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Letter from Lieutenant Graves to Admiral Graves


Intercepted Letter transmitted to Congress by General Washington, with his Letter dated December 18, 1775.


On board the St˙ Lawrence, at St˙ Augustine, October 3, 1775.

SIR: I send you this by Mr˙ Lane, master of the Otter sloop, who is carrying some troops to Virginia.

We made the land the eleventh day after our sailing from Nantasket, and, considering that neither the master nor myself was ever here before, there could not be any better landfall, as we were steering right for the light-house when we made the shore a few leagues to the northward of the harbour. We got a pilot off that evening, but did not get into the harbour until two next day; and very lucky for us we did, as there came on a blowing, dirty night after we got in.

The bar here is a most shocking one; but eight feet at low water, and twelve at high, and not above the length of two large ships across from breaker to breaker. It is all a white flat sand here, yet the different kind of orange trees are loaded with fruit; they are not quite ripe. I wish I could convey some of them to you just as they are, with their fruit on, they look so beautiful.

I cannot help complaining of my midshipman being taken from me at Boston, as Captain Hartwell had no right to demand him, for he was my proper one. He got himself discharged out of the Boyne into this schooner by choice, and was perfectly satisfied until I told him of his neglect of duty at Annapolis-Royal, when, by his not turning out in his watch at four in the morning, I lost my boatswain and four men; and at such a time as that, when I did not know when I should fall in with the pirate O' Brien, it was enough to vex any officer that had any regard for his character, and I think if every midshipman is indulged to go to what ship they please, when they think themselves aggrieved, it was more than ever I could do when I was in that station.

There is no contractor for the navy, but shall be supplied by the army contractor. There is fresh beef here at three pence per pound, and very good. The Governour as well as myself thinks it will be right to supply the people with fresh beef in the harbour to preserve the salt, as there is not much in store, if the butcher will take bills on the victualling officer, the Contractor at Boston.

My old mainsail and foresail is giving way in several places, and if I can replace them here, I think it will be best, as the old will convert into hammocks, that the people are in much want of, and I could not get any at Boston; none of the men that came from the Preston brought any with them.

If I meet with your approbation in what I do for the best, I am happy.

And am, dear sir, yours most sincerely,

To Admiral, Graves.

State and Condition of His Majesty' s Armed Schooner ST˙ LAWRENCE, Lieutenant JOHN GRAVES Commander, at ST˙ AUGUSTINE, October 3, 1775.
Of the Schooner' s Company. Supernumeraries. Whole number victualled. Of the Seamen. Provisions on board for the complement at whole allowance. Officers. Condition of the Schooner. When last cleaned.
Seamen. Marines. Short of complement. Born since last account. No ship. Other ships. Days. Weeks. Tons of Water. Stores wanting. Absent. Occasion.
  Checked. Sick.   Sick.  
Complement. Born. Mustered. Widows' Man. Leave. Without leave. Lent. On board. On shore. Complement. Born. Mustered. Checked. On board. On shore. Officers' names and quality. Sergeants. Corporals. Drums. Privates. Seamen. Marines. More. Less. Reason of the difference. Born. Mustered. Checked. Sick. Born. Mustered. Checked. Sick. Officers and Servants. Petty and able. Ordinary. Landsmen. Bread. Beer. Spirits. Wine. Beef. Pork. Peas. Oatmeal. Flour. Butter. Cheese. Oil. Vinegar. Boatswains. Gunners. Carpenters.    
30 27 24 1 2 2 3 Discharged J. R. 10 10 34 3 24 82 3 35 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 11 1/2 7 Pt. Pt. Pt. The after part of the false keel split, and part of the sole of the rudder off. May 30, 1775.