Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Innes, 18 April 1781

From James Innes

Wmsburg April 18th. 1781. 4 oClock p.m.

Dear Sir

I have this Moment received by Express from Captain Kelly, stationed a little above Newport News, an Account that eleven Vessels, chiefly Square rigged, have turned Newport News Point on their Way up the River. His Letter bears Date at 10 this Morning, so that, the Wind being fresh at South East, they could with Ease reach Burwell’s Ferry this Evening. I am making the best Disposition to receive them, and have ordered the Stores to be removed from this Place. Having very lately taken the Command, I am not well informed what there are at this Post. I enclose you a Return of the Troops in this Neck, some of which are as low down almost as Newport News. Any and Every Intelligence of Consequence shall be immediately transmitted to you.

I am, dear Sir, with great Respect Your most Obedt. & very hble Servt.,

Jas Innes

Since writing the above I am informed by the officer at Burwells Ferry that the van of the fleet is in sight.

RC (Vi); in an aide’s hand, with signature and postscript in Innes’ hand; addressed by the aide, with Innes’ notations: “On Service … Express”; several times endorsed, including once by TJ: “recd. Apr. 19. half after 6. A.M.” In Vi is another letter 18 Apr. by Kelly (see Gwathmey, Hist. Reg. of Virginians in the Revolution, under both Thaddeus and Thaddy Kelly) from Blunt Point to “Coll. Danl Fisher Greensville,” which reads as follows: “Sir, There is two vessels more in Site. The Foy [Fowey] has wai’d Anker and is standing up the River and it [is] Suposed the hole will bend their Corce that way. This happend since the Comadore wrot. I Should be glad to hear from you that I may know how to act.” The reference to the letter that “the Comadore wrot” is doubtless to that of James Barron of this date, printed above. Innes wrote a similar letter to Steuben at 4 P.M. (NHi).

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