James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Edmund Pendleton, 16 April 1781

From Edmund Pendleton

Tr (LC: Force Transcripts). Endorsed, “Edmund Pendleton to James Madison.”

Caroline, April 16, 1781

Dr Sir

I have yr favr of the 3d1 & Am glad to hear the Pennsa. line are coming on & hope the Marquis’s Corps or some other will be added to the Southern Army, as I fear without it, we are not in a Condition to oppose the force designed to act in that quarter.2 Genl Green’s new Manoeuvre I consider as a hazardous one, which may produce consequences very beneficial, or he may be overpowered & caught by reinforcements to Ld Cornwallis. I have great reliance on his prudence & foresight, and suppose he is directed by probable prospects of security & advantage.3 Our Enemy below appear tolerably quiet & have not yet manifested their intentions. It is said they are on board their Vessels, some say going out, others up the Bay, & the Caroline Militia were on Saturday called to Fredericksburg to defend the Public works there & Hunters,4 it being said they were up Potomack, had burnt Alexandria, & were to destroy those works in their return, by marching there from Potowmack Creek. I have just heard that the Alarm was mistaken, & that it was only a small Plundering party, who having met with some rebuffs, were hastening down the river. They were in Sight of Alexandria, but did not attempt to land.5

I think our Elections hitherto give us hope that the Assembly will be improved—tho’ in some instances in the Northern Neck the contrary would appear to be the case.6 I am

Dr Sr Yr mo affe

Edmd Pendleton

1Not found.

4The state “manufactory of arms,” under Major Charles Dick’s management, and Colonel James Hunter’s important iron foundry were at Fredericksburg.

5Potomac Creek in Stafford County flows into the Potomac River at the point where that county adjoins King George County. Ships could anchor in the creek only six miles from Fredericksburg. For the threat to Alexandria, see Jefferson to Virginia Delegates, 13 April 1781, n. 3.

6The “Northern Neck” of Virginia is the peninsula between the Potomac and the Rappahannock rivers, particularly the narrow portion to the east of Fredericksburg (Northern Neck Historical Magazine, I [December 1951], 1–4). In expressing disapprobation “in some instances” of the elections in the Northern Neck, Pendleton certainly had in mind neighboring King George County, where Woffendall Kendall and Michael Wallace had been chosen to succeed Landon Carter and the able Joseph Jones, Pendleton’s close friend.

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