Adams Papers

To John Adams from William Vernon Sr., 22 October 1778

From William Vernon Sr.

Boston 22nd. Octr. 1778

Dr Sir

The above of the 2nd. Oct. via Portsmouth by the Dutchess of Grammount Capt. Poidras. This is only to inclose a Letter for my Son, which I beg the delivery of, and to inform you of the Arrival of the Ships, Providence, Boston and Ranger at Portsmouth the 17th. Instant. The dispatches for Congress &c. are all forwarded as directed. Those Ships have Captured only Three small Prizes since they left France, a Brigantine from London for St. Augustine loaded with Provisions arrived, a Snow from Newfound Land with Fish for Cadiz, arrived, a Brigantine from Granada for Leith, with Rum supposed to be retaken. It gives me pain to relate the frequent Losses of our Continental Ships. The Raleigh Capt. Barry fell in with a Fifty Gun Ship and Frigate, the Third day after he Sail’d, whom he Ingaged about Six hours, being over Power’d by superiour strength, run his ship ashore, on an Island near Penobscot. About 90 of his Men escaped on shore, the remainder was taken, and his Ship, the next day got off by the Enemy.1

I am most respectfully Yr. Humble servt.


Nothing material hath occur’d since the above, this serve only to convey the duplicate, and best respect, being with truth Yr. Most Obedt Humble servt.

Wm Vernon

Dupl (Adams Papers); docketed: “Mr Vernon Boston ans Dec. 2. 1778.” This letter, for which no RC has been found, begins in the middle of page two and continues to the top of page three. It is preceded by a triplicate of Vernon’s letter of 2 Oct. (above) and followed, as printed here, by Vernon’s note of 22 Oct. A triplicate of this letter was enclosed with Vernon’s letter to JA of 17 Dec. (below).

1On 27 Sept. the Raleigh fought the ship of the line Experiment and the frigate Unicorn in or near Penobscot Bay. A court-martial later held the Raleigh’s captain, John Barry, blameless in the loss of his ship, which was taken into the British Navy under the same name (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution description begins Gardner Weld Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution, Boston and New York, 1913; 2 vols. description ends , 1:315–319; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships description begins U.S. Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Naval History Division, Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Washington, 1959–. description ends , 6:18).

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