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The New Providence Expedition of 1776




-Northern Carribean:-

The New Providence Expedition:

“. . . We thought Ourselves secure . . .”

New Providence, Bahamas Islands




1. Hopkins's Plan: Blundering Wisdom, 17 February 1776


When Commander-in-Chief Esek Hopkins led his little converted fleet out to sea in the afternoon of 17 February 1776 he knew where he was going and why he was going there, but, except for the captains of the fleet, who were told to rendezvous at Great Abaco in the Bahama Islands in case of separation, no one else knew where or why. The Naval Committee thought he was going to Virginia, which is where he had been ordered to go. If he did not go there the Committee expected him to sail to the Carolinas or to Georgia, just as long as it was somewhere in the southern colonies. Action in the south was being demanded by all the southern delegates to Congress.


But that was not where Esek Hopkins was going. He was not going to Virginia, and probably just as well for his fleet: the British had collected two frigates and two sloops-of-war there, in addition to Dunmore's vessels. This concentration was at least partly the result of the many notices the British had received of the fitting out of the Continentals. Hopkins certainly knew the strength of the British at Virginia, and, from a strictly military point of view, wisely stayed away.


Long before Commodore Hopkins sailed, on 24 December 1775, Colonel Alexander McDougall of New York had written a letter of great interest to one of the New York delegates in Congress, John Jay. McDougall pointed out that the Americans, when fighting on land, and protected by fortifications against British discipline, had fared rather well. McDougall attributed this to their familiarity with musketry. However, it was different at sea: “. . .the Saylors we have picked up for our Vessels, do not understand the use of Cannon, equal to those who are continually exercised with them on board the King's Ships, nor are they so attached to the Country, from connextions as our Soldiers are, besides many of the Saylors have been taught, the Superiority of the British Navy officers, to all others in the world. Sir, There is no entrenching or covering behind Trees at Sea. Superior force or address only must determine the victory. . .You are not to measure your expectations of the Success of this Fleet, against the men of war, by the Success of our Troops against the King's, or the Success of our Cruizers against Transports. . .are we then never to send our armed Vessels against the men of war. . .Yes, But the first experiment, should not be made, where there is danger of the force being equal, before your officers and men are practised in Sea engagements. . .so much depends on address & preparation founded on experience, that I tremble for the consequences.”


McDougall then listed three things necessary for the fleet at the stormy time of year when it was setting out: (1) the vessels must have the ability to “carry a stiff sail;” (2) they must not be too deeply loaded; and (3) the officers and crew must be trained on the use of the cannon with powder (“One Ton of Powder however scarce it may be, properly expended in this way, will save Five in an engagement, if not save the Fleet. . .”). Finally, “New and hasty sea armaments meet cruizing Ships, of near their Force on very unequal ground. The former is generally all confusion and not properly arranged; the Latter in order, and ready for action.”1


It is possible, perhaps probable, that Hopkins shared some of these sentiments. If he did he saw fit not to disclose them. There was no military cost in avoiding the British force at Virginia, but there certainly was a political one. Officers who attain the rank of Admiral or Commodore, in any Navy, including a brand new one, are expected to be aware and cognizant of larger political factors and interests. Part of the price for southern support in creating a Continental Navy was that it would be a national force; that it would be used against the British naval forces in the south first, specifically Virginia. Hopkins could hardly have been ignorant of this fact. He steered straight for the Bahama Islands.


In his later report to John Hancock, Hopkins listed his reasons for going to the Bahamas: he had many sailors sick with smallpox, the storms at sea and their winds blew hard from the northeast, and “I did not think we were in a Condition to keep on a Cold Coast.” Hopkins made it seem he put to sea to avoid the lee shore (wind from the northeast). He stated he assigned the Great Abaco rendezvous after the fleet sailed (it was before), and ran down to the rendezvous after Hornet and Fly parted company. He said he went there to wait for the appointed fourteen days for the missing vessels to join him (he waited two), and decided to attack New Providence after he arrived.2


It has been suggested that Hopkins may have had verbal orders to proceed to New Providence. That is unlikely: Adams, Langdon and Gadsden had departed Philadelphia before he sailed, but Hewes and R. H. Lee were still in town, in addition to brother Hopkins and Deane. That Lee of Virginia would have endorsed a change in orders for a fleet destined to punish Lord Dunmore seems very, very unlikely indeed. Moreover, in all the political fracas following the New Providence raid, Hopkins never once mentions a change in orders. However, there was knowledge available to Hopkins that made New Providence an attractive target: (1) there was much discussion in Philadelphia about the need for gunpowder which was in critically short supply, and (2), there was known to be a large supply at New Providence. In fact, a Congressional committee was studying methods of obtaining this powder. Hopkins then, in a wise and compelling military move, avoided the British squadron in Virginia to attack the relatively unprotected town of New Providence in the Bahamas, and committed a political blunder.


2. South to Grand Abaco, 17 February-1 March 1776


As the fleet sailed out between Cape Henlopen and Cape May and turned south the smallpox continued to stalk the fleet indeed. Alfred buried a man at sea on 18 February and the Columbus did the same the next day.3 And the wind did continue strong from the northeast. By 19 February a large storm was blowing up, sending the fleet scudding in “Hard gales & thick Weather.”4 Lieutenant Jones said the wind was a “Smart North East Wind.”5 In the fog and darkness night signals were set and the fleet continued south.


The Continental Fleet at sea. Left to right are the brig Cabot, brig Andrew Doria, ship Alfred, sloop Hornet, sloop Fly, ship Columbus, sloop Providence, and schooner Wasp. Modern painting by Nowland Van Powell, from The American Navies of the Revolutionary War, 1974.


In the night of the 19th the storm picked up.6 When dawn came on 20 February, the Fly and the Hornet were no where to be seen.7 These two straggled on after the fleet for two more days8 when Fly and Hornet collided with one another in the tempestuous weather, and Hornet carried away her masthead and boom.9 Stone broke off and headed for America to repair the damage, while Fly steered for the rendezvous.10


The Approach to the Bahamas: 1776

Stone steered for the nearest port that he thought was open: Charleston, South Carolina. The weather was still exceedingly stormy and the little sloop had a hard time of it, cruising off the Carolina coast and trying to land a boat to get a pilot. Finally a boat was sent off, upon which another storm broke and the Hornet was driven off the coast. Stone forgot the boat's crew and headed for the Delaware. His boat's crew got safely ashore, running into Santee River, and eventually up to Charleston. The colony treasurers paid to have the boat piloted up to town on 26 March.11

Nothing of further moment occurred as the fleet sailed south, down past the numerous Bahama Islands, low-laying brush covered sand spits with coral-fringed coastlines. The weather improved, becoming warm and typically sub-tropical; quite a change from the ice and snow of the Delaware River.

