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Letter from Colonel Woodford to Virginia Convention



Norfolk, December 15, 1775.

SIR: I wrote you last night; since then nothing material has happened; we still remain in the same situation. This morning a midshipman, with a flag of truce, arrived from the Otter. That and our answer you have enclosed. All the principal tories, with their families and effects, have retired on board the ships-of-war and other vessels in the harbour, of which there is a very large fleet. What they intend I know not, and I am much at a loss to inform your


honourable body what steps we shall take, further than to keep possession of this part of the town, and afford what protection we can to the inhabitants that claim it. We are much at a loss for your further orders, which we hoped to have received before this time, and are not without our fears that some accident must have happened to your express.

I received a letter this morning from Mr˙ Cary Mitchell. Our answer is enclosed, with his letter. I have the worst opinion of the people here; and have no doubt but every thing relating to us is laid before his Lordship. If it is your intention that a part only of the present force should remain at this place, I would submit it to your consideration whether the Second Regiment, or any part of it you may think proper to withdraw, may not, after their duty, be drawn off.

I wrote the Convention last night that I had resigned the command to Colonel Howe. As that gentleman' s military abilities and great experience will be full equal to every task, I would ask the Convention' s leave of absence to see my family, and attend to my private affairs, for so long time as may be agreeable to them. I do not mean this so long as there is a prospect of any actual service, either offensive or defensive.

You have enclosed a return of the strength of the troops at this place, and for further particulars must refer you to several members of your respectable body, who are the bearers of this.

I am, with the greatest respect, sir, your most obedient servant,