Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from Caesar Augustus Rodney, 27 March 1807

Bowling Green Friday March 27, 1807

Honored & Dear Sir,

I wrote to you from Dumfries last evening & as soon after, as I could get horses & a guide who knew the road, on my journey for Fredericksburg. I did not arrive there until about day, this morning, the roads were so intolerably bad. On my arrival, I found the information I had received to be pretty correct. Burr came there on Wednesday evening under a Mr. Perkins & six men. Just as they rode up Mr. Ford the messenger arrived in the stage. He shewed his instructions, & about One of clock the next morning (thursday) they took him in the stage, with a determination to reach Richmond that night which they did.

The stage of this day having left Fredericksburg before I got there. I immediately determined to send a special messenger on with a duplicate of the depositions to Mr. Hay. I was unacquainted with any resident of the town but Mr. Dawson who was from home. I met by accident at the tavern with Col. Tatham whom I considered as a little flighty, but who had a very faithful servant, I knew; Col. Tatham offered me his horse & servant. I told him as I was going on the road, if he would hasten to the Bowling & apply to Mr. Holmes whose politicks I knew, that he would supply horses if Joseph Mr. Tathams boy would go on, in case Mr. Holmes had no one more trusty. This Mr. Tatham immediately assented to. I wrote a short letter to Mr. Hay & Col. Tatham set off. My anxiety however was so great on the subject notwithstanding the fatigue of riding all night, to which I was entirely unaccustomed, that I soon after hired a carriage & proceeded thus far. I found to my satisfaction the servant had gone on & that Mr. Holmes had immediately furnished a horse & wrote on for him to be supplied with a fresh one on the road. He will be in Richmond to night about nine O. Clock, & tomorrow Mr. Hay will I hope procure a commitment. Burr however has had the chance of this day for a Hab. Corp: but it was impossible to have prevented that as he anticipated our calculations & left Fredericksburg so early on wenesday morning & I did not hear of it until that evening. I wrote to Mr. Hay to employ two of the ablest counsel, lest Burr should then anticipate us. I shall in consultation add a third when I get there. I presume Wirt & Wickham will be employed by Mr. Hay, unless Burr has retained Wickham immediately on his arrival.

On the subject of Burrs arrest &c. I received the following information from Mr. Farish the keeper of the Inn at Fredericksburg, to which they brought Burr. He had it from Perkins in whose charge he was. I send it to you lest no other more correct may have reached you yet, as we were without any intelligence on the subject when I left Washington.

Burr was discovered in disguise by the Sherif of —— within 15. or 20 miles of the Spanish lines. He was dressed in a pair of striped Virginia cloth trousers, a white country yarn jacket, an old drab surtout & an old white hat. The Sheriff rode on with him until he met a country man going to fort Stoddart by whom he sent for some soldiers. Burr knew not, that he was so near the fort. As soon as he saw the soldiers he was alarmed & asked where they were going. The Sheriff told him they were merely ordered to another station. The soldiers came up, presented arms at him, & told him to surrender. This he did without resistance. On his way, at some little village in South Carolina he got off from his horse & called on the people who had collected to protect him, told them he had been twice acquitted & was a persecuted man &c. They told the guard to take him on & he was compelled to mount once more. I shall rest here tonight & proceed tomorrow in my carriage which I expect on in the morning. I forgot to mention that Burr has been brought on by the party the whole way in the very dress in which he was taken. I am told he wished to see no company. I am Dear Sir

Your Very Sincerely

C. A. Rodney

DLC: Papers of Thomas Jefferson.

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