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Governors' Letters Received, 1776–1784

A collection of letters and other documents received in the Governor's Office during the early years of the American republic

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Governors' Letters Received, 1776-1784


This is a collection of letters and other documents received in the Governor’s Office from 1776 to 1784. The 5,465 records provide a detailed picture of Virginia government during and immediately after the Revolutionary War. There are reports of military actions, Native American affairs, and economic conditions. Many of the records involve the struggle to raise and provision the army and state militia. The collection contains some correspondence sent to other Virginia government departments, such as the Treasurer and the War Office. Some letters have a draft reply.

The records cover the administrations of:

  • Patrick Henry, July 6, 1776–June 1, 1779
  • Thomas Jefferson, June 2, 1779–June 3, 1781
  • William Fleming (acting), June 4–12, 1781
  • Thomas Nelson, June 12–November 22, 1781
  • David Jameson (acting), November 22–30, 1781
  • Benjamin Harrison, December 1, 1781–November 30, 1784

Note: The Jefferson letters have been redigitized as part of the Jefferson Executive Papers Digital Collection.

Governors' Letters Received are part of the Records of the Revolutionary Government (Record Group 2); and the Records of the Office of the Governor (Record Group 3). The online collection also includes documents received by the governor and forwarded to the General Assembly that are part of the records of the Legislative Branch and General Assembly (Record Group 78).

Search Tips

  • Letters can be searched by personal name, date, subject, or geographical location. 
  • Given names have been expanded or supplied [in brackets] when lacking, except when the recipient is noted as “governor.”
  • Enclosures, if included, are described in detail; if missing, a note is made.
  • Images may be difficult to read because of the condition of the microfilm or the condition of the documents themselves. In some cases, duplicate images of the same page are included because the item was originally filmed more than once in an effort to obtain the best image.
  • Using quotes around phrases may return fewer, more relevant results.
  • Boolean operators OR, NOT and AND written in ALL CAPS may be used. By default, all search terms will be combined with the AND operator. To exclude terms, use the NOT operator before a term.
  • Wildcards can be used to find variant spellings. The question mark (?) will match any one character. For instance, "Ols?n" will match "Olsen" or "Olson". The asterisk (*) will match any number of characters (including zero characters). "Ch*ter" would match "Charter", "Character", and "Chapter", and "Temp*" would match "Temptation", "Temple", and "Temporary". Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search or within phrase searches (quotation marks).

Related Resources

  • Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts… Preserved in the Capitol at Richmond. 11 vols. Richmond: 1875–1893.
    Volumes 1–3 contain abstracts of many of the documents in this series. Volumes 2–11 available online (Hathitrust) and volume 1 available online (Internet Archive).

Revised April 2024