From David Jameson
RC (LC: Rives Collection of Madison Papers). Docketed by JM, “Jameson D., Sepr. 29. 1781.”
Richmond Sep. 29. 1781
I have recd. your favour of the 18th.1 Ere this I expected to have had it in my power to give you some interesting information respecting Cornwallis All the regulars are I believe now landed amounting to about 12,500[.] Of Militia I believe there is a greater number collected, than Gen Washington will think it necessary to keep in the Field. The 27th. the Army moved down and I imagine it will not be long before they get into action.2 It is said Ld. Cornwallis is determined to hold out to the last in hope of aid. I think he will be disapointed in that hope while we have so formidable a Fleet in the Bay.3 in my last4 I informed you deBarras had joined the Count de-Grasse. I am sorry to inform you we find it very difficult to procure provisions for such numbers. we have no money, & of course must obtain supplies by that odious method—impress. this is made still more disagreable to the people as the Agents for the French have made contracts in several parts of the Country to pay ready Specie for all they receive.5 You will observe by the last acts of Assembly the Executive are to fix the rates of the enumerated articles taken for the use of the Army in Specie, and the allowance for depreciation. that allowance is now as high as 600 for one, and that is below what is really given in exchange for Specie.6 If I have received any letter from you desiring Mazzies Cypher it has escaped me The Cypher was destroyed with the Counci[l’s pa]pers in January7—perhaps Mr. Jefferson r[emem]bers it. Our friend Mr Page has for some [time] past been a Colonel of the Militia of his Cou[nty] and has been on duty with them. at presen[t] I believe he is on Rappa. and I expect he wi[ll] be here next Week as a Member of the Assem[bly.]8
The delegates letter to the Governor is sen[t] to him at Wmsburg. I suppose he will answ[er] it from thence9 Mr Ross tells me he expects his agent in Phila. is by this time furnished with a quantity of Hemp, and that he will immediately supply you with money10 I am
dr Sir Yr mo. Ob Ser
2. Some 8,845 American troops, including approximately 3,000 militia, were under Washington’s command. The French troops numbered 7,800. The main advance from Williamsburg toward Yorktown began on 28 September (Christopher Ward, War of the Revolution, II, 886–87; Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , XXIII, 158). On 18 October the British army under Cornwallis, according to the Earl’s own account, comprised 5,014 men within the Yorktown defenses and 936 across the river at Gloucester Point, excluding only himself and one other general officer (Benjamin F. Stevens, ed., Campaign in Virginia, II, 197–98). Nine days later the American deputy commissary of prisoners reported a total of 7,155 captives, excluding the two general officers and eighty “Followers of the Army” (Henry P. Johnston, Yorktown Campaign, pp. 164–65).
5. See JM to Pendleton, 18 September 1781, and n. 8. More than provisions were needed. Washington informed the Virginia Board of War on 16 September, “upon viewing the troops of the Virginia Line this morning I find they are almost totally destitute of Cloathing” (Fitzpatrick, Writings of Washington description begins John C. Fitzpatrick, ed., The Writings of George Washington, from the Original Sources, 1745–1799 (39 vols.; Washington, 1931–44). description ends , XXIII, 121).
6. “An act to empower the governor and council to fix the value of provisions impressed for the use of the army” had been passed on 23 June 1781 (Hening, Statutes description begins William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619 (13 vols.; Richmond and Philadelphia, 1819–23). description ends , X, 437; Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, March 1781 Session in Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, XVII, No. 1 (January 1928). description ends , May 1781, p. 32). The extraordinary efforts of Governor Nelson and Lieutenant Governor Jameson during the latter half of September to impress grain, flour, salt, meat, liquors, horses, and wagons can be followed in McIlwaine, Official Letters description begins H. R. McIlwaine, ed., Official Letters of the Governors of the State of Virginia (3 vols.; Richmond, 1926–29). description ends , III, 41–75. See also Journals of the Council of State description begins H. R. McIlwaine et al., eds., Journals of the Council of the State of Virginia (Richmond, 1931——). description ends , II, 382–91; and Pendleton to JM, 3 December 1781, n. 3.
7. Philip Mazzei. See Papers of Madison description begins William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison (2 vols. to date; Chicago, 1962——). description ends , II, 216, n. 10.
8. “Rappa.” means Rappahannock River. John Page commanded the Gloucester County militia during the Yorktown campaign. He represented that county in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1781, in most of the sessions thereafter until 1788, and between 1797 and 1801 (Swem and Williams, Register description begins Earl G. Swem and John W. Williams, eds., A Register of the General Assembly of Virginia, 1776–1918, and of the Constitutional Conventions (Richmond, 1918). description ends , p. 414). In the interim he served in the first four federal Congresses and from 1802 to 1805 was governor of Virginia. Although the General Assembly was scheduled to convene on 1 October, it recessed from 3 October to 5 November, and the House of Delegates lacked a quorum until 19 November 1781. The journal first mentions John Page’s presence on that date (Journal of the House of Delegates description begins Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia, March 1781 Session in Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, XVII, No. 1 (January 1928). description ends , October 1781, pp. 3, 4, 7).