Apr 17, 2012 - Sale 2276

Sale 2276 - Lot 35

Price Realized: $ 57,600
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 30,000 - $ 40,000
DESCRIBES ARNOLD'S RAID ON RICHMOND AT LENGTH JEFFERSON, THOMAS. Autograph Letter Signed, "Th:Jefferson," as Governor of Virginia, to Brigadier General George Weedon, describing Benedict Arnold's raid on Richmond and asking Weedon to follow Baron Steuben's recommendations. 1 1/2 pages, folio, with integral address leaf; closed separation at center vertical fold, short closed tear affecting text, uniformly toned. Richmond [VA], 10 January 1781

Additional Details

Benedict Arnold's first military action as an English general began on 4 January 1781, when he landed in Virginia with a force of 1600 men and proceeded to sack Richmond. Governor Jefferson wrote this letter to his militia leader six days later, while Arnold's force was still at large in the countryside: "I inclose you a copy of a letter I have received from Baron Steuben and must rest on you the taking such measures as you may think most likely to effect his recommendation. . . . You know the situation of Hunter's works, and the militia and arms which may be collected for their defence. . . . If you think these works cannot be protected without your force, it seems to be the Baron's opinion that the works should be saved."
Jefferson then describes the recent raid on Richmond: "The enemy consisting of 1500 infantry and from 50 to 100 horse commanded by Arnold landed at Westover on the 4th . . . and arrived here at one in the afternoon of the 5th. A regiment of infantry and thirty cavalry immediately proceeded to the foundery. They burnt the roof of that but did not injure the works, burnt the magazine and boring mill. We had withdrawn every arm from there and almost the whole powder. . . . The books and papers of the Council for the years 1779, 1780, and most of the auditors papers, but not their books, are lost. This is the sum total. In truth we have escaped to a miracle. . . . The people who remained here say they were most visibly disappointed in finding we had removed almost every thing out of their reach." Published in Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 4:335-6.