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Ik its rarions aBpeots oar struggle for ind^iendeaoe 
has from the be^mung excited the attentioD and 
received the oritioal Btady of historical scholars, 
and is a never-failing source of discnssbn and spec- 
ulation. From social, commercial, political, diplo- 
matic, and military points of view this interesting 
field has been vorked over most thoroi^hly. Yet 
the maritime activities of the war, excepting the 
more brilliant episodes, have been subjected to no 
such exhaustive inquiry, although ^le importance of 
their bearing upon military movements, foreign re- 
lations, and commercial intercourse is manifest. In 
t^e archives of our country and in those of fing^and 
and France, as well as in private ooUdotioas, news- 
papers, and elsewhere, will be found a laige amount 
of matfflial hitherto only partially utilized. In the 
inreparation of this work these original sources of 
information have been e^lored in the effort to meet 
in some measure the present need of more adequate 

For aid and advice in this search, the writer is 
greatly indebted to the officials of the Library of 
CWgress, the Navy Department, the Soston Public 
Library, the Harvard College Library, the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, the Massachusetts State 


Library — AiohireB Divisioa, the Historical Soci- 
ety of Pennaylvania, the New York PuUic Library, 
the BostoD Atheiueam, the Essex Listibite, the 
American Andqnariao Society, the Bostonian So- 
ciety and Marine Moaeum, and to many other peiv 
WQS. He is under partioukr obligations to Frofea- 
0OT Edward Channtng, of Harrard Unirerrafy; to 
Charles W. Stewart, Esq., Superintend^it of li- 
brary and Naval War Becords, Navy Department ; 
to Robert W. Neeser, Esq., Secretary of the Naval 
History Society ; to Dr. Chailes O. Paulliu, of the 
Oeoi^ Washington University^ and to Charles 
T. Harbeoh, Esq., and James Barnes, Esq., of New 

Gakdmeb W. Allbh. 
BoBTOir, M*nl^ 1913. 

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I, Tbk Opkwdio or HoexmrntB, 1775 
n. Natal AsiiiKisTaATioii and Obqakizatioh 

ni. WAfiHIMaTON'B FlBIT, 1776 AMD 1776 

IT. The New Providence Expedition, 1776 . 
V. Otheb Etemts on the Ska m 1776 
VI. Lake Chahflaim, 1776 .... 
Vn. Natal Operations in 1777 .... 
Vni. FoRBioN Belationb, 1777 .... 
IX. Natal Operations in 1778 .... 

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Map 07 THE NoBTH Atlantio Coast 1 

Map of MAsaACHnsBTTB Bay 6 

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James Hooivbd 

Fran ■ UUkOfniA, patUalnd In 1851. Bj conrtav at A. IT. Ume- 

Map of New Yoax Bay amd Vicinity 86 

Map or the Isi-ahd of New FsoviDBiraB .... 96 

Adiptid tmnamap in Flald'a £«( BejiUu, bj Und pvml^sD 
of Ttaa FreMon and Bomda Gnnpanj, Prarldanoa, B. L 

JoHK Paul Jones 118 

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Map of Lake Chaiifi.ain . . . 
Map op the West Indies . . . 
Map or the Delawake River . 

Ad^tad tn part bun Fadan'a map. 

John Hazelwood 

Fmn ap^Btlnt bj 0. W. 

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The Amerioaiu of tbe ^ghteenth centmy weie 
notaUy a maritime people and no better sulors were 
to be fotmd. Tbe Britisb colonies were close to tbe 
sea, and vere distant from each other, scattered 
along a coast line of more than a thousand miles ; 
so that, in tbe absence of good toads, intercommnn- 
ioation was almost alb^tber by water. Tbe ocean 
trade also, chiefly with England and the West 
Indies, was extensive. Fishing was one of tbe most 
important induatriee, especially of tbe northeastern 
colonies, and the handling of small vessels on tbe 
Banks of Newfoundland at all seasons of the year 
trained lai^ numbers of men in seamanship. The 
whalfr-fishery likewise furnished an unsurpassed 
school for mariners. 

A considerable proportion of the colonists, there- 
fore, were at home upon the sea, and more than 
this they were to some extent practiced in mari- 
time warfare. England, during the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries, was at war with various 

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foreign nations a great part of tiie time, and almost 
from the be^nning of the colonial period American 
inivateers and letters of marque scoured the ocean 
in search of Frent^ or Spanish prizes. Large fleets 
'were fitted oat and manned by provincials for the 
expedition under Fhips against Quebec in 1690 and 
{<a Fepperrell's successful descent upon Louisburg 
in 1745. Privateering during the French and Indian 
War of 1754 furnished a [oofitable field for Amer^ 
ioan enterprise and gave to many seamen an experi- 
ence which proved of service twenly years later. 
Even in times of peaoe tiie prevalence of piracy 
necessitated vigilance, and nearly every merchant- 
man was armed and prepared for resistance.^ 

It would seem, then, that American seamen at 
the opening of the Revolution had the truning and 
experience winch made tbem the best sort of raw 
material for an efBcient naval force. The lack of 
true naval tradition, however, and of military disci- 
pline, and the poverty of the country, imposed limit- 
atiotts which, tc^ther with the overwhelming force 
of the enemy, seriously restricted the field of enters 
prise. NeverthelesB the patriotic cause was greatiy 
uded and independence made possible by the activ- 
ities of armed men afloat. 

The navigation laws of Great Britun were nat- 
arally snpopnlar in the colonies, and their stricter 

' S«« W««daii'i Ecommuc and Social Bitlory a/New Enf^iKl, 
eltt. V, ii. Tat, zvi ; and A^axiic MordUy, SepMmber and October, 
1661,for journal of Captain NoitoD of Nawport, 1741. S«e Aj^an- 
dix I for anthoritiet. 

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eofOTCement after the peace of 1768, together with 
the impoaitioQ of new customB duties, led to almost 
nniTersal efforts to evade them. In 1764 the 
Biitiah achooner St. John was fired upon by Bhode 
Islanders, and in 1769 the aimed sloop Liberty, 
engaged in the soppression of smuggling, made her- 
self so obnoxions to the people of Newport that 
they seized and homed her. In 1772 the Bchooner 
Ghispee, on similar dutf, was stationed in Narrar 
gansett Bay and caused great annoyance by stopping 
and examining all vessels. The people were exas- 
perated at the arrogant behavior of her commander, 
who in many cases exceeded his autbori^. On the 
9tb of Jnne, as the Gaspee was chasing a vessel 
botmd from Newport to Providence, she ran aground 
about seven miles &om Providence ; she was haid 
and fast and the tide was ebbing. After nightfall 
a party of men in boats descended the river from 
Providence and attacked the schooner. After a 
short contest, in which the commanding officer of 
the Oaspee was wounded, she was captured. The 
prisoners and everything of value having been re- 
moved, she was set on fire and in a few hours blew up. 
Little effort was made to conduct this afFair secretly, 
and yet in spite of the diligent inquiry of a court of 
five commissioners, all of whom were in sympathy 
with the British ministry, no credible evidence could 
be adduced implicating any person; showing a 
practical unanimity of feeling in the colony.^ 
> B. I. Cdrnis Becordt, vi, 427-430, tu, 66-192; Butlrtfa 

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The first public service afloat, under Berolntioii- 
aiy authority, was perhaps the voyage of the sohooner 
Quero of Salem, Captain John Derby, despatched 
to England by the Massachusetts FrovincisI Con> 
gress wiUi &.e news of the Battle of Lexington. 
She sailed April 29, 1775, some days later than 
General Gage's official despatches and arrived at 
her destination nearly two weeks ahead of tbeoL^ 

Early in May, 1775, the British sloop of war 
Falcon of sixteen guns, Captain John Idnzee, 
BMzed two American sloops in Vineyard Sound; 
" on which the People fitted out two Vessels, went 
in Pursuit of them, retook and bronght them both 
into a Harbour, and sent the Prisoners to Tanntoa 

The islands in Boston Harbor had long been used 
by the colonists for paatarage and were well stocked 
with cattle and sheep which the Briti^ troops in 
the town took measures to secure for their consump- 
tion. Soon after the battle of Lexington they suc- 
ceeded in carrying ofF all the live stock on Govern- 
or's and Thompson's Islands. The Americans, May 
27, with the intention of forestalling similar raids, 
landed between two and three hundred men on Hog 
Island who attempted to bring off the cattle and 

Dettmeiiaa of the Qa^ite ; Staplet'i Datmelion of the Qatpee ; 
Channing;'* UniUd StaU$, iU, 124-121, ICl. 

1 EiKX Ltftituto C«a«eti'Mt, Jaitii«7, 1900; CSmtvry Magaxim, 
Saptember, 1899. 

* Nem England Ckrcnidt, Vxj 18, 1775 ; American Archivu, 

SwiM IV, ii, eos. 

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sheep, vhile a detachment of ahont thirty men 
ctoseed over to Noddle's Island (East Boston) for 
the same purpose, when " abont a hundred Regulars 
landed upon the last mentioned and pursued our 
Men till the; had got safely back to Hog Island ; 
then the Regulars began to fire very briskly by 
Platoons upon our Men. In the mean time an armed 
Schooner with a Number of Baiges came up to Hog 
Island to prev^it our People's leaving said Island, 
which she could not effect ; after that several Barges 
w^re towing her bach to her Station, as there was 
little Wind and flood Tide. Our People put in a 
heavy Fire of small Arms upon the Barges, and two 3 
Pounders coming up to our Assistance began to play 
upon them and soon obliged the Bai^s to quit her 
and to carry off her Crew ; After which our people 
set Fire to her, although the Bai^^ exerted them- 
selves very vigorously to prevent it. She was burnt 
[the next day] upon the Way of Winisimet Ferry. 
We have not lost a single Life, although the Engage- 
ment was very warm from the armed Schooner 
(which mounted four 6 Pounders and 12 swivels), 
from an armed Sloop that lay within Beach of Small 
Arms, from one or two 12 Pounders upon Nod- 
dle's Island, and from the Barges which were all 
fixed with swivels." > The American loss was four 
wounded, one of whom died two days later ; that of 
the British was said to be twenty killed and fifty 
wounded. The stock, amounting to over four hun- 
> BoHan OaxttU, Jom 6, 1776. 

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dred sheep, abont thirty cattle and some hones, 
werfi brought away \>j the proTinciala. During the 
siege of Boston various other attempts, sucoessful 
and unsuccessful, were made to bring away live 
stock from the islands of the harbor, therein re- 
dacing the possible sources of food supply of the 
British shut np in the town.* 

Josiah Qoincy in a letter to John Adams, dated 
September 22, 1775, proposed a plan for making 
the investment of Boston complete and so forcing 
the capitulation of the besieged British army. His 
proposal was to build five forts, three of them on 
Long Island, so placed as to command the channels 
of the harbor, including the narrows which were 
guarded by the enemy's men-of-war in Nantashet 
Beads ; these ships could be driven out by the fire 
of the forts. He would then sink hulks in the nar^ 
rows. No ships could thenceforth pass in or out 
and *' both Seamen and Soldiers, if they dont escape 
by a timely Might, must become Prisoners at Dis- 
cretion." Quincy also thought that " Bow Gallies 
must be our first mode of Defence by Sea." ' 

Near the eastern frontier of Mune, in a situation 
most exposed to British attack, lay the little sea- 
port of Machias. The one staple of the town was 

1 Smmiei'B Hitton/ of Eatt Button, S6T-38fl ; TntUngbsin'B 
Step: o/'SoXon, 108,109,226; Qreen'a Three MilUary JHaTUi,9R; 
Almou'a BemembrarKtr, i, 112; Amer. Archivei, TV, ii, "719; Bet- 
ton Qaxette, Jane 6, 1775; N. E. Chroniclt, Ma; 26, June IB, Jul; 
27, October 6, 1776. 

> Adaxa MSa. 

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lumber and this the inhabitantB exchanged at Bo»< 
ton for the vanoiu supplies they needed. In the 
spring of 1775 food was scarce, for the previous 
year's crops had fuled. Consequently a petition, 
dated May 25, was sent to the Creneral Court or 
Provincial Congress of Massachasetts at Water- 
town, begging for provisions and promising to send 
back lumber in return. News of the fight at Lex- 
ington and Concord had lately reached Maehias 
and had stirred the patriotism of the people, who 
in spite of their isolated position, were in the main 
devoted to the provincial cause and had their com- 
mittee of safety and correspondenoe. A committee 
of the General Court reported June 7 in favor of 
sending the provisions. Meanwhile Captain loha- 
bod Jones, a merchant engaged in trade with Ma- 
ehias, bad proceeded from Boston to that place with 
two sloops, the Unity and the Folly, loaded with 
provisions and escorted by the armed schooner Mar- 
garetta under the command of Midshipman Moore of 
the British navy. They arrived Jime 2 and Jonea 
took measures to procure a return ca^ of lumber 
for the use of the British troops in Boston. As the 
only means of obtaining the much needed provisioos 
it was voted in town meeting, notwithstanding the 
opposition of a hu^ minority of stanch patriots, to 
allow Jones to take his lumber. He proceeded ac- 
cordingly to distribute the provisions, but to those 
only who had voted in his favor. The patriots, un- 
der the lead of Benjamin Foster and Jeremiah 

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O'Brien, were determined to prevent the shij^nng 
of the lumber to Boston, On Sunday, Jane 11, an 
onsncoessfnl attempt was made 4o capture Jones 
and the ofBoers of the Margaretta while at church. 
They took the alarm and Jones fled to the voods, 
where he was taken some days later ; the of&cers 
escaped to their vesseL Moore then threatened to 
hombard the town,* 

" Upon this a party of onr men went directly to 
stripping the sloop [Unity] that lay at the wharf 
and another partf went off to take possession oi the 
other sloop which lay below & brought her up nigh 
a whaif & anchored in the stream. The Tender 
[Margaretta} did not fire, but weighed her anchors 
as privately as possible and in the dusk of the even> 
ing fell down & came to within muabet shot of 
the sloop, which obliged onr people to slip their 
cable & run the sloop aground. In the meantime a 
considerable number of our people went down in 
boats & canoes, lined the shore directly opposite 
to the Tender, & having demanded her to surrender 
to America) received for answa, ' fire & be damn'd '; 
they immediately fired in upon her, which she re- 
turned and a smart eng^ement ensned. The Ten- 
der at last slipped her cable & fell down to a small 
sloop commanded by Capt. Tobey & lashed herself 
to her for the remainder of the night. In the morn- 
ing of the 12th she took Capt Tobey out of his 
vessel for a pilot & made all the sail they could 
I CM. Maim Hia. See^ vi (April, 18BC), 124-180. 

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to get off, as the wind & tide favored ; bat bavuig 
earned avay Iier mun boom and meeting with a 
sloop from the Bay of Fundy, they came to, robbed 
the fdoop of her boom & gaff, took ahnost all her 
proviraona together with Mr. Bobert Avery of Nor- 
wich in Connecticnt, and proceeded on their voy- 
age. Our people, seeing her go off in the morning, 
determined to follow her. 

*' About forty men armed with gnns, Bworda, axes 
& pitch forks went in Capt. Jones's sloop under the 
command of Capt. Jeremiah O'Brien ; about twenty, 
armed in the same manner & under the command 
of Capt. Benj. Foster, went in a small schooner. 
During the chase our people built them breastworks 
of pine boards and anything they could find in the 
vessels that would screen them from the enemy's 
fire. The Tender, upon the first appearance of our 
people, cut her boats from her stem & made all 
the sail she could, but bong a very dull sailor they 
soon came up with her and a most obstinate en- 
gi^ement ensued, both sides being determined to 
conquer or die ; but the Tender was obliged to yield, 
her Capt. waa wounded in the breast with two balls, 
of which wounds he died next morning. Poor Mr, 
Avery was killed and one of the marines, and five 
wounded. Only one of our men was killed and six 
wounded, one of which is since dead of his wounds. 
The battle was fought at the entrance of oar har- 
bour & lasted for near the space of one hour. We 
have in our possession four double fortifyed three 

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poimderB & fourteen swivels and a Dumber of small 
arms, whicli we took with the Tender, besides a 
veiy small qmmtity of ammunition."* Foster's 
schooner is said to have run f^round and to hare 
taken no part in the battle. The Unity returned to 
Maohias with the Margaretta as her prize. O'Brien's 
five brothers were with him in this enterprise.' 

Joseph Wheaton, one of the Unity's orew, wrote 
many years later a detuled account of the action. 
He says tjtat tfae Margaretta, after having replaced 
her broken boom, " was Making Sul when oor Ves- 
sel eame in Sight ; then commenced the chaoe, a 
Small lumber boat in pursuit of a well armed Brit^ 
ish vessel of war — in a Short time she cut away 
her three boats. Standing for sea while thus pur^ 
suing, we aranged our selves, appointed Jeremiah 
Obrien our conductor, John Steele to steer oar 
Vessel, and in about two hoars we received her 
first fire, but before we could reach her she had 
out onr rigging and Sails enunencely ; bat having 
gained to about one hundred yards, one Thomas 
Neight fired his wall piece, wounded the man at the 
helm and the Vessel broached too, when we nearly 
all fired. At this moment Captain Moore imployed 
himself at a box of hand granades and put two on 

I CbU. Maint Bitl. Boe., vi, 130, 131 (report of Ma> 
tee of Conespondenoe, Jnn* 14, 1175). 

* Coa-JfoincSut. Sac, l&lT,Jainui7, 1691, April, 1895iir«w 
Bn^and Magazim, kjigaA, 1895 ; lia u a eh iu t lt Magaxmt, April, 
1910 ; Shennan'i lAft of JtrtmuA CBriat, tim. U-t ; BMtn Qa- 
uite, Jnl; 8, 1TI6. 

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bofffd our Vessel, whieli through our crew into 
great disorder, they having killed and woooded nine 
men. Still two ranks which were near the prow got 
a second fire, when oar bowsprit was run through 
the main shronds of the Margarette and Sail, when 
Six of us Jnmped on her qnarter deck and with 
dnbed Muskets drove the crew from their quarters, 
from the waist into the hold of the Mai^arette ; the 
Capt. lay mortally wounded, Bobert Avery was 
billed and eight marines & Saylors lay dead on 
her deek, tiie Lieutenant wounded in her oalnn. 
Thus ended this bloody affray."* Wheaton says 
that fourteen of the Americans were killed and 

According to the British account the Americans 
attempted to board the Mai^aretta with boats and 
canoes during the night before the battle, but were 
beaten off. In the next day's chase Foster's schooner 
continued in company with the Unity to the end. 
As these vessels approached they were received by 
the Margaretta with a broadside of swivels, small 
arms, sad hand grenades, but they both came along- 
side, the Unity on the starboard and the schooner 
on the larboard bow.* 

The General Court of Massachusetts resolved, 
June 26, 1775 : " That the thanks of this Congress 

' Adamt MSS., Wbeaton to Preddent Adsnu, Febnuuy 21, 
ISOl. Sea anodier uoonnt \tj WheMon in Coll. Maine Sitt. Sac., 
ii (J&nnar;, 1691], 109. 

* Srititk Admirals BtcardM, AdmirM Jk^xOduM 4SS, Jolf 
24, 1776, No. 2. 

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be, and they are hereby giren to Capt. Jeremiali 
O'firieD and Capt. Benjamin Foster and the other 
brave men mider their command, for their courage 
and good conduct in tahing one of the tenders be- 
longing to our enemies and two sloops belonging 
to Ichabod Jones, and for preventing the nuoisterial 
troops being supplied with lumber ; and that the 
said tender, sloops, their cargoes remain in the hands 
of the said captains O'Brien and Foster and the 
men under their command, for them to improve aa 
they shall think most for their and the public advan- 
tage until the further action of this or some future 
Congreas." * The Unity was fitted out with the Mar- 
garetta's guns, renamed the Machias Liberty and 
pat under Jeremiah O'Brien's command ; she was 
presumably chosen as a cruiser in preference to 
the Margaretta on account of her superior sailing 

About a month after the capture of the Margar- 
etta the British schooner Diligent, carrying eight 
or ten guns and fifty men, and the tender Tapna- 
quish, with sixteen swivels and twenty men,' ap- 
peared off Machias. The captain of the Diligent 
going ashore in his boat was seized by a small 
party of Americans stationed near the mouth of the 
bay and sent to MacUaa. Jeremiah O'Brien in the 
Machias Liberty and Benjamin Foster in another 

> Caa. Maine Sitt. Soc, ti, 132. 

* Wlieaton {Adana MS8.) pTCa tbosa tobmIi a, Bmaller iiiiinbn 
of men and gnu. 

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TCBsel were then sent down the riTer, taaaA the 
British vessels and took them without firing a gon. 
According to Wheaton, O'Brien subsequently 
cinised in the Bay of 'Funij and took a nnmber 
of British merchant Tesseb.^ 

Foster and O'Brien were next sent by the Ma^ 
ohias Committee of Safety to Watertown to report 
their exploits to the Provincial Congress. Under 
their charge went also the prisoners taken in the 
Marg!u«tta, Diligent and Tapnaquish, tc^ther with 
Ichabod Jones. They proceeded as far as Falmouth 
(Portland), a week's voyage, 1^ water. The mth- 
lesB burning of Falmouth by the British under 
Captain Henry Mowatt several weeks later is sup- 
posed to have been, in part at least, an act of re- 
taliation for the capture of the British vessels at 
Madiias. The joum^ of O'Brien and Foster from 
Falmouth to Watertown was made by land and 
took about ten days. Aaguat 11 the prisoners were 
ddirered at Watertown by their captors, who about 
the same time reported also to General Washing- 
ton at the headquarters of the army in Cambridge. 
They petitioned the Provincial Congress for the 
privilege of nusing a company of men among th^n- 
selves at the expense of the Province, to be used in 
the defense of Machias and to give occupation to 
numbers of young men who in the distress of war 
times were without means of support. They also 

> Coll. Maine Silt. Soc, ii (1847), 246, ii (Janiwrr, 1891), 111 ; 
Ja/i of O'BritH, oh. tI ; MaaadmtetU Mag., Janoar;, 1910. 

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asked that the ofBcers of the Maehias Liberty be 
given oommissions and that men be stationed on 
board her, this vessel to be supplied and equipped 
and used for the defense of the town, which might 
easily be blockaded by a small force. The petitions 
were favorably received by the Congress and 
O'Biieo was apptnnted to command both the 
Macbias Uberty and the Diligent. These vessels 
were thereto taken into the service of the colony 
and became the nadens of the Massacbnsetta navy. 
O'Brien soon returned to Macbias in order to over, 
see the fitting oat of his vesBels.' 

Off Cape Ann, August 9, 1775, the British 
sloop of war Falcon, 16, Captain Linzee, fell in 
with two schooners from the West Indies, boond to 
Salem. One of these schooners, says a report from 
Gloucester, was " soon brought to, the other taking 
advantage of a fair wind, pat into our harbour, but 
Linzee having made a prize of the first, porsued 
the second into the harbour and brought the first 
with him. He anchored and sent two baizes with 
fifteen men in each, armed with mnskets and swivels ; 
these were attended with a whale boat in which was 
the Lieatenant and six privates. Their orders were 
to seize the loaded schooner and bring her under 
the Falcon's bow. The Militia and other inhalntants 
were alarmed at this daring attempt and prepared 

I 0'Britii,iih.-n;Ai>i.ATdi.,IV,ui,ai6,S&4; Rteordt of Gtn- 
tnd Cmrt ofUaaachiu^U, Angnst 21, 23, 1775 ; UtmadmVU Bpn, 
Angnit 10, 1775. 

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for a vigorous oppo^tion. The barge-men ondeT the 
command of the Lieutenant boarded the schooner 
at the cabbin windows, which provoked a smart 
fire from onr people on the shore, hj which three 
of the enemy were killed and the lieutenant 
wounded in the thigh, who thereupon returned to 
the man of war. Upon this Linzee soit the other 
schooner and a small cutter he had to attend him, 
well armed, with orders to fire upon the damn'd 
rebels wherever they could see them and that be 
would in the mean time cannonade the town ; be 
immediately fired a broadside upon the thickest 
settlements and stood himself with diabolical pleas- 
nre to see what havock bis cannon might make. . . . 
Not a ball strack or wounded an individual person, 
although they went through our bouses in almost 
every direction when filled with women and child- 
ren. . . . Our little party at the water side per^ 
formed wonders, for they soon made tbemselves 
masters of both the scboimers, the cutter, the two 
barges, the boat, and every man in them, and all that 
pertained to them. In the action, which lasted sev- 
eral hours, we lost but one man, two others wounded, 
one of which is since dead, the other veiy slightly 
wounded. We took of the men of war's men Uiirty- 
five, several were wounded and one since dead; 
twenty-four were sent to head-quarters, the remain- 
der, being impressed from this and the neighboring 
towns, were permitted to return to their friends." ^ 

' Fetiwslvania Packet, AaEiUt 28, 1775; W. E. Chronicle, 
An^st 25, 1775. 

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Captain linzee, who makes the date of the affair 
Aogost 8, states in his report to the admiral at 
Boston that having andiored in Gloucester harhor 
he " sent Lieat Thomborough vith the Pinnace, 
Long Boat and Jolly Boat, mann'd and arm'd in 
order to bring the Schooner oat, the Master 
coming in from sea at the same time in a small 
tender, I directed him to go and aeaist t^ Lieu- 
tenant. When the Boats had passed a Point of 
Bocks that was between the Ship and Schooner, 
tiiey received a heavy fire from the Bebels who 
were hidden behind Books and Hoosea, and behind 
Sohoonera aground at Wharfs, but notwithstanding 
the heavy fire from the Bebela, Lieut Thornborough 
boarded the Sduxmer and was himseU and three 
men wounded from Shore. On the Bebela firing 
on the Boats, I fired from the ship into the Town, 
to draw tfae Bebels from the Boats. I very soon 
observed the Bebels payed little attention to the 
firing from the ship and seeing Hieir fize continued 
very heavy from the schooner the Lieutenant had 
boarded, I made an attempt to set fire to the Town." 
Hoping ihai by this means the attoititm of the 
Americans would be directed to saving their hoases, 
BO that the Bohooner could be brought off, Linzee 
sent a party ashore to fire the town ; but the pow- 
der used for the purpose was set off prematurely, 
" one of the Men was blowed up," and the attempt 
fdled. Tfae town was then bombarded. " About 4 
o'clock in the afternoon the lieutenant was brought 

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on board imder cover of the Masters' fire from the 
Schooner, who could not leave her. All the Boats 
vrere much damaged by the Bbots and lay on the 
side of the Schooner next to the Rebels ; on my 
being acquainted with the situation of the Master, 
I sent the Prize Schooner to anchor ahead the 
Schooner the Master was in and veer alongside to 
take him and People away, who were very mnoh 
«q>08ed to the Rebels' fire, bnt from want of an 
ofBoer to send her in, it was not performed, the 
Vessel not anchored properly." The master, despair- 
ing of snccoT, surrendered about seven in the even- 
ing " with the Gunner, fifteen Seamen, Seven Mar- 
ines, one Boy, and ten prest Americana." The next 
morning the Falcon weighed anchor and proceeded 
to Nantashet Boads.^ 

Several other ai^rs, of little importance in then^ 
selves, showed the readiness of the provincials for 
action upon the water at an early period, before 
tiiere was naval oi^anization of any kind to give 
authority to their acts. ' Boston being the seat of 
war at this time, most of the maritime events nat- 
ntally took place in New England waters during 
the first year. As early as August, 1775, however, 
a South Carolina sloop, sent oat by the Council of 
Safety, captured a British vessel on the Florida 

1 ilagaxine ofHUlorg, Aagwit, 190G. 

* BoMoa Qaxettt, September 11, October 2, 9, 177G ; Pern. 
Packet, September 4, 1776. 
■ Am. Ardt., IV, ui, 18a 

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Tlie ritoation of a£Eaii8 in America, as u well 
known, caused gieat concern in England for a con- 
siderable time before ^ actnal outbreak of tbe re- 
bellion. Of all the measnreB proposed hj whig or 
tory for the adjostment of tbe difficnlfy, probably 
the wisest, for tbe conserration of the oninre, was 
suggested by Yisootuit Harrington, the Secretary at 
War ; bat wisdom availed little with the British 
nunistry of that day. Batringtou's adrioe was given 
in a series of letters written in the years 1774 and 
1775 to the Earl of Dartmontfa, Secretary for the 
Colonies.' His opinion was that the colonies conld 
not be snbdned by the army, and that even if they 
conld, the permanent occnpati<m of America by a 
large force would be neoessary, a sonnse of constant 
exasperation to the colonists and of enormous ex- 
pense to the government. The troops, he thought, 
should be withdrawn to Canada, Nova Scotia, and 
East Florida, and tiiere quartered " till they can be 
employed with good effect elsewhere." Tlie reduc- 
tion of the rebellious colonies shoold be left to tbe 
navy. November 14, 1774, he writes: " The Daval 
force may be so employed as must necessarily re- 
duce the Colony [Massachusetts] to submiasion 
without shedding a drop of blood." ^ A few weeks 
later, December 24, he goes a little more into de- 
tail. Speaking especially of New England be says : 

1 Political Lift of William Wildnan, Fuwunt Barringtoit, bj 
hu brothei Sbnt* (Loodon, 1S14], 140-152. 

* aid., 141. 

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" Conquest hj land Js nnndcewary, wlieii the eovai- 
try can be reduced first by distress and then to 
obedience hy onr Marine totally intermpting all 
oommeroe and fishery, and even seizing all the ships 
in the ports, vith very little e:q>en8e and less blood- 
shed." As to the colonies sonth of TSew England, 
"a strict execution of the Act of Navigation and 
iAher restrictive laws would probably be sufficient 
at present." A few frigates and doops oonld enforce 
those laws and prevent almost all comioeroe — 
" Though we must depend on oar smaller ships for 
the active part of this plan, I think a squadron of 
ships of the line should be stationed in North Amer^ 
iea, both to prevent the intervention of foreign 
powers and any attempt of the Colonies to attack 
our smaller vessels by sea." " The Colonies will in 
a few months feel their distress ; their spirits, not 
animated by any little soccesses on their part or 
violence of persecntion on ours, will sink ; they will 
be consequently inclined to treat, probabfy to mb- 
mit to a certain degree." ^ Concessions oonld then 
be made without loss of dignity, the mistake of im- 
posing further obnoxious taxes bdng avoided. Baiv 
rington wrote on the same subject to Dartmouth 
the next year; and also to Lord North, August 8, 
1775, saying : " My own opinion always has been 
and still is, that the Americans may be reduced by 
the fleet, but never can be by the army." ' 

1 BamngUm, 144-147. » IWrf., 161. 

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The erents already related took place onder the 
■tresB of circumstanoes, most of them unautborized 
l^ C<m^ental or FroTinoial CongregB. It is now 
Decessaiy to interrupt the narratiTe of naval oper< 
ati<ms in order to sketch briefly the Tarioos sources 
of anthorify and the administratiTe systems under 
which acted the different dasses of Tessels through^ 
out the course of the war. These classes were; 
first. Continental vesselB ; second, Uie state navies ; 
third, the privateers, commiseioned either by the 
Continental goremment or I^ the various states, 
and in some cases by both.^ 

Public vessels cruising under Continental ao- 
tiiority oomprised not only the Continental navy, 
strictly speaking, including vessels fitted out in 
France, but also the fleets organized by Washing- 
ton in Massachnsetts Bay in 1T75 and later in 
Kew York ; by Arnold on Lake Champlain in 1776 ; 
and by Pollock in 1778 on the MiBsissippi River. 

G^eneral Washington took tlie first actual step 

1 In tha pnpkrstdon of bo mneh of thit dikpter a> rel&tei to 
the adminiitiatiDn and or^aiiizB^D of the American iistbI foroM, 
Paallin'i JVanjr ef lAc Amenean Revointion haa been doael; fol- 
lowad. See alao Am. Arch., IT, ili, 1888-1904, 1917-1967; ffWt» 
o/Jotn Adams, ii, 462-464, 469, 470, 479-484, m, 6-12. 

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towards placing a Contineiita] force apoD the sea 
bj fitting out the schooner Hannah, which suled 
from Beverly September 5, 1775, and returned to 
port two days later with a prize. An important 
measure in making effeotiTe the siege of Boston, 
then in progress, was the intercepting c^ supplies 
coming to the town by water ; the supplies being at 
the same time of the utmost value to the American 
army investing the town. Before the end of the 
year seven other vessels, officered and manned from 
the army, were fitted out byWadiington. The next 
year he organized a similar bat smaller fleet at Kew 

The first official suggestion of a Continental navy 
came from the Assembly <^ Rhode Island which, 
August 26, 1775, declared "that the building and 
equipping an American fleet, as soon as possible, 
would greaUy and essentially conduce to the pre- 
servation of the lives, liberty and property of the 
good people of these colonies," and instructed tbe 
delegates from that province in the Continental 
Congress " to use their whole influence at the en- 
suing oongress for building at the Continental ez- 
pence a fleet of sufficient force for the protection 
of these colonies."' The Rhode Island delegates 
presented their instruoiionB to Congress October 3 
and this brought tbe matter fairly before that body. 
Discussion of these instructions was postponed from 
time to time and it was several weeks before definite 
1 Sm Mit al>»ptei. * Am. JrA, IV, iU, 231. 

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action was taken on them. MeanwhOe intelligence 
had been received of the sailing from En^and of 
two brigs laden with military supplies bound to 
Quebec. The praotioabili^ of intercepting these ves- 
sels waa oonsidered in Congress October 5. Strong 
opposition was developed on the part of a vocif eious 
minorify to any participation of the Continental 
government in maritime warfare ; to them it appeared 
sheer madness to send ships out npon the sea to 
meet the overwhelming naval force of England. 
After a lively debate the matter was referred to a 
committee consisting of John Adams, John Lai^- 
don, and Silas Deane. Upon the recommendation 
of this committee it was dedded to iustmot Wash- 
ingtcm at once to prooore two Massachosetts omiserB 
for that service and to request the cooperation of 
the govemora of Bhode Island and Connecticut* 

Elbridge Gerry wrote fnnn Watertown, October 
9, 1775, to Swnnel Adams, then a member of the 
Cimtineiital Congress at Fhitadelphia, saying: "If 
the Continent shonld fit ont a heavy ship or two 
and inccease them as oircnmstances shall admit, the 
Colonies large privateers, and individuals small 
ones, sorely we may soon expect to see the coast 
dear of cutters." ' 

On the advice of the ocnmnittee apptnnted October 
6, Congress voted on the 13tfa to fit ont two vessels, 

IT, iii, 960, 1038, lSS&-189a. 
* Awt. Atdi., IT, iii, 993. 



one of them to carry ten guns, to oniise three months 
to the eaatward in the hope of intercepting Britiah 
transports. Another committee of three was ap- 
pointed to inquire into the expense. October 30, 
17T6,iauiimportantdateinnaTalIegisIataon. G>n- 
gress resolved to arm the second of the vessels 
already provided for with fourteen gnns and also 
authorized two additional vessels which might carry 
as many as twenty and thirty-six gnna respectively, 
" for the protection and defence of the United Colo- 
nies." By this vote Congress was fully committed 
to the policy of maintaining a naval armament. On 
the same day a committee of seven was formed by 
adding four members to those already appointed.^ 
This committee was the first executive body for the 
management of naval afFairs. It was known as 
the Naval Conmiittee and the members were John 
Iiangdon of New Hampshire, John Adams of 
Massachusetts, Stephen Hopkins of Khode Island, 
Silas Deane of Connecticut, Bichard Henry Lee of 
Yitginia, Jos^h Hewes of North Carolina, and 
Christopher Gadsden of South Carolina. 

During the closing months of 1776 mnoh le^s- 
lation necessary for the oi^;anizatiou of the navy 
was enacted by Congress on the recommendation of 
tbe Naval Committee. In the beginning there was 
strong opposition to all enterprises of a naval char- 
acter, bat it gradually broke down before the ar- 
guments of tbe more far-sighted and reasonable 

> Jowr. Cora. Congr., October 6, 7, 18, 17, S(^ 1776. 

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members. November 10 the Marine Corps was 
established. On the 25th captnres of British ships 
of war, transports, and supply vessels were aathor- 
ized and the several colonies were advised to set up 
prize courts. The apportionment of the shares in 
prizes was prescribed. In the case of privateers all 
the proceeds went to the owners and captors ; in the 
case of Continental or colony omisers two thirds of 
the valueof a prize when a transport or supply vessel, 
(mehalfwhenavessel of war, went to the government, 
while the captors took the rest. Novemb^28,"RnleB 
for the Begulation of the Navy of the United Col- 
oniee " ^ were adopted. These early navy regulations 
were brief, relating chiefly to discipline and prescrib- 
ing tiie ration and pay. The roles provided for courts 
martial, but not for courts of inquiry ; there was 
much subsequent legislation on the subject of naval 
courts. Penrions for permanent disability and boun- 
ties, to be awarded in certain oases, were provided 
for, the necessary fnnds for which were to be set 
apart from the proceeds of prizes. The rules of 
November 28 were framed by John Adams and 
were based on British regulations. Adams was a 
leader in all this early legislation and the part he 
took in the founding of the Bevolutionary navy was 
important and influential.^ 

In November the Naval Committee purchased 

■ Se* Appendix IL 

' Jw. Cunt. Congr., November 10, IT, 23, 24, 2C, 28, 1776; 
Adaim"! TFort», iH, 7-U ; Aat. Ard., IV, v, 1111. 

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four merchaDt vessels under the piovisions of OctO' 
ber 13 and 30, to be converted into men-of-war. 
These vessels, as named by the committee, were the 
ships Alfred and Cdumbua and the brigs Cabot 
and Andrew Doria. The first was named in honor 
of the supposed founder of the English navy, the 
second and third for famous discoverers, and the 
fourth for the great Genoese admiral Other ves< 
sels were authorized and purchased from time to 
time, the first of which was a sloop called the Frovi- 

Definite action was taken in Congress on the 
Rhode Island instructions December 11, when a 
committee of twelve was " appointed to devise ways 
and means for furnishing these colonies with a na- 
val armament." Two days later this committee 
** brought in their report, which being read and de- 
bated was agreed to as follows : That five ships of 
thirty-two guns, five of twenty-eight guns, three of 
twenly-four guns, making in the whole thirteen, can 
be fitted for the sea probably by the last of March 
next, viz : in New Hampshire one, in Massachusetts 
Bay two, in Conneoticot one, in Rhode Island two, 
in New York two, in Pennsylvania four, and in 
Maryland one. That the cost of these ships so fitted 
will not be more than 66,666} dollars each on the 
average, allowing two complete suits of sails for 
each ship, equal in the whole to 866,666| dollars," 
IS i Jmr. Conl. C<mgr^ 

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Of tliese frigates, the Bakigli, <^ 82 gmis, mu 
Imilt at Portsmouth, Mew Hampshire; the Hancock, 
82, and the Boston, 24, at SaHsbtny and Nevbiny- 
port on the Merrimac Biver ; the Warren, 32, and 
the Pforidence, 28, at Proridenoe ; the TromboU, 
28, at CSiatbam on the Connectknit Biver; the 
Montgomery, 28, and the Congress, 24, at Foogb- 
heepaie on the Httdaon lUver; the Bandolph, 82, 
Washington, 82, Effin^iam, 28, and Delaware, 24, 
at or near Philadelphia on the Delaware Biver ; and 
the Virginia, 28, at Baltimore. The actual number 
of gnns on a ship was generally in excess of the 
rate; a thirty-two gun frigate oommonly carried 
abont thirty-«ix gems. With a few ezceptdona these 
frigates were armed wit^ no gnns heavier than 
twe1ve>poandere. The smaller vessels of the Bevo- 
Intionary navy carried only f oar- and six-ponnders. 
All were long gmis ; the light, short, large-calibre 
gnns called carronades had not yet come into gen- 
eral ose. Some vessels carried a secondary battery, 
mounted on deck or in the tops, of small light mor- 
tars called Goehoms or of swivels, which were light 
gnns monnted on pivote. December IS, 17T5, the 
day when these thirteen frigates were provided for, 
is another important date in the early history of the 
navy. On the 14tli a committee of thirteen was 
diOBcn by ballot to superintend thecongtmction and 
equipment of the frigates.^ 
> JW. Cool. CoBgr., Dtmmhat II, 13, 14, 177G. Sm Appsndix 

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From deseriptitHis of three of these frigates, ha- 
nished nearly two years later to Admiral Howe, 
ODmmanding the British fleet on the Nori;h Amen- 
oan station, we are able to get an idea of their ap- 
pearance and dimensions. The Hancock is described 
as follows, be^nning with the figure head: "A 
Man's Head with Ydlow Breeches, white Stock- 
ings, Blue Coat with Yellow Button Holes, small 
cocked Hat with a Yellow Lace, has a Mast in lien 
of an Eougn Staff with a Latteen Sail on it, has a 
Fore and Aft Driver Boom, with another across. 
Two Top Gallant Boyal Masts, Pole mizen topmast, 
a whole Miz^) Yard and mounts 82 Guns, has a 
Rattle Snake carved on the Stem, Netting all 
around the Ship, Stem Black and Yellow, Quarter 
GaUeries all Yellow." ** Principal Dimensiims of 
the Bebel Frigate Hanoock. Length on the upper 
Deck, 140 ft. 8 ins. Breadth on Do. 30.2. Length 
of Keel for Tonnage, 116.2|. Extreme ifoeadth, 
36.2. Depth in the Hohl, 10.7. Burthen in Tons, 
764. Heigtb between Decks, 6.6. Do. in the Waste, 
5.0. Size of the Gun Forts, tore & aft, 2.7. up & 
down, 2.2. Length on the Quarter Deck, 67.8. 
Length on the Forecastle, 81.3. Draught of Water, 
afore, 14.0, abaft, 16.10. Heigth of the Forts from 
the Surface of the Water, Forward, 9.0, Midships, 
8.2, Abaft, 9.2." Then the Boston : " An Indian 
Head with a Bow and Arrow in the Hand, painted 
White, Red and Yellow, Two top gallant Boyal 
Masts, Pole mizen topmast on which she hoists a 

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Top gallant Sail, painted nearly li^ the Hancock 

with Netting all round, has a Oarf , a Mast in room 
of an £nsign Staff with a Latteen Sail on it, and 
mounts 80 guns." *' Dimensions of the Aimed Ship 
named the Delaware. . . . Length on the Gun 
Deck, 121 Peet; Keel far Tonnage, 96; Extreme 
Breadth, 32.6. The Ship lately built, Mounts 
twenty four Cruns on the Upper Deck ; And when 
furnished with proper Artilleiy, capable of carrying 
twelve Founders with great facility." ' The figures 
for the Warren and Providence, from the journal 
of the committee in chai^ of building those shipB, 
are: length on Hk gnu deck, 132 feet, 1 inch and 
124.4, respectively; keel 110.10} and 102.8}; 
beam, 34.5^ and 33.10| ; bold 11, and 10.8. The 
committee voted to have a few eighteen pounders 
cast for 'these two frigates, and accordingly some 
guns of that weight were mounted on them.* 

Meanwhile, November 2, 1775, the Naval Com- 
mittee had been given power by Congress to " agree 
with such officers and seamen as aro proper to man 
and command " the vessels they had purchased and 
were fitting out On tiie 5th the committee selected 
Esek Hopkins, an old sea captain of Providence and 
brother of Stephen Hopkins, for the command of 

1 Brie. Adm. Eee., Adm. Dap. 4^, Angnit 28, 1777, ■>«•. 7 and 
i;A.D. 488, Novemtwr 23, 1777, no. 3. 

1 Magazine of Eitlary, Deoember, 1008, uid Fabnurj, 1909. 
For the whole jonmal see Ibid., November, 1908, to April, 1909. 
See Ardiiva d» Ut iforiM, B^ 409 (WUp^'a lettM of Haj 31, 

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this little fleet.1 December 7 John Paul Jones " was 
appointed Senior Lieut, of the Kav;."^ On the 
22d the Naval Committee "laid before Congresg 
a list of the officers by them appointed, agreeable 
to the resolntions of Congress, viz : Ezek Hopkins, 
Esqr., commander-in-chief of the fleet. Captains, 
Dudley Saltonstall, Esqr., of the Alfred, Abraham 
Whipple, Eeqr., of tiie Columbus, Nicholas Biddle, 
Esqr., of the Andrew Doria, John Burrows Hop- 
hins, Bsqr., of the Cabot. Ist lieatenaote, John Paul 
Jonea [etc.]. . . . Besolved, That the pay of die 
oonmiander>in~diief of the Fleet be 125 dollars per 
calendar month. Resolved, That commissions be 
granted to the above officers agreeable to their 
rank in the above appointment." In addition to 
those named above there were in the list four other 
first lieutenants, five second lieutenants, and three 
third lieutenants.^ This is the banning of a list 
of officers for the Continental navy which, in the 
course of the war and including marine officers 
and those commissioned in France, contained nearly 
three hundred and thirty names.^ There were in 
addition medical officers, pursers, midshipmen, and 
warrant officers of whom no lists have been pre- 
served. The largest number of petty officers, sea- 
moi, and marines in the navy at any one time may 
have been about three thousand. 

1 Reld's Ufe of H<g>kint, 7& 

» Jonet MSS., October 10, 1176 ; S»jid»'» Life of Jona, 33. 

" Joar. Cont. Congr., NoT«mb«r 2, Decembei 22, 1776. 

* See Appendix VI 

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Uniforms for Hm ofBcers of the navy were adopted 
by the Marine Committee September 5, 1776, bat 
probably they were not commonly worn, as few 
offioerB could afford a complete ontfit. For line 
ofBoers a blue coat with red lapels, blue breedies, 
and red wustcoat were prescribed ; for marine offi- 
cer, a green coat &ced widi white and with a ailTer 
epaulette on the right shoulder, white waistcoat and 
breeches and black gaiters.^ 

It has generally been supposed that the intention 
of Congress in making Hopkine commander-in^luef 
was to give him the same rank that Washington 
held in the army. It seems more likely, however, 
that Congress merely meant to give him command 
of this particular fleet. The wording of his appoint- 
ment by the Naval Conmiittee and of the resolutions 
quoted above, together -mtii the fact that each of 
the o^itains was assigned, also by resolution of 
Congress, to a specified vessel, would indicate this. 
Stephrai Hopkins, writing to Esek November 6, 
1775, says: "You will perceive by a letter from 
the Committee, dated yesterday, that they have 
pitched upon yon to take the Command of a Small 
Fleet, which tbey and I hope will be but the begin- 
ning of one much lai^^." ' A resolution of Con- 
gress dated January 2, 1778, states that Hopkins 
*' was appointed commander in chief of the fleet 
fitted out by the Naval Committee." ^ He does not 

1 Am. .drcL, V, ii, 181. * O^titnu, 78. 

• Jow. Com. Congr., Jannaxj 2, 1718. 

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appear to have been mentioQed officially and an- 
thoritatirdy, that is to say by the Naval or Marine 
Committee, though he was ODoe by a special oom- 
mittee,^ as the commander-in-chief of the navy. In 
addition to bis own flert several other Contineotal 
vessels oniised in 17T6, which do not seem to have 
been nnder bia orders.* Hopkins was an elderly 
man at this time, having been bom in 1718. He 
bad spent much of bis life at sea and was a privat- 
eersman in the French and Indian War.* 

Of the members of the committee of tbirte^i 
chosen December 14, 1776, "for carrying into 
execution the resolutions of Congress for fitting ottt 
armed vessels," ten had served on the committee of 
twelve which had recommended boilding the frigates 
and five had been members of the ori^nal Naval 
Committee. This new committee, consisting of one 
representative from each colony, became the second 
executive body for the administration of naval 
i^Furs. It waa called the Marine Committee and 
was at first constituted as follows : Josiah Bartlett 
of New Hampshire, John Hancoct of Massacbu- 
sctts, Stephen Hopkins of Rhode Island, Silas 
Deane of Connecticut, Francis Lewis of New York, 
Stephen Crane of New Jersey, Robert Morris of 
Pennsylvania, George Bead of Delaware, Samuel 
Chase of Marylaud, Bicbard Heniy Lee of Virginia, 
Joseph Hewes of North Carolina, Christopher 
Gadsden of South Carolina, and John Houston of 
I Sandt, 310. ■ Sae below, p. 139. ■ Bi^tit, ch. i. 

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Geoi^. The membership changed from time to 
tsme. The Kaval Committee oonticued in the mean 
time tooGonpy itself in fitting out the small fleet of 
Teasek pnrchaeed for the service and placed mider 
the oommand of Commodore H<^kins, and to pre- 
pare for an expedition which was being plamied. 
January 25, 1776, although the Marine Committee 
had already taken charge of general naval affairs. 
Congress voted to leave the direction of this fleet 
to the Naval Committee, which soon afterwards, 
tiiis duty being accomplished, ceased to ezist.^ The 
Marine Committee employed agents to supervise 
tiie construction of the frigates in the distant colon- 
ies, taking charge itself of those at Philadelphia. 
Before the end of the year 1775 the organization of 
a Continental navy was achieved. 

In the course of time the mass of details con- 
nected with naval administration became too much 
for the Marine Committee easily to handle. Prize 
agents in the various seaooast towns were appointed 
to superintend the trial and condemnation of the 
prizes taken by Continental cruisers. Most of the 
prize agents were also Continental agents, in which 
capacity they perfonoed various other duties of a 
naval sort. John Bradford at Boston had the most 
important of these agencies.' For the further relief 
of the Marine Committee and at their suggestion. 
Congress appointed three persons, November 6, 

1 Jmt. CchK. C»iigr^ Jannarr 20, 1T76. 
■ Ai^ JrdL, V, u, 1113, 1114. 

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1776, "to exeoate the business of the navy, mtdet 
the directioD " of the committee. This body of Uii«e 
was known as the Navy Board and the men appointed 
to serve on it were John Nixon and John Wharton 
of FenaBylvania and Francis Hopkinson of New 
Jersey. The lack of maritime knowledge and ex- 
perience among members of Congress was keenly 
felt at this time. William Ellery of Khode Island, 
who had recently become a member of the Marine 
Committee, wrote home to hb friend William Yei^ 
non, November 7, 1776, " The Conduct of the Af- 
fairs of a Navy as well as those of an Army We are 
yet to learn. We are still nnaoquainted with the 
systematical Management of them."^ April 19, 

1777, another committee of three was authorized, 
to take charge of naval affairs in New England ; 
the men selected for this board were William Ver- 
non of Rhode Island, James Warren of Massachu- 
setts, and John Deshon of Connecticut. The first 
<rf these boards was then called the Navy Board of 
the Middle Deparbnent or District, the second the 
Navy Board of the Eastern Department, or they 
were called the boards at Philadelphia and at 
Boston respectively.* 

The Eastern Navy Board, owing to its distance 
ttom the seat of government at Philadelphia, was 
allowed more discretion and became a more impor- 
tant body than that of the middle department. The 

J Pubticalimu of S. I. Hiit. Sue., yiu (Jummrr, 1901), 201. 
■ Jimr. Cant. Consr., April 23, NoTamber 6, 1778, April IB, ITTT. 

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greater naTal activity in New England waters, dne 
to remoteness from the centre of military operatums, 
pot more work and responsibility <hi the eastern 
board. Its original members retained ofKoe sereral 
years witbont obange. Tbeir instmetions, dated 
Jnly 10, 1777, imposed upon them "the Snperin- 
toidanoe of all Naval and Marine Affairs <A the 
United States of America within the four Eastern 
States nnder the direction of the Marine Commit- 
tee " in " whatever relates to the Building, Man- 
ning, and fitting for Sea all Armed Vessels of the 
United States biult, or ordered by the Congress to 
build in the Eastern Department, and to provide 
all materials and Stores necessary for that pnrpose." 
They were " to keep an exact Begister of all the 
Officers, SiuloTS, and Marines in the Continental 
Navy fitted and Manned within" the eastern dia- 
triot, and were " empower'd to order Courts Mar- 
tial." They were also instructed to keep strict ao- 
ooont of ezpendituree and to do many other things.* 
With further experience it became apparent that 
the Marine Committee was too large and its members 
too deficient in spetnal knowledge of naval science 
to admit of prompt, capable, and expert hand- 
ling oi the affairs entrusted to them. In October, 
1776, John Paul Jones wrote to Robert Morris * 
that efficient^ in naval aduiinistration oould only 
be obtiuned by t^e appointment of a competent 

1 PM. B. I. Hitt. 8<X; Tiii, 201-3ia 
■ ^m. Aidt., V, ii, 1106; BaiuU, 66. 

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board of admiralty. William Ellei; wrote to Wil- 
liam Vernon, February 26, 1777 : «' The CongresB 
are fuUy seasible of the Importanco of bavii^ a re- 
Ej>eotabIe Navy and have endeavoured to form and 
equip One, bat thron^^ Ignorance and Neglect they 
have not been able to accomplish their Purpose yet. 
I hope however to see One afioat before long. A 
proper Board of Admiralty is very much wanted. 
The Members of Congress are unacquainted with 
this Department. As One of tJie Marine Committee 
I sensibly feel my Ignorance in this Bespect"' For 
three years, however, little was done in tiie way of 
improving administration except the appointment 
of the navy boards and agents. Finally, October 
28, 1779, upon the recommendation of the Marine 
Committee a Board of Admiralty was established 
by Congress. Thb was a body of five members, two 
of whom were to be members <^ Congress, while the 
other three, called commissioners, were to be men 
possessing a knowledge of naval matters. A quorum 
of three was necessary for the traosaotioii of busi- 
ness. The Marine Committee then came to an end, 
bat the navy boards at Philadelphia and Boston 
and the navy agents were retuned under this re- 

Positions on the Board of Admiralty were de- 
clined by several to whom they were offered, and 
it was not only difficult to heep two congressional 

1 PoU. B. I. Hilt. Boe., Tiii, 304. 

3 Joitr. Cont Congr., Jnns 9, Ostobar 26, ITTO. 

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membera coDidnnooflly on the board, bnt it proved to 
be impossible to find three suitable persons willing 
to serve as commissioners. Consequently the mem- 
bership was never full and the work of the board waa 
mooh intermpted by frequent lack of a quomm. As 
first organized, in December, 1779, the Board of 
Admiralty contained three members : Francis Lewis 
of New York, commissioner; James Forbes of 
Maryland and William EUery of Shode Island, 
oongresrional members. A few months later Forbes 
died and bis place was taken by James Madison 
o£ Virginia. The Board of Admiralty was much 
hampered by half-hearted cooperation on the part 
of Congress and by want of money. Its member- 
ship dwindled to a point where nothing could be 
dcme in default of a quorum, until finally, in the 
summer of 1781, it passed out of existence.' 

Meanwhile, February 7, 1781, Congress had 
passed a resolution putting the affairs of the navy 
under a single head, to be called the Secretary of 
Marine. No one was found, however, to take the 
plaee and the office was never filled. Bobert Morris, 
who as Superintendent of Finance bad dose rela- 
tions with the navy, gradually asstuned direction 
of naval affairs aa the Board of Admiralty became 
more and more helpless. August 29 Omgress voted 
to appoint an Agent of Marine to take charge of 
naval matters until a secretary could be found, and 
September 7 it placed these af^iirs under the care 

* Jaur. Cont. Congr., NoT«nb«i 20, D«o«mb«r3, 7, 8, 1779. 

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of tbe Sapeiintendent of I^uanee until an agent 
ooold be appointed. The navy boards were abol* 
ished, althoDgb the board at Boston continued its 
functions several months longer. The tesnit of it all 
was that Morris continued to direct naval affairs, 
as Agent of Marine, during tlie remaiud^ of the 
war. He had already served on the Marine Com< 
mittee and bis great ability, business experience, 
and &miliarity with maritime affairs made him tbe 
best ^wcntive bead that tbe navy could have bad.* 

By way <rf summary it is perhaps well to review 
in a few words the history of tbe administration of 
the Continental navy. Tbe first execntive of tbe 
service was tbe Naval Committee which in 1775 b^ 
gan tbe worh of organizing a navy. Next came the 
Marine Committee which directed naval afEairs for 
four years, ending in December 1779. Then fol- 
lowed tbe Board of Admiralty which managed the 
department a year and a half, when, in the sum- 
mer of 1781, Bobert Morris tooh charge and as 
Agent of Marine remained at the head of tbe navy 
until after the end of tbe war. 

As soon as representataves of the United States 
bad established themselves in France, naval affairs 
became an important part of their duties. This be- 
gan in July, 1776, with Silas Deane, the first 
American agent. After the arrival of Benjamin 
Franklin and Arthur Lee in the following Decem- 
ber, to serve with Deane as oommisaioners, they 
' Jour. Cant. Congr.iTtbrnMrj T, Augnit 20, 8«pt«mbai T, 1T81. 

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Bhared tite duties witli him, although he still cou- 
tinued to ezeidse special supeTTisi<Hi of naml mat- 
ters until the spring of 1778, when he was saper- 
seded as commissioner by John Adams. After this, 
Franklin did the largest share of naval work, and 
from the time of his assuming the ofBee of minister 
to France in February, 1779, he had sole chai^ 
of Daval af^UTB abroad until the end of the war. 
This naval office in Paris had agents in various 
ports of France and in a few of Spain and Hdlaad. 
It performed many functions, such as baying, boild- 
ing, manning, and fitting out vessels and providing 
naval stores, oommissioning officers, directing cruises, 
disposing of prizes, exchanging prisoners, and ccnn- 
missioning privateers. Besides this office in France 
the naval interests of the United States in the 
West Indies and in Louiriana were entmsted to 
agents. These were William Bingham at Martinique, 
and Oliver Pollock in Kew Orleans.^ 

The sentiment of local independence and the 
loose federation of the colonies, united only for mn- 
toal protection, naturally led to individual action, 
and the need that each state felt of the defense of its 
own shores, too urgent to wait for the deliberations 
. of the ContincDtal Omgress, brought about the es- 
tablislunent of separate small Daviea; so that, in 
addition to the Continental navy, eleven of the thir- 

bv Google 


teen states maintained armed Tesselfl, New Jersey 
and Delaware being the exceptions. Naval admin- 
istration in the various states was generally, at the 
outset, in charge of the Committee of Safety, and 
later, of the state executive or of a board whioli 
had under its care naval affairs alone or in combin- 
ati<m with military affairs. The state navies varied 
mqch in size and force. Being used chiefly for coast 
defense, the vessels were usually smaller than those 
of the Continental navy, and many of them were 
merely boats and galleys adapted for operating in 
shallow waters. Some of the state ships, however, 
were ocean cruiBers of considerable size and force.^ 

The first American armed vessels commiseioned 
by any public authority were two sloops fitted ont 
l^ Rhode Island, June 15, 1775. The people of 
this colony had been annoyed by the British frigate 
Bose, enuring in Narragansett Bay. These sloops 
immediatdy went to sea under the conmiand of 
Abraham Whipple, and on the same day, June 16, 
chased ashore and destroyed a tender of the Bose.' 
One of the sloops, the Ka^, was subsequently taken 
into t^e Continental service under the name Prov- 
idence. The state of Hhode Island afterwards kept 
a small force oruimi^ in the bay. 

In t^e course of the war the Massachusetts navy 

comprised fifteen sea^going vessels and one galley. 

I For tlw Bt>t« lunlai, aea PauUin, tha. xi-zriL 

■ £ai«inGiuc««,Jnl78,lT7SiBuforteiiJjra9aniu,ApriI,1868; 

jIm. ArGA.,IV,ii, 1118; Sl^M, 03-67; Brit. Mt>. Btt., A. D. 

485, Juw 19, 1T76. 


The PiOTincial Coiigress of Massachusetts, after 
some iueSectnal attempts in June, 1775, to provide 
for aimed vessels, made a beginning August 21, 
by taking the Machias Liberty and Diligent into 
the serrice of the colony.^ The actual establishment 
of a state navy, however, came in the following 
winter, when a committee was appointed December 
29, of which John Adams was a member, " to con- 
aider & report a plan for fitting out Armed Yes- 
seUi for the defence of American Liberty." > In 
decisive action looking towards a naval force Con- 
neoticnt preceded Massachusetts. Early in July, 
1775, two vessels were provided for and in August 
they were purchased. A valuable prize was taken 
in October. Conneoticiit fitted out twelve vessels 
during the war, four of them galleys." 

Pennsylvania b^^ July 6, 1775, by providing 
for the defense <£ the Delaware Biver by means of 
boats and galleys. The Feansylvania navy consisted 
of about ten vessels and nearly thirty boats and 
galleys for river and bay defense. The fleet was 
under the command of a commodore.* The Virginia 
navy, authorized by the Provincial Conventicm in 

> •Ttntr. Third Praoindai Cangntt of Mat., JmM 7, 11, IS, 20, 
1176. Sm ftbore, p. 14. 

■ Bteordi of OtmnJ Court of Matt.^ Deaembsr 39, 177&, Jann- 
ie; 11, Fabroary 7, 8, IT, April 20, 1776; PauUin, oh. zL 

• Paper* JTew Landm HUt. Sbc., Part IV, i (1693), U; An. 
Arck, IV, iii, 264-288 ; PauUin, eb. liL 

* Am. Areh., TV, iii, 4M, 510, &1I, 858, 862, 1811, 1820, 183S, 
1838, n, 616, 521 ; Penn. Ardiivtt, Sariea n, I ; WaUaoe'i Life of 
WiUtam Bradford ; FauUia, oh. idiL 

by Google 


December, 1775, comprised first and last seveQ^- 
two vesseU of all classes includit^ maoy ships, brigs 
and schooners; but appaientlj most of them were 
small, poorly manned, and lightly armed, and were 
used lately for commerce. The naval duties of the 
fleet were 0(mfined mostly to Chesapeake Bay.^ 
Maryland Bhared with Vir^nia the defense of 
Chesapeake Bay, and in addition to one Tessel of 
some size and force, maintained a oonedderable fleet 
of galleys, boats, uid ba^es.^ The chief ooncem of 
North Carolina was to protect and keep open Oc- 
raooke Inlet, connecting Pamlico Sound with the 
ocean, through which an important part of the com- 
merce, not only of North Carolina but of Virginia, 
was carried on. A small fleet for this purpose was 
stationed in the sounds.^ Georgia's navy was small 
and unimportant, consisting mostly of galleys. A 
sohoouer, however, was conunissioned as early as 
June, 1775.* The defense of Charleston required 
a considerable force and South Carolina was one 
of the first states to begin the organization of a 
navy. She appears to have had about fifteen sesr 
going vessels, some of them larger and more heav- 
ily armed than any other state or Continental 

> 8«iithtrti LUtrary Mtuenger, Jumaiy to April, 1857 ; Fu^'nia 
Eitt. Bigittr, July, AprO, OatotMr, 1848 ; Va. Mag. Hiit. and 
Siogr-, July, 1883 ; Am. AtA., IV, It, 114, 806, t, 227, ri, 1598; 
Padlin, oh. xiv. 

» An. Ard,.. IV, t, 1609, 16ia 

» md., 1357, 1363. 

* Pduttin, ck xri, for Geoigia, HmjIxaA, and North Cuoliut. 

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ships. The force also included several galleys.^ As 
regards the two remiuning states, New Yoric's 
naval enterprise was ctmfined to organizing a small 
fleet f<n: local def raise. The early oconpation by the 
British of Kew Tork Ci^ and the adjacent waters 
prevented any further operations.* New Hampshire 
voted in 1776 to hnild a galley and appointed a 
committee to procure an armed veaseL After this 
her only naval aotiyity, aside from enconn^ing 
privateering and setting up a prize court, consisted 
in fitting out a twenty-two-gun ship for temporary 
service in 1779." 

Privateers composed the third and a very impor- 
taut class of vessels employed during the Bevoln- 
tion. The word privateer was used at that time, and 
later, too, with the utmost disr^ard of its true 
meaning. Persons with an understanding of mari- 
time afEurs constantly spoke of Continental and 
state cruisers, especially the smaller ones, as priv- 
ateers. The term was often wrongly used even in 
official correspondence. It is necessary that lines 
should be sharply drawn between these different 
dasses of armed vessels. Lettersof niarqae,socalled 
from the letters or commissions th^ carried, were 
armed trading vessels authorized to make prizes. 
They also were generally, and more properly, called 
privateers. The latter name shonld, strictly speak- 

1 Am. Anh., IV, iii, 180, ir, 45-54; PauUin, oh. xr. 
» Jam. Pro». Ctingr. of Nta rort, i, 228, 349 ; Am. Ard^,Vf, 
V, 1401, 14S0. 
* SAd., 10, IG, IT, 24 ; PaaOifh di. zvil. 

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ing, be reeerred for private armed TesBels canying 
no cargo and devoted ezclnsiyely to wu-like use. 
All kinds o{ armed Teasels, however, during the 
Kevoludon, even Continental frigates, were em- 
ployed under special oircomstaaces as cargo carriers. 
The General Coort of Massacbosetts, Novem- 
ber 1, 1776, passed "An Act for Encooraging the 
Fixing ont of Armed Vessells, to defend the Sea 
Coast of America, and for Erecidng a Court to Try 
and Condemn all Vessells that shall be found in- 
festing the same." The preamble of this important 
measure, written by Elbridge Gerry, set forth in 
detail the jnstificatioo of the oolonists in taking up 
arms. " Whereas the present administration of 
Great Britain, being divested of justice and human- 
ity imd strangers to that magnanimity and sacred 
regard fco* liberty which inspired their venerable 
predecessors, have been endeavouring thro' a series 
of years to establish a system of despotism over the 
American colonies and by their venal and corrupt 
measures have ao extended their influence over the 
British parliament that, by a prostituted majority, 
it is now become a political engine of slavery; and 
whereaa the military tools of these our unnatural 
enemies, while r^itrained by the united forces of the 
American colonies from proceeding in their sangui- 
nary career of devastation and slaughter, are in- 
festing, the sea coast with armed vessells and duly 
endeavoaring to distress the inhabitants by burn- 
ing their towns and destroying their dwellings . . . 

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and making captures of proTisioti and other ves- 
sels, being the property of said inhabitants ; and 
whereas their majesties King William and Qaeen 
Mary by the royal charter of this colony, . . . did 
grant, establish and ordain that, in the absence of 
the governor and lieutenantgovemor of the colony, 
a majority o£ the council shall have full power . . . 
for the special defence of their said province or ter- 
ritory, to assemble in martial array and put in wai^ 
like posture the inhabitants of their said province or 
territory uid to lead and conduct them and with them 
to encounter, expulse, resist and pursne by force of 
arms, as well by sea as by land, . . . and also to 
kill, slay, destroy, and conquer by all fittii^ ways, 
enterprizes and means whatsoever all and every 
such person and personB as should at any time 
thereafter attempt or enterprize the destruction, 
invasion, detriment or annoyance of their said prov- 
ince or territory, . . . ; and whereas it is expressly 
resolved by the grand Congress of America, 'That 
each colony, at their own ezpence, make such pro- 
vision by armed vessells or otherwise ... as their 
respective assemblies ■ . . shall judgfl expedient 
. . . for the protection of their harbours and nav- 
igation on the sea-coasts,' . . . ai;d it is the duty 
and interest of this colony to exert itself, as well 
for the purpose of keeping supplies from the enemy 
as for those mentioned in the paragraphs of the 
charter and resolve now recited; therefore . . . 
Be it enacted," etc. This act authorized a major- 



-ity of the oooncil to commisaioQ nutsters of private 
anned vessels. During the following winter and 
spring other acts were passed snpplemeDting (» 
euperseding that of November 1. CotirtB for the 
trial of prizes were establiabed at Hymonth, Ips- 
wich, and Falmoath (Portland} ; and April 18, 
1776, it was provided that in addition to these places 
oonrts might also be held in Barnstable or Dart- 
month for the Bonthem district, in Boston, Salem, 
(ff Kewbnryport for the middle district, and in 
Pown&lborough ( Wiscasset) for the eastern district.^ 
Massachusetts probably sent oat not far from one 
half of aU the American private armed vessels com- 
missioued during the Bevolution. 

