Innes’s miniature is very interesting.
It was painted by Charles Willson Peale eitherwhen he visited Williamsburg in the fall of 1774 or when Innes was Lieutenant Colonel of the 15
Virginia during the Philadelphia campaign. The sitter wears ablue coat faced in buff or pale buff with gilt buttons along with a ruffled shirt andblack neck stock. Also worth noting are his sword belt with gilt mountings. The twogold epaulettes, which appear to have no fringe, certainly denote the commissionedrank of lieutenant colonel, but his uniform of blue and buff does not seem tocorrelate with known evidence for 15
Virginia uniforms; blue faced white orbrown faced buff coats. The uniform he wears may date from his days as an officerin the Williamsburg Volunteers. Of the last-named organization, a traveler throughVirginia commented,"As to politicks I think most of the people are mad, in South and North Carolina,Virginia, Maryland, they muster and are every where learning the exercise as if theywere going to be attacked. In South Carolina they have several companies inuniforms, very gay, being scarlet faced with black velvet [that is the St. HelensVolunteer Co. and perhaps another, as well], their artillery company is blue facedwith scarlet, gold button holes [which I can also verify from other sources]. Theywere raising two companys of light horse when I came away. At Williamsburg theiruniform is blue faced with buff."
James Innes was born the youngest of three boys to Reverend Robert Innes (1720-1765) and Catherine (Richards) Innes in King and Queen County, Virginia (nearmodern day Newtown, VA) in the year 1754. His father was Rector of the DrysdaleParish which had church and glebe lands in both Caroline and King and QueenCounties. While there were glebe lands in both counties, only the King and QueenCounty had a parish glebe house and was home to the Innes family prior to Rev.
Innes’ passing in 1765. Following her husband’s death Mrs. Inne
s resided in a homeprovided for her in Beverley Park, the plantation of Virginia historian Robert Beverley.Along with his older brothers Robert and Harry, James attended the prestigious
Donald Robertson’s School in King and Queen County from 1759
-1765. In 1770 at the age of 16, he enrolled at the grammar school at the College of William and Mary
where Edmund Pendleton, the executor of his father’s estate paid the boarding bill
until November of 1770, when James was nominated for a scholarship by histeachers. In the spring of 1771, Innes was awarded one of two Nottoway FoundationScholarships. In 1772, he was appointed assistant usher of the grammar school at the College, drawing a salary of 40 pounds per year. During his time as a student at William and Mary, Innes is reported to have authored a series of pseudonymousarticles for the
denouncing England and its ill-treatment of herAmerican colonies. Enraged by these essays, the Royal Governor, John Murray, 4
Earl of Dunmore, demanded
Innes’ removal as usher at the
grammar school. The report also claimed that the articles attacked Captain Foy,Henry Collins, Corbin, William Byrd, and John Wormley. During his College career,