Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Alexander Dick, 10 April 1781

From Alexander Dick

Camp Everad’s Mill April 10th. 1781


I received a Letter some weeks ago from Col. Muter informing me the three state Regiments were to be reduced into one, and the oldest Officers to take command. If this arraingment takes place I am entitled to a Command in the said Regiment. I last winter got an order from the Baron for seven Month’s pay, which your Excellency informed me I was to Draw from the Continental Pay Master, before I saw him the Enemy came to Richmond and I lost the Order. I apply’d to the Baron for another. He inform’d me he could not grant an order as he had received orders to the contrary but would give me an order for some money to carry me to Camp. I refused receiving such an order, and I hope your Excellency will Allow Major Long to receive my Pay due me from the 1st. of August last. I am obliged to be the expence of double my Pay should I be allow’d the full depreciation. I am Sir Your Excelys. Most Obt. & Very Hum St.

Alexr. Dick.

RC (Vi); addressed in part: “Honoured by Majr. Long”; endorsed.

Steuben’s refusal very likely was caused by his anger with Dick over the latter’s behavior in front of the enemy during Arnold’s raid. In a draft letter Steuben explained that he had ordered Dick to stay in front of the enemy, harass them along the road, and retire into Richmond in a delaying operation. Steuben charged that these orders had been disobeyed and requested an investigation (the draft, dated 29 Jan. 1781, is unaddressed, but may have been sent to Muhlenberg; it is in NHi). In a long and rather obsequious letter Dick attempted to justify his conduct on the road to Richmond on 4–5 Jan. by saying that he had met up with Col. Nicholas and some other gentlemen about six miles from town and that, on the basis of information furnished by them, he had concluded that he could not post himself at Four Mile Creek before the enemy arrived there; with this letter he enclosed copies of letters that Muhlenberg and Weedon had written to Greene in Dick’s favor (Dick to Steuben 26 Jan. and also 23 Feb. 1781, NHi). There is no evidence that Steuben replied to this communication. See advice of Council concerning consolidation of the state regiments, 6 Feb. 1781.

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