Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Francis Taylor, 1 June 1781

From Francis Taylor

Winchester June 1st. 1781.


I wrote you the Sixteenth and Twenty sixth of May, and mentioned in both letters, that a board of Officers had sat and were of opinion that most of the soldiers of the Regiment of Guards were entitled to discharges. There are only one Corporal and four privates left, a Fifer having received his discharge on the opinion of a Court martial since, and a soldier for being in an ill state of health.

In each of those letters were inclosed a Return of the Regiment, and I hoped to have been favoured with an answer by this time and orders to discharge the Officers and Soldiers left; who can be of but little service, as they are so few, and I did not think myself authorised to discharge them without your orders. The Officers are very desirous to go home, having no expectation to be continued in service. I beg that a messenger may be sent to inform me what to do. I am Sir, with great respect Your most obedt. humble servant,

Fra Taylor

RC (Vi); addressed in part: “Favoured by <Colo Holmes> Mr. Ritter.”

In a letter to Davies of this date, Taylor reported that he had allowed the county lieutenant of Frederick to have 140 arms of the discharged men “to put into the hands of Militia, who are gone against the Tories in Hampshire,” and added: “I have wrote twice … to the Governor and expected his order to discharge the Officers and remaining soldiers, who are of little service in proportion to their expence to the publick. I imagine my letters have but lately been received, and hope soon to hear from him” (Vi). The “Militia … gone against the Tories in Hampshire” were authorized by TJ’s letter to Garret Van Meter of 27 Apr. 1781. On June 16 Van Meter reported that “In consequence of a letter I received sometime ago, from his Excellency Governor Jefferson, relative to a late Insurrection in this County, I ordered out a Company of my militia as Mounted Infantry, together with Three Companies of Foot, as the Rioters had embodied themselves, and the numbers very considerably increased”; but on approach of the militia the rioters dispersed, some were apprehended, and Van Meter applied for a special commission of oyer and terminer for their trial, which was granted by the Council on 22 June 1781 (CVSP, ii description begins William P. Palmer and others, eds., Calendar of Virginia State Papers … Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond, Richmond, 1875–93, 11 vols. description ends , 163; see also note to Van Meter to TJ, 20 Apr. 1781).

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