Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Lewis, 5 February 1781

From William Lewis

Osbornes, 5 Feb. 1781. Agreeable to TJ’s instructions Lewis has “made Every Captain Acquainted what they have to do.” There are now two vessels here that could take in military stores, and if required at Richmond they will be ordered up. Since contrary winds may keep Lewis and his force from getting to Hood’s as soon as expected, provisions will be needed.

RC (Vi); 2 p.; addressed and endorsed; printed in CVSP description begins Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond description ends , i, 490.

William Lewis was captain of an armed merchant vessel, the Renown, at this time lying in James River. Among the papers concerning the Renown in Vi (see note on TJ to William Lewis, 4 Mch. 1781), there is a copy of a letter from Steuben to “the Commodore, or Commanding officer of the Armed Merchant Vessells laying at or above Osbornes,” 8 Jan. 1781, stating that it might be possible for the said vessels to take several enemy ships “lying in Appamatock” and requesting the officers to hold themselves in readiness for further orders. TJ’s instructions, referred to in the present letter but not found, may well have been subsequent orders relating to the same project.

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