<br /> Lee Letter: b164

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Samuel Adams

Mr dear Friend.

I am this moment returned from an expedition with our militia to prevent the further ravage of a sett of Tory miscreants from New York who have clubbed their force for the purpose of plunder and revenge – Most excellent agents of George the third! They landed 60 men where there was no force collected to oppose them, and burnt the Warehouses on Wicomico river with between two and three hundred hogsheads of Tobacco, and three private houses, carrying off a Gentleman from one of them with several Slaves from the neighborhood. Finding the Militia were assembling they embarked and disappeared declaring their purpose was to burn every Warehouse on Potomac river. This discovery of their intention will I expect defeat their design. Our accounts, which are pretty good, make the number of their vessels ten, eight of them small, and the others of 30 guns each. These wretches have it in their power to create us great expence and much trouble, pierced as we are in every part with waters deep and broad, without marine force sufficient to oppose even this contemptible collection of Pirates. We are compelled to such frequent calls upon the Militia as to injure greatly the agriculture of the country without effectually answering the purpose of defence, because these freebooters fly quickly with their canvas wings from one undefended place to another, burn what they find and retire before a force can be collected to chastise them. Two frigates joined with our small Vesels of war could destroy this whole collection of Banditti, and relieve us from much charge and inconvenience. If the Marine committee could order such a force into Chesapeake Bay it would greatly serve us, and punish a most abominable and unprincipled sett of Buccaneers. By their having taken off three of our best Bay and river pilots it appears that they design to stay some time and to endeavor the execution of their Warehouse burning plan. I had hoped to have heard from you by the last post, but the necessity of leading the Militia out on the late alarm has prevented me, ’till now, from sending to the Post Office. We have not a confirmation of the good news from Charles Town yet, but the account of Gen. Lincolns victory comes so many ways that it gains universal credit here. My best respects attend my honorable Whig acquaintances in Congress. I am my dear Sir

most affectionately yours.

Richard Henry Lee


Samuel Adams PapersLenox Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 2, 1779 – 1794, pp. 73 – 74.