George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Major General Artemas Ward, 17 May 1776

From Major General Artemas Ward

Boston 17 May 1776


I have the pleasure to inform your Excellency that the Armed Schooner Franklin, Captain Mugford this day took and bro’t into this Harbour a large Ship from Cork, Several other armed Schooners were in company. A Bill of Lading I have inclosed, by which you will see that she is a very valuable Prize; she carried four three pounders, and is about three hundred tons burthen. She came out the fourth of April with nine Sail of transports under convoy of a Frigate; I cannot learn any important intelligence by her; the Master says there are but about one hundred Soldiers on board these transports, and that they are laden with provisions and warlike stores for the Kings troops.1 I am Your Excellency’s Obedient Humble Servant

Artemas Ward


1Capt. James Mugford, Jr. (1749–1776), of Marblehead captured the armed British transport Hope, Alexander Lansdale, master, near the Boston lighthouse on this date. The enclosed bill of lading, dated 4 Nov. 1775, shows that the Hope’s cargo included 1,000 carbines complete with bayonets and cartridge boxes, 5 gun carriages, 10,000 sandbags, nearly fifteen hundred barrels of gunpowder, and a variety of tools and engineer supplies. Ward also enclosed a receipt for part of the cargo dated 17 May 1776 and signed by Nathaniel Barber, Jr., the Continental deputy commissary of artillery at Boston (DLC:GW). The remainder of the stores were delivered to Thomas Chase, assistant quartermaster general at Boston. Mugford, who was the Franklin’s sailing master, had recently taken command of the vessel in the absence of other officers. He was killed two days later in an engagement with several British boats (see Ward to GW, 20 May 1776).

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