Thomas Jefferson Papers

James W. Wallace to Thomas Jefferson, 7 September 1814

From James W. Wallace

Dumfries 7th Sept 14

Dear sir

The day before yesterday the Enemies ships after loading with flour Tobacco & merchandize, with the ships surrenderd to them at alexa came down the Potomac—12 miles below alexandria at the white house on the Virginia side, Com Porter with the militia was stationd—the whole number marines and militia 3,000. Porters cannons were 3–18 Pounders—2–12 Pounders, four sixs & 4 four pounders—two frigates anchored 150 yds from the fort, and in 40 minutes drove off the marines &c having dismantled the greater part of the Cannons—the Enemy continued firing furiously for two hours, after they could not see a man, supposing they might injure them in the woods—leaving the white house com— Perry at the Indian head 4 miles below on the Maryland Shore commenced his fire, which continued longer than Porters, but was also very soon silenced—the Enemies fire kept up at the trees & hills—they are now,1 sailing down the river, not having noticd this place—the troops stationd at the mouth (75 infantry—32 cavalry) of the creek (4 miles below Dumf’s,) are coming up. the fire at the white house was not mischievous I beleive to either side—we lost 10 killed—15 Wounded I expect the troops on this side of the Potomac will march to Richmond, tis supposed their next2 attack will be there—I attentively viewed the fleet, I could only see the fore top Gallant mast of one frigate missing, & no other mark of injury, but heard their hammers—Men and things seem much confused wherever I go—the people seem to have lost confidence in all men, party spirit, rather abates, but something worse, threatens

my respects to the montechello famely & Mrs B

God bless You sir

James W. Wallace

RC (DLC); endorsed by TJ as received 12 Sept. 1814 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to John Barnes, 30 Sept. 1814, on verso; addressed: “Thomas Jefferson Monticello”; franked; postmarked Dumfries, 7 Sept., and Charlottesville, 11 Sept.

white house, Virginia, is located a few miles below Mount Vernon in Fairfax County (John K. Mahon, The War of 1812 [1972], 303). mrs b: Ann C. Bankhead, TJ’s granddaughter.

1Word interlined.

2Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Alexandria, Va.; British raid on search
  • Alexandria, Va.; port of search
  • Alexandria, Va.; surrender of search
  • Bankhead, Ann (Anne) Cary Randolph (TJ’s granddaughter; Charles Lewis Bankhead’s wife); greetings to search
  • flour; British seize search
  • Perry, Oliver Hazard; American naval commander search
  • Porter, David; naval service of search
  • Potomac River; and British troop movements search
  • tobacco; British take from Alexandria search
  • Wallace, James Westwood; letters from search
  • Wallace, James Westwood; reports on military activity search
  • War of1812; defense of Richmond search
  • War of1812; surrender of Alexandria search