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Instructions to Brigadier-General John Sullivan



Orders for Brigadier-General SULLIVAN, given at Head-Quarters, November 7, 1775.

You are to proceed immediately to Portsmouth, New-Hampshire, and complete the works already begun, to secure that and the other Towns at the entrance of Piscataqua River from any attacks by ships of war. For this purpose, you are to fix ships and fire-rafts in such places as you find most convenient to prevent the enemy from passing up the river. As great calamity and distress are brought upon our sea-port Towns, through the malicious endeavours and false representations of many persons holding commissions under the Crown, who, not content with bringing destruction upon some of our principal Towns, are yet using every art that malice can devise to reduce others to the same unhappy state, in hopes, by such diabolical and cruel conduct, to please an arbitrary and tyrannical Ministry, and to receive from them, in return, a continuance of such places and pensions as they now hold, at the expense of the blood and treasure of this distressed Continent: You are therefore, immediately upon your arrival in that Province, to seize such persons as hold commissions under the Crown, and are acting as avowed and open enemies to their Country, and hold them as hostages for the security of those Towns which our Ministerial enemies threaten to invade. In case any attack should be made upon Portsmouth, or other sea-ports in that quarter, you are immediately to collect such force as can be raised, to repel the invasion, and at all hazards to prevent the enemy from landing and taking possession of any ports in that quarter. When you have completed the works at Portsmouth, and secured the passage of the river there, you are to return without delay to the Army, unless you find that the enemy are about to make an immediate attack upon that or the neighbouring Towns. The above is rather to be considered as matter of advice, than orders; as I do not conceive myself authorized to involve the Continent in any expense, for the defence of Portsmouth or other place, out of the line of the great American defence, particular


Colonies being called upon by the Congress to prepare for their own internal security.

Given under my hand, the day and year above.