George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Daniel Waters, 30 September 1790

From Daniel Waters

Boston, September 30th 1790


The underwritten, has the honor to set forth, that previous to Your Excellencys taking the Command in 1775, He had the direction of a floating battery; and was appointed upon the 20th of January 1776 by your Excellency, to command the Schooner Lee: In which had the good fortune to Capture the 1st British transport with 120 Light Infantry: and also to assist at the taking of the powder Ship.

Your Excellencys recommendations to Congress, obtained him a Commission in 1777, for a Twenty-Gun Ship; but this he never set foot on board of, there being none of that description then built.

To fill up vacant time, & serve his Country, he engaged as a Volunteer with Captn Manly, in the Hancock, and after release, from a 12 Months imprisonment, had the Continental Brig Gates, until she was condemned. From that time to the present, hath been out of service, but now proffers himself to Command the Continental Cutter, in this department:1 Which he hath no doubt but your Excellency will be pleased to appoint him to, as Captains in the Naval service of the United States, have a prior right, before any other Individuals. With great Respect he has the honor to be Your Excellys most Devoted servt

Daniel Waters
Captain in the Navy of United States America


Daniel Waters (1731–1816) of Maiden, Mass., participated as a minuteman in the battles of Lexington and Concord in April 1775 and during the siege of Boston was in charge of a small gunboat on the Charles River. On 20 Jan. 1776 GW appointed him to command the schooner Lee, one of six vessels under fleet commander John Manley, in which he captured several British vessels, including an armed troopship. Upon GW’s recommendation Waters was appointed a captain in the Continental Navy on 15 Mar. 1777, but served as a volunteer in the Hancock under Manley, was captured by superior forces off Halifax on 6 July 1777, and was imprisoned in New York harbor until 1778, when he was exchanged. In the spring of 1779 he made a West Indies cruise in the Continental sloop General Gates. Waters did not mention at this time his participation in the failed Penobscot expedition against Castine, Maine, in the summer of 1779 in which he destroyed his ship, the General Putnam, to prevent its capture by the enemy, or his successful exploits as commander of the Massachusetts privateers Thorn and Friendship (see Papers, Revolutionary War Series description begins W. W. Abbot et al., eds. The Papers of George Washington, Revolutionary War Series. 22 vols. to date. Charlottesville, Va., 1985—. description ends , 3:279, n.3; Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution description begins Charles E. Claghorn. Naval Officers of the American Revolution: A Concise Biographical Dictionary. Metuchen, N.J., 1988. description ends , 327).

1For the establishment of the Revenue Cutter Service by the 4 Aug. 1790 Collection Act, see Hamilton to GW, 10 Sept. 1790, source note and note 1.

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