The fleet was approaching the southwest portion of Grand Abaco on 1 March 1776, when Columbus dolefully buried another sailor.12 The smallpox was still raging in the fleet, Hopkins reporting that four vessels were infected.13 As the fleet was sailing down the coast two small vessels were sighted. Flagship Alfred quickly ran them down and secured them: the first prizes of the Continental fleet. They proved to be two sloops from New Providence.14 By afternoon the fleet anchored in seventy-two feet of water on the southwest side of Grand Abaco,15 at a place called Hole-in-the-Wall.16 Captain of Marines Nicholas described the voyage as a “pleasant passage” of fifteen days.17

Hole-in-the-Wall has not changed much in the last two centuries. In 1776 there were no people, and in 2006 there were only a few. The place is named for a sailor’s landmark, a natural formation of a rock wall running into the sea, with a hole cut in it. Ashore the land was covered with scrubby looking pines and flocks of parrots.

From Southwest Point on Great Abaco the town of New Providence (known today as Nassau) lies fifty-five miles to the southwest, by passage through the Northeast Providence Channel. New Providence was (as Nassau now is) the capital of the Bahamas, located on the northern side of eighty square mile New Providence Island. The island was broken by lakes and swamps, and covered by pine forests and brush, with a low range of hills in the northern part.


Hole-in-the-Wall today

New Providence was a tiny place in 1775, built of wooden houses scattered along a single street next to the water. The houses were surrounded by trees, shrubs and gardens. The only public buildings were the Assembly house, jail, and church. The inhabitants consisted of a few planters, government officials, and many merchants and others associated with fishing, boat-building and shipping.19

The harbor was excellent, located behind the long Hog Island (now Paradise Island) and thus protected from northern and southern winds. Two passages led to the anchorage off the town, one from the west, and another from the east, through a passage called The Narrows, between Hog and Athol Islands. Two forts protected these passages: Fort Nassau to the west, a square, palisaded stone fort with two bastions; and Fort Montagu to the east, a small, square, stone redoubt. These forts were both in great disrepair. Although Nassau mounted forty-six cannon it was feared that if they were fired the walls would collapse. Montagu mounted seventeen guns, and was in better condition than Nassau.20


As for other defenses there were almost none. British Army troops had been withdrawn to North America., leaving only the local militia, perhaps two or three hundred men, for land operations. Half of these men were usually absent on daily occupations.21 The only Royal Navy force was HM Schooner St. John (Lieutenant William Grant), which was being cleaned and repaired in the harbor,22 and only mounted six cannon and twelve swivels, with a crew of thirty men.23 The Bahamas were a typical British colony, with a Royal Governor, Montfort Browne, a Council, and an Assembly. Browne was rather lacking in leadership. The people of the islands included many American sympathizers, but not very many active ones.


Early in the war both Graves and Gage became concerned about the munitions stored at New Providence. On 5 September 1775 HM Sloop Falcon (Captain John Linzee) sailed from Boston with two British Army transports, bound to New Providence with the mission of removing the munitions24 and withdrawing the garrison of one company of the 14th Regiment.25 Linzee brought a letter from General Gage, reporting that the Americans were planning an expedition to the island to seize the powder and ordnance store there.26 When the three ship task force arrived the governor was absent. The president of the Council, with the Council's concurrence, declined (28 September) to permit the stores to be shipped.27 The Council cited the vulnerability of the town to Spanish and French incursions, and (the real reason, one suspects) possible “dangerous Insurrections among our Slaves.”28 By 18 October 1775 the three vessels were back at Boston.29 Meanwhile the Admiralty became concerned and ordered, on 19 October, that Graves station one of the small vessels of his fleet in the islands.30 Graves received these orders on 30 December.31 This order was repeated to Vice Admiral Molyneux Shuldham on 16 January 1776.32


The Americans in Philadelphia knew of the visit of the three ships, that the garrison had been withdrawn, and that the munitions were still there, by 8 November 1775, when that information was published in the newspapers.33 Enough interest was found for obtaining the powder at New Providence to cause  Congress to order the Secret Committee to come up with a plan for getting hold of it. On 16 January 1776 the Secret Committee reported that a sloop, the Lady Catherine, had been furnished with a cargo valued at $3233.20 by Willing, Morris & Co. (on Continental account). Congress told the Secret Committee to give the skipper any necessary orders.34 Apparently the Secret Committee was going to attempt to purchase the gunpowder.


The British had, on the outbreak of the war, two vessels stationed to cover the Bahama Islands and East Florida. Both spent most of their time at New Providence. In late August 1775 HM Sloop Savage was withdrawn to Boston, leaving the St. John to cover the sleepy settlement.


4. Warnings and Plans, 25 February-2 March 1776


On 25 February 1776 (eight days after the Continental fleet sailed from the Delaware), a Captain Andrew Law arrived at New Providence. He was associated with the British Army in some way and brought information for the governor: a “considerable squadron,” assembling in Delaware Bay, was destined for New Providence. Browne urged Law to keep the information secret until the Council was assembled. Browne never called the Council together. Who was Law, and where did he get his information, which was uncannily correct and timely? Perhaps he knew of the plans in Congress concerning New Providence and connected them with the fitting out of the fleet. Perhaps he heard sailor's talk in the lower Delaware while he was waiting to sail.35


Nor was Law's message the only warning. The American fleet had been sighted on the afternoon of 28 February as it stood in to the land from the northeast. Captain George Dorsett had been bound on a whaling cruise, passing near Great Abaco, when he sighted the fleet of eight sail. Dorsett thought they were bound to New Providence and immediately put about to warn the town. He arrived in the morning of 1 March and informed Browne. Once again the bearer of the news was asked to keep silent until the Council was called. Once again the Council was never summoned.36


HM Schooner St. John was anchored in the harbor off Fort Nassau when another warning arrived. A vessel came in from Great Abaco on the morning of 2 March with news that the fleet was under sail and standing for New Providence. Grant recorded that the fleet consisted of two ships, two brigs, three sloops and a schooner, and that they were supposed to be en route to New Providence to obtain the munitions there. This was a very precise report.37 Still, nothing was done.


The Americans had meanwhile made their plans: the Marines would be transferred to the prize sloops, and be kept below decks. The total landing force would be about 230 Marines.38 The prize sloops would enter the harbor at New Providence, anchor near the forts, and, when opportunity presented itself, “land Instantly  & take possession before the Island could be Alarmed,”39 for the forts were ungarrisoned. The fleet would provide distant cover, so as not to alarm the town.40 The transfers began on the evening of 2 March,41 the Andrew Doria putting Craig's Marines aboard the sloop Providence and the other Marines of the fleet going aboard the captured sloops.42


5. Invasion, 3-4 March 1776


The fleet sailed from Great Abaco in the darkness of early morning on 3 March,43 steering southeast and south southeast for New Providence Island. Andrew Doria seems to have gotten in front of the fleet, and sighted New Providence Island at a distance of nine miles, bearing south southeast. Biddle lowered sail and cruised about, waiting for the fleet to catch up.44


The two sloops and the Providence were sent ahead to enter the harbor, but, unfortunately for the Americans, the fleet's big vessels were sighted in the distance, when they appeared suddenly45 to windward “of the Bar of the Harbour.”46 Grant's sailors saw them from the masthead,47 and alarm guns were fired from the forts.48 Surprise was now impossible.


