George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Colonel John Glover, 3 January 1776

From Colonel John Glover

Beverly [Mass.] Jany 3 1776


I am to informe your Exellencey, that John Thorner, (Stuward) willi⟨am⟩ Clark, wm Wallis, & thos Gerthrop, Seamen, of the Ship Janney Capt. Foster: made an attem[p]t to Desert from Said Ship, & to Go on board His Majestys Ship Foye, (now at ancor before this Harbour) but was Discoverd, & prevented by information of andrew Rogers Second Mate, & John Roberson, Cabin boy of Said Ship, whom I have Sent as Evidences against them.

I would Observe to your Exellencey, that these persons, have ben Treatted with Grate kindness, & permitted to Go at Large, which in my Opinion, they have much abused, in attem[pt]ing to Desert to the Enemy. I have therefor Sent them to Head Quarters, to be Delt with as your Exellencey Shall think Proper.1

I am now indeavouring to man the Armd Vesels, which at present is Very Difficult, on Acct of the mens not being paid off for their past Services, which is the only Objection they have. Could that be Don, I apprehend they would redely ingage again, however hope, to man one, or two, of them; in a few Days, which nothing on my part Shall be Wanting to effect.2 I am Respectfully your Exellenceys Most Obedient Sert

John Glover

ALS (photocopy), DNA: RG 93, Photocopies of State Records.

Glover’s regiment was stationed at Beverly from late December to the following July to protect the town against the Royal Navy, an exception to GW’s general policy of refusing to detach Continental troops for coastal defense (Billias, Glover description begins George Athan Billias. General John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners. New York, 1960. description ends , 89, 95; see also Wilson, Heath’s Memoirs description begins Rufus Rockwell Wilson, ed. Heath’s Memoirs of the American War. 1798. Reprint. New York, 1904. description ends , 40, and GW to Artemas Ward, 11 July 1776).

1For John Manley’s capture of the ship Jenny, William Foster, master, on 8 Dec., see William Bartlett to GW, 9 Dec., and GW to Hancock, 11 Dec. 1775. On 5 Jan. the Massachusetts council ordered the keeper of the Worcester jail to confine the four prisoners from the Jenny until he received further orders (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 , 3:631). The British frigate Fowey anchored off Cat Island on 27 Dec. to harass ship traffic in and out of Beverly, Salem, and Marblehead. She remained in the area for several weeks.

2None of the six armed vessels that GW commissioned during the previous fall were in service on this date. The Washington had been captured on 4 Dec., and the other vessels were tied to docks, one at Plymouth and four at Beverly, deserted by their crews who refused to reenlist when their terms expired on 1 Jan. because of pay and prize money not paid them. Of the captains only John Manley was willing to continue serving, a circumstance that did not greatly distress Stephen Moylan, GW’s principal assistant in overseeing the armed vessels. “Manly is truly our hero of the sea,” Moylan wrote to Joseph Reed on 2 Jan. 1776. The other captains he thought were incompetent, indolent, or both. “Their time was out yesterday, and from frequent rubs they got from me (under the General’s wings) they feel sore, and decline serving longer. I hope we shall pick out some more active men” (Reed, Joseph Reed description begins William B. Reed. Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, Military Secretary of Washington, at Cambridge; Adjutant-General of the Continental Army; Member of the Congress of the United States; and President of the Executive Council of the State of Pennsylvania. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1847. description ends , 1:137–40).

During the next several weeks Moylan, John Glover, and the prize agents worked to find such captains and to man and refit the armed vessels. Manley took command of the Hancock at Beverly and was made commodore over the other captains. William Burke, Samuel Tucker, and Daniel Waters became captains respectively of the Warren, Franklin, and Lee, all at Beverly, and Charles Dyar was appointed captain of the Harrison at Plymouth. A sixth armed vessel named the Lynch was newly outfitted at Beverly to replace the Washington and was put under the command of John Ayres (see GW’s instructions to Dyar, 20 Jan., and GW to Manley, 28 Jan. 1776).

Many crewmen were induced to enlist with offers of advance pay. “By Col. [John] Glovers acct,” Moylan wrote to William Bartlett on 10 Jan., “I find that Capt. Manly & Capt. Burke have engaged, what in my opinion will with the Officers be a sufficient number for these Small vessells. . . . Col. Glover tells me that both Manly & Burke engaged to advance a months pay, it was wrong except the people engaged for Twelve months—if they do not I dont think them entitled to it—however if you find it will retard the sailing of these vessells—I wish you woud raise money & advance it to them yourSelfe as the General will not chuse to have their accounts blended with the accounts of the Army which must be the Case, if Colonel Glover advances the money to them—it will Save much trouble and at Same time be your own interest to Keep all the accounts of these vessells in your own hands” (DLC:GW). Manley advanced £2 each to thirty crewmen plus larger sums to six noncommissioned officers and three commissioned officers including £8 to himself as captain. The advance pay for his vessel totaled £95.16 (memorandum of advanced pay, 1 Jan. 1776, DLC:GW). On 17 Jan. Robert Hanson Harrison informed Bartlett that GW had given permission for five British seamen from the captured ship Concord to enlist on the armed vessels. “You will please to Observe,” Harrison added, “that his Excellency would not wish that too great a Number of them should be in one Vessel—For tho these men may be well disposed to serve us, It is only right to guard against Accidents” (DLC:GW). For efforts to provide guns for the Lee, see Bartlett to Moylan, 5 Jan. (mistakenly dated 5 Dec.), and Moylan to Bartlett, 8, 10 Jan. 1776, all in DLC:GW.

The Hancock sailed from Beverly on 20 Jan., slipping out to sea past the Fowey. The Lee and Franklin followed during the next few days. Before the end of the month all three vessels made captures (see William Watson to GW, 26 Jan., and GW to Hancock, 30 Jan. and 9 Feb. 1776). The Harrison apparently did not leave Plymouth until sometime in early February. Proving to be unseaworthy, she was decommissioned later that month (see William Watson to GW, 29–30 Jan. and 22 Feb. 1776). The Lynch sailed in late February, and the Warren went to sea in late March.

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