Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Richard Claiborne, 21 March 1781

From Richard Claiborne

Richmond, 21 Mch. 1781. Acknowledges TJ’s “favor of this day respecting the bad conduct of the Express rider at Burk’s bridge”; has dismissed him and will treat other offenders similarly; has given directions to the line of expresses “towards General Greene.”

RC (Vi); 2 p.; addressed and endorsed.

TJ’s Favor of this day has not been located. Claiborne’s handling of the line of expresses extending to Greene’s army was one of the causes of Steuben’s break with him in mid—April. On 16 Apr. Claiborne wrote Steuben that he had heard “Captain Holmes … agreeably to your orders … has established a chain of express riders from Petersburg towards the Southern army” and inquired whether he should “dissolve the line to Coles ferry.” Steuben wrote the same day that he had been informed the line of expresses from Petersburg to Greene’s army had been broken up by Claiborne’s orders, and added: “The Governor and myself receiving our dispatches so out of season was the reason of my enquiring into the matter. I ordered them to be continued and must insist on the matter, leaving to you the regulating the rout, and number of expresses.” To this Claiborne replied early the next day: “The reasons why I directed the line of expresses from Petersburg to Hillsborough to be discontinued was, that there was a chain extended from this place [Richmond] to Coles ferry. However I wrote Mr. Elliott to forward any particular dispatches that might arrive. Your orders Sir in this matter shall be implicitly observed. Captain Holmes writes to me that agreeably to your orders he has stationed one at Sturdivants about twenty miles from Petersburg—one at Lambs in Brunswick, one at Mitchels in Mecklenburg, one at Taylors ferry on Roanoke, and one at Harrisburg in North Carolina” (all in NHi).

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