The Continental Congress authorized privateer- 
ing March 23, 1776, and on April 2 and 8 adopted 
a form of Commission for privateers and resolved to 
send copies in blank, signed by tlie President of 
Congress, to ihe various colonies, there to be issued 
to privateersmen giving bonds ; a set of instructions 
for cconmanding officers was drafted.^ Several of 
thecolonies or states used these Continental commis- 
sions altogether, not establishii^ state privateering. 
Pennsylvania sent out five hundred vessels under 
C(mtinental commissions and, it is believed, used 
no others. Six hundred and twenty-six Massachu- 
setts privateers sailed under Continental letters of 

1 AcU and Baolva of the Province of MaamcJauitts Bay, No- 
Taraber 1, 1116, Febrnair 14, Maioh IS, April 13, May 8, 17'iS. 
> Sea AppeDdix IIL 

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marque, but that state also sent nearly a thonsuid 
othen to sea under Iier own oommisai^nu ; it is pro- 
bable, however, that iti many instances the same 
vessel may have sailed at one time under one com- 
misraon and later under the other. New Hampshire, 
Khode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, and South 
Carolina, and probably some of the other states, is- 
sued their own commissitms, but the first four also 
employed those of the Congress — Coonecticnt and 
Maryland more than two hundred eadi. Sixty-fonr 
Vi^inia privateers sailed under Continental com- 
missums. The American Commissioners in Paris — 
later the minister to France — and the naval agent 
of Congress in the West Indies likewise commis- 
sioned privateers. A rough estimate only of Uie to- 
tal number and force of American vessels engaged 
iu privateering on the patriotic side during the 
Bevolution is possible. The Library of Congress 
has printed a list of nearly seventeen hnndred let- 
ters of marque issued by the Ccmtinental Congress 
to privateers carrying, approzimate^, fifteen thoa- 
sand guns — jnrobably light ones for the most part 
— and fifty-nine thonsand men. After deducting 
duplicates, that is to say, in cases of two or more 
commissions being sucoessirely issued to the same 
vessel, and dedacting also armed boats and galleys, 
there remain more than thirteen hundred sea-going 
vessels. The thousand commissions issued by Mass- 
achusetts probably represented more than seven 
hundred different vessels, after making the same 



proportionate allowanoe for duplioateB. Several hun- 
dred additional privateers must have been commis- 
sioned by otber states and in France and the West 
Indies. Assuming the total number of private armed 
vessels to have been two thoasand, and there were 
probably a good many more, they doubtless carried 
very nearly eighteen thousand guns and aeventy 
thousand men. There seem to have been about the 
same number of British privateersmen, according 
to (Coventor Hutchinson, who, speaking of the dif- 
ficulty of manning the British navy, says : " Some 
have proposed pressing the crews of all privateers, 
in which service it is computed 70,000 men are em- 
ployed."^ Judging from the scanty information at 
hand concerning British privateering, it ia probable 
that their vessels engaged in this form of warfare 
were considerably less numerous but decidedly sn- 
perior in force to the Americans ; the latter seem to 
have carried on the average between eight and nine 
guns and less than thirty-five men, the British about 
seventeen gons and sevcoity-fire or mote men.* 

1 Divy, ii, 264 (JoiA 21, 1T79.) 

■ Jmtr. Cant. Congr., Uaralk 28, April 2, 8, 1T76, Hay 2, 1780; 
Naval Bteordi of Amtr, Rto- (oalutdai), 217-495i Etnmoiu'* 
Slalutkal Hiilory of tie yavs,lZ1;Xui. j^tkiva, dm to olrmi 
Ftrm, Archive!, II, i, S66; PofMra Neio Lmdm mn. 8oc., IT, i, 
27; Sheifield'B Elude Idand FrivaleerM; PavUia; Limy and 
Letttn af Tkamat HutchiTum ; Willuuiu'a History of LineTpoot 
Privateen, App. It, list of 95 veweli ; London Chronicle, April 1, 
29, 1779, lials at 100 printawa from Liverpool and 121 from New 
York ; Brit. Adm. Bic., A. D. 4^9, Fsbrnary 27, 1778, No. 3, 
lilt of 69 Nbv Yotk privatMn. See Appendix VII. 

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Valuable Bervice to the country was rendered by 
tbe privateere, and they contributed in a large de- 
gree to the naval defense, and so to the fortunate 
outcome of the war. On the other hand, the system 
was subject to abuses and was in many ways detri- 
mental to the r^ular naval serrice. William Whip- 
ple, writing to Josiah Bartlett from Fortsmouth, 
New Hampshire, July 12, 1778, says: "I agree 
with you that the privateers have much distressed 
tiie trade of our Enemies, but had there been no 
privateers is it not probable there would have been 
a much latger number of Public Ships than has 
been fitted out, which might have distressed the 
Enemy nearly as much & furnished these States with 
necessaries on much better terms than they have 
been supplied by Privateers? ... !No hind of 
Business can so effectually introduce Luxury, 
Extravagance and every hind oi Dissipation, that 
tend to the destruction of the morals erf people. 
Those who are actually engaged in it soon lose eveiy 
Idea of right & wrong, & for want of an opportunity 
of grati^ing their insatiable avarice with the pro- 
perty of the Enemies of their Country, will with- 
out the least compunction seize that of her Friends. 
. . . There is at this time 5 Privateers fitting out 
here, which I suppose will tahe 400 men. These 
must be by &r the greater part Countrymen, for 
the Seamen are chiefiy gone, & most of them in Hal- 
lifax Gaol. Besides all this, you may depend no 
public ship will ever be manned while there is a 

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privateer fitting ont. The reason is pl^: Those 
people who have the most influence with Seamen 
think it tiieir interest to discourage the Public 
service, because by that they promote their own 
interest, viz.. Privateering." ^ 

As intimated in the foregoing, privateers at times 
made trouble by seizing neutral vessels. In his ad- 
vocacy of a strong navy in preference to a service 
under private ctmtrol Whipple was in advance of 
his time. William Vernon, of the Navy Board at 
Boston, wrote to John Adams, December 17, 1778, 
that the Continental ships in port "may sail in 
Three Weeks, if it was possible to get Men, wch 
we shall never be able to accomplish, unless some 
method is taken to prevent desertion, and a atop- 
age of Private Ships Sailing, until our ships are 
Mann'd. The infamous practice of seducing our 
Men to leave the ships and taking them off at an 
out-Port, with many other base methods, will make 
it impossible ever to get our ships ready to Sail in 
force, or perhaps otherwise than single Ships." He 
wishes that "an Embargo upon aU Private Pro- 
perty, whether Arm'd or Merchant ships, may take 
Place thro' all the United States, until the Meet is 
compleatly Mann'd. . . . You can scarsely form an 
Idea of the increase and groath of the extravagance 
of the People in their demands for Labour and 
every Article for Sale &c ; dissipation has no bounds 
at present ; when or where it will stop, or if a re- 
1 HiitarictU Xagadnt, March, 1862. 

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form will take placv, I dare not jnedict." * Hie 
expedient of laying a temporary embatgo upon 
privateers was occasionally resorted to. 

A more favorable opinion of privateering is 
found in a letter of John Adams to the President 
of Congresa, dated Amsterdam, September 16, 1780. 
Speaking of commerce destroying he says : " This 
ifl a short, easy, and infallible method of humbling 
the English, preventing the effusion of an ocean of 
blood, and brin^g the war to a conolnsion. In this 
policy I hope onr conntiymen will join [the French 
and Spanish] with the utmost alacrity. Privateer- 
ing is as well understood by them as any pe<^>le 
whatsoever ; and it is l^ cutting off supplies, not 
by attacks, sieges, or assaults, that I expect deliver- 
ance from enemies." * 

No doubt what was then needed, as in every war, 
was a well-balanced naval force made up of a sofB- 
dent number of fighting diipa and commerce de- 
stroyers in the right pn^rtiont. Privateering was 
more popolar than the r^^nlar naval service on ao- 
count of the greater freedom from the restraints 
of military discipline and because Uie profits were 
larger; for privateersmeu were devoted almost 
wholly to conuneroe destroying and were conse- 
quently likaly to take more prizes in the long run. 
In addition to this and besides having higher pay, 

1 FuU. a. I. But. 8»e., Tui, SML 

' WharUH, It, 68. On Uie loofits of jririhinrinE. am Chamiiig, 

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ihe entire valne of their prizes went to the owners 
and captors. When the prizes of Continental cmis- 
en were ships of war, one half the proceeds went 
to the oaptoTs, and in other cases only one third. 
Id October, 1776, Congress increased the shares 
of the captors to the whole and to one half the 
Talae of these two classes of prizes respectively, in 
order to put Continental vessels more nearly on 
terms of equality with privateers. Bounties and 
other inducements were resorted to for the purpose 
of ohtaining recruits. It would probably have been 
better if not more titan half as many private com- 
missions had been issued, provided that a corre< 
spondingly more powerful regular fleet could have 
been put upon the sea.^ 

It occasionally happened during the Itevolntion 
that vessels built or purchased and fitted out for 
the Continental service, subsequently found their 
way into one of the state navies, or perhaps became 
privateers ; and the reverse was also true in one or 
two instaocM. It was also the case not infrequently 
that two or all three of the different classes of vessels 
cruised together in squadrons or on expeditions. 
Officers likewise, beginning as privateersmen or in 
state service, wero sometimes transferred to the 
Continental navy ; and, on the other hand, unem- 
ployed Continental of&cers and seamen, especially 

1 Jour. CdiK. Congr., April IT, Angnat G, Ootober 3D, 1776, 
Hweb29,lTn, Jd1t11|1TS(X ForfnrthaidiBonssioDof privalAar- 
j« destxaying, aee beloir, pp. 662, 663. 

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towards the end of the war, sought service in the 
state navies or in pHvateers. For these reasons 
there was to some extent a sort of blending of the 
three classes of sea service, both as regards ships 
and personneL The narrative therefore will foUow 
a m(n« natilral coarse in describii^ the naval opera- 
tions of the war to a certain extent in a chro- 
nological or geographical order and not strictly 
in conformity with the dasses of service oon- 

The die^rity between the sea power of America 
and that of England, great as it actually was, wiU 
be found less marked than mere figures would indi- 
cate, when we inquire into the true condition of the 
British fleet and of naval administration in England. 
Our enemy had many difficulties to contend with 
which must be set off against the numbers of ships, 
guns, and men to be found in statistical tables. 
After tiis Bevolution of 1688 the navy was less 
dependent on the King tJian it formerly had been 
and loohed more to Parliament for favor, which was 
an advantage in some ways, but brought the service 
more into partisan politics. During the first three 
quarters and more of the eighteenth century the 
British navy suffered much from corruption and 
mismam^ement in civil administration, and at times 
also from incompetent commanders at sea. Before 
the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763 a high 
degree of efficiency had been brought about, but 



ait«r that a decided faUing (^ took place and con- 
tmned many years.! 

It is not easy to mahe an estimate of the real 
strength of the British nary at the time of the 
American Bevolution, for figures derived from differ- 
ent sources Tat^, and many ships were sent to sea 
in sneh poor condition that they were by no means 
aUe to p^orm the s^rioe to be expected from 
their nominal force. The number of vessels of all 
classes in 1775 was stated to be two hundred ajid 
seTentf, including one hundred and thir^-one ships 
of the line, that is, ships caiiying sixty or more 
guns ou two or more decks ; in 1783 the number 
was four hundred and sixty-eight, including a hun- 
dred and Beventy-four ships of the line. During the 
same time the number of men increased from eigh- 
teen thousand to one hundred and ten thousand. In 
January, 1778, t^ere were supposed to be two 
hundred and seventy-four vessels of all classes ready 
for immediate service, of which ninety-two were on 
the North American station besides thirteen at New- 
foondland and forty-one in the West Indies. At 
the end of the year the total effective force was 
three hundred and seventeen, while the numbers 
in the Western Hemisphere were somewhat reduced, 
^eae figures seem formidable when compared with 
those of the Continental navy, including Washing- 
ton's little fleet in Massachusetts Bay, which oom- 

' Eanuy'i Short Sutom of Ox Royai Naag, ii, 2, 101, 117, 
118, 133, 134, 136. 

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prued altogether, daring tlie whole oonrBe c^ the 
war, between fifty and sixty vessels in actual service, 
rating from thirty-two-gon frigates down to small 
saho<»ier8 and sloops. To these are to be added the 
small craft on inland waters, the state navies, in- 
cluding perhaps forty or more sea^;oing omisers, 
and the privateers, nnmerons to be sore, and capable 
of inflicting serious injury upon commerce, but in 
no sense a menace even to the lighter rc^;ular cruisers 
of the enemy. These Americiui figares of- oonrse 
very greatly exceed the number in service at any 
one time. Nevertheless the British were beset with 
manifold troubles and their ships found plenty of 
oecnpation. The active and fast^ling rebel priva- 
teers required dose watching and led their pursuers 
many a long chase. Supplies had to be brought 
from Europe, and for the convoy of these as well 
as of troopships a congidetable part of their force 
must be <Uverted from purely warlike employment. 
The loBB of the seafaring population of America aa 
a source of supply for the manning of the British 
navy was likewise severely felt at a time when naval 
expansion was necessary. In 1778 the navy of 
France and later those of Spun and Holland entered 
the contest against England and threatened ber 
naval supremacy.^ 

1 EaTmag, ii, 210-214, 219 ; CIowm'b Besai Navy, iii, 827, 328 ; 
ScliombarK'i Nanal ChrMologn, I, 4£4, 486, 440, 453, Ii, 1, S6, 68, 
124; BflslMn'i NaiKd and Mililarg Xtmoirt, W, 201 ; Data eol- 
iMtsd b; K. W. Neeier from Fwliamtiitary Reporta and otiwt 
•onnw>. Sm al«o NtMer'i IrOrodneiion to Jfmii/ Hittory Sodelt 
PubiKoiiimi, iii. 

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Yet a foe to the British nivj more malign than 
foreign navies was found in the Admintlty at home, 
and that was maladministration. In 1771 the Earl 
of Sandwich, who had previonslj been first lord of 
the Admiralty for two short terms, was again ap- 
pointed to the office and held it until 1782. Tha 
adminiBtralion of the navy nnder Sandwich was not 
only weak, but reached nearly the lowest depths of 
corruption. In 1778, " embezzlement, larceny, swind- 
ling " and other like abuses prevailed in the dock- 
yards. Money was voted for repairs and the ships 
were not repaired. " Vessels reported as well found 
and ready for sea lay in the naval harbours rotting." 
f^m 1775 to 1782, seventy-six vessels of the navy, 
indadii^ fourteen of sixty-four or more gnus, " cap- 
sized, foundered, or were wrecked." The nation was 
charged with four thousand more men than were 
rated on the books of the navy. There was oollu- 
sion .b^nreen dockyard officials and shipowners; 
the former would inspect and condemn vessels and 
the latter, having bot^ht a ship, would ohat^ her 
name and appearance and sell her back to the govern- 
ment few transport service.' Some of the n^miTal^ 
participated in the fruits of embezzlement, and the 
management of naval affairs at New York under 
Arbnthnot was corrupt. Maltreatment of seamen, 
bad food, scurvy, and oth^ evils were due largely 
to the dishonesty of pursers. Insubordination and 
disaffection resulted, and it was said that from 
1 B«IdMt'« Ffr«t Avitnean Civa War, i, 290-293. 

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1774 to 1780 tarty-two tbouaad men denzted 
from the dswj. During <3»« aantc timm eifiliteGn 
tiloasaiid died of <liiMft- InoompeteDt medical 
service was tibe mle, and &e mortaHfy, especmUy 
in troincal sea«, was ^rpalling ; bnt anexceptitm to 
this is to be found in the fleet of Admiral Bodnej, 
whoee nugecm brought about refomu irioch nred 
conntleas livea.* 

Charles Middleton, the oomptroller of the navy, 
in the course of correspondence witlt Sandwich, 
qxdte veiT plainly of the abuses in naval adminis- 
tratioQ.* In 1779 he writes, ''The deserlaons 
fzom shipa and hosjntals are beyond imagination. 
The ^adplinfl of service is entirely lost, and to a 
great measnre owing to admiral^ indulgences, but 
still more to admiralty ne^igence. The want of 
vigour at that board has weakened its authority to 
such a dq^ree over the officers of the fleet, that no 
lespect is paid to its orders. . - . For want of 
plan, for want of men of professional knowledge 
nsed to business to assist at the admiralty, and for 
want of method and execution, one error has pro- 
duced another, and the whole has become such a 
mass of confusion, that I see no pro(^>ect of reduc- 
ing it to order. All I can do at the navy office will 
a.Tail but little if tbe admiralty oontinnes what it 

t BdelUr, 2»F-2g7, 804-808; Publieatioiu of JTavj Seeordt 
Boc, znii, 80-88 ; Saimiy, ii, £06-210, 214-216 ; Man. But. Soc 
Proe^ slir, 864-^68 ; D«t> «olleeted br B. W. NeeMT. 

* ITavt Bee. Soc, zzzviii, 2-10, I6-8O1 

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is at present. It is, indeed, so wretohedly bad, that 
if I iraited for ofSoial orders and kept within the 
mere line of duty without pressing or proposing 
what ought to come unasked for, we must inevit- 
ably stand still. . . . The whole system of the 
adnuialty is rotten. . . . The dockyards, from 
a want of proper attention to appointmentB, are in 
a wretched disabled state, without spirit, without 
discipline." ^ In another letter he says: " For want 
of proper men to conduct the business at the ports, 
no expedition is used in refitting the ships. The 
officers are not kept to tlieir duty. The men are 
d^y deserting in scores, and those who remiun are 
inclined to mutiny."^ Again, February 8, 1781, 
after relating much of the same sort, he observes: 
" I cannot be an acquiescent witness of the present 
weak state of the yards, and likely to continue so, 
according to the current arrangements, at a crisis 
when the utmost efforts of every officer in every 
department of the navy from the hi^est to the 
lowest, aro most loudly demanded." ' To this 
Sandwich replies: " I have neither leisure nor in- 
clination to enter into a discussion upon the subject 
of the letter with which you have favoured me."* 
In 1786, Middleton, speaking o£ Sandwich's admin- 
istration, says that "all his successors, notwith- 
standing their great pretensions to a regard for the 
public service, have proceeded in the same way ; 

> NavjiEec Sue., iiiTiii,4, 6, 6. ' Rid., 7. 

»JJWt26. *Ibid.,sn. 

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and I find politios have got too great a hold on thifl 
branch of the navy for me to wiUiatand it." ^ 

It may be inferred from all this that the British 
navy was less formidable than the imposing array 
of ships on the printed lists would indicate ; and 
yet s^rice traditions of the right sort and fitness 
for the sea gave the English a superiority as a fight- 
ing force over other European navies out of pro- 
portion to their numbers. 

> JTopy Ste, Boc, zzzriB, 80. 

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Washington's fleet, it^ and ittg 

GenebalWashington tookoonunaDd of the Ameri- 
can army at Cambridge July 8, 1775, and the siege 
of Boston was closely maintained at ereiy point 
except on the water side of the town. Here the 
British receiTdd ptomions and military BtoteB 
without interraption. It was of great importance 
to intercept these supplies as far as possible with 
a view to distressing the enemy ; and furthermore 
the scarcity of the munitions of war with the col- 
ouiats suggested their capture from the British aa 
the readiest means of obtaining them. In August, 
'Washington bad some correspondence with the 
Ftovincial CongresB of Maasachnsetta as to the 
adrisability of fitting out armed vessels for the pur^ 
pose, but without immediate result.^ 

Accordingly, there being no Continental naval 
establishment at that time, he determined to 
ouploy detachments of the army, for which he 
required no further authority than the general 
discretion allowed him for the efFeotive prosecution 
of the siege. The re^meuts recruited in Salem, 
Marblebead, Beverly, and other shore towns were 
composed largely of seafaring men ; the re^ment 
' Ant. Anh., IV, iii, 827. 

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oi Coloiul John GHarm <rf Maitilebead aftenruda 
became noted for ferrying tlie Continental anny 
acioBB the East Eivw to New York after the Battle 
of Long Island and acroes &e Delaware before the 
Battle of Trenton. Washington diew np(m these 
re^mmts of sailors and fishermen for the <a«ws of 
tiw) vessels fitted out in the Edl of 1775. 

The first of tbese vessels was the schooner Han- 
nah, aad Captun Nicholson Brongbton was pnt in 
oommand. His instroctioas, signed by Washington 
and dated September 2, 1775, were as fdlows: 
" Too, b^ng appointed a Captain in the Army of 
the United Colonies of North-America, are hereby 
directed to take the command of a detachment of 
said Army and proceedon board the Schooner Haii< 
nah, at Beverly, lately fitted oot and equipped with 
arms, ammimition and provisions, at the Continen- 
tal expense. Ton are to proceed, as commander of 
sud Schooner, itmnediately on a cmise agunst such 
vesseLi as may be foond on the high aeas or else. 
where, bound inwards and outwards, to or from 
Boston, in the service of 1^ Ministerial Army, and 
to take and seize all soch vessels laden with soldiers, 
arms, ammnnition or prorimons, for or from said 
Army, or which yon shall have good reason to sufr 
pect ate in such service." Broughtonwastosend his 
prizes into "the safest and nearest Fort to this 
camp " ; papers disctoaing the enemy's designs were 
to be searched for ; priBOnerB were to be hnmanety 
treated, allowed to retain their private property 

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and sent to beadqaarters tinder a guard fumished 
by the ContineDtal ofScer etadoned at the port ; the 
apportionment of prize money was prescribed ; armed 
vessels of the enemy were to be avoided, the sole 
object of the enterprise being the interception of 
sapplies ; a system of signals was to be established 
for communicating with other vessels to be sent oat. 
The inatmctions concluded with the injunction " to 
be extremely careful and frugal of your anmLuni- 
tion ; by no means to waste any of it in salutes, or 
any purpose but what is absolutely necessary." ' 

Bronghton went to sea September 5 ; two days 
later he put into Crloucegter and made the following 
report : " I sailed from Beverly last Tuesday at ten 
o'clock, with a fair wind; proceeded on my cruise. 
On the same day, abont five o'tdock, saw two ships 
of war ; they gave me ohaae. I made back towards 
Cape Ann, but did not go in. Next morning I saw 
a ship under my lee quarter ; she ^ving me chase, 
I run into Cape Aim harbonr. I went out again 
that night about sunset and stood to the sonthward. 
Next morning saw a ship under my lee quarter ; I 
perceived her to be a lai^ ship. I tacked and stood 
back for the land ; soon after I put about and stood 
towards her again and found her a ship of no force. 
I came up with her, h^ed, and asked where she 
came from; was answered, from Fiscataqua, and 
bound to Boston. I told him he must bear away 
and go into Cape Ann ; but being very loth, I told 

' Am. Areh., TV, iii, 633. 

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him if he did not I shoold fire on her. On that dw 
hore away and I have brought her safe into Cape 
Ann harbour, and have delivered the ship and pris- 
tmers into the hands and eare of the Committee <d 
Safety for this Town of Gloncester, and have de- 
sired themtosend the prisoners nnder proper gnard 
to yom Ezoellene; for farther orders." This prize 
was the ship Unity, loaded with naval stores and 
lumber.^ It was the first captore made by a Con- 
tineotal vesseL 

Early in October Colonel Crlover was insbnoted 
to procure two other vessels in Salem or Newbniy- 
port and fit them out as soon as possible. The Han- 
nah was laid aside, and in her place another schooner 
was hired, *'of better &me for suling." There was 
eonsideiable delay in gettii^ these vessels ready for 
sea.1 Meanwhile Washington had received 1^ in- 
strootions of Congress of October 6, to attempt the 
capture of the two brigs bonnd to Quebec.' Gor- 
eoor Cooke of Bhode Island was unable to give aid 
in this matter, one of the Bhode Island vessels being 
unfit for service, while the other, the sloop Katy, 
Captun Whipple, was on a voyage to Bermuda in 
quest of powder. For several weeks G«neral Wash- 
ington and Grovemor Cooke had been corresponding 
in regard to this enterprise. The scarcity of gun- 
powder in the American army caused Washington 
great anxiety, and at his solicitation the govemor 

1 Am. ArA^ IV, lii, 668, 688. * Ibid., MO, 91S, 991. 

* S«« Abore, p. 22. 

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WASHIMOTON^ PL£ET. 1775 AND 1776 63 
had dispatebed tfae Ka^ to Bermuda, which at that 
time seemed to be the most likely place to get it.* 
The people of Bermuda wexe frigidly to the pop- 
Tilar cause in America and gave trouble to the 
British by their (^position to the enforcement of 
laws forbidding trade with the Kevolutionists.* 

, For tfae expedition to the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
two of the Bohooners recently procured were chosen. 
They were called the Lynch and the Franklin and 
were put under the Mmmiand of Captains Brought 
too and Selman. Their orders were issued Octo- 
ber 16 ; " The honourable Continental Congress 
having received intdligence that two north oountry 
brigantines of no force sailed from England some 
time ago for Qaebeok, laden with six thousand 
stands of arms, a lai^ quantity of powder and 
other stores, you are hereby directed to make alt 
possible despateh for the Eiver St. Lawrence and 
there to take such a station as will best enable yon 
to intercept the above vessels. Yoa are also to seize 
and take any othw transports laden with men, am- 
munition, clothing, or other stores for the use of the 
Ministerial Army or Navy in America, and secure 
them in snob places as may be most safe and con- 
venient." Captain Broughton was to command the 
expedition. If they found that the brigs had already 
passed, they were still to cmise off the month of 

> ^M. Ard>., IT, m, 36, 09, 187, 461, 081, 668, 654, 682, 710, 
718, 728, 608, 642, 1087. 
' Brtl. Adm. Ra^ A. D. 488, No. 66, Much 16, 1776. 

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the river as loog as the Beaaon would permit and 
attempt to adze aU vessels in the service of the 
foitiidi army. It was tbonght that in case of the 
capture of Quebec by the Americans, sneh vessels 
would be likely to come down the river. Canadian 
vessels, however, not in the British service, were 
not to be in any way molested. After some hxrOux 
delay the L^ch and Franklin sailed from Marble- 
head October 21.i 

Soon after this, Captain Whipple returned from 
Bermuda, where he had been well received by the 
people, but found no powder. The Katy was at 
once fitted out for a cruise to the eastward. In the 
mean time work had been pushed on other vessels 
for Washington's fleet under many difBooltdes, and 
hj the end of October fonr, in addition to the 
Lynch and Franklin, were ready for service. Th^ 
were the schooners Lee and Warren at Salem and 
Marblehead and the brigantine Washington and 
schooner Harrison at Flymonth. The Lee, com- 
manded by Captain Manley of MarUehead, and 
Harriscm, Captain Coit of Connecticut, were at sea 
October 29 ; the Warren, Captain Adams of New 
Hampshire, and the Washington, Captafai Martin- 
dale of Bhode Island, got away early in November, 
Their services were needed, as the enemy's trans- 
ports continaed to arrive in Boston. Colonel Joseph 
Reed, Washington's military secretary, suggested aa 
colors for the fleet " a fl^ with a white ground, a 
'An. Ardt., IV, iii, 106S, icns, 1076, 1083, 1109, 1134. 

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tree in the miclctle, the motto, ' Appeal to Heaven.' " 
This, the New England pine-tree flag, was a§ed on 
the floating batteries about Boston, and six months 
later was presoribed b; the Provincial Congress 
for the Massachusetts navy.> 

The Lynch and Franklin arrived in the Strait 
of Canso early in November and cruised in this 
ndgfaborhood about two weeks, not being able to 
get farther at that time on aocotint of bead winds. 
They took a few small vessels which were after- 
wurds released, not being considered lawful prize. 
November IT they appeared before Cbarlottetown, 
the capital of the Island of St. John's (Prince 
Edward Island). This was the farthest point they 
reached. Here the conduct of Broughton and Sel- 
nuut showed a singular want of propriety for whidi 
their only excuse seems to have been the informa- 
tion they had received that preparations were be- 
ing carried on there for assisting in the defense of 
Quebec. They supposed they " should do essential 
service by breaking up a nest of recruits intended 
to be sent gainst Montgomery, who commanded 
our forces in Quebeck." In the excess of their zeal 
the Americans seized both pablic and private prop- 
erty and Wught away as prisoners three prominent 
citizens, Including the acting governor. Upon ar^ 
riving at Cambridge, these men were promptly 
released and their property restored by Greneral 

> A>». Arch., IT, iii, 1083, 1128, 1134, 1167, 1181, 1182, 1208, 
1S46, 1250, 1251, 1S46 ; Btc Qtn. Court Man., April 29, 1778. 

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Waahingtoti, who Beverely reproved Bronghton and 
Selman. Washington was disappointed and dissatis- 
fied with the results of this enterprise, and believed 
that if they had gone farther and cruised in the mouth 
of the St. Lawrence, ** all the vessels coming down 
that river most [have fallen] into their hands." ^ 

Meanwhile the other vessels of Waslungton's lit- 
tle fleet cruised with more or less success. The Hax- 
lisoD brought two prizes into Plymouth November 
6 ; they were a schooner and sloop from Nova Scotia 
bound to Boston with provisions. As the season 
advanced and the weather became severe, smne of 
these soldier sailors grew discontented and tronUe- 
some. William Watson, Washington's agent at 
Plymonth, on November 23 found the crew of tbe 
Harrison " an uneasy set ' of fellows who have got 
soured by the seventy of the season," and on the 
29th he wrote to the commander-in-chief "that the 
people on boud the Brigantine Washington tav in 
general discontented and have agreed to do no duty 
on board sud vessel, and say that they enlisted to 
serve in the army and not as marines. I believe 
Capt. Martindale has done all in his power to mahe 
things easy. His people really appear to me to be 
a set of the moat unprincipled abandoned feUows I 
ever saw. I am very apprehensive that little is to 
he expected from fellows drawn promiscuously from 

iJm. .iraL, tr, IU, im, 1379, 1401, 1419, It, IBS, 178, 181, 
314, 451 j Saltm GaztUt, Jnlj 22, 1658, qnoM in WwU'a Ori^ 
^tit Amtriean Ifavif. 

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the army for this basmess ; bat Cbat if people were 
enlisted for the purpose oi priTateering, much might 
be expected from them." Washington wrote to tlie 
President of Congress Deoember 4 : " The phtgne, 
trouUe and vexation I have had with the crews of 
all the armed vessels is inexpressible. I do belicTe 
there is not on eartb a more disorderly set. Every 
time they come into port we hear of nothing bat 
mutinous oomplaints. Manly's snccess has lately, 
and but lately, quieted his people. The crews of the 
Washington and Harrison have actually deserted 
t^em, BO that I have been under the necesaty of 
ordering the agent to lay the latter up, and get 
hands for the other on the best terms he could." On 
the same day, however, news of a fortunate cruise 
of Capttun Manley having reached Plymonth, Wat- 
son wrote: "After repairing on board the brig 
Saturday night, inquiring into the cause <^ the un- 
easiness among the people and finding it principally 
owing to their want of dothing, and after supply- 
ing them with what they wanted, the whole crew, to 
a man, gave three cheers and declared their readi- 
ness to go to sea the next morning. The warm 
weather at that time and the news of Captain Man- 
ly's good suocesB had a very happy influence on the 
minds of die people." ' 

John Manley w^ the most successful of the 
captains and was r^arded by Washington with 
especual favor. He was about forty-two jrears of age 

" An. Jrd,., W, iii, 1878, 1868, 1713, i», 179, 181. 

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and of Ei^lish birth, bnt had lived sinoe earl; 
manhood in Marblehead. His vessel, the Lee, was 
a seventy-two ton schooner cartying a lai^ square 
sail on the fore topmast ; she moanted fonr foniv 
potmdeTB and ten swivels, and was manned by fifty 
soldiers from Glover's r^ment. Early in Novem- 
ber Manley captured two ot three small vessels. 
About the middle of the month a British frigate 
arrived at Boston with another vessel nnder convoy. 
It was learned that a third Teasel which had been 
with them had not arrived. Manley, who happened 
to be at Beverly, received this information from 
headquarters and immediately went to sea in search 
of the belated vessel. On the 29th he sighted a 
sail which proved to be the object of his search, the 
brigantine Nancy, which when overhauled sur- 
rendered without resistance and was taken into 
Gloucester. The Nancy carried a large cargo of ord- 
nance and military stores which were of the utmost 
value to the American army. Besides other things 
there were two thousand muskets, thirty-one tons 
of musket shot, three thousand round shot, several 
barrels q£ powder, and a tluiteeu-in<di brass mortar, 
which promised to be most useful in the siege of 
Boston. A few days later the mortar was " fixed 
on its bed before the Continental Laboratory [in 
Cambridge]. It is called The Congress, and is pro- 
nounced to be the noblest piece of ordnance ever 
landed in America." 1 Manley oonttnued his cruise, 
> If. S. Qtrmuit, DMsmber 7, 1TI5. 

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WASHraGTOHTS FLEET, 1775 AND 1776 69 
«Dd withm a few days captured a three handred 
ton ship called the Concord. A little later he took 
two other vessels and still another before the end 
of the year. On board one of these prizes were im- 
portant letters of Lord Dunmore, the royal gov- 
ernor of Virginia.' 

In regard to the capture of the Nancy, Lord 
Sandwich, then at the head of the Adndrally, sud : 
*' The loss of the ordnance store ship is a fatal event, 
and by what Mr. Pringle tdls me, has been most 
probably owing to the treachery of the master, who 
went out under convoy which he parted from on 
his passage and tho' a Mgate on the coast of Amet^ 
ica, which he met at sea, took him nnder her pro- 
tection, he parted from her also and conlinned to 
be beating backwards and forwards near the shore 
till he was picked up by the enemy's whaleboats." * 
From the preceding narrative it appears that tiie 
dose of the year 1776 found the Americans be^- 
ning in a resolute if somewhat feeble way to curtail 
in a slight measure the completd control of the sea 
held by their enemy. In a letter to Bichatd Henry 
Lee, dated November 27, before Manley's more not- 
able successes, Washington sums op the sitoatioii in 
New England waters : " In answer to your inquiries 
respecting armed vessels, there are none of any tol- 
erable force belonging to this Govenunent, I know 

» AtH. ArO., rv, m, 1537, 1121, 1722, It, 168, 178, 180, 181, 
S14, 227, S14 ; CM. Entx Iiutitate, Jannuy, 1900 ; Boton GatOtt, 
Dwambei 4, 26, 1775 ; Mm. flpy, Derambai 15, 1775. 

> Hia. l&imaeripU Cmnmimm, SUstford-SaehiilU MSS-, 20, 

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of bat two of any kind ; those very smalL" He 
doabtlesB allades to the Machias lAherty and Dili- 
gent and to the provincial government of Maasacha- 
setts. "At the Cimtanental expense I have fitted ont 
nx, two of which are npon the crnise directed by 
Congress ; the rest pi; ahout Capes Cod and Ann, 
as yet ts very little pnrpose. These vessels are all 
manned by of&cers and soldiers, but how far, as 
th^ are apon the old establishm^it which has not 
more than a month to exist, they can be ordered off 
this station, I will ntft nndertahe to say ; bat snp- 
poae they might be engaged anew. Belonging to 
Pnmdenoe there are two armed vessels, and I am 
told Conneeticat has one." * As it was usual to call 
most armed vessels inivateen, references to them 
in the newspapers and in correspondence cannot be 
relied on, but presumably some of those commis- 
moned by Massachnsetts had b^nn to omise l:^ the 
end of the year. Colonel Joseph Ward, writing to 
John Adams from the camp at Boxbuiy December 
8, expresses his belief that naval enterprise on the 
part of the separate colonies will bring the best 

On the Ist of January, 1776, Washington ap- 
pointed Manley commodore of his fleet and be 
hoisted his pennant on boaxd the schooner Hancock, 
which had just been added to the force. The terms 
of enlistment of the soldiers who had manned the 
vessels having just expired, new crews were recruited 
1 Am. JrdL, IT, iii, 1687. ' Adamt MSS. 

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from the seafaring population along shore. All the 
Teasels received new commanders. Daniel Waters 
took the Lee, Samuel Tucker the Franklin, Charles 
Dyar the Harrison, John Ayres the Lynch, and 
William Burke the Warren. The conuniasionB and 
instructions of the first three of these captains were 
dated January 20 ; of the other two, February 1. 
The Washington, Captain Mattindale, had been 
captured by the British frigate Fowey oS Cape Ann 
in December, and taken into BoBton.^ 

In January, Manley took two prizes off Nan- 
taaket and was convoying them to Plymouth when 
he fell in with a BritiBh eight-gun schooner and 
had a brisk engagement in eight of the enemy's fleet 
in Kantasket Roads. The schooner sheered off and 
ran into Boston Harbor. Washington wrote to Man- 
ley, January 28 : " I received your agreeable letter 
of the 26th instant giving an account of your having 
taken and ouried into Plymouth two of the enemy's 
transports. Your conduct in ei^a^ng the e^ht-gnn 
schooner with so few hands aa yon went out with, 
your attention in securing yonr prizes and your 
general good behavior since yon first engaged in the 
service, merit my and yoor country's thanks." He 
goes on to suggest appointing stations for the dif- 
ferent vessels, so as to give a better chance of inters 
cepting 1^ enemy's supplies, saying that the other 

> OoB. Ewtex IitMl., J«naiirj, 1009; Am. Jr<A., TV, It, 257, 791, 
708, 010 ; ^wppard'a Life tf Tacktr, 31-36, 49, 60 ; BoUon Otuetle, 
JtaaaijljlTJO; BtH-AJm. Bee., A. D.4S5, Deoaalmr 15,1716. 

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captUDS, lutyingbeen instructed to iake orders from 
Manley, dared not disobey ; " I wish yon ooald in- 
qnre the captains of the other armed schooners 
under your command with some of your activi^ and 
industry." ' A few days Liter Manley had another 
encounter with the enemy. As he *' was comiag out 
of Plymouth January 80, an aimed brig (which went 
from Boston for the purpose of taking him, as he 
supposed) gave him chase, apon which, he ran his 
vessel on shore a little south of the North River in 
Scituate. The brig came to anchor and fired not less 
than four hundred times upon the privateer ; but, 
very remarkable, no man was even wounded. One 
ball entered the stem and passed but about six 
inches from Captiun Manly, who was confined by 
aicknesB in his cabin. The next day one hundred 
and thirty balls were found upon the adjacent shore. 
Besides the above, which is from a correspondent 
near where the affair happened, we hear that after 
the hng ceased firing she manned her boats, boarded 
Captun Maoly's vessel (the people heang ashore) 
and endeavoured to set her on fite ; but seeing our 
people coming upon them, they were glad to get off 
without effecting thetr design. She has since been 
got off, is refitting and nearly ready for another 
cruise." ^ The Hancock took two prizes in March, 
one of which was armed and only surrendered after 

1 Fold's TTrWnjj of WtuMngton, iii, 382, S8S, 

* Ant. JraL, IT, ir, 910 (kttM fiom Cambri(lg«, F«1»iim7 1, 


by Google 

an engagement. The Lee and Franklin captured a 
large brigantine earl; in February and sent ber into 

Meanwhile, during the occup^ion of Boston by 
tbe Britisb, other vessels than those of Washington's 
fleet were cruising in Massachusetts Bay and to 
the eastward. In December the lUtode Island sloop 
Katy, Captain Whipple, captured one of the enemy's 
ships. The privateer Yankee Hero of Newburyport 
cruised in February and March with success. Among 
the prizes taken was " a la^e Ship from and own'd 
in London, laden with Coal, Cheese and Porter, 
bound for the Ministerial Assassins at Boston." 
February 26, 1776, fifteen prizes were advertised 
to be tried at Ipswich, and March 25, twelve others 
at Plymouth.' 

Tbe great event of the month of March was 
heralded with a joy which found expression in some- 
what extrav^^t langut^. On the 18th the evac- 
nation of Boston was announced in the " Gazette," 
which was published at Watertown : " On Friday 
[March 15] it was reported they were plundering 
the town, breakii^ and destroying everything they 
could not carry away. And yesterday morning this 
last account was verified by the speedy and precip- 

1 Am. Ar«h.. IV, It, 863, 883, BIO, 036, ■», 196, 83i ; WaJtingtm, 
m, 382, 403 ; TWjfctr, £6 ; Cull, Eiiex Iiut., Jaiaaaxj, 1909 ; Boston 
OozcOe, JHHUry 22, 20, Febroar; 12, Manjh 1], 18, 1776; If. S. 
CironkU, Tehnirj 1, 8, 1770. 

■ Bas(i>nffiu>ae,DMMmbeTll,lT7S,jBnnu7 22, Febni«c<r 10, 
26, March 4, 18, 26, 1776 i Mati. Spy, JaDoai? 26, 1776. 

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itate retreat of the wliole of the Ministerial butch< 
ering, murdering and plundering Banditti of Lord 
North's Qiercenaries." March 22, Colonel Joseph 
Ward -wrote to John Adame : " The 17th Inst, the 
Pirates all abandoned their Works in Boston £ 
Cbarlestown & went on board their Ships, & on the 
20th they burnt & destroyed the Works on Castle 
Island. They now lye in Nantasket Boad waiting 
for a fur wind ; we keep a vigilant eye over them 
lest they should make an attack on some unexpected 
quarter." * 

Soon after the eraouation Washington went to 
New York with the main army, leaving General 
Artemas Ward in command at Boston. The fleet 
tben passed under Ward's orders. Capt^ Manley 
was appointed to command one of the new frigates 
authorized by Congress in December, 1775, and 
gave up the schooner Hancock to Captain Tucker; 
and the Franklin was commanded for a short time 
^yj James Mugford of Marblehead. The Hancock 
on May 7 captured two brigs oft Boston Harbor in 
sight of two or three British men-of-war at anchor, 
which had remained after the evacuation. The 
prizes were taken into Xjynn.^ 

On May 17 the Franklin captured the ship Kipe 
with a large cargo of military stores including 
seventy-five tons of powder. Mugford took his prize 

L Boibm QatOtt, Maich 18, 1TT6 ; Adam M8S- 
■ Am.Arch.,IV,yi,30a;N.B. ChnmUU, M»,j 9, ITIB; Bodon 
Gaatu, May 13, 1776. 



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into Boaton, nmuing l^ the BritiBh £eet in the 
harbor. " The enemy on board the men of war be- 
low, intolerably vexed and chagrined that the above 
ship should be taken and nnloaded in their open 
view, fonned a design of wreaking their vengeance 
on the gallant Capt. Magford, who took her. The 
Sonday following [May 19] Capt. Mugford, in 
company with capt. CunningbamiQ the Lady Wash' 
ington, a small privateer armed with swivels, blnnd- 
evbiisses and maskets, fell down in order to go ont 
in the bay. The enemy observed their sailing and 
fitted out a fleet i^ boats for the purpose of sur- 
prizing and taking them in the night; and the 
iE'raoklin's running ground in the Gut gave them 
a good opportunity for executing their pUa. The 
Lady Washington came to anchor near capt. Mug- 
ford, and between 9 and 10 o'clock he discovered 
a nimiber of boats whidi he hailed and received for 
answer, that they were from Boston. He ordered 
them to keep off, or he would fire upon them. They 
begged him for God's sake not to fire, for they were 
going on board him. Capt. Mugford instantly fired 
and was followed by all his men, and cutting his 
' cable bro't hisbroadaadetobear,whenhedischaTged 
his cannon loaded with musket baU directly in upon 
them. Before the canfion could be charged a second 
time, 2 or 3 boats were alongside, each of them 
supposed to have as many men on board as the 
l<Vanklin, which were only 21, including officers. 
By the best accounts there were not less than 13 

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boats in all, many of them armed with Bwivels and 
having on board, at the lowest computation, 200 
men. Capt. Mngford and his men plied those along- 
side so closely with fire arms and spears and with 
sach intrepidity, activity and anccese, that two boats 
were soon sunk and all the men either killed or 
drowned. But while the heroic Mugford, with out- 
stretched arms, was righteously dealing death and 
destruction to our base and unnatural enemies, he 
received a fatal ball in lus body, which in a few 
minutes put a period to a life, from which, had it 
been spared, his oppressed country would undonbt- 
edly have reaped very enunent adrantagea. After 
our brave men had m^ntained this unequal contest 
for about half an hour, the enemy thought proper 
to retire. The carnage among them must have been 
great, for besides the two boat loada killed and 
drowned many were donbtless killed and wounded 
on board the others. Great execution was done by 
the spears. One man with that weapon is positive 
of having killed nine of the enemy. The number 
of boats which attacked the Franklin was abont 8 
or 9. The remainder, to the number of 4 or 5, at 
the same time attacked Capt. Cunningham in the ' 
Lady Waehington, who then had on board only 6 
men besides himself. This brave little company gave 
the boats such a warm reception that the enemy 
were soon glad to give over the contest, after suffer- 
ing, it is thought, considerable loss." ' 
1 Beam GattOt, H172O, 21, lTI6i Am-AtA., IV, vi, 49e,ffl0. 


General Ward's report of May 20 differs some- 
what from the above as to the maimer of Mug- 
foid's death. He says :" Capt^ Mugford was very 
fiercely attacked by twelve or thirteen boats full of 
meD, bat be and his men exerted themsetves with 
remarkable bravaiy, beat off the enemy, smik seT- 
eral of their boats, and killed a nomber of their 
men; it is supposed they lost sixty or seventy. The 
intrepid Captun Mugford fell a little before the 
enemy left his schooner ; he waa run throogh with 
a lance while he was cutting off the hands of the 
pirates as they were attempting to board hun, and 
it is said that with his own hands he cut off five 
pairs of theirs. No oUier man was killed or wounded 
cm board the Franklin. . . . Mr. Mugford was not 
commissioned Captain of theFranklin, but Master; 
and as the other officers had left the schooner, he 
took command." A week later "Ward gave further 
detaik as to the part taken by the Lady Washing- 
ton : " The Franklin had twenty-one men, officers 
included; the Iiady Washington had seven, Captain 
Cunningham commander. She was attacked by five 
boats, which were supposed to contain near or qnite 
a hundred men ; but after repeated efforts to board 
her they were beaten off by the intrepidity and ex- 
ertions of the little company, who gloriously defended 
the Lady gainst the bmtal ravighers of liberty," * 
In regard to the Franklin's prize, General Howe 
wrote from Halifax, June 7, to Lord George Ger- 
1 ^n. Arch., IV, ji, 533, 002. 

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main: " It is wit^ concern I am to advise your lord- 
ship of another ordnance store ship, nuned the Hope, 
being taken in Boston Bay. She had a large pro- 
portion of entrenching tools on board and, it is s^d, 
1600 barrels of powder. I imdersttuid the master 
was suspected of treachery before the ship left Eng- 
land and that Captain Dickson, oommanding ti» 
Greyhound, gave information of the sa^icion to the 
Lords ComnusBicaierB of the Admiralty, sometime 
before she sailed under his convoy." > 

Many transports B»Ued from England for America 
in the spring of 1776. It was reported by a ship- 
master lately arrived from France that a fleet of 
about forty with five thousand troops on board had 
suled from Plymouth March 10.^ Another fleet of 
thirty-three troopships conveying three thousand 
Highlanders sailed from Scotland for Boston before 
news of the evacuation of the town reached England. 
Some of them arrived while the British fleet waa 
still in the harbor and were able to join it.' One of 
them, however, early in June was so unfortunate as 
to fall in with the schooners Lee, Captain Waters, 
uid Warren, Captain Burke, and was captured and 
taken saf dy into port. She had abont a hundred 
soldiers on board.^ 

In a letter to Washington dated June 16, 1776, 
General Ward gives an account of the measures 

1 Su^ford-StKkviae MSS., 36. 

» Adamt M8S., April 30, 1778. 

* Piipcn ^ Cunt. CofljTreu, 1S8, 2, 45 ; BoMtonQaxtat,JiiB» 10, 


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■WASHINGTON'S FLEET, 1776 AND 1776 79 
taken to make oonaplete the evacuation of Boston. He 
saTS : '* The thirteenth Instaot at evening I ordered 
five Hundred men with proper officers, a detachment 
of the Train with a thirteen Inch Mortar, two Eigh> 
teen pounders and some small Cannon, under the 
Command of Colo. Whitcomb, to take post on Long 
Island to annoy the Enemys Ships ; the necessary 
works were thrown np in the night and the next 
morning onr Cannon and Mortar began to play upon 
the pirates, which soon drove them all out of the 
harbour. The fleet consisted of thirteen in number, 
the Benown of fifty Onus, several smaller ships of 
War and some transports with Highlanders on board ; 
as near as weconld judge there wereabouteighthnn- 
dred Troops on board the Transports. They blew up 
the Light house as they went off and then pnt to sea 
with their Fleet. I think it probable they will leave 
some Frigates to cruize in the bay. A number of the 
CcJony troops and militia were to have thrown up 
some works the same night on Petticks Island and 
Nantasket head, but by some unfortunate obstmo- 
tions they did not get their Canon ready in time ; 
however, they gave the E^emy a number of Shot as 
Uie Ships passed through the ChanneL Our shot 
cut away some of their yards and rigging and several 
sent into the ships sides, but the Shells from the 
Mortar terry6ed them most ; they returned a fierce 
shot from the Commodores ship without any effect 
and got under sail with all expedition." ' An ofB- 
> Pop. Com. Congr., ISS, S, 09. 

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oer of the militia, sent to Nantasfaet Head, aa^ 
that, after great and unavoidable delay, gatis were 
mounted on Quaker Hill. The fieet had already 
dropped down and anchored opposite the lighthoose. 
*' The Commodore lay foremoHt and after firing tlie 
•eoond shot he blew up the Light-House, and at tiie 
fonrth round the whole fleet got under way a eeoond 
time. Some of our shot we have no doubt stnu^ 
him, as all the boats in the fleet were sent to tow 
him oS. He fired but one shot, but we pelted him 
till out of reach of our cannon."^ The British 
fleet, commanded by Commodore Banks, consisted 
of eight shipB, two snows, two brigs, and a schooner. 
The Eenown, with two other men-of-war and twelve 
transports, arrived at Halifax July 6.* 

It is probable that some of the fleet of Scotch 
transports bound to Boston were intercepted by 
Commodore Banks and taken into Halifax with him ; 
several of these ships got safely into that place 
eventually. But June 16, only two days after the 
hst British vessel had been driven out of Boston 
Harbor, two of these transports ansuspicioosly ap- 
proached the port. The officer of militia stationed 
at Nantasfaet gives an account of what passed under 
Ms notice, as the vessels came within view of that 
point, saying : " On Sunday afternoon we saw a 
ship and a brigantine standing in for the L^ht> 

> Am. Jrdt., IV, vi, 046. 

* aid., 911,931,045; Almen, IH, 201,236,236; fimton Oaattt, 
Jon* 17, ins ; CmUinaUai Jamnai, JiiM 90, ITIS ; A4»k$ JCSA, 
JuM le, 1776. 

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House <diamiel, cliased and fired apon by four 
privateers." One of these seems to have heen the 
schooner Warren, Captain Burke, of Washington's 
fleet. The combatants " frequently exchanged broad- 
sides. We, supposing them to be part of the Scotch 
fleet, got every man to his quarters and carried one 
eighteen-pounder to Point Alderton on purpose to 
hinder their retreat should they get into the road, 
opposite where we had three eighteen pounders. 
About five o'clock the privateers left them and stood 
for the southward, when the ship and brig crowded 
all their siul for the channel. Our orders were not 
to fire till the last [the brig] got abreast of us. 
In tacking, she got i^round just under our cannon, 
when we hailed her to strike to this Colony ; they 
refused and we fired one eighteen-pounder loaded 
with ronnd and canister shot, when she struck and 
cried out for quarters. We ordered the boat and 
Captun on shore and then fired at the ship; bot being 
quite dark, we supposed she had struck. By this 
time the privateers came up. A Captidn of the High- 
landers in the brigantine's boat came on shore. Some 
time after, the ship got under way and stood for 
the Narrows, when a fine privateer brigantine [the 
Defence of the Connecticut navy], commanded hy 
Captun Harding of New Haven, . , , and five 
schooners gave dutse. The brig came alongside, when 
ahot engagement ensued, which lasted three quarters 
of an hour, when the ship struck. The brigantine 
floating, took advantage of the confusion and 

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attempted to follow, both Bapposiiig the anemy in 
posseuion of Boebm."^ 

The Defence had suled from Flymoath in the 
morning. One of her lieatenants, Samnd Smedley, 
says that firing was heard in the direction of Boston. 
It was foggy, bnt cleared in the afternoon and the 
vessels in action were then seen. On account of 
light wind it was sunset before the Defence came 
np with the schooners, which ware then making 
off, and learned that the stzangers were transports. 
""We made the best of onr way towards them and 
at eleven at night found them at anchor a small 
distance above ■when the Light-House formerly 
stood. We likewise ran dose to them and anchored. 
Hailed them from whence they came. Th^ answered 
from England. Captun Harding ordered them im^ 
mediately to strike. Thc^, like brave soldiers, re- 
fused and immediately a very heavy fire began and 
at the end of near two boars we made them anrren- 
der."' According to this statement the Defence 
captured the transports without any help from the 
schooners, which Smedley accuses of cowardice and 
thinks should not share in the prizes. General Ward 
in his report says " that the Continental Privatiers 
have taken and brought into Nantaaket in this Har- 
bour a Ship and a Brig from Glasgow with two hun- 
dred and ten Highlanders on board." ' The losses 

^ Am. AM., IT, Ti. M6; C<mtmtiital Journal, Jom SO, 1730. 

* Am. Areh., IV, ti, 1127. 

* Pop. Cmt. Cbngr., ISS, S, W. 

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are Tariously stated, the lowest for the Americans 
b^Qg three wounded, one of them mortally ; for the 
British, four hilled inclading a major, and eight or 
ten wounded. Two days later another vessel was 
tahen, with one hundred and twelve Highhrnders, 
but whether by privateers or by Washington's Seet 
is not clear. There were now over four hundred 
soldiers, taken on transports, confined in the vicin- 
ity of Boston. It was reported that at jttBt abont the 
same time two more of these Scotch transports were 
taken by a Rhode Island privateer and sent into 
Dartmouth (^ew Bedford), and two others were 
captured by the Continental brig Andrew Doria.^ 

The capture of their transports was disturbing 
to the British authorities, and the Admiralty called 
upon Admiral Howe, who in 1776 relieved Ad- 
uural Sbuldham in c<miiiiand of the North Ameri' 
can station, for an investigation, to whiob he replied 
in February, 1777. In this report was inclosed a 
letter writt^i by Sbuldham in February, 1776, in 
which, referring to the earlier captures made by 
Washington's fleet, he had sn^ested " that all Sup- 
plies to this Country might be sent in Armed Ves- 
sels, I mean such as our Old Forty Qnn Ships 
with only their upper Tier of GKms, for however 
numerous our Cruizers may be or however atten- 
tive our OfScers to their Duty, >t has been found 
1 CoHtinaaal Joumat, JniM 20, 1776; N. E. Ckrmude, Jane 20, 
July 4, 1776; Barion Gautu, Jon* 24, Jnlj 15, 1779; LttUn of 
John and Abigail Adam*, 96, 06; Tudcer, G7-W; Btepjard-Saeb- 
viUe MSB., 86. See ImIow, p. 116. 

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impossible to prevent some of our Ordnance and 
other valuable Stores, in small Vessels, falling into 
the hands of the Rebels, and here I mnst take occa- 
sion to say that in the course of my Serrioe I never 
found Officers perform their Duty with so much 
perseveranoe and YigUance as ours on this import- 
ant Service; indeed the firmness with which they 
have reusted the rigor of this long and severe 
Winter in cooBtantly keeping the Sea on their re- 
spective Stations is nnprecedented and incredible. 
At the same time I must b^ leave to observe to 
yoa the very few Ships I am provided with to en- 
able me to co-operate with the Army, Cruize off 
the Forts of the Rebels to prevent their receiving 
Supplies, or protect those destined to this place 
from falling into their hands." * Howe's inquiries 
brought out iite fact that Shuldham in March, 
1776, had detailed seven small cruisers to remun 
with Commodore Banks in Boston Harbor, in ord^ 
to insure the safety of such transports as might ai^ 
rive after the departure for Halifax of the main 
body of the British. Other service, however, pre- 
vented these vessels from being on hand when 
needed. The frigate Milford and two or three 
smaller vessels, with the Renown, made up the 
whole av^lable force for tilie protection of the trans- 
ports. Howe added that "respecting the Use that 
has been made of the Harbour of Boston as an 
Asylum for the Rebel Cruizers and their Prizes, 
1 Brit. AdBi. Bee., A. D. 4S7, Febnur; 26, 1170. 

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WASHraGTON-S FLEET, 1776 AND 1776 86 
their Lordships knowing the Nature and Circum- 
stances of the Fort will be apprised of the Impos- 
sibility to prevent an Enemy from profiting greatly 
by &e Advantages of sneh a Situation." ^ 

The vessels of Washington's fleet continued to 
cmise in Massachusetts Bay during the whole of 
the year 1776. Captain Tucker in the Hancock 
and Captain Skimmer, wbo had taken Mugford's 
place in the Franklin, captured the armed ship 
Pe^y and two brigs in July. Tucker is said to 
have taken thirty or forty prizes in all, of which 
the last was brought into port in December and 
furnished the army with much-needed clothing. 
The operations of the fleet and of other American 
mined vessels were a good deal hampered by British 
cruisers in Massachusetts Bay. John Adams learned 
from a correspondent that " Our Bay is infested 
with 8 or 4 frigates which have retaken some vain- 
able Prizes and interrupt our coasting trade." ' It 
was recorded in a newspaper that " Monday and 
Tuesday last the British Tyraot Frigate Milford 
was seen in our Bay, and to have two Schooners and 
a Shwp as Prizes. She has taken the Continental 
Privateer Warren, Capt. Bark, and is oontinnally 
cmizing between Cap&<7od and Cape-Ann, that we 
apprehend she will intercept all oui Trade. 'Tis 
hoped that some of our Amerioan Frigates will come 
this Way and rid our Coast of this inhuman Fluu- 

1 Brti. Adm. Btc, A. D. 4S7, Ko. 24, 
* Adams 1IS8., Septamber 17, 1776. 

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derer." ^ The Warren is believed to have been the 
only one of Washington's fleet to be oaptnredf ex- 
cept the brigantine Washington taken in Decem- 
ber, 1775. Early in the year 1777 the fleet was 
broken ap by order of the Marine Conunittee ; the 
Lee, however, continued to crnise several months 
longer. The vessels were disposed of as they were 
pnt ont of commission, and some of the ofBoera 
were taken into the Continental navy.^ 

Upon his arrival in New York in April, 1776, 
General Washington b^an to fit ont another bnt 
mnch smaller fleet for the defense of the neighbor- 
ing waters. He was aided by the cooperation of the 
New York Committee of Safety. Two sloops, the 
General Schuyler and the General MifBin, were 
fitted out Other vessels, wholly or partly onder 
Washington's control or under the New York Com- 
mittee, were the schooner General Putnam, the 
sloop Montgomery and the galleys Lady Washing- 
ton, Washington, and Spitfire. The galleys were 
used in the defense (A the Hudson and the two last 
named came from Khode Island. The larger ves- 
seb cruised, mostly about Long Island and along 
the New Jersey shore, with some success. In June 
one tA the transports which had been captured by 
the Andrew Doria, as has just been related, was re* 
taken by the British frigate Cerberus and was then 

1 CimfinentalJbiinial, September 6, lTIS;^iR..<lrcA.,V,u, 116. 

^Rid., i, 062, lii, eS6, 199; TWbr, 61-66; Boaan QaxOU, 
J11I7 8, Angiut 6, September 9, 1770 ; Marint CemmiiUt LtOxr 
Soot, fiS, 62, IM (Febmary % Uansb 21, Noramber 22, 1771). 

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taken Offoa by the General Schuyler, under the 
command of Lieutenant Joseph Davison. In Hm 
same month the Schuyler, cruising in company with 
the Montgomery, recaptured four prizes of the 
British frigate Greyhound.^ 

On August 3, Lieutenant-Colonel Benjamin Tup- 
per reportied to General Washington the operations 
of a flotilla of five galleys on the Hudson : *' I am 
now to inform your Excellency that my flag being 
hoisted on board of the Washington, I came up 
with the Ships [Fhcenix and Rose] & attacked at 
j past One this Afternoon. The Fheonix fired the 
first Gnn, which was retum'd by the Lady Wash- 
ington, whose Shot went thro the Fheonix. Upon 
my Orders the Lady Washington put about to form 
a Line; the tide was such that the Washington & 
Spitfire was exposed to the Broad Sides of the 
Ships for ^ of an hour without Suffering mutch 
Damage. We eng^ed them an hour & a half and 
then we thought to retreat to DobVs Ferry about 
4 miles below the Ships."^ Tlie Americans lost one 
kiUed and thirteen wounded, one of them mortally. 

Another aocoont says that the Washington 
*>came within grape shot of the ships and sust^ned 
their whole fire for a quarter of an hour before the 

> Am. ArtA., XV, ri, 410, 54B, G63, M4,V, I, UI , y. E. Ckremdt, 
Jnlj 4, 1778 ; Wa^inglon, It, 167, 318 ; Jour. !f. Y. Pnn. Conffr., 
i, 416 ; Ji. /. CoUmial Rtc, ril, 582 ; Pap. Coat. Congr., 15S, 2, 181 
(Dmiuon to Wuhington, Jane 27, 1776). 

■ Pop. CeM. Cengr., IGS, 2, 387 (Tnppn *■ 
8, 1776); Am .drefc, V, i, 766. 

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other sbips could come np, the Lady Washington 
faUing into the line according to orders. The Spit- 
fire advanced to the assistance of the Washington 
and behaved well. We had as hot a fire as perhaps 
ever was known for an hour and a half. The Wash- 
tngton, on board of which I was, had her bow guns 
knocked away, many of her oars, and some shot in 
her waist. The Lady Washington had her bow gun, 
a 82 pounder, split seven inches. The Spitfire was 
bulled between wind and water. The Phoenix was 
hulled six times. We had four men killed and four- 
teen wounded. Our force was very inferior to the 
ienemy ; the lower tier of one side of the Phoenix 
was equal to that of all gallies. Yet onr Commo- 
dore resolved to attack them, and for six small gal- 
lies to lie near two hours within grape shot of one 
ship of 44 guns and another of 24 guns is no con- 
. temptible afFur."' 

The British account says that at one o'clock 
"six of the Rebels' schooners and Row Gallies 
attacked ns. We began and kept ap a constant 
fire at them for Two Hours, at which time they 
Row'd away down the River and came to an anchor 
in sight of us." One of the galleys was seen to 
have Bustled considerable damage. The Phsnix, 
which had received only two shot in her hall, pre- 
pared to ran down to the American flotilla, bnt 
the wind shifted and the pilot advised against it on 

■ Almm, IT, 49 (lettn from Turjtown, Anpwt 4> 1776) | Am. 
JmL, T, i, 7SL 

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account of the narrowness of the channel.* Two 
weeks later the Phcenix and Rose, at anehor in the 
river, were attacked by fireships.' Movements in the 
immediate vicinity of New York were brought to 
an end after the occapation of that place by the 
British in August, 1776. 

I Brit. Adm. Rti^ A. D. 487, AagoMt 4, 1TT6. 8e« Mag. o/Hit- 
torn, NoTembn, 1Q06. 

* Brit. Ad». Bte., A. J). 4S7, Aogntt IT, 1776. Sm balow, 

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Ths Naval Conunittee was busy during the winter 
of 1776 and 1776 fittdog out the four veeaeU which 
had been puiohaaed in Kovember — the Alfred, Co- 
lumbus, Andrew Doria, and Cabot. Commodore 
Hopkins arrived in Philadelphia early in the winter 
on board the sloop Katy, Capt^ Whipple, which 
brought seamen from Khode Idand to man the fleet.^ 
The Katy was taken into the navy and called the 
Providence. Three other vessels were added to the 
fleet -— a sloop named the Hornet and two schoon- 
ers, the Wasp and Fly. The Hornet and Wasp 
were at Baltimore. 

On January 5, 1776, tiie Naval Committee issued 
" Orders and Directions for the Commander in Chief 
of the Fleet of the United Colonies." These gen> 
eral instructions related to discipline and to matters 
concerning the man^ement of the fleet. The com< 
modore was to correspond regularly with Congress 
" and with the coounander in cbi^ of the Continen- 
tal forces in America." He waa to g^ve bis orders 
to subordinate officers in writing, and the capt^ns 
of the fleet were to make him monthly returns of 

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conditiona on board each vessel, the state of the ship 
and of the crew and the quantity of stores and pro- 
visions. He was to give directions for the captains 
to follow in case of separation ; to appoint (^oers 
for any Teasels that might be captured; to give 
special attention to the care of the men nnder his 
command and to the arms and ammimition ; and 
prisoners were to " be well and hnmanely treated." ^ 
The committee also gave the commodore special 
instmctions and sailing orders of the same date. He 
was " to proceed with the said fleet to eea and, if 
the winda and weather will possibly admit of it, to 
proceed directly for Chesapeah Bay in Virginia, 
and when nearly arrived there yon will send for> 
ward a small swift sailing vessel to gain intelligence 
of the enemies situation and strength. If by snoh 
intelligence yon And that they are not greatly su- 
perior to yonx own, you axe immediately to enter 
the said bay, search ont and attack, take or destroy 
all the naval force of our enemies tiiat yon may £nd 
there. If you should be so fortunate as to execute 
this business successfully in Vit^nia, you are then 
to proceed immediately to the southward and make 
yonrself master of such forces as the enrany may 
have both in North and South Carolina, in such 
manner as you may tTiinlr most prudent from the 
intelligence yon shall receive, either by dividing 
yoor fleet or keeping it bother. Having oompleated 
yoor business in the Carolinas, yoa are without de- 

> Am. Arch., IV, It, 676 ; Hapttnf, 84.,S:,G00gIC 

lay to proceed northwurd directly to Bhode Island 
and atta4jk, take and destroy all tlie enemies naral 
force thatyou may find there." He was also ordered 
to seize transports and supply Teasels, advised as to 
the disposal of prisoners, and directed to fit out his 
prizes for service vrhea suitahle and appoint officers 
for them, calling on the assemblies and committees 
of safely of the yarious colonies for aid, if necessary, 
in all matters. " Notwithstanding these particoLu' 
orders which it is hoped yon will be able to execute, 
if bad winds or stormy weather or any other nnfor- 
aeen accident or disaster disable you so to do, yoa 
are then to follow such courses as your best judg- 
ment shall suggest to you as most useful to the 
American cause and to distress the enemy by all 
means in your power." ^ 

In the fall of 1775, Groveruor Duumore of Vir- 
ginia oi^;anized a flotilla of small vessels in the 
Chesapeake with which he ravaged the shores of 
the bay and of the rivers flowing into it.^ It was 
for the purpose of attempting the destruction of this 
fleet that Hopkins was ordered to begin his cruise 
1^ entering Chesapeake Bay. 

