Benjamin Franklin Papers

Lambert Wickes to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 16 June 1776

Lambert Wickes8 to the Committee of Secret Correspondence

ALS: National Archives

On Board the Reprisal 16th June 1776.


I received your orders and Instructions by Mr. Bingham, the 14th Inst. but the Shallop with the provisions did not Arrive till this day. We have now got all the provision on board both from the Wasp9 and Shallop.

You may depend on my best endeavours in your Service to prosecute this Voyage with the Most expedition and Advantage in my power. My People, all to two are in good health, and the Officers are well Satisfied with this Cruize, hopeing thereby to render their Country an assential Service, as well as themselves. There is now One two Decker, two Frigates, one Twenty Gun Ship and a Sloop of War Lying in Old Kiln Road and we are waiting an Oppertunity to get out by them with impatience so that you may depend on our Embracing the first favorable oppertunity of getting out and proceeding on our intended Cruize. From Gentlemen Your most obliged humble Servant

Lambt. Wickes

Addressed: To / The Honble: Committee of Secret / Correspondance / Philadelphia

Endorsed: Onbd. the Reprisal. 16 June 1776 Capt Wickes / Letter Captain Wickes onboard the Reprisal 16. June 1776

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

8Wickes (1742?-77) showed himself in his short career to be one of the most promising American naval officers. He began as a Maryland captain and merchant, and became acquainted with Robert Morris. In March, 1776, the marine committee of Congress purchased a small ship, which was converted into an 18-gun sloop of war and christened the Reprisal, and in April Wickes was put in command of her. His first mission was to take Bingham to Martique, along with a flotilla of merchant vessels; see Bingham’s instructions above, June 3, 1776. The convoy, sheltered under Cape May, was blockaded for weeks by the British in Delaware Bay. Not until July 3 did Wickes and his charges elude the enemy and escape for the moment, but in the next two days four merchantmen were captured. Clark, Wickes, pp. 10–15, 42–6, 52–3.

9A continental schooner which the committee had assigned, with the shallop, to carry the stores. Ibid., p. 44.

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