George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Major General William Heath, 17 April 1779

From Major General William Heath

Boston April 17th 1779

Dear General

Permit me to Congratulate your Excellency on the Signal Success of the Continental Frigates Warren, Ranger and Queen of Fran[c]e in Captureing the British Ship Jason Capt. Potterfield of 20 Guns, Ship Maria of 16 Guns Brigts Patriot, Prince Fredrick, Batchelor and John schooners Hibernia and Chance Bound from New York to Georgia with large Quantities of Goods Stores Provisions &c. on Board with Four Field Officers and about Twenty Commision Officers, Some of the Prises are already arrived and others momently expected.1 I have the honor to be with the greatest respect your Excellencys most Obedient Servt

W. Heath

ADfS, MHi: Heath Papers.

1The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser (Boston) reported on 22 April that “On Friday last [16 April] great joy was diffused thro’ this town by the arrival of the Continental frigate Warren, John Hopkins, Esq.; after a very successful cruize. She sailed from this port some weeks ago, accompanied with the Queen of France Frigate, Capt. [Joseph] Olney, and the Ranger of 20 guns, Capt. [John Paul] Jones, in the Continental service. They first took a privateer schooner of 14 guns, from New-York, from which they got intelligence of a fleet with provisions and stores of various kinds, and dry goods to a large amount, bound from that place to Georgia, for the supply of the British army and their partisans in that quarter; and had the good fortune to come up with this fleet, off Cape Henry, in soundings. The enemy consisted of 9 sail; who made but a small resistance, and had it been earlier in the day every vessel would have been taken. Seven, and these the most considerable, fell into our hands, viz. King’s Ship Jason, Capt. Potterfield, 20 guns and 150 men; ship Maria, 16 guns and 84 men, having on board 1800 barrels of flour; privateer schooner Hibernian, 8 carriage guns and 45 men; brigs Patriot, Prince Frederick, Batchelor, John, and schooner Chance, transports, with stores, &c. Night coming on, two made their escape. We have also taken carbines, and a compleat equipment of every kind for a regiment of horse, and 24 British officers, of various ranks, going to the service in Geo[r]gia... The schooner Chance, one of the above prizes, arrived last Friday at Portsmouth. She is chiefly ladened with dry goods, and has a rich and well-afforted cargo, amounting to £18000, New-York currency. The cargoes of all the prizes taken by the Warren, over and above the value of the Vessels, are computed at near £80,000 sterling.” The captain of the Jason was Alexander Porterfield. Heath confirmed the good news in another letter on 22 April, and GW announced the captures in general orders on 26 April.

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