Thomas Jefferson Papers

To Thomas Jefferson from William Tatham, 2 November 1807

Lynhaven River, 12. O.Clock Monday November 2d. 1807.

Dr Sir

I am this moment from Lynhaven Inlet, which I thought it proper to visit before I set out to the Southward; & it may be well (if any thing to say to me) to address to Newbern with duplicate to Norfolk: I shall certainly volunteer it there if circumstances require it, for no misfortune shall suffer fame to recognize an inconsistency in a life which has been perpetually oppressed, & persecuted, in my case.

Yesterday an impudent English Ship of War, mounting thirty Guns on her main deck, besides others, came in and anchored off Lynhaven Inlet, where she remains: This is said, by those who say they know her, to be the Ville de Milan, Sir Thomas Laury. I remained at Lynhaven Bay, till past Ten O.Clock, to examine off the Cape for the rest of the Squadron; but, the seaward view has been so haizy, neither myself or a Schooner which came into the Inlet were able to discover any distant object; & I had no more time to spare.

Under these circumstances I have thought it proper to transmit You my last weeks Works which I herewith inclose; and, as soon as I can, I will send You my ideas on a superior system of coast defence, particularly on a maritime Infantry, & maritime artillery, capable of alert movements, by land or by water indifferently.

I inclose papers to Mr. Gallatin, which bear a mutual reference to my map. Will you therefore be so good as to communicate the delineation to him first, because his department is immediately called on by the resolution of the Senate &c.—

Capt. Reid’s Company, at the Inlet, were this morning permitted to depart without a formal discharge, there being no orders to go or stay. I was present; his men appear to be disciplined, & orderly: Lieut. Vashon has great credit in this, & in never having absented himself a moment, though within several miles of an independent home. This brave & orderly, young man, with a few spirited volunteers, saved some poor fellows from a wreck off the Inlet, on Saterday night last, after the sailors had deserted her & she had been given up by a boat sent out to her relief—declaring that he would perish (in a most tremendous sea) before he would bear the cries of his fellow Creatures in such a situation.

I recite these facts because he is solicitous to enter the regular Army (as a Captain) if by bringing his complement of men he can be so permited. The best men are strongly attached to him, and he is in easy circumstances.

You see I write in haste—this day being Court, & Officers parade day at Kempsville. I have the honor to be Dr. Sir Yrs.

Wm Tatham

P.S. I have opened this to say that I am since informed of nine large Ships (supposed to be British) off Sand Bridge a few days ago



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