Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Carter Braxton, 16 May 1781

From Carter Braxton

May 16. 1781

Dr Sir

I am this moment informed that our County Lieutenant has orders to post fifty Men at Wt. [West] point by way of Guard, this it is suggested is done on the remonstrance of Mr. Wm. Frazer, who is alarmed for his Situation twelve Miles above and therefore would place us on the disagreable footing of having our places of abode within a Garrison and liable to the depredations of the soldiery. If there was any real occasion for this it would be to my Interests to promote it, but as the Enemy lie below York which is 30 Miles from Wt. point, and two guards below, one on New Kent side the other on Gloster, from whom timely notice would be given to summon the Militia, I concieve the Stationing such a party at Wt. point at present altogether useless and taking the People from Home unnecessarily. It will subject the few People in the little Village to much disquiet and Insult and oblige my Family to remove in quest of a House which at this time is not to be had. In the Names therefore of all the Inhabitants I am to request your Excellency and the Council will be pleased to postpone the execution of the order untill there appears more necessity, of which you may rely I will furnish such Notice as will enable you to order whatever Succour the place and County may require.

Not a tender has appeared in York River, the fort at York is repairing and will keep the Enemys small Vessells below. There are about ten of us in Wt. point well armed who have upon one or two Alarms turned out and will do it on any Emergency which we will prefer greatly to having fifty Men posted there who must destroy all we have about us. I beg your pardon for this trouble and will only farther ask the favor of what News you have and then subscribe myself your excellencys hum Sevt.,

Carter Braxton

RC (PHi); addressed and endorsed.

West point, in King William co., was at the head of the York river and was the point of land formed by the confluence of the Pamunkey and the Mattaponi; it was named for the West family and was an important customs office, inspection point, and warehouse deposit. The order to post fifty men at West Point was not contained in the Council’s directions of 7 May calling out 109 men from King William and was not indicated on the file copies of letters to the county lieutenant of King William of 7 and 8 May 1781 (Va. Council Jour., ii, 343).

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