James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Jameson, 30 August 1780

From David Jameson

RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers).

Richmond, Aug 30. 1780

Dr. Sir

I have not had the favour of a letter from you by this weeks post As Col Senf & Maj Magill went on with Gen. Gates’s letter to Congress giving accot. of our disaster in Carolina, and could give you the particulars I did not write on the occasion.1 Since they left this place we have recd. a letter from Gen. Stevens, he dates from Spinks’s about 70 miles from Hillsborough the 22d. where he then was and where he had collected some Men—how many he does not mention, or what Men—he had a few Arms. he gives nearly the same accot. of the action we had from Gen Gates. he adds that he had been informed Col Sumpter shared their fate2

We have had no other information from the Southward. We have just now been informed by a Vessel from Eusta that some British Ships went to St. Martins and demanded all the American Vessels & threatened to burn the Town unless they were deld. up. The Vessels were deld. up to the amount of six or seven it is said & among them some of considerable value3

If we do not hear soon that we are able to collect a good many of our scattered Army I fear we must call some Militia to send on in aid of the 3000 recruits & how we are to equip & March even the recruits, I am at loss to tell for we have none of the two Millions left and very little chance of receiving any Money for the tax now payable. there will be Certificates to discount the greater part if not the whole4

About 400 regulars March Saturday last from Chesterfield Courthouse. they are those of the sevl. Regiments who were left in the Hospital, those who were out on furlow, the remains of Bufords, and some of the former drafts.5 I beleive there will be 150 more sent on in a few days. How soon any of the new recruits will March is still uncertain. I am with esteem dr Sir

Yr mo hb Servt,

David Jameson

1Colonel John Christian Senf (ca. 1754–1806) of South Carolina was a Swedish-or Danish-born engineer who had emigrated to that province. He was serving at this time with General Gates. In 1781 he refused an appointment as state engineer of Virginia. After the war he was prominent in the construction of South Carolina canals (South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine, XXVIII [1927], 8; Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , IV, 11 n.; V, 13–14). Major Charles Magill (1760–1827) of Winchester, Va., was commissioned in the Virginia militia, and on 9 August 1780 he was attached to Gates’s staff (ibid., III, 563; F. B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution [Washington, D.C., 1893], p. 277).

2Jameson’s account mirrors the information contained in the 20 (not 22) August letter of General Edward Stevens (1745–1820) of the Virginia militia to Governor Jefferson (Boyd, Papers of Jefferson description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds., The Papers of Thomas Jefferson (16 vols. to date; Princeton, N.J., 1950——). description ends , III, 558–59). On 18 August 1780, three days after his victory at the Wateree Ford, S.C., General (not Colonel) Thomas Sumter (1734–1832) of that state was decisively defeated by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at Fishing Creek, S.C. (Henry B. Dawson, Battles of the United States by Sea and Land [2 vols.; New York, 1858], 612, 622–24).

3Jameson’s news was probably derived from a letter of 11 August from St. Eustatius, published in the 6 September 1780 issue of the Virginia Gazette (Richmond, Dixon and Nicolson). St. Eustatius and St. Martin are among the Leeward Islands in the West Indies. The Netherlands owned the former but divided control of the latter with France.

5The 11th Virginia Regiment, commanded by Colonel Abraham Buford (1749–1833), was cut to pieces on 29 May 1780 at the Waxhaws, S.C., by a force of British and Tories led by Lieutenant Colonel Tarleton (Christopher Ward, War of the Revolution, II, 705–6).

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