James Madison Papers

To James Madison from David Jameson, 13 September 1780

From David Jameson

RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers).

Richmond Sep 13. 1780

Dr. Sir

I have recd your two favours of the 23d & 29th. ult. since my last, and am very glad to find you were getting into better health1

We have had nothing lately from the Southward but what you will find mentd. in Dixons Paper.2 We are very anxious to hear something more from Chas. Town. should there be a French or Spanish Fleet there, something may yet be done, but the defeat of Gen. Gates will in all probability prevent the speedy retaking the place and the capture of the whole british force there. had he proceeded with caution, as he would have been joined by Men from both South & No. Carolina, The Enemy must have retreated to Chas. Town[,] And he would have found himself in a condition with a foreign aid to have compleated the Work3 I am very sorry to find Congress are disapointed in their expectation of small Arms.4 they will be wanted to the Southward, and I fear from your Accot. none can be spared from the Northern operations. We are quite drained, and should the Enemy make us a visit we shall be in very poor condition to oppose them. We have not yet recd those we expected from France.5 You may remember we were served in the same manner you have lately been—Cannon sent & small Arms left behind.

The Consul has taken Station at Cape Henry and seems to think the 2d divn. of the French Fleet will probably appear there.6

I am dr Sir Yr obt Servt.

David Jameson

Commodore Barron is gone with the Jefferson & the Boats Liberty & Patriot up to Baltimore to join some Vessels there. they expect to clear the Bay of all the piccaroons & Open a safe passage for the provision Vessels. Considerable qtys of Bacon and Corn lie ready for transportation.7

1These two letters from JM have not been found. Although he was evidently feeling well enough to write the letters, JM is not mentioned in the journal of Congress between mid-August and 6 September.

3No French or Spanish fleet was in the Charleston neighborhood at this time (JM to Jefferson, 2 June 1780, n. 3; Jameson to JM, 23 August 1780, n. 2). For Gates’s defeat at Camden, see Jameson to JM, 16 August 1780, n. 6; and JM to Pendleton, 12 September 1780, n. 4.

4The “Alliance” reached Boston from France in mid-August but, contrary to Congress’ expectation, it brought no munitions (Board of Admiralty to Nicholson, 17 April 1780; JM to Page [?], 8 May 1780, n. 7).

6The vice-consul of France for Virginia was Charles François, Chevalier d’Anmours. He had gone on his futile mission to Cape Henry on 9 September (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, 84, 624).

7Commodore James Barron, Sr. (1740–1787), of Hampton had recently been appointed to command the navy of Virginia. With the brig “Jefferson,” fourteen guns, and the swift, armed boats “Liberty” and “Patriot,” he sailed from York on 12 September to co-operate with Maryland ships in clearing Chesapeake Bay of picaroons and in convoying vessels loaded with stores for the southern army (ibid., III, 579, 590–91, 642).

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