George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Commodore Esek Hopkins, 1 May 1776

From Commodore Esek Hopkins

Providence May 1st 1776

Sir

Your favour of the 25th April per Express have receiv’d—am very much obliged to you for the Use of your Men, and shall dispatch them to New York immediately in the Sloop Providence Capt. Hazard1—although we still continue to be Sickly onboard all the Vessels, so that it will be impossible to go to Sea with the Fleet, before we get recruited with hands which will not easily be done.2 I am with great Respect Sir Your most Obedt humble Servt

Esek Hopkins

LS, DLC:GW; LB, RHi: Hopkins Papers.

1John Hazard, who was commissioned commander of the sloop Providence on 9 Jan. 1776, was described by one of his fellow captains in the Continental navy as “A Stout Man Very Vain and Ignorant—as much low cunning as Capacity” (Nicholas Biddle to Lydia McFunn, 15 Feb. 1776, in Clark and Morgan, 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 , 3:1305–7). Hazard was court-martialed at Providence for misconduct on 8 May 1776 and was adjudged “unworthy of holding his Commission in the Navy of the United Colonies” (Court Martial of John Hazard, Commander of the Sloop Providence, ibid., 4:1458–59). Hopkins confirmed the verdict the next day and ordered Hazard to surrender his commission. For further information about the return of the soldiers to the army, see Hopkins to GW, 12, 22 May 1776.

2Hopkins also wrote John Hancock on this date, informing him that upon his arrival at New London on 8 April he “landed Sick people not fit for duty in the Hospital which I provided with difficulty 72 from the Alfred 34 from the Columbus, 58 from the Andrew Doria, 17 from the Cabot, 16 from the Providence & 5 from the Fly, in all 202 people which weakend our fleet so much that I applied to General Washington, and got an Order for two hundred Men, about one hundd. & seventy of whom I got onboard the Fleet. . . . We Sailed from New London the 24th April and met nothing. . . . we put in here [Providence], where we have landed upwards of one hundred Sick Men, and there is daily more taken down with some New Malignant Fever—I was making all the dispatch possible to procure Provisions & Stores in Order for a three or four Months Cruise when I received . . . General Washington’s Orders to Send his Men immediately to New York which I must Comply with” (Clark and Morgan, 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 , 4:1358–60).

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