artificers and make use of all proper material necessary … which materials we are of opinion are abundant, if proper authority be given to take them”; (5) that Gen. Morgan’s “commissaries have power by Legislative authority to furnish necessary provisions, and that his Quartermasters have sufficient powers to execute their office according to such directions as they shall receive from him”; (6) that, because the “approach of Harvest and the criticalness of the spring crops, have prevented the inhabitants from becoming Volunteers in such numbers as was hoped and expected,” the legislature “provide some decisive measure for procuring the number necessary”; and (6) that George Rootes bear the foregoing resolutions to the General Assembly and “answer such questions as they may please to ask him … and that he do take a letter from Genl. Morgan and demean himself therefrom” (Vi; the minutes of this “Convention” were signed by all of those named above, including Morgan, whose letter of 15 June is in CVSP, ii description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 162–3). Morgan’s letter and “other papers on the subject” were presented to the House by the Speaker on 18 June and were laid on the table (JHD description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia (cited by session and date of publication) description ends , May 1781, 1828 edn., p. 21). Many of the extensive powers recommended were embraced in the Act “for giving certain powers to the governour and council,” for example the power “to procure by impress or otherwise … provisions of every kind, all sorts of cloathing, accoutrements and furniture, proper for the use of the army, negroes as pioneers, horses both for the draft and cavalry, waggons, boats or other vessels … and also all other necessaries as may be wanted for supplying the militia or other troops employed in the public service”; this Bill was already engrossed and passed its third reading at the time Morgan’s communication was laid before the House (Hening, description begins William W. Hening, The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia description ends x, 412–13). Morgan was in the field by July and continued in service for several months, though in the latter part of 1781 he was in command at Winchester. On 20 Sep. 1781, ill and still suffering from his old wounds, he wrote to Gov. Nelson: “I am in hopes we have that old Fox Cornwallis pretty safe. Nothing this sid of heaven would make me so happy as to be at the takeing him, if my health would permit, but I am afraid it will not. [I] must therefore pray for your success, which I shall most fervently do” (CVSP, ii description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 473). Unhappily, the patriotic old warrior was denied the gratification of being present at Yorktown.
1. The sentence in brackets (supplied) appears only in the FC. It is probable that this was added as a postscript to the RC, in TJ’s hand, and was cut away with the signature at some later date.