From James Wood
Richmond [Va.] 5th June 1784.
At the Arrangement of the Virginia Line made at Cumberland Old Court House 1 in the year 1782, a Number of Officers of Different ranks were Declared Superseded, which Bars such Officers from Obtaining Certain Portions of Lands under the Act of Assembly of this State,2 Provided the Proceedings of the Board of Arrangement were Approved by the Commander in Chief. Applications are Daily Making by those Officers for Bounties in Lands, their right to which, Cannot be Determined by the Assembly till they are informed whether the Proceedings Were Approved by you. May I beg the favor of you, Sir, to give me the Necessary information by Post.3 I Intended myself the Honor of meeting you in Philadelphia, but was prevented by the Advice of a Number of Officers, who were Anxious that I shou’d Attend the Assembly, and who Assured me there wou’d be a full representation from this State.4 I am happy to inform your Excellency that the Alterations Made in the Articles of the Institution of the Society, meet with a very General Approbation here. My Best respects wait On your Amiable Lady. I have the Honor to be with every Sentiment of the most Perfect respect and Esteem. Sir Yr Excellency’s Very Obt Servt
James Wood, delegate from Frederick County to the Virginia house of delegates, was from 1776 to 1783 colonel of the 12th (later 8th) Virginia Regiment. He became governor of Virginia in 1796 and served until 1799.
1. After the eastern half of Cumberland County became a part of the new Powhatan County in 1777, the county courthouse was moved south from its old location near the James River to its present more central location. Cumberland County is east of the city of Richmond in Virginia.
2. The council of the state of Virginia on 18 Jan. 1782 decided that the remnants of that part of the Virginia State Line composed of the 1st Virginia Regiment should be combined with “Major [John] Nelsons Corps of Cavalry, Captain [John] Rogers’s Company of dismounted Dragoons and part of a Company of Artillery under command of Captain [Christopher] Roan . . . and made a Legionary Corps, under the Command of Colo. [Charles] Dabney . . . consisting of three Companies of Infantry, two troops of Cavalry, and one Company of Artillery” (Journal of Virginia Council, description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds. Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia. 5 vols. Richmond, 1931–82. description ends 3:29–31). The governor was to direct Colonel Dabney to “call a meeting of the officers ... to determine among themselves . . . who of them should retire, and who continue.” Should they be unable to agree, “they shall then take place according to their seniority” (ibid.). An act of the Virginia legislature of October 1779 set the amount of land to be received from the state at the end of the war by “the officers who shall have served in the Virginia line on continental establishment, or in the army or navy upon state establishment to the end of the present war” (10 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 159–62). In May 1782 the Virginia general assembly decreed “that any officer or soldier who hath not been cashiered or superseded, and who hath served the term of three years successively, shall have an absolute and unconditional title to his respective apportionment of the land appropriated” (11 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 81–85).
3. GW responded to this letter on 12 June.
4. Wood was one of the Virginia officers chosen to attend the meeting of the Society of the Cincinnati in Philadelphia in May.