History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Transportation and Communications

Chapter 5
1 January 1777   to   31 December 1779

In a study of the topology of the Web, a Stanford graduate student working on PARC's Internet ecology project found that any two Web sites are no more than four clicks away from each other — hard evidence that the world is smaller than it seems, on the Web at least.
  — Internet Ecologies Area Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), California [July 2002]

1777 January 7-8

U.S. Congress Authorizes Attack on Nova Scotia

7 January 1777

"Resolved, That this Congress resolve itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the proposition for undertaking setting on foot an expedition against Nova Scotia..."

8 January 1777

"Congress resumed the consideration of the report from the Committee of the whole, which was agreed to as follows:

"Resolved, That the council of the state of Massachusetts bay be desired to attend to the situation of the enemy in the province of Nova Scotia, and, if they are of opinion that an advantageous attack in the course of the winter or early in the spring may be made on fort Cumberland and the said province, whereby the enemy's dock yard and other works with such stores as cannot be speedily removed can be destroyed, they are hereby impowered to conduct the same in behalf of these united States; to raise, subsist and pay a body of men not exceeding three thousand under such officers as they shall appoint for carrying on the said expedition; and for this purpose to provide suitable magazines of military and other stores and convey them to such of the eastern parts of the said state as they shall think best, and they are desired to conduct this affair in the most secret manner that the nature of such an enterprize will admit and to apply to Congress for a sum of money sufficient to accomplish the design which they may form relative thereto.

"Ordered, that a copy of the above be sent by express to the Council of Massachusetts bay, and that General Washington be informed thereof, and that the said resolution and all debates had thereon be kept secret till the farther order of Congress."

January 8, 1777: Continental Congress authorizes attack on Nova Scotia
Source: Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1777 January 15

John Allan Appointed Agent of the Continental Congress

He has "zealous attachment" to
the interest of the United States

Instructed to give to General Washington
"such intelligence as you may receive"

John Allen paid $900 a year as agent of the Congress
in Nova Scotia and St. John's Island

"The committee [of the Continental Congress] appointed to prepare instructions to Mr. J. Allen, Indian agent for the eastern department, brought in a draught, which was read; and, being amended, was agreed to as follows:

"Sir, Having been informed of your knowledge of, and acquaintance with, the tribes of Indians, inhabitants of St. John's and Nova Scotia, and, confiding in your zealous attachment to the interest of the united States, this Congress have made choice of you to be their agent, impowering you, in their behalf, to treat with those Indians, and as far as you shall be able, to engage their friendship, and prevent their taking a part on the side of Great Britain, in the unjust and cruel war against these united States:

"You will explain to them, as clearly as their understanding of the nature and principles of civil government will admit of it, the grounds of the disputes between Great Britain and America, the pains that we have taken to settle those disputes on the rules of equity, and the necessity we were finally driven to, in defence of our liberty and lives, to resist our oppressors unto blood. Thus, by convincing them of the justice of our cause, you may attach them to our interests, and lay a solid foundation for lasting peace and friendship with us:

"You will also inform them of the union that subsists among the people of these States, and the strength derived therefrom, to each of them: that viewing us in this light, they may see their own safety depending upon their peaceable disposition and behaviour towards us:

"You are to cultivate trade with them; by which means, many great advantages which have heretofore from thence accrued to the subjects of Great Britain, will be gained by the people of these States:

"And you are, in a particular manner, instructed to use your utmost diligence and influence to promote an intercourse and correspondence between those tribes and the Indians living in and about Canada; by the effecting of which, the most useful and necessary intelligence may be frequently obtained; and you are to give the earliest notice to Congress, and to General Washington, and the commanding officer at Ticonderoga, of such intelligence as you may receive:

"You will, as often as you shall be required, exhibit to Congress a fair account of the expenditure of such monies as you may be intrusted with, for the purpose of your agency; together with a general state of affairs within your department, that Congress may avail themselves of it for the public good.

"Resolved, That the sum of 900 dollars be annually allowed and paid to John Allen, Esq. during his continuance as agent of this Congress, to the Indians of St. John's and Nova Scotia:

"That 1,000 dollars be advanced to John Allen, Esq. to enable him to carry on the affairs of his agency among the Indians of St. John's and Nova Scotia; he to be accountable for the same.

Source: Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

This authorization of John Allan "to carry on the affairs of his agency among the Indians of St. John's and Nova Scotia" covers all of the territory now known as the Maritime Provinces.  "St. John's" refers to the territory later known as Prince Edward Island, and "Nova Scotia" then included the territory which later became New Brunswick.

1777 January 30

Cost of Bringing Information from Nova Scotia

Page 73: Agreed That Mr. Josiah Throop be allowed the Pay of an Express, for his Trouble and Expence in bringing Intelligence of a public Nature relative to the Affairs of Nova Scotia.

Page 74: That 200 dollars be paid to Mr. Josiah Throop, be allowed the pay of an express for his trouble and expence in bringing intelligence of a public nature, relative to the affairs of Nova Scotia, and for other services.

Source: Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Whatever information Throop brought from Nova Scotia, we can be sure it was considered by the Congress to be of very great significance. An express was enormously expensive, and was used only for the most vital messages. In those days, an "express" was a special messenger or courier who travelled at maximum possible speed — usually on the back of a galloping horse (over land) — to carry important information from one place to another as quickly as possible. (The usage is more widely known for its occurrence in the phrase "pony express".)

In the Continental Congress Journal for November 16, 1775, there is mention of spending money "for horse hire for expresses". And on December 29, 1777: "That a warrant issue on the treasurer in favour of Martin Nicholas, for 30 dollars, a gratuity for his riding express with intelligence to Congress." And on July 10, 1777: "That there is due, to Seth Griffin, for riding express, from Bedford to New London, and from thence to Philadelphia and back, and for his expences &c during his detention here, the sum of 108 dollars." Also on July 10, 1777: "That there is due to James M'Culloch, for riding express from Fort Henry to Pittsburg, 12 dollars". The Continental Congress frequently discussed important messages brought or sent by express.

Of course, in 1777, "as quickly as possible" meant at the speed of a horse on land, or on water the speed of a sailing vessel subject to the vagaries of wind and weather. At that time there was no radio, no telephone, not even an electric telegraph. There were a very few semaphore telegraphs in Europe, but none worth mentioning in North America. The only way to send a message from one place to another was to write the message (usually on paper) and then carry the written message to the destination — or, for very special messages, have someone carry the message in his memory. Either way, someone had to travel, by whatever means was available, from the source to the destination.

