From the Continental Congress Marine Committee
Marine Committee Philadelphia Septr 28th 1779
The Enclosed is a Copy of a Letter from this Committee to the Commissioners of the Navy Board at Boston, which we transmit as being necessary for your Excellencys information1 & have the honor to be yr Excellencys Most Obedient servants
Jno. Mathews Chairman
LS, DLC:GW; LB, DNA:PCC, Miscellaneous Papers, Marine Committee Letter Book.
John Mathews (1744–1802), a delegate to Congress from South Carolina, was chairman of the Marine Committee. He represented his state in Congress from 1778 to 1782. In 1780 he was a member of the committee of Congress at GW’s headquarters, where he was an advocate for the army and for strengthening GW’s authority. In 1782 the South Carolina assembly elected Mathews governor of the state, and, after the war, he held various judicial appointments in the South Carolina courts.
1. The enclosed copy of a letter from Mathews at Philadelphia to the Eastern Department Navy Board, dated 28 Sept. at Philadelphia, reads: “In our last of the 22d instant we ordered three of the frigates to proceed as soon as possible to south Carolina. We have since received information that Count d’estaing with 20 ships of the line Six frigates and a number of Transports having on board 5000 land forces are arrived at Georgia and that the Count with his whole force may be shortly expected on your Coast We therefore request that you have the frigates and other Continental Armed Vessels immediately got ready for sea with three Months provisions on board and that they hold themselves in readiness to sail at a moments Warning to join the french fleet or to such other place as may be directed by General Washington or the Count DEstaing. You are also to provide and engage a Sufficient Number of Skilful Pilots for the said fleet for Newfound Land, Hallifax, Penobscot, & Rhode Islands, who are to go on board your ships. You are to Observe that General Washington and the Count are to Co-Operate with each other, and therefore Congress have thought proper that the Captains of the Continental ships & armed Vessels should be Subject to their orders” (DLC:GW).