Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from George Lee Turberville, 15 February 1781

From George Lee Turberville

Sandy Point Feby. 15th. 1781

May it please your Excellency

A Dragoon now waits an answer to my letter of the 13th. inst.

A Flag is here at present detain’d by me till Baron Steuben’s order can return. Lieut. Hare who is the Officer is very anxious to see your determination in regard to the restitution of property. ’Tis for that purpose he is come up.

I have the honor to be your Excellency’s Obedient Sert.,

Geo Lee Turberville Major

RC (Vi); addressed: “Public. his excellency Thomas Jefferson esquire, governour of Virginia Richmond. by express”; endorsed.

This is the first document in a long series relating to a British flag vessel, commanded by Lieut. Hare which touched off a violent controversy among the military and civil authorities in Virginia. Because of the complicated questions at issue, to say nothing of the animosities engendered during the critical weeks of February and March, the editors have decided to present the entire matter in as completely documented a form as possible. This will be done in the following manner. All letters to or from TJ about the subject will be printed in their proper chronological order in Volumes 4 and 5. All other letters exchanged among Arnold, Mrs. Byrd, Hare, Turberville, Steuben, Nicholas, Nelson, Innes, Walker, and others will be presented as Appendix I, Vol. 5: “The Affair of Westover”-the designation by which TJ referred to the episode in one of his letters. The key document to the entire affair is missing, though the editorial note in the Appendix to Vol. 5 offers some deductions concerning its contents. My letter of the 13th: No doubt Turberville’s letter to TJ, 12 Feb. q.v. Your determination in regard to the restitution of property: see note to Steuben to TJ 21 Feb. (first letter of that date).

Index Entries