The name Josiah Throop appears in the Journal of the Continental Congress on three occasions — January 30th, 1777, (see above), on April 6th, 1781 ("A letter, of this day, from Josiah Throop, was read.") and on February 20th, 1787 ("February 20, 1787 — According to the Committee Book, Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 190, p. 137, the following committees were appointed: Mr. Egbert Benson, Mr. William Blount and Mr. Melancton Smith on the petition of Josiah Throop. According to the Despatch Book, Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 185, IV, page 4, this petition was received February 20, 1787.)

Who was Josiah Throop?

The name of Josiah Throop, and the names of others who appear in Nova Scotia's history of the 1770s as being in communication with the Continental Congress, are seen in an early land grant document dated November 22nd, 1763, when land was granted to a group of settlers in the Chignecto area of present-day Westmorland County (N.B.) and Cumberland County (N.S.):

Note by ICS  (11 June 2001):  Below I have  highlighted  selected  names
by showing them in boldfaced type; this added emphasis does not appear
in the original.  Most of these  highlighted  names appear as signatures on
the petition of February 8th, 1776, sent to George Washington by citizens
of Cumberland County, Nova Scotia.

By the command of the Lt. Governor with the advice and consent of His Majesty's Council Richard Burkeley, Secy.

Entered in the book of records, Halifax 24th Feb 1764

To all whom These Presents shall come — Greeting. Whereas John Huston, Joshua Winslow and William Allan, Esq., Abel Richardson, Elijah Ayre, Josiah Throop and Joseph Morse, Committee of the Township of Cumberland on behalf of themselves and others, Proprietors in the said township apprehending and being advised that the former grants made to them and their associates would for many deficiencies be insufficient to secure them their properties therein and Therefore have requested that a new grant of part of the said premises might be made out for the more fully assuring to them and their associates their respective right and share therein.

Now know Ye that I Montagu Wilmot, Esq. Lt. Governor and Commander in Chief in and over His Majesty's Province of Nova Scotia or Acadie and Colonel of his Majesty's Eighth Regiment of Foot by virtue of the power and authority to me given by his present Majesty, King George Third, under the Great Seal of Great Britain have given, granted and confirmed and do by these presents by and with the advice and consent of His Majesty's Council for the said province give, grant and confer unto the several persons hereafter named thirty-four thousand five hundred acres of land in said township of Cumberland, Which township situate lying and being in the district of Chignecto ... containing in the whole eighty-nine thousand acres exclusive of land heretofore reserved about Fort Cumberland and on the said Bay Verte. Which said lands are hereby to remain exclusive of this grant according to a plan hereunto annexed.

The said thirty-four thousand five hundred acres of land making sixty-nine rights or shares of one hundred sixty-nine rights or shares Whereof the said township doth computing every whole share at five hundred acres more of less with all rights and privileges Thereunto belonging as now divided, lettered, numbered and described on the margin of this grant With all and all manner of mines unopened excepting mines of gold and silver, precious stones and Lapis Lazuli in and upon the said tract of land hereby granted in the said township that is to say — Unto Joseph Morse, Elijah Ayres, and Josiah Throop two shares each and unto John Huston and Joshua Winslow, Esq., Jesse Bent, Gamaliel Smethurst, Sennacherib Martyn, James Law, Abel Richardson and Sara Jones each one share and a half and unto William Best, Jr., Obadiah Ayer, William Nesbit, William How, Windsor Eager, Archibald Hinshelwood, Gideon Gardner, Samuel Danks, Thomas Dixon, Zebulon Roe, John King, Hezekiah King, John Bent, Jonathan Cole, Ebenezer Gardiner, Jonathan Eddy, William Huston, Alexander Huston, Simeon Chester, Thomas Procter, Brook Watson, William Allan Sr., William Allan, Jr., Jonathan Gay, Martin Peck, John Walker, Henry McDonald, Daniel Gooden, Ebenezer Storer, Amos Fuller, Benoni Danks, Samuel Gay, John Allan, Assell Danks, Isaac Danks, Charles Oulton, David Burnum, Ebenezer Burnum, Daniel Earl, Robert Watson, Anthony Burk, William Welsh, John Fillmore, William Sutherland, Samuel Raymond, and Nehemiah Ward and John Collins one share each and unto Joseph Ayer, Thomas Clews, William Milburn, Abel Richardson Jr., George Allan, Winkworth Allan, Jabez Chappell, Leffy Chappell half a share each together with one share for the first minister, one for the Glebe and one for the school, (as particularly described in the margin of this grant, forever. Saving always the previous right of any other person or persons to the said township or any part thereof. To Have and to Hold the said granted premises in the said respective rights and shares to each and every of the said grantees in the manner herein before described with all privileges, profits, commodities and appurtenances there unto belonging.

Unto the said Joseph Morse, Elijah Ayer, Josiah Throop, John Huston, Joshua Winslow, Jesse Bent, Gamaliel Smethurst, Sennacherib Martyn, James Law, Abel Richardson, Sara Jones, William Best Jr., Obadiah Ayer, William Nesbit, William How, Windsor Eager, Archibald Hinshelwood, Gideon Gardner, Samuel Danks, Thomas Dixon, Zebulon Roe, John King, Hezekiah King, John Bent, Jonathan Eddy, William Huston, Alexander Huston, Simeon Chester, Thomas Proctor, Brook Watson, Ebenezer Gardner, William Allan Sr., William Allan Jr., Jonathan Cole, Martyn Peck, John Walker, Henry McDonald, Daniel Gooden, Ebenezer Storer, Amos Fuller, Benoni Danks, Samuel Gay, John Allan, Assell Danks, Isaac Danks, Charles Oulton, David Burnum, Ebenezer Burnum, Daniel Earl, Robert Watson, Anthony Burk, William Welsh, John Fillmore, William Sutherland, Samuel Raymond, Nehemiah Ward, John Collins, Joseph Ayer, Thomas Clews, William Milburn, Abel Richardson Jr., George Allan, Winkworth Allan, Jabez Chappell, Leffy Chappell — their heirs and assigns forever each right or share of the said granted premises to consist of five hundred acres according to the division of said township now already made Yielding and paying to the grantees their fees and assigns which by the acceptance hereof each of the said grantees finds and obliges himself his Heirs and Executors and assigns to pay to His Majesty King George the Third, his Heirs and Successors or to the Commander in Chief of the said province for the time being or to any person lawfully authorized to receive the same for His Majesty's use, A Fee yearly Quit Rent of one shilling Sterling money on Michaelmas Day for every fifty acres so granted and in proportion for a greater or lesser quality of land granted the first years payment of the same to be made on Michaelmas Day next after the expiration of two years from the date hereof and so to continue payable yearly hereafter forever.

But in case three years Quit Rent shall at any one time be behind and unpaid and no distress to be found on the premises then this grant to the grantee so failing shall be null and void.