Lieutenant Jones had been interrogating the New Providence pilots picked up from the two captured sloops. They informed Jones that there was a good anchorage nine miles to the windward under the shelter of a small key. Jones informed Hopkins, who expressed distrust of these British pilots. Jones took the pilots up to the fore-topmast head, from which the immediate danger of the coral reefs could be clearly seen. From here the squadron was safely guided to the anchorage,49 Hanover Sound (or Bay).50 By 070051 the fleet had anchored in twenty-four feet of water, close by Rose Island.52 To the British it seemed that the fleet “suddenly tacked, and made to the Eastward.”53


Hopkins called a council of war to determine the next move.54 He suggested sailing around to the western side of the island and landing the Marines there, allowing them to march on the town from the back. There was however, no road to the town from the western side of the island, and a landing there would give the militia time to collect and resist the landings or march. There was also no anchorage on the western side.55


Meanwhile, there was uproar in New Providence. When the American fleet appeared off the harbor in the dawn, the harbor pilot had run to Governor Browne's residence, Government House. Hastily Browne, standing in his nightshirt, looked out the door and saw the fleet off the harbor. He ordered the Council assembled at once, to meet him at Fort Nassau. About a quarter of an hour later, with most of the Council collected at Fort Nassau,56 the Governor ordered three alarm guns sounded:57 two of the three gun carriages collapsed on firing, but it was enough to alarm Hopkins.58


At 0700, just as the fleet was anchoring in Hanover Bay, the highly respected Council member Samuel Gambier rode into Fort Nassau. He found the drummers beating the long roll to assemble the militia and the Governor, still wearing only his nightshirt, conferring with Captain William Chambers of the Mississippi Packet, a merchant vessel anchored in the harbor with a cargo of lumber. Browne was considering shipping off the colony's powder in the Mississippi Packet. Gambier suggested that the powder was necessary to defend the forts and the town and that preparations for defense should be begun, as time was short.59 The majority of the militia assembled at Fort Nassau, with their commander, Major Robert Sterling.60


Next, Gambier suggested sending Chambers out to reconnoiter the American fleet; an idea that was quickly adopted. Chambers hurried away to perform this task. Gambier proposed that a detachment of militia occupy Fort Montagu and the militia roll be called to inspect arms and ammunition. Fewer than thirty men had gathered as yet, most without arms or with unfit weapons.61 By this time Lieutenant Grant had arrived to participate in the Council. After much discussion he was ordered to get his equipment and stores aboard and bring St. John down to the town.62 By 0900 a detachment of thirty men63 under Lieutenant John Pratt was on its way to Fort Montagu. Chambers had returned, unable to get the Mississippi Packet out of the harbor because of adverse winds and swells.64 As more men had arrived the Council dispatched another thirty militia under Lieutenant Burke to Fort Montagu, and these arrived about 1000.65 Browne excused himself, to return home and get dressed.66


Hopkins' council had by now come up with another landing plan. A landing on the eastern shore of the island, followed by the seizure of Fort Montagu, the “back door” to New Providence, was suggested. The Marines were reinforced by fifty sailors under Second Lieutenant Thomas Weaver of the Cabot, who was familiar with the area.67 The two captured sloops and the Providence would land the men, under cover of the Wasp.68


Just as Grant was getting St. John under way to take his station he received a letter from Governor Browne. The anchorage of the American fleet suggested a landing attempt to the east, and Grant was directed to place the St. John so as to “Stop the Channel Off the East Fort.” Grant found the going difficult as the wind and tide were against him, but finally got in position about 1200. While Grant was getting his schooner in position his lookouts reported the American sloops and schooners were under sail.69 The four bigger vessels remained anchored in Hanover Bay.70


About this time Grant received another letter from the Governor directing him to drop down to the town, and moor St. John near the upper end of the town, “Head and stern within Pistol shot of the Shore.” Grant's crew started filling powder cartridges, loading muskets and bringing up hand grenades. At 1300 Grant saw the four American small craft head into the eastern channel and come to, about seven miles east of Fort Montagu.71 The Providence and Wasp anchored72 and began off loading the Marines into whaleboats.73


A modern interpretation of the landing on New Providence. Wasp is in the center background, Providence is to the right. The two “prize” sloops appear to be ashore to the left.


The Americans were a little closer than Grant estimated they were. About 140074 the landing party came ashore in the whaleboats at “The Creek,”75 two miles east of Fort Montagu, and near the small village of New Guinea, inhabited by free blacks and mulattoes. These people thought the invaders were Spaniards and panicked, having visions of being sold into slavery. The “inhabitants. . .were soon undeceived, after our landing,”76 and the Marines quickly formed up for the march to Fort Montagu.77 First Lieutenant Trevett took command of one company,78 and First Lieutenant Dayton of another.79


Modern painting by Charles H. Waterhouse titled First Landing. In the background Alfred is visible. From Marines in the Revolution, 1975.


When the American landing force was sighted in the whaleboats, making for the beach, Pratt ordered Burke and Lieutenant Judkin to take their party of men down to the beach, reconnoiter the situation, and prevent the landing, if possible. When the British militia arrived at the beachhead the Americans were ashore in strength, so Burke sent a flag of truce to them to find out what they wanted.80 The reply was that the Americans had come by order of “the Congress of the United Colonies, in order to possess themselves of the Powder and Stores belonging to His Majesty.” Thus informed, Burke retreated back toward Fort Montagu.81


Meanwhile, St. John had finally gotten a pilot aboard, at 1400, and was moving to the upper end of the town. She anchored within pistol shot of the only road that entered the town on that side, and the road down which the invaders must march. Grant called all hands to quarters, and loaded up with double round and grape shot. He was ready to fight.82


When the Americans landed at The Creek, the Governor still had not returned to Fort Nassau. The Council ordered Major Sterling to march to Fort Montagu with the additional men collected, about eighty all together. As the men assembled to march the Governor arrived, apologizing for being late, and claiming he had been detained by a “violent fit of Cholick.” A brief Council session was held and the letter to Grant was issued. Then the Governor took command of the militia column and set out for Fort Montagu.83


When Browne arrived at Fort Montagu he was informed of the reconnaissance party down the beach. He sent a reinforcement of forty men and three officers after them. This group moved off down the beach and soon encountered Burke and Judkin retreating, upon which the whole group fell back to the fort. The Governor now ordered three guns fired upon the advancing Americans,84 “which did no execution.” It was thought advisable to withdraw from Fort Montagu to Fort Nassau. While spiking the guns85 and removing the powder86 Burke was sent out again to inquire of the invaders who they were and what their business was.87


"Map of Part of Island of New Providence shewing fortifications" A manuscript map dating to 1779. From Marines in the Revolution, 1975. Original in PRO.


