George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Richard Dobbs Spaight, 24 May 1794

From Richard Dobbs Spaight

No. Carolina New Bern 24th May 1794


Mr Martinon has been at Occacock inlet and has fixed upon Beacon island as the most proper place on which the fort for the protection of the shipping going out and coming in at that bar can be erected. his judgement in this particular coincides with the opinion of every person who is acquainted with the place.

Beacon island contains about twenty five acres of land and is the joint property of John G. Blount esqre of Washington and Capt: Jno. Wallace who are willing to convey the same to the United States for a moderate compensation. they are willing that the United States should appoint persons to value it and to take the sum at which they shall value it.1

I find by the instructions of Mr Martinon that I am to approve of the plans which he shall draw for the forts,2 in this business I shall be totally at a loss as I am unaquainted with fortification and can form no judgement whether his plans are good or not so that giving my assent to them will be merely a matter of form. I am with respect Sir &ca

R. D. Spaight

LB, Nc-Ar: Governors’ Letterbooks. Secretary of War Henry Knox acknowledged GW’s receipt of this letter in his letter to Spaight of 23 June (Nc-Ar: Governors’ Letterbooks).

1Knox replied in his letter to Spaight of 23 June, "Some mode will immediately be devised for the purchase of Beacon island, decided upon for the defence of Occacock inlet and also for such lands as shall be necessary in the vicinity of Wilmington."

John Gray Blount (1752-1833), a merchant and landowner, represented Beaufort County in the North Carolina legislature between 1782 and 1795. He was the brother of North Carolina congressman Thomas Blount and Southwest Territory governor William Blount. John Wallace (1758-1810) was the proprietor of the tavern and ship supply store on Shell Castle, an island west of Beacon Island in Pamlico Sound owned jointly by Wallace and Blount.

2For Knox’s instructions to Nicholas Francis Martinon of 11 April, see ASP, Military Affairs description begins Walter Lowrie et al., eds. American State Papers. Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States. 38 vols. Washington, D.C., Gales and Seaton, 1832–61. description ends , 1:95-96.

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