Benjamin Franklin Papers

To Benjamin Franklin from Joseph Palmer, 12 November 1779

From Joseph Palmer

ALS:2 American Philosophical Society; ALS (draft): Massachusetts Historical Society

Germantown, Novem: 12th. 1779.

Dear Sir

In the beginning of August last, I took the liberty of troubling you with a few Lines by my Nephew, Joseph Palmer, Passenger on board the Mercury Packett;3 Since which I have heard nothing from him, or the Vessell.— I then mentioned the flattering hopes we had of Success at Penobscutt, but were sadly disappointed. My Friend Mr Adams will be able to give more particulars of that unhappy Expedition, & of Genl Sullivan’s success against the Indians, than is in my Power.

The Enemy evacuated Rd Island this day fortnight;4 & that Post is now occupied by the Militia, our regulars having marched from thence towards N York. The enemy left the Island in a much better condition than we expected: They burnt the Light-House, & blew up some of their Works; but left the Town of Newport in a tolerable good condition; some Houses were destroyed, contrary to their Orders, as ’tis said; & three days before they embarked, they Sent the Refugees on board, in order, as the Officers said, to prevent their burning the Town: They also left near two Thousand Cords of Wood, and about 14 or 1500 Tons of Hay with many large &c’s. They went to N York, & ’tis said, are still on board, & that the other Troops there, are preparing to Embark.

Mr Adams goes on board tomorrow morning, so that I have not time to be particular about our Success at South Carolina &c, but inclose Yesterday’s Paper.

I beg the favor of a Line, informing me whether my Nephew arrived Safe, &c.

I have the honor to be, with Sincere esteem Dear Sr. Your Friend & mo humbl Servt

J: Palmer

His Excellency Benjamin Franklin Esqr: at Passy near Paris

Addressed: His Excellency / Benjamin Franklin Esqr: / at Passy / near Paris / Favour’d by the Honble: / John Adams Esqr.

Notation: J Palmer Novr 12 79

[Note numbering follows the Franklin Papers source.]

2The right edge of which is torn, requiring the use of the draft to supply several missing words.

3XXX, 187–8.

4For fear d’Estaing’s sudden arrival would trap the garrison. The British departed during the night of Oct. 25: Willcox, Portrait of a General, pp. 289–92; Freeman, Washington, V, 137.

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