And whereas the selling or alienating the rights or shares of the said township to any person except Protestant Settlers and [---] within this Province may be very prejudicial to and retard the selling the said township in case any of the said grantees shall within two years from the date hereof alienate or grant the premises or any part thereof except by will without license from the Governor, Let. Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being under the seal of the said province for which license no fee or reward shall be paid. Then this grant to him so alienating or granting the premises or any part thereof except by will shall be null and void. And moreover the grant hereby made is upon this express condition and each of the said grantees finds and obliges himself, his heirs and assigns to plant, cultivate, improve or enclose one- third part of the land hereby within two years, one other third part within twenty years and the remaining third part within thirty years from the date of this grant or otherwise to forfeit his right to such lands as shall not be actually under improvement and cultivation at the time the forfeiture shall be incurred. And each of the said grantees doth likewise hereby find himself, His Heirs, Executors and assigns to plant within 2 years from the date hereof two acres of the said land with hemp and to keep up the same or a like quality of acres planted during the successive years.

And for the more effectual accomplishment of His Majesty's intentions for selling the lands within this Province the grant hereby made is upon this further express condition that if each and every of the said grantees shall not settle either themselves or a family on each of their respective shares or rights with proper stock and materials for the improvement of the said lands on or before the last day of November which will be in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-five then this grant shall be null and void and of none effect to such of the said grantees as shall fail to settle the premises in the manner aforesaid within the time above limited and the Governor, Lt. Governor or Commander in Chief for the time being may at his pleasure grant the rights or shares of all and every of the grantees mentioned in this deed so failing to any other person or persons whatever in the same manner as if this grant had not been made.

In witness whereof I have signed these Presents and cause the Seal of the Province to be thereunto affixed at Halifax in the said province this twenty-second day of November in the fourth year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George the Third by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France and Ireland. King Defender of the Faith and so forth and in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-three.

By the command of the Lt. Governor
with the advice and consent of His Majesty's Council
Richard Bulkeley, Secy.

Westmorland County, New Brunswick, GenWeb site


New England Privateers Raid Nova Scotia's South Shore

"Late in 1775 New England privateers began to embarrass seriously the ships of Nova Scotia..."
The Diary of Simeon Perkins, edited by H.A. Innis, Publications of the Champlain Society

"During 1777 privateers frequented the coast and were reported at Barrington, Port Roseway, Ragged Islands, Port Mouton and Liverpool..."
Early Liverpool and its Diarist, by Charles Bruce Fergusson, Public Archives of Nova Scotia

Barrington, Port Roseway, Ragged Islands, Port Mouton and
Liverpool are communities located along the Atlantic coast
of Shelburne and Queens Counties in Nova Scotia.

"In these attacks on Liverpool, Annapolis, and Lunenburg, Nova Scotians witnessed some of the worst depredations carried out by American privateers in the name of liberty. Many other communities too, felt the heavy hand of these (raiders), for Chester ... etc. were similarly harassed. Even Charlottetown fell momentarily to rebels in 1775. Although it may not have been the intention of the privateering captains, their actions only served to drive Nova Scotia further away" from the rebelling colonies...
A History of Early Nova Scotia, by Peter L. McCreath and John G. Leefe

Reference: An extensive bibliography
Naval History of the American Revolution, 1775-1783

Privateers and the American Revolution
...It is estimated that 2,000 commissions were issued and that between 250 and 400 privateer ships were always functioning during the late 1770s. The smallest of the colonies, Rhode Island, sent out fifty-seven privateer ships...

1777 April 25

Robert Foster Petitions the Continental Congress

A petition of Robert Forster [should be Foster] "of the County of Cumberland, in Nova Scotia, with sundry papers enclosed, was read" (to the Continental Congress).

Note: A petition of Robert Foster, of the County of Cumberland, Nova Scotia, is in the Papers of the Continental Congress, No. 42, III, folio 17. It was read April 25, 1777, and referred to the Board of War.

Continental Congress
May 13th, 1777

"The Board of War, to whom their report on the petition from some inhabitants of Nova Scotia was recommitted, brought in a report which was taken into consideration; Whereupon,

"Resolved, That the council of the Massachusetts bay be requested to consider the case of the inhabitants of Cumberland and Sunbury counties in Nova Scotia, who are sufferers by their attachment to the American cause and to devise and put in execution at continental expence such measures as the said council shall think practicable and prudent for the relief of the said sufferers; and to enable such of them as may be desirous of removing to a place of greater safety, to bring off their families and effects, and the said council is hereby authorised to raise a number of men if necessary for that service, not exceeding five hundred in such places as will least interfere with the raising their quota of troops for the continental army."

Source: Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

Sunbury County is now in New Brunswick, but in 1777 was part of Nova Scotia.
Until 1784, Nova Scotia included the area now known as the province of New Brunswick.

Throughout the hundred years from 1660 to 1760 the New Englander fought again and again for Nova Scotia with very little help from the mother country. While the struggle between France and England in Europe was power politics, in the Colonies it was self-preservation. As long as the French-conceived attacks sent the Indians against the isolated inhabitants of New York and Maine, the British must hug the shores and could make little progress in expanding their settlements and their commerce.

Many times the men from Massachusetts with the help of New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island had conquered Nova Scotia only to have a treaty, made in Europe, return it to France. In the invasion of 1709-10, Massachusetts sent 3,250 men, exclusive of officers, New Hampshire sent 304 officers and men, and Connecticut sent 516 officers and men. After 1711 Annapolis Royal remained in the hands of the British forces but it was to Boston that the Governors must look for men and money to repair and maintain it...

The term "neutral" has been applied to the Nova Scotia residents during the American Revolution. Perhaps non-combatant would be a more exact term to use for the majority because support and comfort was given to the Rebel side, both tangilbly and intangible. We shall never know how many returned to Massachusetts and the other home colonies to fight in the revolutionary armies. Abraham Gesner gives the population of Nova Scotia as reported to the Board of Trade in 1772 as 18,300 and that of 1781 as 12,000. [34] These figures tell their own story.

