George Washington Papers

To George Washington from John Langdon, 17 March 1776

From John Langdon

Portsmo. [N.H.] 17th March 1776

Sr

This moment Arrived a Small Vessell from the West Indies, with abt, Six Thousand wt powder belonging to the Continent, and as I tho’t it might be wanted at Headquarters, have Dispatched Major Gains with this information, to your Excellency and should it be wanting, (in part, or all) shall immediately forward it, on Receiveg your Direction1—The Bearer will inform what inteligence the Capt. Brings, who I should have sent up, had it not been Necessary to keep him on board his Vessell—The Capt. informs that at Martinico, and Gaurdaloupe, there is at Least Ten Thousand french Troops, makeing great preparations for, War, this he says May be Depended on, Yesterday we had a Small parcel of powder, abt five Thousand wt Arrived, belongg to the Colony—We have Several Vessells more at St Lucia, who are takeing in powder. Please to Accept of the best Wishes of your most Obt Servt

John Langdon

ALS, DLC:GW. Langdon, who attended the Continental Congress as one of New Hampshire’s delegates until 2 Jan. 1776, had contracted with the Secret Committee of Congress on 8 Nov. 1775 to import “twenty five tons of good gunpowder, or in case any part of the gunpowder cannot be had as much Saltpetre with a proportionate quantity of Sulphur as will make the quantity that may be deficient” (Smith, Letters of Delegates description begins Paul H. Smith et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774–1789. 26 vols. Washington, D.C., 1976–2000. description ends , 2:318–19).

1Capt. Thomas Peverly apparently brought this gunpowder from the West Indies in the schooner Success. See Secret Committee to Langdon, ibid., 3:489–90, and Instructions to Captain Thomas Peverly for a Powder Voyage, 28 Dec. 1775, in Clark, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 3:270–73. The memorandum of the reply that Stephen Moylan sent to Langdon on 19 Mar. reads: “Wrote to him to forward the Continental powder to Camp immediatly, giving him acct of our possessing our Selves of Boston &c.” (DLC:GW). On 23 Mar. Langdon ordered wagonmaster Libbey to take the gunpowder to GW’s headquarters (Clark, Naval Documents description begins William Bell Clark et al., eds. Naval Documents of the American Revolution. 11 vols. to date. Washington, D.C., 1964—. description ends , 4:468–69). George Gaines (1736–1809) of Portsmouth was appointed second major of a regiment of New Hampshire minutemen on 1 Sept. 1775 and quartermaster of the colony’s forces on 8 Nov. 1775.

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