As the Americans marched down the beach and approached the fort, Fort Montagu opened fire. About fifteen or twenty cannon, 18-pounders, were fired at the Americans, perhaps at extreme range, producing no casualties of any sort.88 Nicholas says the fort fired three 12-pounders as the Americans approached within a mile. The march at that point was hazardous: there was a very dense thicket above the beach and a detour around a deep cove exposed the Marines in full view of the fort. Nicholas called a halt to send in a flag of truce to again state the object of the expedition.89 About this same time Lieutenant Trevett saw an officer coming down the beach: “I went up to him to know what he wanted. He informed me that Gov. Brown would wish to know who we were what our business was. we soon gave him his answer, and the first fort stopped firing. . .”90


New Providence Island: 1776.


It was just now that most of the Governor's later critics claimed that the Americans could have been stopped. An ambush along the road down which the Americans were marching, and defensive earthworks blocking the road would have stopped the column, according to the critics. Several Americans stated later that they would have surrendered if fired on from the woods. Another observer noted they were ill prepared for attack: no field-pieces, battering cannon, or scaling ladders, “nor so much as an Ax to have made a gap in our Pallisades. . .nor one armed vessel had they steering along shore to cover them.” This observer also noted “the miserable figure the Enemies did Cut.”91 But perhaps the latter comment was imposed by the result. Another observer later said the Marines marched “as regular and made as fine an Appearance as any Troops he ever saw.”92


 Fort Montague as restored today.

After withdrawing from Fort Montagu, Browne returned to Government House on the only available saddled horse, where he remained for several hours. The militia moved out and then scattered to their homes. Only about half collected later at Fort Nassau.93 Grant was stunned when, at 1500, he “saw the Rebel Army take Fort Montagu and the Malitia march out.”94

6. Council Meeting and Surrender, 3-4 March 1776

As the evening darkened and the light fled from golden beaches and the green scrub on the hills of the island the final steps to close the day's activities were taken. The Continental Marines in Fort Montagu posted their sentries, and sat down to refresh themselves, having been crammed in small vessels for a day and a half, then landing on the beach, and marching to the fort, all without a chance to sleep or eat.95 Nicholas sent out an intelligence report to Hopkins that some 200 men were gathered at Fort Montagu. Seeking to undermine resistance, Hopkins caused a manifesto to be circulated.96 The manifesto stated that the Americans had come after the military stores and “. . .if I [Hopkins] am not Opposed in putting my design in Execution the Persons and Property of the Inhabitants Shall be Safe. Neither shall they be Suffered to be hurt in Case they make no Resistance.”97 Not long after this the British saw Hopkins' manifesto being “handed about amongst the People to the Eastward of the Town. . .which induced several of the Inhabitants to refuse coming to defend the Fort & others to join the Rebels.”98


Governor Browne recovered his courage about 1500 and returned to Fort Nassau. Here he apparently set about trying to secure a feasible military position. It was remembered that Government House was fortified with two 4-pounders, which commanded Fort Nassau and the town. From a position there musketry could sweep the fort's guns and prevent men from operating them.99 A detachment of forty men under Captain Thomas Hodgson and Ensign Barrett was sent off to occupy Government House. A proclamation was also issued offering a free pistol to every free black and any others who would rally to Fort Nassau.100


Once again the Council requested Grant to move the St. John, dropping back to cover the entrance to Fort Nassau. Grant obligingly slipped his cable and sailed down to Fort Nassau. In trying to anchor there the schooner got ashore. A tedious warping job followed before the schooner floated. Conditions were not good, ashore or afloat: “The Vessels being all in confusion and deserting, the inhabitants of the Town all took refuge in the Fort in the utmost confusion.” By 2230 the St. John was moored, broadside to the gates of the fort, and within “half a Pistol shot.”101


Meanwhile, Hopkins' manifesto was having the desired effect: “a Spirit of Disaffection shewed itself amongst the Inhabitants many of them declaring they wo'd not fight against the Americans.” By 2000 there were no more than a hundred men in the fort, including Governor, Council, officers and slaves.102


A Council session was now called (at 2000) to decide the fate of the resistance. Browne found the “Majority of the Council rather Backward,” so he joined the principal inhabitants and the militia officers to the Council. The first question was put: whether the fort was defensible in the face of American strength, and the lack of provisions and munitions. Browne put it another way: “And that upon proposing to them whether they would assist me to defend His Majesty's Fortresses & Stores,” the Council voted 14-10 against fighting,103 citing the defective gun carriages, the lack of various kinds of shot and the shortage of other stores.104


The next question was what to do with the gunpowder. Browne decided to charter the Mississippi Packet, load most of the gunpowder on her, and ship it to St. Augustine in East Florida,105 a decision the Council concurred in.106 Some powder was to be retained for it “was the visible opinion of the whole Community, that sending away the whole of it might enrage a disappointed enemy.”107


Lieutenant Grant was sent for about 2300, to wait upon the Governor and Council.108 He was ordered to escort the Mississippi Packet, both to protect her and to “prevent his Vessel falling into the Hands of the Enemy.,” as she was not “in any Condition fit for Service.”109 When informed of the Council's decision regarding the powder, Grant declined to remove it, pointing out that it was “impractible but that I would defend it to the utmost of my power. . .”110 Browne told Grant the purpose of the rebel attack, adding that the destruction of the St. John was one objective. Grant said that he was prepared to fight, and had moved the schooner several times at the Council's request. Browne told Grant that Fort Montagu was in utter confusion and would fall without powder, which finally convinced Grant.111


Chambers, loaded with timber for Jamaica, was busily throwing overboard the lumber to make room for the powder, which was hustled aboard with help from St. John's boats and crew.112 The gunpowder was stowed anyplace room could be found for it.113 The loading began about midnight,114 and Grant and Chambers sailed about 0200 on 4 March.115 Course was set for the northwest, the two vessels passing not too far away from where the Continental fleet was anchored. By 0400 St. John was six miles northwest of the bar at New Providence and at 0600 she was thirty-three miles southeast of the Berry Islands. The Mississippi Packet was “to deep and in distress,” so Grant hove to and waited for her. At 1030 he transferred forty-three barrels of powder to the St. John, anchoring near Sherrop's Key. At 1600 the flight to St. Augustine resumed.116


