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southward, as well as other letters, duplicates, and enclosures of a distant date, which I defer answering by the present conveyance, of a small, unarmed sloop, returning to England, in the service of the Navy, as I intend to write fully by the Harriet packet lately arrived, and to sail in a few days with Governour Legge; wherefore I shall confine myself, in this, to a few particulars more immediately necessary to be communicated to your Lordship for his Majestys information, accompanied by duplicates of my despatch from Nantasket, to be delivered by Judge Brown.
The Forty-Seventh Regiment of foot sailed from hence the 20th instant, for Quebcck, under convoy of the Niger frigate, which may be a seasonable relief, should it arrive before the force sent from England early in the spring, as mentioned in your Lordships letter of the 5th of January. Captain Stanton, of the Fourteenth Infantry, who arrived here on the 21st in the Harriet packet, informs, that this reinforcement was the regiment of foot; and as I trust that two regiments will be sufficient to preserve the town until the arrival of the troops from Europe intended for that quarter, I do not propose sending any more from hence. The officer who set out for Quebeck in the winter, as taken notice of in my letter to Lord Dartmouth of the 16th of January, not being yet returned, I have no account of any kind from thence.
The fleet and transports sailed in two divisions from Nantasket-Road, the last with the Admiral, on the 27th of March, and got in here the 2d instant. But I m sorry to inform your Lordship that a brig, loaded with valuable goods, chiefly belonging to persons deemed to he highly disaffected to Government, not being ready to sail with the fleet, has since been taken by three armed vessels, after parting company with the Niger frigate left to convoy her, and some other vessels in the same situation. A Midshipman was on board, with a sergeant and twelve soldiers, for her protection, who, after defending themselves with great obstinacy, were at length compelled to surrender. We feel this loss the more at present, as there were a quantity of shoes on board, which are much wanted for the soldiery, as well as woollen articles that would have been very useful to them.
By some masters of vessels who had been prisoners at Salem, and obtained liberty to return to England, we learn that the Rebel General is gone to New-York, with a part of his Army, having before detached a large reinforcement to Canada, and those left behind were erecting works upon Fort-Hill, in the town of Boston. By the arrival here of Captain Wallace, commanding the Rose frigate, I am also informed, that the Rebels are fortifying Rhode-Island; but I do not apprehend they can prevent his Majestys troops from taking possession of it, when the strength of the Army will admit of a division for that important service, as it can be approached by shipping in every part.
New-York being the greater object of the two, and the possession of it more extensive in its consequences, as well as more conducive to the credit of his Majestys arms, will be my principal aim, when enabled to proceed thither by a sufficient supply of provisions, since both services cannot be undertaken with the present force; and it is become highly necessary that the first exertion of the Army should be directed to the most important purposes, to check the spirit which the evacuation of Boston will naturally raise among the Rebels. In this disposition, it is probable that their leaders, urged by the people, and flushed with an idea of superiority, may be the readier brought to a decisive action, than which nothing is more to be desired, or sought for, by us, as the most effectual means to terminate this expensive war; and I have the greatest reason to be sanguine in my hopes of success, from the present health and high order of the Army. If this cannot be effected before the reinforcements arrive from Europe, it is most likely that they will act upon the defensive, by having recourse to strong intrenched situations, in order to spin out the campaign, if possible, without exposing themselves to any decisive stroke.
In consequence of his Majestys approbation for the appointment of an Adjutant-General to this Army, I have appointed Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson, of the Sixty-Third Regiment, to that office, having a thorough confidence in his abilities and military knowledge. Major Kemble, having long done the duty of Deputy Adjutant-General, and being nearly connected with General Gage, I should hope your Lordship will be pleased to recommend him to his Majestys favour, upon this appointment of Lieutenant-Colonel Patterson. It is with pleasure I affirm, that Major Shirreff, Deputy Quartermaster-General, has been lately honoured with a mark of his Majestys favour.
Many of the principal inhabitants of Boston, under the protection of the Army, having no means of subsistence here, apply to me to find them a passage to Europe, which they cannot otherwise get than at a most exorbitant rate: they have my assurance, that the first transport which can be spared shall be given up for this purpose. I am sorry to inform your Lordship that there is an absolute necessity for issuing provisions to the whole of them (about eleven hundred) from the Kings stores, without any prospect of stopping it. It must be confessed, that many, having quitted the whole of their property and estates, some of them very considerable in value, are real objects of his Majestys most gracious attention.
Lieutenant-Colonel Grant, of the Fortieth, and Captain Payne, of the Eighteenth Regiments, sent to Georgia and the West-Indies to purchase some supply of provisions, have arrived with a small quantity, of which I have given the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury a report. A further supply was engaged, and may be daily expected from the latter place; and I have accounts, that a victualling ship for the Army, blown off the coast in the winter, had got into the Island of St. Christopher, much damaged, but was nearly repaired, and would sail directly for Halifax about the 24th of March, so that I may hope for a speedy relief in this essential article.
Advices received from Major-General Clinton this day, dated in Cape-Fear River, the 26th of March, mention that the armament destined to the southward was not arrived; and I enclose, for your Lordships information, a narrative of what has lately passed in North- Carolina, with the copy of a letter from Governour Martin to Major-General Clinton.
ADVICES FROM ADMIRAL SHULDHAM.
Admiralty Office, London, June 8, 1776.
By letters received from Vice-Admiral Shuldham, dated at Halifax, the 25th of April last, it appears that, on the 15th of that month, Captain Furneaux, of the Syren, one of the frigates under his command, took a brigantine belonging to the Rebels, which was carrying from Philadelphia to Charlestown, in South- Carolina, a company of Artillery, consisting of a Captain, commissioned by the Continental Congress, and seventy-nine men, most of whom have since entered into his Majestys service with General Clinton. It also appears that the other cruisers of his squadron had intercepted and taken forty-four merchant ships and vessels belonging to his Majestys rebellious subjects in North-America; and that Captain Barclay, of the Scarborough, who had been sent to Savannah, in the Province of Georgia, for provisions, had liberated thirteen vessels richly laden, which had been seized and detained there by the Rebels.
And the Admiral transmits, with the above-mentioned letters, the following account which he had received from Captain Tyringham Howe, of his engagement in the Glasgow, with five armed ships and vessels of the Rebels, viz:
On Saturday, the 6th of April, 1776, at two A. M., Block-Island then bearing northwest about eight leagues, we discovered a fleet on the weather-beam, consisting of seven or eight sail; tacked and stood towards them, and soon perceived them to be two or three large ships, and other square-rigged vessels; turned all hands to quarters, hauled up the mainsail, and kept standing on to the northwest with a light breeze and smooth water, the fleet then coming down before it. At half-past two, a large brig came within hail, and seemed to hesitate about giving any answer, but still kept standing towards us; and, on being asked what other ships were in company with her, answered, the Columbus and Alfred, a twenty-two-gun frigate; and almost immediately a hand-grenade was thrown out of her top. We exchanged our broadsides. She then shot ahead, and lay on our bow, to make room for a large ship, with a top-light, to come on our broadside, and another ship ran under our stern, raked as she passed, and then luffed up on our lee-beam, whilst a brig took her station on our larboard-quarter, and a sloop kept altering her station occasionally.