George Washington Papers

To George Washington from the New Hampshire General Court, 12 March 1776

From the New Hampshire General Court

Colony of New Hampshire
Exeter 12th March 1776

Sir

We are favour’d with your Excellency’s Advices by Mr Moylan’s Letter of the 9th Instant, and acknowledge ourselves extremely oblig’d by this early Intelligence of your spirited and interesting Operations against the Town of Boston, to which We heartily wish the utmost Success you can possibly expect—We do also gratefully acknowledge the goodness of your Intentions, that upon the first Discovery & Notice given, that any of the Troops from Boston on leaving the place, might appear on the Coast to attempt a Landing, You would come or send immediately to our Assistance.1

Our Assembly have very readily determind upon the most effectual Measures in our power, for the Defence of the Sea Coast, & in particular piscataqua Harbour—but We must beg Leave to remind your Excellency of a Matter of the utmost Consequence to Us, Our Magazine of powder being very low not exceeding twelve Barrels, We are under the Necessity of asking The Return of the Supply of powder made by this Colony last summer for the Continental Service, and that you woud please to order Us the like Quantity, or what can possibly be spared for our Use; the supplys we have sent for to the West Indies, &c., and been some time expecting, are not yet arriv’d.2 In behalf of the Council & Assembly I am very respectfully your Excellency’s most humble Servt

Meshech Weare presidt of the Council

LS, DLC:GW; LB, Nh-Ar. The addressed cover includes the notation “Express per Capt. Prentice.” Nathaniel Sartel Prentice (1735–1815) represented the towns of Marlow, Surry, and Alstead in the house of representatives (see Bouton, N.H. State Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. State Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the State of New-Hampshire during the Period of the American Revolution, from 1776 to 1783 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 8. 1874. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 8:91).

1Stephen Moylan wrote to the president of the general court on 9 Mar., informing him of the occupation of Dorchester Heights and the likely departure of the British from Boston within a short time. “His Excellency,” Moylan continued, “has good reason to imagine that New York will be the place of their destination; but lest that should not be the case it behooves every place where a Fleet can lie to be upon their guard; the General therefore recommends the utmost vigilance may be observed by the good people of your Province, & if they should make an attempt to land therein he doubts not every opposition will be given thereto & an Express sent off immediately that he may come or send to your assistance” (ibid., 85–86). For similar letters see GW to Jonathan Trumbull, Sr., 9 Mar., and Moylan to Lord Stirling, 9 Mar., quoted in Stirling to GW, 14 Mar. 1776, n.1.

2On 11 Mar. the General Court “voted to raise a Regiment consisting of seven hundred & Twenty-five men, Including officers ... to be on the Lines at Piscataqua as soon as possible—Also to raise one Company of Artillery consisting of Forty-two men Exclusive of officers to be on the lines imediatly, and to continue in the service untill the Last of December next unless sooner discharged.” In another resolution of that date the General Court authorized the raising of 3 companies of 100 men each, including officers, to defend Portsmouth (Bouton, N.H. State Papers description begins Nathaniel Bouton, ed. State Papers. Documents and Records Relating to the State of New-Hampshire during the Period of the American Revolution, from 1776 to 1783 . . .. In New Hampshire Provincial and State Papers, vol. 8. 1874. Reprint. New York, 1973. description ends , 8:84). For GW’s reply regarding the gunpowder, see his letter to Meshech Weare of 14 Mar. 1776, and particularly note 2.

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