Why this eventuality was not foreseen is a good question. Hopkins could have stationed one or two of his vessels off the harbor exits to intercept the fleeing shipping. According to Grant there was much shipping going out of the harbor. Lieutenant Jones later said that “sending the two brigantines to lie off the bar” would have prevented the escape.117 Lieutenant Grant had expected to find such guard vessels when he sailed.118


As soon as the Council had resolved to send off the powder, the Speaker of the Assembly, James Gould, “mutiny'd” and took off with eighty of the militia, returning to their homes.119 This was about three fourths of the available men. The Council was now asked to determine if the detachment at Government House should be recalled, and agreed to do so.120


Browne went over to Government House to secure the detachment. When he returned he found most of the remaining men gone. The forty men under Hodgson and Barrett now asked permission to leave, as they were insufficient in number to fight the fort and preferred not to be taken as prisoners. This permission was granted, but Browne begged some to stay with him, as he preferred to fight. The men, not being swayed by this lunacy, left. Only the Governor and the Council were left. They gave up and returned to Government House121 just as the sun was rising.122


Sunrise over New Providence roused the Marines in Fort Montagu. It was now 4 March. The Marines assembled, no doubt many anticipating a fight. Nicholas led them out on a march to the town,123 about four miles from Fort Montagu.124 As they approached within a mile of the town they were met by a messenger from the Governor. Nicholas called a halt to conduct the negotiation.125 The messenger repeated the question concerning the purpose of the raid and Nicholas made the, by now, standard reply. The messenger then told Nicholas that Fort Nassau was “ready for his reception and that he might march his Force in as Soon as he Pleased.”126 Nicholas marched into the town, “drafted a guard, and went up to the Governour's, and demanded the keys of the fort, which were given to me immediately.”127 The Marines went up to Fort Nassau, “the British col hauled down, and we took possession.”128


From Fort Nassau the fleet could clearly be seen at anchor below Rose Island, a few miles distant. Within two hours Alfred and an escort129 got underway, coming up behind Hog Island and anchoring there130 while waiting for a pilot to bring them into harbor. The Commodore soon came ashore in his barge. As he was landing, Lieutenants Trevett and Dayton saw Browne and some members of his Council walking the grounds at Government House and horses tied up nearby, with servants in attendance. Fearing the Governor intended to flee, the two Lieutenants approached Nicholas and asked him for “liberty [to] take him. The Major informed us he had no orders from the [Commodore to] take him, but we may do as we pleased.”131 Trevett, Dayton and another officer called on the Governor and told him he must go to Fort Nassau. Browne objected, feeling it was beneath his dignity. Trevett told him he “must go, then he says it must be the force of arms, We told him it was by the force of arms!”132 He was kept prisoner in Fort Nassau (“in a place without food, water, bed, table, or chair”)133 until Hopkins arrived.134 After a time Hopkins sent for Trevett and detailed him to secure Browne in Government House with a proper guard.135


7. Occupation, 4-16 March 1776


The Andrew Doria and the remainder of the fleet remained at the Rose Island anchorage until 0600 on 6 March, when they weighed anchor and sailed down to the bar off the harbor. Here pilots were obtained and the fleet got safely into the harbor, anchoring off Fort Nassau. The work of loading the captured stores now began. To make more room the rock ballast in the vessels was unloaded, being replaced by captured shot.136 Cabot loaded ten of the heaviest cannon137 and the other vessels loaded assorted munitions stores.


The amount of munitions captured was astounding. A full inventory listed eighty-eight cannon (9-pounders to 36-pounders), fifteen mortars (4 inch to 11 inch), 5458 shells, 11071 round shot, and assorted other stores, but only twenty-four casks of gunpowder (a little over a ton).138 So much stores and ammunition was captured that Hopkins was forced to charter a 150-ton Bermuda built sloop,139 called the Endeavour, from a local citizen, to take on a cargo of cannon.140 Hopkins also promised to send her back to her owner,141 Charles Walker.142 Lieutenant Elisha Hinman was assigned to command the transport.143


Meanwhile, the St. John arrived at St. Augustine on 7 March, anchoring four miles off the bar, long enough for Grant to notify the British naval commander at Savannah and Governor Patrick Tonyn of East Florida of the raid. The Mississippi Packet had parted company the night of the 6th, but was expected to arrive soon. Grant nervously predicted the American fleet would soon be at St. Augustine, for he thought they were in pursuit of him, as perhaps they should have been.144 The next day Grant notified Vice Admiral Shuldham, suggesting an attack upon the American squadron.145 Governor Tonyn suggested the same line of operations to the British naval commander at Savannah.146


The immediate response to these advices was less than overwhelming. Captain Andrew Barkley (HM Frigate Scarborough), temporarily the senior British officer at Savannah, had received his letters by 13 March. A council of war was called. The council determined that the mission Scarborough was on was of sufficient importance not to chase after the American fleet, which “by the Information we have, in all probability have quitted Providence by this time.” The council of war took note of reports that the Americans intended to come to Savannah next. If so the British warships would be needed to protect the transports and merchant ships there. Barkley then passed this information along to Commodore Sir Peter Parker at North Carolina.147


Hopkins was not only occupier, but had to be law-giver for a time. On 7 March one Joseph Hinson, master of a merchant brigantine, the Christianna, petitioned Hopkins. Hinson had put into New Providence in a leaking condition with a cargo from St. Thomas in the Danish West Indies. Under British law he was allowed to land his cargo, but not sell it. Now he asked Hopkins for permission to sell, and the Commodore quickly approved the request.148 A shortage of provisions for the Marines and sailors ashore was covered by arranging a small contract with one Nathaniel Harrison, a local merchant.149


Several of the American officers pressured Hopkins to permit looting, but Hopkins had given his word and would not bend. Hopkins behaved with “humanity” towards the citizens, and prevented looting mor by “perswasions than Authority.”150 Yet another observer indicated that quite a bit of authority was shown: Hopkins almost immediately had a triangle erected “and if the Inhabitants made the least Complaints against any of his people, they were punished immediately. . .the Number of Lashes few, but very severly given.”151 Hopkins was cultivating the sympathies of the Bahamians in every possible way.


