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January 19, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Randolph Jefferson

The Jefferson Brothers

Thomas Jefferson’s younger brother, Randolph Jefferson, served the American Revolution in several ways, including a brief time spent in uniform riding with Nelson’s Corps of Light Dragoons.  Robert Bolling’s pension application (#S6689) gave the following account of the brief existence of the Corps.  It reads, in part:

“Early in the spring of 1778  I enlisted as a private Soldier to the best of my recollection for a Term of twelve months, in a volunteer Corps of Calvary under the command of General Thomas Nelson as Captain, George Nicholas as first Lieutenant and Hugh Nelson as Second Lieutenant all of the State of Virginia. the said Corps of Cavalry amounting to one hundred men was embodied organized and trained at a small Town in the County of Caroline Va. called Port Royal, this corps was raised by Captain Thomas Nelson of York Town Va in pursuance of the recommendation of Congress of the 2nd March 1778, after remaining at Port Royal about 4 months we about the first of August 1778 marched to Philadelphia where we remained several days, & where on the 8th of August 1778 we were discharged after receiving the thanks of Congress, which was then and there sitting.

C. Leon Harris, who transcribed the application, added:

“Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1739-1789) was briefly a Colonel of the 2nd Virginia Regiment in 1775, signed of the Declaration of Independence, and in Aug 1777 was appointed Brigadier General and commander of state forces. He raised the Corps of Light Dragoons at his own expense and took the command at the rank of Captain. After the corps was disbanded he was active in organizing the Virginia militia. On 12 June 1781 he succeeded Thomas Jefferson as Governor. At the Siege of Yorktown it was said that he directed that his own house be used as a target to aim the cannons.”

Harris’ transcription includes a roster of the men who rode to Baltimore with Thomas Nelson. Among them are Randolph Jefferson and his friend, Green Clay.

Click here for C. Leon Harris’ complete transcription: Nelson’s Corps of Light Dragoons

Eager to learn more about Randolph Jefferson?  Consult The Jefferson Brothers.


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Jan 19 2017 10:21 am

    Thanks Larry, I appreciate your glowing review! Joanne

  2. Larry Lamb / Jan 19 2017 9:14 am

    A great book with lots of History about TJs Brother.A great read for all Jefferson lovers.


  1. Buckingham Notables: Randolph Jefferson | slate river ramblings . . . .

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