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Letter from General Howe to the Earl of Dartmouth



Boston, December 13, 1775.

MY LORD: His Majesty' s ship Tartar, being ordered to England, by Admiral Graves, I am to confirm to your Lordship the intelligence before communicated, of the capture of the ordnance brig Nancy, by the Rebels, and that there is certainty of another vessel, the property of a merchant, loaded with woollen goods and every article necessary for clothing, having lately fallen into their hands, which must afford great relief to their most essential wants.

Since the departure of the Boyne, man-of-war, on the 5th instant, there have been no arrivals from Britain; and I am induced to believe, from the long prevalence of northerly winds, that the transports from Cork, with the 17th, 27th, 28th, 46th, and 55th regiments, together with the ships bringing stores for this place, have been forced far from the coast; and if so, the difficulties they have to encounter in getting to this port will increase in proportion as the winter season advances.

These considerations, and the state of provisions in store, a particular account of which your Lordship has with my separate letter of the 2d instant, sent by the Boyne, give rise to very alarming apprehensions, especially as demands for this article are increased from the transports, provisions for the seamen being expended from the pressing wants of useful persons, who must be supported for their services, and of many others, who have ever been attached to Government.

I am also concerned to observe that the uncertainty of defenceless vessels getting into this harbour is rendered more precarious, by the rebel privateers infesting the bay, who can take the advantage of many inlets on the coast, where His Majesty' s ships cannot pursue them, and from whence they can safely avail themselves of any favourable opportunities that offer. The Admiral being of opinion that the ships cannot block up the several ports of Cape Anne, Marblehead, Beverly, and Plymouth, which afford protection to these pirates, without the assistance of a land force, that cannot at present be spared, has placed his ships in Nantasket-Road, with orders to cruise from thence in the bay; which, not proving effectual, I would humbly propose that the provisions, and other valuable stores, be


sent out for the future in ships-of-war, without their lower deck-guns, or in vessels of sufficient force to defend themselves against these Pirates. One of them, a brigantine, with seventy-three men, has been brought in by His Majesty' s ship Fowey; and I enclose to your Lordship a copy of the Captain' s instructions, from Mr˙ Washington, commanding the Rebel army. The prisoners are sent to England in the Tartar.

The troops entered into quarters here yesterday, leaving a detachment intrenched upon the heights of Charlestown, for the defence of that post.

Six. companies of the Sixty-fifth are embarked, and will sail for Halifax, under convoy of the Cerberus frigate. The 18th and 59th Regiments, being drafted into other corps, their commissioned and non-commissioned officers, with the invalids and recruiting parlies, go from hence on board of transports, in company with the Tartar.

By advice received from the head-quarters of the Rebels, I learn that General Carleton embarked at Montreal for Quebeck, on the 12th of November, with one hundred soldiers, and as many Canadians, carrying with him all the military stores he could convey; and that the Rebels took possession of the town the next day.

I am, &c˙,