The Alfred vras selected as the flagship of the fleet, 
and when ^ was ready to be pat into commission 
the conunodore went on board and the Continental 
colors were hoisted by Lieutenant John Paul Jones, 
for the first time on any regular naval vessel of the 
United States, and were properly saluted. This was 

1 Bcpkint, 94-97. * Sm b«low, pp. Ill, 189. 

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a yellow Bag bearing •' a lively repreBentatioii of a 
rattlesnake," witli the motto " Don't tread on me." 
The exact date of this ceremony is uncertam.^ 

The ice in the river delayed the sailing of the ex- 
pedition, which it was hoped would get away by the 
middle of January. Meanwhile on the 4th the fol- 
lowing notiee was published : " The Naval Commit- 
tee give possitiTe orders that every OfScer in the 
Sea and Miuine Service, and all the Common Men 
belonging to each, who have enlisted into the Sep- 
vice of the United Colonies on board the ships now 
filing out, that they immediately repair on board 
their respective ships as they would avoid being 
deemed deserters, and all those who have undertaken 
to be security for any of them are hereby called 
upon to procure and deliver up the men they have 
«Dgag^ iov, or they will be immediately called upon 
in a proper and effectual way." ^ On the same day 
the four lai^est vessels cast off from the wharf at 
Philadelphia, but were unable to make way through 
the ice until January 17, and then only as fur as 
Beedy Island on the Delaware side of the river. 
Here they remained until February 11, when, hav- 
ing been joined by the Providence and Fly, they 
proceeded down to Cape Henlopen. The Hornet 
and Wasp, having come around from Baltimore, 
arrived in Delaware Bay on the 13th ; these two are 

1 Bopkiiu, 98 ; Ata. Arch., IT, It, 360. 

* Bril. Ada.Bte., A. D. 484, Muoh 8, 1776, No. 5, from a oop; 

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believed to have been the first vessels of the Con* 
tinental navy to get to sea. The fleet siuled from 
the Delaware February 17, 1776.^ 

The force was made up as follows : the ships 
Alfred, 24, flagship, Commodoie Hopkins and 
Captain SaJtonstall, and Colambns, 20, Captain 
Whipple ; the brigs Andrew Doria, 14, Captain 
fiiddle, and Cabot, 14, C(^>tun John R Hopldns, 
son of the commodore ; the sloops Providence, 12, 
Captain Hazard, and Hornet, 10, Captain Stone ; 
and the schooners Fly, 8, Captain Hacker, and 
Wasp, 8, Captain Alexander. Each of the first 
two was manned by a crew of two htindied and 
twenty, including sixty marines ; the Alfred carried 
twenty and the Colnmbus eighteea ninfr-pounders 
on His lower deck, with ten sixes on the npper deck. 
The Andrew Doria and the Cabot were armed with 
six-poonders, the former having sixteen, the latter 
fourteen, and each carried twelve swivels ; the Doria 
had a crew of a btmdred and thirty and the Cabot 
a hundred and twenty, with thirty marines in eatji 
case. The Providence, though sometimea called a 
brig, was rigged as a sloop, and soounted twelve six- 
pounders and ten swivels; her crew ocmsisted of 
ninety men including twenty-eight marinea." 

1 H<^«$, 91, 100 ; Am. Ardi., IT, t, 828 ; Brit. Adm. Bte^ 
A. D. m, HM«h 8, ins, No. 10; md., July 8, 1776, Inolodng 
"A Jvm(d<(fa Omt In tht Brig Andrtie Doria," ttkmi in n»- 
OBptnnd priie. 

* Brie. Adm. Etc., A. D. 4S4, Haroli 8, ITTI, No. 4, tabig b- 
formatiaD ooUeotad b; agsnta of ths Brituh admiral, a aooroe not 
aliray> parfiKitly nliablo. 

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It is evident that Beveral days before sailing 
Hopkins had determined to disregard his inBtmo- 
tions and, taking advantage of the discretion al- 
bwed him in case of nnforeaeen difGcnlties, to aban- 
don the projected omise along the sonthem coast. 
In his first orders to his captains, dated February 
14, three days before his departure, he says : " In 
Case yon shoold be separated in a Gale of Wind 
or otherwise, yon then are to nse all possible Means 
to join the Fleet as soon as possible. But if yon can- 
not in fonr days after you leave the Fleet, Yon are 
to make the best of your way to the Southern part 
of Abaco, <me of the Bahama Islands, and there 
wiut for the Fleet fourteen days. But if the Fleet 
does not join yoa in that time, Ton are to Croise 
in such place as you think will most Annoy the 
Enemy and you are to send into port for Tryal all 
British Vessels or Property, or other Vessels vrith 
any Snp^es for the Ministerial Forces, who you 
may make Yourself Master of, to such place as yon 
may think best within the United Colonies."* At 
the same time the Commodore furnished the Cap- 
tains with a very complete set of ugnals. In ap- 
pointing a rendezvous at Abaco, Hopkins bad in 
mind a descent upon the island of New Providence 
in the Bahama group, for the purpose of seizing a 
quantity of powder known to be stored there. 
Scarcity of powder was a cause of the greatest anx- 
iety to Washington, especiaUy during the first year 
< MS. Order* to CiifXofii Boeder. 

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of the war. CongresB in secret session Iiad coneid- 
ered the feasibility of obtuniug powder from New 

In his report of the expedition, addressed to the 
President of Congress and dated April 9, 1776, 
Hopkins says : " When I put to Sea the 17th Febry, 
from Cape Henlopen, we had many Sick and four 
of the Vessels had a Ui^ number on board with the 
Small Pox. The Hornet & Wasp joitt'd me two days 
before. The Wind came at N. E. which made it 
unsafe to lye tiiere. The Wind after we got out 
came on to blow hard. I did not think we were in 
a Condition to keep on a Cold Coast and appointed 
our BendezTOua at Abaco, one of the Bahama Is- 
lands. The second night we lost the Hornet and 
Fly."^ From this it would seem to have been the 
eommodore's purpose to give the impression that 
the state of the weather after he got to sea had 
caused him to change his plans ; whereas he had 
fully made np bis mind in advanee. 

The fleet arrived at Abaco March 1. Hopkins 
says : " I then formed an Expedition against New 
Providence which I put in Execution the Srd March 
\fy Landing 200 Marines under the Command of 
Captn. Nicholas and 50 Sailors under the Com- 
mand of Lieutt. Weaver of the Cabot, wbo was 
well acquEunted there." Two sloops from New 

> Am. Anh., IT, it, 117S, 1180; mpkiiu, 101; Jour. Cent- 
Cmgr., Novembep 20, 1776. 
* Pigi. Com. Coiti/r.,'n,n,a&; Am. AnA.,Tf,T,^ 

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Frovidenoe had been seized, to be oaed for traus- 
porting the landing part;. They embarked Satur- 
day evening March 2. The next morning the fleet 
got under way and at 10 o'dock came to at some 
distance from the island. It had been intended to 
take the place by Borprise, but the fleet had been 
seen and the forts fired alarm guns. " We then 
ran in," says Lieatenant Jones of the Alfred, " and 
anchored at a small key three leagues to vind* 
ward of the town, and from thence the Commodore 
dsBpatohed the marines, with the sloop Providence 
and Bohooner Wasp to cover their landing. They 
landed without opposition." * 

Samuel Nicholas, captain of marines on the 
Alfred, in a letter dated April 10, says that on 
March'S, at two o'clock he *' landed all our men, 
270 in number under my command, at the east end 
of the Island at a place called New-Gininea. ^le 
inhabitants were very much alarmed at our appear^ 
anee and supposed us to be Spaniards, but wra« 
soon undeceived after our landing. Just as I had 
formed the men I received a mess^e from the 
Governor desiring to know what our intentions 
were. I sent him for answer, to take possession of 
all the Warlike stores on the Island belonging to the 
crown, but had no design of touching the property 
or hurting the persons of any of the inhabitants, 

>P(if>. COta. Cengr., 7B, 11, S3; Jounud af At Andrea Deria; 
Sherbnnu'i Lffe of John Paid JoMt, 12. For an Moonnt of Um 
•zpeditioii, M« Hiipjb'iw, oh. It. 

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niile§s in our defence. As soon as the mesaenger 
was gone I marched forward to take poBeesBion of 
Fort Montague, a fortification boilt of stone, a1xmt 
half way between our landing place and the town. 
As we approached the fort (within aboat a mile, 
having a deep cove to go round, with a prodigiooB 
thicket on one side and the water on the other, en- 
tirely open to their view) they fired three twelve 
pound shot, which made as halt and oonsnlt what 
was beat to be done. We then thonght it more pru- 
dent to send a fiag to let them know what onr de- 
signs were in coming there ; we soon received an 
answer letting na know that it was by the Gover- 
nor's orders that they had fired. They spiked np the 
cannon and abandoned the fort and retired to the 
fort within the town. I then marched and took 
possessicm <rf it." ^ In the fort were found seven- 
teen cannon, thirty-two-pounders, eighteens and 
twdves, from which the spikes were easily removed. 
Nicholas and his men spent the night in the fort. 
Ja the evening Hopkins, hearing that Aere was a 
foroe of over two hundred men in the main fm:t at 
Nassau, published a manifesto addressed to the 
inhabitants of the island declaring his intention 
"to take possession of the powder and warlike 
stores belonging to the Crown and if I am not op- 
posed in putting my design in execution, the per- 
sons and property of the inhabitants shall be safe, 
neither shall they be suffered to be hurt in case 
' JfiiM. Spg, Umj 10, ITia ; Jm. AreL, IV, v, 8*6. 

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they make no resistance." ^ Tliis Iiad a good effect 
and DO opposition was met with. 

" Hie next morning by daylight," says Nidiolas, 
" we marched forward to the town, to take posses- 
ei<m of the Governor's house, whioh stands on an 
eminence with two four pounders, which commands 
the garrison and town. On our march I met an 
express from the Grovemor to the same purport as 
the first; I sent him the same answer as before. 
The messenger then told me I might march into 
the town and if X thonght proper into the fort, 
without interruption ; on which I marched into the 
town. I then drafted a guard and went up to the 
Governor's and demanded the keys of the fort, which 
were given to me immediately ; and then took pos- 
session of fort Nassau. In it there were about forty 
cannon mounted and well loaded for onr reoeptioa, 
with round, laagridge and cannister shot ; all this 
was accomplished without firing a single shot from 
onr side." > The fleet, which had been lying behind 
Hog Island, soon afterwards came into the harbor; 
die commodore and captains then landed and came 
up to the fort. In Fort Nassau were found great 
quantities of military stores, including seventy-one 
cannon — ranging in size from nine-pounders to 
thirty-twos — fifteen brass mortars, and twenty- 
four casks of powder. The governor had contrived 
to send off a hundred and fifty casks of powder the 
night before, thereby defeating in great measure 
^Am. Ardt., IV, t, 46. ' Matt, flpy, Ma? 10, 1776. 

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the main object sought in taking the island. The 
valneof the property brought away, howerer, largely 
made np for this disappointment. After this the 
governor was kept under guard in his own house 
until the fleet was ready to saiL About two weeks 
were occupied in loading the captured stores on 
board the fieet, and it was necessary to impress a 
lat^ sloop in order to carry everything. This ves- 
sd, called the Endeavor, was put under the com- 
mand of Lieatenant Hinman of tbe Cabot Dnring 
Haa time the Fly rejoined the fleet and *'gave an 
Account that he got foul of tiie Hornet and carried 
away tbe fioom and head of her Mast and I hear 
unce she has got into some port of South Caro- 
lina." It afterwards turned out that the Hornet 
was driven o£F tbe coast of South Carolina by bad 
weather and finally succeeded in getting back into 
Delaware Bay about April 1. Hopkins took on 
board tbe fleet as prisoners tbe governor and lieu- 
tenant^vemor of Kew Providence and another 
high officiaL' 

The fleet set sail on the return voyage March 17. 
The next day Hopkins issaed orders to his captains : 
" Tou are to keep company with tbe ship I am in 
if possible, but should you separate by accident yon 
are then to make the best of your way to Block 
Island Channel and there to cruise in 80 fathom 
water south from Block Island six days, in order 

iir<M<. 8pt, tUy 10, 1776; Am. ^rci.,17, t, 40T,82S,ai4j 
S. I HitL Mag^ July, 1865; Uft ofJoAua Banes, Sl-83. 

by Google 

to join the fleet. If they do not join yon in that 
time, yuu may cruiee in snch places as you think 
will most annoy the Enemy or go in Port, as yoo 
think fit."i The Wasp parted from the fleet soon 
after sailing. For over two weeks the voyage to 
Rhode Island was uneventful. April 4 the British 
six-gun schoouer Hawk was captured by the Colum- 
bus. The Hawk belonged to the British fleet at 
Newport. Captain Nicholas says : " We made Block- 
Island in the afternoon [of the 4th] ; the Conuno- 
dore then gave orders to the brigs to stand in for 
Rhode-Island, to see if any more of the fleet were 
out and join us next morning, which was accordingly 
done, but without seeing any vessels." At daylight 
the brig Bolton was taken by the Alfred after fir- 
ing a few shots ; she was a bomb-vessel of eight 
guns and two howitzers. The fleet cruised all day 
in sight of Block Island, and in the evening took 
a brigantine and sloop from New York. *'We 
had at sunset 12 sail, a very pleasant evening." ^ 

Of the events of the night Hopkins gives a brief 
account in his report. Very early in the morning 
of April 6 the fleet " fell in with the Glascow and 
her Tender and Engaged her near three hours. We 
lost 6 Men Killed and as many Wounded ; the Cabot 
had 4 Men killed and 7 Wounded, the Captain is 
among the latter ; the Columbus had one Man who 
lost his Arm. We received a considerable damage 
in our Ship, but the greatest was in having our 
> Am. Arch., TV, y, 47. » Miu. Spy, May 10, 1776. 

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Wheel Bopes & Blocks Bbott away, wliich gave the 
Glaacow time to make Sail, wfaicli I did not think 
proper to follow as it would have broaght an Action 
with the whole of their Fleet and as I bad upwards 
of SO of our best Seamen on board the Frizes, and 
some that were on board had got too much Liqnor 
out of the Prizes to be fit tor Duty. Thought it 
most prudent to ^re over Chace and Secure onr 
Frizes & got nothing but the Glascow's Tender and 
arrived here [New Londouj the 7th with all the 
Fleet. . . . The Officers all behaved well on board 
the Alfred, but too much praise cannot be given to 
the Officers of the Cabot, who gave and sustained 
the whole Fire for some considerable time within 
Pistol Shott." * 

Nicholas gives a more minute recital of the 
afiair : " At 12 o'clock went to bed and at half 
past one was awaked by the noise of all hands to 
quarters ; we were soon ready for action. The best 
part of my company with my first Lieat. was 
placed in the barge on the main deck, the remain- 
ing part with my second Lieutenant and myself 
on the quarter deck. We had discovered a lai^ 
ship standing directly for us. The Cabot was fore- 
most of the fleet, our ship close after, not more than 
100 yards behind, but to windward with all, when 
the brigantine came close up. The ship hailed and 
was soon answered by the Cabot, who soon found 
her to be the Glasgow ; the brigantine immediately 
> Pi9>. Com. Congr., TB, 11, 33. 

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filed her broadside and instantly received a, retoro 
of two fold, which, owing to the weight of metal, 
damaged her so mach in her hull and rigging as 
obliged her to retire for a while to refit. We then 
came up, not having it in our power to fire a shot 
before without hurting the brigantine, and engaged 
her side by side for three glasses as hot as possibly 
could be on both sides. The first broadside she 
fired, my second Lieutenant fell dead close by my 
side; he was shot by a mnshet ball through the 
head." • 

John Paul Jones's narrative of the action in the 
Alfred's log-book g^ves a few additional details: 
'*At 2 A.M. cleared ship for action. At half past 
two the Cabot, being between us and the enemy, 
began to engage and soon after we did the same. 
At the third glass the enemy bore away and by 
crowding sail at length got a condderable way ahead, 
made signals for the rest of the English fleet at 
Rhode Island to come to her assistance, and steered 
directly fortbe harbor. The Commodore then thought 
it impmdent to risk our prizes, &e, by pursuing 
farther; therefore, to prevent our being decoyed 
into their hands, at half past six made tbe signal to 
leave off chase and haul by the wind to join our 
prizes. The Cabot was disabled at the second broad- 
side, the captain being dangerously wounded, the 
master and several men killed. The enemy's whole 
flt« was then directed at ns and an unluo^ ahot 
1 iCui. 8j>s, lUf 10, 1T70. 

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having carried away oar wheel-block and topes, tbe 
ship broached to and gave the enemy an opportnn- 
ity of raking as with several broadsides before we 
were again in condition to steer the ship and return 
the iire. In the action we received several shot 
nnder water, whii^ made the ship very leaky ; we 
had besides the miunnmst shot through and the 
upper works and ri^;ing very considerably dam- 

Captain Whipple of the Colnmbus reported to 
the commodore that when tbe Glasgow was sighted 
he was to leeward and " hauled up for her," but the 
position of the other ships " Instantly kUl'd all the 
wind, which put it out of my Power to get np with 
her. I strove all in my Power, but in vain ; before 
that I had got close enough for a Close Engt^ment, 
the Glasgow had made all Sail for the Harbour of 
Kewport. I continued Chace under all Sail that I 
had, except Steering Sails and the Wind being 
before the Beam, she firing her two Stem Chaoes 
into me as fast as possible and my keeping up a 
Fire with my Bow Guns and now and then a Broad- 
side, pnt it out of my Power to get near enough to 
have a close Engagement. I continued this Chace 
while you thought proper to hoist a Signal to retnm 
into the Fleet ; I accordingly Obeyed the SignaL"^ 

Apparently the Andrew Doria was less closely en- 
gaged than the others. One of her officers, Lieuteo- 

■ Hi^nt, 130, 181 ; Am. AnA., W, v, 1166. 

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ant Josiah, saje that the Cabot baving fired th« 
first broadside at the Glasgow, '* she retarn'd two 
fold, which oblig'd ye Cabot to Bbeer off and had 
like to have been foul of us, which oblig'd us to tack 
to gett clear ; the Commodore came ap next and 
Disoharg'd several Broadside and received as many, 
which did Considerable Damage in bis hull & 
Biggea, which oblig'd him to sheer off. The Gks- 
cow then made all die sail she possible could for 
Newport & made a running fight for 7 Glases. 
We receiv'd several shott in je hull & riggen, one 
npon the Quarter through the Netting and stove 
ye arm Chest upon the Quarter Deck and wounded 
our Drummer in ye Legg." i 

The Glasgow was a ship of twenty gans and a 
hundred and' fifty men, commanded by Captain 
Tyringham Howe, whose report of the engagement 
says : " On Saturday the 6th of April, 1776, At two Block Island then bearing N. W. about eight 
Leagues, we discovered a Fleet on the weather 
beam, consisting of seven or eight S^ ; tacked and 
stood towards them and soon perceived them to be 
two or three large Ships and other Square Ki^^ed 
Vessels. Turned all bands to Quarters, hauled up 
the Miunsail and kept standing on to the N. W. 
with a light breeze and smooth Water, the Fleet 
then coming down before it. At half past two a 
laige Brig, much like the Bolton bnt larger, came 
within hail and seemed to hesitate about giving any 

1 Journal ^lie Andrtm Ihria. 

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answer, but s^ Icept Btanding towards ns and on 
being asked wbat other Ships were in company with 
her, they answered 'the Columbus and Alfred, a two 
and twenty Gun frigate.' And almost immediately 
a hand Gienadoe was thrown out of her top. We 
exchanged onr- Broadsides. She then shot a head 
and lay on our bow, to make room for a large Ship 
with a top-light to come on our Broadside and an- 
other Ship ran under our Stem, Baked as she 
passed and then laft up on our I^ee beam, whilst a 
Brig took her Station on onr Larboard Quarter and 
a Sloop kept altering her Station occasionally. At 
tliis time the Clerk having the care of the dispatches 
for the So. Ward to destroy, if the ship should be 
boarded or in danger of being taken, hove the hag 
overboard with a shot in it. At four the Station of 
every Vessel was altered, as the two ships had dropt 
on each quarter and a Brig kept a stem giving a 
continual fire. Bore away and made Sail for fihode 
Island, with the whole fleet within Musket shot on 
our Quarters and Stem. Got two Stem chase guns 
out of the Cabin and kept giving and receiving a 
very warm fire. At day%ht perceived the Bebel 
fleet to consist of two Ships, two Brigs and a Sloop, 
and a large Ship and Snow that kept to Windward 
as soon as the Action b^;an. At half past sir the 
fleet hauled their Wind and at Seven taoked and 
stood to the S. S. W. Employed reeving, knotting 
and splicing and the Carpenters making flshes for 
the Masts. At half past seven made a Signal and 

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fired several gtms occasionally to alarm tlie Fleet 
at Bhode Island Harbour. The Rose, Swan and 
Nautilus then being working out We had one Man 
Killed and three Wounded by the musketry from 
the Enemy." ^ 

An Araeridui prisoner on board the Gla^;ow 
says that the sloop Providence, joining in the at- 
tack, directed her iire at the Glasgows' " stem 
without any great effect. The most of her shot 
went about six feet above the deck ; whereas, i£ 
they had been properly levelled, they must soon 
have cleared it of men. The Glasgow got at a dis- 
tance, when she fired smartly, and the engagement 
lasted about six glasses, when they both seemed 
willing to quit. The Glasgow was considerably 
damaged in her bull, had ten shot through her 
mainmast, fifty-two through her mizen staysail, one 
hundred and ten through mainsail, and eighty-eight 
through her foresail ; had her spars carried away 
and her rigging cut to pieces." ^ 

The Gla^ow was seriously crippled and her es- 
cape from a superior force shows a lack of coiiper- 
ation on the part of the Continental fleet, and per- 
haps excessive prudence in not carrying the pursuit 
farther towards Newport. It was an instance of the 

1 Bra. Adm. Etc., A. D. 4Si. Apiil 19, 1776 ; London ChromcU, 
Jnns 11, ma; briefer mmoohu in Brit. Adm. Btc., Captain^ 
£«U<ra,Na.l00S,22<April27, 1776), and Captaiia' Logt,'Sa.Za» 
(April 6, 1776); Stereni'i FaetimiUt, 873. 

^ Comlitutiimai Oauttt, New Tork, May 29, 1776, quoted Id 
Sandi, 45, 4S. 

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want of naval traioing and esprU de corps to be 
expected in a new, raw service. Moieover, the 
American vessels, except the Alfred, were inferior 
sailing craft to begin with, and besides this were 
too deeply laden with the military stores brought 
from New Providence to be easily and quickly 

Hopkins took his fleet and prizes into Kew Lon- 
don April 8. Here over two hundred siek men were 
landed ; also the military stores. The next day the 
Andrew Dona was sent out on a short cruise and 
recaptured a prize from the British. Some of the 
heavy guns from New Providence were sent to 
Dartmouth, on Buzzard's Bay ; and upon the de- 
parture of the British from Narragansett Bay Boon 
afterwards, the Cabot, Captain Hinman, was sent 
to Newport with several of the guns. The prisoners 
bronght from New Providence were paroled. The 
commodore's report of April 9 was read in Congress 
and published in the newspapers. It caused great 
satisfaction, and Hopkins received a letter of con- 
gratulation from John Hancock, the President of 
Congress. His popularity at this time, both in the 
fleet and among the people, seems to have been gen- 
uine. The Marine Committee suggested the pm^ 
chase of the prize schooner Hawk for the service, to 
be renamed the Hopkins, John Paul Jones, who as 
a lieutenant on the Alfred had had an opportunity 
to estimato the commodore's qualiScations, wrote of 
him, April 14 : ** I have the pleasure of assuring 

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yon tliat the oommander-iii-cliief is respected thiougli 
the fieet and I verily believe that the officers and 
men in general would go any length to execute his 
orders."* There was a reaction, however, later on. 
Upon reflection people came to the opinion that the 
escape of the Gla^ow was unnecessaiy and discred- 
itable. Captain Whipple was accused of cowardice 
and demanded a conrt-martial, by which be was 
honorably acquitted. Captain Hazard of the Provi- 
dence was less fortunate ; he also was courtmartialed 
and was relieved of his command.* 

The British fleet, consisting of the frigate Rose, 
the Glasgow, the Nautilus, Swan, and several ten- 
ders, had found Newport Harbor an uncomfortable 
anchorage. April 6 they went to sea, but all ex- 
cept the Glasgow and her tender returned in tbe 
evening and anchored off Coddington Point, north 
oi Newport At daylight the next morning, while 
the Glasgow was engaged with the American fleet, 
the Continental troops mounted two eighteen- 
pounders on the point, opened Are, and drove them 
from their anchorage. When the Glasgow came in 
after her battle, she and some of the smaller vessels 
anchored off Brenton's Point; the others went to 
sea. On the morning of the 7th the Glasgow and 
the vesseb with her were flred upon by gung 
which had been mounted on Brenton's Poiut during 

1 BReriurM, 13. 

» Am. Arch., IV, V, 824, 887, 956, 966, 1006, IIJI, 1166, 1168, 
n, 4ffi, 552, 653 ; EtpkiM, 125-135 ; Joamai of tht Andrtv Doria. 

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die nigbt, and driven np tiie In;. I«ter ibey too 
vent to lea and the wliole fleet saiQed £or TTnIifax, 
April 11 another Brituh man^-war, ibe Phceniz, 
bnmgbt two prizes into Newport, bnt she was driven 
ODt again and ibe priies recaptared.* After the 
Gla^^ow had arrived at Halifax, Admiral Shnldham, 
in command of the staiioa, wrote to ibe Admiralty 
that he foond her "in so shattered a Condition and 
wonld require bo mnch time and more Stores than 
there is in this Yard to piit her into ]m)per repair, 
I intend sending her to Flymonth as soon as she 
can be got ready." ' 

Commodore Hopkins recaved one hundred and 
seventy men from the army to take the place of those 
he had hwt tiirongh sickness. He then sailed, April 
19, for Newport, bnt " the Alfred got ashore near 
Usher's Island and was obliged to be lightened to 
get her off, which we did withont much damsge." 
They went bat^ to New London and sailed agun 
April 24 ; they went up to Providence the next day. 
There Hopkins landed over a hundred more sick 
men. Just at this time he received an order from 
Washington to send hack to the army the men who 
had been loaned to him, as they were needed in 
New York. It was practically impossible to get 
recruits in Providence, because the attractions of 
privateering were so superior to those of the rego- 

■ BoUon OoMOt, April 10, 22, 1778 i Conttilviional OauUt (New 
York), April 17, Iby 29, 1776, quoted in Saodi, 16-18. 
• Brit. Mm. a«e^ A.D.4Si, Aiml 19, 177% 

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lar naval service. Delay in getting tbeir pay for 
the first cruise also caused disoontent and tended 
to make the service nnpopalar. The commodore had 
received information from the Marine Conunittee 
of two small British fleets in southern waters. A 
force oi^anized by Governor Dunmore in Vii^inia 
consisted of the frigate Liverpool, 28, two sloops 
of war, and many small vessels. " It is said & be- 
lieved that both the Liverpool & Otter are exceed- 
ingly weak from the Want of Hands, their Men 
being chiefly employed on Board a Number of small 
Tenders fitted out by Lord Dunmore to distress the 
Trade on the Coast of Virginia & Bay of Chesepeah. 
His Lordship has now between 100 & 150 Sul of 
Vessels great & small, the most of which are Frizes 
& many chE them valuable. Those, "so far from be- 
ing any Addition in point of Strength wiU rather 
weaken the Men of War, whose Hands are em- 
ployed in the small Vesseb." The British had 
another naval force at Wilmington, North Caro- 
lina. "Whether you have formed any Expedition 
or not, the Execution of which will interfere with 
an Attempt upon either or both of the above ITeets 
we cannot determine ; but if that should not be the 
Caae, there is no Service from the present Appear- 
ance of things in which You could better promote 
the Interest of your Country than by the Destruc- 
tion of the Enemie's Fleet in North Carolina or 
Virginia; for as tiie Seat of War will most prob- 
ably be transferred in the ensuing Campaign to the 

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Sontbem Colonies, sndi a Manearre attended with 
SnocesB will dlBConcert or at least retard their Mil- 
itary Operattons for a L^igth irf "Kme, give Spirits 
to our Fiiflnds & afFord them an Opportnoify of 
improving their Preparations for reastaace." * Ap- 
pot^itty because the Marine Committee became 
convinced that this plan was impracticable in view 
of the weak omditjon of the fleet, it was giveD np 
and. May 10, Hopkins was ordered to send a 
sgnadron agmnst the Newfoundland fishery. He 
liimaAlf had already been preparing for a four 
months' cniise, bnt all such sdiemes now had to be 
abandoned for lack of seamen to man his fleet 
Three vessels, however, were fitted ont and sent 
away. The command of the Frovidence was f^ven 
to Jones, May 10, and he was ordered to New 
York witii the men who were to be returned to the 
army. The Andrew Doiia and Cabot were sent off 
on a cmise May 19. The Fly was kept for a while 
on the lookout for British men-of-war off the en- 
trance of Narragansett Bay. The Alfred and Co- 
Iambus remained at Frovidence waiting for fresh 

Dissatisfaction with the condnct of Conmiodore 
Hopkins and some of his officers gradually increased 
in and out of Congress. Complaints of ill treatment 
on board tixe fleet, as well as instances of insnbor- 

1 MS. LtUer ofibiriM CoKmiSttt, April, 1776. 
» Am. AtA^ IV, V, 1001, 1006, 1079, 1140, 1108, yi, 409, 410, 
418, 480, 431, SeiiHt^iUni, 136-140] JourmJ^tk^iu^niDDQrM. 

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dination and desertion, came to the ears of Uw 
Marine Committee. All tliis of course still fnrtlier 
increased tbe dif&colty of manning the ships, with 
consequent delay apparently endless and tbe in* 
creasing probability of nothing important being ac- 
complished. A committee of seven was appointed 
by Congress to investigate, and June 14 the com- 
modoie and Captains Saltonstall and Whipple 
were ordered to Philadelphia to appear before the 
Marine Comnuttee and be interrogated in r^ard 
to their conduct Saltonstall and Wbipple were 
exunined in July and were exonerated by Congress. 
The inquiry into Hopkins's case came in August and 
he was qnestioned on three points : his all^d dis- 
obedience of orders in not visiting the southern 
coast during the cruise of hia fleet ; his poor man- 
agement in permitting the escape of the Glasgow ; 
and his inactivity since arriving in port. His de- 
fense was that, as he did not sail until six weeks 
after hia orders were issued, conditions had changed, 
especially in regard to the force of the British, which 
had increased in Virginia and the Carolinas ; but 
there is no mention of this in bis report of April 9. 
He had written to his brother before the inquiry : 
*' I intended to go from New Providence to Georgia, 
had I- not received intelligence three or four days be- 
fore I sailed that a frigate of twenty-eight guns had 
arrived there, which made the force in my opinion 
too strong for us. At Virginia they were likewise 
too strong. In Delaware and New York it would 

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not do to attempt Bhode Islaad I was sensible was 
Btronger than we, but the faree there was nearer 
equal than anywhere else, which was the reason of 
my attenpts there." ^ Hopkins was doubtless josti- 
fied in using the discretion allowed him in bis orders 
to depart from those orders in case of apparent 
necessity or expedien(^, and being on the spot he 
was presumably the best judge of the course to be 
pursued ; but in order to establish his naval reputa- 
tion it was incumbent upon him to convince others 
of the necessity or expediency. As to the second 
point, relating to the Gla^ow, Hopkins seems to 
show a disposition to shift the blame upon his subor- 
dinates ; no doubt some of his officers were not to 
be depended upon for prompt and efficient action. 
On the third point, the excessive amount of sickness 
in the fleet and the practical impossibility of ob- 
tftinjng recruits in sufBcient numbers should have 
extenuated his sbortoomings. There appears to have 
been a stroi^ prejudice ag^nst Hopkins in Congress 
and it fared hard with him, although he was zeal- 
ously and ably defended by John Adams. August 
15, Congress resolved "that the said Commodore 
Hopkins, during his cruize to the southward, did not 
pay due regard to the tenor of his instructions, 
whereby he was expressly directed to annoy the 
enemy's ships upon the coasts of the southern states ; 
and that hia reasons for not going from [New] 
Providence immediately to the Carolinas are by no 
1 Hi^km*, 16L 

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means Bafia£tiotoiy." Hie next day it was fnrthei 
resolved "that the said oondnct of Commodore 
Hopkins deserves the c^isare of this house aod the 
house does aooordii^ly cenBnre him.*' Three days 
later he was ordered haek to Bhode Island to r& 
some command of his fleet.^ 

Of the result of this inquiry John Adams wtote : 
** Altbongb this resolution of oensore was not in my 
opioion demanded by jnstioe and consequently was 
inconsistent with good policy, as it tended to dis- 
courage an officer and diminish his autliority by 
tarnishing his reputation, yet as it went not so far 
as to cashier him, which had been the object in- 
tended by the spirit that dictated the prosecution, 
I had the satisfaction to think that I had not labored 
wholly in vain in his defense." ' When John Paul 
Jones heard of the outcome he wrote a friendly and 
sympathetic letter to his commander, sayit^ : ** Your 
late trouble will tend to your future advantage 1^ 
pointing out your friends and enemies. You will 
thereby be enabled to retain the one part triiile yon 
guard against the other. Yon will be thrice welcome 
to your native land and to your nearest ooncems." > 

The fleet of Commodore Hopkins performed no 
furtlier service collectively, but the fortunes of the 
various vessels compomng it, duiii^ the remainder 
of the year 1776, may be conveniently followed 

> ^(i. .IrcA., IV, T, 1698, ti, 764, 886, 886, 1016, ITOK, Y, i, 9Hi 
Jour. Cont. Cengr., Angait IS, 10, 1TI6: H<yikiiu, oh. i. 
» Htptifu, 160. ■ Bdd., 162. 

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here. The eloop Provideiioe, having taken to New 
York the Boldiers who had been borrowed from the 
army, retamed to Providenoe, and in June was oo- 
copied for a while convoyit^ Te§Bels back and forth 
betweea Nam^ansett Bay and Long Ishind Sound. 
*'In performing these last services Captain Jones 
found great difficnlfy from the enemy's frigates then 
omiung round Bktok Island, with which he had 
several rencontres in one of which he saved a br^ 
antdne that was a stranger from Hispaniola, closely 
pursued by the Cerbenu and laden with public 
military stores. That brigantine was afterwards 
purchased by the Continent and called the Hamp- 
den." 1 Jones was then ordered to Bostcm, where he 
oolleoted a convoy which he conducted safely to 
Delaware Bay, arriving August 1. At this time the 
British fleet and army were on their way from HaL 
ifaz to New York. Jones saw several of their ships, ' 
but was able to avoid them.' 

The Andrew Doria and Cabot sailed on a short 
emise to the eastward May 19. Soon after getting 
to sea they were chased by the Cerberus and be- 
came separated. May 29, in latitude 41° 19' north, 
kmgitude 57" 12' west, the Andrew Doria captured 
two Scotch transports of the fleet bound to Bosbm. 
** At 4 A.H. saw two Ships to ye North'd, Made Sail 
and Haold our Wind to ye North'd. At 6 Do. 

' Saudi, 36 (Joaea's jonni«l prepand kt lAqntrt of ths kinc 
■ Sandi, SI, 38; Awl AnA., IV, n, 416, 611, 8S0, 841,972, 980. 

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Bronglit the Korthermost too, a Ship from Glas- 
cow . . . with 100 Highhtnd Troops on Board & 
officers ; made her hoist her Boat oat & the Capt. 
came on board. Detaloed the Boat till we Brought 
the other too, from Glascow with ye same nomber 
of troops. [Lieutenant James Josiah, the writer of 
the journal] went on board and sent ye Capt. and 
four Men on board ye Brig [Andrew Doria] , re- 
ceiv'd orders for sending all the troops on board 
the other ship and went Prize master with Eleven 
Hands. Sent all the Arms on board ye Brig from 
both Ships, two Hundred & odd."* These trans- 
ports were the Crawford and Oxford. All the sol- 
diers, two hundred and seventeen in number, with 
several women and children, were put on the Ox- 
ford. The Andrew Doria cruised with her prizes 
nearly two weeks and then, being to windward of 
Nantucket Shoals, they were chased by five British 
vesseb. Captain Biddle signaled the transports to 
steer different courses and lost sight of them. The 
Crawford, in command of lieutenant Josiah as 
prizemaster, was retaken by the Cerberus, but was 
captured again by the General Sohnyler ctf Wash- 
ington's New York fleet.^ Josiah while a prisoner 
was treated with such severity as to occasion threats 
of retaliation, but he was eventually exchanged. On 
board the Oxford, oontuning the soldiers, the prize 
crew was overcome by the prisoners, who got pos* 
session of the ship and carried her into Hampton 
> Jaunal of At Atidrme Doria. * See abore, pp. 88, 87. 

by Google 


Boads. Tbeir triumi^ was brief, however, fen* she 
was soon recaptured by Capttun Barron of tbe Yii^ 
ginia navy. The next year the Oxford again fell 
into the hands of the British. The Andrew Doria 
pnt into Newport Jane 14 and soon went ont 
i^;ajn. She cmised most of the time during the 
rest of the year, taking several prizes. In Octo- 
ber she changed her captain.^ The Columbus also 
went to sea in June and on the 18tb had a brash 
with the Cerberus, losing one man. At this time 
tiiere were three British frigates around Block 
Island. The Colnmbns took four or five prizes be- 
fore the end of the year and the Cabot made a few 

Capt^n Jones in the Providence sailed from Del- 
aware Bay August 21. In the latitude of Bermuda 
he fell in with the British frigate Solebay, 28. 
*' She stuled fast and pnrsued ns by the wind, tUl 
after four hours chase, the sea running very cross, 
she got within musket shot of our lee quarter. As 
they had continued firing at us from the first with- 
out showing cok)urs, I now ordered ours to be hoisted 
and b^an to fire at th^n. Upon this they also 

1 8m below, p. lee. 

' Am. Arth., W, ii, 430, 431, 53B, 561, 002, 931, 972, 079, 098, 
000, V, ;, 669, 832, 1094, 1006, U, 116, 182, 878, 1220, iii, 607. 
848 ; Bonon Oazttte, Job* 24, July 29, September 16, SO, October 
7, fk, ITIS; N. E. (Indtpendtat) Chronide, July 4, October 10, 
1776; Military and Naoal 2Iag. of U. 8., June, 1834; Be. Lit. 
Ihuatger, Febrnuy, 1867; B. I. Hut.Vo^.Oatober, 1886; Srit. 
Adm. Bee., A. D. 4S4, Julj 6, 1776, malodug Jownal of llit Ai^. 
drtv Doria; William, 202. 

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boiated American colors and fired gnns to leewaid. 
But the bait wonld not take, for having eTerytbiug 
prepared, I bore away before the wind and set all 
our light sail at once, bo that before her sails could 
be trimmed and steering sails set, I was almost out 
of reach of grape and soon after out of reach of can- 
non shot. . . . Had be foreseen this motion and 
been prepared to counteract it, be might have fired 
seTcral broadsides of double-headed and grape shot, 
which would have done us very mataial damage. 
But be was a bad marksman, and though within 
pistol shot, did not touch the Providence with one 
of the many shots be fired." ' After cruising about 
two weeks longer, being ebort of water and wood, 
Jones decided to run into some port of Kova Scotia 
or Cape Breton. " I bad besides," be says, " a pros- 
pect of destroying the English shipping in these 
parts. The 16tb and ITth [of September] I had a 
very heavy gale from the N. W. which obliged me 
to dismount all my guns and stick everything I 
could into the bold. The 19th I made the Isle of 
Sable and on the 20th, being between it and the 
miun, I met with an English frigate [the Milford], 
with a merchant ship under her convoy. I bad bove 
to, to give my people an opportunity of taking fish, 
when the frigate came in sight directly to wind- 
ward, and was so good natured as to save me the 
trouble of chasing him, by bearing down the in- 
stant he discovered us. When he came within can- 

1 Sandi, 49 (letter of September 4, 1776). 

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□on shot, I made buI to by Us speed. Qnartermg 
and findiDg that I had the advantage, I shortened 
tail to give him a wild goose chase and tempt him 
to throw away powder and shot. Aooordin^j a 
curious mot^ engagement was maintained between 
OS for eight honrs," ontil nightfall. " He excited 
n^ contempt so much by bis continned firing at 
moze thui twice the proper distance, that when he 
ronnded to, to give his broadride, I ordered my 
marine officer to return the salote with only a sin> 
gie mnshet. We saw him next morning, standing 
to the westward." Jones then went into Canso and 
got a supply of wood and water ; also several re- 
cniits. Abont a dozen fishing vessels were seised 
there and at the Island of Madiune, three of wluch 
were rdeased and as many more destroyed. " Hie 
evening of the 25th brought with it a violent gale 
of wind with run, which obliged me to anchor in 
the entrance of Narrow Shock, where I rode it ont 
with both anchors and whole cables ahead. Two of 
car prizes, the slup Alexander and [schooner] Sea 
Flower, had come oat before the gale began. The 
ship anchored under a ptnnt and tode it oat; bnt 
the schooner, after anchoring, drove and ran adiore. 
She was a valuable prize, bat as I could not get 
her off, I next day ordered her to be set on fire. 
The schooner Ebenezer, taken at Canso, was driven 
on a reef of sunken rocks and there totally lost, 
the people having with difficulty saved themselves 
OD a raft. Towards noon on the 26th the gale be- 

bv Google 

gan to abate." ' To remain longer in these waters, 
vntit 80 many prizes to protect, seemed an unwar- 
rantable risk, and Jones therefore turned homeward. 
September 30 he was off Sable Island and jnst a 
week later in Newport Harbor. On this cniise be 
bad ruined the fishery at Canso and Madame and 
had taken sixteen prizes ; half ot tbem were sent 
into port and the others destroyed or lost.' 

Jonea proposed an ezpeditdtm with three vessels 
to the west coast of Africa, where he was sure it 
would be possible to reap a rich harvest of prizes. 
Commodore Hopkins, however, determined to send 
a small squadron to Cape Breton in order to inflict 
further injuiy upon the fishery, and to attempt the 
capture of the coal fleet and the release of American 
prisoners working in the mines. The Alfred, with 
Jones in command of the expedition, and the Hamp- 
den, Captain Hacker, sailed towards the end of 
October. Jones wished to take the Providence also, 
but could not enlist a crew for her. At the outset, 
however, the Hampden ran on a ledge and was so 
injured that she was left behind, her crew being 
transferred to the Providence. The expedition, with 
the Alfred and Providence, made a fresh stert No- 
vember 1. On that day Jones issued instructions for 
Captain Hacker, saying : " The wind being now fair, 
we will proceed according to Orders for Spanish 

> Saodt, eO, SI, 62 (S«ptamlMi 30, 1776). 

> ^m. Arcli., V, i, TS4, u, 171-174, 624, IIDS, 1226, 1303, 1304; 
Bands, SQ, 48-54 ; Ind^mdmit CAronicU, October 17, 1770 ; Bodan 
OaxOU, October 28, 1776. 

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Kver neu C^ UtaOx on tin Idand of C»pe Bri- 
ton " ; and jnescrilnng ■ignaU for fi^gy imthrr ' 
On hifl Tay tfaioQ^ Tineyaxd Sound, Jcmw bouded 
ft Bhode Iiland jninteer, acting nnder the orden 
of Cooimodore Hot^ins, and imprened amne deaert- 
en from the navy. Tbence he proceeded directly 
tor bu crninng groimda and soon after hia azrival, 
todt Area |nizea off Lonisbu^. Theae vera a br^ 
and atiow, which wera aemt bati to American porta, 
and a large armed ah^ called the MelHab, with so 
rich a cargo of §oIdien' clothing that Jones kept 
her nnder convoy. He mote to the Muring Com- 
mittee, November 12 : " This prize is, I brieve, the 
most valuable that has been taken by the American 
arms. She made scHue defence, but it was trifling. 
The loss will distress the enemy more than can be 
easily imagined, as the dotbuig on board of her is 
the last intended to be sent out for Canada this sea- 
son and all that has preceded it is already taken. 
The situation of Burgoyne's army must soon become 
insupportable. I shall not lose sight of a prize of 
snob importance, but will nnk her rather than suffer 
her to fall agun into tbdr haodB." ^ Jones after- 
wards recommended that the Mellish be armed and 
taken into the service. 

A few days after this, during a stormy night, 

the Providence parted company and returned to 

Rhode Island ; there had been discontent on this 

vessel among both officers and men, who represented 

I M8. Lattr. ^ SandM, 66. 

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that she leaked badly and was nnaafe. Jones says 
that " previona to this step there had been an Un- 
accountable murmering in the Sloop for which I 
coold Bee no Just fonndation and in Yain bad I re- 
presented to them how mncli humanity was con- 
cerned in OUT endeaTonrs to relieve our Captive, ill 
treated Bretbem from the Coal Mines. Since my 
arrival here I understand that as soon as Night came 
on they Pat be£ore the Wind. Being thus deserted 
the Epedemical discontent became General on Board 
the Alfred ; the season was indeed Severe and every- 
one was for tetnming immediately to port, but I 
was determined at aU hazards, whUe my provision 
lasted, to persevere in my first {dan. When the Gale 
abated I found myself in sight of the N. E. Beef 
of the Lde of Sable & the wind continuing North- 
erly obliged me to beat up the South side of the 
Idand. After exercising much Patience I weath- 
ered the N. W. Beef of the Island and on the 
22d [of November] , being off Canso, I sent my 
Boats in to Bum a Fine Transport with Irish 
Provision Bound for Canada, she having ran 
aground within the Harbonr ; they were also or- 
dered to Bum the Oil warehouse with the Contents 
and all the Materials for the Fishery, which havii^ 
effected I carried off a small, fast sailing schooner 
which I purposed to Employ as a Tender instead of 
the Providence. On the 24th off Louisburg, it be- 
ing thich weather, in the Afternoon I found myself 
surrounded by three Ships. Everyone Assured me 

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that they were English Men of War and indeed I 
Tras of that opinion myself, for I had been infonned 
by a Gentleman who eame off from Canso that three 
Frigates on that Station had been Craising for [me] 
ever «nce my expedition there in the Proridence. 
Resolving to sell my liberty as dear as possible, I 
Btoodforand. . . Took tlie nearest; I tooh also the 
other two, tho' they were at a Considerable distance 
asennder. These three Ships were . . . Transports 
Bound from the Coal Mines of Cape Briton for N. 
York Under Convoy of tlie Flora Frigate; they had 
Seen hex a few boars before, and had the weather 
been dear she would then have been in sight. They 
left no Transports behind them at Spanish River, 
bnt they said the Roe Buck man of War was sta- 
tioned there and that if there had been any Prison- 
ers of ours there they had entered [the British serv- 
ice] . 1 made the best of my way to the Southward 
to prevent falling in with the Flora the n^Et day, 
and on the 26th I fell in with and took a Ship of 
Ten Guns from Liverpool for Hallifax." She was 
a letter of marque called the John. " I had now on 
Board an Hundred and Forty Priscmers, so that 
my Provision was consumed very Fast ; I had the 
Mellish, the three Ships from the Coal Mines and 
the last taken Ship under Convoy ; the best of my 
S^ors were sent on Board [these] Five Ships and 
the number left were barely sufficient to Guard the 
Prisoners. So that all circumstances considered, I 
oondoded it most for the interest and Honor of the 

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Service to Form the Ihizes into a Squadron and 
proceed with them into Fort. I was uofortanate in 
meeting with high Winds and Frequent Gales from 
the Westward. I however kept the Squadron to- 
gether till the 7th of December on St George^s 
Bank, when a large Ship [the frigate Milf ord] Gave 
us ehace. As she came so neare before Night that 
we could distinguish her as a Ship of War, I or- 
dered ibQ Mellish . . . and the rest of the Fastest 
Sailers to Crowd Sail and go a Head. I kept the 
Liverpool Ship with me, as She was of some Force 
and her Cargo by invoice not worth more than 
XllOO Sterling. In tOie Night I taeked and after- 
wards carried a Top light in order to lead the Foemy 
away from the Ships that had been ordered ahead. 
In the Morning they were out of Sight and I found 
the Enemy two points on my lee Quarter at the same 
distance as the night before. As the Alfred's Pro- 
visions and Water were by this time almost entirely 
consumed, so that She sailed very ill by the Wind, 
and as the Ship I had by me, the John, made much 
less lee way, I ordered her to Fall a Stem to Wind- 
.ward of the Enemy and make the Signal Agreed 
on, if She was of Superiour or inferiour Force ; that 
in the one Case we might each make the best of our 
way, or in the other come to Action. After a con- 
siderable time the Signal was made that the Enemy 
was of Superiour Force, but in the intrim the wind 
had enoreased with Severe Squalls to a Hard Gale, 
BO that in the Evening I drove the Alfred thro' the 

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Water Seven and Eight Ejiots under two Connes, 
a point from the Wind. Towards Night the En^y 
Wore on the other Tack, but before that time the 
Sea had risen so very high that it was impossible to 
Hoist a Boat, so that had he been near the John it 
wonld have been impossible for him to have Taken 
her, unless they had wilfnlly given her up and con- 
tinned voluntarily by the Enemy through the whole 
of the very dark and Stormy night that ensued." 
Yet the John, however unnecessarily, surrendered 
to the Milford. Admiral Howe in reporting this 
affair says that the Alfred was chased " without 
effect, by means of the thick weather that eritically 
happened and secured her Escape." According to 
the log of the Milford a boat wae lowered from the 
frigate and took possession of the John.' The re- 
port of Captain Jones goes on to say that in the 
evening of December 14, being then in Massachu- 
setts Bay and fearing to be driven ont, " I resolved 
to nm into Flymoath, but in working up the Har- 
bour the Ship missed Stays in a Violent Snow 
Squall on the South side, which obliged me to An- 
chor immediately in little more than three Fathom. 
She grounded at low water and Beat considerably, 
hut we got ker off in the morning and Arrived the 
15th in the Nantasket Road with a tight ship and 
no perceptible damage whatever. I had then only 
two days provision left and the Number of my 

I Brit.Adm.Btc.,A.I}.4^,itatAai,n'n,vidMailtrt'Logt, 
Nd. 1SG5 (loe of UUfoid). 

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Prisoners brought in equalled the Number of my 
whole Crew when I left Kbode Island." * The John 
was apparently the only prize lost. The Mellish ran 
through Nantucket Shoals and got safely into Dart- 
mouth. It was fortunate for Jones and for his vain- 
able prize that fate did not lead them to Rhode 
Island, for a powerful British Seet had taken pos- 
session of Newport December 7.' 

After Jones had sailed on this omise in Novem- 
ber, Hopkins received orders from the Marine Com- 
mittee, dated October 10, 23, and 30, to proceed 
southward with the Alfred, Columbus, Cabot, Provi- 
dence, and Hampdeu, or as many of them as were 
avaalable ; one or both of the new frigates under 
construction in Bhode Island might be joined to 
the squadron if they could be got ready for sea. 
He was to cruise in the nei^borhood of Cape Fear, 
North Carolina, where he would find three British 
men-of-war with a Ik^ number of prizes and other 
vessels under their protection ; and later perhaps 
still farther south. On the way to the Carolinae 
he was to look for two other British craisers, 
the Galatea, 20, and Nautilus, 16, s^d to be off the 
Yii^inia capes. All these vessels, it was thought, 

1 P(^. Cont. Congr., H, 107 {Jones to Manna Cmnmittee, Jan- 
niry 12, ITIT). 

• Am. AtcI,., V, i. IlOfl, il, 464, 1104, 1106, 1226, 12TJ, 1303, lii, 
400,4Q1,660, 668,783,789, 1162, 1281, 1282, 1283, 1284, 135«; 
Sands, 40-42, 64r-G7; Indqiendent Chronicle, Norember 28, De- 
o«nib«r 26, 1776 ! Sort™ Oazeitt, DMsmber 2, 23, 30, 17T6 ; E. I. 
Hilt. Mag., Ostobar, 1636. For eiperienoe of Liautenuit Trevett, 
■a a BF7 in Newport soon after this, aae Rid,, Jouaarj, 1886. 

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mi^ be captnred or destroyed. " As this Semce 
to the Southward is <^ mocli pablick importance, 
we expect from Tour Zeal and Attachment to the 
Interest of the United States that 70a proceed on 
and execute this Service with all posnble Vigor 

Two of the vessels it was proposed to send were 
with Jones and others conld not be manned with- 
ont great delay; so the enterprise feU throngh. 
Some of the small vessels of Hopkins's ori^nal fleet, 
however, were in more aoathem waters and per- 
formed what little service they conld. In the spring 
of 1776 the Wasp and Hornet were in Delaware 
Bay and the former took part in an action with 
two British frigates.' The fly was sent to New 
Yoi^ in June and after that, cmised along the 
New Jersey shore. The Wasp was ordered to Bar- 
mnda and the West Indies in Angnst ; she sent a 
valuable prize into Philadelphia and later joined 
the Fly. They were instntcted by the Marine Com- 
mittee, November 1 and 11, to keep a lookout for 
vessels going into and out of New York, now 00 
copied by the British. Hopkins and Jones had also 
been ordered to intercept, when possible, storeeliips 
from Europe bound to New York. *' We immagiDe 
there must be Transports, Store Ships and pn^ 
vision vessels daily arriving or expected to arrive 

•afS. Latir to Hopkim, October 23, 1776; Mar. Com. LtOtr 
' 8m Mow, p. 141. 

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at that place for BupjJying our enemies with pro- 
visions and otber Stores, and tbe design of your 
present Cruize is to intercept as many of tluue 
Vessels and supplies as you possibly can." The 
Fly and Wasp, if chasecl, were to run into some 
river or inlet on the New Jersey coast. Prizes were 
to be sent to Philadelphia, or into ^gg Harbor, or 
any other safe place, as seemed most e]q>edient. 
" You must be careful not to let any british frigate 
get between you and the land and then there's no 
danger, for they cannot pursue you in shore and 
they have no boats or Tenders that can take you ; 
besides, the country people will assist in driving 
them off shore, if they should attempt to follow you 
in. . . . Altho' we recommend your taking good 
care of your Vessd and people, yet we should deem 
it moi« praiseworthy in an ofEcer to loose his ves- 
sel in a bold enterprise than to loose a good Prize 
by too timid a Conduct." ' November 11 the com- 
mittee wrote : ** We have received intelligence that 
our enemies at New York are about to embarque 
15,000 Men on board their Transports, but where 
they are bound remains to be found out. The 
Station assigned you makes it probable that we 
may best discover their destination by your means, 
for it will be impossible this fleet of Transports can 
get out of Sandy hook without your seeing them. 
. . . When you discover this fleet, watch their 

1 Mar. Com. Letttr Book, 42 (ta C^tun Wunsr of tlu Flj, 
No*embw 1, 1776). 

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motions and the moment thej get out to Sea and 
shape their course, send your boat on Shore with a 
Letter to be diapat«hed by egress informing ns 
what course they steer, how many sail they consist 
of, if yon can ascertain their nmnbers, and how 
many Ships of war attend them. ... If this 
fleet steer to the Sonthward either the fly or 
Wasp, wbicheTer sails fastest, most precede the 
fleet, keeping in shore and ahead of them. . . . 
The dullest suler of the Fly or Wasp mnst follow 
after this fleet and watch their motions. ... In 
Bbott we think you may by a spirited execution of 
these Orders prevent them from coming by Sur- 
mize on any part of this Continent, and be assured 
you cannot recommend yourself more efiEectually to 
our friendship. If you could And an opportunity 
of attacking and taking tme of the fleet on tbair 
coming out, it might be the means of ^ving ns 
ample intelligence." ^ This was the fleet which soon 
afterwards occupied Newport; it sailed from New 
York December 1, the transports passing through 
Long Island Sound, the larger men-of-war outride. 
About the end of November the Fly returned to 
Philadelphia and on Dec^nber 21 was sent down 
the Delaware to watch some British vessels cruising 
off the capes. The Wasp continued on the New 
Jersey shore for a while and then watched these 
vessels from the outside. The Hornet cruised during 
the summer and in December was ordered to the 

> Mar. Com. Letter Book, 43 (to Warner). 

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"West Indies ; but she did not go, being in Christ- 
iana Creek and unable to get oat through a British 
fleet in Delaware Bay.' 

According to Admiral Howe's letter of February 
20, 1777, the British vessels employed in Delaware 
and Chesapeake Bays during 1776, some or all <^ 
them being stationed part of the time in one bay 
and part in the other and occasionally cruising off 
the capes, were the Boebnck of forty-four guns, the 
frigates LiTerpool and Fowey, and the sloop of war 
Otter ; while the frigate " Orpheus appears to have 
been rather appointed for the neoesaary aad more 
general pnrpose of cruising between the port of 
New York and Fntrance of the Delaware, than 
confined to the particular Guard of the last." ^ 

> Am. AtA., V, i, 137, 1118, 1181, ii, 070, 1199, 1200, 1292, iii, 
461, 607, 687, 901, 1148, 1176, 1170, 1213, 1331. 1332, 1458, 1484; 
Ptmt^vama Qaxtm, Oatob«r 10, 177Si Afar. Cant. LMet Book, 
17, 30, 38, 41, 42, 43, 47, 48 {Aivart 23, Oatobw 10, 23, 30, No- 
Tunber 1, 11, 29, Deoamber 14, 25, 1776). 

*Bnt. Adai. Bee., A. D. 487, So. 24. 

by Google 



Hatinq followed the movemeiits of two fleets in 
serrice daring 17T6,tli^re remain to be oonaidered 
various cruises and actions of a nnmber of single 
Tesseb, pablio and private, that went oat npon the 
sea in that year ; and some other events as well. 

The MassachasettB navy began its existence in 
August, 1775, when the Machias Liberty and Dil- 
igent were taken into the service of the province 
and Jeremiah O'Brien was put in command of 
them.i The Diligent was afterwards commanded by 
Captain John Lambert. These vessels cruised in- 
termittently and with some succese for over a 
year, or nntil October, 1776. In February they 
were at Newburyport and received new crews. 
In the spring O'Brien took two or three small 

Meanwhile the force had been increased. As a 
result of the report of the committee appointed 
Dec^nber 29, 177S, to consider the subject of a 

1 See BboTe, pp. 14, 40. 

■ (rSrita, oha. vii, viii, ix; Am. ArA., TV, ir, 1204, ti, 800, 
T, iii, 884, 887; MattachuelU Mag., lamarj, April, ISIO; Bottim 
OatOtt, JniM 10, J11I7 20, ITIS; Mau. Court Bee., Fabnuir S, 

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etate navy,! ten vessels vera aathoiized by the 
General Court of Massaohosetts in February, 1776, 
the number being shortly afterwards raduced to 
five. April 20 it was resolved *<tliat the Brigantine 
building at Kingston be called the Independence, 
that the Brigantine building at Dartmouth be 
called the Bising Empire, that the Sloop building 
at Saltsbniy be called the Tyrannicide, that one 
of the Sloops bnilding at Swanzey be called 
the Republic and the other the Freedom." The 
Tyrannicide was changed into a brigantioe a few 
months later. Another vessel, the brigantine Mas- 
sacbusetts, was built at Salisbury in the spring. 
The Tyrannicide, Captain John Fisb, carrying four- 
teen guns and seventy-five men, seems to have been 
the first of these newly constructed vessels to get 
to sea. She sailed July 8 and four days later cap- 
tured a prize. CaptMn Fisk's report, dated July 17, 
says : " This may serve to acquaint your Honours 
that in latitude 40° 26' north, Irai^tude 65° 60' 
west, I fell in with the armed schooner Despatch 
from Halifax, bound to New York ; and after an 
engagement of one-and-a-half hour, she struck to the 
American arms. I boarded her and found on board 
eight earri^^ guns and twelve swivel guns, twenty 
small arms, sixteen pistols, twenty cutlasses, some 
cartridges, boxes, and belts for bayonets, nine half- 
barrels powder, all the accoutrement for said can- 
non. The Commander and one man were killed, and 
' S«e ftbore, p. 4a 

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aeren others woonded. The crew consisted of thirty 
men and one boy. I lost one man killed and ten 
wounded, and my Tessel was much shattered, which 
obliged me to retom with my prize, which I have at 
anchor in Salem Harbour, and wait your Honours' 
orders how to proceed with the prisoners. All the 
Captain's papers and orders were thrown over- 
board." 1 Fisk sailed again and during the month 
of August took foor prizes, one of which was r» 
captured by a British frigate which chased and 
nearly oaaght the l^'^annicide. Upon risk's advice 
his sloop's rig was changed after her return from 
tbiscruise. Ootober29,Fiskwasorderedonanother 
cruise to the eastward <rf Nantucket Shoals as far 
as the ninth meridian of longitude and south to the 
twelfth parallel of north latitude. Meanwhile the 
brigantine Independence, Captain Simeon Sampson, 
whose inBtructions of July 26 were apparently the 
next issued after those of Captain Fisk, was <' Di- 
rected Imediately to proceed on a Cruize not only 
ag^st our Unatural Enemies, but also for ye Pro- 
tection of the Trade of the United States, and you 
are directed to Range the Coast of the Province of 
Mun . . . and from tbence proceed as farr South- 
ward as the Ijattitnde tbir^-four North, and not 
further West than the Shoals of Nantuckett, nor 
further East than the Island [of] Sable, on the 
Coast of Nova Scotia." The Independence accom- 
plished little daring the year.' 

1 Call. E$»ex Jnit., Juniuy, 1900. 

* JlaH.C«i>iT Aw.,April20,Ma74,SeptemUr 13,lTie;Sea 

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Bichaid Derby of Salem reported, October 8, 
that oo the praTiouB evraung the brigaDtine Massa- 
ohosetts, " belonging to this State, aiyved here." 
She had been cmiBing during September mider the 
oonuuaDd of Captain Daniel Souther, who, Derby 
says, " Informs me that a few Daya after he sailed 
he fell in with & Took a Brigantine of about 250 
Tons from Falmouth in England mounting six three 
pound Cannon & having on board a Captain & 
about 20 Privates of the 16th Regiment of Drag- 
oons, with their Horse Aoconteements. ... He 
part«d from the Prize thia Day week in a Storm 
which has Continued almost ever since, but as the 
wind has been favourable this Day or two I Expect 
every moment to see or to hear of her being aryred 
at Boston. The prisoners in all amount to 85 which 
Cap Souther tbo't too many to Cary the Cruise with 
him & therefor tho't best to Betum & JjaxiA them, 
Espetially as he Expected to Do it in a few Days, 
but Gales of wind have prevented him. The Honble 
Board I hope will send me Direc^ns bow to Dis- 
pose of the Prisoners. . . . They say the People in 
Brittain know Nothing what is passing in America 
& Capt Souther Informs me the Chaplain has told 
him the People in England begin to grow very 
weary." * 

Xaa. Cmamil, Jul; 26, Ootobw 20, ITIS; Am. Arch., V. I, 406, 
552 ; Boaton QaztOe, Aogtut 10, ITIS ; Mauadttuetu Mag., April, 
1908, JitDDU?, 1909. 
1 JfauncAuMtt* Mag., Oetobei, 1908 ; BatUm QamOt, Oetober 7, 


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The sloopa Bepablic, Captain John Foster WO- 
liaou, aod Freedom, Captain John CloiuttKi, when 
ready for sea vere ordered to Bosttm. In October 
tlM B«poblic waa sent oDacrniBeofiNantnidcetaiid 
soon captored the BriliBh armed ship Jnlios Csesar. 
The Eepnblio was afterwards employed in commer- 
<nal voyages. Captun Clonston's orders are dated 
Septnnber 20, 17T6: "The sloop Freedom onder 
yoor command, being in all respects equipped in a 
trarlike manner and being also well and properly 
manned, so as to enable yon to proceed on a omiae, 
yon therefore are directed to range the eastern shore 
of this State laying between the Krer Piscataqoa 
and Machias, in order to clear that coast of any of 
the enemy's omisers that may be infesting tbe same ; 
and from thence proceed to the mouth of the River 
St. Lawrence and there cruise nntil the first of 
November, in order to intercept any of the enemy's 
vesseb that may be passing that way; and from 
thence you must proceed to iihe coast of Newfound- 
land and there orniM until the middle of November 
afores^d, in order to surprise and seize such vessels 
of the enemy as you meet upon that coast or iu any 
of the harbours of the same ; after which you may 
proceed upon a cruise as far southward as latitude 
88° north and continue upon s^d cruise so long as 
you find it practicable or expedient ; and then you 
are to return to the harbour of Boston, always umng 
every necessary precaution to prevent the sloop under 
your command from falling into the hands of the 

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enemy. You are to observe and follow auoh orders 
and directions as you shaJl from time to time receive 
from Captain Daniel Souther, provided they are 
oonsistent with the instructions now given you. 
And whereas you have received a commission by 
force of arms to attack, seize and take on the high 
seas all ships and other vessels belonging to the in- 
habitants of Gbeat Britiun, or others infesting the 
sea-eoast of this Continent, you are therefore punc- 
tually to ffdlow the instmctions already delivered 
you tor regulating your conduct in this matter, and 
in all things conduct yourself consistent with the 
trust reposed in yon." ^ These instmctions were 
probaUy not carried out, and after her return frtm 
a short cruise, the Freedom was altered into a brig- 
antine, being fitted out with the masts, sails, and 
ri^ng of the Rising Empire. This vessel for some 
reason, after a very short cruise, had been reported 
by her captain to be " totally unfit for the service," 
and was put out of commisaion.^ 

In May, 1776, the Connecticut brig Defence, 
Captain Harding, captured several tories crossing 
to Long Island. Harding th^i fitted out three small 
sloops to search for tories, the Defence being too 
well known to them. In a letter expressing well- 
defined opinions of toryism. Governor Tmmbull of 
Connecticut acknowledged Harding's reports " com- 

■ MauaiAiaetlM Mag., April, 100&. 

* Ai'ij., April, July, 100e,JiilT, 1911; JfoM. Coiol Bee^ Ootobar 

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munieatingaLtrming intelligenoe of amost unnatural 
and traitorous combination among the inhabitants 
of this Colony. Possessed of and enjoTing the most 
valoable and important privileges, to betray them 
all into the hands of our cmel oppressors is shock- 
ing and astonishing conduct and evinces the deep 
degeneracy and wickedness of which mankind is 
capable. Have laid your connnonioation before my ' 
CJoanciL Thc^ are equally shocked at this horrid 
baseoesa and will with me be ready to come into any 
proper measures to defeat and suppress this wicked 
conspiracy to the utmost of our power; and lu the 
mean time approve and applaud your zeal and activity 
to discover and apprehend any persons concerned in 
this blackest treason."^ The Defence afterwards 
performed valuable service in Massachusetts Bay,' 
xetuming to New London in July, and continued 
cruising during the rest of the year." 

Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and the Carolina 
sounds witnessed a good deal of marine conflict dur- 
ing the year 1776. Pennsylvania, Maryland, and 
Virginia maintained many small craft, as well as 
some lai^ vessels, for defense, and a number of 
captures were made early in the year. Several Con- 
tinental vessels also cruised in these waters. In 
March the British sloop of war Otter, with several 

1 Am. Arch., IV, Ti, 608. 

* SaeaboTe, pp. 81, 82, 

* Am. Ar<A., IV, yi, 439, 470, 482, 483, 503, 531 ; CoimtaiaU 
Conrant, Jnlr 22, 1773; CmOiMnial Journal, OctolwE 10, 1T7S; 
Ufac London Bia. Soc., IT, i, 37. 

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tenders and prizes, came up Chesapeake Bay nearly 
as far as Baltimore. The ship Defence, Captain 
James Nicholson, of the Maryland navy, went out 
to meet the Otter, drove her down the hay and 
recaptured her prizes. Goremor Dunmore of Vir- 
ginia employed a considerahle fleet in Chesapeake 
Bay, which in July comprised more than forty 
Tessels. Whatever British men-of-war happened 
to be stationed in the bay, and there were generally 
a few at least, were attached to this fleet. A family 
of tones, John Groodrich and several sons, also 
omised about the bay in Dnnmore's service. The 
chief function of the state cmisers was to check the 
rav^^ of these vessels along the shwes of the 
bays and rivers. Several of their prizes were recap- 
tured by the navies of Virginia, Maryland, and 
North Carolina, and other captures, some of them 
important, were occasionally made. June 20, Cap- 
tain James Barron of the Virginia navy took the 
Oxford, one of the fleet of Scotch transports bound 
to Boston, and brought her into Jamestown.' 

After the departure of Hopkins's fleet for New 
Providence in February, the Marine Committee 
fitted out other Continental vessels from time to 
time. Those that cruised along the coast of the 
Middle States were the brigs Lexington and 
Reprisal, of sixteen guns each, and the sloops 
1 Am. AnL, IV. iv, 114, 122, 123, 126, 128, t, 109, ti, 1659. V, 
1,152, 62C,il,lS2,m, 821, 1007i Almon, iii, 31; Boiton Oautu, 
rebiuar; G, Msf 20, Jul; 15, 1770 ; If, S. dronidt. Ma; 23, 177S ; 
Bo. Lit. XmtBgtr, Febrnary, 1857. Sm abore, pp. 117, 118. 

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Independence and Sachon, of ten gnns each, and 
Mosquito <d bar gnns. April 7, in sigiit of the 
Virginia eapet. Captain John Bany of the Lexing- 
ton reported to the Manne Committee : " I have 
the pleagnre to acquaint jon that at one f. m. this 
day I ^1 inwitJitbe sloop Edward [of ei^itgiinsj, 
belonging to the LiTetpooI frigate. She engaged lu 
near two passes. They killed two of onr men and 
woimded two more. We shattered her in a terrible 
manner, as yon will see. We killed and wonnded 
several of her crew. I shaD g^ve you a psrticniar 
acootmt td the powder and arms taken ont of her, 
as well as my proceedings in generaL I have the 
bappinesB to acquaint you that all onr people be- 
haved with much courage." ^ Captain Barry was 
an Irishnuui by birth and afterwards became a 
distinguished officer of the navy. In July die sloop 
Sachem captured a heavily armed British letter of 
marque brig.* 

The British man-of-war Boebuck, 44, croised 
abont the Virginia and Delaware capes from Ute 
middle of Naxch ontil June. May 5, in company 
with tixe Liverpool, 28, and a number of tenders 
and prizes, she came up Delaware Bay. On the 8th 
these vessels were met below Chester by thirteen 
Pennsylvania galleys and an engagement followed 
which lasted all the afternoon. The Continental 

1 Peattt^vania Gaztttt, April 17, 1776. 

* Am. Areh; IV, T, 810, V, U, 823 ; Almaa, iii, 81 ; Grifan's Life 
^BoTTji, 30 ; BarMg, 45, 46] Jf. E. CArmicU, April 26, 1770. 


schooner Wasp, Captain Alexander, came out of 
Christiana Creek, into which she had been driven 
the day before by the British, and recaptured one of 
their prizes — a brig. The Roebuck was considei- 
ably injured in her rigging and, in attempting to get 
near the galleys, grounded on a shoal ; the Lirer- 
pool anchored near by for her protection. Daring 
the night the Boebook got off and the British 
dropped down the rirer. The galleys followed and 
another action took place. An American prisoner, 
impressed on board the Boebnok, says that the 
galleTB " attacked the men-of-war the second day 
with more course and conduct [and] Uie Roebuok 
received many shots betwixt wind and water; 
some went quite through, some in her quarter, and 
was much raked fore and aft. . . . During the 
engag^nent one man was killed by a diot which 
took his arm almost off. Six were much hurt and 
burned by an eighteen-pound cartridge of powder 
taking fire, amcmg whom was an ac^g lieutenant." ^ 
The British ^ps then retreated. In his official 
report to the admiral the captain of the Boebuck 
says : " On the 5th of May I took the Liverpool 
with me, sailed up the Blver as far as Wilmington, 
where I was attacked in a shallow part of the River 
by thirteen Row Gallies attended by several fire- 
Ships and Launches, which in two long Engagements 
I beat ofE and did my utmost to destroy. . . . After 
having fully executed what I had in view, I returned 
1 Am. Jrck, IV, ti, 810. 



to dw Caftt die 15lli."> The pmnee of the Be- 
prinl and Hornet in the bny , or nor by, alAoa^ 
tb^ tocdino paii in the action, ma J hsre eontriboted 
to the d ia e o i ufa n't of the Engtinhmen'g sitostioB.* 

The Beprinl, Captain Loinbext Wida*,in» 
ordered June 10 to Martinique, but die did not 
aailatonee; at the end of the month ibe vat stfll 
m the Delaware. On tfae 29tb the armed \aig 
NaiH^, from the West Indies boond to Flnladd- 
[dna with ■inwumMnt. and militazy Btwea, ma 
chaaed off the Ddaware eapes by aiz ^itiah men- 
of-war and t«idera ; she engaged the latter and 
beat them off. The Lexington and Bcprisal came to 
die Nancy's rescoe, and nnder cover of a fog she 
waa mn asbore near C^ie M^ and ti» moat valo- 
able part of ber caigo, indnding two hundred and 
seventy barrels of powder, waa saved. The fog 
•oon lifted and the British were seen to be very 
near and sending in boats. The Nances capttun and 
crew then quitted her after setting her on fire, a 
laige quantity of powder being still on board. Two 
or three of the British boats then came in, boarded 
the Nancy *<and took possession of her with three 
cheers ; soon after which the fire took the desired 
^ect and blew the pirates forty or fifty yards into 
the ur and much shattered one of their boats under 
ber stem. Eleven dead bodies have since come on 

» BrU. Adm. Ste., A. D. 4S7, Norwnbw 28, 1T76. 

■ Am. Arch., IV, Ti, S96, 406, 498, 80S-611 ; Altum, iH, 178; 
SaMan Oazttte, Usy 30, 17T6 ; Barnes, 4(>^ i WaUao*'* Lifi of 
Bradford, StfJ. 


shore with two gold-laced hats and a leg with a 
garter. From the great number of limbs floating 
and driven ashore it is supposed thirty or forty of 
them were destroyed by the ezplosioD." ' According 
to a British account, which may, however, refer to 
another incident, the boats sent in " boarded amidst 
a heavy fire from the shore, where thousands of 
people had assembled to protect her. fading it 
impossible to get her off, we set her on fire, with 
orders to quit her without loss of time, as we fonnd 
her cargo consisted of three hundred and sixty bar< 
rels (^ powder with some saltpetre and dry goods ; 
but unfortunately, before we had all left her, she 
blew up and a mate and six men was blown to 
pieces in her. The oars of the other boats were all 
knocked to atoms and two men had their ribs broke ; 
but considering the whole, we was amazingly fort- 
unate, as the pieces of the vessel was falling all 
round for some time." ^ The Americans mounted 
a gnn on shore and opened fire on the men-of-war. 
The fire was returned and Lieutenant Wickes, 
brother of the captain of the Beprisal, was killed.' 
Tlie Reprisal sailed July 8 for the West Indies, 
taking out as passenger William Bingham, who was 

I Am. Arch., T, i, 14. 

* Navy Bee. Soe., vi, 3S, jonrntl of Lnnteiuuit (Istai Reax- 
Admiial) Jtunet, in which discrepviciei in date and other detaila 
may peihaps ha aooonnted for by ita hanitg bean written two 
ysan later, in prison. 

* ..In. Arch., ly, Ti, 783, V, i, 14 ; Mag. Amtr. Hut., Msioh, 
1S78, nanatiTe of Lientenant IlaMiewiuaD. 

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to be the Amencan commflrcial and naval agent at 
Martinique. The Beprisal convened thirteen mer- 
chantmen to a safe distance heyond the Delaware 
capes. During the voyage she toob and manned 
three prizes, which left her very short-handed. As 
she was approaching the port of St. Pierre, July 27, 
the British sloop of war Shark, 16, came oat of the 
harbor. Captain Chapman of the Shark says that 
at half-past five that afternoon a ship was seen com- 
ing around the northern point of the bay and was 
suspected of being an American. At seven the 
Shark slipped her cables and made sail. Half an 
hour later the Bepriaal tacked. "We wore and stood 
towards him & haild him twice in French, to which 
he made no answer; we afterwards haild him in 
English, he continued to make sail from us & made 
no reply. At 9 fir'd a shot ahead of him and haild 
in English, told him we was an English Man of 
War; he made no answer, but bore down and fired 
a Broadside into us, which we returned immediately 
and continued engaging ^ an hour, then he back'd 
his Maintops & dropt astern & afterwards tack'd ; 
^ past 10 we tack'd & stood towards him, at ^ past 
10 they fired two shot at ns from the shore, which 
occasioned us to bear away ; he kept his Wind and 
anchord in the Bay."i Wickes says that he re- 
plied to both the French and English hail of the 
Shark and that the latter fired a shot at ten o'clock 
followed by three others in succession, to which the 
1 Brit. Adm. Bee., Captain't Logt, No. 8S6 (log of the Shark). 

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iKeprisal returned four, whereapon IJie English made 
Bail in order to wiithdraw from the contest. A French 
officer on shore thought that the Engflish fire waa 
the more rapid and better delivered. He says that 
after parting from the Eeprisal, the Shark chased 
a schooner, which took refuge under a battery; 
wherenpoD the battery fired two shot at the Shark. 
The next day she letumed to her anchorage in the 
harbor. The Kepiisal went back to the United States 
in September and the sloop Independence, Captain 
John Young, was sent out to take her place. Naval 
stores were greatly needed at all times and the 
Marine Committee took meaaores to obtiun them in 
the West Indies, the depot for European goods c^ 
that kind. Ships of war were largely employed for 
their trauBportation. ^ 

In Uie spring of 1776 a BritiBh expedition was 
sent against the southern colonies. A fleet of trans- 
ports with troops imder the command of Greneral 
Comwallis sailed from Cork convoyed by two fiffy- 
gnn ships and several smaller vesselB conunanded 
hy Commodore Parker. In May this force arrived 
in North Carolina and was joined by General Clin- 
ton, who had left Boston with several regiments in 
Jannary ; Clinton now assumed the command. The 

1 Am. Arch., T, i, 180, 249, 600, 706, 141, ii, S24, 410 ; AlnLOti, 
It, 103 ; Ardiiva dt la Mariiu, BJ US ; Pop. Cont. Congr., 7B, 23, 
203, 295 (Wiokes to Committee of Secret ConespondeDCfl, Jnl? 11, 
13, 1776} ; liar. Cbm. Later Book, 20, 26 (September 20, Ootobar 4, 
1770) ; Botton GattOe, Aogiut 19, Ortober 7, 1776 ; Iiidg>atd*ta 
Cironklt, Ootober 3, 1776. 

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objective point of tlie ezpeditioii having been left 
to his discretioQ, he determined to attack Cbarles- 
toa, and on June 4 the fleet appeared ofi the bar 
at the harbor entrance of that town. 

Meanwhile the Americana had been making pte- 
parationB for defense. A force of five or six thou- 
sand, lesB than half of them i^ulars and all raw 
troops, was collected under the command of General 
Charles Lee. A fort of palmetto logs was bnilt at 
the southern end of Sullivan's Island which com- 
manded the channeL This fort was garrisoned by 
•boat three hiindred and fifty regular troops and a 
few militia under Colonel Moultrie. Seven or eight 
hundred men were stationed at the northern end of 
Sullivan's Island to oppose the approach of the 
firitiah from Long Island. The South Carolina 
navy, at that time C(msisting of three vessels, prob- 
ably took some part in the defense of the town. 

The British met with some difficnlly and delay 
in getting over the bar, but 1^ June 27 were ready 
for the attack. Their naval force consisted of the 
Bristol and Experiment of . fifty guns each, the 
tweuty-dlght-gun frigates Solebay, Syren, Active, 
and ActsoD, the Sphynz, 20, the Friendship, 18, 
the bomb-vessel Thunder, which carried two mortars^ 
and a few smaller armed vessels.^ 

* For tlie orpeditioii agamst Chailnton, lee Am. Ardt., IV, li, 
1805-1210; ^■um, iii, 142, 180-1S2, 264-267,314-319; Danon'a 
Bttt^et oftU Uniltd SlaUt, oh. x; PauunlBttma Oaatte, Septam- 
ber 11, Not. 20, 1776; Pann. £ranin$ Pod, Apnl 28, 1776; Win- 

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On the 28th the attack was made. Commocloid 
Ftu-kersaysmhia report: "At half an hour a£ter ten 
I made the dgnal to weigh, and about a quarter 
after eleven the Bristol, Experiment, Active and 
Solehaybroughtap^iainst the fort. Thunder Bomb, 
eoTOTed by the Friendship armed vessel, brought 
the Saliant Angleof the East Bastion to bear N. W. 
by K. and . . . threw several shells a little before 
and diinng the engagement in a very good direc- 
tion. The Sphynz, Actson and Syren were to have 
been to the westward, to prevent fireships and otiier 
vessels from annoying the ships engi^ed, to enfilade 
the works, and if the rebels should be driven from 
them, to out off their retreat if possible. This last , 
service was, not performed, owing to the ignorance 
of the pilots who run the three frigates ground. 
The Sphynz and Syren got off in a few hours, but 
the ActiBon remained fast iaH the next morning, 
when the captain and officers thought proper to 
scuttle and set her on fire." ^ 

The engagement lasted ten hours. The fort was 
little damaged by the bombardment it received from 
the British, while the fire of the Americans was 
delivered slowly and aooorately, and with marked 
effect upon the ships of the enemy. In his report 
to the President of Congress General Lee says 
the ships " anchored at less than half musket shot 

tor't Narralivt and Oritical Hutory of America, ti, 168-172, 230; 
Chaamns, iii, 226-228; amctt, iii, 371-370. Be* mmp, p. 402. 
1 AiwuM, iii, 180, 100 (Jnly 0, 1776). 

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from the fort aod commenced one of the most 
fnrioos and incesBant fires I ever saw or heard.*' 
Abont lialf-past four in the afternoon the fort ap- 
peared to the Britiflh to hare been silenoed, but 
this was doe to a failnie of ammnnition, and upon 
the aniTal of a fresh sopply, an hour and a half 
later, the fire was renewed. The Americans behaved 
ffictranely wdl, and Lee, npon viuting the fort, 
"found them detennined and cool to the last de- 
gree ; their beliftTior would hare done honor to 
the oldest troops." ^ Motdtrie became thenoeforth 
one of the heroes of the Bevolation and the fort 
was named for him. The British troops who had 
landed on Long Island, to what number isunoer^ 
tain, bad intended to cross over to SnUivaD's Island 
and attack the fort io the rear, where it was partly 
open and unfinished. The islands were separated 
by a shallow ohannei usually passable at bw tide, 
but continued easterly winds bad so backed np 
the water that it was too deep to be forded. 

At abont nine o'clock in the evening the British 
fire ceased and two hours later the fleet dropped 
down to its former anchorage. The Actsaon, after 
she had been set fire to and abandoned by her crew 
the next morning, was boarded by Americans who 
brought away her colors and some other property ; 
half an hour later she blew up. The damage suffered 
by the British ships was heavy, especially by tbe 
Bristol and Experiment, and upon these two ships 
> Am. Jfct., IV, Ti, 1306 (Lm's mpott, Jolj 2, 1776). 

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also tlie loss vas greatest, which altt^ther amounted 
to sixty-fonr Idlled and a hundred and forly-one 
wounded, many of the latter dying &om their in- 
jurieB soon afterwards. The American loss was 
twelve killed and twenty-^re wounded, five of them 
mortally. The attack was not renewed, and after 
making repairs, the fleet suled for New York. 

Under the encouragement of acts passed by the 
Continental Congress and the varioos provincnal 
sssemUies, privateering flonrislied during 1T76, 
although it came very &r &om assuming the propor- 
taons that it attuned in later years. Only thirty-four 
private commissions were issued imder the authority 
of the Continental govemment, but probably a 
much larger number of privateers were sent out 
by the separate states. Vessels of this class cruised 
at sea, along the Atlantic coast, and in West Indian 
and European waters. The privateersmen were 
commonly saooessful, bat first and last a good many 
of them fell into the hands of the enemy. 

Captain James Tracy was unfortunate enon^ to 
Ml in with a British frigate, mistaking her for a 
merchantman. Tracy sailed from Newbnryport, 
Jnne 7, in tfae brig Yankee Hero, carrying twelve 
guns and tw^ity'six men, including officers. He 
expected to get more men at Boston. Off Cape 
Ann the captain sighted a atai which he de- 
termined to chase, and here he received a reinforce- 
ment of fourteen men who came out from the shore 
in boats ; with forty, he still had only a third of 

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his complement. Trat^ then bore away for the sail, 
which was five leagues distant, to the east-sonthesst ; 
when too late he dtseorered the chase to be a ntao- 
of-war. He now put about for the shore with the 
ship, which turned ont to be the frigate Milford, 
iu pursuit. The wind, which had been westerly, 
died away, and in an hour and a half the frigate, 
having taken a fresh breeze from the south, was 
within half a mile and began to fire her bow ehasen. 
The wind shifted to the west agun. Tiacy reserved 
his fire until the enemy should be within dose range. 
She soon came up on the Yankee Hero's lee quarter 
within pistol-ahot and the unequal ocmtest became 
warm. The account of the affair was " chiefly col- 
lected from those who were in the engagement." 
" After some time the ship hauled her wind eo dose, 
which obliged the brig to do the same, that Capt. 
Tracy was nnable to flght his lee guns ; upon this 
he backed under her stem, but the ship, which sailed 
much faster and worked as quick, had the advan- 
tage and brought her broadside agmn upon him, 
which he oould not evade, and in this manner th^ 
lay not an hundred feet from each other yawing to 
and fro for an hoar and twenty minutes, the priv- 
ateer's men valiantly nuuntaining their quaMers 
agiunst such a superior force. About this time the 
ship's foremast guns beginning to slack fire, Capt. 
Tracy tacked under his stem and when clear of 
the smoke and fire, perceived his ri^ng to be most 
shockingly out, yards flying about without braces. 

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some of his prm<npal saOs shot to nigs and half of 
his moQ to appearaooe dying and wounded." The 
first lieutenant was among the wounded. The frig- 
ate having sheered off there was a short luU, during 
which the wounded were carried below and the 
crew began to repair the ri^ng. They were get- 
tdng nearer shore and Tracy hoped to be able to 
escape. Before things could be put to rights, how- 
ever, the frigate '* ^ain came up and renewed the 
atta<^ which obliged Capt. Tiaoy to have recourae 
to bis gnus again, though he still b^t some hands 
aloft to his rigging, but b^ote the br^ had again 
fired two broadsides, Captun Tracy received a 
wound in his right thigh and in a few minutes he 
could not stand ; he laid himself over the arm chest 
and barrioadoe, detennined to keep up the fire, but 
in a short time, from pain and loss of blood, be was 
unable to oonunand, growing faint, and tbej helped 
him below. As soon as he came to, be found his 
firing bad ceased and his people round him wounded, 
not havinga surgeon with them, in a most distressed 
situation, most of tbem groaning and some expiring. 
Struck severely with such a spectacle, Capt Tracy 
radered his people to take bim up in a chair upon 
the quarter deck and resolved again to attach the 
ship, which was all this time keeping up her fire ; 
but after getting into the air, he was so faint that 
he was for some time unable to speak and finding 
no alternative but they must be taken or sunk, for 
the sake of the brave men that remained he ordered 

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them to strike to tlieshq>."' The uti<m lasted over 
two hours and Uie Yankee ^bro kwt four kOled 
and thirteen woimded. On the Milford were thirty 
American prisoners who bad been impressed and 
were forced to fight against their oonntrymen. Tbe 
frigate bx^ her piiae to Hali&x.' 

In May, 1776, the American privateer Camden, 
14, fbnght three hoars with the brigantine Eari of 
Warwif^ 16. An ezpkwion then took place on the 
Warwick which killed and wonnded thirty men and 
she was obliged to sbike.' Abont the same time the 
I^vateer Cromwell, 20, oaptored and took into 
Philadelphia the British sloop of war Lynx.* The 
private armed sloop Yankee, Captun Henry John- 
son, <rf Boston, <7aised in the English Channel, and, 
having ttiken two prizes, had many prisfmera on 
board. The captain of one of the prizes and one <» 
two otilier British officers, being in Captiun John- 
son's cabin, seized a cnUass which had been care- 
lessly left within reach, and, arousing the other 
prisoners, soon had possession of the Yankee, whioh 
they iook. into Dover.^ 

' JToM. t^, Saptomber 11, 1776. 

■ Ibid., Jnoa 21, Saptomber 11, 1776; Aim. Ard,., TV, ri, 746- 
n48; MHand Nag. Kag. oj U. S., May, 183G. 

■ London Chromdt, July IS, 1778. • Did. 

* Am. Artk., V, i, fM, 7KG, 766 ; Be^on Oatette, Jnly 16, Ds- 
eembar S, 1776. For alkwr opentioiia of priTataen in 1776, saa 
Jm. .irdL, V, i, 688, S74, S6S, ii, 233, 316 ; ^MM, iU, 31, 2S6, 267, 
266, rr, IGO, 160, 161 ; Batlon QautU, Jane 17, An^ntt 12, Sep- 
tambar 2, 16, 30, NorembeT 26, Deoember 80, 1776 ; Indi^^at 
CiromcU, Jniw 13, Ootober 17, Norember 11, 28, 1776. 

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Sevetal attempts were made during the Revoln- 
ixm to destroy British men-of-war at anchor. Such 
an enterprise was discussed in 1T75 in reference 
to the British fleet in Boston Harbor, and some 
preparations seem to have been made to carry it out. 
Samuel Osgood wrote to John Adams from the camp 
at Bozbnry, October 2S, 1T75 :" The famous Water 
Machine from Conuecticutt is evety Day eiq>eoted 
in Camp ; it must unavoidably be a clumsy Bom- 
ness, aa its Weight is about a Tun. I wish it mi^t 
succeed [and] the Ships be blown np beyond the 
Attraction of the Earth, for it is the only Way or 
Chauoe they hare of reachii^ St Peter's Gate."' 
The " Water Machine " here referred to was prob- 
ably the contrivance of David Bnshnell of Connec- 
ticut, which afterward excited great interest ; yet 
jost at this time John Hancock, President of Con- 
gress, wrote to Greneral Washington : " Captn. John 
Macpherson having informed the Congress that he 
had invented a method by which with their leave 
he vonld take or destroy every ministerial armed 
vessel in North America, they appointed Govn. 
Hopkins, Mr. Bandolph & Mr. J. Bntledge to 
confer with him oa the aabject, tat he would not 
consent to oommunioate the secret to any but a 
committee & yon. These Gentlemen reported that 
the scheme in theory appeared practicable and that, 
though its success conid not be relied on withont 
experience, they thought it well worth attempting 
1 AdanuMBS. 

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on the fleet in & abont Boston haiboor, thdr de- 
strnctdoii being an objeot of tbe almost oonseqnence. 
The Congress have therefore directed Capt. Mao- 
pherson to repair immediately to Cambridge." ^ 

These projects went no farther at the time, and 
the British oontinned to ride safdy at anch(» in the 
harbor until they saw fit to take their departure the 
next spring. In July, 1776, preparations of a sim- 
ilar n^nre were made. On tben^ht of Angast 17 
two fireships in the Hudson River attacked Uta 
ships Pheenix and Bose, which had recently been 
assaolted by galleys.* One of the fireships ignited 
the fiose's tender, which was "totally conanmed." 
The other approached the Phoenix, whereupon that 
ship opened fire and cut her cable. The English so- 
coimt says : " Ten Minutes Afterwuds she boarded 
OS upon the Starboard Bow, at which time the Bel^ 
els set fire to the Train and left her. Set the Fore 
Topsail and Headsula, which fortnnatefy cast the 
ship and disengaged her &om tbe Fire Ship, after 
having been Twen^ Minntee with her Jibb Boom 
over the Gun whale." < The British then prudently 
dropped down tbe river to a new anchorage. The 
most interesting attempt to destroy a British man- 
of-war was made in Mew York Harbor abont the 
same time, with a submarine boat and torpedo de- 

1 Lateri to iraiUngtoa, BO, 72 <Ootobei 20, IITG). 

* See mboTe, p. 87. 

* BriL AdKi. Bee, A. D. 4S7, Aarnrt 17, 177S, lemaxka on boaxA 
H3LS. FtuBniz. 

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signed by David Bushnell. The operator succeeded 
in bringing his boat nnder a Britisli ship, but was 
unable to attach the torpedo to her side, on account 
of the copper sheathing, then drifted away and lost 
hia bearings. The torpedo, left floating in the har- 
bor, afterwards exploded with great force ; it con- 
tained a hundred and fifty pounds of powder which 
was ignited by a time-lock. Two subsequent trials, 
made in the Hudson Biver, also failed. The next 
year Bushnell endeavored to draw a torpedo agunst 
the side of a ship in Black Point Bay, near New 
London, by means of a line. But the line, having 
been discovered, was hauled in by the crew of a 
schooner near by ; whereupon the torpedo exploded, 
demolishing the schooner and killing three men.^ 

Towards the end of the year 1776 some of the 
tiiirteen frigates authorized by Congress in Decem< 
ber, 1775, were nearly ready for service. The Ral- 
eigh's keel was laid at Portsmouth March 21 and 
just two months later she was ready to enter tiie 
mtter. " On Tuesday the 2l8t inst, the Continen- 
tal Frigate of thirty-two guns, built at this place 
under the direction of John Langdon, Esq., was 
Launched amidst the acclamation of many thousand 
spectators. She is esteemed by aU those who are 
judges that have seen her, to be one of the com- 

1 Am. ArA, V, i, 156, 461, 692 ; Mnum, iii, S41, «, 90; Pord't 
WaMnglon, iii, 202, it, 848, «, 504 ; Clark'i Naval Sistorg, i, oli. 
T ; Ml J. Aiwr. Hirt., Mareli, 1893 ; Botttm Oaittte, Aniriirt 26, 1T76 1 
N. B. ChTomck, Angiut 29, J776. 

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plestest ihipB erer boilt in Anmics. The nmren^ 
ied dnigeace and caie of the three Msster-Boildets, 
Heasn. Hactet, Hill and Fanl, bother with Mr. 
ThompeoD under whose inspection she was bidlt, 
and Uie good rader and indnsttyot the Carpenters 
detorre particolar notice ; aaacdy a single instance 
of a petsoD being in liquor, or any differoice among 
the meo in the yard during the time of her btdld- 
ing, every man with {deasnre exerting hiinsdf to 
the ntmoat ; and altho' the greatest care was taken 
ibat only the best of timber was used and tite work 
perform'd in a most masterly mannffl:, the whole 
timft from her raising to the day she laosched did , 
not OHseed sixty working days, and what afforded 
a ouwt pleasing view (which was manifest in the 
oonntenanoe of the spectators) this noble fabrick 
was oompleatly to her anchors in the main channel 
in less than six minutes from the time [of] the run, 
without the least hurt; and what is truly remarka- 
ble, not a single person met with the least accident 
in launching, tbo' near fire hundred men were em.- 
ployed in and about her when ran oS." ^ 

On September 21 the Marine Committee directed 
that the frigates Boston, Captain Hector McNeill, 
and Baleigh, Captain Thomas Thompson, should be 
fitted out as expeditiously as possible, and these 
vessels were ordered to oruise in Massachusetts 
Bay and to the eastward, in search of the British 

> lf4ie Han^MAirt GfonCta, Umj 25, ITIO, quoted in If. B. Om- 
ttU. Bte., Janiiary, 1907. 

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frigate Milford. Ootolwr 23 these orders were 
modified by joining with these two vessels the 
frigate Hancock, and instructioiiB were issued for 
Captuns Manley, McNeill, and Thompson: "Yon 
are hereby directed to act in concert and Cruize 
tc^ether for the following porposes and on the fol- 
lowing stations. Yoxa first object must be to in- 
form yonrselvea in the best manner possible, if any 
of the British men of war are Cruizing in the bay 
of Boston or ofC the Coast of Massachusetts, and 
all such yon are to endeavonr with your utmost 
foroe to take, sink, or destroy. Having efiEected this 
service yon are to proceed bother towards Khode 
Island and there make prize of or destroy any of 
the enemies Ships of war that may be found Cruiz- 
ing off the Harbour or Coast of fibode Island. The 
Frizes you make are to be sent into the neatest 
Port. When yon arrive at Rhode Island, if Com- 
modore Hopkins should not be already suled on 
his Southern expedition ^ and the two frigates built 
in that State should not be ready for the Sea, in 
that ease yon are to join Commodore HojAins and 
proceed with him on the said expedition, producing 
those orders to him to jusdfy the measure. But if 
the Rhode Island frigates should be ready for the 
sea, there will be no Occasion for you or either of 
you to go Southward. And you will th^i proceed, 
taking with you any Continental Vessel that may 
be at Bbode Island and ready, if Commodore Hop- 
1 Sm aboie, p.- 127. 

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kins abould be sailed before yon come there, and 
proceed to Cruize i^;ain8t the enemies Ships & Ves- 
sels that maj be found off the Coast between the 
Harbour of Newport and the Banks of Newfound- 
land. We have no doubt £rom your zeal and at- 
tachment to the cause of America that you will 
execute this service with all possible dispatch and 
vigor, and so bid you heartily farewell." ^ The frig- 
ate Bandolph, built at Philadelphia, was put under 
the command of Captain Biddle and was expected 
to saO before the end of the year. For one reason or 
another, howeTer, chiefly, no doubt, the dif&oulty 
of manning the ships and the British blockade, no 
Continental frigate got to sea in 1776.^ 

In October the Reprisal was placed at the dis- 
posal of the Committee of Secret Correspondence 
of Congress and the Lexington, Andrew Dona, and 
Sachem were put under theorders of the Secret Com- 
mittee ; these were two distinct conunittees. These 
vessels, in addition to other duties, carried impor- 
tant dispatches. The Beprisal was ordered to take 
Franklin, who had been appointed a commissioner 
to France, to his post ; and afterwards to cruise in 
the English ChanneL She sailed about tb6 Ist of 
November and anchored in Quiberon Bay a month 
later ; two small prizee were taken during the voy- 
age. Franklin went ashore at Auray, and made the 

1 Jfor. Cm. LetUr Book, 39. 

*Am. Arch., V, H, 428, 1200, ili, 826, 827, 1198, 1254, 1332, 
14S4 ; Jfor. Com. LetUr Book, 21, 22, 23, 24 (September 21, ITie). 

by Google 

beet of his way to Paris, where lie amTed Deoemr 
ber 22.1 

The Lexington, Captain William Hallo<^ went 
to the West Indiea in the service of the Secret 
Committee of Congress and on her waj back from 
Cape Francois, in December, was captured off the 
Dehiware capes by the British frigate Pearl. About 
this time there were six British ships in this vioiniiy 
or stationed in the bay, which at the end of the 
year was closely blockaded. A lieutenant and a 
small prize crew were pat on the Liexington and 
seventy of her own crew were left on board. The 
same evening these prisoners recaptured the diip 
and, though without officers to direct them, took 
her safe into port.^ 

Under orders dated October 17, 1776, the An- 
drew Doria, Captain Isaiak BobinBcoi, stuled for 
the Dutch island of St Enstatius for a cargo of 
militfoy supplies. Upon arriving at that place and 
anchoring in the roads, November 16, the Andrew 
Doria fired a salute of eleven guns, which was re- 
turned by the fort with two gunB lees, aa for a 
merchantman. This has been called the first salute 
given the American flag in a foreign port, but 
about three weeks before this an Americas schooner 

1 aCir. Com. leHer Book, 34, 8S {OctoUr 17, 18, 1776) j P15). 
Cant. Omgr., S7, 75, S3, S6 (Oatobar 24, 1776) ; An. ArdL, V, ii, 
1002, 1115, 1107-1190, 1211-1213, 1216, Si, 1197. 

*Am. ArelL, V, iii, 1481, 1486; Mag. Atwr. BUt., Much, 1878, 
iiunti*« of Lientenuit HatthawmsD ; Part Falh, JniM, 1814, 

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had had her colors sainted at the Danish island of 
St. Cioiz. In response to a British complaint the 
salute to the Andrew Doria was diaaroved by the 
Dutch government and the governor of St. Eosta- 
tins was recalled. The Andrew Doria, having tahen 
on the stores for which she was sent, sailed for 
Philadelphia. On the return voyage, near Porto 
Bioo, she captured the British twelve-gun sloop <^ 
war Racehorse after an engagement of two hours. 
A few days later another prize was taken, bat was 
recaptured. The Andrew Doria and Bacehorse ar- 
rived si^ly in port.^ 

i£anwy,47-filj Amer. HitL £«>., nU ( July, 1003), 001-«06; 
N.E.3iag^Jtdj,18BS; Mm. Gm. iMa BaiJc, 84; Pop. Coirt. 
C<mgr., S8, 178 ^bnb 28, 1777). 

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In the days when the frontier severing Canada from 
New England and New York was a wUdemess, the 
only easy avenue of oommonieatioD was by way of 
Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River. With 
the exception of a few miles of rapids in the river, 
the whole distance from the St. Lawrence to the 
head of Lake Champlun was navigable, and as the 
shores were rough and densely wooded, the only 
practicable route was by water. This natural gate- 
way was therefore of great militaiy importance, and 
a struggle for its poasession has marked every war 
involving Canada and the colonies or states to the 

Even before the outbreak of hostilities in April, 
1776, it was understood that the British had planned 
to get control of I^ke Champhun and I^ke Gteoi^ 
and the Hudson River, so as to separate iNew Eng- 
Ifoid from the other colonies.^ In anticipation of 
this, Ticonderoga was taken by the Am^eans under 
Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold, May 10, and 
Crown Point two days later. A schooner had been 
imjn^ssed at Skenesborough (Whitehall) at the 

1 JlitM. But &)cProe.,zU (April, IfflS), 227 (latter of SuDiud 
w 16, ITO). 

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e xtr e m e head of Lake Champhun, and in her AnHJd 
proceeded wiHi fifty men. May 14, to St. Jolm's 
on tiie Rinlmli'a n, at tix bead of &b rqiids. Hiis 
place was t"^"" <ni the IStlL Having fonnd there 
nine bateaux, Arnold dfitmrrd five of them mwI 
bron^^t airay the other four, blether with a serraity- 
ton aloop. He then retomed np the lake to Crown 
F<nnt.' The Americans now had foil oootrol of the 
lake. An naval enterprises on these inland waters 
were carried on by the army, which was nnder the 
eommand of General Scfanyler. 

The British entered npoo the oonstmction of two 
reseds at St. John's in the summer of 1776, bnt 
this place was again taken by the Americans nnder 
General Mont^mery in Norember. Montgomery 
then b^;an his progress thiongb Canada, whidi 
ended with his death at Quebec on December 81. 
Meanwhile Arnold, baring accomplished his remark- 
able and arduous winter march through the wilds 
of Mfune, shared in the nnsnocessfol assault of 
Montgomery on Quebec. He spent the winter before 
that stronghold, hoping to gain possesnoa of it in 
the spring ; but upon the urival of a British fleet 
in the St. Lawrence in May, 1776, the Americans 
were obliged to fall back up the river and evacuate 
Canada, finally withdravring from St. John's to Isle 
anx NoLx June 18. The retreat from Sorel was 
conducted in an orderly manner and with trifling 
loss hj General Sullivan, all the baggage imd stores 
» Am. Ard,., IV, ii, 64B, 839. 


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being dragged up over the rapids of the Bicheliea 
in bateaux. The army was much weakened hy the 
prevalence of smallpox and by disability tbrongb in- 
oculation as a protection against that disease. Evety- 
thing that could have been of value to the enemy 
at Chambly and St. John's was destroyed. General 
Schuyler wrote to Sullivan, June 25 : "Painful as 
the evacuation of Canada is to me, yet a retreat 
without loss greatly alleviates that p^n, not only 
because it reflects honour upon you, but that I have 
now a confidant hope, that by recruiting your Army 
and keeping up a naval superiority on the Lake, we 
shall be able to prevent the enemy from penetrating 
into the inhabited parts of these Colonies.'*^ Arnold, 
who had left Montreal June 15 and joined Sullivan 
at St. John's, advised building twenty or thirty 
gondolas, row-galleys, and floating batteries for the 
defense of the lake, and for this purpose believed 
that three hundred ship carpenters would be needed. 
Gondolas were flat-bottomed boats, difficult to handle, 
while galleys were larger and probably had keels; 
oars and suls were employed in both.' 

Meanwhile American naval interests on the lake 
had not been wholly n^lected. During the preced- 
ing twelve months some construction bad been 
undertaken and different officers had been horn time 
to time in command of the vessels in service. The 
last of these officers to be appointed commodore of 

1 Ant. At<J,., IV, ri, 1107. 

Ibid., ii;, 468, 738, 1208, 1342-1344, 1392-IS94, vi, 1101-1108. 

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the little fleet was Captain Jaoobiu Wynooop, who 
reoeiTed lus orders £rom General Schnyler in May, 
1776. After tlie retom of &b army from Canada 
in June, ship-building at Skenesborongb was packed 
with vigor, nrged on by Hm restless energy of Arnold, 
who had had some naotacal ezperienoe and who in 
August was pat in command. He wished to boild 
at least one powerful frigate, but that was beyond 
the resonrces at Hs disposal. This activity of the 
Americana compelled the British also, as soon as 
, they had recovered possession of St. John's, to be- 
gin tiie oonstroctioii of a fleet. A ship and two 
schooners were taken apart, transported over and 
around the rapids, and reboilt at St. John's. Besides 
these large vessels the British had tbirly long-boats 
from the squadron in the St. lAwrenoe, many flat- 
bottomed boats, a heavily armed radeaa, a gondola 
weighing thirty tons which had been left l^ the 
Americans at Quebec, and more than four hundred 
bateaux for the transportation of koo^n and sop^es. 
According to Captain Doi^^las, commanding thd 
British squadroQ in the St. Lawrence, this force 
included " above thirty fighting vessels of different 
sorts and sizes." In this contest of ship-bnilding 
dnring the summer of 1776 the British had a great 
advantage. Their fleet of men-of-war and transports 
in the St. Lawrence furnished them with an abnnd- 
ant force of ship carpenters and other artisans, as 
well as regular naval crews for the vessels when 
finished. It was with the greatest difficulty that 



tbe Am^oaos prooured a Bofficient number of 
mechanics to bnild the fleet with which they were 
later obliged to meet Hie greatly superior force which 
the British brought agunst them. The demand for 
carpenters in the seaport towns for work npon public 
and private naval craft was far beyond the supply.^ 
On August 7, General Giates issued instructjons 
to Arnold to take the fleet as far as Split Bock or 
to, but not b^nd, Isle anz TStea, and there make 
a stand against the aiemy ; but if &e British had 
a decidedly superior force, Arnold was to tail back 
to Ticonderoga. Ten days later, the fleet being at 
Crown Point, an advance of the British was re- 
ported. At this time Wyncoop, who commanded 
the sdiooner Koyal Savage, claimed also to be still 
in ccHnmand of the fleet. The conflicting orders of 
Arnold and Wyncoop on the occasion of this sup- 
posed advance of the British naturally caused con- 
fosion. Qat«s ordered Wyncoop to be put under 
arrest and sent back to Ticonderoga and thenoe- 
forth Arnold's authority was undisputed. The fleet 
left Crown Point August 24, went into Willsbor- 
ongh September 1, having encountered a severe 
storm, and on the 18th was at Isle la Motte. Arnold 
then wrote to Grates : " I intend first fur wind to 
come up as high as Isle Yalcour, where is a good 
harbour and where we shall have the advantage of 
attacking the enemy in the open Lake, where the 

1 Am. AtA., it, iii, 4, 11-14, iH, t, 437, 1397, 1460, 1464, laM, 
T, i, 603, 603, 744-746, 747, 797, 987, 96^ 1217, U, 1176, llTfii 

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rom-gkSejtf M thar motion is qnieit, Till ^«e as a 
great aAnattage orcr the tatemji and if tliej un 
too maitjr &r to, we cm retue." ^ Amdid appeaa« 
however, to hsre nooained in liie nanitj of Ida 
h Motto until September 23. The Americm fleet 
them retreated iq> tlie lake to Utt strait between 
Taleoor Uxnd and tbe New Yotk shore, lliis lo- 
calify, which had prerioaaly been surrejed, afforded 
an exodlent "w^ aednded aodmage in a core on 
the west nde of die idand, almost oiKicealed by trees 
from reseda paanng op the lake in the channel to 
the eavt of Valooor. October 1, Arnold reorared io- 
teHigenoe that the Irtish were nearly ready to ad* 
Taooe frcMD St. John's, and Quax moreinent b^an 

The two fleete were now ready far the conflict, 
and a statement of their oomparatiTe strength at 
the time may be made. The American force under 
BrigadJer-General Benedict Arnold consisted of the 
sloop Enterprise, Captain Dickenson, carrying 
twcdve fbnp-poonders, ten swiTels, and fifty men; 
the schooners Eoyal Savage, Captain Hawley, with 
four six-ponndera and eight fours, ten swivels, and 
fifty men, and Bevenge, C^)t^ Seaman, with fonr 
feor^MHrnders and four twos, tea swivek, and thirty- 
five men ; the gondolas New Haven, Providence, 
Boston, Spitfire, Philadelphia, Connecticnt, Jersey, 

1 Am.JTd^Y,a,ai. 

■ aid., i, 826, IOCS, 1008, lOGi, looe, 1128, ii66-iun,iaoi, 

1266, 1207, ii, 186,186,481,834,636. 

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LAKE CHAMM.AIN, 1776 167 

and New York, each carrying one twelve-poander 
and two nines, eight swivela, and forty-five men ; and 
the galleys Lee with one twelve-pounder, one nine, 
and four fours, Trumbull with one eighteen-pound- 
er, one twelve, two nines, and four sixes, Congress 
with two twelve -pounders, two eights, and four 
sixes, and Washington with one eighteen-ponnder, 
one twelve, two nines, and four fours, the galleys 
altogether carrying also fifty-eight swivels and 
three hundred and twenty-six men. The Amer- 
ican force on the lake likewise included a schooner, 
the Liberty, and a galley called the Gates, but these 
two vessels took no part in subsequent events. The 
opposing fleet was commanded by Captain Thomas 
Pringle of the British navy, who had with him on 
his flagship General Carleton, commanding the army. 
The force consisted of the ship Inflexible, mounting 
eighteen twelve-pounders ; the schooners Maria with 
fourteen six-pounders and Carleton with twelve 
sixes i the radeau Thunderer with six twenty-four- 
pounders, six twelves, and two howitzers; the gon- 
dola Loyal Convert, seven nine-pounders ; tweuty 
gunboats, each with one twenty-fonr-pounder or a 
nine and some of them with howitzers ; four long- 
boats armed with one carriage gun each ; and twenty- 
four long-boats loaded with provisions and stores. 
The American fleet of fifteen vessels therefore 
mounted eighty-six guns, throwing a total weight 
of metal of six hundred and five pounds, and a hun- 
dred and fifty-two swivels, while the British had 

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about the same numbeT of guns, bat mncb beaviet 
ones, discbarging a total weigbt of over a tbonsand 
pounds. Tbe snperiority of beavy guns to ligbt ones 
is much greater than in proportion to tbe difference 
in weight of projectile, one twelv^-ponnder being far 
more effective than two sixes. The InflexiUe alone 
vaa a match for a good part of the American flee^ 
but on the other hand, the powerful battery of the 
Thunderer was in great measure useless because of 
her slowness and clumsiness. As to men, tbe full 
complement of the American fleet was eight hnn- 
dred and twenty^me, but the number actually en- 
gaged was doubtless much smaller, as only fire bun- 
dred had been obtained by October 1 j there may 
have been about seven hundred at the time of the 
battle, and those in large part at least of poor qual- 
ity, for Arnold had to take what he could get ; their 
conduct in the battles that followed, however, could 
not bave been better. Tbe British fleet was manned 
by six hundred and ninety-seven officers and men 
from the regular navy. Arnold hoisted his flag on 
tbe galley Congress, and the second in command. 
General David Waterbury, on tbe galley Washing- 
ton. Pringle and Carleton were both on the schooner 

The British fleet anchored during tbe night of 

October 10 between Grand and Long Islands and 

got under way tbe next morning with a northeast 

wind. It was seen at eight o'clock by tbe Americans 

> Am. ArtA., V, i, 1123, 1201, ii, 634, 1017, 1039, 1119. 

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LAKE CHAllPLAIN, 177S 169 

off Cumberland Head. Waterbury promptly vent 
on board the CongresB to consult with Arnold, to 
whom he expressed the " opinion that the fleet 
onght immediately to come to sail and fight them 
on a retreat in main Lake, aa they were bo mach 
Bnperiour to us in number and strength, and we 
being in such a disadvantageous harbour to fight a 
nimiber so miuih superiour and the enemy being 
able with their small boats to surround us on every 
side, as I knew they could, we lying between an 
island and the miun. But General Arnold was of 
the opinion that it was best to draw the fleet in a 
line where we lay, in the bay of Valcour. The fleet 
▼ei7 soon came up with us and surrounded us, when 
a very hot engi^ment ensued." ' 

Through neglecting to reconnoitre, the British 
did not discover the American fleet until they had 
passed Valcour Island, and it was then necessary to 
attack from the leeward, at a disadvantage. Arnold, 
in his report of October 12 to General Gates, says 
that when the British were first seen on the morn- 
ing of the 11th, "we immediately prepar'd to re- 
ceive them, the gallies and Royal Savi^ were or- 
dered under way, the rest of our fleet lay at anchor. 
At Eleven O 'Clock [the enemy] ran under the lee 
of Valcour & began the attack. The schooner 
[Koyal Savage] by some bad management fell to 
lee-ward and was first attack'd, one of her masts 
was wounded & her ri^ng shot away ; the Captain 
1 Ato. Arch., T, U, 1224. 

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thoQgfat prndeDt to run her oo tlie pmnt of Vidconr, 
where all tlie men were saved. ... At half past 
twelve the engagement became general & very warm. 
Some of the enemy's ships & all their Gondolas 
beat & row'd np within mof^et shot of ns. . . . 
The Enemy landed a large number of Indians on 
the Island & each shore, who kept an incessant fire 
on us, bat did little damage ; the Enemy had to ap- 
pearance upwards of one tbonsand men in batteaus 
prepared for boarding. We suffered much for want 
of Seamen and gunners ; I was obliged myself to 
point most of the guns on board the Congress, which 
I believe did good execution." The enemy " oontin- 
ned a very hot fire with round & Grape Shot until 
five O Clock when they thought proper to retire to 
about six or seven hundred yards distance & con- 
tinued [their fire] until dark."^ Arnold's deciskm 
to hold his ground and fight was wise ; retreat would 
have been demoraliziug and disastrous. 

Captain Pringle's report, dated October 16, says ; 
" Upon the 11th I came up with the rebel fleet conv 
manded by Benedict Arnold. They were at anchor 
under the island of Yalicour and formed a strong 
line extending from the island to the west nde of 
the continent. The wind wfis so unfavorable that 
for a considerable time nothing could be brought 
into action with them but the gun boats ; the Carle- 
ton scbooner, commanded hj Mr. Daores, by much 
perseverance at last got to their assistance, but aa 

1 Pop. Cmt. Congr., 1S2, 3, 168; Am. Arch., V, ii, 1038. 

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none of the other vessels of the fleet conlii then get 
up, I did not think it bj anj means adviseable to 
continue so partial and nneqaal a combat. Conae- 
qaently, with the ai^robaUon of his excellency gen* 
eral Carleton, who did me the honour of being on 
board the Maiia, I called off the Cu-Ieton and gnn 
boats and brought the whole fleet to anchor in a 
line as near as possible to the rebels, that their re- 
treat might be out off." ^ 

Of the American losses Arnold says : " The Cob 
giess and Washington have suffered greatl; ; the 
latter lost her first Lieutenant killed. Captain and 
Master wounded. . . . The Congress recier'd seven 
shot between wind and water, was Hall'd a dozen 
times, bad her main mast wounded in two places, & 
her yard in cme ; the Washington was holl'd a num- 
ber of times, her main mast shot through & most 
have a new one. Botii vessels are very leaky and 
want repairing. . . . The New York lost all her 
<^cers except her Captain. The Philada. was holl'd 
in so many places that she sunk about one hoar 
after the engagwnent was over. The whole kill'd & 
wounded amounted to about sixty." After dark ^e 
British set fire to the Boyal Savage, fearing that 
the Americans would i^^fun take possession of her 
and float her ; she soon blew up. In concluding his 
report Arnold says : " I caimot in justice to the 

' London Chroiade, NoTomlwr 26, 1T76 ; Am. Ardi., V, ii, 
lOBQ; ^■uHi.iT, 86. ForMporta <rf Donglu Mid Carirtoo, im 
Ibid., Si. 

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officen ID the fleet tmiit mentioning th«r qnrited 
oondoct daring the action." ^ 

Alter the battle was orer it was evident that 
tiie American fleet ooold not endure another day's 
contest under such disadvantages. "On oonsnlt- 
ing with General Waterbnry & Colo. Wiggles- 
worth," says Arnold, '* it was thonght pmdent to 
retom to Crown point, every vessel's anunnnition 
bring nearly three fourths spent & the Enemy 
greatly soperior to ns in Ships and men. At T 
OClock CoL Wi^^worth in the Tmmbnll gat 
under way, ibe Gmtdolas and nnall veaseb f diowed, 
& the Congress and Washington bron^ np the 
rear ; the Enemy did not attempt to molest ob." * 
Waterbnry says that a conncil was held, "to 
seonre a retreat throngh their fleet to get to Crown 
Point, which was done with so much secrecy that 
we went throng them entirely undiscovered."' 
It is remarkaUe that thirteen American vessels 
dionld have been able to pass through the British 
fleet without detection. Friogle merely says that 
his purpose to cnt off their retreat was " frustrated 
by the extreme obscurity of the night, and in the 
morning ihe rebels baJ got a considerable distance 

> Pop. Cent. Ctmgr., 16S, 8, 16S. On the -wSuHa mnpuKn, oaa 
Dawwn'a BaOla of tie Umted Btata, ah. liii, with oiBfial npoita 
and many ntarmsM ; M»h«n'» aooaoBt in CUnoa, iii, S54-370, and 
in Scnhxr'i Mag., Fehnuvr, 1896 ; Amtr. Hit. Beard, Oototwr, 
November, 1874 ; Coll. Com. But, Bx., vii (1890), 239-291. 

■ P(9>. OmL Cmgr., 1S9, 3, 16S. 

■ Am. Ani., V, ii, 1224. 

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LAKE CHAMFLAiy, 1776 173 

firam as up the Lake." ^ It lias been snggested that 
Arnold led his fleet around the north end of Val- 
conr and so avoided die firitish fleet.' 

The Americans retreated south up the lake, and 
early in the morning, October 12, reached Schuyler's 
Island, ten miks from Valconr. Here Arnold wrote 
bis report to General Ghttes of the precedii^ day's 
battle, adding: "Most of the fleet is this min- 
ate come to an anchor ; the Wind is small to the 
Southward. The Enemy's fleet is under way to Lee- 
ward and beating up. As soon as our leaks are 
stopp'd the whole fleet will make the utmost dispatch 
to Crown point, where I beg you will send ammu- 
nition & yonr fartlier orders for ua. On the whole, 
I think we have bad a very fortunate escape." ' 
But it was too early to talk of escape, with the 
enemy in hot porsoit. Such repairs as were possi- 
ble were hastily made ; two of the gondolas were 
80 mncb injured that it was neoessaty to abandon 
them, and they were sunk. " We remained no 
longer at Sdiayler's Island," says Arnold in a later 
report, "than to stop our leaks and mend the sails 
of the Washington. At two o'clock p.h., the 12th, 
weighed anchor with a fresh breeze to the south- 
ward. The enemy's fleet at the same time got nnder 

) London CkronicU, NoTsmber 26, 1778. 

■ Amtr. Hit. Btc, NoTembw, 1874, and Mag. Amer. BiiL, 
JuM, leSl- The anthor, W. C WatKm, pnwDta Strang thon^ 
Bot wball; ooQTUicuig eridenoe in faTor of thil liaw. 

■ Pap. Com. Coagr., 16S, S, 163. 

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way ; oqt gondola made very little way ahead." > 
Waterbiuy gays of his vessel, the Washington, that 
she was "so torn to pieces that it was almost impos- 
nUe to keep her above water ; my sails was so shot 
that carrying sail split them from foot to head." *' In 
the evening," continues Arnold, " the wind moder- 
ated and we made such -pTognaa that at six o'clock 
next morning we were about off WiUshorough, 
twenty-eight miles from Crown Point. The enemy's 
fleet were very little way above Schuyler's Island. 
The wind breezed up to the southward, so that we 
gained very little by beating or rowing ; at the 
same time the enemy took a fresh breeze from tbe 
northeast, and by the time we had reached Split 
Bock, were alongside of as. The Washington and 
Congress were in the rear ; the rest of our fleet 
were ahead, except two gondolas sunk at Schuyler's 
Island." ' 

Waterbnry's story of the retreat on the night of 
October 1 2 and the next morning ^ves fuller de- 
tails. " The enemy still poraued all night. I found 
next morning tliat they gained upon us very fast 
and that they would very soon overtake me. The 
rest of the fleet all being much ahead of me, I sent 
my boat on board of Greneral Arnold, to get liberty 
to put my wounded in the boat and send them for- 
ward and run my vessel on shore and blow her up. 
I received for answer, by no means to run her 

>1 Sohnjler, Octobw IB, 1776). 

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ashore, bat to pnsli forward to Split Book, whore 
ho would draw the fleet in a line and engage tiiem 
agfUD ; but when I came to Split Rock, the whole 
fleet was making their escape as East as they oould 
and left me in the rear to fall into the enemy's hands. 
But before I stmck to tiiem, the ship of eighteen 
twelve-pomiders [Inflexible] and a sohooner of 
foorteen siz-poundeTs [Maria] had gnrroanded me, 
which obliged me to strike, and I thought it prudent 
to surrender myself prisoner of war." > 

Arnold's narratire of the running flght continues: 
" The Waabington galley waa in such a shattered 
condidon and had so many men killed and wounded, 
she struck to the enemy after receiTing a few 
broadsides. We were then attacked in the Congress 
galley by a ship moondng eighteen twelTe-ponnders, 
a schooner of fourteen sixes and one of twelve sixes, 
two under onr stem and one on our broadsides, 
within musket shot. They kept up an incessant Are 
on ns for about five glasses with round and grape 
shot, which we returned as briskly. The sails, rig- 
ging and hull of the Congress were shattered and 
torn in pieces, the Iirst Lientenant and three men 
killed, when to prevent her falling into the enemy's 
hands, who had sev^i sail around me, I ran her 
ashore in a small creek ten miles from Crown Point, 
on the east side ; when, after saving our small arms, 
I set her on fire with four gondolas, with whose 
crews I reached Crown Point through the woods 
1 Am. ArtA., V, u, 1224. 

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that eTMiing and verj luckily escaped the savages 
who waylud the road in two honrs after we passed." ^ 
Pringle's rqwrt says: "Upon thelSth I again 
saw 11 aiul of their fleet making ofF to Crown 
Point, who, after a chace of seven hours, I came 
np with in the Maria, having the Carleton and In- 
flexible a small distance astern; the rest of the 
fleet almost ont of ught. The action b^;an at twelve 
o'clock and lasted two hours, at which time Arnold 
in the Congiess galley and five gondolas ran on 
shore and were directly abandoned and blown up 
by the enemy, a ciroumstance they were greatly 
favoured in by the wind being off shore and the 
narrowness of the lake." ' The British loss in killed 
and wounded was about forty. A letter from Albany, 
dated October 17, says that the second engagement 
was fought " most of the time in musket shot, very 
warm and sharp, in which our men conducted with 
inimitable spirit and bravery, but were obliged to 
submit to superior strength. In this affair our fleet 
is almost totally mined ; only one galley escaped, 
with sloop Enterprise and two small schooners^ and 
one gondola; the rest all taken, burnt imd de- 
stroyed." The Washington " is the only vessel that 
the enemy possessed themselves of. Col. Wiggles- 
worth in the TmmbuU galley is arrived at Tieonder- 

i Am. Arch.,V, a, 1080. 

• Londoa Chronide, Norembat 26, ITTO. 

■ Om of tlMM mart hare 1>md tiw Liberty vlnali wu not in 

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oga." 1 Arnold condudes Iiis stoty of tliis Beries of 
disasters by recounting tliat at four o'dook in the 
momiog of October 14 he reached Tioonderoga 
"exceedingly fatigued and unwell, having been 
without sleep or refreshment for near three days. Of 
onr whole fleet we hare saved only two galleys, two 
small schooners, one gondola and one sloop. Gen- 
eral Waterbnry with one hundred and ten prisoners 
were retomed [on parole] by Carleton last night. 
On board of the Congress we had twenty odd men 
killed and wounded. Our whole loss amounts to 
eighty odd. The enemy's fleet were last night three 
miles below Crown Point ; their tamj is doubtless 
at their heels." ^ An early attack on Tioonderoga 
was expected. 

Captain Donglas at Quebec, when he teamed of the 
British victory, wrote to the Admiralty : " The ship 
Inflexible with tiie Maria and Carleton schocaiers, 
all recoustrootions, did the whole of the second 
day's business, the flat-bottomed rideau called the 
Thunderer and the gondola called the Loyal Con- 
vert, with the gunboats, not having been able to keep 
op with them."" The British ship and schooners, 
armed with eighteen twelve-ponnders and twenty- 
six sixes, had the Americans at their mercy, es- 
pecially in the running fig^t of the 13th. The clumsy 
gondolas were practically useless and the galleys 
not much better. 

1 B(Mm Qaztttt, Ootobtr £8, 1T78. * At». Arck., V, ii, 108IX 
■ Hid., 1178. F« CMleton'* nport, aM Ibid., lOM). 

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Ekt» Green, » mxrgeoa m tin Ameriam annf 
wrote from Hontden^a, October 30, to a faieod, 
giringa brief a(!Ooiiiit<rf tbe tattles oo die lake and 
of sabaeqamt erenta. He sayi tbe Anterican pria- 
ooen^ after their release od parole, reported Hat 
they h i¥\ been "treated verr kindly br the TntHaw^ 
«• well as by the King's tzoope who were at tiie 
tiooe at Crown Point within 16 milea oi this plaee, 
where tihey have been ever nnoe the deatmction of 
oar Fleet We have lately been alann'd sereral 
times. Od Monday morning last tbero was a proper 
alarm oocanoned by a nomber of the enemies boats 
which hove in si^t, and a report from a scouting 
party that the Enemy were moving on ; where the 
Fleet is now I can't learn, <a what is the reason 
ibey don't come on I caa't conoetre. T is though 
Ijtey are 10 or 12 tbonsand stnmg, inclnding Can^ 
diima aiii^ Tni^iana. We are in a moch better sitoft- 
tion now than we were fourteen days ago and the 
militia are continually ooming in. Our su^ are re- 
oovering and it is thought we are as ready far them 
now as ever we shall be. There has been a vast 
deal of work done since the fight and we think our- 
selves in so good a position that we shall be disap- 
pointed if they don't attack us. However, I believe 
Hiey wtut for nothing but a fair wind." ^ 

By the time the British had taken Crown P<Hnt 
the season was far advanced. This fact and the 
presence of a formidable Anterican force deterred 

' Diarf ofEwa Qntn, 6, 6. 

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tiiem from at once attempting the captore of Ticon- 
deroga. They withdrew to Canada for the winter, 
and their purpose of occupying the valley of the 
Hudson and separating New England from Hie 
other states was put off. They returned the next 
year under General Burgoyne, but the opportunity 
had passed. Howe had gime to Philadeljdua and 
fiuigoyne, onsopported from the south, was forced 
to snrreDdeT his army at Saratoga. The French 
alliaooe followed as a direct consequence. The 
American naval supremacy on Lake Champlain in 
the Bommer of 1TT6 had compelled the British to 
spend precious time in building a fleet strong 
enough to overcome it. The American defeat which 
followed was a victory. The obstruction to the Brit- 
ish advance and a year's delay saved the American 
cause from almost certain ruin. It thos came about 
through a singular instance of the irony of fate, not 
altogether pleasant to <!<mtemplate, that we owe the 
salvation of our country at a critical juncture to one 
of die blackest traitors in history. 

The end of Uie year 1776 found the War for In- 
dependence well advanced and a fair share of the 
strife had fallen upon the sea forces of the Revolu- 
tionists. A comparatively few small vessels, mostly 
converted merchantmen, under Continental and state 
authority, supplemented by privateers, had done the 
enemy a good deal of injury. It woidd be difficult 
to make even an approximate estimate of the num- 

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bcT of Ammean pvirateen at dns pmod. Tlnrtj^ 
fonr were eomnnHioDed bj the Continental Coo- 
gnM in 1776 ; paAmhij » omdi lazier nnmber hj 
tiie Taziona itBteaia* Contmental letters «rf matqiie 
do not seem to hare eone into oommon nee at tUs 

In 1776 the Ritiih nairj i^pean to IiaTe bad 
somewhat more than ahmdred remelt in active serr- 
lee manned hy twen^-eigbt tixnaand seatnen aad 
marines. Aocordii:^ to the retonu of Admiral Shnld- 
ham the fleet on the North Aroerican statkm com- 
prised foriy-tb»eeTeesd«<rf allolaMoe in Mardiand 
fif^-fonr to Jalj. Probably forty of these were sd> 
periOT to the best ships on Uie Americaa side in that 
year. In September, Admiral I^nre reported a total 
of seventy Teasels on the station. In November, ao- 
cording to a letter from Ltmdm," the Marine Force 
of England now in Ajnerica oonrists of two shipa 
of the line, ten fifties, and sevens-one frigates 
and armed vessels, amonntiDg in the whole to 
eighty-three ships and vessels of war and 15000 

The British attempted to meet the difficulties 

encountered in maaning their ships by impressing 

Americans &aX fell into their hands or by inducing 

them to enlist. Their crews were thereby nude np 

I Itatat Btcordi ^ the Ammean BevdiOioii (oalendu), 217- 

* BottoB OatetU, Ttbnmrj 24, 1777; Brit. Adm. Bee., A. D. 
484, Marek 22, ZnXj 6, 1776, A. D. 4S7, July 2S, Septembw 16. 
1776; Am. Arch., T, i, 408, U, 1318; &A<>mkrp, It. S18-821. 

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in part of nnreliable material wliioh repaired close 
vatohing. The disadvaDtages of dua state of things 
appear in a letter of Shuldham to the Admiralty e^- 
ing their attention to the many supernnmerariea in 
the ships' companies. He says: "I must b^ they 
vill please to observe that these being composed of 
Men taken out of the Bebel Vessels, no confidence 
can be placed in them, and altbongb the Captains 
of His Majesty's Ships under my Command have 
aU of them more or less entered Americans to fill 
up their Complements and are now by the Law em> 
powered to do so with regard to Men taken in fu- 
ture, yet it deserves to be seriously considered that 
if, by a constant diminntton of the British Seamen 
npon t^ Service, this measure was carried to ex- 
cess without any Supply from home to be distrib- 
uted among the Fleet, the consequence may be 
very alarming; thdr Lordships will therefore see 
the necessity there is of my keeping oompleat the 
parties of Marines belonging to the different 
Ships." » 

From March 10, 1776, to t^e end of the year the 
British took a hundred and forty American vessels 
and reoaptnied twenty-six, said to be mostly small 
trading vessels. American cruisers made three htu- 
dred and forty-two captures fnmi the British, of 
which forty-four were recaptured, eighteen released, 
and five burned at sea, and the rest brought into 
port. The Continental navy alone made over six^ 
I BrU. Adm. Btc, A. D. 484, April 25, ITIS. 

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c^ttnres.^ Besides the loss iaflioted npou coDuuerce, 
troops and ralnaUe military stores bad been inter- 
cepted, the eracoation of Boston had been hastened, 
and, most important of all, the British advance from 
Canada had been checked. 

The oatlook for the next year was full of prom- 
ise and encooragement for the Americans. Besides 
the smaller vessels of the Continental navy, which 
bad already done good serrioe, it was expected that 
tliirteen fine new frigates would soon be in oommis- 
sioti. Experience and training were beginning to 
tell in greater efficnency, and several of the captains 
showed signs of a capaoi^ for developing saperior 
military and naval qualities. Octoba 10, 17T6, 
Ccmgress revised the navy list and established the 
relative rank of twenty-four captains. This difBcnlt 
and delicate ta^ though doubtless inflnenced to some 
extent by political and perstoial considerationB, was 
probably done with as much wisdran and justice as 
coold have been expected with the knowledge of 
conditions possessed by Coogress at the time. The 
arrangwDent caused dissatisfaction, however, on the 
part of senile ofKcers, especially John Paul Jones, 
wlio as eighteenth on the list felt that, having been 
the Beaiat lieutenant, he should have stood much 
higher upon promotion. Some months later he wrote 
to Robert Morris regarding the qualifications of 

Almm, h, 812, t, 103-107 ; Neewr'* StalutUai Hutorg of U. B. 
all the liati an inoomplata. 