The names of Hyatt Young of Liverpool and Jeremiah Frost, since they appear in the records, are known to most but the young men who went quietly, without fanfare, from their homes to return as quietly after 1782 are unnumbered. Some we know to have been in New England; others we can only surmise. The uprisings in St. John's River valley and Chignecto have been carefully covered by W.C. Milner. [35]

The Memorial to the Massachusetts Council, dated 25 Sept. 1779, from William Porterfield, John Matthews, Thomas Hayden, and Jonathan Lock of Ragged Islands protesting a raid on their homes by privateers armed with authority from the Continental Congress reads in part: "We in this Harbour who have done so much for America, that have helped 300 or 400 prisoners up along to America and given part of our living to them and have concealed Privateers and prizes, too, from the British Cruisers in this Harbour." [36]

Excerpted from:
The New Englander of Nova Scotia by Anne Borden Harding, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, taken from "The New England Historical and Genealogical Register," Vol. CXVI, No. 461., January 1962, pg. 3-13

Note 34: Abraham Gesner, Industrial Resources of Nova Scotia, Halifax, 1849
Note 35: Records of Chignecto, Nova Scotia Historical Soc. Coll., vol. 15
Note 36: Nova Scotia Public Archives, Halifax, N.S., Shelburne Records; R.R. McLeod, Markland; or Nova Scotia, page 306

1778 July 22

North America's Largest Careening Facility

"A deadly stroke to Great Britain"

George Washington to John Laurens
July 22, 1778

Colo Laurens will suggest to his Excellency Count de Estaign the advantages which would more than probably result from a French Ship of sufficient force getting into the Sound. as far up as the lyons tongue, or somewhere thereabouts. A Measure of this kind would clear that Channel of the British armed vessls, which now infest it, and cover the Passage and landing of a party of Men which might be sent to long Island for the purposes of removing the Cattle out of the way of the enemy, destroying their horses &ca.: and would afford supplies of Fresh Provisions to the Fleet, vegetables and other comforts.

The Vessels belonging to the Harbours of Connecticut, would presently take off the fat Cattle and other stock, if the British Cruizers were driven from the Communication between the Island and the Main.

How far the enterprize upon Rhode Island is compatible with a watch of the Fleet in the Harbour of New York is left to the Admiral's superior judgment. But, as an imbarkation of the Army at that place cannot happen without notice being had of it, nor an evacuation of the Harbour after it is begun in less than 48 hours, it is submitted, whether a capital stroke might not be aimed at that Fleet upon its departure from the Hook.

The enterprize upon Rhode Island might be followed by an attempt upon Hallifax, which, if fortunate, would be a deadly stroke to Great Britain, as it is the only Dock on the Continent in which Ships of large Force can Careen, and moreover abounds in Naval and Military Stores of all kinds.

(signed) G. Washington

In this context, careen means getting a ship out of the water
and then laying it over on its side, to enable maintenance
or repair work to be done on the hull below the waterline.
This could only be done by hauling a ship up on a sandy beach,
or putting it in a dry dock. In the 1770s, Halifax had the biggest
careening facility on the North American continent. If a large
warship needed repair work below the waterline, this had to be
done either in Halifax or in Great Britain, and a trip to Britain for
such work meant the ship was unavailable for operations for
most of a year. General Washington correctly considered the
Halifax naval repair facilities to be very important.

"Careening" references:

The original of this document
is among George Washington's papers
now held by the U.S. Library of Congress

July 22, 1778: G. Washington's letter to Col. John Laurens
Letter, George Washington to to Col. John Laurens, July 22, 1778
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library
View this letter in high resolution (453 kby)
Source: The George Washington papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

John and Henry Laurens were a father and son team from South Carolina. Henry, the father, was a merchant and planter who served as a Member of the Continental Congress and its President, after which he was appointed as a Peace Commissioner to negotiate the treaty of peace that ended the Revolution. John Laurens was an attorney, soldier, and envoy to France.
Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, Fall 1997
University of Virginia

1778 September

Massachusetts Banishment Act

Banishment Act of the State of Massachusetts
Passed: September 1778

An Act to prevent the return to this state of certain persons therein named and others who have left this state or either of the United States, and joined the enemies thereof...

...and many others have left this state, or some other of the United States of America, and joined the enemies thereof and of the United States of America, thereby not only depriving these states of their personal services at a time when they ought to have afforded the utmost aid in defending the said states, against the invasions of a cruel enemy, but manifesting an inimical disposition to the said states, and a design, to aid and abet the enemies thereof in their wicked purposes, whereas many dangers may accrue to this state and the United States, if such persons should again reside in this state:

Sect. 1. Be it therefore enacted by the Council and House of Representatives, in general court assembled, and by the authority of the same, that if either of the said persons, or any other person, though not specifically named in this act, who have left this state or either of said states, and joined the enemies thereof as aforesaid, shall, after the passing of this act, voluntarily return to this state, it shall be the duty of the sheriff of the county, and of the selectmen, committees of correspondence, safety and inspection, grand jurors, constables, and tythingmen, and other inhabitants of the town wherein such person or persons may presume to come, and they are hereby respectively empowered and directed forthwith to apprehend and carry such person or persons before some justice of the peace within the county, who is hereby required to commit him or them to the common gaol within the county, there in close custody to remain until he shall be sent out of the state, as is hereinafter directed; and such justice is hereby directed to give immediate information thereof to the board of war of this state: and the said board of war are hereby empowered and directed to cause such person or persons so committed, to be transported to some part or place within the dominions, or in the possession of the forces of the king of Great Britain, as soon as may be after receiving such information; those who are able, at their own expense, and others at the expense of this state, and for this purpose to hire a vessel or vessels, if need be.

Sect. 2. And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, that if any person or persons, who shall be transported as aforesaid, shall voluntarily return to this state, without liberty first had and obtained from the general court, he shall, on conviction thereof before the superior court of judicature, court of assize and general gaol delivery, suffer the pain of death without benefit of clergy.


1778 October 22

U.S. Congress Sends Ambassador to France
with Plan to Conquer Halifax and Quebec

If successful, it could add "two states to the union"

Continental Congress
October 22, 1778

"...still another campaign must be made to reduce the city of Quebec. The American troops must continue all winter in Canada. To supply them with provisions, clothing, &c. will be difficult, if not impracticable. The expense will be ruinous. The enemy will have time to reinforce. Nothing can be attempted against Halifax. Considering these circumstances, it is perhaps more prudent to make incursions with cavalry, light infantry, and chasseurs, to harass and alarm the enemy; and thereby prevent them from desolating our frontiers, which seems to be their object during the next campaign.

"But if the reduction of Halifax and Quebec are objects of the highest importance to the allies, they must be attempted.

"The importance to France is derived from the following considerations:
1. The fishery of Newfoundland is justly considered as the basis of a good marine.
2. The possession of those two places necessarily secures to the party, and their friends, the island and fisheries.
3. It will strengthen her allies; and guarantee more strongly their freedom and independence.
4. It will have an influence in extending the commerce of France, and restoring her to a share of the fur trade, now monopolized by Great Britain.

"The importance to America results from the following considerations:
1. The peace of their frontiers.
2. The arrangement of their finances.
3. The accession of two states to the union.
4. The protection and security of their commerce.
5. That it will enable them to bend their whole attention and resources to the creation of a marine, which will at once serve them and assist their allies.
6. That it will secure the fisheries to the United States, and France their ally, to the total exclusion of Great Britain.