The occupation was largely uneventful for the fleet. At 1000 on 11 March the Fly sailed into harbor, pushed by fresh sea breezes under clear skies.152 Fly brought news of the Hornet and of her own adventures, as well as intelligence that Hacker had collected en route. The most interesting bit of news to Hopkins would have been the intelligence concerning HMS Experiment and her convoy of seven troop transports. This convoy had been approaching Boston in winter, had been driven off the coast by stormy weather, and had gone to Antigua. This convoy was now working its way north, and was due in St. Augustine in March, according to Hacker.153


Schooner Wasp was kept busy chasing vessels seen off the harbor. At 1600 on 11 March a sail was seen and Wasp was sent out to investigate. By 1800 she had brought the stranger to, and apparently found her harmless. On 12 March, another clear day, Wasp was ordered out to chase a schooner, sighted to windward at 0900. The schooner was forty-two days out of Hispaniola, and had lost a mate and a sailor. Wasp brought her into harbor at 1100 and put three men aboard as a guard. The next day one of Wasp's hands took advantage of the closeness of the land to jump overboard and swim ashore.154


The presence of the fleet in the warmer climate of the Bahamas had not stopped the sickness aboard the vessels. Andrew Doria reported her crew was “takeing very Sickly with the fever,” although care was taken to prevent the fever's spread.155 Alfred had a sailor die on 4 March, even before the island was secured, and another listed only as “dead” with no date.156 Columbus listed a sailor as having died at New Providence.157 Again, as in the Delaware, the smallpox and fever produced desertions: Alfred had three sailors and a Marine run away on 13 March,158 and ship Columbus lost four men on the 15th,159 with two more from the Alfred.160


Vessels kept arriving in the harbor. Two sloops from Turks Island came in on 14 March, and two ships arrived on 15 March.161 American vessels also called in at the harbor. One, from Dartmouth, in Massachusetts, was used by Hopkins to send away some of the captured cannon.


Governor Browne was kept closely guarded by Lieutenant of Marines Trevett. When the fleet was nearly ready to sail, Trevett was ordered to “wait him down to the barge,”162 and he was taken (“dragging him by Violence” according to one witness)163 to the Alfred. Two other men were removed as prisoners: Lieutenant James Babbidge (a retired or half-pay officer) and Thomas Irving (a Royal official from South Carolina).164 This occurred about 12 March.165 Although closely guarded, Browne managed to smuggle out a letter dated 17 March, to Lord Dartmouth.166


7. Homeward Bound, 16 March-3 April 1776


Finally the fleet was loaded. The Marines were withdrawn from the forts and town and Hopkins issued orders for getting underway. At 1600 on 16 March, in clear weather with fresh breezes, the fleet sortied from New Providence harbor.167 Accompanied by at least one American merchant vessel (commanded by a man named Jennings),168 the fleet reversed its approach course, heading back toward Abaco. Andrew Doria sighted Abaco the next morning, bearing southwest at twenty to twenty-five miles distance in beautiful sailing weather: breezy, fresh and clear. The fleet was in company with the brig. The next day Andrew Doria's officers listed between thirty and sixty of her crew sick with fever. On 19 March the commodore's barge came aboard with Hopkins' sailing orders for the voyage.169


The fleet was to stay with Alfred, but, in case of separation, was to rendezvous in Block Island Channel, and cruise there for six days in “30 fathom Water South from Block Island.” If the fleet was not found by then the captains were free to either cruise or go into port.170 The Endeavour was ordered to proceed to Providence, the Sekonnet Channel, or New London, in case of separation, and Hinman was to apply to Governor Cooke of Rhode Island or Governor Trumbull of Connecticut for further directions.171 No mention was made of inquiring after the Naval Committee, under whose orders the fleet was operating.


Hopkins now added injury to insult by attempting to dispose of the cannon as if they were his personal property. In a letter of 18 March to the Committee of Safety of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, he let the Committee know that he, Hopkins, had heard that they needed some cannon. He was therefore sending them two 9-pounders and some shot, aboard Jenning's vessel. He asked the Committee to forward to Rhode Island any shot that did not fit the cannon.172


The fleet continued to sail north in generally good weather until 23 March, when the first big storm hit. The next morning Wasp parted company from the fleet. Operations continued despite the storm. A sail was sighted to windward on the 25th. At 0800 Andrew Doria and Providence were ordered to chase. Providence ran her down at 1400, but she proved to be a friend: a schooner out of Carolina, bound for France.173


The sickness continued in the fleet. Andrew Doria had lost a Marine on 2 March and another on 28 March.174 Alfred listed a man as died on 28 March, and another as “dead” with no date given.175 Perhaps this was the man who died on Andrew Doria on 28 March, who was noted as being transferred from the Alfred.176 Alfred lost another sailor on 28 March.177 There is also an oddity on Andrew Doria's muster roll: the Marine fifer is listed as deserted on 27 March.178 Just where he deserted to in the broad ocean is a mystery.


The weather continued very bad on 27 March: Andrew Doria had the men working at the pumps because she was shipping so much water. At 0800 she was ordered to chase a sail with the Fly. At 1400 Andrew Doria fired two guns to stop the vessel, a French schooner six days out of New London. From the French Biddle learned the electrifying news that the British had evacuated Boston. The next day was calm and Biddle had his yawl hoisted out to row over to Alfred with the news about Boston. He was back on the 30th, in time for the weather to become blowing with a big sea. Providence parted from the fleet in the storm.179


On 3 April 1776 the Andrew Doria lost her sergeant of Marines to the fever, and Columbus parted from the fleet. Biddle sighted Long Island at 1100, forty-eight miles to the north northwest. At 1700 on the evening of the 3rd Andrew Doria sighted a sail to leeward and ran her down: she was the sloop Endeavour, which had parted in the bad weather some time earlier.180 Early on 4 April Andrew Doria parted from the fleet.181 But having endured the storms, things were about to improve for the fleet.


8. Prizes, 4-5 April 1776


a. Capture of the Hawke, 4 April 1776


On the morning of 4 April the various vessels of the somewhat scattered fleet began to arrive off the eastern end of Long Island.182 Columbus apparently got there first, where she met and captured183 HM Schooner Tender Hawke (Lieutenant John184 [James]185 Wallace). Wallace was a nephew of the notorious British naval commander at Rhode Island.186 Hawke was armed with six cannon and eight swivels187 and had a crew of twenty188 or twenty-five men.189 Hawke had sailed from Newport on 1 April to patrol off Block Island with HM Brig Bolton. The fleet under Wallace was to join them there soon after.190 Instead of his uncle's command, the younger Wallace found the Continentals, just coming in from New Providence.