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T.AgR CHAMPLAIN, 1776 183 

offioerg : " I cannot but lament that so little deli- 
cacy hath been Obserred in the Appointment and 
Prconotion of Officers in the Sea Service, many of 
whom are not only grossly illiterate, but want even 
the Capacity of commanding Merchant Yessells. I 
was lately on a Court MarMal where a Captain of 
Marines made his Mark and where the Frendent 
could not read the Oath which he attempted to ad- 
minister, without Spelling and making blunders. 
As the Sea Officers are bo subject to be seen by for- 
eigners, what conclusions must they draw of Amer- 
icans in general from Characters so Bnde & Con- 
tracted. In my Judgement the Abilities of Sea 
Officers ought to be as for Superior to the abilities 
of officers in the Army as the nature of a Sea Serv- 
ice is more complicated and admits of a greater 
number of Cases than can possibly happen on the 
liand ; therefore the discipline by Sea ought to be 
the more perfect and regular, were it compatible 
with short Enlistments."^ 

The last important naval legislation of the year 
1776 was passed Kovember 20, when the Contin- 
ental Congress resolved to build three ships of sev- 
enty-four guns each, five frigates <^ thirty-six guns, 
an eighteen-^n brig, and a packet boat. Only four 
of these vessels were completed, and Utose under 
modifications of the act generally reducing their 
size.^ These four were the ship of the line America 

1 Jinu V88., Jnly 28, ITH. Se« Sandi, 6ft-<», 304-3ia 
• Joar. OnU. Congr., NoTwnbw 20, ITTfl, July 25, ITTI. 

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of aevto t j-toar gnus, ibe &%«te AIKm«», and two 
iloopi c^ wtf, tiie Oonexal Gates and tiw goxlaga. 
OnfytlwlMt timecmHmd m the Cwrtiiiwitri 


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OwiNQ to TariouB causes the thirteen frigates pro- 
. Tided for by Congress in 1776 were inu(& delayed 
in fitting ont and going into oommission, and some 
of them never got to sea. The Warren and Frovi- 
denoe were perhaps the first to be completed, but 
the difficulty of manning them and the occupation 
of Newport and the lower bay by the British kept 
them in port. Commodore Hopkins hoisted his pen- 
nant on the Warren early in December, 1776, per- 
haps before, and ancboied her in the Providence 
Biver. He bad with bim also the frigate Frovidenoe, 
the ship Colnmbna, the brig Hampden, and tbe 
stoop Providence. Janoaiy 2, 1777, Hopkins, hav- 
ing been informed that tbe British frigate Diamond 
was aground near Warwick Neck below tbe month 
of tbe river, went down to tbe vioinity in the sloop 
Providence.. The INamond manned to get off dur- 
ing the nigbt ; for allowing her to escape Hopkins 
was much criticized. Writing, March 18, to Wil- 
liam Ellery, the commodore says in self-defense that 
as it was blowing very hard it was thought best not 
to try to get the frigates down tbe river. When he 
arrived on the scene in the Providence he " found 
the Diamond ashore on a shoal which runs ofF S. W. 

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frooi Patieoce, abont haK a mile from tioA Island 
and a litde mote 8. E. from Warwick Neck, and as 
there is about elereo feet of water on that shoal at 
loir water and not a ver; haid bottom and the tide 
about half down, die did not careen. There lay 
about one mile and a baU ** away "a fiftf gun ship 
with her top-sails looae and her aaehor apeak, who, 
at the wind was, ooold hare tet<^'d witinn pistol 
diot of the Diamond, bnt the wind blowii^ so hard 
was I think the reason of her not coming to saiL 
The tmtb is the ships oonid not hare got down, and 
if the wind had not Uow'd so hard and they ooold, 
it wonld not in my jndgment have been pmdent, 
nntber should I have ordered Uion down, as the 
enemy's ships conld have come to swl with any wind 
that onr ships oould and a great deal better, as they 
lay in a wide channdi and we in a narrow and very 
crooked one. ... I went ashore at Warwick and 
saw Colonel Bowen, who told me he had sent for 
two eif^iteen pounders, and in less than half an 
honr they came. I went on board the sloop and we 
dropp'd down nnder the ship's stem a little more 
than mnsket shott off, it being then a little after ami 
sett. We fired a ntunber of shott, which she re- 
turned from her stem cbacers. The ship careen'd 
at dusk abont as much as she would have d<nie had 
she been nndw etoL After they had fired about 
twen^-six shott from the shore, they ceased and 
soon after hail'd the sloop and said they wanted to 
speak with me. I went ashore and was informed 

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they were out of ammnnitioa. I offer'd them powder 
and stuff for wads, but we bad no diott tbat would 
do. They sent to ProTidence for powder and shott 
and I went on board tbe sloop and sent some jnnk 
ashore for wads. Soon after they hail'd agiun from 
the shore and I went to see what they wanted and 
gave Capt. Whipple orders not to fire much more, 
as I thought it would do but little exeontion, it being 
night and oould not take good aim with the gons. 
When I got on shore, the officer that oonunanded 
there desir'd I would let them have some bread out 
of the sloop, which I sent the boat off for, bnt th& 
people not making the boat well fast, while they 
were getting the bread she drifted away and I oonld 
not get aboard again. The ship by lightening got 
off about 2 o'doek the same night, and on the 
whole, as the ship was on a shoal almost onder oorer 
of a 50 gnn ship and got off again before it was 
possible to have done anything with our frigates, I 
thought it of no moment." ^ Another ship took the 
Diamond's station and soon after this an abortive 
attempt waa made to destroy her with a fireship.^ 
Commodore Parker, commanding the British fleet 
at Newport, wrote to the Admiralty, Januiuy 7 : 
"The Continental Fleet is in Providence Biver, 
beyond our reach at present." ■ 

Hopkins was ordered by the Marine Committee, 

' B. I. Six. Mag., October, 1886 ; Hi>pH>u. I67-1TI. 

' fi. I. Hilt, ifoj., Jannary, 1886, jonmal of Lieutenant Trevett. 

* Brit.Adm.Etc.,A.D.4S6. SeealK>Ai({.,De<MmbeTlI,inft 

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Jaouaiy 21, to get the Warren and Frovidence to 
sea 88 soon as possible, to craise from Rhode Island 
to Yirginia. But the oommodore's active sea service 
in the navy had already come to an end. As the 
result of a petition signed by some of the Warren's 
officers and of tlie Marine Committee's examination 
of one of them, Captun John Grannis of the ma- 
rines. Congress resolved, March 26, that ** Esek 
Hopkins be immediately and he is herel^ suspended 
&om bis oommand in the American Navy." After 
posmng the remainder of the year under saspenucm, 
the commodore was formally dismissed from tiie 
service January 2, 1778. April 4, 1777, Captains 
John fi. Hopkins, Abraham Whipple, and Dudley 
Saltonstall were instructed to make every effort to 
get to sea with the frigates Warren, Providence, 
and Trumbull, in search of Briti^ transports and 
merchantmen ; but these vessels were doomed to idle 
away the entire year in their native rivere-^ 

The plans of the Marine Committee for prying 
upon British commerce and the movements of 
American armed vessels in general might have been 
effectually hindered if the British commandera had 
adopted the snggesldons offered to General Howe 
by Lord George Germain, who wrote March S, 
1777, that the King was of the " opinion that a 
warm diversion npon the coasts of the Massaohu- 

I Si^ns, 185-203 ; J«tr. Cant. Cengr., Manli 28, 17T7, Janiuiy 
2, 1778 i Pap. Com. Chngr., AS, 226-230 (FebruMjlO, 1777), 23G j 
Xar. Com. Letttr Book, CO, 6b (Judut 21, April 4, ITTI). 



§ett8 Bay and Kew Hampshire would not only im- 
pede the levies for the Continental Aimy, bat tend 
much to the seouri^ o£ our trade, and indeed it 
scarcely admits s doubt but that diese benefits must 
inevitably result from such an arrangement. For as 
on one hand, it is soaroely to be expected that those 
provinces vriU part with men when their presence 
must be wanted for the internal defence of their 
own cespeotive distriote, ao on the other, a salutary 
check will unavoidably be put to the suooesses of 
the rebel privateers, when we have destn^ed or 
taken possession of their ports. It is, therefore, the 
King's pleasure that Lord Howe and yon take Uiis 
matter into your serious consideration so far as yonr 
intended plan will admit." ^ 

Early in the year the Marine Committee had in- 
tended sending to the West Indies, and along the 
Bonthem ooast as far as Fensaoda and Uie Missis- 
sippi, a squadron oomposed <^ the Alfred and Cabot, 
then at Bostcm, and the Columbus, sloop Piovid«nce 
and Hampden, in the Providence Biver, all under 
the command ctf John Paul Jones ; but the project 
was not carried out, owing, as Jones believed, to the 
opposition of Commodore Hopkins.' The Colum- 
bos and Hampden remained in Narragansett Bay 
several months. The sbop Providence, Captain 
Jonathan Pitcher, ran the blockade of the Britbh 

> Sb^Jbrd-BaehiUd M8S., 68. 

* Xar. Con. Lttttr Book, 52, 54 (FetwDBr; 1, S, 1777) ; Fop- 
Com. Cengr., «, 117-121, 191, 197 (FabraHj 26, Mmmli 1, 1777) j 

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fleet tn the iama taj in Febnaxj^ pusiiig '* so new 
• 50 gnn aiap about 2 ajl ae to hear them talk- 
iDg^tHi bowd.!* She vent into New Bedfoidaod then 
made scndoe to the eastward. Off Cape &et(Hi 
■he c^itnzed a tnnqiort brig with a small body of 
aoldienfmrBnrgt^ne'iazmy. ?3iie Teeaeldid not sor- 
xaider, bowerv, widwot lesMtance. John Tren^ 
lientenant of marines on the Prondenoe, sajs that 
the "brigbwe downoo naaad began a fiie at long 
ihot ; we nn fnm her abont one hmir, until we 
got in good order for action, iriien we took in nil 
and let itKir ocMne ap cloee alimg side, ^nie sea being 
Bmooth, we cnt away all hercobvs in forty mhnrt^iff 
and th^ b^an to be klack, bat in a few minates 
they began to fireas brisk as ever and cat onr suls 
and rigging hadij ; it lasted abont forty min^'t^^^^ 
longer, wboi we cat away her main-toianast. We 
hailed them withont a trompd^ being dose on her 
starboard quarter, to know whether they gave up 
or not, and the answer was 'yes.' . . . We found 
she was direct from England and tiiat she had 25 
soldierBand two <^cers on board, besides the crew, 
and was loaded with King's stores and bound for 
Qoebec." The Providence soon afterwards returned 
to New Bedford.^ 

The brig Cabot, Captain Joseph Olney, also 
emised to the eastward, and in March, while off 
the coast of Nova Scotia, she was chased 1^ the 
British frigate Milford. The captun ran her ashore 

> B. I. Hitt. Mag., ApiU, 1886. 

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and had just time to escape with his crew; they 
afterwards, it is aiud, seized a schooner and made 
their way hack to Boston. The Milford, " after a 
wearisome struggle of 14 days, got the Continental 
Brig Cabot . . . off, and sent her to Halifax, where 
she arrived and U now fitting out with the greatest 
expedition for sea." ' The Cabot was taken into the 
British navy ; she is believed to have been the first 
vessel of the Continental navy to be captured, except 
the Lexington, which was recaptured. 

On April 23 t^e Marine Committee ordered to 
sea the Alfred, Capttun Hinman, then at Boston, 
and the sloop Providence, which, after returning 
from her eastern cruise, had been put under the 
command of Captain John P. Bathbnme. The ves- 
sels were to cruise separately " in such Latitudes 
as will be most likely to fall in with and intercept 
the enemies Transport vessels coming to reinforce 
or supply their Army at New York." Continuing 
their instructions the Committee wrote : " Yon are 
to use your true endeavours to take, bum, sink, or 
destroy as many of the enemies Yessels of every 
kind, as it may be your good fortone to fall in with. 
The Prizes yon may be loci^ enough to take yon 
wUl send into such Ports of the United States as 
you shall think will be the safest and most conveni- 
ent. ... It is expected from every Commander in 

1 Boston GazetU, Jons 16, 1177 ; Continental Jaanial, AprU 10, 
1777 ; Brit. Adia. Etc., Cqptaiiu' LegM, No. 607 (log of tha Mil. 

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our Navy that he use hU officers and people well, 
still preserving strict discipline and decorum ; Uutt 
Prisoners be breated with humanity ; and that great 
oara be taken of the ships, their materials and atoies, 
all which we desire yon wiU carefully observe and 
advise US of yoor proceedings 1^ every opportunity. 
We expect your most dllligent exertions will be used 
to execute these orders with all possible dispatch and 
in ike best manner for the service of your Countoy." 
The Alfred was to retom to port by July 1 and then 
receive fresh orders. The Providence was to cruise 
three months, and if, on returning to port, she found 
no further inetniotions, she was then to take in 
provirions and proceed on another three months' 
OTuise.! The Alfred seems to have performed no im- 
portant service under these orders. Indeed she prob- 
bMj did not go to sea at all before July ; very likely 
she wais unable to enlist a crew in time. 

In June the sloop Frovid^ice sailed from New 
Bedford, and off Sandy Hook saw a ship, brig, 
schooner, and sloop standing to the southeast and 
followed them. " About 3 p.h,," says Lieutenant 
Trerett in his jonmaJ, " we came up with the ship, 
the other vessels being near to her weather bow, 
and hailed her. She bad her pmnant and enrign 
flying, but gave us no answer and we gave her a 
bow gun, intending to break her cabin windows. 
We drew very near her, but the wind being scant 
we found we eould not get to windward, so we bote 
) Mot. Com. Utter Boot, 10, 71 (April 23, ITTT). 

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Bway and 'weot under her lee, as near as we oonld, 
and gave her a good broadside. She immediately 
gave us as good a one and mn xa aboard <hi onr 
starboard qnartor and hung there aboot five min- 
utes, nntil she broke all cor 8weej» that were lashed 
there. At the same time tiie brig of 10 gnns and 
ibe schooner of 8 [guns] lost no time, all three of 
them firing into us at once. As the ship fell off she 
gave us her starboard broadside and wo shot ahead 
of them with our sails and rigging much cat to 
jaeces. We then bore away, all hands employed in 
fixing oar rigging. We had but a poor crew at this 
time. Our loss was onr sailing master, Capt. Greorge 
Sinhins of Newport, who was hilled, and <Hily two 
or three men slightly wounded. We hove him oveiv 
board, got our rigging repaired as soon as possible, 
and made sml for the ship. We came up with her 
just after sunset with a determination to board her, 
for we wdl knew if we carried the ship that the rest 
of the Teasels would fall into our hands. We ran 
within half pistol shot and gave her a full broad- 
side, bat all three of them [dayed their part so 
well we gave it up." The schooner was taken, how- 
ever, and from her it was learned that the ship 
carried rixteen guns. After this the Providence 
cruised several weeks in the Gnlf Stream. A sail 
was seen, acting strangely, and was chased, tmd 
upon coming up with her in the night, she was found 
to be an abandoned ship, evidently French, under 
full sail ; rudderless, though otherwise in good con- 

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dition. Itbeingaj^mrentljimpraotioftUetogetlier 
into port, she was burned to prevent her falling into 
British hands. The Providenoe returned to New 
Bedford in Angnst.^ 

Meuiwhile Captain Jonea remuned on shore, 
having held oat to him BacoesBiTely variooB promises 
of actiye employment afloat. The disappointment 
of his expectation of taking a squadron to sea 
ooonrred a few weeks after his arrival at Boston in 
the Alfred, in December, 1776. In Mardt he was 
i^pointed to command one of tbne vessels which 
Congress had ordered to be porchased at Boston. 
In May be was directed to proceed to France i» the 
thip Amphibite, which had broaght over military 
stores, and after his arrival there the American 
Commissioners were expected, by order of Congress, 
to procure for him the command of a frigate. These 
plans were abandoned in torn ; and June 14, 1777, 
he was ^ven conmiand of the new eighteen-gnn 
■hip Banger, jnst built at Portsmonth. On the 
same day it was resolved in Omgress : " That the 
flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes 
alternate red and white ; that the Union be thirteen 
stars, white in a bine field, representing a new con- 
stellation." Jones is sud to have hoisted this Sag 
<m the Ranger for the first time it was ever raised 
on any man-of-war. For several months after that 
he was bnsy fitting oat his ship. The Kanger was 
one hundred and sixteen feet long over all, twenty. 
> B. I. HiMi. M<^., April, less. 

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fliglit feet wide, imd meaBured tiiree hnndred and 
eight tons. She mounted eighteen siz-ponnders ; ahe 
VTBB pierced for twenty-six gnus, but Jones consid- 
ered her too light a ship for so heavy an annament.' 
The Kandolph, built at Philadelphia, vras one of 
the first of the frigates to be ready for seirice, but 
the close blockade of Delaware Bay held her and 
other Continental veisels in port several weeks; 
then there was further delay due to ice in the river. 
January 80, 1777, the frigate was ordered to sail 
*'the moment the Ice will permit," aooompanied 
by the Hornet uid Fly and a convoy of merchant- 
men, to be escorted "furly off to sea." la these 
orders, signed for the Marine Committee by Robert 
Morris, Captain Biddle received general instructions 
as to his conduct. " For your encouragement in this 
service," says Morris, " I must observe that there 
are no Cruiring Ships an over match for yon, ex- 
cept the two Deckers, for altbo yon think yon have 
not seamen enough, yet that is just their case; 
except the Roebuck there is none of them half 
manned, therefore yon have only to avoid two 
Deckers or engaging when there is more than one 
in sight. Any of their other single ships you need 
not fear, especially if you can persuade your men 
to board. Remember what a glorious exploit it will 

1 Shrrbame, 30-40 ; SaWi, 66-70 ; Jona MSS., Johm to Mania, 
April 7, Jnlj 28, 1777 ; Remiok's Eilters in iha Bimivlum, 9, 10, 
givgithaRaiig«14iiiiiMMid4dzei; Admirsl Arbnthuot reported 


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be, to add one of their frigates or 20 Gun ships to 
ouF navy in a few days after yon get out, and if the 
Baodolph has but Heels, I think you can and will 
do it ; you will then get seamen plenty. If your 
ship sails remarkahfy fast, you may take libertys 
with them. If she does not, be more cautions and 
try to find out her trim. . . . Yoa'l observe that 
many merchant vessek are expected in with ralnaUe 
Stores to this port, therefore yon '1 afford them all 
possiUe protection and had best keep in their tract 
as long as you can."^ As soon as the ioe would 
pennit, about February 1, Uie Randolph, Hornet, 
and Fly proceeded down the river with their con- 
voy and got safely to sea.^ 

Morris wrote farther instntotions for Blddle 
February 15 and forwarded them to him by the 
Fly, which had returned to port. The Randolph 
was now to proceed to the West Indies. The Marine 
Committee had detnded to send all the armed Tesads 
at Philadelphia to those islands. -Biddle was ^ven 
letters to William Bing^iam, the navy agent at 
Martinique, and to other persons at St. Eustatius, 
Curasao, Cape Francois, and Mole St. Nicholas, 
to whom he was to apply in turn, until he had a 
full cargo of military stores and supplies for the 
army, to be brought back at once to the safest port. 
The Dutch government had prohibited the e^K^ 

1 Mar. Com. LtUer Book, 48 (Juoary 30, ITH). 

* P<9>. Conf. Congr., 1ST, app., 4, 49, 67, IIS, 137, 147 (Mania 
to Huooek, Daoambar 14, 80, 1170, Jamiar; 3, 26, Fatmurj 4, 
10, 1777). 

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tation of SQcli snppliea to America, but the traffic 
was atUl oondnoted oa a large scale, in Dutch as 
well aa French ports. Arms, anunuoiticm, and clothr 
ing were brought from Europe to the West Indies 
for tranBBhipment to the United States. It was 
hoped that these stores coold be ptocnred in suffi- 
cient qnantitf and without delay at Martinique. 
" These supplies are exceedingly neoessaty for the 
aerrice of the ensuing campaigne and yon cannot 
render your Country a more essential service than 
by bringing them soon and safe in. ... As you 
command the first American frigate that has got 
out to sea, it is expected that yon contend warmly 
on all necessary occasions for the honor of the 
American flag. At every foreign port yon enter, 
salute their forts and waite on the Governor Gren- 
eral or Commander in Chief, asking the liberty of 
th^ ports for the ships c^ the United States of 
America. Take cu« that yonr people do not molest 
their Trade nor Inhabitants nor in any shape dis- 
turb that good understanding we have with them." 
Prizes were to be sent into Martiniqae, St. Eusta- 
tius, or other ports, where the oai^oes might be 
sold, if to greater advantage, the vesselH, however, 
being always brought to American ports. " As the 
British men of war on the West India stations are 
not often well manned, it would give great eclat to 
our Naval Service if yon can make prize of one or 
more of them and if so, yon will do well to tempt 
some of their best warrant officers, such as Boat- 

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swains, Qnnners, Quarter Masters and their several 
mates, to enter oar service, for we would visli yon 
to bring both these and plenty of Common Sailors 
home, to assist in manning onr other ships of war." 
Seamen from other prizes also, and in the various 
ports visited, were to be procured for the service 
when possible. " When your errand to the West 
Indies is compleated, you 1 observe it is mentioned 
already that you are to return to some safe port in 
these United States of America. The imoertaisty 
of the fate of war makes as cautious of saying 
positively which shall be the best port. There is 
little doubt bat this [I^iladelpbia] will be the most 
convenient to receive the stores at, being most cen- 
trical and probably not very distant from the scenes 
of action, and aa yoa are well enabled to defend 
yourself against most single ships and capable, we 
hope, of outsailing any of the enemies,it appears that 
you might venture to call at Cape Henlc^n or 
Cape May for intelligence, without incurring the 
charge of rashness, and we will endeavour to keep 
out some small Cmizers about the time you are 
expected, to give you information." ^ Signals were 
prescribed for conunimication with the shore and 
with othervesaels. Most unfortunately the Randolph 
bad not proceeded far on her voyage before she en- 
cotmteted a heavy gate, in which she was dismasted 
and was obl^ed to put into Charleston in a crippled 
condition. Before arriving there a mutiny broke out 
1 Mot. Com. LOttr Boek, 55 (Febnurr 15, ITTl). 

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among English Bailors on board, but was soon 
quelled. March 29 the Sachem, Captain James 
Robinson, was sent to Martinique with duplicates 
of Uie dispatches for Bingham which the Randolph 
bad not been able to deliver .^ 

The Saleigh, Hancock, and Boston were the only 
others of the thirteen frigates that omlsed at sea 
during 1777. The Virgbia, built at Baltimore, was 
ready for sea early in the year, and her commander, 
Capt^ James Nicholson, received instructions in 
April to proceed to the West Indies, but, owing 
to the dose blockade of Chesapeake Bay by the 
British, she could not get out. Repeated orders were 
sent to Nicholson to get the Vii^nia to sea, but 
she was forced to remain idle in port throughout 
the whole year.' The occupation of New York and 
Philadelphia by the British, in 1777, prevented the 
frigates Montgomery and Congress, in the Hudson 
Biver, and the Delaware, Washington, and EfBng- 
ham, in the Delaware Kiver, from rendering active 
sea service ; and tbe New York frigates were de- 
stroyed before the end of the year, to prevent their 
£aIUng into the hands of the enemy.° The Tnun- 

I JTor. Om. Lata- Boot, E5, 57, BS (Febnurr 16, 17, 18, 1777), 
69 (Febnurr 6, 1777), 64 (Much 20, 1777) ; Ptq>. CM. Congr., 
IIT. mpp., l&l, 177 (Fabnur; 10, 10, 1777); Port FeJw, Octobar, 
1800; Amer. HiM. Btmev, tiu (Jnl;, 1903), 087. 

■ liar. Coau Utttr Boot, 61, 66, S5, 86, 104, 106, 110, 117 ( Ju- 
SUT 34, April 8, 29, Ma; I, Ootoba 23, November 6, DeMmber 
a, 12, 1777). 

■ nu.,66 (Aprils, 1777);P(9>.C<M<.Cb.9r.,lST,iVp.,4,B,21 
(DMxmbm 14, 16, 21, 1776); Almi^t, t, 426-4SL 

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bull did not leave the Connecticut River, where 
Bhe vas built, until 1779; and, as already related, 
the Warren and Providence were held in port more 
than a year after tbej were ready for sea. 

In April, 1777, an expedition was sent by Gen- 
eral Howe from New York against Connecticut 
under the command of Genmil Tryon, the royal 
governor of New York. A landing was made at 
^Fairfield, whence they proceeded to Danbury and 
destroyed a lai^ qnantily of public stores. Upon 
returning to their ships the British were harassed 
by a small force of Amerioans under Grenerals Ar- 
nold, Wooster, and SiUiman. Arnold wrote to Gov- 
ernor Trumbull of Conneoticnt, April 30 : " After 
the enemy reimbark'd they imediately weighed An- 
chor and stood for Huntington harbour, Long Is- 
land, where they doabtless are at this time. I think 
it very probable they have in Contemplation the 
Destroying the Continental Frigate [Trumbull] at 
Saybrook, which may be easily effected by a few 
small Tenders, as there is no Batteiy or Armed 
Vessell to Cover her. If she cannot be got over the 
Barr & secured in harbour, will it not be prudent 
to move ber np the river to some place of greater 
safe^ ? I know not If your honour or the Contin- 
ental agents have the Direction of her ; that she is 
greatly exposed & ought to be secured, there is no 
doubt. I should Imagine she might be easily got ' 
over the barr with proper lighters & an Easterly 
wind, & secured In Guilford, Sachems head, or New 

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Haven, where ahe miglit be got in readiness for the 
Seas." * 

In view of this clear statement of the frigate's 
situation, we team with surprise that — appareiitly 
in response to the orders of April 4,^ but possibly to 
earlier orders that have not been preserved — Cap- 
tain Saltonstall went to sea and on April 12 wrote 
a letter to the Marine Committee dated " on board 
the Continental ship of war Trumbull," off the Vir- 
ginia capes, saying : " I have the pleasure to acqoaint 
you that at one p.h. I fell in with two transports 
from England, one of eight, the other of ten gans. 
They eng^ed us three glasses, when they struck 
tiieir colours. They killed seven of our men and 
wounded eight more. We shattered them in a ter- 
rible manner and killed and wounded numbers of 
their crews. I have the pleasure to inform you that 
our people behaved well and with mnch ooun^," ' 
It is obvious that Saltonstall's *' Continental ship of 
war" could not have been the frigate TmmbnUt 
which was securely shut up in the river. It is likely 
that, owing to the importanoe of the service to be 
performed, a vessel was impressed, chartered, os 
borrowed for the occasion, perhaps the teu'^un 
sloop Trumbull, a Conoecticnt privateer.* 

> IVuflMJ MSS., Ti, W. See alrc Ibid., 87, 96, letten of Ou. 
•T*l SiUimsn (April 29, 17TT) mx the oparatiaiu s^nst Trjini and 
of Captain John Sbipmui (Ha; 1, 1777) on th« dangeioni litnft- 
tioD of tha frigata TrumbnU. 

* See above, p. 188. * AlmoH, y, 135. 

* Iha iloop Trumbull I« known to b«T« bMB ta « 

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Although the frigates Hancock and Boston had 
received cruising orders in the fall of 1776, snch 
was the debiy in fitting them out that they did 
not get to sea until May, 1777. The frigate Mil- 
ford and other vesseh of the enemy had long heea 
a terror to American navigators in eastern waters 
and the need of regulur fighting ships more power- 
ful than the state cruisers and privateers was greatly 
felt. The General Court of Massachnsetts resolved, 
April 24, that the Hancock and Boston ought to 
put to sea at once in pursuit of the Milford. It was 
arranged that the Continental frigates should be 
accompanied for twenty-five days by nine privateers, 
including two or three of considerable force, and 
by any others that should be ready by May 1. The 
commanders of these privateers, serving under 
Captains Manley and McNeill of the Hancock and 
Boston, were to be put upon the same footing for 
the time being as regular officers and their vessels 
were to be insured by the state.^ As a squadron, 
this assemblage of vessels amounted to notbing. 
With proper cooperation it might have constituted 
a force capable of meeting with some prospect of 
success any British squadron it was likely to fall 
kt thk time. SBltonstaU'i nams appemn in a liit of Coanseticnt 
priTBtoena* Mmmander of the Qovenar TrnmboU, a 2(V«iin iliip, 
tlunigk probabl; at a later date. Sm Comi. Slate Btcordt, i, 667 : 
PM. B. I. HUt. Sue., Tui, 312, 214, 225, 228, 231, 260; Faptri 
ITtw Undon Hut 8oc., IV. i, 28 ; JVoo. Bee. of Am. Btv. (oaleo- 
dar) 478 ; Conn. Gatelle, Jul; 18, 1777 ; Data from the Ubniy of 
the NaTT Department ; and below, pp, 307, 302. 
> UatM. Court Btt., April 24, 20, 1777. 

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in with. But the priTateers took no part whatever 
in the cniiee after the first few days; becoming 
separated, they were soon dropped behind by the 

Another unfortunate circumstance, which may 
have had much to do with events soon to happen, 
was the hick of cordial relations between the cap- 
ttuns of the frigates. Such being the case, it is per- 
haps not surpridng that Dr. Samuel Cooper should 
have had forebodings when he wrote to John Adams, 
April 3, 1777 : " Manly and McNeal do not agree. 
It is not, I believe, tiie Fault of the first. ... If 
ihey are not better united, infinite Damage may 
acrue." ^ Another of Adams's correspondents, Dr. 
William Gordon, wrote to him June 5 : " The frig- 
ates have been sailed about a fortnight. Maritime 
affairs have been most horridly managed. We have 
beaten G. B. in dilatoriness & blunders. Where 
the fault hath lain I know not, but the credit of 
ihe Continent & Congress requires amendment." ^ 

The squadron s^led from Boston May 21. 
Within six days the privateers had all parted from 
the frigates, some by choice, the others through bad 
weather. May 29 a brig was captured ; she belonged 
to a fleet of transports under convoy of the Somer- 
set, of sixty-four guns, and a frigate. " At break 
of day the 30th," saya Captain McNeill, " we dis- 
cover'd the Somersett and three large Ships under 
her Convoy. Capt. Manley was not convinced of 
> Adam* MS3. * Ibid. 

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the size of onr Oppoaent ontill she was within 
Shott of him, when very luckilf for him the Hau- 
oock's Heela saved his BaooB. She neverthelesB pm^ 
sned him with great earnestness untill I ttu^'i upon 
her ConT(^, who was a good way astern of her at that 
time. As soon as she saw me within random Shott 
of them, she left Capt. Manley & retnm'd to their 
protection; she then chac*d me abont Six honra, 
but not being able to come np with me, she rejoin'd 
her Convoy just as night eame on, Capt Manley 
& myself then Steer'd to the Eastw'd and Northw'd 
in hopes of falling in with some others of the fleet, 
bnt saw no Enemy except a few miserable Fisher- 
men nntill Saturday June the Seventh, <hi the 
Morning of whieh day we fell in with the Fox, a 
British Frigate of 28 Guns Commanded by Capt. 
Patrick Fotheringham. She at first meant to En- 
gl^, but thought 'twas best to try her Heels, which 
would have effectually Saved her from me, bnt the 
Hancock coming np with her, an Action ensued 
which did not end nntill after we came up, by which 
time tiie Hancock & the Fox were both very mnch 
damaged." ^ A seaman on the Boston says of the 
fight: "At 6 A.H. Capt Manly £ she Exchanged 
some guns and then she Run & we in fnll Chace 
after her. . . . Betwixt the hours of 12 & one p.ii. 
Capt. Manly B«^an to Engage Broadside & Broad- 
side, onr ship coming up fast as Posable ; at last 

> N. H. Oerual. Becard, Jmaurj, 1907 (MoNeiU to Muine Cod>. 
D^ttM, Jnly 18, 17T7). 

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up we came and gare them a Koble Broadside 
which made them to strike a medeatly a Bout half 
after one."^ 

According to the British account the Hancock 
was sighted from the Fox at five o'clock in the 
morning and the Boston soon afterwards. Capt^ 
Fotheiingham says that after a half-hour's action 
with the Hancock, *< I oould plainly see that the 
other Ship to Windward was of nearly the same 
Force as the one I was engaged with, which was of 
thirty-two guns." He then tried to escape, hoping 
to fall in with some friendly cruiser or to draw the 
American ships apart, " hut notwithstanding all the 
Sail I could make, the Ship I had before engaged 
came ap with ma about Noon and engaged me very 
close till a Quarter after one, when the other Ship 
came ap and raked me and carried away my Main 
Yard,'* and did other damage. At half-past one the 
Fox would no longer answer her helm, and with 
one enemy on the bow and another on the quarter, 
she could not bring gons to bear on them. "I 
therefore at Quarter before two gave the Ship up 
in order to save my People." The Fox lost her 
lieutenant of marines and one man killed and ten 
wounded, two of them mortally; she was short of 
her full complement by thirty-three men.' Admiral 
Montagu wrote from St. John's to Grermain, June 
11: "I was yesterday made very unhappy by a 

1 If. H. Geneai. Baord, Jaimurj, 1907 {UoN*iU to Muue 
July 16, 1777). 
BrU. Adn. Bee., Cmrf Martial, No. 5309. 

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letter I reodred from C^itain FothOTingh»in of 
his Majesty's ship Fox, acgnainting me that be was 
taken the 7th tmtant by two American privateers 
on the banks, one called the Hancock of 32 guns 
and 347 men, tiie other of 28 gtms called the Bos- 
ton, full of men, the largest commanded by Manly, 
tiie other b; MoNeaL" ^ 

Ccmtinaing bis report of die cmise McKeill saya : 
**Tfae weather proring anfaronrable for some tima 
afterwards, we were severall days fitting the Fox & 
Capt. Manley his own Ship. I had sent my fint 
Lient. (Mr Browne) on board tbe Fox the day 
she was taken, but Captain Manley refused ^ving 
him tiie Command & I was finaly obliged to witlw 
draw him for the sake of peace. I urged Capt. 
Manley to make the best of our way to Charles- 
town, South Carolina, there to Join Captun Bid- 
die, fitt & clean onr Ships, & then to Crtuse for 
the West India Fleet nntill towards the fall of the 
year, by which time our own Coast would probab^ 
be olear & «e might return without any risqae ' 
compared with what most be now Expected. H« 
at first attended to my proposal, but afterwards 
did as he pleas'd; the event will prove whether I 
judge right or not. In short we loiter'd away three 
weeks or a Month before we sett onr faces home, 
ward, by which time the Coast of New England 
from Cape Sable as far as New York was so cov- 
er'd with cruisers that there was no escaping them. 

1 Stopford-SackxaU MSS., 69. 

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■* On Sunday the 6th of July, being 16 leagnea 
to the Eastwd of Cape Sable, we took a Sloop 
from Lonisbai^h bound for Halifax, but delaying 
some time witli her, we were chac'd towards even- 
ing by three Ships. We also being three, we did 
not make any efforts to aroid those Ships in Coarse 
of the night ; on the Contrary Capt. Manley Tow'd 
the Sloop before spoken of untill next morning, by 
which time one of the Ships was a head of as and 
Tack'd upon as, the Second Ship, which was a two 
decker, was on oar Lee qaarter abont three Le^aes 
from OS, and the third Ship abont as far right a 
Stem, Capt. Manley then thought proper to sett 
fire to the Sloop tS; quitted her and endeaTOur'd to 
make the best of our way, but the first Ship being 
np within Shott about noon, we exchanged some 
Shott with her at a distance & then having spoke 
Capt. Manley, we agreed to tack and Engage her. 
We immediately Tack'd and Capt Manley b^pun 
the Action with his head to the Northward & the 
Enemy on the opposite Tack, we being close under 
the Hancock's Stem, also fell in with the Enemy 
in onr torn and Exchanged about five broad Sides 
with her. Her Shott was so well aim'd that some 
of them pass'd through oar Ship ander the wale, 
so that we oonld not Tack npon the Enemy untill 
we had stop'd those holes ; this was however done 
in a few Minutes, but not before the two deck Ship 
had goten vwy near ua. Unfortunately the Fox did 
not tack at the same time we did, by which means 

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tiie Enemy got between ber ud m and alw was 
«bliged to pan nndn the fire of tiie fint Shi^ 
above mentioD'd md the fire of the two deck Ship 
aim. C^it. Manley aeemg that die Fox was bejond 
Sareing, pot about and Btood to the Sootihd, the Fox 
boce away and nm to the Eartwd, and we kcfit 
tbeWindtotheXorthwd. The two deck Ship then 
pat about and foUow'd the Hancocb, leanng the 
Fox and me to the other two Stipe. The Fox fled 
and defended herself bravely, haveing aleo sonte ad- 
Tsatage in pmnt of Suling ; we woe oonstrain'd 
to keep the Wind for onr own Secori^, being 
neither able to ran from nor fight aodi fonse as 
flien appear'd to Leward." ^ 

The Teasel described by McNeill as a two.decter 
was the British forty-foiir.gnn ship Bainbow, Con^ 
modore Collier, and she was accompanied by the 
ten.gnn brig Victor. The third vesset, which ap- 
peared about the same time, was the frigate Flora 
of thirty-two gnns. Collier says in bis report that 
Joly 6, in the afternoon, being twelve leagues 
•oothwest of Cape Sambro, he first sighted the 
American squadron. Night came on, and the next 
morning the American ships, with a sloop in cran- 
pany, were five or six miles distant. They set fire 
to Hie sloop and at six o'clock another sail was ob- 
served "standing towards the rebel ships.*' This 
vessel was thoaght to be an American also and try- 
ing to join the others. " About Ten in the Motn- 

1 X. H. Gen«al. Bee., Jamuij, 1907. 

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ing the EDemy'a Ships went away lasting, and 
Three Quarters of an Hour afterwards I was but- 
prized to see seveial Shot exchanged between the 
Btemmoet of them and the Stranger who had last 
joined and whom I had hithwto looked npon as 
another of their Fleet I then hoisted my Colours, 
shortly after which the two stemmost of the Rebel 
Frigates hawled their Wind, whilst the headmost 
kept away about two Points from it This brought 
the English Ship (which I afterwards found was 
the Flora) more abreast of them, who passed to 
Windward, esihanging a Broadside with each and 
pursning the Fugitive, who from the Alteration two 
or three Times of her Coarse, seemed uncertain 
which to steer. The Flora gained faat npon her, 
which sbe perceiving, bawled her Wind again and 
soon afterwards tacked and stood after her Com- 
rades, exchanging a Broadside with the Flora as 
they passed each other. I was just putting about 
after the two Ships when I obs^red this Manoeuvre 
of the Bebel Frigate, which made me stand on 
something longer before I tacked, hoping to get 
her within Keach of my GKms as she passed as. I 
accordingly did so, but had not the good Fortune 
to bring down either a Mast or Sail by my Fire. I 
tacked immediately after her and soon afterwards 
saw the headmost Bebel Frigate put about; she 
passed me just out of Gunshot to Windward and 
appeared a very fine Ship of 34 Guns with Rebel 
Colours flying. One of the Gentlemen of my Quar- 

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ter Deck had been a Fruoner lately at Boston and 
knew her to be the Hancock, on board of whom 
Manley commanded, the Sea Officer in whom the 
Congress place great Confidence and who is the 
Second in Bank in their Navy, The Ship I had 
fired apon I fonnd outsailed me and soon after my 
tacking, went away lasking ; whilst die other Frigate 
kept her wind. I then saw with Concern that one 
of the three must nnavoidably escape, if they thus 
steered different Courses. I therefore judged it best 
to pnt about and follow the Hancock, which ap- 
peared the largest Ship. Whilst I was in Stays the 
Flora passed me very near, in Pnrsuit of the Ship 
I had fired upon. It was abont Two o'Clock in the 
Afternoon of Monday the 7th of July that I tailed 
after Manley, who seemed at first rather to outsail 
the Rainbow, but I understood afterwards that to 
endeavour making his Ship sail better, be started 
all his Water forward and by that Means put her 
out of Trim. An Hour before the Close <^ Day he 
altered his Course and kept away lai^; however, 
we got so near to him before dark as enabled us 
by Means of a Nightglass to keep Sight of him 
all Night. At Dawn of Day she was not much more 
than a Mile ahead of me, soon after which we saw 
a small Sail to liceward which we fonnd to be the 
Victor Brig, who as we passed fired at the Rebel 
Frigate and killed one of the Men at the Wheel, 
but was not aUe from bad sailing to keep up or 
eome near any more. Abont Four in the Morning 

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I began firing tbe Bow chaoe npon her, with ocea- 
n<mal Broadsides loadod with Bound and Ghrape, 
as I could bring them to bear, some of which struck 
her Masts and Sails. Half an Hour past Eight I 
vas so near as to hail her and let them know that 
if tht^ expected Qnarter, they most strike imme- 
diately. Mauley took a few Minntes to consider and 
a fresher Breeze jost then springing ap, he availed 
himself of it by attempting to set some of the Steei^ 
ing Sails on the other Side. I therefore fired into 
him, upon which he struck the Rebel Colours to 
His Majes^'s Ship, after a Chace of upwards of 
89 Hours."* 

To make the story more complete we may quote 
from the report of Captain Brisbane of the Flora. 
''On the 7th Instant at day break, Cape Sable 
bearing N. N. E. about fourteen Leagues, we dis- 
covered three Sail of Ships and a Sloop on our 
weather Quarter and a Siul on our Lee Quarter, 
standing to the Westward on the same Tack the 
Flora was. I thoi^ht it my duty to see what they 
were, tacked and stood towards tbem, npon which 
the Sloop, that was towed by the headmost sh^ 
was cast off and set on fire. We passed within point 
blank shot to leeward of the three Ships, hoisted our 
Colours and fired a Shot at the headmost to show 
theirs, which they paid no attention to, fired a 
second at the Stenunoat, stood on and as soon as we 
oould fetch their wake, tacked and followed them. 

1 London ChrenieU, Anput 20, ITIT. 

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At 9 A.K., npon their finding tbat we weathered 
and came np with them, t^y formed a line ahead, 
hoiflted Continental Ck^ots, and b^;an firing their 
Stem Chaoe. At 10 the two stemmoBt Ships short- 
ened Sul, tacked and came dose under onr lee 
Quarter. Exchanging Broadsides as we passed each 
other, we stood on to the Ship who had not tacked, 
gare her onr fiie which she returned ; she attempted 
to stay, missed and wore, wbidi gave us an o|^M>r- 
tonity o£ rakmg her. We then wore and gave obace 
after her, the two other Ships being at this time 
close upon a Wind on different tacks. Daring this 
transaction we run considerably to leeward, which 
gave the Ship on our lee Quarter an opportunity of 
joining us fast, and upon her being abreast of our 
Chaee, she tacked and prored to be His Majesty's 
Ship the Rainbow. She fired Beveral wdl pointed 
Shot at the Chace, ana of the Enemy soon after- 
wards tacked and stood to the South West, the 
Rainbow tacked and followed her; we continued 
standing to the northward after the Chace, who, 
npon the Rainbow's taoking, kept away more fnun 
the wind and set steering Sails and soon afterward 
began firing her Stem Chace at us. At 6 P.M. we 
came np close to her, npon which she struck her 
Colours and proved to be his Majesty's Ship the 
Fox, that had been taken a month before that by 
the Hancock and Boston, Continental Ships, on the 
Banks of Kewfoundland. The Ship that we after- 
wards learned to be the Boston was, at the time the 

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Fox struck, as &r to windward as we could bat dis- 
cover tte head of her Topsails out of the "Water." ^ 
The British took tfaeir prizes into Halifax. In his 
report Collier says the Hauooek had two hundred 
and twenty-nine men on board, her complement 
being two hundred and ninety ; and according to a 
letter of his to Germain, she carried thirty-two gnns, 
chiefly twelve-pounders, and was " said to be the 
lai^est and fastest sailing frigate ever bnilt. . . . 
Manly seem'd fiUed with ngQ and grief at finding he 
had BO easily surrendered to a ship of only 44 guns, 
believing all along tliat it was the Raisonable, of 64 
guns, who was chasing him." ^ The Hancock appears 
to have been one of the very best and fastest of the 
Continental frigates, and if Manley had not made 
the mistake of altering her trim in the vain attempt 
to improve her speed, he might have escaped from 
the Bainbow. Failing in this, he shoald have made a 
spirited resistance, in which, by some lucky accident, 
he might possibly have snoceeded in reversing tiie 
result ; or by crippling bis adversary, have been able 
to escape. Mauley's record in the naval service up 
to tbis time had been excellent and bis repntaUon 

■ BrU. Ada. Bee, A. D. 4S?, Anjiut 28, 1777, No. 2. 

* Sujjford-SackviBe M88^ 69,70; London ChoBudt, Angiut 
26, 1777 ) BoiUm GaxeOt, Joly 28, Angiut 11, IS, 1777 ; Aimm, 
1, 262 ; Brit. Adm. Bee., A. D. 487, An^nst 28, 1777, Ni>& 2, 3, 4, 
S, e, 7, 8, CdfXaini' LOUn, No. 1011.2 {Collier to Stepbaiu, Jnly 
12, 1777), Captaint" Logi, No& 360, 762 (log;i of Flon and Raia- 
bow). No rapoit by Cqitain Hanley appean to b« aoosuible. For 
daHriptioD of tho Hanoook and Boiton sea above, p. 27. 

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was high among friendB and foe«. Collier, in his 
letter to Cremmn, says td him : ** We have aD Img 
wished to get this man into our powessioD, from 
faia tal^its and intreiodi^, and fortunate it is that 
we have done so, as he was banning to shew the 
Amerioana what they had sot been accustomed to, 
the seeing oi one of his Majesty's ships in their 
possession, iar he had jnst taken the Fox of 28 
guns. . . . Every body here is overjoyed at the 
captnre of Mr. Manly, esteemLng him more capatJe 
of doing mischief to the King's sabjecta than Gen- 
eral Lee waB."^ Manley rendered very efGcient 
servioe also in the later years of the war, bat on 
this ocoaaioD he fuled to stand the test. He should 
not have feared to exchange a few shots, even in 
the belief that he was engaging the Baisonable, and 
would then soon have discovered that he had only a 
for^-fonr to deal with. We shall see that a few 
mcmths later his fellow-offioer, Captain Biddle, was 
not afraid to engage a sixty-four, with no thought, 
apparently, of striking his flag before the last ex- 
toemity.^ Manley was sent a prisoner to New York, 
where he remuned many months. The loss of the 
Hancock was almost a calamity. She was taken into 
the BritiBh service under the name of the Iris and 
fought only too effectually against her old com- 
panions in the Continental navy. 

I SUpford-BadmiOt MS8., Vi. OttMtti Ciatrim Lm bad bera 
takan priioiiar bj tlie Britiih MTttal noDtba befon. 
* See b«low, p. 206. 

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Meanwhile the Boston eBcaped and found Her 
way to Wiscaeset. In his report to the Marine Com- 
mittee, which was dated at that place Julj 16, Cap- 
tun McNeill relates his proceedings since losing 
sight of his consorts on the Tth : " In a few hoars 
we saw two more of the Enemy about two points on 
onr weather bow ; from these we were obliged to 
taoh to the Southwd. . . . After Standing two 
hoars to the Southwd we espied another Ship bear- 
ing S. W. of OS, who appeared to be in obace to- 
wards us. I then bore aboat to Hie Northwd again 
& stood on ontill Nine o'dock the Evening ; the 
efaace coming down upon us very fast all the time. 
As soou as the Moon was down I taok'd and Stood 
to the Southwd and in less than an hour saw the 
Lights of the Chacing Ship Standing athwart our 
Stem abont | of a Mile from us. On Tuesday 
Morning the 8th Current I saw five Sail of the 
Enemy to the Leward of me, three on the X^ee bow 
and two on the Lee Quarter, at the same tame saw 
Cape Sable bearing N.N.E., five le^oes. The Wind 
coming to the Southwd I stood across the Bay of 
Fondy, determin'd to Shelter myself in the first port 
I could make and get inteUegenoe, which happened 
to be this river where I arriv'd on Thursday the 
10th Instant. On my arrival here I found that the 
Milford Frigate had been in about fourteen days 
past & that she had penetrated up as far as we now 
are, Namely at Wichcasset point. There is scarce 
ft day, but one or two of the Eoemys Ships are Seen 

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off tite Month of tluB river and the Coasting Vet- 
bbUs iu« veiy much distress'd. In this my present 
Sitoation I am mach at a Loss what to do, my 
Ship's Company are ao diminished by Manning the 
Fox & the Men otherwise Lost since we Sail'd frtmi 
Boston ; my Ship is very Fowl . . . and besides 
that, we cannot m^e her Sail fast, trim which way 
we wilL . . . We hare certain Aoooonts <^ twelve 
Sail of the Enemys Cmisers between Cape Ann & 
Cape Sable, severaU of whom are large Ships."' 
Perhaps the size of the British fleet cminng in east- 
em waters was magnified in McNeill's imagination. 
In due time he brought his ship back to Boston, 
where his reception was not cordial. He was se- 
Tcrely blamed for not having come to the Hancock's 
rescne and was held by pnblio opinion in la^e de- 
gree ree^nsible for the loss of that ship. He was 
tried by court-martial and suspended.^ 

At Charleston, where the Bandolph had pot in 
for repurs after being dismasted, Ci^itun Biddle 
received orders from the Marine Committee, dated 
April 26 and 29, to cruise in the West Indies and 
later attempt to intercept a British fleet of mer^ 
chantmen which was expected to leave Jamaica 
under convoy about July 26. In the first of these 
orders, April 26, the Committee wrote : " Your 
letter of the 14th instant is the only one we have 

^ y. H. Qtmal. Bee., Jaaaary, IWI. 

■ Mar. Com. Letter Boat, lOS (NarembeT 12, 1777) ; Adamt 
MSS., Ootobec 9, 1771, HaNeill to Jobn Aduna, eompluung at 
ooodiliaii* In the atrj. 

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reoeived sinoe the misfortune of carrying away your 
Masts or indeed since yon left the Capes of Dela^ 
ware, bo that ve are strangers to the cause and 
manner of that unfortunate accident. . . . We ob- 
serve with infinite concern that your people have 
been and remain Sickly ; this has happened in so 
many of our Ships that we cannot help atribnting 
it to some cause that may with proper care & at- 
tention be removed. Yon should therefore insist 
that yonr OfBoers do frequently see the Ship 
thoroughly and perfectly cleansed, aloft and below 
from Stem to Stem, bum Powder and wash with 
vin^^r betwixt Decks, order Hammocks, all bed- 
ding and bed Cloths and Body Cloaths daily into 
the quarters or to be aired on Deck, make the peo- 
ple keep their persons cleanly and use exercise, ^ve 
them as frequent changes of wholesome food as you 
can. Fish when you can get it and fresh food in 
Port. Ventilate the Hold and between Decks con- 
stantly. In short, cleanliness, exercise, fresh air and 
wholesome food will restore or preserve health more 
than medicine and it is deserving the utmost atten< 
tion of any or every ofBcer to preserve the Health 
& Spirits of the mra."^ 

The Marine Committee planned to collect as many 
vessels as possible to act in concert against the ex- 
pected Jamaica fleet, in the hope of capturing a 
number c^ them. General orders dated April 29 
were issued, addressed to the commanders of vessels 
> liar. Com. Lmer Book, 73 (April 26, 1777). 

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designated to take port in the enterprise. Th^ wen 
to rend^TOus at Ahaco', ooe of the Bahama Islacds, 
July 25, the senira captain wa» to take command 
as commodore, and they were to liold a oonncil of 
war and decide upon tbe best cruising ground, the 
most effectual disposition of their ships, and a code 
of signals. " The Commodore or Council of var are 
empowered to order or do anything they may think 
necessary or essential to enable the Squadron to per- 
form the intended Service, whether pointed out by 
the Committee or not." All information obtained 
regarding the Jamaica fleet mnst be reported to the 
oommodore. " These things done, and the sooner 
they are aooomplished the better, the Squadron must 
weigh and sail under the Signals and Orders of the 
Commodcffe to the appointed Station, which we sup- 
pose will be near the Havannah." While wjuting 
for the Jamaica fleet the time should be spent in 
drill and repeating signals. " The men should be 
constantly exercised at the Guns, and infinite piuns 
taken on boud every Ship to sweeten the Air and 
keep not only tbe Ship clean but the Men so in 
their Cloathing and Persons. During this Cruize 
there is Uttle doubt but Frizes will be taken by the 
Squadron b^re the Jamaica fleet appears and snch 
may be sent into Georgia or Carolina, but in doing 
this care must be taken that no ship is much weak- 
ened by sending away their men in such Prizes. 
Should they be of little value it may probably be 
best to bum them and eucoun^ the seamen found 

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on board to enter onr Semoe by offering tbem ahan 
of Prize Money to be taken, Fay and allowance 
equal to those already eng^ed, and aasurance of 
good treatment." InaBmuch as "tbe mmn object 
of this euterprize appean the Januuoa Fleet, it must 
be the business of the Commodore to keep the Frig- 
ates bother until he finds out the strength of tbe 
Convoy, and if it be such as be judges he can cope 
vith, with a tolerable prospect of auooess, he is to 
make tbe proper disposition for attacking to tbe 
best advantage and engage their ships of war, whilst 
all the smaller vessels are employed in attacking 
and taking the Merchantmen. It most be remem- 
bered that tbe enemy generally send home for C<hi- 
Toy snob of their Ships of war as havebeoi long in 
the West Indies. They are frequently foul and ill 
manned, which are circomstauoeB favourable for en- 
g^ing them, even if they should appear of superior 
force. If you can but make Prizes of tbe Convoy or 
any part of them, we think it will then be in the 
power of the Squadron to take any number of the 
Merchantmen, and such as cannot be manned and 
brought into Port maybe snnk or Burned. Should 
tbe Convoy conust of such or so many Ships as it 
would be folly or rashness to eng^e, tbe Squadron 
in that case had best to seperate and hover after tbe 
fleet ; for as we have little doubt but most of our 
ships will outsul theirs, being cleaner, you may in 
this manner pidt up a vast many of their Merchant 
ships, altho protected by Superior force." If after 

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this service the aqnadroD should be too distant from 
the seat of government to receive fresh orders, " the 
Commodore moat call a Council of war of all the 
Commanders with him, and any enterprize or expe- 
dition planned hy that Council, that has for its ob- 
ject the service of the United States of America, 
to distress or disable the ^lemies of these States or 
to Capture thetr Ships of war or Merchantmen, will 
meet our approbation & if executed with vigour, 
will merit the joaise of all Ammca. Our ships 
should never be Idle. The Kavy is in its infancy 
and a few brilliant strokes at this Era would ^ve 
it a Credit and importance that would induce sea- 
men from all parts to seek the employ, for nothing 
is more evident than that America has the means 
and must in time become the first Maritime power 
in the world." ' 

The Andrew Doria, Captain Isaiah Bobinson, the 
sloop Surprise, Captain Benjamin Dnnn, and the 
Fly, Captain Elisha Warner, were ordered in April 
to clear the Cape May channel of Britiidi ships, and 
a little later the Independence, Captain John Young, 
was instmcted to warn vessels away from Cheaa- 
peahe and Delaware Bays. In May the Andrew 
Doria and Surprise, together with the Columbus, 
Captun Hoysted Haoher, stjll blockaded in Nais 
ragansett Bay, were ordered to repair to the ren- 
dezvous at Abaco, where they were expected to meet 
the Kandolph aod cruise after the Jamaica fleet. 
' Mar. Com, Later Book, 78 (April 29, 1777). 

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NAVAL OFEKAHONS in 1777 221 

This promising and well conceived project seems 
never to have been carried out or even entered upon, 
piesumahlj because a sufficient number of vessels, 
especially frigates, could not be brought together.^ 
The Randolph saQed some time during the sum- 
mer and early in September was off Charleston. 
Biddle reported : " I have the Pleasure to acquaint 
You that on the fourth of Sept. 30 Lei^. S. £. of 
Charles Town Barr I met with and took, after a 
little Resistance, the True Britain, Thomas Venture 
Master, of twenty uz-pounderg and seventy-four 
Men, tbe Brig Chaiming Peggy, Capt. Lyon, both 
liaden vrith Rum for the British Army and Navy 
and boond from Jamaica to New York, The Ship 
Severn, Capt. Henderson, of eight four-pounders, 
who had been taken by an American Cmizer on 
His passage from Jamaica to London And Betaken 
by the True Britain, Also a French Brig laden with 
salt going from the West Lidiea for Charles Town, 
Which Capt. Venture had made Prize of. There 
was a small Sloop in Company with those Vessels 
that made Her escape, the Weather being Squally, 
whilst I was Manning die Rest. I Arrived Safe 
here with my Prize the 7th inst. I have not laid 
Claim to Salvadge for the French Brig, as I thought 
it would be most agreeable to Omgress to give her 
up. . . . The Randolph's Bottom is very foul, hav- 

1 Jlfor. Cow. Later Book, 68, 69 (April 18, ITH), 73 (April 
26, 1777), 77, 78 (April 29, 1777), 86, 88 {May 2, 1777), « (M»y 
13, 1777), fll (M«y 16, 1777). 

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ing lain in this Port tlie three worst Months in the 
Year sinoe We Cleared ; And Being ai^nehensive 
that the Worms will Kuin Her Bottom unless Aey 
are soon destroyed, I hare thought Fit>per and am 
pr^Huing to heare Her down. I shall be as expedi- 
tions as possible and hope to be Beady to execute 
any Orders Yon may Please to send by the Betnm 
oi the Express. I cannot omit telling You that My 
Officers have on eveiy Occasion given me the great- 
est Satisfaction. Two better Officers are not met 
in the Service than Barnes and Mcdongall, My 
first and second Leiuts. And the Men I took from 
here behaved exceeding welL" ^ The Marine Com- 
mittee issued orders to Biddle, dated October 24, 
to proceed to France as soon as his ship could be 
made ready for tbe voyage. Upon bis uriral there 
be was to report to tbe American Commissioners 
and await their directions, in tbe mean time mak- 
ing a short cruise in European watera, if it should 
seem advisable.' 

Captain Thomas Thompson, of the frigate Ba- 
leigb at Portsmouth, received instructions, dated 
April 29, to croise agunst vessels bound to New 
Yorh nntil June, but if he could not obtain soit- 
aUe gnus for his ship he was to proceed directly 
to France for them ; in July he was to open sealed 
orders. As late as May 22, according to informa- 

1 Fi^. Conl. Con^., 7B, 2, 241 (Biddle to Momi, September 
12, ITH). 

• aid., 237, 241 ; liar. Com. Lmer Book, 106 (Oetobei 24, ITH) i 
Port Folio, Oetobet, 1809. 

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tion fumiBhed to Admiral Howe, the Ratragh htd 
only six or eight of her thirty-two gems mounted. 
At this time there were at Portsmouth, besides the 
frigate, the Banger ajid three or four large pnTS- 
teers. The keel of the America of seTenty-fonr guns 
had just been iai6. It was nearly the middle of 
Angnst when the Baleigh went to sea and set sail 
for France. Probably she had received her gmis by 
that time and her voyage was in the serrioe of Cktn- 
gress aad the American Commissioners at Paris. 
She was aooompanied by the Alfred, Captun Hin^ 
man, who had also received sailing orders in April, 
which directed him after cruising in the Atlantio 
to return to Boston for fresh instructions.^ 

The third day i^ter sailing for France a small 
schooner from New York was taken by the Ealeigh, 
on boaid of which Captain Thompson found " 275 
Spanish milled dollars, 187 counterfeited bills of 
SO dollars each, in imitation of the bills emitted by 
Congress May the lOtb, 1775, and 40 counterfeited 
bills of seven dollars each, imitating the Massachn^ 
setts Bword-in-hand money t the whole making 4890 
dollars which I shall commit to the Barnes after pre- 
serving samples. The schooner being of little value 
we burnt her." The most important event* of the 
passage are told in Thompson's report, dated at sea 
September 28, 1777, in latitude 49° 35' north, lon- 
1 Mar. Com. Letter Book, 70, 81, 84 (April 23, 20, 1777), 02 
(Jnne 1, 17n),lD2 (Septemlmr 6, 1777) ; Brit. Adm. Btc, A.D. 4S7, 
Jnna 29, 1777, No. 10; Bemick, 216 (lin of Baleigh'a mew); N. 
H. Gtneai. Bee., April, Jnlj, Octolwr, 1905. 

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gitade IS" 13' west: "At dayliglit Sept. 2 we took 
a snow called the Nancy, . . . being part of the 
Windward Island fleet, which had ontaailed her 
the day before. Hairing by this eaptnre disooTered 
the situation of the fleet and fonnd that tbey were 
convoyed by the Camel, Drotd, Weazel and Grass- 
hopper ships of war, the former a very large, lof^ 
ship, carrying twenty-two IS-potinders, ... we 
made sul in qnest of the fleet and next morning 
disoovered them ttam the mast head. At sun-set 
we were near enongh to distinguish the leading 
ship as well as their number, which was sixty sail, 
bearing East by North ; the wind being then west, 
I made a signal as being one of the fleet left 
astern, for I had possesaed mjnelf of the signal 
from the prize. I hailed Capt. Hinman and told 
him my intention was to run into the fleet in the 
morning and attack the convoy, which I thought 
we were able to destroy ; I therefore ordered him 
to keep close nuder the Kaleigh's stem until we 
come alongside the Commodore, which ship we 
would both attack. Unlni^dly in the night the wind 
shifted to North ; the fleet then hauled up close to 
the wind, wliich brought as to leeward ; in the 
morning it came to blow fresh. At daylight we 
saw the body of the fleet bearing about N.E. at 
two or three leagues distance, steering East North 
East. We made sail and the Kaleigh soon fetched 
np to the fleet under double reefed topsuls, 
but the Alfred, being tender-sided, could not cany 

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sail aod therefore fell a great way to leeward and 
astern. I could not take in any sail for fear of 
being discovered to be a strange ship ; we there- 
fore kept our sails shaking in the wind, thinking 
the Alfred might come up, but Capt. Hinman made 
signal that his ship was overpressed witk saoL See* 
ing no chance of hia coming up and being fearful 
of being discovered, I determined to make siul and 
stand into the fleet and take my chance alone. 
While we were laying to, most of the merchant 
ships had got ahead into the fleet; however, I 
hauled in and passed a few of them and desired 
them to go under the Commodore's stem. By this 
they took us to be some British frigate which had 
joined the fleet. I stood on dose to the wind, mak- 
ing for one of the ships of war which was to the 
windward of all the fleet, repeating the Commodore's 
signals. Oar ports were down and our gune housed 
and we shot up alongside within pistol shot ; then 
we up sails, out guns, hoisted Continental colours 
and bid them strike to the Thirteen United States. 
Sudden surprize threw them into confusion and 
their sails flew all aback, upon which we compli- 
mented them with a gun for each State, a whole 
broadside into their hull. . . . Out second broad- 
side was aimed at their ri^;ing, which had its desired 
effect. ... In about a quarter of an hour all hands 
quitted quarters on board the British man of war, 
wc cleared her decks totally; not a man was seen 
nor a gun fired on board her for twenty minutes 

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before we left lier. Slie lay like a log alongside of 
119 entirely at the merey of our sliot, which flew 
very thick ; we fired twelve broadsidea, besides a 
constant fire from our musqnetty. We were along- 
side of her for^'^ve minutes ; when we left her 
she seemed to be water logged and in a most shat- 
tered condition. During this little engagement my 
officers and men behaved with the greatest fortitude 
and resolution, partionlarly the green hands. . . . 
My intmtion was to sink the enemy's ship, if I 
could not bring her off, and I should have effeo- 
tnally sunk her in a few minutes more, eonld we 
have ataid. Out firing had thrown the fleet into con- 
fusion. A squall prevented them from seeing us at 
first ; when it cleared up, one was running one way 
and one another, some upon the wind and some 
before it. Their Commodore and the other ships of 
force tacked and stood right for us, but had not 
the wind favoured Um and we drifted to leeward, 
he could not have fetched us and ,1 should certainly 
have sunk the ship. However, I ataid by her until 
he came pretty near, and we being in danger of 
being surrounded, I made sail and ran down to the 
Alfred, who waa lying about fonr miles to the lee- 
ward. . . . When we bad got pretty near the 
Alfred, I took in top gallant siula and shortened 
sul to wait for the British Commodore, bnt he soon 
tacked and stood ag^ into the fleet." ^ 

The vessel engaged by the Baleigh was the fbnr^ 
> Alaon, T, 403, 404. 

