George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Nicholas Cooke, 29 July 1776

From Nicholas Cooke

Providence July 29th 1776

Sir,

I have the Honor to acquaint your Excellency that last Evening Capt. Bucklin in a Privateer from this Place returned from a successful Cruize in which he took Five valuable Prizes bound from the British Islands in the West-Indies to Great-Britain:1 He informs me that on the 25th instant in Lat. 40° 20′ S.S.E. from Nantucket Shoals, upon the clearing up of a Fog, he found himself in the midst of 26 Sail of Ships, Two of which appeared very large and were all standing about West. He also tells me that on the 27th of June in Lat. 35° Long. 52° he spoke with the Ship Morris, in the Continental Service, Capt. Thomas Bell, from Havre de Grace for Philadelphia with a Lading of Duck[,] Powder, Lead &c.2 Captain Bell informed him that the Portuguese had seized all the American Vessels in their Ports.

A Prize, which arrived here this Day, on Thursday last spoke with Two Schooners from the Eastward bound on a Cruize, who the Day before had taken a large Ship laden with Provisions for the Enemy’s Army at New York.3 I am with great Esteem and Respect Sir Your Excellencys Most obedt and most humble Servant

Nichs Cooke

LS, DLC:GW; copy, enclosed in GW to Hancock, 5 Aug. 1776, DNA:PCC, item 152; copy, DNA:PCC, item 169.

1Daniel Bucklin of Providence commanded the Rhode Island privateer Montgomery, a sloop of about sixty tons armed with ten carriage guns and ten swivel guns and manned by fifty men (see Request by Owners for a Commission for the Rhode Island Sloop Montgomery, 13 May 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 , 5:76). The Newport Mercury for 29 July says: “Yesterday the privateer Montgomery, Capt. Buckley [Bucklin], of Providence, went in the east side of this island, and carried with him a fine large snow, Capt. Gooding [the brig Harlequin, Capt. John Goodwin], from Antigua, loaded with 300 hogsheads of sugar, and 100 hogsheads of rum; and we hear Capt. Buckley, in company with another privateer has taken 5 other considerable prizes, viz. 3 ships, 1 snow, and 1 brig, which were but about one day’s sail behind him, two of which with the other privateer were to make some port to the eastward.”

2The Morris was one of several ships that the Philadelphia firm of Willing, Morris & Co., under contract with the Secret Committee of the Continental Congress, sent abroad to trade provisions for arms, ammunition, and other military stores. The Dublin Journal for 28 May 1776 says that the Morris sailed from Le Havre for Philadelphia on 17 May “with 300 Casks of Gunpowder, each Cask equal in Size to a Beef half Barrel 5000 Pigs of Lead, a considerable Quantity of Canvass and coarse Linen for Sails, Tents and Shirting, and twenty Chests of Arms” (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 , 6:387).

3The past Thursday was 25 July.

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