"Add to these considerations:
1. That Great Britain, by holding these places, will infest the coasts of America with small armed vessels to the great injury of the French as well as the American trade.
2. That her possessions in the West Indies materially depend on the possession of posts to supply them with bread and lumber, and to refit their ships, and receive their sick, as well soldiers as seamen.

"In order then to secure, as far as human wisdom can provide, the reduction of those places, aid must be obtained from France.

"Suppose a body of from four to five thousand French troops sail from Brest, in the beginning of May, under convoy of four ships of the line and four frigates. Their object to be avowed; but their clothing, stores, &c., such as designate them for the West Indies. Each soldier must have a good blanket, of a large size, to be made into a coat when the weather grows cool. Thick clothing for these troops should be sent in August, so as to arrive at such place as circumstances by that time may indicate, by the beginning of October. These troops, by the end of June or beginning of July, might arrive at Quebec, which, for the reasons already assigned, they would in all probability find quite defenceless. Possessing themselves of that city, and leaving there the line of battle ships, the marines and a very small garrison, with as many of the Canadians as can readily be assembled (for which purpose spare arms should be provided, which might be put up in boxes, and marked as for the militia of one of the French islands,) the frigates and transports should proceed up the river St. Lawrence, and a disembarkation take place at the month of the river St. Francis. If the Americans are already at that place, the troops will co-operate for the purposes abovementioned: If not, a post must be taken there, and expresses sent, &c. In the interim, three of the frigates, with four of the smallest transports, should proceed to Montreal, and if possible possess that city; when the nobles and clergy should be immediately called together by the general, who should, if possible, be well acquainted with the manners both of France and of the United States.

"The troops should bring with them very ample provisions, especially of salted flesh, as they will come to a country exhausted by the British army. By the latter end of July, or about the middle of August, the reduction of Canada might be so far completed, that the ships might proceed to the investiture of Halifax, taking on board large supplies of flour. A part of the troops might march, and be followed by the sick, as they recover. A considerable body of American troops also might then be spared for that service, which, with the militia of the states of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, might proceed to the attack of Halifax, so as to arrive at the beginning of September; and if that place should fall by the beginning or middle of October, the troops also might either proceed against Newfoundland, or remain in garrison until the spring; at which time that conquest might be completed. If Halifax should not be taken, then the squadron and troops would still be in time to operate against the West Indies."

"To the Honourable Benjamin Franklin, Esquire, Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States of North America to the Court of France.

"Sir: The above plan, referred to in your instructions, you shall lay substantially before the French minister. You shall consult the Marquis de la Fayette on any difficulties which may arise; and refer the ministry to him, as he hath made it his particular study to gain information on those important points.

"By order of Congress."

Source: Pages 1045-1048, Journal of the Continental Congress, October 22, 1778
Page 1045:   http://memory.loc.gov/ll/lljc/012/0100/01871045.gif
Page 1046:   http://memory.loc.gov/ll/lljc/012/0100/01881046.gif
Page 1047:   http://memory.loc.gov/ll/lljc/012/0100/01891047.gif
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1778 November 11

Halifax: the "finest port and best naval arsenal"
in America

General Washington's Analysis: the Plan to
"wrest Canada and Halifax from the dominion of England"
is "beyond our ability"

George Washington to Continental Congress
November 11, 1778

This important letter to Congress, one of the most important that Washington wrote to that body, exists in two forms in the Washington Papers. (1) The first rough draft in Washington's writing, which is somewhat disconnected and may be, in reality, parts of several different drafts. (2) The completed draft...
Footnote 38 in Volume 13 of The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, 39 volumes, John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1931-1944

(The few paragraphs immediately below are excerpts only — selected because they mention Halifax — from Washington's long letter.)

From General George Washington, Head Quarters, Nov. 11, 1778
To His Excellency Henry Laurens, President of Congress
...On the other hand, if we were certain of doing our part, a co-operation by the French would in my [Washington's] opinion, be as delicate and precarious an enterprise, as can be imagined. All the reasons which induce France and the United States to wish to wrest Canada and Halifax from the Dominion of England, operate with her, perhaps more forcibly, to use every possible effort for their defence. The loss of them would be a deadly blow to her trade and Empire. To hope to find them in a defenceless state, must be founded in a supposition of the total incapacity of Britain, both by land and sea, to afford them protection. I should apprehend, we may run into a dangerous error by estimating her power so low.

We have been informed, that a strong Garrison has been lately sent to Hallifax amounting by report to about 4000 men. A part of the detachments, which the Enemy are now making from New York, are currently said to be and in all probability are, destined for that place. If they evacuate intirely, a very considerable part of their force will no doubt go there; and, in any case we may expect, that reinforcements will be thrown from thence into Canada, early in the Spring. The English are now greatly superior to the French by Sea in America; and will from every appearance continue so unless Spain interpose, an event which I do not know, we are authorized to count upon. However, as I am destitute of information with respect to the present state of European politics, this is a point upon which I can form but an imperfect judgment. But if it should not take place, I think it infinitely probable, from the maritime situation and advantages of Hallifax, which is represented as the finest port and best naval arsenal in America, from the security it is calculated to give to the general trade and possessions of Britain, both on the Continent and in the West Indies, that it will be a station for a larger naval force, than the one intended to convoy the french Troops. It will naturally be the principal rendezvous of the British Ships of War in America. If this position be admitted, should the English have any knowledge or even suspicion of the design of the French Court, to send a fleet up the river St. Lawrence, nothing will be easier than to intercept this fleet on its way; or to take or destroy it after it has gotten in.

Nor can we flatter ourselves with keeping this business a secret. Congress perhaps will be surprised to be told, that it is already in more hands than they suspect, and, in the progress of the negociation in France, it will get in many more...

The plan proposed appears to me not only too extensive and beyond our abilities, but too complex. To succeed, it requires such a fortunate coincidence of circumstances, as could hardly be hoped and cannot be relied on. The departure of the Enemy from these States, without which we cannot furnish the stipulated force or supplies to maintain them. Such a want of power or want of foresight in the Enemy, as will oblige them to neglect the reinforcement of Hallifax and Canada and prevent them, however conveniently situated, from disputing the passage of four Ships of the line and four Frigates up the River St. Lawrence, or attempting their destruction afterwards. Such a combination of favourable incidents, as will enable several bodies, acting separately and independently by Sea and land and from different countries, to conform to times and periods, so as to ensure a co-operation; These and many other circumstances must conspire, to give success to the Enterprise.

