Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 4

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Author: Thomas Jefferson

To Major General Gates.

RICHMOND, September 23, 1780.

SIR, I have empowered Colonel Carrington to have twelve boats, scows or batteaux, built at Taylor’s Ferry, and to draw on me for the cost. I recommended the constructing them so as to answer the transportation of provisions along that river, as a change of position of the two armies, may render them unnecessary at Taylor’s ferry; and I am thoroughly persuaded, that, unless we can find out some channel of transportation by water, no supplies of bread, of any consequence, can be sent you from this State for a long time to come. The want of wagons is a bar insuperable, at least, in any reasonable time. I have given orders to have Fry and Jefferson’s map, and Henry’s map of Virginia, sought for and purchased. As soon as they can be got, I will forward them. I have also written to General Washington on the subject of wintering the French fleet in the Chesapeake. Our new levies rendezvous in large numbers. As General Washington had constituted them into eight battalions, and allotted none to Colonel Harrison, we think to deliver him about four hundred drafts of another kind, who are to serve eighteen months also. Unless Congress furnish small arms, we cannot arm more than half the men who will go from this State. The prize you mention of tents and blankets is very fortunate. It is absolutely out of our power to get these articles, to any amount, in this country, nor have we clothing for our new levies. They must, therefore, go to you clothed as militia, till we can procure and send on supplies. They will be as warm in their present clothing at Hillsborough, as at Chesterfield Court House.

We have an agent, collecting all the beeves which can be got from the counties round about Portsmouth, to send off to you. They have there also plentiful crops of corn growing. We have instructed him to try whether means of conveying it down into the Sounds, and up some of the rivers of North Carolina, or by land to Meherrin river, and thence down Chowan, and up Roanoke, cannot be rendered practicable.

I am, with every sentiment of esteem and respect, your most obedient and most humble servant.

P.S. I enclose a certificate, acknowledging satisfaction for the money furnished by Colonel Kosciusko.

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Chicago: Thomas Jefferson, "To Major General Gates.," Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 4 in Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 4 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.104-106 Original Sources, accessed February 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=85I6GITC4EN6J57.

MLA: Jefferson, Thomas. "To Major General Gates." Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 4, in Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 4 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.104-106, Original Sources. 4 Feb. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=85I6GITC4EN6J57.

Harvard: Jefferson, T, 'To Major General Gates.' in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Volume 4. cited in , Thomas Jefferson, the Writings of Jefferson: Monticello Edition, Vol. 4 (Washington, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904-1905), Pp.104-106. Original Sources, retrieved 4 February 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=85I6GITC4EN6J57.