By afternoon the slowly collecting fleet made Block Island. Here, Hopkins detached the Andrew Doria to look into Newport Harbor and report on the stations of the British fleet there. Andrew Doria rejoined at 0600191 on 5 April, bringing in a sloop from New York to have her papers examined. The sloop was released after inspection.192 While Andrew Doria was off cruising, Columbus and Alfred had made another prize.


b. Action with the Bolton, 5 April 1776


HM Brig Bolton (Lieutenant Edward Sneyd) was a part of the British naval force in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. She had sailed from Newport with the Hawke193 and was cruising in the area south of Block Island on 5 April 1776. Bolton was carried on the Navy list as being a six gun, twelve swivel vessel with a crew of thirty.194 She was certainly armed with six 3-pounders195 although she was universally reported to have had eight guns.196 In addition she carried two brass howitzers.197 Her actual crew seems to have been forty-eight men.198 Bolton was “well found with all sorts of Stores, Arms, Powder, &c.” according to Hopkins.199


In the early morning light Alfred sighted a sail to leeward, the Bolton, and set out in chase. Alfred soon closed with her and “after a few shots, took her.”200 Sneyd fought with “undaunted bravery and great conduct” firing two broadsides and two shells from the howitzers before surrendering. Bolton was hopelessly overmatched. The brief action was over by 0600 when Andrew Doria spoke the Alfred.201


The prisoners, including several slaves from Newport (seven in number)202 were distributed among the fleet. Four of the slaves went to the Andrew Doria.203 Biddle also received six other prisoners. The Alfred kept Sneyd, seven sailors, and eleven Marines aboard. When the men refused to enlist with the Continentals they were put in irons and kept on short rations, but were inspired by Sneyd's tenacity.204


c. The Evening Hour, 5 April 1776


As the day wore on the fleet continued to collect. At 1700 the sloop Providence rejoined the squadron. At 1800 a brig and a sloop were sighted to the northward and Columbus, Cabot and Andrew Doria gave chase. Columbus got the brig and Cabot the sloop. Both were from New York and both were bound for London. Their papers were not clear, arousing some suspicion, and both were detained.205


All day the fleet had cruised off Block Island. As the sun set, Captain of Marines Samuel Nicholas commented “we were twelve sail in all, and had a very pleasant evening.”206 After supper Nicholas might have walked on deck to look at the evening cruising formation. The Commodore had formed two columns abreast, with Cabot leading one and Andrew Doria the other, followed by Alfred and Columbus respectively. The big ships were about a hundred yards behind the brigs, with the two columns about a quarter of a mile apart. Providence was placed astern and between the columns, with the prizes behind her, escorted by the Fly.207 After a pleasant turn around deck, Nicholas went below and turned in about midnight. But it was a very short nap: at 0130 the Continental Navy's first real battle was just getting underway.208



1  NDAR, “Colonel Alexander McDougall to John Jay,” III, 225-226

2  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736

3  NDAR, “A Roll of all the Officers and Men. . .[of]. . .Ship Alfred,” VI, 696-705; “Muster Roll. . .[of]. . .Ship Columbus,” VII, 142-154

4  NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 134

5  NDAR, “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818 and 818 note; “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

6  NDAR, “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818 and 818 note

7  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 134

8  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373

9  NDAR, “Henry Laurens to the North Carolina Council of Safety,” IV, 431 and 431-432 note

10  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373; “Henry Laurens to the North Carolina Council of Safety,” IV, 431 and 431-432 note

11  NDAR, “Henry Laurens to the North Carolina Council of Safety,” IV, 431 and 431-432 note

12  NDAR, “Muster Roll. . .[of]. . .Ship Columbus,” VII, 142-154

13  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736

14  NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153; “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387; many other references in NDAR, IV.

15  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 134

16  Morison, John Paul Jones, 45

17  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

18  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134; “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

19  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 48

20  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 48-49

21  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 48

22  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

23  NDAR, “List of British Ships of War at or Going to America,” IV, 1090-1093

24  NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Philip Stephens,” II, 29-31

25  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

26  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 46

27  NDAR, “John Brown to Captain John Linzee, H.M.S. Falcon,” II, 236

28  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 46

29  NDAR, “Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” II, 519

30  NDAR, “Lords Commissioners of the British Admiralty to Vice Admiral Samuel Graves,” II, 758-760

31  NDAR, “Vice Admiral Samuel Graves to Philip Stephens,” III, 573-574

32  NDAR, “George Jackson to Vice Admiral Molyneux Shuldham,” III, 510-511

33  NDAR, “Pennsylvania Gazette, Wednesday, November 8, 1775,” II, 940

34  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Congress,” III, 818

35  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 46

36  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 48

37  NDAR, “Journal of His Majesty's Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

38  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

39  NDAR, “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818 and 818 note

40  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

41  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

42  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153; “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

43  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153; “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

44  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153

45  NDAR, “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387

46  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464; “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387

47  NDAR, “Journal of His Majesty's Schooner St. John, III, 173-175; “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

48  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134; “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818 and 818 note; “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387

49  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

50  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464; “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

51  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

52  NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153 and note

53  NDAR, “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387; “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464; “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818 and 818 note

54  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

55  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

56  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 49

57  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

58  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 49

59  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 49

60  NDAR, “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387; “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464; “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818 and 818 note; Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 48-49

61  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 49; NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

62  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

63  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

64  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

65  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 50; NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

66  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 49

67  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736

68  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 50; NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153 and note; “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

69  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175; “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153 and note

70  NDAR, “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387

71  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

72  NDAR, “John Brown to Lord George Germain, IV, 1386-1387

73  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 50; NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

74  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

75  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

76  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

77  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 50

78  NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153 and note

79  NDAR, “Journal of Lieutenant John Trevett,” IV, 175

80  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

81  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 50; NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

82  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

83  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 50

84  Other reports indicate five guns were fired: NDAR, “A Letter from St. Kitts, dated April 20,” III, 1183; “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736

85  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464; quote from “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note; “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

86  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

87  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

88  NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153 and note

89  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

90  NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 153 and note

91  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 51-52 quoting William Taylor to Lord Germain.

92  NDAR, “Public Advertiser, Wednesday, May 15, 1776,” III, 1127

93  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 51, 52

94  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

95  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

96  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736

97  NDAR, “Copy of the Manifesto Sent Onshore at New Providence,” IV, 152

98  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

99  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note; Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 52

100  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

101  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

102  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

103  NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord George Germaine,” VII, 48-51; “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

104  NDAR, “John Brown to Lord George Germain,” IV, 1386-1387

105  NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord George Germaine,” VII, 48-51

106  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

107  NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord George Germaine,” VII, 48-51

108  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175; “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

109  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

110  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

111  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

112  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

113  NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord George Germaine,” VII, 48-51

114  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 53

115  NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord George Germaine,” VII, 48-51; “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

116  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

117  NDAR, “Journal Prepared for the King of France by John Paul Jones,” IV, 133-134

118  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 173-175

119  NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord George Germaine,” VII, 48-51

120  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

121  NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-467 and 467 note

122  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

123  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

124  NDAR, “Journal of Lieutenant John Trevett,” IV, 175

125  NDAR, “Journal of Lieutenant John Trevett,” IV, 175

126  NDAR, “Lieutenant John Paul Jones to Joseph Hewes,” IV, 815-818

127  NDAR, “Journal of Lieutenant John Trevett,” IV, 175

128  NDAR, “Journal of Lieutenant John Trevett,” IV, 175

129  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 54

130  NDAR, “Journal of Lieutenant John Trevett,” IV, 175

131  NDAR, “Journal of John Trevett,” IV, 175

132  NDAR, “Journal of John Trevett,” IV, 175

133  

134  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas] on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