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tflen-gon sloop of war Dmid. According to the re- 
port of LieateDimt Bourchier of the Druid, " on the 
4th of September, in the latitude 40.3S. N., longi- 
tude 50.17. W., at half past four in the evening, 
w6 disoovered a strange siul on onr larboard quarter, 
bearing West and steering for as. We were then 
(from tiie irregularity of the fleet) about five miles 
distant from the Camel, to windward, repeating the 
signal for the convoy to go under the Camel's stem 
and obliging those ships to bear down ; the Weazle 
at a great distance to leeward and oat of onr sight. 
We cleared ship for action and turned all hands to 
quarters. At five o'clock she came within pistol 
shot, when I could plainly perceive her to be a rebel 
privateer mounting 38 or 40 guns, her decks and 
tops full of men. She hailed and desired us to strike 
to the honour of the Congreea's oolourtt, hoisted her 
ensign, and began to engage. The first broadside 
sent a shot through Captain Carteret's thigh bone 
and killed the master, I then took the conunaod on 
the quarter deck and conttnued the action. At half 
past five she came close alongside and kept an irr^u< 
lar but very hot firing. At six she made sail ahead. 
I attempted to do the same and keep her broadside 
on, but the shattered condition of the rigging ren- 
dered the sails almost useless to the ship. As the 
head-sails only were of service, we edged away and 
kept her nearly on our bow till twea^ minutes past 
six. She then had the wind abaft, sheared off, hauled 
down her colours, and made sail. I attempted to 

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wear ship and rake her, but the rigging being en- 
tirely shot to pieces, could not bring her round. I 
then tried to make what sail I could and pursue the 
enemy, but found most of the masts and yards 
wounded, . . . with four feet ten inches water in 
the hold. At^half past seven we brought to, with 
our foresail and mizen on our larboard tack, to plug 
tita shot holes between wind and water, dear the 
wrec^ and pump the ship out. I then perodved 
another rebel privateer laying to, bearing S. S. W. 
■iz or Beven miles off, and by her appearanoe I 
suppose she mounted about 20 guns. The Camel 
was then in chace about two or three miles distant ; 
soon after, the Weazle spoke to us and gave ohaoe 

Conditions on board the Camel, the British com- 
modore's ship, are set forth in her ]<^. "Fresh 
Breezes & Squally Wr. At 1 p.h. fired 2 guns & 
made the Signal for the fleet to come under our 
Stem ; the headmost Vessels paying no attention to 
the Sign^ Fired 3 Shott at them to bring them to. 
At 5 fresh Breezes & Hazy Wr. Heard the report 
of a No. of Gruns fired in the No. Wt. Quarter, which 
we imbued was an Action, from the unusual quick- 
ness of their firing. Wore Sh^ with all possible 
speed & stood towards the report, when the Haze 
disperung, we peroeiv'd His Majesty's Sloop Druid 
in close engagement with a lai^ Rebel Friva [teer] 
of 36 Guns, which she Beat ofF & upon perceiving 

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va to be in chase of her, made off under all tbe Sail 
she could poaaiblf Cioud, as did another Bebd priva- 
teer which lay to Leeward of Her. Continaed in 
Chase of them tiU Night, when we lost sight both 
of them & the Convoy." ^ 

The Baleigh's loss was one killed and two wounded. 
The Druid had six killed and twenty-aix wounded, 
of whom five, including the captain, died of their 
wounds. The Baleigh and Alfred followed the fleet 
several days, but without ^ain exchanging shots 
with the enemy. Thompson saya : " We have sinoe 
challenged him for three days successively to come 
oat of his fleet and engage us, but he declines the 
challenge. Himself and the other aimed ships keep 
close together a little astern of the fleet and fine 
weather faronrs them ; we wait for a storm and then, 
if any advantage offers, intend to make the best use 
of it, but we must not venture among them as they 
are now prepared, neither can we trust to the Alfred's 
sailing. Had she been a stiff ship and sailed equally 
well with the Baleigh, we should in all probability 
have destroyed the convoy and dispersed the whole 
fleet, badly manned as we are, having only 180 men, 
chiefly green hands. I cannot trust to working the 
ship w^e I to go into the fleet, but if the enemy 
will attack where we have room, we are able to 
defend ourselves or destroy them. I could at first 
have cut off several of the merchantmen, bat most 

1 Brit. Adm. Bac., Captains' Logt, No. 166 Oog t^ tlu Camd) ; 
aba No. 4172 (!<« of the Dniid). 

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hy that mcaiu bave been diiooTend and thereby 
bare lost our dbaoce at the King*! ih^ ; and I am 
detennined nerer to war againfltmerchaatmen where 
I have an opportunity of wanng against the King. 
I ahoold hare preferred einkiog that ship to the 
ridieft ctqttnre in the fleeL" These excuses seem 
jpadegoate. John Faol Jones foond the Alfred 
capable of giving excellent service. If Thompson 
had been an enterprinng officer, it ia difficult to 
believe that he wonld have aHowad this rich fleet to 
get away without leaving a single prize in his hands. 
Aa to warring against merchantmen, American 
commanders had express orders to porsne fleets 
tmder convoy and make as many captures as poarible. 
^w ships and canoes were needed by the impover- 
ished Contin«ital government, and every blow stmck 
at tbe enemy's conmterce helped a little to tnm the 
scale in this closely contested war. In due time 
tbe Baleigh and Alfred arrived in France ; also the 
sloop Independence, Captain Yonng, which had 
been sent ont with dispatches.^ 

Early in the year 1777 the sloop Bevenge, Ama> 
ican privateer of ten gnns. Captain Joseph Shef- 
field, cruising to the windward of Barbadoes, is 
reported to have foaght four honrs with two Kitisb 
ships, eadi canying fonrte^i gnns, aod to hare 
captured one of them. The ship Thomas, a prize of 
the Berenge and presumably this same one, was re- 

1 Almon, T, 401-406; JAv. Cam. iMtr Back, W (to Obtain 
ToODj, July 6, im). 

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captured by the sloop of war Unicom wliile miuuDg 
into Newport, not knowing it was occupied b; the 
Britisli.^ The report came from New York, March 
24, that within two months the British men-of-war 
stationed aboat Chesapeake and Delaware Bays had 
taken seventy American ships and privateers.' The 
frigate Pearl fell in with the privateers Teaser, 18, 
and Beaolntion, 14, with a convoy of three mer- 
chantmen. An engagement of an hoar and a half 
followed, when a gun on the Besolulion burst and 
she struck. The Pearl also took two of the mer- 
chantmen, but the other and the Teaser escaped.' 

The British naval schooner Prince William, of 
e^ht guns, was captured, and her captain, writing 
from Boston Prison, May 18, says : " In my last I 
acquunted yon of my success in taking American 
prizes, but my fortune now is quite the reverse. On 
the 2d of this month, falling in with the Spy, an 
American privateer snow of 12 guns, my vessel was 
taken after an engagement of three glasses and 
brought into this port, where myself and crew are 
prisoners. Bostonharbor swarms with privateersand 
their jvizes; this is a great place of rendezvous wiUi 
them. The privateenunen come on shore here full 
of moD^ and enjoy themselves much after the same 
manner the English seamen at Portsmouth and 
Plymouth did in the late war ; and by the best 

> BaHon Gautte, Febrnw; 24, 1717; Lmdm ChnmieU, Maj 8, 
1777 ; TnUiMni'a Liverjmi Frivataen, 19&-I9a 

■ Latidm Ckremcie, Hmj 10, 1777. 

» itid., juM 10, irn. 

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mformation I can get there are no less than fifteen 
foteigD vessels lately arrived in the harbour with 
cargoes of various articles."^ 

A letter from Xantuoket, dated May 15, gives 
this account; "The 11th inst. Capt. Simpkins, 
oomniander of the Fortune, Provincial ship of war 
of 22 guns, 4 cohoms, and 18 svivek, fell in with 
the English brig Boscawen, of 18 six-pounders, near 
tins port, and after an engagement of upwards of 
an hour the latter vas taken and carried for Boston. 
We saw the action, which was continued a consider^ 
able time very resolute by both parties and seemed 
to ns rather doubtfoL The Captain of die brig was 
wounded and the ofScer that was second in com- 
mand was killed.*'^ 

On the 12th of Jnly the ship Pole of Liverpool, 
in latitude S0° north, lon^tude 20° west, " fell in 
with the Tartar, a rebel privateer mounting 20 
nine-poonders on tbe main dech, 8 foor-ponnders 
on the guarter4eck and 4 four-pounders on the 
forecastle, full of men, supposed two hundred at 
least. . . . She bore down on the Pole under 
English colours, enquired from whence she came 
and whether she was a King's ship. Being an- 
swered in the afBrmatire, the capbun gave orders 
to hoist the Thirteen Stripes and fire away, on which 
the engagement b^an and continued from five 
until about twenty minutes past eight, when the 

1 Alaan, t, 173; London ChronicU, Jnly 8, 17TI. 
* Mmm, T, 114 

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privates sheered off. Captain Maddock [of the 
Pole] liad two mates and a passenger wounded and 
sapposes tliat near one half of the people belonging 
to the privateer most be killed or wounded, he hav- 
ing cleared their forecastle of men three different 
times and sajs he heard dreadful cries among them. 
The Pole had 16 six-pounders and only forty peo- 
ple, passengers tncladed."i 

Many privateers omised in the West Indies, and 
besides thoee that came out from the United States, 
some were fitted oat at Martiniqoe under American 
oommandOTS, with French and Spanish crews and 
oommissioned by the American naval and conmier^ 
dal agent, William Bingham. Prices rose in the 
British islands on account of the lai^ amount of 
property taken by Americans. Admiral Yoang, 
commanding the British station in the Leeward 
Islands, reported the captore of many of these 
privateers.' The privateer Revenge, Captiun Isaac 
Freeborn, sailed from Martha's Vineyard for the 
West Indies December 9, 1777. " About ten Days 
after, we fell in with a Privateer Schooner, gave 
her a couple of Shot and she run. About 8 Days 
after, we fell in with and took the Ship York, from 
Glasgow bound to Barbadoes, laden with dry Groods, 

1 WiUiaau, 206 (qaotdiig t, liTsipaoI paper). In WilUami'a 
list of LiTarpoc4 privrntean (Appendix W) the Pole ia givsn ii 
gana and 100 men. 

> Mnon, T, 141-143, ISS, 111, 198, 190; Botlon OazOU, Jima 
2, OotolMr 13, ITH i Xomfon CAnmuik, April 22, Angrut 6,1777; 
Williamt, 200, 201. 

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some FioTisions, &c. vhich was sent into Martineco. 
About 4 Days after, fell in with a large English 
Sliip of 18 Guns, vhich was too much tor ns. We 
afterwards oame across a Fleet of about 100 Sail, 
to Windward of Barbadoes, but they being eon- 
TOy'd by 6 Frigates and it blowing a hard Gale, ve 
oould do nothing with them. We then bore away 
for Martineco, sprmig our Mast and carried away 
our Topmast, but luckily got in and found our 
Prize safe." * 

Under orders issued March 14, 1777, by the 
Massachus^ts Board of War the brigantines TyTan> 
nioide. Captain Jonathan Haraden, and Massachn- 
setts. Captain John ilsk, of the state navy, sailed 
together March 24 on a cruise to the coasts of Ire- 
land, England, and France. The br^;antine Free- 
dom, Captain John Clouston, had already sailed 
March 8, under the same authority and for the same 
cruising ground. April 1, in longitude 15° west, 
Clouston reported having taken three prizes. He 
arrived at PumbcBuf May 1, having made twelve 
captures in all. April 2 the Massachusetts and 
l^rannicide, in latitude 41° 30' north and longi- 
tude 45° west, took the ship Chaulkly, and April 8, 
ten degrees farther east, the Tyrannicide took the 
bark Lonsdale after a three hours* engagement. 

1 Botion OaxtOa, Muob 8, ITTS. Fta further a 
t«te«riiiK in 1777, im CoO. Butx Ina., July, ISSO ; Conli'Rmtal 
Jovrmdy DMembw 2S, 1777 ; Conntctiait GaztUe, Jnly 18, 1777 ; 
Lmdoa Chronidt, Uuoh 18, April 10, 1777 ; Fiektring MSB., 
srii, 60; Engagementi by Bta and Land, 78, 79. 

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while the Massaclinsetts was chasing another ves- 
seL Just two weeks after this, in about 48'^ north 
and 16° west, they " fell in with a fieet of 9 sail 
bound to the Westward, one of 60 £one of 14 Gruns, 
British Ships of War, with 7 Transports from Fly- 
month for New York. Bong a E^»sh gale we could 
not bare down on them ; however, finding one Brig 
to lay a stem, we took the liberty to take her under 
Convoy. She had on board 6S Troops, Hessens 
Chussers, with their accountrements oompleat."^ 
The Massachusetts arrived at Nant«s May 21, and 
Fisk reported : " I have not the pleasnre to acqnunt 
you that the Tyrannicide is here with me, but am 
Bony to acquit you that on the seventeenth In- 
stant at Nine in the Morning we gave chase to a 
Ship standing to the Eastward and came up fast. 
At three got within two miles of the ship, then saw 
three Sail in the N. E. beariog down to us ; one of 
said Sail brought car chase too & hoisted English 
coloun. I bore away and made atal from them ; the 
SHp gave me chase. Capt. Haraden bore away also ; 
the ship oame ap with us fast. At Nine at Night 
I haol'd my Wind ; Capt. Haraden bore away before 
the wind. At half after nine, lost eight of Capt. 
Haraden and soon after, lost sight of the Ship. At 
ten, saw three flashes of Ouns, which I suppose the 
Ship fired at Capt. Haraden and I am afr^d the 
Ship took him, as I have not heard nor seen any- 
thing of him since." ^ Fisk had taken eight prizes 

■ Mam. Ani., olii, 106. i Ibid., 216. 

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aiQce leaving Salem. He sailed for home in June, 
having on board four passengers, including General 
Pnlaski. July 12, from a schooner Fisk learned of 
Haraden's safe arrival at Bilbao, after having been 
obliged to throw overboard gnns and stores to es- 
cape the British ship. The Massachnsetts arrived at 
Marblehead July 28, forty-four days from Nantee. 
The Freedom had arrived at Boston two weeks 
earlier ; she had taken sixteen prizes, of which six 
had probably been retaken. The Tyrannicide came 
later, getting into Boston August SO.^ 

In the Massachusetts Council, August 6, 1777, 
the following measure was adopted : " Whereas our 
Bnemies have several small Cruisers upon this Coast, 
& even in Boston Bay, which have taken several 
of our Coasting Vessels & greatly Obstructed our 
Navigation ; And as the Continental & State Yes- 
sels, as also moBt of the Private Vessels of War, 
are improper to be employed for Clearmg the Coast 
of these Vermin, therefore B««olved, That the Board 
of War be & ihey hereby are directed, without De- 
lay, to take such Measures for taking or destroying 
all such Cruisers as aforesaid, as they shall judge 
miAt proper." ' The day before, the Btntrd of War 
had instructed Captain Fisk, who had returned 
fn»n France two weeks before, to cruise in the 

1 Mau. Arch., oli, 41G, 416, oUi, 134, 135, 144, 160, 166, 178, 182, 
ie», 216, 220, 230, 271, 292 ! Borton GoMtte, JnB« 2, 9, July 14. Sei>- 
temlMr 1, ITH ; Conlinetiiai Joarnal, Jnne 12, 1777 ; Landon Chnm- 
idt. Hay 3, ITH ; MtutachuttOi Mag., April, Ootober, 1008. 

* Matt, Arch,, Beeoluliomir}/ BoUt, xliv, 208. 

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track of bomeward-bonud West Indiamen and " to 
use jour atmost Endeavours to take, bum, gink & 
destroy all armed and other Vessels, together with 
their Cm-goes, belonging to the Subjects of the 
King of Great Britun, Enemies to the United 
States of America & the natural Bights of Man- 
kind.'*^ Captain Fisk soon set sail ^;ain in the 
Massachusetts, and on the afternoon of Angost 19 
" saw three sail to the Eastward. We gave chase 
[and] at 4 found them to be two Schooners and a 
Ship. We soon saw the two Schooners was attack- 
ing the Ship & after a few shot they fell a stem 
and the Ship tack'd & made siul for us. At 5 we 
came np to the Ship & found she wore British 
Colours ; we gare her a Broadside [and] she struck 
to the American Arms." * This was the ship John- 
son, bound from Liverpool to New York, and the 
schoonera were Hie privateers Speedwell and Active 
of Boston. August 31, in latitude 36° 28' north, 
lon^tnde 61° west, the Massachusetts fell in with 
a vessd bound from St. Christopher to Belfast, 
which had sailed with a British fleet of a hundred 
and thirty sail under the convoy of four men-of-war. 
This was probably the siune fleet that the Baleigh 
and Alfred fdl in with a few days later. At this 
time Captain Fisk had three Massachusetts priva- 
teers cruising with him; they were the schooner 
Dolphin of Marblehead and the brigantines Hamp- 

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den of Salem and GloaceBter of Cape Ann. In 
Ootober, Fisk reported the capture of two brigs.^ 

The brigs Tyrannicide, Captun Haraden, Haz- 
ard, Captun Simeon Sampaon, and Freedom, Cap- 
tain Clonston, cruised during the fall. The Hazard 
had just been added to the MaBSWhnsetta hayj. 
The brig Indepeodenoe had been captured by the 
enemy in the spring ; and in September or October 
the Freedcon was taken by the British frigate 
Apollo, and Clonston was sent to the prison-ship 
Felimty at New York. Begolations for the govem- 
ment of the Massaehosetts navy, based on those of 
the Continental navy, had been adopted in March.> 

The waters about Nora Scotia and Newfound- 
land were a favorite cruising ground, during the 
Berolution, for the armed ships and privateers of 
Massachusetts and other New England states, and 
manyvisits were paid to the Grand Banks and to 
the oonqraratively defenseless shores of those pro- 
vinces. Admind Montagu wrote from St. John's, 
Jane 11, 1777 : " Hie American privateers have 
been very troublesome on the banks and have com- 
mitted great depredations among the fishermen, 
notwithstanding I have dispatched the men-of-war 
as they arrived to the different porta of the fishing 
bank to cruize for their protection. It givee me 

1 Matt. AtiA., clii, 3S0, 362, 391 ; MatttuAiueBi Mag; Ootober, 

'Man. Arch., oli, 4S0, oli!. 414, eliii, 2, 3, olTii, 93, 103, 113; 
JUoM. Court. Bee., Hu«h 21, ITH ; Mauaehimtl* Uag., April, 
Jnlr, 1906, Jannw;, April, 1909. 



great c<Hioem to be obliged to infotm your Lord- 
ship that the privateers cmizing in these seae are 
greatl; superior in nnmber and size to the squad- 
ron under my command and without a large force 
is sent out to me, the bank fishery is at a stand." ^ 
In August, Commodore Collier having learned <A 
a projected expedition against Nova Scotia frtnu 
Maofaias, sailed for that place with the Kainbow, 44, 
the frigates Blonde, 32, and Mermaid, 28, and the 
brig Hope, 18. An important object of the enter- 
prise was to serve as a diversion in favor of General 
Burgoyne, then api^oaohing Saratoga. Collier's 
squadron arrived in Machias Bay on Uie 13th and 
the frigates anchored, as there vas not water enough 
for them to ascend the river. The Hope, however, 
was sent up, and a contemporary account says tliat 
her commander, Lieutenant *' Dawson, kept under 
Way till he came opposite a Breastwork thrown up 
about half a Mile frcnn the Town, garristmed witli 
only twelve Men, when he saluted it with a Broad- 
side which was returned from a two-Pounder and 
two Swivels several Bounds, when Dawson sent his 
Boat to go ashore, bat a few of our Men being in 
Ambush just where they were about to Land, as so<m 
as they came within Musket-shot an Indian, who de- 
sired the first Shot, fired and kill'd the Man at the 
Bow Oar, when they immediately put back for the 

> Stop/ard-^adcvilk MSS., 69 (Honta^ to G«nnuii). Tbe " pri- 
rateen" wliiah mtmt womed tha adnural kt thii time v«m th* 
tngtA«t Haneock md Boston. 

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Brig. After vbieh a Number of Boats with about 
300 Marines and Mariners went ashore and bnmt 
two Dwelling Honses, two Bams full of Hay and a 
Grist Mill By this Time about 150 of tbe Militia 
had Mustered, who attack'd and drove the Enemy 
off; on seeing which, Pawson wei^'d Anchor and 
was endeaToring to get down, when he Inckily ran 
aground and our People attacked him, with Small 
AnuB only, so warmly as not a Man durst shew 
his Head above Deck till the above Boats came to 
tow him off, which our People beat off, having 
killed upwards of 60 of the Enemy ; and 't is thought 
that if a very thick Fog had not arose, they would 
have near Kill'd all the Enemy, if not destroy'd 
DawsoD. Our Loss was only one, Mr. James Fo^ 
ter, Killed, and Mr. Jonas Famsworth Wounded, 
though not dang^ous." ^ The British repented a 
loss of three hilled and eighteen wounded. The 
squadron, having accomplished little, got under 
way a few days later and sailed back to Halifax. 
Collier was much criticized for the fulure of this 
expedition, which, according to General Massey, 
the commander at Halifax, " might have prevented 
the Misfortunes that attend'd Lt. Genl. Burgoyne's 
Army." Collier cliumed a victory, saying that he 
took a fort and thwarted American designs against 
Nova Scotia.* 

> Bofton Gtaette, September 8, ITTI. 

*Almon, IT, 1S9, 140; Anitr. Hitl. See., i (October, 1904), 69; 
CfU. Jfotne HiiL Boc, April, 1895; Froe. Caa^ridge Hiit. Soe., 
t(1910), 70,T1; N.S. MagaaBt,A.agaH,lSKi Erisaganaili bf 



General Howe took possession of Pluladdplua 
September 26, 1777, and Admiral Howe, wlio had 
bronght the Britisli fleet around from tbe Head of 
Chesapeake Bay after landing the army, arrived in 
Delaware Bay. October 4, an advance-sgnadron of 
his fleet having preceded him. The Americans, 
however, still held the defenses of the river^ which 
prevented the British fleet from approaching tha 
city and establishing the communications necesaaiy 
for supplying the British army. These defensei 
consisted of forts, obstructions, and vessels. On a 
small island near the west bank of the river just 
below the mouth of the Schuylkill was situated 
Fort Mifflin, and opposite, at Redbank, New Jersey, 
was Fort Mercer, while three or four miles below 
this, at Billingsport, New Jersey, was another fort ; 
and halfway between these last two was a battery. 
The obstructions were planted opposite this lower 
fort and also between Fortg Mifflin and Mercer. 
They were heavy frames of timber or cheoctux-de' 
fiiae sunk in the bottom of the river, from which 
projected beams sharpened and shod with iron, 
pointing downstream. Of the floating defenses the 
Continental navy furnished the new frigate Dela- 
ware, of twenty-four guns, and the Andrew Doria, 
Hornet, Wasp, Fly and Bacehorse, with possibly 
the Mosquito and Sachem ; also the xebecs Be- 

8ea and Land, lOS ; Bitt. l£an. Com., Amer. MSS. in Sogal latt., 
i. 1S6, 209 (Mauey to Howe, NoTsmbw 26, ITTI, Muoh 15, 


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poise aad Champion. The Peimsylvama navy ooo- 
tributed to the cause its whole fleet : the ship Mont- 
gomeiy and over forty smaller craft, including gal- 
leys, armed hoats, floating batteries, and flreshipi. 
The frigatea Washington and Effingham were up 
the river, above Philadelphia, were still unfinished, 
and coold be of no service. The combined Conti* 
nental and state fleet was under the command of 
Commodore John Hazelwood, of the Pennsylvania 
navy. The British fleet engaged comprised two 
ships of sixty-four guns each, one of fifty guns, ood 
forty-four, two frigates, and a number of smaUer 
vessels, including a ship which carried sixteen 
twenty-four-pounders. Howe's flagship, the Eagle, 
of sixty-four guns, remuned below, opposite Chester, 
Immediately upon occupying Philadelphia the 
British erected batteries along the river-front for 
the defense of the city. The frigate Delaware, Cap- 
tain Alexander, and a number of smaller vessels 
promptly advanced and opened fire on the batteries 
before they were finished. The Delaware anchored 
within five hundred yards, and unfortunately, on 
the ebb tide, she got aground and was exposed to 
such a heavy fire from British field artillery that 
Alexander was induced to strike his flag and the 
frigate fell into the enemy's hands; by far the 
strongest American ship in the river was thus lost 
at the very outset. The advance-squadron of the 
British fleet, led by the Roebuck, 44, came up the 
river as far as the lower obstructions soon after 

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NATAL 0PERATI0H8 IN 1777 248 

October 1. On that day the fort at BilliagBport, 
being weakly garrisoned, was abandoned by the 
Amerioans on the approach of a detachment of the 
enemy's army. Two days later the fort was taken 
possession of by the British nndw the fire of Ameri- 
oan galleys. ' Meanwhile the ships had been and con- 
tinned to be attacked night and day by Ameri- 
oan fire-rafts and galleys and were forced to drop 
lower down the river. The log of the frigate Liver- 
pool for October 1 says: "At 7 PJtf. the Rebels 
sent a Lai^ Fire Kaft down the River to bam us 
& from their Grallies fir'd Several Shot at ns; 
weigh'd & Dropt a Little lower Down & fir'd a 
number of Shot at their Gallics." The same log 
mentions nine fire-rafts being sent down the river 
under cover of galleys on the night of October 14, 
and other logsnote frequent iDStaDces. There seems 
to have been little difficulty in grappling these rafts 
from boats and towing them ashore. Beset with snch 
impediments the British proceeded to remove the 
lower cheoaiacrde-friae and finally succeeded in cut 
ting away a part of it, affording a passi^ for their 
lai^st ships. On October 15 this passage was made 
seventeen fathoms wide, and on the lEHli the channel 
through the obstruction was buoyed. 

By the 22d the fleet had warped through. Liate 
on that day three battalions of Hessians under 
Colonel Donop assaulted Port Mercer at Hedbank, 
but were repulsed with heavy loss by the garrison 
of six hundred men under Ccdonel Christopher 

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Greene ; Donop was mortoJly wounded. The British 
attempted to aid this assault by sending some of 
their vessels up to bombard the fort. The Augusta, 
64, the Boebuok, the frigates Pearl and Liverpool, 
the sloop of war Merlin, and a galley " work'd up 
the lUver in order to engage the Bebel Vessels and 
prevent their firing on onr Troops, who appeared to 
be much gall'd from the Ekiemies Shipping ; ^ past 
5 the Bebel Cialleys &c. began firing on us, which 
was retnm'd by the Roebuck, Ai^usta & Comwal- 
lis Qalley."^ The British ships were checked 
by the American fieet, which also greatly annoyed 
the Hessians during their advance and retreat. 
During the night the Augusta and Merlin got 
aground. £arly the next morning, October 23, Fort 
Mifflin was attacked by the British fleet and by 
batteries thrown ap on the Fenneylvania bank of 
the river. Aided very effectually by the American 
fleet, the fort made a successful resistance. About 
ten o'clock the Augusta took fire, in what way is 
not certainly known ; she blew up about noon before 
all her crew could be saved. The Merlin was set 
on fire and was also destroyed. Commodore Hazel- 
wood, in a report to the president of Pennsylvania, 
says : " On the 22d, about 4 o'clock, the attack was 
made on the Fort at red bank, in which a part of 
our GaU^ was engaged in flanking the Knemy 
round the works and was of great use there ; the 
rest of the Galleys and floating batteries were at 
I Log of At Pearl. 

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Billingaport lome time before. The ships that came 
was the Augusta, a new 64, the Boebnok, 44, two 
IVigatea, the Merlin, 18 guns, and one Grallej of a 
32-ponDder, all of which we drove down, and in 
going down the Aagusta and Merlin ran aground 
below our upper dievaux de frise, which we di^ 
covered early in the morning of the 28d. I immedi- 
ately hoisted the signal to engage them and soon 
after, the engagement became generaL We had en- 
gaged oar 12 galleys and the two floxting batteries 
and all behaved extremely well ; the rest of our 
fleet could not be brought timely to act with as. 
We had against as the Augusta of 64, who had 
her broadside below and aloft constantly playing 
on OS, with the Boebuck and two Frigates and 
their Qalley ; and bad the Boebuck hud fast, she 
would have shared the same fate, but she was 
drove from her station before the Augusta got on 

After this repulse the British erected more powei^ 
fal batteries on the shore opposite Fort Mifflin and 
mounted on them heavy guns from the fleet. A 
second attack was made November 10. On the 15th 
the fleet came up for a general assault, and the 
armed ship Vigilant, mounting sixteen twenty-four^ 
pounders, was brought into the narrow western 
channel within a hundred yards of Fort MifSin. 
This stronghold was nearly destroyed by the tre- 
mendous bombardment that now followed, and dar- 
> ^xirkt MSS., 1, lOe, 109 (Oatobw 29, ITTI)- 

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ing the night was eraonatecl by the garrison, wlio 
passed over to Fort Mercer at Bedbank. Commo- 
dore Hazdwood and his officers were crititnzed for 
inefficientnaval support giren to Fort MifBin. Lack 
<^ cordial cooperation between the Continental and 
Fennsylrania forces and between army and navy 
was doabtlesa the oanae. A few days later Fort 
Mercer was also evacuated. The American fleet was 
now left oitirely witboat protection. Several of the 
galleys and smaller vessels ttf the Pennsylvania navy 
can by the tity in the night and escaped np the 
river. AH the others were destroyed to prevent 
their falling into the hands of the enemy, who now 
completely controlled the bay.^ 

In December, David Bnshnell made an nnsnc- 
cessful attempt to destroy some of the British fleet 
in the Delaware by means of floating torpedoes. In 
bis accomit of the affair Bushnell says : *' I fixed 
several kegs under water, charged with powder to 
explode npcm touching anything, as they floated 
along with the tide. I set them a£oat in the Dela- 
ware, above the English shipping at Philadelphia, 

1 Daunon, eh. zidz, zxz ; Clari, i, 65-60; Bradford, ohs. XXT, 
zxTiu-zxzrii ; Almon, t, 426-130, 499-C03 ; Amm^ BeguUr, zx 
(ITJT), 183, IM, 187-138 ; P«w. ArddMt, U, i ; Mag. Amtr. EitL 
Hwub, 1678 ; UniUd Ssrnce, Stpt«>itl>w, 1890 ; Fenn. Mag- Hut. 
and Biogr., April, 1887, April, 1902 ; BtU. Adm. Bte-, Captaint' 
Logi, Nob. 107, 293, U8, 076, 900, 931, 1100 (log* of the Camilla, 
Eagle, EiTerpool, Feari, Someraet, Strombolo, and Zabca), Matlert' 
Lcgi, No. 1633 (lo^ of the Camilla) ; PicUring MSB., y, 60. Id 
Narr. and Orit. HiA., -A, oh. t, and in Bradford, are iuteretttng 

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in Decdmber 1777. I wu unacquainted with t^ 
river and obliged to depend upon a gentleinan very 
imperfectly acquainted with that part of it, as I after- 
wards ^ound. We went aa near the shipping as we 
durst venture; I believe the darkness of the night 
greatly deceived him, as it did me. We set them 
adrift to fall with the ebb upon the shipping. Had 
we been within mzty rods I believe tiiey must have 
follen in with them immediately, as I designed ; but 
as I afterwards fonnd, they were set adrift much 
too far distant and did not arrive until after being 
detuned some time by the frost. They advanced in 
the daytime in a dispersed situation and under great 
disadrantages. One of them blew op a boat with 
several persons in it, who impntdently handled it 
too freely and thus gave the British that alarm 
which brought on the battle of the Kegs." * It was 
siud that the British were apprehensive of further 
attempts of the same kind. 

The Continental sloop Providence, Captain Batb- 
bume, which had returned to New Bedford in 
August, set sail again in Kovember and ormsect off 
the coast of South Carolina. On a bri^t moonlight 
night a sail was seen and " in a few minntea," says 
Lieutenant Trevett, " she run under our lee quarter, 
gave us a broadside without any courtesy and run 
ahead of us. Capt. Bathbone ordered the boatswain 
to call all hands to quarters as stdll as he could and 

1 Atatr. FhSotophic4)l Trantadimu, it, 808, qnotad in l^ark, i, 
11. Sse Barry, Sa 

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not use luB oalL IlieFnvateer, as sbeproyed tobe, 
bore away and OMuing up again was Boon alongside ; 
we were all ready for tbem and as soon as they made 
the first flash, we gave them a yankee weloofee with 
a handsome broadside. They np helm and ran to the 
eastward and not having a man hart of any oonse- 
qaence, we made sail after them." The chase 
showed a lantern and " we knew by thdr throwing 
ont that signal that there was an enemy not far off 
and we fired no more oanncm at her, but we continued 
the chase and fonnd we gtuned on her every hour. 
Day speared and the look-oat man reported a luge 
ship under the land. . . . About sunrise we neared 
the Privateer so much that the Lieut, from the round 
bonse fired several times at us." His fire was re- 
turned, "as he made a fine mark to be shot at, 
standing on the round house. We had not fired 
more than three shot before we saw him >f all and 
instantly the Privateer got in the wind, and we were 
alongnde of her in a few minutes, when we boarded 
ber and found it was her Lieutenant we had shot 
and he fell on the man stewing at the wheeL . . . 
He bad ahandsome braoeof jnstob at his side when 
be laid dead on deck. We found five men badly 
wounded on board ; our shot went into one quarter 
and oat throngh the other and she was badly 
shattered. The ship we saw to windward was a 
frigate and the officers of the privateer we captured 
were on board of her the day before and were to 
meet her next day oS Charleston Bar. We gob 

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so far to the eastward that we stood for QeoTga- 
town," ' There the Frovidenfie remained until Jan- 

Almost interminable delay seems to have been 
the universal experience in fitting oat Americao 
men-of-war and enlisting their crews ; and the Ban- 
ger at Fortsmonth was no exception. Captun Jones 
freqnemHy reported his ship in most respects ready 
for sea, hut ha says that with all his industry he 
oould not get a single suit of sails completed until 
the 20th <^ October. He bad perhaps less t|han the 
usual difficulty in enlisting men, and speaks of them 
as " an orderly and well disciplined crew ... of 
one hundred and forty odd."' He finally set sail 
for France November 1. On the voyage he took 
two prizes which be sent into Nantes and arrived 
there himself December 2. In his report to the Ma- 
rine Committee he says : " I fonnd the Ranger very 
Crank, owing to the imprt^ter quality of her Bal- 
last and to her being rather over Masted, to rem- 
edy whioh I purpose to shorten her lower Masts 
and Ballast with lead." Her sailing "falls short 
of the general e]q)eotation for the Above reasons 
and on account of the foulness of her Bottom, which, 
except a partial cleaning in July, hath not been 
seen since she came oS the Stocks." ^ Jones com- 

t S. I. Hut. Mag., April, 18B6. 

* JdhuUSS., to Monii, October 30,1777. Foialktof theorav, 
■e* Btaiek, 211. 

* Pq].C»i(.CiMi^.,H,13T(JaDeatoMuiiie,Coimiiittee,DaiMm- 
bw 10, 1777). 

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manioated at once with the Ameriean Commig- 
•ioners, Franklin, Deana, and Lee, and forwarded 
the dispatches of the Secret Committee of Con' 

In 1777, Congresg, through its Committee <^ 
Foreign Affairs, had b^nn to interest itself in the 
question of extending the aotivities of the navy into 
distant seas. The hopelessness of coping with the 
British navy was becoming more apparent, and 
visions of the wealth that might he aeonred from 
nnproteoted oommeroe appealed to the imagination. 
In December, 1777, the Committee of Foreign Af- 
fairs suggested to the American Commiasionera in 
Paris that they send some of the Continental frig- 
ates from IVance to the Indian Ocean, with the 
hope of intercepting England's China trade. This 
project was considered impracticable by the Com- 
miBsiooers, who had, however, already advised and 
continued to urge an attack upon the British whale 
fishery off the coast of Brazil and in the Azotic 
Ocean. The whaling fleet was not only unprotected, 
but was manned by Americans, chiefly prisoners 
who had been given the choice of serving on these 
ships or on men-of-war. Notwithstandtng these and 
other schemes, it does not appear that either public 
or private ships of war during the Revolution, with 
1 Bmdt, 70, 71; Jmu MSB., An^ait 17, 24, October 80, ITTI, 
lattera to Honia and Hewn; Pap. Cent, Cmgr., S8, 133, 137, 
(Daoembar 5, 10, 1777, Jodm to Amarisui CoauniMJoBew and to 
Huine ConunittM). 

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perbaps one or two nnimportftnt exceptions, ever 

OTuised farther £rom borne tlian tlie West Indies 

and tlie coast of Europe.^ 

1 Wliart<m,u,S26,itO,(nS,8l8,iS,SS&;AreUvt»dtlaManiiii. 

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Fboh the beguming of the Berolntion the eyes <rf 
America and of France vere directed towards one 
another across the sea. With instrcctions dated 
March 8, 1776, Silas Deane was sent to France, 
where he was to seek an andience of the Comte da 
Yergennes, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, 
aod attempt to obtain military supplies for the 
American army, to be pud for by Congress.' In 
the very same month Yergennes reminded Louis 
XYI and hia ministers of the advantages which 
France might derive from the quarrel between Eng- 
land and her colonies, and suggested the expediency 
of enconra^ng the Americans even to the extent 
of advancing secret loans of mone^ and supplies. 
This advice on the part of Yergennes was prompted 
by the report of a secret agent who had been sent 
to America in 1775. A paper addressed to the King 
by Caron de Beaumarchais, an enthusiast in the 
American cause, also greatly influenced French pol- 
icy at this time. While this policy was plunly dic- 
tated by antipathy towards England and fear of her 
growing power, it is nevertheless true that there was 
' Wharton, a, 18. 

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in France, more or less videspread, a warm sympa- 
thy with the cause of Americaa freedom.^ 

The aid adranced to the Continental Congress 
by the French gorermnent was sent through Beau- 
marohais, and to make the transaoticms still more 
secret a fictitioas mercantile house, nuder the name 
of Hortalez and Company, was repated to carry on 
the hnsiness. In the summer of 1776 Beaamarohais 
rec«ved from the French goremment a million 
franoB and another million from Spun, to be em- 
ployed in aid irf the Americans. Ships were par- 
chased or chartered for the transportation oi mil- 
itary stores. Some of theee vessels sailed directly 
for the United States and others to the West Indies, 
where their cargoes were discharged and exchanged 
for American produce, which was taken back to 
France. Martinique and St. Enslatius were Uie 
ptincipal depots for this exchange in the West In- 
dies. The chief staple in diis traffto was tobacco, 
brought to the islands in Continental vessels which 
returned to the United States with the warlike 
supplies. A nnmber of French officers also took 
pass^e in these ships, to volunteer in the American 
service. Some of the vessels were ready to sail in 
December, 1776, but were delayed by unforeseen 
obstacles. Of several ships that sailed early in 1T77 
the Amphitrite was perhaps the first and arrived at 

I Wiartm. i, oh. ir ; Karr. and Crit. 1 
PartHsqxitton dt la Ranee, i, ohi. ni, Tiil 

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FortsDMmth in Aynl with a yaltuble ougo and ser- 
erat officers. Nearly all these veaaels aeem to have 
CTOBsed the ocean ufely, but one of the earlier ones 
was captared by the Britaah on her return voyage. 
Iirst and last, large amounts of clothing, artillery, 
inolnding field pieces baa the royal arsenals <^ 
Ftanoe, and other stores (d all kinds found thdr 
way to America through the medium of Hortalei 
and Company. 1 

Silas Deane arrived in Paris in June, 1776, and 
was well received by Vergennes. He was the sole 
American agent in France nntil Arthur Lee came 
over from £ngland in December, closely followed 
by Franklin, who arrived in the Beprisal frcnn 
America. These three had been appointed l^ Con- 
gress commissioners for the Bupervisicm and advance- 
ment of American interests in Europe. They were 
instructed to purchase or hire eight line of battle 
ships of seventy-four and sixty-fonr gons; also a 
frigate and two cutters.^ 

About the 1st of October, 1776, the letter of 
muqoe schooner Hawke, Gq>tMn John Lee, of 
Newburyport, arrived at !Klbao in Spain, having 
captured five English vesseb which she sent back 
to America, keeping some of the prisoners. These 
persons entered a protest through the British con- 
sul at Bilbao. Captun Lee was accused of piracy 

1 Whartm, i. 869. 870, 442, 464, U, 148, 171, 262, 276, 328 ; Ste- 
nt's FaceimOa, 168, 840, 263, 1446, 1562, 1669, 1762; LonJoH 
CirmicU, July 17, 1177 ; Clutiumf, m, 283, 284, 406-408. 

» Joar. Com. Cmgr., Oetobtt 3, 22, 1T76 ; Whartim, ii, 17B, 177. 

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and with his vessel and crew was detained in port 
Deane baving made application in hia behalf to 
Vergennes, the French government interceded with 
Spain with the result that the Hawke was released. ^ 
In November, 1776, a French vessel arrived at 
Alicante in Spain and reported having met, off the 
Bock of Lisbon, "a North American armed vessel 
which forcibly pat on board of her 11 Sailors, part 
of crews belonging to two Englisb vessels, which 
she had seized on 12th Nov. about 25 Leagues W. 
of sud fiock. This Pirate is a sloop called the Union, 
beIong[ing] to Cape Ann, of 10 Carriage Guns, 8 
Swivels & 40 Men. Comd. by Isaac Soams, she 
had oapt. 3 other ships, of which 2 sent to Cape 
Ann, another in ballast let go."> 

The commercial house of Joseph Gardoqui and 
Sons of Bilbao had long had business connections 
in the American colonies, and during the war the 
Kevolutionists had a firm friend in Diego Gardoqui, 
the head of the bonse, who at the same time had 
influence with the Spanish court. His aid was ap- 
parent in obtaining loans from Spain and even more 
so in extending a helping hand to American ships 
of war and privateers cruising in European waters. 
He secured their friendly reception and the disposal 
of their prizes in Bilbao and other Spanish ports, 
generally with success during the earlier years of 

> Aiuiaal Begiiler, xix (ITIti), 261; Wharton, li, 174, 175, 195, 
S08, 379; Bttvau, 5ST, 689, 690. 
* £H(.^n.Jt<c.,Ci»uiiIi'Xd(eri,No.383T(Hi>Temb«r26,177e). 

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the war at least, in spite of the strenuous protests 
of tlte BritiBh ambasaador at Madrid. His serrioea 
vere especially important and valuable at a time 
when tbe Amerioans most needed friends in Eu- 
n^, that ia before the French alliance. No doubt 
he took an interest and, though keeping himself in 
the background, an active part in procuring the re- 
lease of the privatew Hawke, detained at Bilbao.^ 
The Bepris&l, Captain Wiokes, was the first vea- 
ael of the Contineuttd navy to arrive in Europeao 
waters, although probably several privateers besides 
the Hawke and Union had preceded her. The prizes 
taken by the Reprisal on the passage over and 
brought into Nantes were probably the first Amer^ 
ican captures sent into French ports. The Commit- 
tee of Secret Correspondenoe had written to the 
American Commiasioners in Paris : " We destre 
you to make immediate application to the court of 
France to grant the protection of their ports to 
American men-of-war and their prizes. Show them 
that British men-of-war, under sanction of an act of 
Parliament, are d^ly capturing American ships and 
cargoes; show them the resolves of Congress for 
making reprisals on British and West India pro- 
perty, and that our continental men-of-war and 
numerous private ships of war are most successfully 
employed in executing these resolutions of the Con- 
gress ; show them the justice and equity of this pro- 
I TI^arti>R,i,442,ii,292,306,316,405,424,6S3i Chamttng.m, 

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oeeding and surely they can not, they will not re- 
fuse the protection of their ports to American ships 
of war, privateers and prizes." They were also, if 
possible, "to obtain leave to make sale of those 
prizes and their cargoes." If successful in these 
applications, they were to "appoint some person to 
act as judge of tho admiralty, who should give the 
bond prescribed for those judges, to determine in 
all cases agreeable to the rules and regulations of 
Congress." ' 

The arrival at Nantes of these first Amerioan 
prizes brought forth from Lord Stormont, the 
British ambassador, a vehement protest. In an inter- 
view with Veigennes, December 17, 1776, Stor- 
mont said he expected that the Reprisal's prizes 
would " be immediately restored to their owners ; 
, , . that it was a clear and indisputable Princi- 
ple [of the law of nations] that no Prize can be a 
lawful one that is not made by a ship who has 
either a Cktmrnissiou or Lettre de Marque from 
some sovereign Power." Vergennes replied that 
France moat be cantioos about exposing her trade 
to the resentment of the Americans, but that 
treaties with England would be observed. The 
Trea^ of Utrecht, concluded between France and 
England in 1713, expressly closed the ports of 
either power to the enemies of the other. Stormont 
said that England might have to issue letters of 
marque, because it was " next to impossible for our 
> Wharton, ii, 170. 

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Frigates alone to get the better of tbe numberleu 
amall American Teaaels with which the seas Bwanued 
and which greatl; distressed onr Trade. [He] 
added that the Difficulty was cod siderably encreased 
by France and Spain receiving these Armateura 
into their Ports, which was a step . . . never ex- 
pected, as it was the General Interest of all drilized 
Nations to give no Refuge or Assistance to Pirates." * 
On a later occasion Vergennes asked if snch let- 
ters of nuuque would be authorized to search neu- 
trals, as to which Stormont was without the infor- 
mation necessary for a definite answer. VergenneB 
was apprehensive of results that might follow 
to French commerce, especially the shipment 
of supplies to America, from the inquisitorial zeal 
of British privateers., A number of British agents 
were employed in France to collect intelligence for 
their government, and through them Stormont was 
kept advised of muohthatwasgoingon. Thetrans- 
actions of Hortalez and Company were known to 
him, and the connection of the French government 
with that establishment was doubtless surmised. 
The delay in shipping stores to America was chiefly 
due to the ambassador's protests and to efforts to 
elude his vi^lance. In reply to his complaints, 
January 28, 1777, about the s^ingof the Amphi- 
trite and other French vessels for America, Ver> 
gennes professed complete ignorance and promised 
to bring the matter to the attention of the King and 
^ Stevtiu, 13S2 (Stormont to Weymonth, DeMmboc 18, ITK). 

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his Prime Minister, the Comte deMaorepaa. Soon 
after this Maurepas declared to Stormont that, 
while he had heard that some French merchants 
were intending to send cloth to San Domingo which 
Americans might perhaps purchase there, he did 
not believe any military stores were being shipped. 
It was impossible, he said, to prevent private trade, 
but an inquiry into the alleged transactions had 
been ordered.^ 

As soon as she could refit, after her arrival in 
France, the Reprisal sailed on a cruise in the Bay 
of Biscay and returned to L'Orient iu February. 
On the 14th, Wickes reported to the commissioners : 
** This will inform yon of my safe arrival after a 
tolerable successful cruise, having captored 3 sail 
of Brigs, one snow and one ship. The Snow is a 
Fahnouth Packet bound from thence to Lisbon. 
She is mounted with 16 guns and had near 50 men 
on board. She engaged near an hour before she 
struck. I had one man killed. My first Lieut, had 
his left arm shot off above the elbow and the Lieut, 
of Marines had a musguet ball lodged in his wrist. 
They had several men wounded, but none killed. 
. . . Three of onr prizes are arrived and I expect 
the other two in to>morrow," ^ In due time Stormtmt 
was informed of these proceedings and, February 
25, he called upon Vergennea, intending to demand 

> Staau, 1416, 1427 {Stormont to Weymonth, Juinu? 29, 
Psbniaiy 6, 1777) ; Proe. U. S. Naval ItutiiuU, ravu (S«ptMii- 
fcer, 1911), 937, 938. 

* Hals'* TV-anHiM in n-anoe, i, Hi. 

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" the Delivery of these Ships with their Crews, 
Cargoes, &e. " ; bat tiie French miDister said 
** that iomiediately upon the Beceipt of this News, 
s Resolution was taken to order the American 
Ship and her Frizes instantly to put to Sea and 
that orders were g^ven in Consequence," and 
added that these directions had probably already 
been carried ont. Vergennes also said that instmo- 
tions had been issued " not to suffer any American 
Vessel to cruise near the Coast of France." ^ On 
March 4, Stormont complained that the Reprisal was 
still at L'Orient and that two of the prizes had been 
sold. Vergennes doubted the sale of these vessels 
and declared that the Reprisal had been ordered 
to sail immediately, although Captain Wickes had 
asked to be allowed to make necessary rep^rs first. * 
Two we^ later Stormont sent a memorandum to 
Vergennes setting forth that the orders of the 
French government had been disregarded, that the 
Keprisal was still at L'Orient, careened and under- 
going repairs, and that all five of the prizes had 
been sold and must have been sold with the know- 
ledge and oraisent of the French commissary at 
L'Orient. The intmediato departure of theReprisal 
and the restoration of the prizes, which had all been 
sold to Frenchmen, was demanded.* Vergennes 
admitted that if these prizes, sailing under French 

■ Stevau, 14SS (Stormont to WsTmonth, Febniarj 26, 1TI7). 

■ Jfiid., 1442 (Manli 6, 1777). 

* Ibid., 1483 (StMmoot to Vugaimw, Muoli 18, 1T77)> 

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colors and m&nned by French crews, should faJl 
in with British cruisers, Utej might rightfully be 
taken. '■ Proper^ cannot be altered by such sales ; 
yon would restore as the sailors." ^ Through M. de 
Sartine, the Minister of Marine, an investigation of 
the affair was made, but no satisfactoiy explanation 
of the condemnation and sale of the prizes could be 
furnished.' Meanwhile the American ComnmsioD- 
ers had at the outset discdaimed responsibility, 
February 20 they wrote : " We have ordered no 
Prizes into the Forts of France, nor do we know of 
any that have entered for any other purpose than 
to provide themselveB with necessaries, untill they 
could B^ for America or some Port in Europe for 
a Market. . . . The Geprisal had orders to cniisa 
in the open Sea and by no means near the Coast of 
France." If she "has taken a Station offensive to 
the Commerce of France, it is without our Orden 
or Knowledge and we shall advise the Captain of 
his Error." They had been informed, they said, 
that the cruise had been on the coast of Spiun and 
PortugaLB In April they wrote to the Committee 
of Secret Correspondence of Congress that bring- 
ing the prizes '* into France has given some trouble 
and uneasiness to the court and must not be too 
frequently practiced." * 

i > StnUiM, 1484 (Stonnoat to Weymonth, Marab 19, ITTT). 
■ Ib!d., 1636 (Sartin* to VeTEVoiiM, May 22, 1777). 
* Wkartm, IJ, 287. Sm WiokM't latttn a Halt, I, IIB, 111^ 

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An eariy move in tbe direction of American «x. 
pnuuHi and the acqoisitioD of territoiy bey ood the 
was was taken by the oommisaionen in Paris wben 
in Jannaiy, 1777, the following warrant was issued 
\fj tbem to the Baron de Bnlleconrt : » We the nn- 
dersigned Comini8si<Hiem Plenipotentiary of the 
United States of 2f ortb America do in their Kame 
& by their Authority taike you into the Service of 
the sd States as Chief of a Corps which you are to 
ruse & Command agreeable to the Plan by you de- 
livered, respecting the Islands of the ZaSarines, 
understood to be disowned & desoted." The Zaf- 
fimnes were off the coast of Morocco. Bulleconrt 
was authorized to fortifjr and defend the islands 
and to ruse the American flag and fight under it. 
He and bis officers were to be naturalized as Amer- 
ican citizens. To defeat this scheme it was proposed 
to the British govemment to induce Morocco to 
seize the islands, when Spain would probably inter- 
fere and they would be occupied by one or the other. 
power. Apparently the enterprise was soon aban- 

Among the seafaring men who found tbor way 
from America to Europe during the Revolution and 
entered the service ctf the commisBioners was Sam- 
uel NichotsoQ, a brother of CaptEun James Michol- 
•ou. He received the commission of lieutenant in 
the Continentai navy, and later that of captain. 

* SfCMM, 4 (warrant), M, 144 (P. Wantwordi to Eul of S«i> 
folk, Match, 8, 6, ITH), 651 (map). 

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Nicholson waa directed by Fianklin, Janaary 26, 
177T, " to proceed to Boulogne and tlicre purchase, 
OD as good terms as possible, a cutter suitable for 
the purpose of being sent to America. . . . Should 
yon miss of one at Boulogne, proceed to CaJais and 
pursue the same directions. If you fail there, pass 
to Dover or Deal and employ a person there to make 
the purchase." ' la pursnanoe of these instructions 
Nicholson got to England before meeting with sue 
cess. Being in I^ndon he wrote to Captun Joseph 
Hynson, February 9, 1777 : " I came to town 12 
OCIock last Night, my Business are of such a na- 
ture wont bare puttg to Paper. Shall say nothing 
more, but expect to see you Immediately. I shall 
leave Town early the Morrow Morning, therefore 
begg You will not loose A Minutes time in Coming 
here, as I have business of Importance for yon, 
wch must be transacted this Day."^ A week later 
Nicholson and Hynson were in Dover together and 
there evidently purchased a cutter, which was called 
the Dolphin and was to be used as a packet, Feb- 
ruary 17, Nicholson sailed her over to Calais. Hyn- 
son still remained in Dover, but went over to France 
a few days later, apparently in a sloop which sailed 
the 22d. Lord North was promptly advised by 
one of his agents of the presence in England of 
these two Americans. Hynson was a brother-in-law 
of Captain Wickes, and was employed by Silas 
Deane in the mercantile affairs of the commission- 

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en. HU zeal for the American cauae vaa miqiie*- 
iknei, bat all the while he was secretly in the eer^ 
Tioe <^ die Brilub goTenunetit. lieatenant-Colonel 
Bmidi, an EDglishtnao, was lotimate with Hynnm 
and drew mach infonnation from him, which from 
time to time be fonratded to London. A nomber 
of agents were employed who watched die move- 
mentfl of Wickes, Nicholson, and other captains, as 
well as of the American Commissioners in Paris, 
and reported the doings of Bx>rtalez and Company, 
the arrival of American yessels, and other items of 
news. The Masaachnsetta state cruisers Freedom 
and Massachasetts, which arrived in the spring of 
1777,' were kept under observation, bat as they 
bad sent their prizes bach to America, they did not 
to much disturb the Englishmen in France.' 

William Hodge, a Philadelphia merchant who 
had come to France by way of Martinique with dis- 
patches from CoDgress, was employed by the com. 
missioners in the parcbase of Tessels for the naval 
service. On this errand he proceeded to Dunkirk, 
where in April a logger was bought which was 
called the Surprise.' Meanwhile Gustavns Conyng> 
ham, an American mariner of Irish birth, who bad 

1 See abore, pp. 234, 23S. 

« SieiKM. 12, 13, 23, 26, SB, 87, UT, 164, 16S, 248, 670; HaU, 
I, 112. 113, 118. 

• H'iartDH.ii. 162,161,261,288,287,380. DeaneMyetbeSni^ 
prtu via tioaght in DoTer; ConyngliBni laye in DoDhirk. Aa te- 
Mant in IfaD. Itul., xKzrti, Q3S, band on the arohivea at Don. 
kirk, diSan ilishtlj but not eaundall; from the above. 

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Been sent ont from Philadelphia to procure militaiT' 
snppliea, had come to Dunkirk from Holland, hav- 
ing also visited London. He seems to hare been 
recommeaded to the commissioners by Hodge as 
a capable man to take command of the Surprise. 
They accordingly filled out for him one of the blank 
commissions they had received for that purpose, 
signed by the President of Congress and dated 
March 1, 1777. The Surprise vas fitted out, armed 
vith ten gnQ8,and got to sea about the 1st of May. 
In a few days Edie returned to Dunkirk with two 
prizes, one of them an English mail packet from 
Harwich. The British ambassador saw Vergennes 
and Maurepas, May 8, and they were obliged to 
yield to his demands. The Surprise was seized, her 
captMD and most of his crew were put in prison, 
and the prizes released. Conyngham's commission 
was sent to Versiullea and was not returned to 
him ; it was alleged that the French ministry en- 
deavored to persuade the American Commissioners 
to repudiate this document. Apparently the French 
were willing in this way to sacrifice Conyngham's 
good name in aid of their policy, which was to avoid 
a rupture with England until the time was ripe for 
it. However, they refused to deliver him in person 
to his enemies. Stormont recorded with satisfac- 
tion : " The Success of my application with regard 
to the Dankirk Pirate has been highly displeasing 
to Franklin and Deane. They made strong Remon- 
stranoes, but were given to understand that there 

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are Bome things too glaring to be winked at." ^ 
Vergennes wrote to tbe Marqnis de Koulles, the 
French ambassador at London, that Ccmyngham's 
prizes had he&i restored to tbe British, not ** for 
lore of them, but only to do homage to tbe prin- 
ciples of justice and equifrf^ " ; and that gratitude on 
the part of England was not to be expected.* It 
was not long before tbe American Commissioners 
procured an order for the lelease of Conyngbam and 
bis crew, hut so &r as concerned tbe latter it was 
not at once executed for fear that the crew would 
disperse, and they were needed to man a cutter 
which Hodge had purchased at Dunkirk. This ves- 
sel was named the Kevenge and carried fourteen 
guns. Meanwhile Stormont continued to complain 
that both in France and in the French West In- 
dies vessels were fitted out and manned with French 
sailors under American captains, given American 
oonunissions, and then cruised ^aiust British com- 
merce. If boarded by a British man-of-war, the 
crews would all talk French and show French pa- 
pers and nothing could be proved agunst them, 
Vergennes promised to have these abuses corrected, 
and Sartine, the Minister of Marine, issued orders 
to prevent the fitting-out of vessels with American 
commissions in the French West Indies. Yei^nnes 
thought Stonncmt showed want of consideration in 
keepmg spies in French ports." 

> Steveix*, 1538 (to WsTmoaUi, May 14, ITTZ), 

« Ibid., 1646 (JoM 7, 1777). 

• mj., 1&9, 245, $», 1S2», mo, 1531, 1548, 1546, 1551, 1552, 

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The Continental brig Lexington, Captain Henry 
Jolinson, sailed from Baltimore, February 27, 1777, 
and arrived in France early in April. Johnson had 
been captured the year before in the privateer 
Yankee ' and had escaped from a prison ahip. Upon 
his return to America he had been given a Conti- 
nental commission. The American Commissioners in 
Paris now planned to send the Reprisal, Lexington, 
and Dolphin on a cruise along the shores of the 
British Isles. George Lnpton, one of the English- 
men in France engaged in watching the course of 
events, wrote May 13 to William Eden of the for- 
eign office in London : " I have at last with some 
certainty discovered the intended voyage of Nichol- 
son, Weakes & Johnson ; they have all s^l'd from 
Nantes and mean if possiable to intercept some of 
your transports with foreign troops, but in what 
place or latitude cannot say." * It is probable that 
the squadron did not sail quite as early as this. The 
orders for the cruise issued by Wiches, who was 
senior officer, to Johnson and Nicholson were dated 
May 23. The ships were not to separate " unless we 
should be Chased by a Vessel of Superior Force & 
it should be Necessary so to do for our own presei^ 
vation." In such an event "you may continue your 
Cruize through the Irish Channel or to the North 
West of Ireland, as you may Judge Safest and best, 
I!»3, 1555; iV<iD.f>ut.,zzivii,S3S-e41; ^/nian,T, 143, I1S,176; 
Williama, 200, 201 ; Pmn. Mag. Hit. and Biog., Jbdiuut, 1869; 
Outlook, Jaaoai? 3, 1903; Wiartm, ii, 322; ^arkt XSS., lii, es, 
> See abuTS, p. 152. > SUvent, 15S. 

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antni yOQ Arrive off the Isles Orkney and titere 
Cruize 5 or 6 Days for the Fleet to Come np & join 
yon. If they do not sppear in that time You may 
make the best of yonr Way back for Bilboa or St 
Sebastian & there Befit as &st as possible for An< 
other Cmize, informing the Honourable Commit 
sioners of yonr Safe Arrival and the Success of 
yonr Cruize." Prizes were to be sent into Spanish 
or French ports, all the prisoners having been taken 
ont. "The Prize Master must not Beport or Enter 
her as Prize, bnt as An American Vessel from a 
port that will be most likely to gain Credit accord- 
ing to the Cargo she may have on board. ... Be 
Very Attentive to yonr Signals am} if yon should 
be taken, yon mnst take Care to Distroy them. ... 
Take care to have all the Prisoners property Se- 
cured, to prevent their Binng & taking yonr Ves- 
sel, & if yon meet a Dutch, French, Dean, Sweed, 
or Spunish Vessel, when you have a Number of 
Prisoners on board, I think it would do well to put 
them on board any of those Vessels, giving as much 
provision and Water as will serve tbem into Port 
If any of yonr prizes should be Chased or in danger, 
they may Bun into the first or most Convenient 
Port they Can reach in France or Spain, prefering 
Bilboa, St Sebastiima, L'Orient, or Nantz. ... If 
yon take a prize that you think worth Sending to 
America, you may dispatch her for Some of the 
Northern Ports in the Massechusets States." ' 
I Pap. Coat. Congr., 41, T, I4fi. 

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The squadron cruised a month, and while they 
missed the linen ships which they had hoped to 
capture, several prizes were made in the Irish Sea, 
and the Dolphin took a Scotch armed brig after a 
half-hour's engagement. Upon his return to France 
Wickes wrote to the Commissioners from St. Malo, 
June 28, informing them of his " safe arrival at 
this port yesterday, in company with Capt. Samuel 
Nicholson of the sloop Dolphin. We parted from 
Capt. Johnson the day before yesterday, a little to 
the east of Ushant. Now for the Histoiy of our 
late cmise. We sailed in company with Captains 
Johnson and Nicholscm from St Nazaire May 28th, 
1777. The 30th fell in with The Fudrion [Fou- 
droyant, 84,] about 40 leagues to the west of Bell- 
isle, who chased us, fired Beveral gauB at the 
Lexington, hut we got clear of her very soon and 
pursued our course to the No West in order to pro- 
ceed round into the North Sea." The sqoadroQ 
fell in with several French, Portngnese, and Dutch 
vessels, and on the 19th of June, off the north of 
Ireland, they took their first prizes — two briga 
and two sloops. During the following week they 
cruised in the Irish Sea and made fourteen addi- 
tion^ captures, comprising two ships, seven brigs, 
and five other vessels. Of these eighteen prizes 
eight were sent into port, three were released, and 
seven were sunk, three of them within sight of the 
enemy's ports. June 27 "at 6 a. m. saw a large 
ship off Ushant; stood for her at 10 a. m. [audj 

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diaoovered her to Im a large ship of war standing 
for us; bore away and made sail from her. Slie 
chased us till 9 p. m. and continued firing at ni 
from 4 till 6 at night; she was almost within 
musket shot and we escaped by heaving onr guns 
overboard and lightening the ship. They pay very 
little regard to the laws of neutrality, as they 
chased me and fired as long as they dared stand in, 
for fear of running ashore." ' One of the prizes, 
taken in the Irish Sea and released, had been sent 
into Whitehaven full of prisoners, including s 
hundred and ten seamen besides a number of women 
and children. During the exciting chase described by 
Wickes the Dolphin sprung her mast, but also got 
■afely into St. Malo, and the Lexington into Moiv 
laix. Lupton wrote to Eden, July 9 : " These three 
fellows have three of the fastest Suling Yessell in 
the employ of the Colonies and its impossiable to 
take tbem unless it Blows hard." ^ The squadron 
required refitting and the Beprisal a new battery.' 
An earlier visit of American cruisers to the coast 
of Ireland was reported in a letter from Cralway : 
" Two American privateers [the Eover and Mont- 
gomery], mounting 14 guns each and as many 
awivels, put in here to procure some fresh provi- 
nons and water. On being supplied with Bnch 
necessaries as they wanted, for which they paid in 

> Halt, {. U2. * atvex*, 179. 

■ BaU, i. 120--124; Almm, v, 174, 175; Wharlon, ii, STO, %0i 
Boton Gazetta, October 6, 1777; Staiau, 61, IM, 176, ITS, 9S0, 
TOa, 1437, 1621, 1639. 

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dollars, tbfly weiglied anohor and sailed, after be* 
tag in the bay only 24 hours. DuriDg the short 
time the Captuna were on shore they behaved with 
the greatest politeness. . , , The crews that came 
on shore with them were dressed in blue uniforms 
with cockades and made a genteel appearance, but 
were all armed with pistols, &c They had been out 
from Philadelphia ten weeks and had taken only 
four prizes, which they had sent to America." ^ 
Another letter, from Kinsale, says : " Two fishing- 
boats, who came in here yesterday, brought on 
shore the crew of a ship taken by an American 
privateer off Bristol Channel. The privateer made 
a signal to the fishing boats, which they thought 
signified their want of a pilot . . . and accord- 
ingly went on board them, having sent the vessel 
the day before for France. The privateers' people 
behaved very well to the fiBhermen, paid them for 
what fish they took, and the Captain gave them a 
cask of brandy for their trouble in coming on lx>ard. 
She was called the Besolution, mounted fourteen 
guns and had one hundred and ten men when she 
left New England, but at that time not above 
eighty, o° account of the number they had put on 
board their prizes, having taken five already." ' 

The presence of American armed vessels in Brit- 
ish waters caused apprehension among the English. 

> Bottm GazOtt, June 2,1777; £o)ufim'ClroiiMl«, Maieh 29, 


* Allium, T, 174. 

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In April, while Wickes's squadron was fitting out, 
Stonnont had information, which he believed reli- 
able, that eight or ten Freneh ships under American 
oommanders were preparing for descent upon Great 
Britain and that Gla^ow was likely to be attacked.^ 
*' It is true," says a contemporary chronicler, " that 
the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland were in- 
sulted by the American privateers in a manner 
which our hardiest enemies had never ventured in 
our most arduous contentions with foreigners. Thns 
were the inmost and most domestic recesses of our 
trade rendered insecure, and a convoy for the pro- 
tection of the linen ships from Dublin and Newty 
was now for the first time seen. The Thames also 
presented the unusual and melancholy spectacle o£ 
nombers of foreign ships, particularly French, tak- 
ing in cargoes of English commodities for various 
parts of Europe, the property of our own merchants, 
who were thus seduced to seek that protection, under 
the colours of other nations, which the British flag 
used to afford to all the world." ^ Insurance rose 
very high, which of coarse was one inducement for 
English merchants to idiip their goods in foreign 
bottoms. In July, 1777, the British Admiralty 
stationed four ships in the Irish Sea for tite pro- 
tection of the coasts of En^and and Ireland,' 
The British ambassador in France was fully iu- 

> BtevtM, leid. * AnmuJ Btgiittr, zzi {1T78), 8fl. 

* Whartim, ii, 168, 264, 391 ; WiUiawa, 209. For nrtM of Is. 

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formed of tihe purchase and fitting-out of the 
Eevenge at Dunkirk and made Btrennous efforts to 
have tiio proceeding stopped. It was necessary, 
therefore, to use circumspection in managing the 
affair, and this Hodge did by making a fictitiona 
sale of the vessel to an Englishman, who guaranteed 
that she would go to Norway on a trading voyage. 
Kevertheless Captain Conyngham and his ciew of a 
hundred and six men, including axty-six French, 
and, according to E^Iisb report, " composed of all 
the most desperate fellows which could be procured 
in BO blessed a port as Dunkirk," ^ were pot on 
board. The Bevenge then hastily put to sea, before 
she could be detained in port or stopped off the 
harbor by an English captain who had threatened 
to seize and bom her. Conyngham had been given 
a new commission, dated May 2, 1777, and instruc- 
tions " not to attack, but if attacked, at liberty to 
retaliate in every manner in our power — Bum, 
Sink & destroy the Enemy." The Bevenge suled 
July 16, and the next day, the captain says, was 
"attackd, fired on, chased byseveralbritiBh frigatta, 
sloops of War & Cutters."' She escaped, however, 
and made a cruise in the North Sea, Irish Sea, and 
Atlantic, taking many prizes. One of these was re- 
captured by the British, who found on her a prize 
crew of twenty-one, including sixteen Frenohmen. 

> AlMon, T, ns. 

X Penn. itas. HiM. ami Bug., Jaimarj, 1899, Coajng;ti>m'i 

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Conyngliam lauded on the ooaat <A Ireland for water 
and Bailed for the Bay of Bisoay, patting into FerroL 
From here and fnnn Conma he cmiMd saooeBsfnlly 
tiie rest <^ the year, gending his prizes into Spanish 

The onuses of the Beprisal, Lexington and 
Dolpliin, and of the Bevenge, brought f<nth re- 
newed protestsfromStonnoDtaud more <» less lame 
exonses and promises of inoreased vigilance from 
Yei^feuDeB. The latta reproached the American 
Commissioners for fulnre to keep their (misers 
away from French ports. They expressed oonoem 
at the continued presence of these vessels in for- 
bidden waters, and e^lained that they had been 
driven in by the enemy's men-of-war. Hodge was 
arrested and tlirown into the Bastile, where he was 
confined several weeks. He was well treated, how- 
ever, and finally released at the solicitation of die 
Commissioners. The Reprisal, Lexington, and D<d- 
phin were ordered to be sequestered and detained 
until sufGcient security could be obtained that they 
would letum directly to Amoica. But in regard to 
captures Vergennes was indisposed to yield too &r, 
and represented to the King that if he should con- 
sent " to compel the surrender, without examination, 
of the prizes that American privateers may bring 
into his ports, to the owners who may have been 

■ Fern. Mag., JaDnBry, 1899; OtOioot, Junuu? 8, 1008; Jfm. 
Jiul^xzzTii,041,'»42; Staau, 200,214, 1506, IGaO, 15«0, 1S9^ 
1&S2, 1S80, 1S98, 1604. 

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despoiled of them, it will Iiave the effect of declar- 
ing them and their conntrymen to be pirates and 
sea-robbers."^ The account of England against 
France was to a slight degree <^set hy the case of 
an American sea captain in CherboiLrg who was 
enticed on board a British vessel in the harbor and 
than seized and carried off a prisoner.' 

