Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Minor to Thomas Jefferson, 8 September [1814]

From John Minor

Fredericksburg Sep. 8th [1814]

Accept, Dear Sir, my thanks for your kind Letter, I shall give it to my Son as the most valuable Present I can make him;

You, no doubt, have heard of the disgraceful disasters that have overwhelmed our Country, I need not, therefore, wring your Heart by the Painful repetition of the sad Tale—The Enemy have gone down the River with their—(I was about to call it their plunder)—but think it more correct to call it the Donations of Alexandria, I saw them yesterday opposite to Boyds Hole, about 20 in number; I blushed for my Country, but could not, at the same time, suppress, (perhaps) the uncharitable1 wish that they had the Town of Alexandria2 on board, Houses and all: That I might never see the monument of my country’s compleated disgrace—The wish, I fear is too general to be just—it may be that there were five just person going among them—this may be, but there were not many more—it is reported that the Mayor, Colo Simm remonstrated with Com. Rodgers on his hoisting the American Flagg in the Town, (when he took possession of it, by order of the President,) the Reply was short, that he had raised it and that he the Mayor might pulle it down—if he Dared.

The passage of the Fleet gives us some relief here for the Executive in their wisdom have called all3 the natural defence of this part of the Country to defend Richmond, leaving us with about 200 Men

May God bless you my dear Sir

J Minor

RC (MHi); partially dated; addressed: “Thos Jefferson Esquire Monticello”; stamp canceled and frank substituted; endorsed by TJ as a letter of 8 Sept. 1814 received the next day and so recorded in SJL.

boyds hole was in King George County (Joseph Martin and William H. Brockenbrough, A New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia, and the District of Columbia … [1835], 202). The citizens of alexandria, led by mayor Charles Simms, surrendered their defenseless town on 29 Aug., agreeing to give up their commercial flour, tobacco, and other merchandise if their homes and personal possessions were not molested (Heidler and Heidler, War of 1812 description begins David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, eds., Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, 1997 description ends , 538).

1Manuscript: “uncharible.”

2Manuscript: “Alexandia.”

3Word interlined.

Index Entries

  • Alexandria, Va.; surrender of search
  • flour; British seize search
  • Madison, James; and surrender of Alexandria search
  • Minor, John (1761–1816); and law studies of John Minor (1797–1862) search
  • Minor, John (1761–1816); and surrender of Alexandria search
  • Minor, John (1761–1816); letters from search
  • Minor, John (1797–1862); TJ recommends legal curriculum for search
  • Richmond, Va.; defense of search
  • Rodgers, John; American naval commander search
  • Simms, Charles; mayor of Alexandria search
  • tobacco; British take from Alexandria search
  • War of1812; and military preparations search
  • War of1812; defense of Richmond search
  • War of1812; surrender of Alexandria search