George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel Theodorick Bland, 17 January 1779

From Colonel Theodorick Bland

Charlotteville [Va.] Jany 17th 1779


The last Division of the troops of the Convention arrived here this day and were transferred by me, as have been the others, Successively as they arrived to Col: Harvie who was appointed by the Board of War to take Charge of them in Quality of Commissary of Prisoners, his Instructions for which, he shewd me soon after my arrival at this Place.1 Enclosed Yr Excellency will Receive a Genl Return of the whole both British & Germans, as they were when I received them at Enfield in Connecticut, as well as when I deliverd them over to Col: Harvies Care at this Place.2 I informd Yr Excellency in my last (wrote the day after my arrival Here) that Col: Chas Lewis had been appointed to take the Command of the Guard of the Convention troops which were to Consist of a Regt to be raised for that Purpose,3 in the mean time Six Hundred Militia are Called on to be under that Gents Direction untill the Regt is Raised at Present some of the Militia of Albermarle serve as guards untill the 600 come in. The Country in the vicinage of this place affording but few accommodations for the Officers Col. Harvie has sent them on Parole down the Country towards Richmond & Fredricks burgh & up towards Stanton.4 My Command being now at an end, I propose to leave this Place tomorrow—and as I informd Yr Excellency in my last to avail myself of yr indulgence to spend the Winter at Home.5 I am with the Sincerest Respect Yr Excellys most obedt & very H: Sert

Theok Bland


1For the march of the Convention Army from the vicinity of Boston to the Albemarle Barracks a few miles northwest of Charlottesville, Va., see GW to Bland, 8 Nov. 1778, and the source note to that document. The first part of the Convention Army apparently arrived at the Albemarle Barracks on 16 Jan., and the last part apparently arrived on 19 Jan. (see Senden Journal description begins “Excerpt from the Schueler von Senden Journal; 30 December 1778 through 21 November 1780.” Magazine of Albemarle County History 41 (1983): 119-36. description ends , 125–26). John Harvie, a former Virginia delegate to Congress on whose land the barracks were located, served as commissary of the Convention prisoners until the middle of April, when Bland returned to Charlottesville to take command of the prisoners (see GW to Bland, 28 Feb., and Bland to GW, 23 April, DLC:GW). Harvie’s instructions from the Board of War have not been identified.

2These returns have not been identified.

3Bland’s previous letter to GW has not been found. The date of his arrival in Charlottesville is not known. For Gov. Patrick Henry’s appointment of Col. Charles Lewis of Albemarle County to command the barracks guard, see Henry to Lewis, 23 Dec. 1778, in McIlwaine, Letters of the Governors description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed. Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia. 3 vols. Richmond, 1926–29. description ends , 1:348–49.

4Gov. Patrick Henry wrote the president of the Continental Congress, John Jay, on 28 Jan. expressing his concern about allowing a large number of Convention Army officers to live in Richmond. “This place,” Henry said, “contains our Magazine and public records, & is very unfit for their Residence” (McIlwaine, Letters of the Governors description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed. Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia. 3 vols. Richmond, 1926–29. description ends , 1:355). On 20 Feb., Congress instructed the Board of War to authorize the Virginia governor and council to distribute the Convention prisoners within the state as they thought proper (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 13:216–17). For British Maj. Gen. William Phillips’s objection to Convention Army officers’ being separated from their soldiers for more than a short time, see his letter to GW of 29 January.

5Bland lived on a plantation in Prince George County, Virginia.

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