After being driTcn into port at the end of their 
cruise aroond Ireland, Captains Wickes and John- 
son were employed several weeks in refitting their 
damaged vessels, the Eeprisal at St. Malo and the 
Lexington at Morlux. The Dolphin was converted 
into a packet, for which service she had been par- 
chased in the first place. Stormont's demands b^ 
came too insistent to be longer evaded, and in Jnly 
the conmiissioners issued peremptory orders for the 
Reprisal and Lexington to proceed direeUy to 
America and to cruise no longer in European 
waters.' In September the ships were ready for 
sea. Wickes wished to make the voyage in company 
with JobnBon,buttfaey did not meet, and each sailed 
forth atone, marked oat for disaster. The Beprisal, 
homeward bound, was lost on the Banks of New- 
foundland and all on board, except the cook, it is 
said, went down with her. Wickes was one of the 

' SUveiu, 106 (Angiut 23, 1777). 

* im., 180, 701, 1662, 1574, 1678, 1G8S, 1591, IGM, 1696, 16B7, 
1640, I0G4, 16M; Whirton, ii, 364, 366, 376, 377. 381, 406; Nov. 
/•*(., szKTii, 9^-M7 ; jjdami jra^S., William MtCieerr to Adsna, 
NurtM, SeittMobw 29, 1777. Sm AltMn, iz, 201-241. 

> 8m ^inekM't Uttm fa fible, i, 126-128. 

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best officers in the ContiDeiital na^ and hia loss 
was irreparable. The Lexington, on September 19, 
two days oat of Mtn-laix, fell in with the British 
ten-^pin cntter Alert, Lieutenant Baaeley, who says 
in his report : " I gave ohsoe at five in the Morning 
and came up with him at half past seven, had a 
dose Engagement till ten, when He bore up and 
made Sail ; as Boon as I got my Egging to rights, 
again gave Chaoe and came np with him at half 
past one, renewed the Action till half past two, 
when he Sbrnek." ^ The Lexington lost seven killed 
and eleven wounded ; the Alert, two killed and three 
wounded, one of them mortally. According to the 
log of the Alert, the Lexington carried foorteen 
foup-ponnders, two uxes, twelve swivels, andeighly- 
fonr men. The Alert carried ten four-pounders, ten 
swivels, and siz^ men. Apparently on the author 
ity of Bichard Dale, an officer on the Lexington, it 
is Biud that she was short of aiumnnition, which 
would account for her striking to an inferior ftnxse. 
Several letters were captured on the Lexington, 
bat the most impori«nt papers, including dispatches 
to Congress, were thrown overboard before the sur- 
render. A repwt, forininately untrue, tliat Captain 
Johnson had been killed iu the action, added to the 
de^ffessing effect of the ship's loss upon Franklin 
and other Americans in France.' 

> ftnM>u,169C 

* Bid.. ISl, 703, 1672, 1588, 1654, 1071, 1686, 1886, 1600, 1708 ; 
Almmi, T, 362; BrU. Adm. Sic, Ci^fKiuiii' Log*, No. SI (lof ot 
AlMt); BatUm OtuutU, Jannu; 12, 1778 i Port Folio, Jium 1814. 



Captain Hynson's setvice ia the American caase 
oame to an end in the fall of 1777. Daring several 
previoiiB months various jJans for sending bitn to 
America with cargoes of stores and dispatches had 
been made by Deaue, and ph)ts for intercepting 
bim and taming his employment to the advantage 
of the British had been laid by Colonel Smith. 
Hynson was to have siuled as a passenger in March, 
fUtd Smith made arrangements to have bis vessel 
captured soon after leaving port. Stormont feared 
that Hynson was too mach under Deane's influence 
to be trosted. Owing to various circnmstances the 
' different plans made during the spring and summer 
fell thtongb. In October, Deane sent to Hynson a 
packet contuning dispatches for Congress which 
were to be conveyed to America by a vessel com- 
manded by Captain John Folger of Nantucket, 
about to sail from Havre. Hynson delivered the 
parcel to Folger as instructed, having first, however, 
removed the dispatches, which were turned over to 
British agNits. In due time this transaction became 
known to Deane, who expressed his opinion of it in 
appropriate terms in a letter to Hynson. Upon bis 
arrival in America, Folger was suspected of the 
theft, which was then first discovered, and he was 
keptinprisonaboutsix months. Deane was suspected 
by Arthur Lee, and this circamstanoe may have 
served to protect Hynson. These intercepted let- 
ters, together with those captured on the Lexing- 
ton, gave the British a good deal of information 

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about tlie American CooimiiwionerB' fdtuui. Shc^j 
before this another vessel with dispatches from 
CoDgteu to the oommiBsioners had narrowly escaped 
oaptore and the dispatches had been thrown oTar- 

The Contiiiental sloop Independenoe, Gapbun 
Yoong, arrived at L'Orient late in September and 
disposed of two jnizee before the English had time 
to interfere. She was followed shortly after by Uto 
Baleigh and Alfred.' The Bandolph came in Deoem- 
ber. These vessels do not seem to have oroised in 
European waters, presumably on account of the 
necessity, which the French government felt, of paci> 
fying {England. Storm(»it protested against their 
remaining in port, and titey sidled for home early 
in the following year. The Banger also arrived in 
December.' Captain Jtmes had hoped to be the 
first to bear the j^rions tidings of Bnq;oyne's snr- 
rend^, bnt he was forestalled by a special messen- 
ger in a swift packet.* 

American j^vateers were very active in foreign 
waters dorii^ the year 1777, and displayed bold- 
ness and enterprise in pnrsuing the enemy dose to 
his own sliores. Th^ cruised all about the British 
Isles, in the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay, and 
in the West Indira. The British stationed menof- 

1 amM, 61, 52, GS, U, 10S, 166, 167, 181, IQS, 208, 20B, 20B, 
260,472; Wharum, a, 4S6; Lm MBS., Omhn 7,1171, JvaiMrj 
5, 12, 17, April 18, 1778. 

* 9m aboTo, p. 230. ■ See aboTe, p. 249. 

* a«o«M, 204, 274, 1706,1790, 1606; marton, U, 438. 

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war in the EDglisIi Chaiiiiel for the pTotection of 
OMnmetoe.' The Americans were well rewarded for 
their activity and sent in many a rich prize. Cap- 
tain Lee of Newburyport, who had been chained 
with piraoy at Bilbao the year before,^ sent safely 
into port a vessel which was said to be the most 
Taloable prize taken daring the war up to that time.' 
On the other hand, the rishs were great, and many 
of these predatory American omisers were oaptnred 
by the British.* The Republic, 24, was wrecked on 
the Orkney Islands and all hands were lost' Until 
snmmer probably all the American privateers in 
European seas came out from home with oommis- 
ERons. In December, 1776, the Committee of Secret 
Correspondence had written to the oonuniBsioners in 
Paris that " Congress aj^irove of anned vessels being 
Atted oat by you on continental account, provided 
the court of France dislike not the measure, and 
blank commissions for this purpose will be sent you 
by the next opportoni^. Private ships of war or 
privateers cannot be admitted where you are, be- 
cause the seourities necessary in such cases to pre- 
vent irregular practices cannot be given by the 
owners and commanders of such privateers." ^ But 

' ateeeru, 47 ; Alnum, r, lU. ■ Sm abors, p. 254. 

■ Baton OaxtUe, SeptetnlMT 8, ITTT. 

* Ibid., Auifiut 18, 1777 i London (SironiiU, Apiil 12, 22, July 
22, 29, 81, Augiut 6, 1777 ; Almui, t, lea 

' Batton Qazetu, Deoambei 22, 1777; Cmtinaital Javrnal, 
Deoembcr 2S, 1777. 

" Wharion, ii, 281. 

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by the foDowing Bfay the views td CongTeM in this 
regard had nndeigone a change, and in response to 
a reqoect of Franklin and his associatea, "oonunis- 
riom for fitting ont privateers in France" wete senL* 
Eniy visit of an American armed Teasel to a 
port of Ftanoe was brought to the attention <^ the 
Frendi goremment by the British ambassador. A 
letter from Gtterasey, June S, says: "An Ameri- 
can privateer of twelve gnns came into this road 
yesterday musing, ta<^ed about oa tbe firing of 
the guns from tbe CasHe, and just off tiie Island 
took a la^ brig bound for this port, which Aey 
have rince carried into Cberbnrgh, She had the 
impndenoe to send her boat in the dnsk of the 
evening to a litlJeidand off here . . . andnnlnckily 
carried off [two officers] wbo were shooting rab- 
bits for their diversion. Two gentlemen of conse- 
qnenoe are gone to Cherbn^h to demand titem."* 
The prize, being ordered away on her arrival at 
Cherbourg, was 8<^ oatside the harbor.^ In July 
ihe Gaieral Mifflin, a tw«ufy-gnn ship from Boston 
commanded by Captain Daniel McNeill, sailed into 
Uie harbor of Brest and saluted the French admiraL 
Aftm a consultation of the admiral with bis officers, 
this salute was returned and naturally became the 
subject of compLunt and international correspond- 
ence.* Vergennes wrote to Noailles, Augost 16, that 

1 Wharton, u, 249, 814. * Mmn, t, 143. 

• Sta>au,ia09. 

* Almmt,j,3aSi Bttvau,isa0; TTtorKn, ii, 361. 

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tlie Greneral MifSin had h«en. allowed to put into 
Brest on account of a leak and tliat he had not heard 
of the salute ; and he added that French cruisers 
were employed in keeping '* off all prtTateera from 
OUT latitudes and ... we have at the mouth of 
the Graronne a frigate whose only duty is to protect 
tiiere English commerce."^ Stormout also com- 
plained of the General Mercer aod Fanny, which 
had brought two Jamaicamen into Nantes; these 
prizes were afterwards given up for having been 
falsely declared as American vessels.^ The privar 
teer Civil Usage took a French ship from England 
with a Spanish cargo, for which flie commissioners 
apologized to the King of Spain, and in other in- 
stances, such as the seizure of a Dutch vessel, irri- 
tation was caused.^ Consequently the comnusaioners 
sent a circular letter, dated November 21, to the 
captains of American armed vessels : ** Complaints 
having been brooght to us of violences offered by 
American vessels armed in neutral nations, in 
seiang vessels belonging to their subjects and car- 
rying thwr flag and in tiding those of the enemy 
while th^ were under the protection trf the coasts 
of neutral couotries, contrary to the usage and 
custom of civilized nations; these presents are to 
request you not to commit any such violations con- 
trary to the right of nations, but to conform your- 
1 Sleeau, 1061. 

* lUd., 1661, 1064, 1801 -.Wkarton, ii, 381, 490. 

* Stteeat, 1745; Wharton, ii, 429, 430, 431, 435; £ee MBS., 
Qudoqni to Lee, Oetober 27, 1777. 

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•drM to Uie k^mm fomta in your wnmiwiiMn, 
iriudi k to fimit ToonelvH to tibe eapbm <rf neh 
tmmIs at sacb tmiMU tliej dnH not be under tlie 
proteotion of a pmt, river, or neotmleoMt, and oon- 
fine juuf e l Tca onlj to Mtang and ih^ u iliall 
have on bowd ■oldien, a mmaui tiop, prorinoiu, 
or otlier eonbnlMDd nmeliHidues ikrthMid for Uie 
British amuM and TawtJi flmplojred agaimt the 
United State*. In aU other oaaee you will respeet 
the li^sbt of nmifaality as yon woold yoonelTea 
expect jvotection, and treat all nentral veawla widi 
the greateat r^ard and friendship, £w the hoooor 
of year uuuulry and that of yonraelTes." ^ 

The printeer brig Oliver Cnmwell, Captain 
Winiam Cols, of Beverly, carried rizteem gnns and 
a hundred men and croiwd in the Bay of Biscay* 
Aognit 4, 17T7, and again oa the 6th, she vas 
diaaed by a nx^-gnn ship, and not only escaped, 
bnt dnring the chase captured two brigs, one of 
iriiich ** vras formerly an American Privateer called 
the Montgom e ry, moonting 18 Gims, taken & car- 
ried into GKbralter, Capt Fibby Commander. She 
had Several Laidys on Board boon to Lisbon, whom 
we determined to take on Board ns &, together with 
all our other Frisonera, land them (as tiiey were 
effectdonately deaireons td it) on the British Shore. 
Bat at 8 PJL saw 2 Brigs which we bore away for, 
and not knowing what they might prove to be, or- 
dered Capt. Gray to keep away from ns on a west- 
t Atmm, f, fiOO. 8m Appendu IV. 

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ward Coarse. Out Oars (being a Bmall Breeze) & 
rowed towards tbem. Tliej kept near each otlier & 
bore too and formed in a Foatnre of Battle to re- 
ceive US. Erery Thing b^ng prepared for Battle, 
we adranced; one of tbem gave several S]io[t], 
wbioh we took no Kotioe of till we oame nigb enongb 
to give ber 2 Bioad Sides, Sbe ccmtinaiiig li«r Fire. 
By our well directed Fiie Sbe was compelled to 
strike to us A earnestly beg of us to desist our Ftre 
on her. Our Capt. then ordered to bear away for 
the other Brig, wbiob ordem were immediately oom- 
plyed with. We then charged the other with an in- 
cessant Fire for almmt 3 Glasses. She retomed oar 
f^re for some Time with Spirit, but being disan- 
abled, wore off. The other which fell a Stem & not- 
withstanding she had fairly stmck to na, yet seeing 
her Fartners Fiie, she worried us with her Bow 
Chaoers, bat did us no Damage. Bat now our OfB- 
oers began to think of the Man of War, which had 
been in Chaoe all Day & was now reasonably ex- 
pected to be near up witb us; therefore being dark, 
they rightly judged it best to give over the Assaolt 
for this Night, least falling in between three of them 
we must be obliged to submit, & so altered our 
Coarse." Two days later the Oliver Cromwell fell 
in with a 6eet of British transports convoyed by 
three men-of-war. Angnst 16 ehetoc^ three prizes, 
and a week later was at Bilbao, where she found 
the Civil Usage and another American privateer. 
The Cromwell returned to America by a southerly 

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route, and b^ die middle ef October ww not tat 
from Uie Canny Talands On tiie 16th abe saw » 
aail wbidt gare chase. "IMaooT cr ed ber to be » 
Frigate. Now ihe began to fire at ns ; maoy of her 
Shot went over ns. Sevesal atnuk oar Hall & SmIs. 
We bore onr Gnns oraboard & store aooie Water 
& hy that means got a IHUe from ber." The next 
da7, » the Man al War in Chaoe hard bj. We 
Bowed & kept at a Diatanoe." October 18, " loct 
n^ of the Han of War." i 

The American ConuninionerB in Faria endeaT- 
ored tocarryonttbeinstrnctionaof C<nigreH, which 
called for shipe of the line and other TcsBela to be 
boilt, purchased, or hired in France, bat met with 
difficnltiea. The French goremment positiTelj re- 
fused to sell or loan ei^t ships of the line, on the 
ground that the; could not be spared from their 
navy, as the possibility (rf trouble with Enj^d 
made any reduction of their defennTe Eoroe inad- 
missible at that time. This was a great disappoint- 
ment, as it had been confidently bdieved that the 
British blockade of the American coast could be 
snocessfnUy broken by theee heavy ships together 
with the thirteen Continental frigates, all of which 
it was hoped would soon be at sea. The project was 
formed of procuring three ships in Swed^i, of fifty 

1 Kuex hut. CoB., July, 190B; ButoM Gaietu, Deoemlm 16, 
1777 ; Landm Ch-midt, SeptemlMr 2, 1777. See fnrtlier, for mor*- 
menti of AmtrioaB priTsteen in fonign Tsten, BoitoH OaxtlU, 
OeXchm 6, 13, 1777 ; London CltronUU, July 24, Anput fi, 1777 ( 
Almm, T, 171, 176; Buvau, 15G1, leSO.,S:,G00glc 


or uxty guuB each, but do move appears to liave 
been made to cany it thiongh. In addition to pnr- 
cbasing and fitting ont the Dalpbin and Suipriae, 
whose service was very temporary, and the Bevenge, 
the commissioners provided for three larger vessels 
during die year 1777. Afrigatewasbuilt at Nantes, 
of five hundred and fifty tons and designed to carry 
twenly-four twelvfr-pounders, eight fours, and two 
sixes. This vessel was called the Deane, and when 
finished was commanded by CaptuD Samuel Nichol- 
son. While she was under oonstmctaon the Colidiin 
was kept at Paimboeuf, according to information 
furnished to Stormont, serving as a receiving ship, 
on board of which Nicholson held about seventy 
men, inclnding a number of Sngliahmen, ready to 
be transferred to die Deane when finished ; but this 
waB denied by Sartane. Another vessel, somewhat 
smaller, was purchased, fitted ont as a twenly-eigbt- 
gnn frigate, and called the Qneen of France. The 
commisHoners also b^an the construction in Hol- 
land of a for^-gun ship called the Indien, but ow- 
ing to international oomplicationa she was sold to 
die King of France.^ 

Attempts were made to interest other European 
nations in the American cause and to obtain the 
privilege of entering their ports, refitting armed 
vessels in them and disposing of prizes. Arthur 

> WharttM, U, 176, IH, 230, 377, 281, 286, 438 ; &«wu, 187, 
«3, 083, 1668, 1766, 1826; Ltt MSB., Januir 21, 1778, M«7 2, 

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Lee visited Spain and Prussia with hopes of secur- 
ing concessions of this sort, but he found both these 
powers vary desirous of maintaining amicable re- 
lations with Elngland. The same cautious attitude 
marked the policy of Holland. In Spun, however, 
owing largely to the influence of Gardoqni, pow- 
erful though nnobaerredf the Americans found less 
difficulty, for a time at least, in refitting their cruis- 
ers and disposing of their prizes than in France. 
The disposition of Spain is indicated in a letter, 
dated October 17, 1777, from Count florida Blanca, 
the Prime Minister, to the French ambassador at 
Madrid, in which he says that a long duration of 
the American war would be "highly useful" to 
Spain and IVance. " We should sustain the Colo- 
nists, both with effeotnal aid in money and supplies," 
and with >' pmdent advice " ; at the same time Eng- 
land should be kept pacified.^ 

The situation of the United States from a naval 
point of view, at the end of 1777, was not altogether 
encouraging. The bright hopes of the year before 
were in large d^ree unrealized. Of the thirteen 
frigates which were to dispute the naval supremacy 
of England in American waters, or at least to keep 
open some of the principal harbors and bays, only 
four, the Hancock, Boston, Raleigh, and Randolph 
had yet got to sea ; and one of these, the Hancock, 
had been takrai by the enemy. Of the remaining 



nine, tlie Delaware, ti^ther vitli aeTeral amallra; 
TfiBsels, had been lost in the unsucceaafal defease 
of the Dehiware Biver. Philadelphia in addition to 
New York had fallen into the hands of the enemy, 
whose occupation of these two cities made impossi- 
ble the escape of f onr other frigates ; in conseqaence 
of which, two of these Teasels, the Congress and 
Moo^omery in the Hudson, had already been de- 
stroyed in October, while the Washington and Effing- 
ham in the Delaware were awaiting the same fate. 
This still leaves four, of which the Warr^i and 
Providence were blockaded in Narragansett Bay 
and the Virginia in the Chesapeake, whUe the 
TrnmbuU continued to lie in the Ccmnecticnt Kiver, 
unable to pass over the bar. Of tiie more important 
smaller Continental vessels, the Andrew Doria had 
been destroyed in the Delaware Biver, the Cabot 
and Lexington had been captured by the enemy, 
and the Reprisal had been lost at sea. The only 
naval vessel captured during the year, the frigate 
Fox, had been retaken by the British. 

To offset, though only partially, these heavy losses, 
the navy had made a few acquisitions. In addition 
to the frigates just mentioned and the vessels pro- 
cured in Europe, the Banger and sloop Surprise * 
were in active service, and a brigantine called the 
Besistanoe went into commission about the end of 
the year. Of two of the three Ediips of the Hue 
authorized by Congress in 1776, sometiiing is 

1 Not to ba eooftMinded tdth Canjaghtia'a lo^er SurpdM. 

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learned from information fnmislied to Admiral 
Howe by a prisoaer at Boston, vho says " that he 
•aw the Keel and Eloor-Timbera laid fora T4 Gtiin 
Ship, building at North End in Boston, The Scant* 
lings whereof appeared scarce sufficient for a Frig- 
ate ; And only 12 Men were at work npon her. He 
was informed another Ship of the same Class [die 
America] was building at Portsmouth in New 
Hampshire, bat did not hear any further partioo- 
lars oonoeming her. By another person released 
from Portsmouth and arrived about the same time 
at New York, this last Ship is said to be covered 
in as high as the Lower Deck and proposed to be 
finished in next May." ^ Work on the Boston sev- 
enty-four was probaUy soon abandoned, and the 
third ship of this class, which was to have been 
bnilt at Philadelphia, may never have been begun. 
Sixty-nine letters of marque were issued to private 
vessels of war by the Continental Congress in 1777 
and probably a still larger number of privateers 
were commissioned by the individoal states ; and 
many were fitted out in the West Indies. 

In 1777 the British navy had in commission two 
hundred and fourteen vessels, besides ships in ordi- 
nary and nnder repair, the whole manned by forty- 
five thousand seamen and marines. It is difBcult 
to state the exact force in American waters. The 
figures famished by Admiral Howe's returns and 

1 Brit. Adm. Boc, A. D. 48Si IntolligsuM iMeiTsd DeoemlMr 

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by other aathoritieB vary slightly and of course the 
number of ships was changiug from time to time. 
There were about eigh^ vessels of all clasBes od 
the North American Station in 1777. About half 
the fleet consisted of frigates and rather less than 
a quarter of ships mounting sixty-four, fif^ or forty- 
four guns, the rest being sloops of war and smaller 
vessels. There was also a squadron at Newfound- 
land and a fleet of nearly twenty in the West In- 
dies. Altogether, therefore, more thim a hundred 
vesseb were stationed in American waters. Many 
privateers were sent out of New Tork.^ 

Although the Americans inflicted so little injury 
upon the British navy, the activity of some of 
the smaller Continental cruisers and of the state 
navies and numerous privateers had dealt a heavy 
blow at English commerce. Four hundred and sixty- 
four vessels were taken from the ^tish during the 
year 1777, of which seventy-two were recaptured, 
twelve destroyed, and nine released.' The Conti- 
aental navy alone made over sixty captures <d 
merchantmen.^ The British may have made about 
as many captures as the Americans, but doubtless a 
la^ proportion o£ their prizes were small coasting 

> Brit. Ada. Stc., A. D. 4S7. January 16, No. 4, Jum 8, 1777, 
Ko. 30: IKipoailian of Hii Majesty'i Stups aadYeuels in North 
Amarica ; Sehomherg, i, 43S, it, 324-331 ; Station, iy, 391. 

« Almo», T, 76, 108, 405, S18, yi. 39 ; ClarJt, J, ^ ii, 169. Them 
liMa are doabtleu iua 

« Nantr, ii, 286. 

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TfiBsels of little ralae.' It is impoBsible from stuI- 
able data to make a correct statemeat of actual or 
ocHnparatiTe losses hj capture. 

1 AlmoK, T, leS, 231; XoMcfon Ckromde, Jolj IB, 1777; -Irnul 
BegiHer, zzi (1778), 86. TU UiU earn only » put of tli« jex. 
Sw uUa of uptciw in Qoiett, Ui|306,vnd«Dtly baMdoniiMom- 




NoTWlTH8TAin>iNQ the rarersefl of the i 
on land and sea during the prerions year, it is evi- 
dent that the British, abont the b^iimingof 1778, 
were finding the subjugation of their revolted colo- 
nies a serioas nndertaking, and were apprehending 
a still more stnbbom resistance on the part of the 
rebels encouraged hj their one notable sncoess at 
Saratoga. The French allianoe with the United 
States, whioh soon followed, must have inoreased 
this feeling and have emphasized the need of eneiv 
getio measures. A little later Lord Geoi^ Ger- 
main, the British Seoretaiy of State for the Colonies, 
sent to Gteneral Clinton, who had succeeded Howe, 
these secret instractiona, dated March 8, 1778: "If 
you shall find it impracticable to bring Mr. Wash- 
ington to a general & dedsive Action early in the 
Campaign, yon will relinquish the Idea of carrying 
on offensive Operations within Land & as soon as 
the Season will permit, embark suoh a Body of 
Troops as can be spared from the Defence of the 
Posts you may think necessary to muntun,on Board 
of Transports under the Condaot of a proper Num- 
ber of the King's Ships, with Orders to attack the 
ports on the Coast from New York to Nova Scotia," 

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and to destroy all abips and other p r operty along- 
■bore wbererer practicable, " so aa to incapadtato 
the Bebels from ndtantr ^ "Mmhiw or oontintuDs 
their Depredatirais upon the Trade of this 'King- 
dran." Two annameDtB were recommended, one from 
New Tork, the other from TT«1if*T, to attack Coo- 
nectacnt and New Hampshire and then miite against 
Boattm.^ The aerrioes of the army aeem to hare 
been required on hmd, and the commerce and pri- 
vateering of New £n^and were spared the annihi- 
latkn which a rigorons proeeentiim of this pUn 
moat bare entailed. The project plainly indicates 
a keen appreciatdon on the part of the Britiah min> 
istry of the telling effect npon their oommercial in- 
terests of American privateering. Abont the mid- 
dle of March, as soon as the British government 
had been officially notified of the treaty of alliance, 
Lord Stormont waa recalled from Paris and war 
with France became inevitable, although it was d^ 
layed a few months and then b^an without formal 
declaration. Orders were sent to the British army 
to evacuate Philadelphia and fall back on New Tork. 
Meanwhile the Americans were striving to make 
the most c^ their slender resonroes npon the sea. 
Another expedition to New Providence was nnder- 
taken early in 1778, this tame by a single ship, the 
sloop Providence, which had visited the place two 
years earlier as one of Commodore Hopkins's 

■ SUku, SOS, 1062; 8Uf>fird.aa^mlU MSB., 90; Spukt'* 
WoMnglim, t, 549. 

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sqoadron. The Providence was now commanded l^ 
Captain John P. Rattibume and carried a crew of 
about fifty men. Aboat tlie middle of January she 
sailed from Georgetown, South Carolina, where she 
had put in early in the winter. The next morning 
after getting to sea, says Lieutenant Trevett, " at 
daylight saw a sail to the eastward and then saw 
two more ; they proved to be British, a ship, brig 
and sloop. They gave diase and the ship guned en 
us fast ; by two F.U. we could see her tier of gnns. 
Ni{|^t coming on and very dark, we took in all sail 
and put out our lights and in a few hours, being 
lighter, we could see her and she passed na and 
when she was out at eight we altered our course 
and in the morning oonld not discover a single saiL 
We had hove over so much of our wood, water. Sac, 
in Older to lightoi ship, that we concluded to make 
all sail for Abaco. We had a short passage, came 
to anchor and went to work making a scaling lad- 
der. In two days after, we stood over to New 
Providence, having sent down oar topmast and top> 
sul yard and housed our guns ; we also kept all onr 
men out of sight. About midnight we got abreast 
of the harbor with a light air of wind off the land." A 
force of twenty-eight men under Trevett's oommand 
was sent ashore. " We took nothing with us to eat 
or drink, but filled our pockets with ball cartridges. 
We landed about a mile from the Fort and got our 
scaling ladder and all things ready." The sentinels 
having been taken by surprise, the landing party 

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soon bad possesnon of Fort Kusan. Several gtou 
wen foood loaded, vith mateliea boming by them. 
Two Brili^ sliipa were in tiie harbor. ** We ent- 
plored tjie remainder of the Tiight in iJaoing Bome 
of the heavy pieces of oamum to point on the dif- 
ferent streets of the town and on the ships. When 
daylight appeared we set onr thirteen stripes flying 
at the fort."^ Upon reqnisitaon a breakfast was 
jnovided £or the party and an officer and two men 
were sent to take poeseanon of Fort Montague at 
the eastern end of the town, four miles distant. 
This was aooomplished and the guns were spiked. 
A midshipman and fonr men were then sent in a 
boat, seized for the porpose, to one of the English 
vessels, a sixteen-g^ ship, and to this small force 
the officer in command, seeing the American flag 
on the fort and the guns pointing at him, snnen- 
dered with his orew of forty-five. Five other ves- 
sels in the harbor, prizes broaght in l^ the British, 
were rec^itoied. The report had been concocted 
for the oooaraon and disseminated among the in- 
habitants that the Providenoe was merely ono of an 
Amerioan fleet at Abaoo, and the number landed 
was also greatly exa^erated ; this made easier the 
exploits of the very small detachments sent ont by 
Trevett. An armed force of about two hundred of 
the inhabitants collected with the purpose of at- 
tacking the fort, but they were induced" to desist 
by the threat of the Americans to bum the town. 
1 B. L nUt. Mag., July, 1880. 



A BritiBli sloop of war appeared off the liarbor, but 
being warned away by signals and £red upon by 
tbe fort, sbe stood out agun to sea, remaining in 
the offing. On tbe morning of January 80 the 
prizes were manned and the expedition sailed away, 
taking off thirty Americans released from prison 
and valoable military stores, including sixteen hun- 
dred pounds of powder. In tbis aStir no blood was 
sbed and no private proper^ on the island was dis- 
turbed. Two of tbe prizes, being of litde value, 
were bnrned ; tbe otbera were sent into port. Tbe 
ships sailed north and soon became separated. 
Having joined company again, the Providence and 
the armed prize ship went into Kew Bedford to- 
gether early in Marcb.^ 

Tbe frigate Randolph, after a very short stay in 
EVanoe, letomed to America about the first of the 
year, apparently suling directly for South Carolina, 
whence she had so recently come. A squadron was 
organized at Charleston, with Captain Biddle in 
command, composed of the Randolph and four ves- 
sels bf t^ South Carolina navy, three of them be- 
ing privateers taken temporarily into tbe state aer- 
vioe. These four TesscJs were the ship General 
Moultrie, 18, and tbe brigs Kotre Dame, 16, PoUj, 

16, and Fair American, 14. One hundred and fifty 
South Carolina troops served on tbe squadron as 

1 B. I. Bitt. Mag. , Jul j, Ootober, 1886 ; Clark, i, 74 ; Almon, 
Ti, 90 ; Botton Oatettt, Muoh S, ITTB ; Ft^, CotU. Congr., 44, 10, 

17, 21, 33 (JaDOBiT 29. Patmurj 21, lUy 11, 1778) i Mar. Com. 
Letttr Book, 143 (Ai>U 22, 1776). 

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marines. Anxnding to the stateinents of British 
prisoners in Charleston the Banddph carried twenty- 
six twelve-pounders, six six-pounders, four ooeboma 
in each top, and upwards of three hundred men, 
one third of them tolerable seamen ; the Creneral 
Moultrie carried twelve short and six long six- 
pounders, and eighty ^^^ i the Notre Dame, edx- 
teen sixes and a hundred and twenty men ; the Fair 
American, twenty gnus and a hundred and twen^ 
men.1 This armament put to sea February 12, 1778, 
in search of a number of British vessels that had 
been cmising along the coast, but it was soon found 
that the enemy had departed. The squadron then 
sailed for the West Indies and cruised several da^ 
to the eastward of Barbadoes, taking one small 
schooner. On the 7th of March, in tiie afternoon, 
the Bandolph, in company with her consorts and 
prize, sighted a la^e man-of-war to windward, 
which turned out to be the British sixty-fonr-gun 
ship Yarmouth. This vessel came down before the 
wind and when within hiul, about eight PJL, was 
first discovered to be a two-decker. The Bandolph 
in rep^ to her hail hoisted her colors and gave the 
Yarmouth a broadside. Early in the engagement 
Captain Biddle was wounded in the thigh, but 
continued in command, seated in a chair on deck. 
The General Moultrie took part in the action, but 
being to leeward and near the Randolph, fired into 

* Bril. Adm. Sec^ A.D. 48S, Fabniary IS, 1T78 ; SuemM, 811) 
PaiiUin, 4S0. 

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her b; mistake, Euid it was thought pOBsible that 
Biddle was wounded h; one of her shot. The other 
vessels were not engaged. The Randoph's fire was 
rapid and aocnrate. According to a letter of Cap- 
tun Hall of the Notre Dame, she handled the Yar- 
mouth ^ so ronghl; for 12 or 15 noinutes that the 
British ship most shortly have stroch, having lost 
her bowsprit and topmasts and being otherwise 
greatly shattered, while the Kandolf^ had suffered 
very little ; but in this moment of glory, as the Kan- 
doljdi was wearing to get on her quarter, she anfor> 
tunately blew up." ' Capt^ Vincent of the Yar^ 
mouth reported March IT to Admiral Young, at 
BarbadoeB, that " on the 7th instant at half past 
five P.M. discovered six sail in the S.W. quarter, on 
a wind standing to the northward; two of them 
ships, three brigs and a schooner. We were then 
SO leagues due east of this island. We immediately 
bore down upon them and about nine got close to 
the weather quarter of the hu^^t and headmost 
ship. They had no colours hoisted and as ours were 
then up, I htuled her to hoist hers or I would fire 
into her ; on which she hoisted American and im- 
mediately gave us her broadside, which we returned, 
and in about a quarter of an hour she blew up. It 
was fortunate for as that we were to windward of 
her ; as it was, our ship was in a manner covered 
with parts of her. A great piece of a top timber, 
six feet long, fell on our poop ; another laxge piece 
> IndgwiufoK ChronieU, Angut 13, 1778. 

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of timber stnok in our fore top-gallant sail, then 
upon tiiB cap. An Amerioac eiuign, rolled np, blown 
in upon tbe forecastle, not ao much aa singed. Im- 
mediately on her bloving iqi, the other fonr dia- 
peraed difEereot waya. We chased a little while two 
that stood to tbe soathward and afterwards another 
that bore awa; ri^ bef(»e the wind, bat they were 
sow out of si^it, car sails being torn all to j»eoes 
in a most sorjwising manner. We had five men 
killed and twdve woonded. Bat what I am now go- 
ing to mention is something very rematl»Ue. The 
12th following, being th&i in chase of a ship steer- 
ing west, we discovered a piece of wreck with four 
men on it waving ; we hauled np to it, got a boat 
out, and broaj^t them on board. They proved to 
be four men who had been in the ship which blew 
np and who had nothing to sabBist on fmn that 
time bat by sucking the run water that fell on a 
[nece of blanket which they lackily had picked np." * 
The rest of the squadron with the prize arrived 
safely in port. The loss of another frigate was a 
severe blow to the Continental navy and to the 
oonntey, but the loss of Captain Biddle was far 
more seriooB. While only in his twenty-eighth year, 
he had ^ven strong indications of ability as a sea- 
man and officer, uid of character as a man. Hav- 
ing served as a midsbipman in the British navy in 

^ London Chnmide, May 24, IT78 ; Almon, -n, 143 ; Brit. Adm. 
Bee, C(^taim' Logi, No. 1091 (lo; of the Tumontli) ; Port Folio, 

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lu8 youth, he had tiie militaiy and naval traicing 
which was lacking in nearly all the American sea- 
men of that period. With the exception of John 
PanI Jones, it is probable that Biddle had no su- 
perior in the serrioe. If four men as good as these 
two and Wiokes and Conyngham had been given 
0(mstant employment thronghoat the war in ships 
like the Randolph or Hancock, perhaps the history 
of the Continental navy might have been different. 
The frigates Raleigh and Alfred, having made the 
voyage to Fiance together in the fall of 1777, set 
sail in company December 29, homeward bonnd. 
When it bad become evident to the American Com- 
missioners at Paris that the times wei« not propitioaa 
for the cruising of Continental ships in European 
waters, they had addressed a letter of advice, dated 
November 26, 1777, to Capt^ Thompson of the 
Raleigh, suggesting a circuitona passage bat^ to 
America. " As it is by no means safe to return into 
the ports of France, yon will calculate your stores 
BO as to have a sufficiency for your cmiae, which 
we cannot indeed be particular in the direction of. 
It has been su^^sted that one or more of the In- 
dia ships returning may be intercepted, that part 
of the West India homeward-bound ships may be 
expected about this time, as well as transports re- 
turning from New York and elsewhere in America, 
and tJiat by cmising in the proper latitudes you may 
meet with them; that the British factories and 
oommerce on the African coast at this time lie 

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witbont naj tarn saffideot to proteet tbem, and 
that by numing along tlat ocMSt jaa may greaUj 
annoy and distress the enemy in that qoaiter and 
afterwards go for the West Indies. As yon and 
Captain Hinman have already considered these sev- 
eral plana for a cmise, we leave witb yon to deters 
mine wbidi to prefer and the manner in prosecating 
either, or any other that may )q>pear more likely to 
answer the design of year eommissioD. We an 
happy in observing the harmony and confidence 
whieh sabaistB between yon and Ciqitun TTinmMi 
and hope the same prevails between yonr offioen 
and men, which we are certain yon will cultivate 
through the whole of your expedition, in which we 
recommend to yoa to avoid giving any offense 
to the flags of neutral powers and to show them 
proper marks of respect and friendship. . . . 
Whenever yon judge it pmdent to tHamiiia pris- 
oners subjects of his Britannic Majesty, we ad- 
vise yon to take from thwn in writing ao acknow- 
ledgment of their having been yonr prisoners, 
their quality, place of residence, and that they 
are dismissed by yon in confidence that an eqnal 
number of the subjects of the thirteen United 
States of the same rank, that now are or may here- 
after be prisoners to his sud Britannic Majesty, 
will be set at liberty. You are also to deliver a copy 
of such writing to the prisoners, enjoining them to 
deliver the same on their arrival in Britain to the 
lords of the British admiralty, and by the first op- 

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porhmitf enclose a duplicate to the committee or 
board <^ marine in Boston and another to us, witb 
an account of yonr proceedings." ^ Tlie commission- 
ers' hopes in re^;ard to the exchange of prisoners 
were doomed to disappointment. 

The Baleigh and Alfred sailed for the West In- 
dies by way of tbe coast of Africa, and captured a 
British vessel off Senegal By March 9, 1778, accord- 
ing to Captain Thompson's report, they had reached 
latitode 16° 31' north, longitude 66° 40' west, and 
at six A.H. two sail to the west northwest were 
seen from tbe Baleigh. At half-past seven she hove 
to for the Alfred ; the strange ships were then 
standing to the north, olose-banled. Captain Thomp- 
son directed Captmn Hinman to run down and ob< 
serve tbe stemmost ship. At ten o'clock, being 
within five or six miles, it was plainly seen that the 
strangers were armed. The Kaleigb and Alfred 
then hauled on the wind on tbe same tach with 
the other ships, which were to leeward. Thompson 
thought that this manteuvre would give him more 
time to discover their force and rate of sailing. 
The strange ships then tacked, " trying to work up 
and get our wakes." Tbe Raleigh sailed as well as 
they, while the Alfred fell off to leeward and astern. 
" As the weathermost ship pass'd under tbe Alfred's 
lee, standing to the Southward on the third tack, 
Capt Hinman hoisted his colours and fired several 

> Wharton, ii, 42S ; Xes MSS., Noramlwr 26, ITTI ; ljidq)emdaU 
OiTmicU, April 9, 1178. 

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shot, which were retnmed under English colonn. 
They were then two miles apart and the other ship 
four miles to leeward of her consort ; the Alfred 
was about three miles astern of ns." The Baldj^ 
was about to tack and stand towards the Alfred, so 
as to attack tiie weatbeimost Bhq> in company with 
her, before the other could get up ; but jnst then, 
half-past twelve, the Alfred stood off before the 
wind, wiutAi was light frran the east northeast, and 
set all her light sula in the effort to escape. The 
Raleigh had an equal chance to attack one or to 
escape frtnn both ships, but '*the Alfred was ncitlier 
abletoenga^onenorto escape by sailing." Thomp- 
son regretted that the Alfred attempted to escape, 
as it was evident that the leeward ship, then beaiv 
ing southwest, would cut her off before she could 
pass her or the Baleigb g^ve assistance. The B^ 
leigh did not go about, but hauled up her courses, 
thinking the windward ship would stand for her; 
but " they both made towards the Alfred. I then 
ordm^d the master to veer and make sail towards 
the Alfred and run between her and the other ship, 
to take off her fire and give the Al&ed an oppor- 
tonify to escape." The Alfred at 6rst seemed to 
gun on the British, " but in a few minutes the two 
got up and began a furious fire, which was retnm'd 
1^ the Alfred as fast as they could. Just as we 
had got stnddingsails hoisted we bad the mortifica- 
tiim to see the Alfred haul down her colours. It 
was then one o'clock ; the firing lasted about ten 



mutates. We were then within three miles of the 
ships." There was nothing then left for the Ba- 
leigh, in the captun's opinion, bnt to escape from a 
superior force, and she hauled to the north. The 
sea being smooth the British soon finished taking 
possession of the Alfred and began to chase the 
Raleigh, and gained on her. When night came 
she edged away and set all her light sails. The 
^itish chased all night by a bright moon. At day> 
light they were four or five miles away and at seven 
o'clock seemed to be gaining. The Baleigh, by 
throwing overboard all she oonld spare and starting 
her water, was lightened abont thirty-five tons and 
b^^ to gain. At ten o'dook the British gave ap 
the chase, after nineteen hoars. One of them sailed 
faster than the other, bat would not come up alone, 
often heaving to and waiting for her Odnsort.^ 

These British ships were the Ariadne, 20, and 
the Ceres, 16. Captain Pringle of the Ariadne re> 
ported to Admiral Young : " The two strangers at 
first shewed a disposition to attack us, bat in oon> 
sequence of the King's ships having brought the 
stem-most to close action about noon, the other 
made off. The ship in action, after having given to 
and received from the Ariadne and Ceres some 
broadsides, struck ; and proved to be the rebel ship 
Alfred, of 20 nine-pounders and 180 men. Her con- 
sort was the Baleigh of 32 guns." ^ 

' ContintfttU Jearnal, April SO, ITI8. 

■ London Ckronitie, Hky 2a, 1778 ; Aimon, vi, 144 ; Brii. Adm. 
StB., Oopfiu'lu' Logi, No. 4141 (lo? of t^ Cerea). 

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The Kaleigh arrived at Portsmoatb early in 
April. Captain Thompson'a report no donbt put his 
condnct in the moat favorable light, bnt did not save 
him from severe oensnre. By proper management 
it iras bdieved that not only should the Alfred have 
been saved from capture, bnt both the British Tea- 
sels, so inferior in force, should have been tahen. 
Captain HJnman'a judgment might reasonably be 
questioned on two points : first, his ronning off to 
leeward in a vain attempt to escape, thereby re- 
moving himself from the support of the Baleigh ; 
second, bia surrender after such a very brief reaist- 
ance, while there was a chance of the Baleigh'a 
coming to the reaone. As to the subsequent con- 
duct of the Raleigh, it is not inspiring to think of 
b^ precipitate Sight from two small ships mount- 
ing about the same number of gnns that she did 
and probably lighter ones. Captain Thompaon was 
doubtless a good seaman, not lacking in phyaical 
courage, and zealous in the cauae; but without 
military sense and unequal to the responaibilities 
of the situation. 

Early in March the Frigate Warren, Captain 
John B. Hopkiua, blockaded in the Providence 
Biver, escaped through the Britiah fleet in Nai^ 
Tsgansett Bay. John Deshon, of the Eastern Navy 
Board, wrote to the other m^nbers of the hoard, 
March 9 : " Respecting the Ship Warren I am 
happy She so well Succeeded in getiug out of this 
river. EveryCircumstance Combined in her Favour 

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that Slie mightClesr of the Enemy; thenightwu 
Exceeding Dark, and there was bat little wind 
nn^ the Critteoal time of Passing the Greatest 
Danger, when the wind Shifted very Suddenly into 
the N.W. and blowd Exceeding hard, bo that the 
Enemy Conld not without the Cireatest DifGooIty 
Get under Sail and Feraue. I was at Warrick Neck * 
and up the Most part of the Night when the War- 
ren Passed and am Very Sure it was Imposable for 
Captn Hopkins to gain the Port of N. London, 
there being So much wind and the weather so Se- 
vere Cold. There [were] on board the Warren abt 
170 men, manuy of which had not a Second Shift 
of Cloaths, therefore it wiU be Very Difficult as 
veil as Teadius for Captn Hopkins to beat this 
Courst at this Severe Season ; the Orders Given 
him by me you have with you, which Gives him not 
the least Enoouragement to Cruise. Nevertheless 
Should the Ship Keep out this three weeks, I Shall 
not be in the least imeasy abt her; well Knowin 
the men in no Condission to Beat a Winters Courst, 
we have Succeeded beyound Expectation in Citing 
her out and I have not the least Doubt but She 
will in due time Return with honor to the Com- 
mander and bis Compy." After a short cruise the 
Warren put into Boston, March 23. Two days later 
William Vernon wrote from Providence; "This 
moment several of the Ship Warrens Men came to 
Town from Bostoo, who infOTm me they Arrived 
There last Monday ; and in parsing the Enemys 

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Ships in this Biver . . . they siutained Bome 
damage, their Mizen Yard shot away, Mun yud 
woiinded, sereral shot passed thnmgh their Hull, 
<me Man only aleightly wounded. The Wind blow- 
ing and oontinneii^ fresh at N. W., the Crew badly 
CSothed and Weather eztreem Cold, were under 
the Neoeasi^ of standing to the Southward in 
warmer WeaUter under easie siul far as the Latt. 
24°, where they fell in with the Ship Neptune, 
Caipt. Smallwood, from Whitehaven bound to 
Fhila., Loaded with Salt and dry Croods." This 
diip and another prize were taken and the Warren 
then sailed for Boston. The Columbus also tried 
to escape from Karragansett Bay, but was chased 
ashore on Point Judith and burned.^ 

The next vessel to attempt die perilous feat of 
bloohade-numing was the frigate Proridenoe, and 
she succeeded. William Vernon wrote to John 
Adants: "The 30th of April we sent down the 
Providence, Capt. Whipple, having on board about 
170 men, who was ordered to the first Port in 
France he oou'd maike, to be under the direction of 
the Commissioners, where we hope she is safe Ar- 
rived. No dispatobee was sent l^ this ship, as she 
was to pass a dangerous passage ; however, in a 
Inisk Wind & dark Night she got out safe, reoeive- 
ing a heavy fire from the Lark, woh was the uppers 
» PM. B. L BitL 8oc., Tiii, au (Much 9, 1776), 21B, 229 
(Muob 26, 1778), 230, 231, 233 ; BriL ^m. Sec, A. D. 488, Noa. 
W, C7, Maick 18, April 23, 1T78; Conlinmlaf Joitnal, Uaroh 20, 
ITIS ; Indqiaident CftrninJe, April Q, 16, 1778. 

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most sbip, who's Fires he retamed with Spitit & 
good effect, Eill'd a Number & Wounded many 
Men, much disabled the Ship ; the lower-most Ship 
by this alarm was prepared to receive the Provi- 
dence, who was obliged to pass her very near, gave 
her their fire, that was returned with good suc- 
ces8."i Having reached the open sea, the Provi- 
dence sailed for ^France. The frigate TrumboU, 
unable to pass over the bar at the mouth of the 
Connecticut Biver, remained in the river during 
the whole year. William Vernon wrote, March 25, 
1778, that "she must be intirely stript of her 
Yards and Top Mast and all her Story, even to a 
Swept Hole, that if possible to bring her to 9 or 10 
feet Water." » 

The frigate Vir^nia, Captain James Nicholson, 
which bad been repeatedly ordered to sea," and had 
been waiting nearly a year for a chance to run the 
blockade in Chesapeake Bay, finally got away from 
ArmapoUs, Maryland, March 80, in company with 
a brig which had on board a pilot in whom Nich- 
olson had confidence. At three o'clock the next 
morning, however, the frigate ran on a sboal. She 
was forced over, but lost her rudder and was there- 
upon andiored, leaking badly. At daylight two 
British men-of-war were discovered, one of them 
only two gun-shots distant. Nietudson and nine 
1 Adam» MS8., Hft7 20, 1776. 

* FuU. B. I. Si$t. 8oe^ tUI, 212, 214, 220, 280, 231, 232 ; Mar. 
Con. Later Book, 136, lil. 148 (April 6, May 8, 9, 1778). 

* See kboTs, p. 199. 

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men, with the sliip's papers, went aslioie in a boat 
and theVirgiaia was then snrreodered to the enemy. 
Nicholson afterwards vent aboard one of the Brit- 
ish Tessds in order to parole his officers. He was 
not court-martialed for the loss of his ship, bnt 
Congress instituted an inquiry and acquitted him 
of blame.^ 

Captains John Barry and Thomas Read had in 
1776 been appointed to command the frigates 
Effingham and Washington, which since the occu- 
pation of Philadelphia by the British had been 
bottled up in the Delaware Biver above the city. 
The officers and men, therefore, nnable to get to 
sea, had been employed on shore and on the river 
in cooperation with the army and in the defense of 
Delaware Bay in the fall of 1777. January 29, 
1778, Barry was ordered by the Marine Committee 
to command a boat expedition down the river and 
bay, for tiie purpose of annoying the enemy, cap- 
turing or destroying their transports if pOBsible, > 
and cutting ofE their supplies and diverting them 
to the use of the Continental army, then in des- 
perate straits at Valley Forge. Owing to a quarrel " 
between Barry and the Navy Board of the Middle 
District, his selection for this duly was opposed, 
but finally, after nearly a month's delay, the mat- 
ter was arranged. Towards the end of February, 

1 Pom. Packet, April 16, 1778; Mar. Com. Letter Book, 124, 
129, 138, 160 (Jaonar; 28, Maioh 4, April 8, M>y Id, 1776); 
Barnes, ^< ^■ 

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Bany, having maoned four (A tlie frigates* boats, 
it is said with only twenty-seven men, ran down 
the river and past the city at night; below he was 
joined hy five other boats, half-manned. He then 
occupied himself with destroying everything along 
the banks of the river that could be of use to the 
enemy and that could not beoonveyed to the Amen- 
can army. On March 7, while at Port Penn on the 
Delaware shore of the hay, he captured two ships, 
one of them armed with six four-pounders, and a 
schooner "mounting Eight double forHfled four 
Pounders & Twelve four Pound" howitzers; the 
schooner was acting as convoy. The ships were 
transports, each with a crew of fourteen men, bring> 
ing forage and supplies from Bhode Island to the 
British army in Philadelphia; the schooner was 
manned by a crew of thirty-three. A day or two 
later a number of British vessels came up the bay 
and Barry was obliged to bum the tranaports to 
prevent recapture. He attempted to take the 
schooner into Christiana Creek, but being hard- 
pressed was compelled to ran her ashore and scut- 
tie her. The Marine Committee had hoped to take 
her into the naval service, and bad given orders for 
her equipment and employment as a lookout vessel 
off the capes. Most of the cargoes of all the vessels 
were saved and were purchased for the army, yield- 
ing a good amount of prize money. Barry reported 
his exploit to General Washington and received a 
eongratdlatory letter in rejdy. He oontinaed to 

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fcafsas tbe enony on the riTer for another nKmdi.* 
In addition to the frigates Washington and ££■ 
fim^iain, a hu^ nomber of smaller vessels, indnding 
sereral galleys of the PennsflTania navy, irere 
blockaded in the Delaware Biver above Philadel- 
phia. It had long been feared that tbe British 
would oome op the river and c^tore or destroy 
these vessels, and Greneial Washington advised 
ibaX they be stripped and sunk. Tbe two frigates 
had already been sank and rused again and a 
number of tbe smaller vessels were prepared for 
sinking at short notice. On May 7 the expected 
British expedition, of seven hundred men, came 
np tbe river, and apparently only a part of the 
galleys were sank in time to be saved. Tbe British 
force, nnder Captain Henry, came np in a brig, a 
fchooner, four galleys, fonr gnn-boats, and eight- 
een flatboats carrying the soldiers of tbe parfy. 
Captain Henry says in bis report : " At noon we 
were abreast of White-hill, where the gallies, armed 
vessels and gun-boats were placed to oover the lanct 
ing of the troops, wbicb was performed withoot 
opposition. At this place the Washington and Ef- 
fingham rebel frigates, the former pierced for thirty- 
two and the latter for twenty-eight guns, were set 

> Barry, tk. *£; Battm GatOt^ April 6, 1TT3; But Mag^ 
Jslf, 1SS9; PM. a. I. HiMl. 8oc^ yiu, 223; Amer. Calk. SuU 
JIW, April, lOM; Piqi. CaaL Cmjt., 1S1, app., 197 PMrnbiP 
10, 1777), 16S, 6, 867 (Much 9, 1778} ; Mar. Cim. Lttter Bm^ 
126, 126 (Junaf7 29, 1778), 134, 135 (Muoh 11,26, 1778), MS 
(April 24, 1778). 

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on fire and oonaumed, togetlier with a brig and 
sloop. The troops then marched, took possession of 
Borden-town and destroyed a batteiy of 3 sir* 
pounders; whereupon the gallies, anned Tesaels, 
&e. proceeded to that place, where they bomt two 
new ships, one of which was pierced for 18 guns, 
one privateer sloop for 10 guns, with ten sail of 
brigs, schooners and sloops." ' Farther up the river 
many other vessels were burned aa well as a lai^ 
amount of public property on shore. " The whole 
number of vessels destroyed was forty-four sail." 
The expedition returned to Philadelphia May 9. 
Fifty-eight guns of these sunken and destroyed 
vessels were afterwards raised by the Americans.^ 
Thus a series of misfortunes befell the Conti< 
nental navy during the early months of 1778, the 
effect of which must have been depressing and 
naturally caused some loss of confidence in the 
commanding officers. Colonel Timothy Pickering 
wrote to his brother, April 26, from York, Penn- 
sylvania, the temporary seat of the Continental 
Congress : *' Our naval affairs have been conducted 
shockingly. You will see by the papers how fool- 
ishly the Virginia was lost. The Randolph, Capt. 
Biddle, has been blown up in an engagement with 
a large ship in the West Indies. This misfortune 
is deeply to be regretted, for Biddle was an excel* 

> Almon, Ti, 149. 

* lUd., I4«-150j Brit. Adm. Sec., A. D. 488, Hay 10, 1778; 
Bit. Mag., July. 1859; Mag. Amtr. Hist., March, 1878, MattUw- 
nutfi'* Nairatdva ; Barry, oh. Tui. 

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lent A M»"*W* man and aeeom^ahed naval eoni' 
mander. From all that I ean k«m the ecHtdnct (rf 
the other commanders of onr frigates has been 
gestenSij shamefoD; bad."* One of I^dering's 
eorrespandetits, in recommeoding Ci^tain fisk of 
tlte Masaadmsrtte navy far the oommand of a Con- 
tinental frigate, wrote : ** I am confident he ird. 
not give ha awa; like a Cowaid as periiaps hai 
beoi the case with some others, nor lose her like a 
UoddieadasM . . . didhis."' Another mjs : "AB 
the men that is got home from the Alfred sayes if 
C^pt. Thomson had come down thej would have 
Tiken ye Two Engliah Ships in one hours engage 
ment." * William £lleij wrote from York, April 
25, to William Vernon : " The Enemies ships do 
indeed swarm in the Seas of America and Enn^ ; 
bat hitherto only one of onr Frigates hath been 
captured on the Ocean. Two have been bomed in 
North Biver, two sunk in Delaware, one captured 
Hnere, and one in Chesapeak. The Alfred we art 
jost informed was taken on her passage home }yy 
two frigates in sight of the Rawleigh. The paitio> 
nlars of this capture and why she was not supported 
hy the Rawleigh we are ignorant of. I hope Capt. 
Thompson is not culpable. I entertun a high opia. 
ion of him. The Columbus is a trifling Loss and I 
thonld not much lament the Loss of the Alfred, if 

1 PidMringMS8.,rJt. 

* Aiif,zTii,128<MHehSQ,17T8). Doabtha Uuley h bmuI. 

■ Au/., xtU, 147 (Hbt 4, ITIS). 

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her brave Capt^, Officers and men were not in the 
handa of a cruel enemy. Our little fleet is ybtj 
much thinned. We must conbive some plan for 
catching some of the Enemy's Frigates to supply 
our Losses ; hut we must take care not to catch 
tartars. It is reported that Capt Biddle of the Ban- 
dolph, in an engagement with a siz^>gun ship, was 
blown up. We have been so unfortunate that I am 
apt to believe almost any bad news ; but this report 
I cannot believe."^ William Story, clerk of the 
Navy Board at Boston, wrote to Vernon, April 29 : 
** The doctr. of the Alfred has been at the Board 
and gives a particular Acoot. of Capt. Thompson's 
behaviour; he is Condemned by every One and 
they are Crying ont why don't your board torn him 
out and hang him, &c, &o. I am Sorry the Service 
Suffers by the Misconduct of the officers Jn the 
navy. I want the board should be together to de- 
termine concerning Capt. Thompaon." ^ Captain 
Manley, who had been a prisoner in New York 
since his arrival there after the capture of the 
Hancock in July, 1777, was finally released and 
returned to Boston April 21. He was tried by a 
court-martial in June for the loss of his ship, and 
acquitted. Captain McNeill of the Boston was tried 
for not properly 8u[^rting the Hancock, and was 
dismissed from the navy. Captain Thompson was 
court-martialed and was also dismissed.' 

1 PM. B. L SiM. Aw., Tiii, 237. ■ IHd., 24a 

• AtJ., 346, 247; Ua»*a<AHttu ^, April 80, 1778; Pom. 

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Tbe Continental brigsntiiie Besistanoe ms por. 
diased for the navy in 1777, and mu fitted ont at 
New London. Captain Samael Clieir was given oom> 
maud of her in Jane of that year, bat she aeems 
first to have got to sea early in 1778. She monnted 
ten foor-poonder gnus, and while cminng in the 
West Indies, fell in with a twen^-gun British letter 
of marqoe, March 4. After a hard-fongbt battle, in 
which Chew and one of his lientenants were killed, 
the Tesselfl parted and the Resistance returned to 
Boston. The new sloop of war General Crates got to 
sea daring the smnmer and captored two prizes ; in 
the action with one of them. Captain Skimmer of 
the Gates was killed.' 

Captun Ban; was appointed, May 30, 1778, to 
command the frigate Baletgb, Capt^ Thompson 
having been relieved. Barry was ordered, Angnat 
24 and ^ain on tbe 28th, to sail to the southward 
in the Raleigh in company with the brigantine 
Resistance, now commanded by Captun William 
Burke, formerly in command of the schooner War^ 
Ten, of Washington's fleet at Boston in 1776. The 
Raleigh &nd Resistance were at Boston. The Ma- 
rine Committee apparratly had in mind two other 
Padctt, July 14, ITIS ; Clark, i, S3 ; Uar. Com. Lttter Book, 143, 
147, 105 (AprO 38, tia? 8, Jnlj 24, 1T78) ; Pt^. GM. Cimgr.. S7, 
163 (JsnouT 16, 1T7S) ; Jona MSB., September 4, NoTember 15, 
17, 1778 ; Wdcott MSB., June 16, 177B. 

> STar. Com. Later Book. 92, 03, 04 (June 17, 1777), 143 (April 
28, 1778); Nan London Hist. 8oe., IT, 1, 9 ; Adani$ ttSS., October 
2, 1778, TenuHi to Adanu; Joar. Cimf. Congr., September 14, 



frigates for serrioe in soathem vatera, •mth these 
vessels or independently. These were the Waxren, 
at Boston, and the Deane, which, after her comple- 
tion at Xantes, had come over to Portsmouth onder 
the conmiand of Captain Samuel Nic^Ison, arrir- 
ing in May. The instmctions sent to Barry pro- 
Tided for a cruise on the southern coast of the 
United States, but they were not carried out ; other 
orders to Barry, issued after he had sailed, also re> 
lated to a southern oruiae. The Resistance must have 
Btuted before the orders of August 24 reached Bos- 
ton. She was sent out to look for the fleet of Ad- 
miral D']E^staing, which was expected to arrive soon, 
but missed it ; and then cruising to the southward 
•he ran into Admiral Howe's fleet and was cap- 

The Baleigh s^ed from Boston September 25 
alone, except for two vessels under her oonvoy, 
which apparently soon dropped astern. The wind 
was fresh from the northwest, but seems to hare 
died down before night ; the Baleigh'a first course 
was east by south. At noon two sail were sighted 
at a distance of flfteen miles to the southeast. The 
Baleigh hauled to the north, and the strange ves- 
sels, which were the British fifty-gnn ship Experi- 
ment and the Unicom of twenty>two guns, followed 
1 Jfbr. Com. Litter Beet, 131 (Uwoh 6, 1776), 147, 148, 163, 
154 (H«; 8, 9, 30, 1778), 178, 174 (Anrnrt 24, 28, 177S), 170, HQa 
(Baptember 14, 28, 1778)] IndependttU ChrtmieU, lU; 7,1776; 
^MM,Ti,196; Amer. Catk ?>V. fie*., April, 1904; PuU.B.Z. 
Eia. Sac, Tiii, 25S i Adam MBS., Ootobtr 2, 1778. 

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in pursuit. The chase continued nearly sixty hoon 
before a shot was fiied, ofE the coast of Maine. On 
the morning of September 27 the ships were not 
in sight, but reappeared about half-past nine in the 
forenoon. The wind blew fresh from the west, and 
the Baleigh, running off at a speed of eleven knots, 
drew' away from her pnrsners, but in the afternoon, 
the wind having diminisbed again, the Unicom 
gained on her. The narrative of two of the Baleigh'a 
ofEcers says : " At half past four pji. tached and 
stood to the S. westward in order to discover the 
headmost ship's force ; at the same time saw several 
islands, but coold not tell the name of either. Our 
ship being cleared for action and men at their qnar- 
ters, about five rjs, coursed the headmost ship [the 
Unicom], to windward athwart her fore foot, on 
which we hoisted our colourB, hauled up the mizzen 
sul and took in the stay s^s ; and immediately 
the enemy hoisted St. George's ensign. She appeai> 
iug to be jneiced for twenty-eight guns, we gave 
her a broadside, which she returned; the enemy then 
tacked and came up under our lee quarter and the 
second broadside she gave us, to our unspeakable 
grief, carried away our fore top-mast and mizzen 
topgallant-mast. He renewed the action with fresh 
vigor and we, notwithstanding our misfortune, hav- 
ing in a great measure lost command of our ship, 
were determined for victory. He then shot ahead 
of us and bore away to leeward. By this time ws 
had our ship cleared of the wreck. The enemy plied 

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his broadsides briskly, wliich we returned as brisk ; 
we peroeiving tliat bis intentions were to thwart us, 
we bore away to prerent his raking ns, and if pos- 
sible, to lay him aboard, which he doubtless per- 
ceived and having the full command of his ship, 
prevented us by sheering off and dropping astern, 
keeping 'his station on our weather quarter. Night 
coming on we perceived the stemmost ship gaining 
on us very fast, and being much disabled in our 
sails, masts and rigging and having no possible view 
of escaping, Capt. Barry thought it most prudent, 
with the adrice of his officers, to wear ship and 
stand for the shore, if possible to prevent the ship's 
fslling into the enemy's hands by running her on 
shore. The engagement continuing very warm, 
about twelve midnight saw the land bearing N.N.E. 
two points under our bow. The enemy^ after an en- 
gagement of seven hours, thought proper to sheer 
off and wMt for his consort, they showing and an- 
swering false fires to each other."* 

The Experiment soon came up and joined in the 
fire, and the British tried to cut off the Baleigh 
from the shore. *< Encouraged by our brave comman- 
der, we were determined not to strike. After receiv- 
ing three broadsidea from the lai^ ship and the 
fire of the frigate on our lee quarter, our ship struck 
the shore, which the lai^e ship perceiving poured 
in two broadsides, which was returned by us ; she 
then hove in stays, our guns being loaded gave us 
> Peansslaania Post, Ootober 19, 1778, quoted in Barry, 04, 06. 

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a good oppoitoni^ of raknig her, wluch we did 
witK oar whole broadside and after that tihe bore 
away and raked na likewise, and both kept np a 
heavy fire on each quarter, in order to make as 
strike to them, which we never did. After contana- 
ing their fire some time tbej ceased and came to 
anchor abont a mile distant." ^ 

According to the Experiment's log, at qnarter 
before six tm. on the 27th, the *' Unicom came to 
close Action with the Chace, the first Broadside 
carried away the Enemys foretopmast and Mun 
topgallant Mast, at 7 a violent fireing on board 
both Ships, ^ past 9 the fireing ceased ^ an Hour, 
on which we fired several Signal Gims & was an- 
swered by the Unicorn with Lights & false Fires 
bearing N ^ E 3 miles, at 10 the Unicom still 
in Action, at 11 spoke her & fonnd the chace close 
by her, soon after got alongside the Chace, she gave 
ns a Broadside & we ritumed it, she then mn npoa 
the Shore, we being close to the Bocks, tacked & 
Anchored abont ^ a Gun Shott from her, as did 
the Unicom in 20 fathoms Water ; at 5 AM. the 
Enemy still on shore on a small barren Island 
called Seal Island, the Rebel Colours still hoisted, 
at 7 weighed and Anchored near her, fired several 
Gons & hoisted out all our Boats, Manned & 
Armed, sent a Boat ahead with a Hag of Tmce 
to ofEer them Quarters, on discovering which she 
bawled down her Colours, her first Lieatenant and 
• Barry, 96. 

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One Hundred & thirty-three Meo were got ashore 
oa the Island, hut sarrendered on a Sninmons by 

The Baleigh had mn on a rocky island in ornear 
Penobscot Bay, the identity of which aeems not to 
have been perfectly eBtablished. Barry had at onoe 
proceeded to land his orew, intending to destroy 
his ship, and before morning he and eighty-five of 
his men had escaped in boats to the mainland ; bat 
throagh negligence or treachery the combustibles 
in«pated for firing the ship were not ignited. The 
British soon took possession of the frigate and 
made prisoners of those of her crew who had sot 
7^ left her. The Raleigh lost twenty-fire killed and 
wounded. The Unicom had ten killed and many 
wounded, and was mach injured in her hull and 
rigging. Captain Barry with those of hia orew who 
escaped found their way back to Boston, where 
they arrived in about two weeks. The British 
hauled the Saleigh off the rocks and took her into 
their service. Barry's reputation did not suffer from 
this mishap and he was held blameless by a court 
oi inquiry. In November be was appointed to 
command a fleet of galleys to be employed in an 
expedition against East Ilorida, but this project 
was never carried out.' 

'■ Brit. Adm. Ihe., CtyXaini' Logi, No. SSI ; ■!«> No. lOIT 
(log of the nnioom). 

' Barry, ob. iz ; Dateion, oh. xlii ; Uar. Com. Jotter Bwrt, 
184, 191 (Ootober 25, Noramber 20, 1778); Satfon Ooutte, October 
6, 177B i Bri(. Aim. Sm., A D. .#59, Ootober 28, JT78. 