Congress I am persuaded, had powerful reasons for fixing the convoy at the number they have, and their superior information respecting the affairs of Europe at this juncture, enables them to judge much better than I can pretend to do, of its sufficiency. But, from the imperfect view I have of the matter, I have been led in considering the subject, to look upon it as insufficient. From the general tenor of intelligence, the English outnumber the French in the Channel. In America, both on the Continent and in the Islands, they are greatly superior. If the last Toulon fleet is employed in the Mediterranean, the French may have the superiority there; but upon the whole the ballance of naval force seems hitherto to be on the side of the English. If we add to this, that the number of Ships of War in the french ports, built or building, bear no comparison to the number in the English ports; and that Britain, notwithstanding the diminution she has suffered, is still a Kingdom of great maritime resources...

(original signed by) G. Washington

Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

The original of this document
is among George Washington's papers
now held by the U.S. Library of Congress

November 11, 1778: G. Washington's letter to the Continental Congress
Draft of Letter, George Washington to Continental Congress, November 11, 1778
Source: George Washington Papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library
View this letter in high resolution (384 kby)
Source: The George Washington papers at the U.S. Library of Congress
Historical Collections for the U.S. National Digital Library

1779 July

Penobscot Expedition

About 35 Ships Sunk

The worst naval defeat of the revolution
Penobscot River, Maine, 1779

There was a Penobscot Expedition of 1779 of more than 40 Revolutionary War vessels. They were sent from Boston. Apparently the British had occupied Castine and this expedition was sent from Boston with close to 40 ships. They were to stop in Boothbay and pick up 1,500 troops, but, in fact, only picked up 1,000. When they got to Castine, they decided not to attack and proceeded to sail up the Penobscot. Once in the Penobscot they became trapped by the British vessels. In route, the different ships were scuttled by the crews.

The crews then walked back to Boston.

I would like to read to you a letter from the Department of the Navy describing this. "When the smoke cleared, two Continental Navy ships, three Massachusetts State Navy Ships, 11 privateers and perhaps 20 transports had been scuttled by their crews or sunk by the British, in the worst naval defeat of the revolution and possibly of the history of the United States. The Warren lies in Campden Cove near Winterport. We understood that the Providence which had been John Paul Jones first command with three Massachusetts Navy ships and five privateers lie near Bangor. The Active may be near the mouth of the Kenduskeag Stream. The Diligent is believed to be near the Chamberlain Bridge. I believe the transports being slower than the war ships would tend to lie near Sandy Point below Bangor and Brewer."

Excerpted from a speech May 6, 1999, by Richard H. Campbell, Representative for Holden in the Maine State Legislature, during First Reading of (H.P. 1184) (L.D. 1694) Resolve, to Grant Salvage Rights for Revolutionary War Vessels Submerged in the Penobscot River to the Brewer Historical Society and the Bangor Historical Society (Committee Amendment "A" H-409)

Reference: Maine Public Laws as passed at the
First Regular Session of the 119th Maine Legislature
Chapter 45   H.P. 1184 L.D. 1694   Effective May 21, 1999
Resolve, to Direct the Maine State Museum and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to Include, Consult and Involve Local Historical Societies and Affected Municipalities in the Recovery and Local Display of Certain Revolutionary War Artifacts
Resolved: That the Maine Historic Preservation Commission and the Maine State Museum are directed to consult with and to involve the historical societies of the City of Brewer and the City of Bangor and other historical societies, or municipal officers or their designees of municipalities located along the Penobscot River, in the development of plans to study the Penobscot Expedition shipwrecks prior to any public or private dredging of the Penobscot River...

The Bagaduce Blunder

The Worst Defeat in U.S. Naval History Before 1941

The Penobscot Expedition of 1779 was the largest naval invasion of the Revolutionary War and, barring Pearl Harbor, the worst defeat in U.S. naval history. When the American volunteer fleet sailed into Penobscot Bay to attack the British at Castine, it was cornered by a British squadron. As the enemy approached, the fleet fled up the Penobscot River where ships were run aground close to shore to allow crews to escape. The vessels were then set on fire to prevent their capture.

British, American and French accounts of the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 differ. Historians today estimate that of the 40 vessels in the fleet, the British captured 10. It is thought that as many as 6,000 British and American sailors and soldiers were involved in the siege that lasted for two weeks...

Unlocking the Secrets of Shipwrecks
University of Maine, Maine Perspective, V9 #7, November 17, 1997

Penobscot Expedition of 1779

Early in 1779, the British government ordered a portion of the Nova Scotia garrison south to seize a protected anchorage in what is now Maine from which the Royal Navy could effectively protect and supply convoys. Arriving at Penobscot Bay in June, the British expedition hastily established a base on Bagaduce Peninsula and garrisoned it with 600 troops. Alarmed, the Massachusetts government organized a force composed of Continental warships, state navy vessels, privateers, and 21 transports to carry the more than 1,000 militiamen. Among the expeditionary troops were three companies of Continental Marines, numbering approximately 300 men. Under the direction of Continental Navy Captain Dudley Saltonstall and Brigadier general Solomon Lovell, the Americans cautiously besieged the British position.

On July 26, 1779, Continental and Massachusetts state Marines stormed Banks Island, on which the British had emplaced several cannon. The outnumbered British Marines withdrew. Two days later, the Americans launched their main effort against the British position on Bagaduce. In the forefront of the assault were Continental Marines who gained the heights and drove back the defenders, but at a loss of two of their ranking officers, Captain John Welsh and Lieutenant William Hamilton. Saltonstall's hesitation in engaging the British ships allowed the enemy to reorganize and continue their resistance. The fort was besieged but never taken.

After two weeks of skirmishes, abortive attacks, and command feuds, the American fleet was forced by the appearance of a large British relief squadron to retire up the Penobscot River. Near the fall line the Americans burned their ships and retreated southward through the Maine wilderness to Boston. The expedition had failed; Massachusetts had lost its entire fleet and was on the brink of financial ruin.

Source: Extracted and revised from
A Concise History of the United States Marine Corps, 1775-1969
by Captain William D. Parker, USMCR
Historical Division, U.S. Marine Corps, Washimgton, 1970, pages 3-5

Underwater Wrecks Part of Area's Untold History

BANGOR — Plans to discover, photograph and map the sites of Revolutionary War artifacts resting on the bottom of the Penobscot River will be unveiled today during an informal public meeting.

During the meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at Miller's Restaurant on Main Street, participants from the local, state and federal levels will outline a survey of the remnants of the Penobscot Expedition that is expected to get under way in the near future.

Today's meeting is a result of a legislative resolve sponsored by Rep. Richard Campbell, Republican - Holden, and passed during the last legislative session.

