James Madison Papers

Board of Admiralty to James Nicholson, 22 May 1780

Board of Admiralty to James Nicholson

FC (NA: PCC, Marine Committee Letter Book, fol. 288).

May 22d 1780


The Board are favoured with your letter of the 3d instant1 acknowledging the receipt of theirs of the 17th ultimo, wherein the[y] expressly directed you to proceed with the Trumbull on A short Cruize so as to return to the Delaware by the latter end of June in Order to join the Confederacy Saratoga & Deane for the execution of a particular plan concerted by this Board.2

The Board are concerned to find your last letter seems to indicate an intention of your concerting with the private ship of war Mifflin upon a different plan. We now repeat our former Order viz. that you make A short Cruize so as to return to the Delaware as above directed.3 We are

Your Hble servants by Order

John Brown sec

1Not found.

2The “particular plan,” namely, for these four ships to cruise in concert and also in company with French warships, never went into effect. The “Saratoga” (Captain John Young), the “Deane” (Captain Samuel Nicholson), and the “Trumbull” finally worked together more or less as a squadron in the early autumn of 1780, but even by then the “Confederacy” was not ready for sea (Charles O. Paullin, ed., Out-Letters of Board of Admiralty, II, 247–71, passim).

3Captain Nicholson obeyed these orders by sailing from New London late in May (Board of Admiralty to Navy Board, Boston, 12 May 1780, n. 5). For the privateer “General Mifflin” of Boston, commanded by George W. Babcock, see Gardner Weld Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution (Boston, 1927), p. 149.

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