From Major General William Heath
Head Quarters Boston Mar. 24, 1778
The Express just going off I have only Time to do myself the honor to acquaint your Excellency that the Warren Frigate commanded by Captain Hopkins arrived here the last evening, having made a short Cruise after she sailed from Providence, in which she has taken two or three prises, one of which is from Liverpool and has a quantity of Canvas on board, an Article much wanted at this time.1
It is reported that British papers are on board one of the prises up to the 8th January last, (but I cannot procure them) in which it is mentioned that 30,000 Men are raising in England to reinforce their Army in America, 8000 of which are Scotch &c. It is rumoured that Genl Amherst is to Command.2 I have the honor to be Your Excellencys Most Obed. Servt
LS, DLC:GW. Heath signed the cover of this letter.
1. John Burroughs Hopkins (1742–1796), son of the former Continental navy commander in chief Esek Hopkins, was commissioned a captain in the navy in December 1775 and appointed to command the Continental frigate Warren in June 1776. The Warren had slipped by the British fleet at Providence during the first week of March 1778. According to newspaper reports it took “two Prizes; one a Ship, taken in Sight of Bermuda, from Whitehaven bound to Philadelphia, laden with Salt and Dry Goods; the other a Snow, from St. Eustatia, her lading unknown” (Pennsylvania Gazette [York], 11 April; see also Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser [Boston], 26 Mar.). Hopkins remained captain of the Warren until May 1779, when he was suspended from command. He then left the navy and later commanded Massachusetts and Rhode Island privateers.
2. Reports from the British newspapers brought by the Warren were republished in the Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser (Boston) of 26 March. They stated that the troops to be sent to America would amount to 32,000 men, including 7,000 Highlanders; 1,000 “loyal Lowlanders”; 1,000 from Arran, Scotland; and 5,000 in “Scotch Dutch brigades.” They also included the rumor “that Lord Amherst will certainly be appointed to the command in America.”