Monticello Aug. 31. 07.
Mr. Madison will have written to you on the subject of a demand of 1000. D. furnished to Lieutt. Pike to be repaid to Foronda, which of course must come out of the military fund.
I inclose you an application from mr Graham for a commission in the army for a mr Lithgow, relation of mr Henderson who sollicits it, & who I think has a just claim for the gratification.
I inclose you also a letter from Capt Brent to mr Coles on the subject of the date of their commissions. they presented to me a list of names engaged, & of the officers they had chosen. I do not remember the words of my answer; but the idea meant to be expressed was only that the officers should be commissioned. I had no idea of fixing a date for them before they should have raised what could be accepted as a troop. they seem to have understood the date of my acceptance as the proper date of their commissions. I told mr Coles I would consult you; & that my own idea was to enquire what was the smallest number ever admitted as a troop or company, and let their commissions have the date of the day on which they had engaged that number. this may be the subject of conversation when we meet.
I send you a paper on the defence of the mouth of the Chesapeak. we never expect from the writer a detailed, well-digested & practicable plan; but good ideas & susceptible of improvement sometimes escape from him. the 1st. question is Whether works on the shore of Lynhaven may not be constructed for dislodging an enemy from that bay by throwing bombs? and whether they can lie there in safety out of the reach of bombs? there is no other place where they can lie in safety so near the capes as not to be in danger of being interupted by gunboats, and attacked with the advantage of weather. 2. may not artificial harbors be made on the Middle grounds and Horseshoe for the reception of Gunboats, with Cavaliers for the discharge of bombs? and will not these two points & Lynhaven thus command all the mouth of the bay? to answer these questions will require an accurate survey of the whole field, which, if we have not, we should direct to be made. it is an important fact that the Middle grounds have been seen bare; and that both these & the horseshoe are always shoal. cannot Cassoons filled with stone, & of the shape of truncated wedges be sunk there, in close order, so as to inclose a harbor for gunboats, of such a height as that the sea shall not go over it in the highest tides, and of base proportioned to the height & sufficient to resist the force of the water? the nearest stone is up James river above the Hundred, & up York river above West point; from whence however it can be brought in ships of size. at N. York they calculate on depositing their stone for from 4. to 5. cents the cubic foot. if it costs the double here, the amount would not be disproportioned to the object, if we consider what a vast extent of coast on the Chesapeake & it’s waters will otherwise be depredated, or secured by works & troops in detail. I throw out these thoughts now that they may be under your consideration while making up the general statement of defensive works for the Sea-coast. present my respects to mrs Dearborne and accept my affectionate salutations.
PHi: Daniel Parker Papers.