George Nicolson to Virginia Delegates
RC (NA: PCC, No. 78, XVII, 139). Addressed to “The Honble the Delagates in Congress for the State of Virginia.” Docketed by Charles Thomson, “Letter from Geo Nicolson Read May 26. 1781 Referred to the board of War.”
[ca. 25 May 1781]
Articles in the Public Magazine, wanted for the State of Virginia
- 1000 tin Cartouch Boxes
- 50 pr. Pistols out of repair
- 6 Sheets of Copper.
- 100 Gun Locks.
Above is a List of such necessarys now in the Continental Store which are much wanted in our State for the equipment of the Troops, and am informed by the Honbl the Board of War, may be had for that purpose by application being made by you to Congress.
I therefore beg leave to request you will get a resolution for the Board of War to grant an order for the delivery of the above Articles to me,1 and I will forward them on to Virginia without loss of time. I have the honour to be
Gentl. Your mo: ob. Servt.
Geo: Nicolson Asst. Agent. for the State of Virginia
1. This letter and its list of needed supplies are obviously closely associated with David Ross’s letter to the Virginia Delegates of 18 May 1781, with the “Estimate of Arms &c. wanted immediately for the State of Virginia,” mentioned in its note 4, and with Nicolson’s letter to them of about 28 May 1781 (q.v.). Because Ross was in Richmond and Nicolson in Philadelphia, Nicolson’s request reached the delegates before Ross’s. When they submitted Nicolson’s to Congress on 26 May, that body referred it to the Board of War (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XX, 543). Three days later, upon receiving Ross’s letter to the delegates, Congress transmitted “so much thereof as relates to arms” to the Board of War “to take order” (JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789 (34 vols.; Washington, 1904–37). description ends , XX, 571). Comparing the two lists and recognizing that Nicolson was merely Ross’s agent, the Board then substituted Ross’s request for Nicolson’s. But before having Ross’s list in hand, the Board had already authorized Nicolson, as he had requested, to receive fifty pairs of pistols, six sheets of copper, and one hundred gunlocks from the continental magazine. When Ross’s list came before the Board, its secretary noted at the end of the list that Nicolson had been given an order for those three items to the amount specified by him. Nicolson evidently had also sought “1000 tin Cartouch Boxes,” but, since Ross failed to mention them, the Board apparently concluded that they were not needed by Virginia. In reaching this decision, the Board was probably also influenced by Washington’s letter of 8 May to the Board, saying that he had arranged for a thousand cartouche boxes to be sent southward (Virginia Delegates to Jefferson, 8 May 1781, n. 3). For Ross’s list and the action of the Board of War, Board of Treasury, and Congress in relation to his request, see Ross to Virginia Delegates, 18 May 1781, n. 4. This action, of course, also disposed of the present request from Nicolson to the delegates.