George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the Massachusetts Council, 20 March 1777

From the Massachusetts Council

Council Chamber Boston Mar. 20. 1777.


The Council having just received Information by Mr Wentworth that a French Vessel is arrived at Portsmouth in the State of New-Hampshire with about Twelve Thousand Fire Arms, a quantity of Powder, Blankets and other Stores upon the Continental Account1—We are directed by the Board to inform your Excellency that we have a considerable Number of Men Inlisted in this State into the Continental Army who are ready to March for the defence of the Important Post of Ticonderoga if they were furnished with Arms and Blankets; that we meet with the utmost difficulty in procuring those Articles for the use of these Troops, and such Arms as we are able to collect within the State are Scarcely fit for service, we therefore request that your Excellency would give Orders that at least Five Thousand of the Arms, and such a Number of the Blankets as can be spared that have arrived in the Vessel abovementioned may be appropriated for the use of the Men raised for the Continental Army within this State, that so they may march as soon as possible to the place of their destination.

This State have also advanced a considerable quantity not less than fifteen Tons of Powder for the Use of the Continental Army and Navy which we also request may be refunded out of the Powder Imported in the Vessel aforesaid.2

In the Name and by order of the Council We are with great respect Your Most Humble Servts

Wm Sever

Thomas Cushing

LS, DLC:GW; Df, M-Ar: Revolution Letters.

1For the arrival of the 16-gun French ship Le Mercure at Portsmouth, N.H., on Monday, 17 Mar. 1777, see John Langdon to Robert Morris, 18 Mar., Langdon to James Bowdoin, 19 Mar., John Bradford to Hancock, 20 Mar., an extract from the Freeman’s Journal, 22 Mar., and A List of the Ships &c. at Portsmouth in New Hampshire, 22 May 1777, in 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 , 8:140–41, 151, 155–56, 164, 1016–17; see also Henry Jackson to Henry Knox, 20 Mar. 1777, in NNGL: Knox Papers, Ebenezer Hazard to GW, 26 Mar., and GW to George Weedon, 27 Mar. 1777. The Le Mercure was commanded by Capt. Jean Hereaud. George Wentworth (1740–1820), the older brother of Joshua Wentworth and a captain in the New Hampshire militia, was on his way to Philadelphia to confer with delegates of the Continental Congress. Wentworth returned to New England in early April 1777 (see William Whipple to Joseph Whipple, 1 April, and William Whipple to John Langdon, 5 April 1777, in Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 7:523, 540).

2The Continental Congress agreed to this request in a resolution of 31 Mar. 1777 (see JCC description begins Worthington Chauncey Ford et al., eds. Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789. 34 vols. Washington, D.C., 1904–37. description ends , 7:210, 211–12).

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