William Woodford letter to John Page, 1775 November 29

Dublin Core


William Woodford letter to John Page, 1775 November 29


Agnew, John, 1727-1812
Bullitt, Thomas, 1730-1778
Dunmore, John Murray, Earl of, 1732-1809
Henry, Patrick, 1736-1799
Murdaugh, James, 1743-1798
Page, John, 1744-1808
Parker, Richard, 1751-1780
Scott, Charles, 1739-1813
Woodford, William, 1734-1780
United States--Continental Army--Virginia Regiment, 2nd
Fugitive Slaves--Virginia
United States--History--Revolution, 1775-1783--Participation, African American
Great Bridge (Chespeake, Va.)


Writing to John Page shortly before the Battle of Great Bridge, William Woodford describes the troop movements, provisioning efforts and skirmishes of the 2nd Virginia Regiment leading up to the military engagement. Woodford complains about the conduct of Colonel Thomas Bullitt, who he describes as "an old Soldier, that I have allways thought not a little, Insane." The letter also contains a brief account of an interaction between one of Woodford's scouting parties and a group of African American soldiers, one of whom was killed during the encounter.


Woodford, William, 1734-1780.


Special Collections, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation










MS 2013.3

Document Item Type Metadata


Page 1

Camp at Suffolk 29th Novr. 1775

Dear Sir

I just wrote you fully by young Mr Kemp who
went from this Express on Sunday Evening, & I am under
much uneasiness at hearing nothing from him since.
The Waggon with Necessarys from WmsBurg is not yet
arrived, nor have I heard any thing from them, we have
been busily imploy'd in repairing our Arms, which will
be compleated this Day, & runing Ball with what few
moulds & ladles we have, the quantity on hand is very
Inconsiderable in proportion to our Number of Men,
but from the Accts. I have from below I shall March in the
Morning, & when the Waggon over takes me at Great
Bridge, take time to provide myself better with that
Necessary Article. Colo. Bullitt, I inform'd you, had taken
post with Colo. Wells & 30 Volunteers between this &
Scotts Camp, with directions from me to intercept all
Tories & other Enemys, & keep the communication open
between us, the enclosed Coppy of one of his orders to Capt.
James Murdeaugh, will give you a better Idea of that Gentms.
Conduct then I am able to do, your Letter upon his comeing
down I inform'd him of, & he promised to give me his Assist-
-ance & advice upon all Occations without takeing upon
himself any Command whatever, agreeable to his promise
to you, which I told him I should allways be obliged to him
for, but as I held myself answerable for the conduct of all

Page 2

the Troops in the Southern District of Virginia, I hoped no
person would presume to give any orders of Consequence without
my knowledge, & in particular mention'd that my instructions
did not Warrent the seizing & confiscating any Persons pro-
-perty whatever, how far this unhappy Blundering Man has
observed his promise, you will be able to Judge, I am
well convinced that his being permitted to Join me was
intended to serve the Common Cause, but my most inti-
-mate acquaintance with him for a Number of Years
made me Industriously avoid having him with me, &
nothing could have happen'd to me on my March that
would have given me more uneasiness then his Company,
he is very dissagreeable to most of the Officers, & must say
I think it would be for the good of the service if he was
otherways I'mploy'd. I shall endeavour to keep him within
proper bounds, while he stays, & as I cannot help having
pitty for him as an old Soldier, that I have allways thought
not a little, Insane, I will endeavour to make the best
of him while he continues with us--Capt. Murdeaugh was
prudent enough to send me this order by his Lieut. before he
proceeded to execute it, I desired him to watch Agnee's House,
prevent any persons passing & repassing, likewise the re-
-moval of his Affects, & if he should return, to secure his
person, but do no Violence to his Affects or Family.

Colo. Wells (agreeable to my directions) went on Munday to a
Meeting of 2 Compys. of Militia which I had inteligence were to
assemble p his Ldships orders, & had the good Fortune to secure them
boath, with their orders from the Govr. & his County Lieut. Colo.

Page 3

Willowby, Coppys of which you have inclosed, the other Capts.
name is Stephen Wright, and the orders the same.

An Express from Scott informs me that he arrived yesterday
at 12 Oclock at the Bridge, had sent partys (who have
secured all the Boats) some shott were exchanged with
our Advanced party & their Centinals, one of the Latter Wounded
but escaped, they discharged some of their Wet Arms at
the Enemy, & they return'd the Fire, which Killed one of
Man of Capt. Parkers Company Dead upon the Spott,
but did no other damage, they discribe the Fort to be an
unfinished Stockade with out any Cannon yet Mounted,
& purpose to cross the River Early this Morning with
part of the Men, & attack them on both Sides at the
same time, which all the Officers say, with confidence,
must succeed with little Loss on our side.

Colo. Scott from his last Accts from Norfolk, says he is
more then a match for their Whole Force, should they
come to the Relief of the Bride before I Join him.

Lt. Sampford on a Scouting party the Day before
Started a Camp of some Blacks, who Run, he Called
to them to stop, but one of them prepairing for Battle
he shott him thro the Head with his Riffle.

I have wrote a line to Colo. Henry, but not expecting
he was return'd yet to Camp, have refer'd him for
News to you

I am Dr Sir
Your Obedt. Servt.
Wm Woodford

Original Format

Ink on paper


Woodford, William, 1734-1780., “William Woodford letter to John Page, 1775 November 29,” John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, accessed August 7, 2022, https://rocklib.omeka.net/items/show/72.