JEFFERSON, Thomas, President. Autograph letter signed ("Th:Jefferson") as Governor of Virginia, to an unidentified correspondent [Col. James Wood], Richmond, 25 July 1780. 1 page, small folio, 302 x 186 mm (11.7/8 x 76 in.), partial separation along central horizontal fold (affecting one letter of text), paper matburned from old frame, but the ink dark and clear.
THE "FRIENDLY INTERCOURSE" BETWEEN STATE AND THE CONTINENTAL GOVERNMENT, DURING A MILITARY CRISIS
An letter alluding to the complex arrangements between the state of Virginia and the Continental government necessary for the conduct of the war with England. Virginia's Governor writes during a dark period for the American patriots, who were experiencing shortages of cash, supplies and munitions, especially in the southern department, where the war was going very badly. Following their capture of Savannah, the British had forced the surrender of Charleston and its entire defending army, and were well situated to strike into the interior and northwards into North Carolina and Virginia. The problem of supplying and arming both the state militias and the Continental troops being assembled to oppose Cornwallis was one of Jefferson's most pressing concerns. Col. Wood was responsible for guarding the so-called Convention Army, British and Hessian troops captured at the surrender of General Burgoyne at Saratoga in 1777, and presently held at Charlottesville. "The multiplicity of business which happened to be on us when your express came has occasioned his being delayed two days. I enclose you letters to the commissioners of the crcumjacent counties extending their powers to live cattle. It has always been necessary for the State & Continent [the United States] to lend interchangeably such articles as the one has & the other wants & to repay them in kind; & has been so practised. It has had the approbation of those in power on both side[s]. You may readily conceive that in this friendly intercourse it must have happened much more frequently that the state could lend to the Continent than the reverse. If you think proper to order as much leather to Col. [Joseph] Crockett as will make his pouches and hoppouses[?], his order on our Quartermaster here for special prepayment shall be complied with. Mr. Mooney or any other officer in ill health should have permission to go to the Springs..." Col. Crockett, referred to here, had raised a detachment of frontier troops, ordered in June to hold posts in the western regions of the state. Partially published in Papers, ed. J.P. Boyd, 3:506 (ms. not located).
Provenance: Henry Goldsmith collection (sale, American Art Assoiciation, 20 November 1927, lot 7).