Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from James Innes, 19 April 1781

From James Innes

Williamsburg, April 19th. 6. o’Clock.


Since I received the enclosed I am just informed by an officer at Burwells ferry, that there are opposite that place 9. flatt bottomed Boats fully manned. Two armed ships a Brig and a schooner—more in sight. I am preparing to take the most expedient measures my poor Judgment dictates for the honor and Service of the State. I will not fail to acquaint of every material contingency.

I am with every sentiment of Respect yr Excellency’s obt Sv:,

Jas Innes Colo Commt

RC (Vi); addressed and endorsed. Enclosure missing, though it may have been that from Thady Kelly “To Colo. Innis at Williamsburgh or els wher by Express,” Blunt Point, 19 Apr. 1781 (Vi), reporting that that morning Kelly had made out a brig and schooner and, at some distance behind them, “upwards of twenty flat bottomed boats” coming rapidly up the river. “The men will Set off from this post in less than an hower. I shal wate my self to See what movements they make”; entire text in CVSP description begins Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond description ends , ii, 54. Innes’ letter was read in Council on 20 Apr., and “the Board advise that this intelligence be immediately communicated to Baron Steuben” (Va. Council Jour. description begins Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia, ed. H. R. McIlwaine description ends , ii, 338). This letter was doubtless written at 6 P.M., not A.M., for at 2 P.M. on 19 Apr. Innes wrote to Steuben that he had written two letters on the 18th and since the last at midnight nothing new had transpired: “The wind and tide having been adverse for several hours past has I suppose prevented the flats moving up” (Innes to Steuben, 19 Apr. 1781, “two o’clock p.m.,” NHi).

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