"This is the first step toward identifying and possibly salvaging artifacts that have been sitting at the bottom of the Penobscot for over 200 years," said Campbell. "Those who are interested should come by."

According to Campbell, the resolve requires the Maine State Museum and the Maine Historical Commission to involve Bangor and Brewer historical societies in the salvage and display of any artifacts found here from the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition.

In 1779, an American naval fleet sailed up the Penobscot River during an attempt to drive British forces out of Castine. The Penobscot Expedition was plagued by an under equipped, ill-trained militia and a lack of cohesive leadership.

The expedition ultimately failed, as the Americans became surrounded by British forces and ran their wooden ships aground or burned them to keep them from falling into British hands.

The remnants of some of the 19 scuttled American naval ships remain at the bottom of the Penobscot River, as do artillery and other artifacts.

"It's very exciting to realize that sometime in the near future we may have in our hands the same artillery as Paul Revere," Campbell said.

Brian Higgins, president of the Brewer Historical Society, was one of the local history advocates Campbell consulted when drafting the resolve.

"This would be a great tourist attraction," said Higgins. "This is of national interest. There's a lot of untold history down there."

According to Higgins, the artifacts are at risk of being lost forever.

The 220-year-old artifacts are vulnerable in the shallow water of the river. In addition, artifacts already have been taken from the river and are in private hands, Higgins noted.

According to Campbell, the University of Maine has received a grant from the Maine Historical Commission's New Century Program to survey the wreckage between the Bangor and Brewer banks of the river.

Topics to be discussed during Monday's session include the agendas for identifying new sites and photographing and mapping two identified sites, the timetable for the survey, the Navy equipment to be used in the survey, and the staff involved in the fieldwork.

Among those expected to attend are representatives from the Maine State Museum, the Bangor and Brewer historical societies, local officials from both cities, and Warren Riess, a marine archaeologist who works out of UM's Darling Marine Center in Walpole.

Campbell said that a representative from the Department of the Navy also is slated to participate.

Underwater Wrecks Part of Area's Untold History
Bangor Daily News, 30 August 1999

Penobscot Expedition Group Is Community's Connection

BANGOR — It was one of the worst military disasters in this nation's history – second only to the bombing of Pearl Harbor – and it happened right here on the Penobscot River.

It may have happened 220 years ago, but the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition continues to fascinate today.

Only a dozen or so participants were expected to attend Monday night's public briefing on a survey of Revolutionary War artifacts at the bottom of the Bangor-Brewer span of the Penobscot River.

The meeting, however, drew nearly 60 people, some from as far as New Hampshire and Massachusetts, to Miller's Restaurant, prompting a last-minute change in accommodations.

Among the outcomes of the meeting was the Penobscot River Community for the Penobscot Expedition, a group formed Monday that will include liaisons from historical societies, museums, cities and towns along the river, history buffs, elected officials and other interested individuals. Also being tapped are divers, researchers and other local talent.

As history has it, an American naval fleet in 1779 sailed to the Penobscot River in a daring attempt drive British forces out of Castine.

Plagued by an under equipped, ill-trained militia and a lack of cohesive leadership, the Penobscot Expedition ultimately failed. The Americans became surrounded by British forces and ran their ships aground or burned them to keep the vessels from falling into British hands as they fled into the Maine wilderness.

The remains of these wooden ships, as well as artillery and artifacts, are at the bottom of the Penobscot River.

The site of the expedition – the river itself – has been listed as a national historic district since 1972.

According to Warren Riess, a marine archaeologist who works out of University of Maine's Darling Marine Center in Walpole, researchers believe that as many as 40 ships took part in the expedition. Of those, 30 are believed to have been scuttled and 10 captured by the British. Many of the ships have yet to be pinpointed.

"We think about 10 are in this area," Riess said, referring to the stretch of river between Bangor and Brewer. Of the 10 believed to be here, Riess said, two appear to have been part of the Continental Navy – which means they are likely to remain in federal hands – while the rest were privateers and, as such, would fall under state jurisdiction.

Research has been conducted elsewhere on the river for the past several years, Riess said. While the Bangor-Brewer survey work was not expected to start until later, it began late last week due to the availability of experts and some state-of-the-art equipment from the Naval Historical Center, Riess said.

Though cannons, artillery and remnants of ships surely will be located and eventually recovered, it's the little items that might provide the biggest clues, observed John Cayford, a Maine historian who has written about the expedition.

"Those little things, like buckles that came off their shoes and buttons that came from their clothes – the personal items – these are the ones that are the most interesting," Cayford said.

The stuff of everyday life, he noted, could provide a wealth of information about life in early Maine. Previous finds include a wooden bucket apparently used to carry the toilet items of a Continental sailor. "Everything he had he probably kept in that bucket," Cayford said.

Bones found inside of a barrel that once held American troops' provisions have told researchers what troops ate before being forced to scuttle their ships, Cayford said. Shoe buckles offer important clues about the relative wealth of sailors forced to leave them behind.

"This is what's important – the human aspect of it all," Cayford said.

Monday's meeting was a result of a legislative resolve sponsored by state Rep. Richard Campbell, R-Holden, and passed during the last legislative session.

The resolve requires the Maine State Museum and the Maine Historical Commission to involve Bangor and Brewer historical societies in the salvage and display of any artifacts found here from the Penobscot Expedition.

Penobscot Expedition Group Is Community's Connection
Bangor Daily News, 31 August 1999

References (ink on paper)

The Penobscot Expedition: Being an Account of the Largest American Naval Engagement of the Revolutionary War by John E. Cayford, published 1976, C & H Publishing Company, Orrington, Maine, 131 pages

The Penobscot Expedition: Commodore Saltonstall and the Massachusetts Conspiracy of 1779 by George E. Buker, published 2002, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland

General Solomon Lovell and the Penobscot Expedition, 1779 by Chester B. Kevitt, compiler, published 1976, Weymouth Historical Commission, Weymouth, Massachusetts

Military Operations in Eastern Maine and Nova Scotia during the Revolution, chiefly compiled from the Journals and Letters of Colonel John Allen, with Notes and a Memoir of Col. John Allen by Frederick Kidder, compiler, published 1867, Joel Munsell, Albany, New York

Siege of Penobscot by the Rebels and the Proceedings of the General Assembly and of the Council of the State of Massachusetts Bay Relating to the Penobscot Expedition by John Calef, editor, Arno Press, New York, 1971 (reprint of the 1910 edition)

The Original Journal of General Solomon Lovell, Kept During the Penobscot Expedition, 1779 by Solomon Lovell, published 1881, Weymouth Historical Society Collections pages 95-105

