George Washington Papers

To George Washington from James Bowdoin, 29 July 1776

From James Bowdoin

Boston July 29. 1776 1 o’Clock P.M.


The enclosed Declaration is this Moment Sent to me by the Sheriff, which I thought necessary to be comunicated to your Excellency.1

The Ship Peggy mentioned in it was taken by two of the Continent Cruizers & sent into Marblehead. The Passengers on board, who fled from Boston last March, came to Town this Morning, And are now in Goal here: who I understand have been, or will be, examined by Genl Ward.

It is probable you will have by this Post the result of that Examination: but if you Should not the enclosed may give you Some necessary information.

I cannot be more particular as the Post is just Setting out. I have the honour to be with the most perfect regard Sr Yr Excys most obedt Sert

James Bowdoin

ALS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 8 Aug. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1There are two similar versions of James Kennedy’s deposition of this date in DLC:GW. The version which GW had copied to be enclosed with his letter to Hancock of 8 Aug. reads: “I James Kennedy, Master of the Ship Peggy, in the Merchant Service, declare that I left Hallifax about the first Inst. under Convoy of the Renown of Fifty Guns, with a Fleet of sixteen ⟨mutilated⟩ Transports containing the 42nd & 71 Scotch Regiments & Fraziers new rais’d Regiment, about 3000 in all, & three Large Ships with Hessian Troops on board, about 600 in all, & one Ship with 5 companys of English foot Guards, & four Victualling Ships, the whole Fleet bound for New York. Off Nantucket Shoals we fell in with the Flora Frigate of Thirty Guns & four Transports with Highland Troops, these had been in Boston Bay, where they got information from a Fisherman that the Town was Evacuated, on which they Stood for Hallifax untill they met with us, they then joyn’d our Fleet for New York. The Scotch Troops were all to be of Coll [Archibald] Campbells division (of the Grand Army in America, the whole of which Army I was informd, would by the last of July, amount, to 50,000.) the Hessian Troops left England about the 12th of May, some of the Officers informd me they came out with 304 Sail under the Command of Commodore Hawtham [William Hotham], on board of whom were 10,000 Foreign Troops & some English Troops (number unknown). last Fryday sennight [19 July] in a gale of wind ⟨&⟩ thick weather I lost the Fleet & on monday [22 July] I fell in with two [American] Arm’d Schooners, Capts. [John] Skimmer & [Samuel] Tucker, to whom I surrendered after a short engagement, in which I had only one man Wounded. The day after the Fleet left Hallifax, I saw from my Deck forty Sail of Ships standing in for that Harbour, & which I suppose to be part of the Fleet under Commodore Hawtham.” For another account of the capture of the Peggy, see Artemas Ward to GW, this date.

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