George Washington Papers

From George Washington to John Hancock, 24 October 1775

To John Hancock

Camp at Cambridge October 24th 1775.


My Conjecture of the Destination of the late Squadron from Boston in my last1 has been unhappily verified by an Outrage exceeding in Barbarity & Cruelty every hostile Act practised among civilized Nations. I have inclosed the Account given me by Mr Jones a Gentleman of the Town of Falmouth of the Destruction of that increasing & flourishing Village.2 He is a very great Sufferer & informs me that the Time allowed for the Removal of Effects was so small that valuable Property of all kinds & to a great Amount has been destroyed. The Orders shewn by the Captain for this horrid Procedure by which it appears the same Desolation is meditatd upon all the Towns on the Coast made it my Duty to communicate it as quickly & extensively as possible. As Portsmouth was the next Place to which he proposed to go, General Sulivan was permitted to go up & give them his Assistance & Advice to ward off the Blow. I flatter myself the like Event will not happen there as they have a Fortification of some Strength & a Vessel has arrived at a Place called Sheepscot with 1500 lb. of Powder.3

The Gentlemen of the Congress have nearly finished their Business, but as they write by this Opportunity I must beg Leave to refer you to their Letter for what concerns their Commission.4

We have had no Occurrence of any Consequence in the Camp since I had the Honour of addressing you last. But expect every Hour to hear that Newport has shared the Fate of unhappy Falmouth.5 I have the Honour to be with the most sincere Respect Sir Your most Obed: & Hbble Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Joseph Reed’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, DLC:GW; copy in Thomas Mifflin’s writing, NHi: Joseph Reed Papers; copy, DNA:PCC item 169; copy, NjMoHP; copy, MdAA: Brown Book; copy, MdAA: Correspondence of the Council of Safety; Varick transcript, DLC:GW.

2See Deposition of Pearson Jones, this date, printed as an enclosure to this letter.

3The schooner Britannia, chartered by the Massachusetts committee of supplies, arrived at Boothbay, District of Maine, on 16 Oct. with a cargo of arms and ammunition.

4See Committee of Conference to John Hancock, 24 Oct. 1775, in Smith, Letters of Delegates, 2:243–44 description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends .

5GW apparently meant Portsmouth rather than Newport. This sentence does not appear in the letter-book copy, Mifflin’s copy, or the Varick transcript.

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