Abraham Whipple to the Commissioners
On board Ship Providence Paimbeuf June 15t. 1778
Had the honour of Recieving your Letter1 per Capt. Jones, beg leave to mention there are no Orders relative to my Prisoners, which should be glad to Recieve. Am Repairing my Masts and will make the Old Ones serve, New Ones being very expensive. Shall be as frugal as possible. Capt. Jones acquaints me you have some Cloathing and Arms for the United States it is in my Power to Carry considerable, if I know timely the Quantity and Largeness of Bales; that I may stow the Ship Accordingly. The Ship will be graved and in readiness to take in in twelve Days. My Midshipmen are Arrived having made their escape to St. Maloes. The Prize Brigantine is safe at the Isle of Rea.2 I have Ordered her round here, and shall deliver her to Charge of Mr. Schweighaser on Arrival at Nantes. Have the Honour to be Your most Obedt. very Humble Servt.
NB My Masts are now on shore a Repairing with all possible Expedition.
RC (PPAmP: Franklin Papers); docketed: “Captn. Ab. Whipples Letter. Paimbeuf 15 June 1778.”
2. Presumably the He de Ré, located off La Rochelle in the Bay of Biscay southeast of Paimboeuf. The brigantine captured by the Providence had been recaptured by the British and was in turn recaptured by a French vessel (Allen, Naval Hist. of the Amer. Revolution description begins Gardner Weld Allen, A Naval History of the American Revolution, Boston and New York, 1913; 2 vols. description ends , 1:356). The returned midshipmen may have been members of the prize crew put aboard the brigantine by Whipple, who had managed to escape from the British ship that made the initial recapture.