George Washington Papers
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From George Washington to John Hancock, 7 September 1776

To John Hancock

New York Septr 7th 1776

Sir

This will be delivered you by Captn Martindale & Lieutt Turner who were taken last Fall in the Armed Brig Washington, & who with Mr Childs the 2d Lieutt have lately effected their escape from Hallifax.

Captn Martindale and these Two Officers have applied to me for pay from the 1st of January till this time, But not conceiving myself authorized to grant It, however reasonable It may be, as they were only engaged till the Last of Decemr at their instance I have mentioned the matter to Congress & submit their case to their consideration.1 I have the Honor to be with profound respect Sir Your Most Obedt Servt

Go: Washington

LS, in Robert Hanson Harrison’s writing, DNA:PCC, item 152; LB, DLC:GW; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169; Varick transcript, DLC:GW. Congress read this letter on 13 Sept. and referred it to the Board of War (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 , 5:755).

1For the capture of the Washington off Cape Ann on 4 Dec. 1775, see William Watson to GW, 30 Oct. 1775, n.3, and GW to Hancock, 14 Dec. 1775. On 11 Dec. the brig’s officers and crew were put aboard a British warship bound to England (see Intelligence from Boston, 17 Dec., enclosed in Richard Dodge to GW, 16 Dec. 1775). Although threatened with trial as pirates, the prisoners were pardoned in England, and the following spring they sailed on another warship to Halifax to await exchange. On 19 June several prisoners, including Sion Martindale, Moses Turner, and James Childs, escaped from the Halifax jail. The three officers returned to Plymouth, Mass., where William Watson informed them that their commissions had not been renewed and referred them to GW (see Clarke, George Washington’s Navy description begins William Bell Clark. George Washington’s Navy; Being an Account of His Excellency’s Fleet in New England Waters. Baton Rouge, La., 1960. description ends , 184–85). In October Congress granted the three officers a total of about $717 for expenses, pay, and rations (see ibid., 186, and 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 , 5:758; 6:867, 883).

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