The Bagaduce Blunder: Commodore Saltonstall and the Penobscot Expedition by Dean R. Mayhew, Mariner's Mirror, 61 (February 1975), pages 27-30

Penobscot: From the Jaws of Victory—Our Navy's Worst Defeat by Jon M. Nielson, American Neptune, 37 (October 1977), pages 288-305

New Hampshire's Part in the Penobscot Expedition by Kenneth Scott, American Neptune, 7 (July 1947), pages 200-212

Penobscot Assault—1779 by Henry I. Shaw Jr., Military Affairs, 17 (Summer 1953), pages 83-94

American Naval Expedition to Penobscot, 1779 by Craig L. Symonds, Naval War College Review, 24 (April 1972), pages 64-72

The Royal Navy in the War of American Independence by Gerald Sandford Graham, Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO), ASIN 0118807706

Brig. General Wadsworth's Deposition, Court of Inquiry, Penobscot Expedition by Peleg Wadsworth, Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, 2d Ser., 6 (1895), pages 291-299

Nova Scotia and New England During the Revolution by Emily P. Weaver, American Historical Review, 10 (October 1904), pages 52-71

The British Occupation of Penobscot During the Revolution by Joseph Williamson, Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, 2d Ser., 1 (1890), pages 389-400

The Conduct of Paul Revere in the Penobscot Expedition by Joseph Williamson, Collections and Proceedings of the Maine Historical Society, 2d Ser., 3 (1892), pages 379-392

The Major Operations of the Navies in the War of American Independence by Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan, published 1968, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0837110025

Ships and seamen of the American Revolution : vessels, crews, weapons, gear, naval tactics, and actions of the War of Independence by Jack Coggins, published 1975, Promontory Press, ASIN 0811715205

Paul Revere and the Penobscot Expedition by Louis Arthur Norton, Master's candidate, History Department, University of Connecticut, 2001

The Rise, Progress and Termination of the American Revolution Interspersed with Biographical, Political, and Moral Observations
by Mercy Otis Warren, published 1805, three volumes, 1317 pages
Volume Two, Chapter Fourteen:
Penobscot expedition. Destruction of the American navy.

Penobscot Expedition 1779

by Nathan Goold
Read before the Maine Historical Society
October 27, 1898

The expedition organized by the Americans in June, 1779,
to dislodge the British who had occupied the point where
is now the town of Castine, Maine, was a disastrous failure...

On June 24, 1779, Gen. Charles Cushing, of Pownalborough, sent a letter to the Massachusetts General Court advising an immediate expedition to dislodge the British before they had time to entrench themselves. They had already given consideration to the subject, and June 25 gave the Board of War directions to engage all state or national armed vessels that could be prepared to sail in six days. They were also directed to charter or impress all private armed vessels available, with a promise to the owners of a fair compensation for all losses and damages they might sustain, and the wages of the men were to be the same as paid in the Continental service.

The Board was also to procure the necessary outfit and supplies, and the following were said to have been furnished:— Nine tons of flour and bread, ten tons of salt beef, ten tons of rice, six hundred gallons of rum, six hundred gallons of molasses, five hundred stands of arms, fifty thousand rounds of musket cartridges with balls, two eighteen-pounders with two hundred rounds of ammunition, three nine-pounders with three hundred rounds of ammunition, four field-pieces, six barrels of gun powder, with a sufficient quantity of axes, spades, tents and utensils of all kinds.

The fleet when ready consisted of nineteen armed vessels and twenty-four transports, all carrying three hundred and forty-four guns. The flagship was the Warren, a new thirty-two gun Continental frigate. The fleet was under the command of Dudley Saltonstall of New Haven, Connecticut, obstinacy outweighed his ability as a commander of a fleet. On board, beside the sailors, were between three and four hundred marines, also about one hundred Massachusetts artillery-men under the command of Lieut. Col. Paul Revere of Boston...

The destruction of the vessels engaged in this expedition was the end of Massachusett's separate naval force and reduced the national navy of the United States to the very lowest terms. Our commodore had stubbornly refused to cooperate with the land forces at the proper time and the result was a terrible disaster to the Americans. The army, with the men of the fleet, retreated up the river with little order, Each one looked out for himself and his own safety. They fled to the woods and carried scanty provisions which lasted but a few days, when the men were obliged to subsist on whatever they could find on the way, until they reached their homes. Some fell by the wayside and perished from starvation and exposure, and many who returned home filled premature graves as the result of the hardships they were obliged to endure. Many of the men said little about their sad experience in this retreat, because it revived unpleasant mernories of a service which was a great disappointment to them and for which they were in no way to blame...

Probably the remarkable success of the militia in the Louisburg Expedition, in 1745, had much to do with the assurance of the people in embarking in the hastily formed Bagaduce Expedition, in 1779. Many of the veterans of the siege of Louisburg were then living, and their sons thought themselves no less gallant than their fathers. In fact, the success at Louisburg had much to do with the assurance of the colonists that they could gain their independence from England and no doubt stimulated them, especially in New England, to make the attempt...

Complete Text The Bagaduce expedition: Expedition to the Penobscot, 1779

Penobscot Expedition Archaeological Project

University of Maine
Maine Historic Preservation Commission
US Naval Historical Center (NHC)

Penobscot Expedition Archaeological Project 2001. During the month of September 2001, members of the U.S. Naval Historical Center's (NHC) Underwater Archaeology Branch conducted site assessments and a multi-component remote sensing survey in the Penobscot River, Penobscot County, Maine. This project is the most recent phase of an ongoing cooperative effort between the NHC, the University of Maine, and the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to research, investigate, and document shipwrecks and other submerged archaeological sites associated with the Penobscot Expedition of 1779.

The objectives of this season's investigations included the following:
(1) document any visible impacts to a previously investigated eighteenth century shipwreck located near Bangor, Maine;
(2) note the extent and state of preservation of another site containing a scatter of Revolutionary Warera cannon and shot; and
(3) conduct a magnetometer and side-scan sonar survey along a section of the Penobscot River where local lore indicates at least two wrecks (the Continental Navy frigate Warren and the American ordnance transport Samuel) associated with the Penobscot Expedition are submerged.

NHC archaeologists successfully completed all of the goals for the 2001 field season, including the complete documentation of the cannon and shot scatter. A variety of diagnostic artifacts associated with the cannon scatter were recovered, including an iron swivel gun and various types of wrought and cast iron ordnance. The remote sensing survey was also productive. While the Warren and Samuel sites were not positively identified, a number of magnetic and sonar contacts that may represent these and other Penobscot Expedition shipwrecks were revealed. The bulk of these anomalies will be investigated next year when members of the Underwater Archaeology Branch return to Maine and resume field investigations.

Underwater News
Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA)

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