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The Masaaohnsfltts state brigB TTraimidde, Cap- 
tain Haiaden, and Hazard, Captun Sampacm, 
sailed kte in 1777 on a omiae in the West ladies. 
Early in tbeij Tc^age they took three prizes, bat 
after arriving upon their crninng groimd tbtej had 
little Boeoess. One of the fev Tessds they saw, 
wrote Sampson from Martinique, March 6, 1778, 
was " a Frigate that we fell in with a few days 
before we Arrired here, wdi after we boar away 
for her aud disoorered her to be a Six & thirty 
Gun Frigate and we not thinhing proper to 
engage her, Sheard from her, wch shoe Perseviog, 
gave OS Chase, but we soon Bun her out of sig^t. 
. . . The Hazard proves to be a very good Sea- 
boat & is as Exodlent Sailor and works kindly 
eveiy way."* They sailed home, March 80, and 
arrived in May. The brig Massachusetts, Captun 
I^ambert, was ordered on a cruise to the coasts of 
England, Spain, and FortugaL In June, Captain 
!Eisk was app<Hnted to command the Hazard, which 
Sampson bad given up on account <rf il) health. 
!Euk declined the appointment, saying that he wootd 
not " go to sea untill I can git a ship that is able 
to make some defence against a Britiah frigate."^ 
The Hazard was then given to Captain Williams 
and be was ordered to croise for West Indiamen. In 
August, Captain Hallet, who'snoceeded Haraden in 
the Tyrannicide, was ordered to cruise ofF Long 
Island, but owing to the proximity of the English 
> Jfouocitueni Mag., Jul; 1B08. ■ Matt. Artkiva, eliii, 73. 

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fleet after tlie Frenoh fleet had gone to BoBton, he 
" stood away to the Noithwd." He fell in with and 
caniised a few days with the Continental frigate 
Warren. Hallet says that on September 25 he saw 
a safl standing towarda him, which " hove ont an 
English Ensign. I gave h^ a Bow Chace and 
English Colours ; hul'd her, waa answered from 
St George's Bay bormd to Jersey. I order her to 
heave ont her boat & oome on board me, whioh sho 
did. I sent a Prize Master who sent the Capt. with 
his Papers on board me. I then hoisted an Amer- 
ican Jack & ordered her to strike to the United 
States, whidi waa complied with." ^ The prize was 
a British letter of marque brig called the Jimo. 
Early in the year 1778 a moderate building pro- 
granuie had been planned for the MassaohoBetts 
navy, but was only pwtially carried out.* 

In Boston Harbor Match 28, 1778, wero the 
ships Defence and Oliver Cromwell of the Conneo- 
laent navy; the former, which had previously been 
rig^ied aa a brig, carried eighteen Eox-^wunders, the 
CromweU, twenty nine-pounders. There were also 
in port at the same time three privateer ships, the 
General Mifflin and Minerva, of twenty gnns 
each, and the Hancock, of eighteen gons. ' Late in 

> Mau. AnAiMi, aliU, 110. 

■ Mau, Cowl Ji«e.,jMiiaiT 17,A^ 21, June 23,1778; JTou. 
AnAivti, dU, 440, 442, 440, DUii, 73, 110, 114; Ma*t<«Aiatai Mas., 
April, July, Ootobn, lOOS. 

• BrU. Mm. Btc^ A. D. 4S8, No. 67, April 23, 1778, intdU. 
genes ooUooted for Admiial How*. 

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March the Defence, Captain Samuel Smedley, and 
tlie Oliver Cromwell, Captain llmotby Parker, 
sailed from Bosbm <m a cmiae. Near the "RahinM, 
April 15, tbey fell in with and editored the British 
ahipa Admiral Keppel, 18, and C7gnns,16. A sea- 
man mi the OliTer Cromwell wrote in hi< joomal: 
"We gave chase mida- a moderate laiL At 9 
o'clock came np with them, they at first shew 
French colors to decoy^ns. When we came in about 
half a mile, they nps with tite En^ish colors. We 
had Ctmtinental oolors flying. We engaged the 
ship Admiral Kc^iple as followa : When we came in 
abont twenty rods of her, we gare her a bow gnn. 
She soon returned os a stem chase and then a broad- 
side of grape and ronnd dioL Captun orders not 
to fire till we can see the white of their eyes. We 
get dose onder their larboard qnarter. They begaB 
another broadside and then we b^^ and held tuff 
and tn£E for abont two glasses, and then she stmc^ 
to ns. At the same time the Defence engaged the 
Cyras, who as the Eer[^>el stmck, wore round un- 
der oar stem. We wore ship and gave her a stem 
chase, at which she immediately strook. The bsa 
aa oar side was one hilled and six wounded, one 
mortally, who bood died. Oar ship was hailed nine 
times with six-pound shott, three of which went 
throagh our berth, one of which wounded the boat- 
swain's yeoman. The loss on their side was two 
killed and six woonded. Their larboard qnarter was 
weU filled with shott. One nine-pounder went 

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tbrough her main-mast. Employed in the afternoon 
taking out tbe men and manning the pzize."^ In 
May the Defence had small poz on board and put 
into Charleston, South Carolina. A letter from 
that place, dated June 26, says: "On receiving 
intelligence of several of tbe Enemy's privateers 
being on cor coast & annoying onr trade vith 
impunity, Capt Smedley (notwithstanding he was 
at the time p^orming qnarantiDe for the small 
poz), on an applicalatai from His Excellency our 
President, fitted out tbe Defence immediately, being 
assisted by Commodore Gillon [and other officers 
of the South Caroliua navy] , and last friday sailed 
over our Bar in quest of them, having in Company 
with him a French Armed Sloop called the Volant, 
commanded by Capt. Daniel, who voluntarily of- 
fered bis service on the occasion. Before night they 
fell in witii Three privateer Sloops, two of which 
they took"^ and brought into Charleston. The 
third sloop escaped. These vessels were from St. 
Angnstine, a place much freqnented by British pri- 
vateers, Tbe Defence, in company with tbe Volant, 
returned to Boston in August, and in Deeembra 
was sent on another cruise with the Oliver Crom- 
In January, 1778, the American privateer brig 

> Naa London Hit. Soc., U, i, 50, IT, t, SS, 4L Ths qnotmtuai 
ii fmta the logbook of Timoth; Boazdman. 
■ Trualndi H8S., vi!i, 149. 
, ■ Ai(f.,xz,182,zx<d,42,4a; Indgitndtia ChmUcU, A.a^att 9, 

by Google 

General Snlliran, carrying fourteen gmiB and a 
fanndred and thirly-fiTe men, had an engagement 
in the West Indies with the sixteen-gnn Liverpool 
priraten Isabella, s^ to hare had a <!rew of only 
6f^. They fongfat two honra and a half yardamt 
and yardann and then separated. The British re- 
port says : " The engagement was hot and I believe 
fatal to them, for we ooold see them falling ont of 
the tops and hear their shrieks and groans. It falling 
dark and oar ri^ng cat to pieces, we oonld not 
worh onr ship and so lost oar prize.*' The Sullivan 
seems to have safFered most severely, having eleven 
killed and twenly-three wounded, many of them 
dangerously. The Isabella lost two killed and ten 
wdunded, one mortally.* 

On the morning of May 26, some distance off 
the Delaware capes, the British ship Minerva, car- 
rying sixteen six-poanders, ten coehoms, and forty 
men, fell in with an American brigantine mounting 
fourteen guus, sixes and fours, six coehoms, and 
twenty-four swivels. Hie British account says : <' At 
eight o'clock be came up with us, it blowing then 
easy ; he kept his head toward us, so that weconld not 
see his whole force, and we suspected his attempting 
to board, on which we fired a cohom and hoisted 
OUT colours. He still keeping his station, we fired 
on board of him and opened our stem ports ; on 
seeing this he run up abreast and gave us a broad- 
side, hoisting tibe 13 stripes. We returned his broad- 
1 Waiiamt, 214, 216. 

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8tde and the action continued for one hoar and 67 
minutes, having obliged him to sheer o£E at ten 
o'clock We were in no condititm to follow Mm, 16 
of our crew beii^ killed and woonded, our scuppers 
on both sides running with blood, I may say, of as 
brave men as ever faced an enemy, our sails and 
rigging being mostly cut and destn^ed and all onr 
masts veiy severely woonded. Our greatest distance 
from the inivateer durii^ the engagement did not 
exceed the l^igth of our ship and we were often 
yard arm and yard arm, scarce clearing one an- 
other's rising. Our topmast stay-sail, whicb con- 
tinued set during the action, had 180 shot through 
it, d great shot besides small ones through our en- 
sign, 1 through our pendant, 13 shot in our mizen- 
mast, onr main-mast shot through and onr fore-mast 
greatly damaged. I bdieve that the rebel was as 
much damaged in rigging as ourselves and his loss 
of men must have been very otmsiderable, he being 
quite crowded vitii diem; he carried six swivels in 
his tops and great quantities of their shot consisted 
of old iron cut square, old pots, old bolts, &c About 
the middle of the engagement an alarm was raised 
that our ship was beginning to sink ; on this a 
number of the men deserted their quarters, and 
among them the person who was at the helm. The 
captun rallied them instantly, took the helm him- 
self, and while standing there a ball went through' 
his hat." The report that the ship was sinking 
"arose from some of the enemy's shot having gone 

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through and tkroagh, vhioh staved 14 pnnobeoiu 
of mm between decks," " Snch resolntioti was then 
shewn that had the ship been in a sinking condi- 
tion, I am oonnnoed she wonld have gone to the 
bottom with the oolotm standing, every one on board 
being determined to sell his life as dear as he could. 
The lebel huled ns to strike, bat we coold spare 
no time to answer him." The Minerva lost seven 
killed and nine vonnded. She was mnc^h crippled, 
and with the he^ of a British frigate got into New 
York f oar days later. * 

Four Conneeticat fishermen were oaptored 1:^ 
the British at sea in September, 1778, and taken 
to Jamaica, where they wero impressed on board 
the sloop Active, bound to New York. Daring the 
voyage the foor Americans rose npon the ca«w of 
the Active, fourteen in number, and confined them 
below. Although the British were armed and made 
many desperate attempts to regun possessicm of 
the doop, they wero finally subdued after a two 
days' struggle. The Active was then headed for 
port, but was seized by a Pennsylvania state cruiser 
and a privateer, who daimed her as a prize and 
took her into Philadelphia. The conflicting claims 
of the Conneeticat fishermen and the last captors, for 
prize money, led to loi^ and important litigation, 
involving,the question of state sovereignty.' 

> Limdm Ckronide, Ootobn 8, 1T78, reprinted in Penn. Mag- 
BitL and Biogr., April 1689. 

' Fam. Mag. Biit. and Biogr., JauMrj, 18S3 ; Jameioo'i £uajr« 
in Caiatitiitiimcd HUtory 17. 8., 17. 

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Tlie twenty-gun ship General Hancock, Captain 
Hardy, a privateer of Boston, on the 19th of Sep- 
tember fell in with the British letter of marque Le- 
vant, of thirty-two guns, and they fought three 
hours, beginning at one o'clock in the afternoon. 
Both ships hoisted their colors and after firing a 
few shot the levant came alongside the General 
Hancock; then the action began. At half-past two 
Capt^n Hardy received a severe wound, which 
proved fatal. The ships exchanged broadsides at 
short range nntil four o'clock, when the Levant 
blew up, part of the wreck falling on board the 
American ship. The Hancock's boats were im- 
mediately lowered and eighteen of the Levant's 
crew of about a hundred were saved. The AmenoaQ 
loss included four killed, besides the captain.^ 

The recall of the British ambassador from France 
in March, 1778, was followed by preparations for 
war between the two nations. The French collected 
a fleet at Brest under the command of the Comte 
d'Orvilliers and another at Toulon under the Comte 
d'Estung. The Brest fleet fought an indecisive 

> Almon, Tii, ISS; Continaital Jimrml, September S4, 1TI8. 
Tha Levant ii called a frigate in the aoooaiit of the aSair. Fnr- 
tbet Msounta of prirataeri and priiee in 1T78 ore given in Jf. E. 
Hilt, and Gen. Beg., njii (XS6fl), 47, 181, 280 ; London aironicle, 
January IS, Fehiowy 24, Jnna 16, AngnM 29, September 29, 1778 ; 
Boged Amer. Gaxttte (Nev Tork), Maioh 19, 1778 ; Botlon Poft, 
Octobet IT, December 5, 1778; Perm. Paeha, July 14, 17T6; 
Bo^im Gaxttte, Angaat 24, September 14, 21, Ootober 12, 1778 ; 
MattaekiueUi Spy, June 25, IfoTembei 6, 17TS ; Ind^ndad Chron- 
ide, Deoembei 24, 177a 

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engagement cS Ushant m July with the BritiBh 
fleet of Admiral Keppel. It iras intended that the 
Toulon fleet should cross the Atlantic and blockade 
Admiral Howe inDelaware Bay. The overwhelming 
preponderance of sea power on the side of the Brit- 
ish had hitherto given them nearly complete control 
of the American coast ; and they had been free to 
move their troi^ and supplies from place to place 
with little hindrance, except the occaBi<maI loss of 
a transport which bad bec(»ne separated from its 
convoy. There was now a prospect of the Americans 
being able, wiA the help of French fleets, to dis- 
pute the naval supremacy of England, at least along 
their own shores. Disappointments wero in storo for 
them, however, and began with the dilatoriness 
which marked the preparation of this Toulon fleet 
from the beginning, and all its subsequent move- 
ments. D'Estaing sailed from Toulon April 13, 
taking with him as passengers M. Gerard, the first 
minister plenipotentiary of France to the United 
States, and Silas Deane, who had been recalled by 
Congress and was returning home to explain his 
transactions in France. The fleet passed Gibraltar 
more than a month later and appeared off the 
Delaware capes July T. It was said that this ex- 
ceptifHially long voyage was due to time spent in 
drills and to nnnecessary delays, but D'Estaing 
himself says it was caused by the extreme slowness 
of some of his vessels and the necessity of keejnng 
his fleet together. At any rate, he was too late to 

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accomplish the first great object of the expedition, 
wbioh was to close the Delaware before the British 
left it. Howe had sailed June 22, passed oat of the 
bay on the 28th, aod arrired off Sandy Hook two 
days later. The eracuatiai of Philadelphia by the 
British had been ordered early in the spring and 
was carried ont June 18. Howe's fleet had on board 
all the stores and ba^^age of the army, which 
marched overland throngh New Jersey. If the Brit- 
ish fleet had been canght in the Delaware, it ia 
possible that a victory as decisive aa that of York- 
town tliree years later might have been the result ; 
for the British army, without their fleet to tauis- 
port them from the lower bay of New York to the 
city, might hare fared badly. D'Estaing, moreover, 
having captured Howe's fleet, conld have taken 
New Y(»k. Howe on July 12 had six ships of sixly- 
fonr or more gnns, three fifties, two forty-fours, 
and four frigates. Another British fleet onder Ad- 
miral Byron was coming to reinforce him. D'Esbung 
had eight ships of seventy-four or more guns, three 
sixty-fours, one fifty, and five frigates.^ 

D'Estaing soon sailed for New York widi the in- 
tention of entering the harbor and attacking Howe. 
He arrived off Sandy Hook July 11, but did not 
go inside. He was told by all tiie pilots he consulted 
that his heavier ships could not pass over the 

1 Alman, Ti, 122 ; Sdu>t^>trg, ir, 331, 33S ; 8andi, 76, Sll ; Mo- 
han, 350, 359, 360 ; Uniltd S^miet, October, 1905, " D'Eetuug'i 
' ; Stapford-SadmiUt MSS., HO ; Ciatming, tii, 288. 298. 

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bar. He offered a hundred and fifty thoasand francs 
to any pilot who wooLl take him inaide, bat no one 
volunteered. Thns a second opportouity to annihi- 
late the British fleet was lost. The French policy 
perhaps did not fovor an early and decisive triumph 
of the American cause, sod possibly D'Estiung was 
less strenaons in his efforts thtm he would hare been 
if he had been fighting for hia own country alone. 
Tim wonld have been reasonalde from the French 
point of -view and consistent with the admind's in- 
stmotions, niuch called for the performance <^ 
some ** actim beneficial to the Americans, glorious 
for the arms of the king, fit to manifest immediately 
the protection that His Majesty accorded to his 
allies." ^ 

D'Estaing remuned off Sandy Hook eleven days, 
and is said to have captured during that time twenty 
British vessels bound into New York. July 22 he 
sailed for Newport, having been requested by Wash- 
ington to cooperate with General Sullivan in an 
attack on that town. On the 29th the French fleet 
appeared off Newport and a few days later occupied 
the eastern and western channels of Narragansett 
Bay. Fonr British frigates and two sloops of war 
were destroyed, either by the French or by the 
Bnglish themselves, to prevent capture. Unfortun- 
ately Sullivan did not get ready for the movement 
i^inst Newport until August 8. D'Estaing then 
ran into the central channel of the bay, under fire 
1 Unittd atrviee, Ootobw, ISOS. 

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from the batteries at the entrance, and anchored 
the umu hodj of his fleet north of the harbor. The 
attack was planned for the lOdu On Uie 9th the 
British fleet appeared off Point Judith, where 
it anchored. %we had sailed from New York An- 
gnst 1, having been reinforced hy several ships of 
Admiral Byron's fleet, whii^ had been scattered bj 
a storm on its passE^ from England. Howe now 
had with him one sevenfy-four, seven sixty-fours, 
five fifties, two forfy-fonrs, six frigates, and several 
small vesselB. Althoogh his force was thus consid- 
erably increased, he was still somewhat weaker than 
his adversary, and seems to have had no intention 
of attacking. Under the circumstances, however, 
D'Estiung preferred the open sea, and early the 
next morning, August 10, the wind having shifted 
to the north during the night, he cut his cables and 
ran out of the bay. Upon observing this movement 
of the French, Howe got nnder way, and the two 
fleets spent the next twenty-four hours manoeuvring 
for the weather-gauge, or, according to D'Estaing's 
account, the British fleet fled before the wind, at- 
tempting to get back to New York, with the French 
in pursuit. This continued until late on the after- 
noon of the 11th, and the leading French ships were 
just overhauling the British rear, when the wind, 
which had been increasing, became a violent gale, 
which so<m scattered the vessels of both fleets, each 
ship being engi^ed in a straggle vrith the elements. 
" At half-past three in the morning " of the 12th, 

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Bays D'Eataing in hii report, " the bowsprit broke, 
then t^ f oranast, tinea the main-top, then tiie mis* 
zenmast ; finaUy the mainmast felL Our mdder 
broke next. This la«t niisforttaie was the greatest 
of alL We were now only a floattng mass with no- 
thing to steady ns and nothingto guide as." ^ This 
was the plight of the admiral's £ag-ehip, the Lah- 
gnedoc, of ninety gmis. The storm oontinaed nnt^ 
bated until the afternoon of the 13th, when it sab- 
sided. Before ni^it the Langaedoc and another di»- 
masted French ship were attacked by two British 
ships, bat darkness pat an end to the enooanter. 
The nect day most of the French fleet came together 
and anchored for temporary rep^rs. The British 
made their way back to New York. D'Estaing, hav- 
ing completed necessary repurs, bore away for 
Bbode Island August IT, and appeared i^ain before 
Newport on the 20tb. It was then decided tliat 
the fleet oonld be thoroughly refitted at no plaoe 
nearer than Boston, and D'Estaing therefore sailed 
again on the 22d, to the great disappointment of 
Sulliran, who was forced to abandon his campaign 
against Newport. The French arrived in the lower 
harbor of Boston August 28, and four days later 
Howe's fleet, having refitted at New York, appeared 
in sight On his way to Boston, Howe had captured 
ihe Continental brig Besistance, which had been 
sent out to look for the French fleet. FindingD'Es- 
tung's position too strong to be attacked, Howe 
I TTnittd Barvice, Ootobei, 190S. 

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floon departed, retaming to New York. D' Estaing 
remained at Boston over two months, finally sailing 
for the West Indies Korember 4. He arrired at 
Martiniqae December 9.* 

Shortly after the final departure of D'£staing 
from Khode Islancl, the British frigate Carysfort, 
Captun Fanshawe, with a considerable fleet and a 
detachment of the army under General Grey, made 
a raid, September 4, npon American shij^ing in 
Buzzard's Bay and at Martha's Vineyard. The ez> 
pedition was sent by Admiral Glambier, who about 
this time sncoeeded Howe in command of the North 
American station. At New Bedford, Fair Haven, 
and Holmes's Hole about twenty yessels of acmie 
size, besides seventy smaller ones and many boats, 
were destroyed; also twenty-six Btorehouses and 
other public property. Major Silaa Talbot of the 
Continental army reported to General Sullivan that 
iiie British fleet comprised f or^-five s^ great and 
small, brining four thousand troops, to oppose 
whom the Americans mustered one thousand militia. 
Talbot said that besides destroying nearly all the 
shipping at New Bedford, they burned twenty shops 
and twenty-two houses in the town. A few weeks 
later Qambier sent ont another marauding expedi- 

> Maiart, 3G9-366 ; Cloatt, iii, SQT-lll ; United Strviet, Oeia- 
ber,]90S; Alman, m, 21-60, 100-112 ; Dmiof, iii, ali. tu ; CheTD- 
Ubt's Marine fVanfinM, eb. ili; Clark, i, 33, 84 j Seiomberg, it, 
S38, Saa ; PM. B. I. Hitt. Sec., nil, 2SS. For Dr. Samoel Cooper'a 
Moonnt of D'EatMiitg, m* BaU, i, 163. 


tion, to £gg Harbor, New JerBej.^ These tranaao- 
tiona were in line with the policy advocated earlier 
in the y%ax by Germain,* whose Under-Secretary, 
William Knox, wrote October 81 : " What a proof 
is the Bedford enterprize of the propriety of the 
orders so repeatedly given for attacking the rebel 
sea ports, and what a reflection ia it npou Lord 
Howe's character that Grambier, in his short ab- 
sence, has done more to sabdoe the BebeUioa than 
his lordship daring the whole of his command. It 
was always dear io i^iecnla^D tiiat the Militia 
wonld never stay with Washington or qmt their 
homes, if the coast was kept in alarm, bnt the ex- 
periment having now been made, the effect is re- 
duced to a certainty. Surely somebody will ask 
Lord Howe why be has never attempted any- 
thing of the kind." "I much fear [lyEsbung] 
will go to die West Indies, . . . bot perhaps By- 
ron's enterprising torn may discover the practioa- 
bili^ of burning his fleet and tiis town of Boston 
tt^ther, and then everything will succeed wifli 

General Snllivau evaonated Bhode Island by 
passing over to the mdnland at Tiverton August 
29. The British fortified the eastern channel of 

1 AIiiuM,-m.3a-3S,41-^.lU-15&;Stttiau,nm;^>arkilt83., 
Saptembei 1, 177S, Talbot to SalliTaii. 

' Sea above, p. 2S1. 

* Biit. Mamaeriptt Com., Fiirtiiiu CoHeeiiaiu, ti, l&S. For other 
ooDtemporaiy opituoui of Howa, Me Mait. Hut. Bee Pree^ No- 
vembei, 19ia 

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Narragansett Bay, or Sakonnet Eiver, by batteries 
on the shore and by a two-biuidred-ton schooner 
named the Hgot, armed with eight twelve-poanders, 
manned by a orew of forty-five men and moored 
near the mouth of the river. Major Talbot fitted 
out at Providence a small sloop called the Hawke 
vitii two three-pounders and manned her vith a 
detaohment from the army afterwards reinforced, 
it is s^d, to the number of sixty in all. Talbot pro- 
ceeded to Mount Hope Bay where he waited for a 
feivorable wind. On the night of October 28 he 
dropped down the river and passed the batteries 
oneeen, drifting downstreaoi under bare poles. " At 
half-past one," he says in his report, " got sight of 
the schooner Pigot, but a small distance from her 
was hiuled by her and fired upon by her marines 
from the quarter-dec^, bnt reserved oar fire till we 
had run oar jibb boom through her fore shrouds, 
then threw in such a volley of musketry loaded witi 
bullets and buckshot and some cannon, that the sea- 
men that were on deck immediately ran below beg- 
ging for quarters and them that were below never 
made their appearance upon deck, the consequence 
of which was, my men run oat upon our jibb boom 
and boarded her without the loss of a man. We 
came to sail with her and run into this harbor 
[Stoningtou], where my men are all landed and on 
their march to Providence." ^ For this exploit Ma- 
jor Talbot was promoted to the rank of lientenant- 
1 AiiMn, Tu, 8S7. 

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colonel in tlie Continental army and was afterwards 
imn^fl a captain in the naw.' 

In Boston Hubor about the middle of Decem- 
ber were the Continoital frigates Warren, Provi- 
dence, Boston, Deane, and Quem of France. All 
except the first of these vessels had oome from France 
daring iiie year. There was likewise in port tiia 
new frigate Alliance, boilt at Salisbury on the Mer- 
rimao Biver and fitting ont for her first voyage. One 
or two state omisers and about ten large privateers 
were also lying in Boston Harbor at this time. Of 
the frigates the Deane was folly manned and ready 
for sea : the others would have been nearly so, if 
privateering had not made it practically impossible, 
without great delay, to get men for their crews.* 
Theee six frigates represented almost the entire 
straigth of the Continental navy in conmusntm in 
American waters at the end of 1778. 

> Continental Journal, Korembar 19, 1778 ; SoiUh Pint, So- 
TemlMT 28, ITIB ; Tuokannu'i Life of Tidhot, oh. iiL 

■ PuU. R. I. But. 8oc., viu, 2S5, 2S6 ; BrU. Adm. Bee.. A. D. 
489, No. 19, DaMmbet 20, 1116, intelliKWoe ooll«ated tot Admiral 

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Captain John Paul Jones brought the Eanger to 
France in December, 1777, eager to cany the war 
upon the enemy's shores. He wrote to the Maiine 
Committee : " It is my hearts first and favorite wish 
to be employed in Active and enterprizing Services 
where there is a prospect of Kendering such Services 
Useful and Acceptable to America. The Singular 
Honor which Congress hath done me by their gen- 
erous approbation of my past Conduct hath inspired 
me with Sentiments of Gratitude which I shall 
carry with me to my Grave ; and if a life of Services 
devoted to America can be made instrumental in 
securing its Independence, I shall regard the Con- 
tinnance of such approbation as an honor far Supe* 
riour to the Empty Peagentiy which Kings ever did 
or can bestow." * 

During the first two months after his arrival, 
Jones spent much time in Paris, conferring with 
the American Commissioners. While there be 
suggested the cruise of a French fleet to America, 
which a little later was carried out by D'Entaing. 
As to his own plans, the c«nmand of the Indien, 
building at Amsterdam, had been intended for him, 
1 Piip. CiM. Congr., 6S, 187 (DaMinbw 11^ ITTI). 

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but this TfitBcl had been transferred to the French 
goremment for political reaEons. In being deprived 
of this fine ship, Jones met with one of tbe most 
trying of bis many disappointments. A cruise io 
the Ranger vaa then proposed. Jones had already 
stated to the oomminioners ' bis viewB of sound 
American policy, which was to attack defenseless 
seaports of the eatsay and to cruise, in squadrons if 
posmble, against bis commeroe in bis own waters, 
wbei« it was concentrated, rather than attempt to 
cope with an overwhelming naval power ; to destroy 
tbe greatest amount of property in the shortest time, 
striking quickly and unexpectedly, rather than 
attempt to send in prizes at too great risk of re- 
capture. This policy was less [leasing to those under 
faim, whose first thought was of prize money.' 

Early in February, 1778, J<me6 returned to hi* 
abip, which, having been tboronghly refitted, dropped 
down the Lcure to Quiberon Bay, where lay a French 
fleet under Admiral Ia Motte Picquet The Con- 
tinental brig Independence, Captain Young, was 
also in the bay. Jones negotiated with the admiral 
through William Carmiohael, secretary to Silas 
Deane, in r^;ard to a salute of thirteen guns which 
he [Httposed to ^ve to tbe French flag. He after- 
wards wrote to the Marine Committee : " I am 
haj^y in having it in my power to oongratnlate yon 
on my having aeen tbe American flag for the first 
time recognised in the f uQest and oompletest manner 

t In U« Uttai of DNHubw 6, 1171. * StmJ*, 72-16, 3U. 

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hj &e flag of France. I was off their bay the ISth 
and sent my boat in the next day to know if the 
Admiral would return my salute. He answered that 
he would return to me, as the senior American 
continental officer in Europe, the same salute which 
he was authorized by his court to return to an 
Admiral of Holland or oi any other Bepublic, which 
was four guns less than the salnte given. I hesitated 
at this, for I had demanded gun for gun. There- 
fore I anchored in the entrance of the bay, at a 
distance from the French fleet ; but after a very 
particular inquiry on the 14th, finding that he had 
really told the truth, I was induced to accept his 
offer, the more so as it was in fact an acknowledg- 
ment of American Independence. The wind being 
contrary and blowing hard, it was after sunset before 
the Banger got near enough to salute La Motte 
Ficqnet with thirteen guns, which he returtied widi 
nine. Howerer, to pat the matter beyond a doubt, 
I did not suffer the Independence to salute till the 
next morning, when I sent the Admiral word that 
I should sail through his fleet in the brig and 
would salute him in open day. He was exceedingly 
pleased and returned the comjdiment also with nine 
guns." • 

This was the most authoritative salute up to that 
time given to the American flag by a foreign power. 
Although Jones says that neither he nor La Motte 
Piequet knew of the alliance that had been con- 

I 8and$, 7T (FaliniM; 2S, 1778). 

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eluded a week before, it is probaUe that the admiral 
had receired aome intimation of the propriety of 
returning an American salute. The ackaowledg- 
ment of the Andrew Dona's salute at St. Eostatina 
in 1776,' the first notice taken of a Continental 
vessel, was disavowed by the Dutch goremment, and 
tlie response to that of the privateer General AGfllin 
at Brest in 1777^ was not admitted b; the French 
government. The salute to the Banger's fl^ was, 
as Jones says, a formal recognition of American 
independence and was a natami sequence of the 
treaties of commerce and of alliance which had been 
ngned February 6 by representatives of the United 
States and France.^ 

An oatoome, presumably, of this episode in Qni- 
beion Bay was a discussion some weeks later of the 
general subject of international salutes, among high 
naval officials of France and on board D'Estaing'a 
fleet. On his voyage to America the admiral con- 
ferred with his distinguished passenger Gerard, 
minister to the United States, and in June a coun- 
cil of officers was held on the flagship at which the 
project of an ^reement between the United States 
and France, relating to this subject, was drawn 
np. It provided that ships of either power entering 

1 S«a aboTfl, p. 159. ■ Sm sbova, p. 280. 

■ Sandi, 78-78 ; SAer^unw, 216 ; Mimoire* de Paid Jona, 24 ; 
Dr. Oretn's Diary, Febnur; 13, 11, 15, 1778 ; Joat* MSS., latten 
of Cirrokh**! and Pioqmt. TAntrj 13. H, 1778 ; Sparks «88., 
zllx, 12 (JonM to Danns, Fabrour 20. 1778) ; Leg of Ranger, Feb- 
vaaij 11, in^i au^fard'SaelcBiUt MSS., 100; Suvem, 169% 

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ports of the other Bhonld salute first, in reoognitioii 
of territoml soTereignty ; that betweea ships com- 
manded by officers of equal rank, tlie American 
should salate first, thereby acknowledging the pre- 
oedenoe of tiie French crown, bat in other cases 
the inferior should fire the first salute ; and finally, 
that all salutes should be returned b; an equal 
number of guns.^ 

The brig Independence sailed for America in 
the spring. By Jones's advice Captain Young at- 
tempted to get into Ooraooke Inlet, North Caro- 
lina, but unfortunately his ship was wrecked <m 
the bar.* 

From Quiberon Bay the Banger proceeded to 
Brest, uriring below the town March 8. The fleet 
of Admiral d'Orrilliers was at that time lying in 
the harbor of Brest. In this vicinity the Banger 
remained a month and ^;ain saluted the French flag, 
receiving eleven gnus in return for thirteen. April 
10 she sailed on a cruise in British waters. On the 
14th, between Sdlly and Cape Clear, a brigantine 
was taken and sunk, and on the ITth, off Dublin, 
a ship was captured which Jones ssut back to Brest. 
The events of the following week, during which the 
Banger cruised about the Isle of Man and the adja- 
cent shores of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the 

1 Ardiiva de la Marine, B< 141, SOS-SIS. 

* JcoM MS8., CapL Ball to Jobm (NareinlMr 8, 1778), Jimw 
to Bflll (NoTBrnber 16, 1T7S>, and to Toniv (Norembar 16, ITTS); 
Jfor. Con, Later Book, 146, 1S7, 168 (to ToaDg ud to "Sktj 
Bowd, Ukj 6, JoDs 18, 1778). 

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neighborliood of JoDw'a early life, added maoh to 
his naval repatatioQ.^ 

Towards eveiuDg of April 17, Jones " stood over 
from the Isle of Man, with an intention to make a 
descent at Whitehaven. At 10 o'clock," he says in 
his report to the oommissioners, " I was ofE the 
harbor with a par^ of volaitteers and had ereiy- 
Hiing in readiness to land, bat before eleven tiie 
wind greatly increased and shifted, so as to blow 
directly npon the shore ; the sea increased of oonne, 
and it became impossible to effect a landing. This 
obliged me to carry all possible sul so as to dear 
the land and to await a more favorable opportoni^." * 

During the next few days a revenue cutter was 
chased and a schooner and sloop were sunk. Ad- 
verse winds prevented an attempt being made to 
destroy a number of vessels at anchor in a bay on 
the Scotch coast " The 21st, being near Carriok- 
fergus, a fishing boat came off, which I detained. I 
saw a ship at ancJior in the road which I was in- 
formed hj the fisherman was the British aUp-of- 
war Drake, of 20 guns. I determined to attack her 
in Ute ni^t. My plan was to overlay her cable and 
to fall upon her bow, so as to have all her decks 
open and exposed to our musketry, &e. ; at the same 
time it was my intention to have seonred the en- 

1 For Okla orniw of the Ruissr, aes £lniji, 79-08 ; Sherburm, 
44-61 i Oretn'i Diary i Scribxr'* Xig., Jul;, 1698 ; Joiw 1188. ; 
Lag Iff Banger. 

* SJUrhinu, 46 (Jonm to Amerioan Commianonen, Hmr 27, 

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emy by graplings, bo that had they cnt their cables 
they vould not thereby have attained an advantage. 
The wind vas high and unfortunately the anchor 
was not let go so soon aa the order was ^ren, so 
that the Banger was brought np on the enemy's 
quarter at the distance of half a cable's length. We 
bad made no warlike appearance, of course had 
given no alarm ; this determined me to cut imme- 
diately, which might appear as if the cable bad 
parted and at the same time euaUe me, after mak< 
ing a tack out of the Lough, to return with ike 
same prospect of advantage which I had at the 
first I was, however, prevented from returning, as 
I with difBculty weathered the lighthouse on the 
lee side of the Lough, and as the gale increased. 
The weather now became so veiy stormy and se- 
vere and the sea so high tliat I was obliged to take 
shelter under the south shore of Scotland.^ 

" The 22d introduced fair weaUiw, thoogh the 
three Idngdonis as &r as the eye could reach were 
covered with snow. I now resolved once more to 
attempt Whitefaavcn, but the wind became very 
light, so that the ship could not in proper time ap- 
proach so near as I had intended. At midnight I 
left the ship with two boats and thir^-one volon- 
teers. When we reached tlie outer pier the day 
b^an to dawn. I woold not, however, abandon my 
enterprise, but despatched one boat under the di- 
rectbn of Mr. Hill and Lieutenant Wallingsford, 

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witii the neoMsmzy otunbiutiUeB, to set fire to the 
■bipping on the north side of the harbor, vhOe I 
mnt with the other party to attempt the soatb Bide. 
I was sncoeaafnl in scaling the vails and spiking vp 
all die " n"""" in t^M* first fort. Unding the sents> 
nels shot np in the guard house, they were aecnied 
without hang hnrt. Having fixed soitinels, I now 
ioc^witliiiieoneiQaDmily (Mr. Gireen), and ajnlced 
i^ aD Uie camion on the sondiem feat, distant frun 
the odm a quarter of a mile. On my return from 
thia bnnness I natural^ expected to see the fire of 
the shqis on Ae north nde, as well as to find my 
own party with eTerytbing in readiness to set fire 
to the shipping in the sonth. Instead of this, I 
found the boat nndor tin directi<m of Mr. Hill and 
Mr. Wallingafonl returned and the par^ in stnne 
oonfnfflon, th^ light having bnmt out at the in- 
stant when it became necessary. By th« itrangest 
fatality my own party were in the same utnation, 
the candles being all bnmt ont. The day too came 
cm apaee, yet I would by no means retreat wHle any 
hopes <rf snooess remained. Having again placed 
sentinels, a light was obtained at a house disjoined 
from the town and fire was kindled in the steerage 
of a la^e ehip which was surrounded by at least 
an hundred and fifty others, diiefly fnnn two to 
four hundred tons burthen and laying side by side 
l^round, nnsnrrounded by the water. There were 
besides from seventy to an hundred large ships id 
the north arm of the harbor aground, dear of the 

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water, and divided from the rest only hy a stone 
pier of a ship's height I should have kindled fires 
in other places if the time had permitted. As it did 
not, oor care was to prevent the one kindled from 
being easily extinguished. After some search a 
barrel of tar was found and poured into the flames, 
which now ascended from all the hatchways. The 
inhabitants began to appear in thousands and in- 
dividuals ran hastily towards us. I stood between 
them and the ship on fire with a pistol in my hand 
and ordered tJiem to retire, which they did wiUi 
precipitation. The flames had already caught the 
rigging and began to ascend the mainmast. The 
sun was a fall hoar's march above the horizon and 
as sleep no bnger ruled the world, it was time to 
retire. We re-embarked without opposition, having 
released a number of prisoners, as our boats could 
not cany them. After all my people had embarked 
I ^stood upon the pier for a considerable time, yet 
no persons advanced. I saw all the eminenoes 
aronnd the town covered with the amazed inhab- 

*' When we had rowed a oonndeiable distance 
from the shore, the English b^an to run in vast 
numbers to their forts. Their disappointment may 
easily be imagined, when they found at least thirty 
heavy cannon, the instruments of their vengeance, 
rendered useless. At length, however, they began 
to fire, having, as I apprehend, either brought 
■ Siertmm, 47. 

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itmm aiip garner wati <me or tm» ea^tam wiSA 

ll^ OB Ae beadi at die foot of tibe wilk £iBoafad, 
•Dd irinefa had not beeo qiiked. T^ frnd vidi bo 
diiwtioDaBd die Aot falfii^ ifaort of Ae bostB, 
inrtriil at doing v» anj daoage, mffovded eaae 
dnwwm, irinefa n^ pco|de eonld not 1m^ dia«i^ 
hj iSaebarpag ibar potols, Ae. m ratnni of the 
Mhtto. H»d it been powUe to Imv hnded » fev 
Boon woooUf tttj floeeeH woold bnv beat eomiiiete- 
Rot ft ffai^ aUp out of mom dan two faondrad 
eonld poenUj' Inm eaeaped, «nd all die woiU 
would not bftre been aide to nrc die town. What 
waa done, bowery ia anfficient to abow dnt not aU 
tbeir boaated navj can protect tbeir own eonata, and 
dut die aeenea of dtstavaa ^wlndi they fasre oee»- 
noned in Ammca maj be soon b ou g ht home to 
tbor own door." ^ 

An Engjiah aeoonnt says: "Att 4 o'Chick a 
Prirateer of Eigfatecm Guna & one hnndred & 
twenty Men landed sboat thirty Men m onr Haz^ 
bour ft eet a Veasel on lire & disfcriboted Com- 
btutiblee in seveial Odiers; the FriTateer ia yet 
standtng on ft off ft as we joat now hear ia stretch- 
ing widi Wind at East to the W.N.W."* Ao- 
Gording to another letter from WbitebaTen, '* the 
privateer'B people who landed here this morning 
were all armed with jnstds and cotlassea and re- 
tired to their boats about four o'clock. . . . They 
had on their first landing spiked up sereral of the 
1 SWitmw, 48. * FUUtoDM Gulmu iMtr Book, 90. 

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cannon, in ariet to Beenre tlieir retreat. A nnmber 
of people flocking to the fort, some shot were fired 
at the boats, but without doing any ezecntion. 
After the boats reached the primteer, she stood 
over to Hie Scotch side, and as large oolnmns of 
smoke have been seen on the Scotch shore this 
afternoon, it is feared he has done some mischief 
there." * 

Having reached the Scotch shore, Jcmes landed 
abont noon on St. Mary's Isle, ^'with one boat 
aniy and a very small parly." Here was the estate 
of the Efu4 of Selkirk, very near Jones's birth- 
place. The plan was to seize the earl and cany 
him to France, to serve as a hostage for the better 
treatment of American prisoners in England or to 
seonre the release of a number of t^m in exchange. 
Unfortunately for the soccess of the project, Sel- 
kirk was absent. The officers and men with Jones, 
who thus far had had little prospect of prize money, 
now demanded the privil^e of bringing away some 
booty from the estate. The raids of the British in 
America, in which private property was not re- 
spected, were fresh in their minds. Jones unwill- 
ingly consented that they might demand and take 
such of the family plate as might be delivered to 
them. This was done, the men behaving in an or- 
derly manner and not entering the house. Jones 
afterwards purchased this plate, worth several hun- 
dred poonds, at his own expense, and restored it to 

1 Landmi (Jkrmadt, A[«a 30, 17T8. 

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Sdkiik, from wbom be we « TBd full adoMnriad^ 

Hie week*! cndie in Hie Irish See ended iritli a 
noteble event in oar tariy naval hietcsy, iriiieh 
Jones relates in his letter to die omninisnonera at 
Fsrifl. " On Hie morning of the 24th I ms agun 
off Carrit^Jeagns and would have gtme in had I not 
seen the Drake preparing to otHueoot It was very 
modfflate and the Drake's boat was sent oat to re- 
otHinoitre the Banger. As tinB boat adTanoed I kept 
the ship's stem dlrectlj towards her and, thongh 
tiiey had a spy glass in the boat, they came on 
within hul and alongside. When the offioer came 
an the quarter-deck he was greatly surprised to find 
himmlf a prisoner, although an express had arrived 
from Whitehaven the night before. I now under- 
stood what I had before im^ined, that the Drake 
oame out, in oonsequence of this information, with 
▼olnnteers ^^ainst the Banger. The ofBeer told me 
also that they had taken up the Banger's anchor. 
The Diake was attended hy five small vessels fall 
of people who were led by onriosify to see an en- 
gagement But when they saw the Drake's boat at 
the Banger's stem tb^ wisely pat back. Alarm 
smokes now appeared in great abundance, extend- 
ing along on both sides of the channel. The tide 
was unfavorable, so that the Drake wor^d oat but 
abwly. This obliged me to mn down several times 
and to lay with oonrses np and main-topsail to the 

> ShtrburM, 48, B1-S& 

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mast. At length the Drake weathered the point 
and, having led her out to about mid-channel, I 
Buffered her to com« within hail. The Drake hoisted 
English colors and at the same instant the Ameri- 
can stars were displayed on board the Ranger, I 
expected that preface had been now at an end, but 
the enemy soon after hailed, demanding what ship 
it was ? I directed the master to answer, ' the Ameri- 
can Continental ship Banger, that we wuted for 
them and desired that they would come on; the sun 
was now little more than an hour from setting, it 
was therefore time to begin.' The Drake being 
astern of the Ranger, I ordered the helm up and 
gave her the first broadside. The action was warm, 
close, and obstinate. It lasted an hour and four 
minutes, when the enemy called for quarters, her 
fore and main-topsail yards being both cut away 
and down on the cap, the top-gallant yard and mizen- 
gaff both hanging up and down along the mast, the 
second ensign which they had hoisted shot away 
and hanging on the quarter-gaUery in the water, 
the jib shot away and hanging in the water, her 
sails and rigging entirely cot to pieces, her masts 
and yards all wounded, and her hull also very much 
galled. I lost only Lieutenant Wallingsford and one 
seaman, John Dougall, killed, and six wounded, 
among whom are the gunner, Mr. Falls, and Mr. 
Powers, a midshipman, who lost his arm. One of 
the wounded, Nathaniel Wills, is unce dead ; the 
rest will recover," ^ Jones estimated llie British loss 
1 Blurbume, 43, 49. 

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at forty-two killed and wounded, bat it was pioba- 
\Ay less ; the oaptun was killed and the lientenant 
mortally wounded. 

The Drake's armament oonsiBted of twenty foiiF> 
poimders, the Banger's of eighteen ^-poondera. 
Acoording to different accounts, the Drake's crew 
unmbered one hondred and fiffy to one hundred 
and ninety and was probably little in excess of 
the lower figure. It consisted partly of vtdnnteers 
and raw recruits and the ship had only one lieuten- 
ant. On the whole she does not appear to have been 
well prepared for battle. The Ranger also was at a 
disadvantage, her crew of one hundred and twenty- 
three being at this time in a dissatisfied and even 
mntinoua state of mind^ under the infiuence of 
the first lieutenant, Thomas Simpson.' While the 
Banger's capture of a vessel of inferior force could 
hardly be regarded as a remarkable achievemeut, it 
was still highly satisfactory to have taken a regular 
man-of-war of the enemy in his own waters. 

The day after the battle both ships were em- 
ployed in repiuring injuries. A brigantine was cap- 
tured at this time. When ready to sail, the Banger 
and Drake passed out to sea by the North Channel^ 
owing to a shift of the wind, and returned to Brest 
by way of the west coast of Ireland. May 6, Lien- 
tenant Simpson, in command of the Drake, having 
disregarded the Ranger's signals, was put nnder 
arrest by Jones for disobedience of orders. Both 
> akrbunK, 49 ; Band*, S6 ; ScribKr'* Mag., J11I7, 18D8. 

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Tesseb arrived safely at fireat May 8. An Ameri- 
can at tbat place, writing borne, sajrs : *' It was a 
pleasure to see the English flag flying under the 
American stars and stripes." ' About two hundred 
British prisoners were confined on the Brake, await- 
ing exchange. Meanwhile six British men-of-war 
had been ordered to cruise for the Kanger in St. 
Geoi^'s Channel, and it was reported in England 
that both she and the Drake had been captured by 
a British frigate.^ 

The arrest of Simpson was the outcome of an 
unfortunate state of affairs on board the fiauger. 
For a number of reasons there had been discontent 
among the orew, which had been encouraged by 
Simpson, who, it was charged by Jones, had gone 
80 far as to incite mntiny before the battle with the 
Drake, when Jones had intended to go in and at- 
tack that TesseU if she had not come out. Accord- 
ing to Jones, Simpson on that occasion " held up 
to the orew that being Americans fighting for lib- 
erty, the voice of the people should be taken before 
liie CaptMn'a orders were obeyed " ; ^ and the cap- 
tain says that if the capture of the Drake's boat 
had not brought about a change in the men's tem- 
per, adangeroos mutiny might have been the tesult 
Jones also held Simpson in some degree responsiUe 
for the failure of bis plans at Whitehaven. Simp- 
> Baten OamtU, J11I7 A. ITTS. 

% 0, e, u, ins. 

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•on haTJng come oat from Ameru» in the Banger, 
with the expectation of taking command npon Jonei 
being given a larger ship, was dissatisfied. He was 
popular with the crew ; whereas Jones, owing to his 
severe discipline, to his violent temper, and perhaps 
to other personal traits, and parUy to his indiffer- 
ence to prize money, was disliked by bis men. This 
was paiticnlarly onfortnnate because mideserved, 
for in his letters he shows constant solicitude for 
their interests. The American Commissioners in 
Paris, lacking antbority, were obliged to refuse pay- 
ment on Jones's drafts for the daily support and 
tastenance ctf his crew, which caused him great an- 
nqyaooe. Tbey also r^retted Simpson's arrest, 
especially as there were sot enoogh American of- 
floers in Enrope to convene a oonrtHnartial, and it 
would be necessary to send lum to America for 
trial. The result was that, with the approval of 
Jones, though he afterwards repented it, Simpson 
was released from custody and put in command of 
the Ranger. Surgeon Green says in his diary, July 
2T : " This day Thomas Simpson, Esqr. came cm 
board with orders to take command of the Banger, 
to the joy and satis&ction of the whole Ships com- 
pany." Not long after this the Banger sailed for 

The Arigate Bostcm, Captain Samuel Taoker, early 
ia February, 1T78, was anchored in Nantasket 

«, OMIS; Smdt, M-M, W-lOi, 117, 118, 128-126 j 

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Boada. William Jennison, lieutenant ot marines, 
records in his journal, Febrnaiy 13, that "Capt. 
Tncker went to Bnuntree in his Barge and brongbt 
iba Honble John Adams and suite on board." ^ 
This distingoished passenger had been appcnnted 
oommissioner to France in place of Silas Deane ; he 
had with bim his son John QnintT' Adams, then 
eleven years old. Febroary IS the frigate sailed 
with a wind from the west southwest; on the 20th 
it began to blow. ** A olap of thondor with sharp 
lightning broke npon the nuunmast jost above the 
upper moulding, which burnt several of the m«i on 
deck. A most terrible night. The captain of the 
munmast was struck with the lightning, which burnt 
a place on the top of his bead aboat the biguess of 
a Quarter Dollar — be lived three days and died 
raving mad."' Meanwhile tbe Boston was being 
chased by a British thirty'^iX'^pm frigate, but for^ 
innately escaped. " Capt Tucker had instmctions 
not to risque the ship in any way that might en- 
danger Mr. Adams, and was ordered to land him 
safe in France or Spain." ^ Moreover the ship was 
short-handed. March 10, "at 11 A.H. discovered 
a vessel to windward ; gave chase and came along- 
side at no<m. She fired three guns at as, one of 
which carried away oar nuzen yard. We returned 
a few Edwts and hoisted American colors, npon wliioh 

* Fain. Mag. Hitt. and Biogr., April, 1891. 

* Ibid. Thii 0MM)t7 if not iMDtian*d in Ow iliip'i Ug. 
» Ibid. 

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she strnok her colors. Onr boats vera got out im- 
mediately, bnt a heavy aqnall prerented them get- 
ting to the ship before they had thrown orerboaid 
the mail, which sank not more than a boat's hook 
length before our boats reached the ship. She wag 
named the Martha, carried 16 nine pounders and 
was . . . bound from the Thamea'f or New York." i 
Hezekiah Welch, one of the fri^ite's lieatenants, 
was put on board the Martha aa prize-mafiter and she 
was sent back to Boston. According to the inroice 
her cargo was worth nine^-seven thousand ponnda 
sterling. Tacker wrote to the Navy Board of the 
Eastern District : " I hope to pay for the Boston, 
as I bdd your bonnonrs before Sailing. I am bat 
Poorly mand to my Sorrow ; I dare not attack a 
20 gnn Ship,"^ A few days after the captnre <^ 
the Martha, the first lieutenant of the Boston, 
William Barron, was fatally injured by the barst- 
ing of a gun. After a very stormy passage the frig- 
ate anchored in the Garonne BiTer, March 81, and 
file next day went np to within three miles of 

After careening and thoronghly refitting his ship 
and enlisting a number of Fienobmen for his ciew, 
which required Bereral weeks, Captun Tucker 
dropped down the river. On June 6, the Boston 
sailed in company with a French frigate and a fleet 

> Penn. Mag., April, 1801. > Taektr MSS., Hanh 11, 1778. 
* lAfeof Tv^ctr, oh. IT, KBd appendix, l«g of theBorton; ^- 
duva de la Marint, B' 11> 

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of merchantmen. She then made a short eruiee in 
the Bay of Biacay and along the French coast, dur- 
ing which four prizes were taken. The Boston went 
into L'Orient July 8 and remuned nearly a month. 
Tucker had trouble with his crew ; Jnae 19 be wrote 
to the Navy Board that the situation with respect 
to hiB people was very disagreeable and had been 
since he left Boston, and that there had been " a 
Ck>nsparicy carried to a great Length, but fort- 
unately discovered it the day before SMling from 
Boordeanx, which I wrote die Honble Commissioners 
at Paris. I had the Confederates of Bourdeauz im- 
prisoned and believe they will be Banished if not 
hung." * A spirit of insubordination persisted to 
some extent, and July 28, Tucker ordered one of the 
crew <* to be brought to the gangway and receive 
twelve stripes on his naked back. His crime was 
talking among the pet^e and making them beUeve 
that the officers on board had embezzled some part 
of the prizes, cargo, and other abase." ' Meanwhile 
forty-seven of the French sailors enlisted at Bordeaux 
had been arbitrarily taken out of the ship by a 
French general at L'Orient. The prisoners taken 
in the prizes also became restless, and on learning 
that an uprising unong them was being planned, 
Tncker ordered twenty-three <d them to be put in 
irons. The first oi these recent prizes of the Boston 
having been sent to America, the other three were 

1 TuditrMSS. 

' Tvcktr, 303, lo^ of th* Boaton. 

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aold at L'Orient. Aagatt 1 Oe BoitaK MBed, aad 
«o the Sd andioted at St. I^km.^ 

The fripde FMmdeDee, Certain Wli^phi, «m 
tim at PaanliCRif, and a few d^i latK cbbs dmm 
tb rivn and jmned tiie Boatn. Hie R oraMwa, 
after weaping from Ae MoAade cf KanagaiiMtt 
B^> May 1, Mikd dizeetlr for i 
PaimlMeiif od tiw SOtli ; die m 
far Continental wh imdar coMtnietion. OitlM 
-npjrage die c^ittttad a pnae widcli «aa iee^ittii«d 
and tiiea ogum taken by a Fnod ttip. Aagatt 8 
tlie Frorideoce and Boetoo irith a small otarn^, 
with Whip^ in command, sa3ed for Breat, where 
tii^ aimed in nx dayi and fomid the Banger. 
Here waialao a hu^Frenchfleetat Brest. Angnst 
22 tibe ^oridenoe, Boston, and Banger Mled tar 
America. September 26 they were on the Banks td 
Kew&nndlandf and on tlie 15th of October tiiey 
amred at Portamooth, haring taken three priaes 
on the pauage from France.* 

The Continental cotter Berenge, Captain Con- 
yng^iam, cmifled with mcoess during 1778, ogiully 
oat of Spanish p<nta. The Spanish pec^de were 

1 Tuchr, ah. r, Md i^pnidis; Adamt K88^ April 10, 11, 22, 
ITTSi Tmsktr M88., Jnl? 8, 7, IS, 18, 1TI& 

* 8m than, p. 306. 

* TUdCtr, ^ T, BDd ^psndix ; ArMva dt la Mvxm, TC 4n 
Oattn of Wliippla, Hay 81. 1778) ; Mr. Com. Letttr Boek, 157, 
U9 (Jmw 10, 19, 1TI8] ; Tudctr MBS., Angut 24, Saptsmber 16, 
1778; Oninil* JC>MtUy,KoTsm1>er, lSSl,logrofdieBa^ei;BM((Hi 
GomCH, Oototm e, Noranlier 2, 177B ; SMttn Port, October 84> 

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generally friendly to tbe American cause and treated 
with liospitali^ the vessels which visited their ports. 
Early in the year tbe Bevenge suled from Bilbao 
and cruised to the Straits of Ciibraltar and in the 
Mediterranean, taking several jnrizes. Her arrival 
in Cadiz is mentioned by an ofBoer on the Britiah 
ship Monarch, who complains of the unfriendly 
feeling of the Spaniards towards the English. The 
Monarch sent a boat ashore " to get what is termed 
product," but was nnsuccessfnl; it was lefnsed many 
times. " Judge of the situatdon of our flfdrited com- 
mander, who is a true British seaman, when during 
tiie time we lay there — seven days being detained 
by the wind — we had the mortificatitm to see the 
usual honours paid to two Dutch frigates and above 
all to the Bevenge, American privateer commanded 
by Cmmingham, who came swaggering in with 
his thirteen stripes, sainted the Spanish Admiral, 
had it returned and immediately got product, the 
Spaniards themselves carrying on board wood, water, 
fruit and fresh provisions ; all which we were eye 
witnesses of, as she ancboied directly under onr 
8tem,witliintwocabiesleDgtb."* There were eleven 
other American vessels lying in Cadiz at this time. 
Conyngham relates an incident not mentioned in 
the English officer's letter. " An KngligK ship of 
the Line & two frigatts were laying in Cadiz on 
our arrival ; la their usual & diabolick mode of War- 

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fare had determined in the Night hj their boats to 
set the revenge on fire. A Good french man on 
board one of them Gave notice to the french Consul 
ot their designe, who advised na t^ Conseqnently 
was prepared for them, th^ did aj^>eare in the 
dead of the night, bat took Care to Keep their dis- 
tance ; the Spanish admirall had thiss notice & he 
politel; offered a 74 Ghin ship to protect as. We 
acknowledge the favor, bat was oowajB apprehens- 
ive of any danger ; to the Contrary it was oar wish 
they wonld make the Attempt." ^ 

The Bevenge returned to the north of Sptun and 
went into FerroL She fitted oat there and then 
omised among the Azores and Canary Islands, tak- 
ing several prizes, some of which were destroyed 
and others sent to American or to Earopeaa porta. 
*' Those seas covered l^ British Crazers of every 
description and [with] orders from their Govermt 
to follow the revenge into any harbonr she might 
be in & destroy her." Conyngham then returned 
to Corona, bat fonnd the Sjwnish less hosintable ; 
the proteotioQ of the government had been with- 
drawn. This, Conyngham says, was dae to British 
influence at ooart. He was allowed to refit at a 
small neighboring port, however, and then suled 
for the West Indies.^ 

About the end of September, which was perhaps 

1 Fmm. Mag, Hiit. and Biagr,, iamurj, 1809, CoaTnj^Min'B 

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a little before CoUTti^iAm returned to Comna after 
bis cruiae among the Western Islands, the privateer 
Vengeance arrived at that place. The Vengeance 
was a twenty-gnn brig from Kewburyport com- 
manded by Captun Newman ; she sailed from Cape 
Ann August 16. Aboat two weeks after leaving 
port the Vengeance ran into a West India fleet and 
was chased out ^ain bj two &igates. "On the 17th 
of September," says Captain Newman, *'in Latt. 
49 N. and Long. 20 West, fell in with the Ship 
Harriot Packet, of sixteen guns and fortj-five men, 
Capt. Sampson Sprague, from Falmouth bound to 
New York, which, after a small resistance, struck, 
I man'd her and ordered her for Newbury-Port. 
And on the 21st of the same month fell in with the 
Snow Eagle Packet, from New York bound to Fal- 
mouth, Commanded by Edward Spence, mounting 
fourteen carriage guns and sixty men including som« 
officers of the British army, which, after an engage- 
ment of about twenty minutes, was obliged to strike 
to us, which I likewise ordered for Newbnry-Fort. 
Col. Howard of the 1st Be^ment of Guards was 
killed and several other officers, and a number 
wounded. Lucky for me, not one man killed or 
wounded except myself, by a musket ball in my 
thigh. . . . Anumg the passengers was four Colo- 
nels, three Majors, one Comet of dragoons. . . . 
I have delivered my prisoners to the British Com- 
missary residing here, taking bis receipt for the same, 
obligating him to return a like nomber of Ameri* 

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caopriaonersofeqnalnnk."! Hub letter was dated 
October 4 at Coruna. Possibly the feeling aroosed 
over the arrival of these prisoners of rank in the 
Briti^ army and protests oiade to the Spanish gov- 
ernment may have had something to do vidt Con- 
yngham's inhospitable rec^tion about the same 

Up to the time of her arrival in the West Indies, 
the Revenge, according to a letter from Martinique 
dated December 10, had captured sixty British ves- 
sels, twenty-seven (d which were sent into port and 
thirty-three sunk or homed. She cruised several 
weeks out of Martinique among the Windward Is- 
lands. Conynghamreceivediustructions, October 26, 
from William Biugibam, the American naval agent 
in the West Indies. A month later Bin^am wrote 
to Conyngham : " As the defensive Alliance entered 
into between France & the United States of Amer- 
ica will point oat to you one Common Object as the 
Motive that our Conduct is mutually to be regu- 
lated by that of annoying and circumventing the 
Designs of t^e Enemy, I must seriously recommend 
to you not to lose sight of it." He was to be on the 
lookout for D'fjstaing, expected soon to arrive in 
the West Indies from America ; and also for *'a 
Frigate with Transports under her Convoy of a 

1 BoMtMt Poa, JaoDorr 9, 1TI9. 

* BoUon GaztiU, Jsmiarr ll.lTIdtJfar. Com. Laur Bw>k,^3n 
(AnipiBt 16, 177(1) i Bia, Man. Com.,AB'tr.iIS8.inBotiaiIn*t.,\, 
807 (Oatober 1, 1778, deolaiation of British counil >t Corona m to 
Newmau'i ptiMMts); Proe. Cambridge Hit. Sec., y (ISIO), 70, 77. 

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great Number of Troopa from France," and acquaint 
them, as far as possible, with the movements of the 
Bntish fleet. A set of French signals waa furnished 
him. *' Another grand object that most attract your 
attention is the endeavouring to capture some of 
the Transports that have sailed from New York 
bound for the English West India Islands. It ap- 
pears that they have suffered by a Gale of wind & 
have lost their Convoy, so that perhaps they will 
fall an easy Prey. No recompense could requite the 
services you would reader yoor Country by captur- 
ing some of those that have Troops on board, as it 
might perhaps hinder the success of any of their 
operations in these Seas."^ The Revenge made 
several prizes ta the West Indies, including two 
Bntish privateers, and had an eag^ement with a 
twenty-eight-gun cutter. This cruise continued until 

The Continental navy, already greatly reduced, 
was further depleted in the year 1778 by the loss 
of the frigates Washington, EfBngham, Bandolph, 
Viiginia, and Raleigh, and the Alfred, Columbus, 
Independence, and Resistance. Of the original thir- 
teen frigates there now remained only the Boston, 
Warren, Providence, and Trumbull. Among the 
ships lost before they had ever been in service must 

* MS. Letttr, Norember 29, 1778. 

* Penn. Mag. Hiit, and Biogr., Jannaij, 1890; Boiton GaxttU, 
Febnur; 16, 1770. 

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be connted the fine hage frigate Indien, wHcb passed 
from the American to the French flag. To replace 
these severe losses the frigates Deane and Queen 
of France, the sloop of war General Gates, and Ae 
prize schooner Pigot had been added to the navy ; 
also a brigantine called the Retaliation, whose ser- 
vice seems to have been brief and naeventfoL The 
frigate Alliance might be included in the list, but 
she did not cruise until the following year. The 
frigates Warren and Providence had begun their 
active careers daring tbe year 1778, and concern- 
ing two frigates built in Connecticut a letter of 
William Vernon, written December 17 to John 
Adams, says: *'The ship building at Norwich is 
given to Capt. Seth Harding and oali'd the Confed- 
eracy, near ready to sail ; she is a fine Frigate, it is 
sud exceeds the Atliimce if posaible. Tbe Trumbul 
remains in Connecticut Eiver, perhaps may never 
be got out, unless Camels are built to carry ber out." 
In regard to tbe America, Admiral Howe had 
written in March : " According to the latest Infor- 
mation obtained from some of the weU-affected In- 
habitants in the New England Provinces, the Two- 
decked Ship building at Portsmouth is not expected 
to be finished before the Autumn," Tbe America 
had to wait much longer than that for her comple- 
tion. If to the vessels here mentioned as ready for 
service we add the sloop Providence, the Ranger and 
the Revenge, the list of the Continental navy in 
commission at the end of 1778 is full. The prize 

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sloop of war Drake would have been a valuable 
oruiser and might havQ been acquired for the Con- 
tinental semce, but was not, probably owing to 
laok of available funds and of authority on the part 
of the American Commissioners at Paris.^ 

The navy therefore showed a gradual falling 
away, and its condition at the end of the year 1TT8 
was by no means satia&ctory. The state navies also 
seemed to be steadily dwindling. Privateering, how- 
ever, continued active, and British commerce suf- 
fered severely from American enterprise of this 
kind. The Continental Congress issued one bun* 
dred and twenty-nine commissions to privateers in 
1778, an increase of six^ over the previous year, 
and doubtless large numbers continued to he com- 
misdooed by the different states.' 

At the be^ning of 1778 the British navy com- 
prised three hundred and ninety-nine vessels of all 
dasses, of which two hundred and seventy-four 
were in commission ; a year later the figures were 
four hundred and thirty-two and three hundred and 
seventeen respectively .^ Eighty-nine vessels were aa 
the \orth American station in January, and the 
same nomber in September, but die fleets on these 
two dates were differently constituted. Nearly half 
the first were frigates and fifteen were ships monnt- 

» PauUin, 616, 617 ; Fuii. B. X Hwt Sdc, Tiii, 258 ; Brtt. AJa. 
Sms., A. D. 4S8, No. 56, Much 16, 1T78. 

* Naixd Bteordi (oalendu}, 217-496, list of Continental lettei* 

* Hatmay, U, 211. 

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ing sixtf-fooT, fifty, or forty-toar gnus ; the Se^ 
tember fleet, which indaded Bjrron's Bqaadron, 
oontained fever frigates, bnt seven sevecty-foun, 
six sixty-foun, five fifties, and thiee for^-foors.* 
There were also abont fifteen vesseU at Newfooodr 
land and thirty or forty in the West lodieB. The 
total force of the navy in men was sixty thonsand.* 
A list of New York prirateers, September 8, 1778, 
to March 8, 177 9, contains one hundred and twenty- 
One nanus.* 

Information in regard to captnies and losses is 
vsaaty and onsatisfaotory, and the few available lists 
and figures are doubtless inaccurate and incomplete i 
and estimates are perhaps sometimes exa^erated. 
The Continental navy made fewer captures than in 
the previous year, while presamably the privateers 
made more. Aoeording to one calculation, made in 
February, 1778, they had then taken seven hun^ 
dred and thirty-nine Britdsh vessels since the be- 
ginning of the war. Another estimate places the 
British loss for the year at three hnndred and sixty- 
four, of which eighly-seven were recaptured or rm- 
somed; bnt this list includes captures by the 
French. According to the same authority the British 
took two hundred and forty-eight vessels from tbeir 
enemies. A contemporary newspaper gives a list 
of two hnndred and tweoty-two American vessela 

1 2nL Adnt. B»e., A. D. 4SS, January 5, Septwnbsr 11, 1TI8, 
Diipoatdon of Hia Hajeaty'i Shipa and Veaasla in North AneriM. 
* fliinnay, ii, 212 ; Bdumbirg, i, 440, », Sa-&9 ; Alwam, tU, 249. 
■ Tnmftaa MSB., ezUI, 110. 

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captured on the West Indian statioD vithiu a few 
weeks. Another list, that of American veesels taken 
on the North Amerioan atation between October, 
1777, and April, 1778, contains only five names ; 
while between May, 1778, and February, 1779, 
seventy-^ae prizes were brought in by New York 

1 Ha>najr,ii,220;aiww,iil,3M;lMuJonCA)'(Muc{f,8apt«iiibsr 
17,NoTember 7, 1778; Almon,-^ 190; Brit. Adm. S*c^A.D. 
.^,No.K7, April 2S, 177S, lift of tmmU •Bind mdMbo7*d(i]w« 
OetoberSS, I7TI; A. I>. 48S, No. 27, Fehmwy 27, 1779. 


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