From Lieutenant Colonel Loammi Baldwin
Chelsea [Mass.] Sept: 1st 1775
May it Please your Excellecy
Yesterday morning I sent to the Select men of Chelsea desiring them to meet at my Quarters in the Evening of the Same day & they met accordingly I then laid before them the necessity of making some further provision for winter Quarters for the troops Stationed in this Town. They consulted freely with me and desired me to lay before your Excellency a brief account of the troops being Station’d in Chelsea & present accomodations for winter Quarters.
The exposed situation of the Town Induced the Committee of Safty in may last to give orders for a Company to be raised to keep a Guard which was accordingly raised under Capt: Sprague1—Some time after General Ward Sent a detachment to remove the Stock from some of the ajacent Islands which brought on Skirmishes which both destressed an[d] endangered the town upon which Genll Ward and Dr Warren upon viewing the Situation of things and Judging it of importance to defend the post ordered a detachment of three companies more to be Stationed at Chelsea which still remain here[.]2 The inhabitants of Chelsea Seem ready to do as far as their Abilities will possibly admit in their present impoverished Circumstances to accommodate Sd Companies in winter Quarters but are utterly unable to provide for them unless Somthing of the Barrack kind Should be erected for 70 or 80 Men[.] The Select men pray that your Excellency would direct that a Barrack be built Sufficient to contain the above Sd 70 or 80 Men & they will provide for the rest—There are about 36 houses in the town 7 of which are at the Ferry3 and deserted by the Inhabitants which very much crouds the rest—They plead the Inhabitants are vastly destressed and impoverished by repeated difficulties, Such as Alarms removing their stocks &c.
Considering the Importance of the post for observation and other ways I would beg leave to give it as my opinion that a barrack had better be erected but your Excellencies pleasure Shall be punctually observed by your very humble Servant
ADfS, MH: Baldwin Papers.
1. The Massachusetts committee of safety resolved on 3 May “that two companies be raised in the towns of Malden and Chelsea, for the defence of the sea coast of said towns, the said companies to be joined to such regiments in future, as they may be ordered to, should there be occasion, or discharged from service as soon as the public good will admit of it” (Mass. Prov. Congress Journals description begins William Lincoln, ed. The Journals of Each Provincial Congress of Massachusetts in 1774 and 1775, and of the Committee of Safety. Boston, 1838. (Microfilm Collection of Early State Records). description ends , 533–34; also in Massachusetts General Court to GW, 26 Dec. 1775). Samuel Sprague (1712–1783) of Chelsea became captain of that town’s company, and on 26 June the provincial congress added the company to Col. Samuel Gerrish’s regiment. Sprague served at least until the spring of 1776.
2. On 27 May Col. John Stark led a party onto Noddles and Hog islands to remove livestock and destroy hay. While engaged in that business, Stark’s force was attacked by several British warships and a detachment of marines, and there ensued a skirmish that lasted until the next day. The three companies sent to join Sprague’s company at Chelsea were those commanded by captains Richard and Barnabus Dodge and William Rogers. All three belonged to Gerrish’s regiment.
3. Baldwin is referring to Winnisimmet ferry.