Thomas Jefferson Papers

From Thomas Jefferson to William Campbell, 3 July 1780

To William Campbell

Richmond July. 3d. 1780


I have received advice from Colo. Preston of a dangerous insurrection on new river. He thinks the Insurgents will attempt to destroy the works at the lead mines, and has called on the militia of Washington and Botetourt to oppose them. As this is an Object requiring more immediate attention than the one on which you were lately appointed I am to desire you will a second time take in hand these parricides, and if they have proceeded as we have heard to actual murder, to recommend that you take such effectual measures of punishment as may secure the future safety of that quarter. The Militia of Washington, Montgomery and Botetourt are already called on by Colo. Preston. You will therefore put yourself at their head and apply to this object the means and powers put into your hands for the Indian expedition. I am Sir Your very humble servt,

Th: Jefferson

RC (CtY); in a clerk’s hand, with complimentary close and signature by TJ; addressed by TJ: “Colo. William Campbell Washington”; endorsed: “From Mr. Jefferson 1780. New River insurrection.” Tr (Vi). In the present text some words are supplied from Tr for passages torn away in RC.

Insurrection on New River: On this extensive Tory uprising in the summer of 1780, see Wis. Hist. Soc., Colls., xxiv, 23–8, 195ff.; its objective was Virginia’s lead mines located on that river in Montgomery co., and its suppression required much of the skill and resources of the Virginia border captains throughout the summer. The Indian Expedition to which William Campbell had been lately assigned was a punitive attack on the Chickamaugas (i.e., the hostile Cherokees of the Chickamauga towns) in present Tennessee. The Council’s orders for this expedition are missing, but see Memoranda concerning Western Defense, printed under date of ca. 8 June 1780; see also Campbell to TJ, July 1780, and TJ to Abner Nash, 12 Aug. 1780.

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