Thomas Jefferson Papers

Thomas Jefferson to William Eustis, 6 June 1812

To William Eustis

Monticello June 6. 12.

Dear Sir

Visiting occasionally a possession I have between New London and Lynchburg, & making considerable stays there, I have had opportunities of learning the situation of the military1 stores near the first of those places. they are in an old log house about a quarter or half a mile from the town (which is itself of 2. or 3. families only) the person authorised as keeper & recieving the salary a resident for 2. or 3. years past of one of the Western states, and exercising his office by some subordinate agent of the neighborhood. the exposed state of the magazine is a ground of apprehension to the timid, and of censure to the grumblers & malcontents who are not a few in that quarter. this is not a new state of the establishment. it existed when I first entered on the administration. a visit to the neighborhood then brought it first to my knolege, and at my request Genl Dearborne sent on a person to examine into it. a great part of the stores were on that occasion sent to other deposits. what now remain, have, I believe been reported to you at your request by Captn Buckner, the recruiting officer stationed at Lynchburg about 12. miles distant and on James river. this was the place I had recommended to Genl Dearborne to remove the stores to, because it communicates by navigation with Richmond and the country above the mountains, is the most growing town in this state, being next in activity & the business done to Richmond and Norfolk, abounding with mechanics: to which there is now the additional reason of2 it’s being likely to be a standing3 station for an officer and his recruits who can take care of the stores, and furnish a centinel for them. it is the most central and convenient place for a deposit of stores for this state. I have taken the liberty of bringing this matter to your notice, knowing how impossible it is for the officers of government to be always apprised of the state of every little insulated concern, engrossed as their attention is by such a masse of weightier things. in the present case an order to capt Buckner, who appears to be a very discreet and economical officer, to engage a house at Lynchburg, and remove & take charge of the stores, which he can do in a great measure with his recruits while remaining at the station, would be sufficient, unless a better course occurs to yourself, who have a so much broader view of the whole field before you. I have thought it a duty to yourself as well as the public to bring the case under your notice, praying you to be assured of my great esteem & respect.

Th: Jefferson

RC (PWacD: Sol Feinstone Collection, on deposit PPAmP); at foot of text: “The Secretary at War.” PoC (DLC); endorsed by TJ. Recorded as received 13 June 1812 at the Secretary of War’s office, with the notation: “Th: Jefferson Esquire Monticello June 6. 1812. States the Condition of the Military Stores at New London in Va & advises their removal to Lynchburg” (DNA: RG 107, RLRSW). Enclosed in TJ to James Madison, 6 June 1812.

1Word interlined in place of “public.”

2Manuscript: “if.”

3TJ here canceled “recruiting.”

Index Entries

  • Army, U.S.; arsenal at New London search
  • Buckner, Colin; and inventory of military stores search
  • Dearborn, Henry; and New London military stores search
  • Eustis, William; and New London military stores search
  • Eustis, William; letters to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; Lynchburg search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Opinions on; military stores at New London search
  • Lynchburg, Va.; TJ on search
  • New London, Va.; military arsenal at search
  • War Department, U.S.; military stores search