135  NDAR, “Journal of John Trevett,” IV, 175

136  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373

137  NDAR, “Providence Gazette, Saturday, April 20, 1776,” IV, 1174-1176

138  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to Governor Jonathan Trumbull,” IV, 711-712. A partial inventory is in NDAR, “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 171

139  NDAR, “Governor Jonathan Trumbull to John Hancock,” V, 1154 and note

140  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373 and note

141  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736

142  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Congress,” V, 412-413 and 413 note

143  NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to Lieutenant Elisha Hinman,” IV, 403

144  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Schooner St. John, Lieutenant William Grant,” IV, 225; “Lieutenant William Grant, R.N., to Governor Patrick Tonyn,” IV, 225

145  NDAR, “Lieutenant William Grant, R.N., to Vice Admiral Molyneux Shuldham,” IV, 249-250; “Governor Patrick Tonyn to Captain Andrew Barkley, R.N.,” IV, 250-251 and 251 note

146  NDAR, “Governor Patrick Tonyn to Captain Andrew Barkley, R.N.,” IV, 250-251 and 251 note

147  NDAR, “Minutes of a Council held on board His Majesty's Ship Scarborough, Savannah River in Georgia this 14th March, 1776—,” IV, 343-344

148  NDAR, “Petition of Joseph Hunson to Commodore Esek Hopkins,” IV, 227 and note

149  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 55

150  NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

151  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 55, quoting William Taylor to Lord George Germain.

152  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Schooner Wasp, Captain William Hallock,” IV, 373-374 and 374 note

153  NDAR, “Intelligence Received at New Providence by the Continental Sloop Fly,” IV, 304-306 and 306 note

154 NDAR, “Journal of Continental Schooner Wasp, Captain William Hallock,” IV, 373-374 and 374 note

155 NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373 and note

156 NDAR, “A Roll of all the Officers and Men. . .[of]. . .Ship Alfred,” VI, 696-705

157 NDAR, “Muster Roll. . .[of]. . .Ship Columbus, VII, 142-154

158 NDAR, “A Roll of all the Officers and Men. . .[of]. . .Ship Alfred,” VI, 696-705

159 NDAR, “Muster Roll. . .[of]. . .Ship Columbus,” VII, 142-154

160 NDAR, “A Roll of all the Officers and Men. . .[of]. . .Ship Alfred,” VI, 696-705

161 NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Schooner Wasp, Captain William Hallock,” IV, 373-374 and 374 note

162 NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373 and note

163 NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to  Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-466; Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 55

164 NDAR, “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464; “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-466

165 NDAR, “Thomas Atwood to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 464-466; Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 55

166 NDAR, “Governor Montfort Browne to Lord Dartmouth,” IV, 387-388 and 388 note

167 NDAR, “Journal of Continental Schooner Wasp, Captain William Hallock.” IV, 373-374 and 374 note; “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 373; “John Brown to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” IV, 461-464

168 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to the Dartmouth Committee,” IV, 403-404

169 NDAR, “Andrew Doria Journal,” reproduction, 1489-1503

170 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins' Sailing Orders from New Providence,” IV, 403

171 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to Lieutenant Elisha Hinman,” IV, 403

172 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to the Dartmouth Committee,” IV, 403-404

173 NDAR, “Andrew Doria Journal,” reproduction, 1489-1503

174 NDAR, “Account of Officers and Men belonging to the Brigante Andrew Doria 1776,” IX, 1007-1011

175 NDAR, “A Roll of all the Officers and Men. . .[of]. . .Ship Alfred, VI, 696-705

176 NDAR, “Andrew Doria Journal,” reproduction, 1489-1503

177 NDAR, “A Roll of all the Officers and Men. . .[of]. . .Ship Alfred,” VI, 696-705

178 NDAR, “Account of Officers and Men belonging to the Brigante Andrew Doria 1776,” IX, 1007-1011

179 NDAR, “Andrew Doria Journal,” reproduction, 1489-1503

180 NDAR, “Andrew Doria Journal,” reproduction, 1489-1503

181 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

182 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736; “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note; “Journal of Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 662 and note

183 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note; “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 662 and note

184 NDAR, “Libel Against Three Prizes taken by the Continental Fleet,” V, 493-494

185 NDAR, “Minutes of the Committee Acting in Recess of the Rhode Island General Assembly,” VI, 804 and note

186 NDAR, “Providence Gazette, Saturday, April 13, 1776,” IV, 797-800 and 800 note

187 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736; “Connecticut Gazette, Friday, April 12, 1776,” IV, 784-786 and 786 note

188 NDAR, “Libel Against Three Prizes taken by the Continental Fleet,” V, 493-494

189 NDAR, “Connecticut Gazette, Friday, April 12, 1776,” IV, 784-786 and 786 note

190 NDAR, “Captain James Wallace, R.N., to Vice Admiral Molyneux Shuldham,” IV, 746-747

191 NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 669 and note

192 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

193 NDAR, “Captain James Wallace, R.N., to Vice Admiral Molyneux Shuldham,” IV, 746-747

194 NDAR, “List of British Ships of War at or Going to America,” IV, 1090-1093; swivels confirmed by “Connecticut Gazette, Friday, April 12, 1776,” IV, 784-786

195 NDAR, “Inventory of Warlike Stores found on Board the Brigg Bolton Edwd Sneid Master Vizt,” IV, 712 and note

196 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736 and 736 note; NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note; “Connecticut Gazette, Friday, April 12, 1776,” IV, 784-786; “Providence Gazette, Saturday, April 13, 1776,” IV, 797-800 and 800 note

197 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736 and 736 note; NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note; “Connecticut Gazette, Friday, April 12, 1776,” IV, 784-786; “Providence Gazette, Saturday, April 13, 1776,” IV, 797-800 and 800 note; “Nathaniel Shaw, Jr.'s Account of Ordnance Stores Shipped to New York,” VI, 144-145

198 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736 and 736 note; “Connecticut Gazette, Friday, April 12, 1776,” IV, 784-786

199 NDAR, “Commodore Esek Hopkins to John Hancock,” IV, 735-736 and 736 note

200 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

201 NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 669 and note

202 NDAR, “Prisoners taken in H. M. Bomb Brig Bolton,” IV, 669-670 and 670 note

203 NDAR, “List of People on Board the Andrew Doria from February 1776,” IV, 712-715 and 715 note

204 NDAR, “A Least of the Presenors on Board the Schooner, &c.,” IV, 719 and note

205 NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Brig Andrew Doria, Captain Nicholas Biddle,” IV, 669 and note

206 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note

207 Morison, John Paul Jones, 47

208 NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from the Captain of Marines [Samuel Nicholas], on board the Ship Alfred, dated at New-London, April 10, 1776,” IV, 748-752 and 752 note


Revised 6 August 2014 © awiatsea.com