George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 6 September 1775

From Jonathan Trumbull, Sr.

Lebanon [Conn.] 6th September 1775


I have received no further intelligence concerning the Ships which infest our Coasts—it is most probable they are not those your Excellency Notified to me.1

This afternoon received Intelligence from Mr Shaw of New London, That he had by Capt. Champlin who arrived and landed safe at New London last Evening about Three Tons of Powder for this Colony—I have Ordered it to Norwich, excepting a present supply for our two Armed Sloops.2

Please to give me directions relative to such part thereof as may be thought fit to be spared for your Camp. I have the Honor to be most respectfully Sir Your most Obedient Humble Servant

Jonth. Trumbull

ALS, ViU: Gwathmey Autograph Collection microfilm; LB, Ct: Trumbull Papers.

2George Champlin (1738–1809) of Newport brought this cargo of gunpowder, later reported to be about four tons, from Môle-Saint-Nicholas, Saint-Domingue (Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., to Thomas & Isaac Wharton, 18 Sept. 1775, in Clark, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 2:135–36). Champlin’s vessel, the brig Nancy, was owned by Nathaniel Shaw (1735–1782), a prominent merchant in New London who traded regularly with the West Indies before the Revolution. During the war Shaw operated a number of privateers and played a leading role in importing provisions and munitions for the Continental army. The Connecticut council on 10 July 1776 appointed him the colony’s agent for naval supplies, and in 1778 the general assembly made him marine agent with power to oversee all of Connecticut’s armed vessels. Shaw also served as Continental prize agent for Connecticut beginning in April 1776. George Champlin was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the Newport County militia in May 1775 by the Rhode Island general assembly. He nevertheless continued to sail to the West Indies for Shaw at least until 1777.

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