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Letter from G. Mason and John Dalton to the Maryland Council of Safety



Fairfax County, Virginia, March 15, 1776.

GENTLEMEN: Being employed, by the Committee of Safety for this Colony, to fit out three armed cruisers and two row-galleys, for the protection of Potomack River, we have, in consequence thereof, bought three sloops, the largest of which (called the American Congress) will mount fourteen carriage-guns, six and four-pounders, and be manned with about ninety men. We are now raising the company of Marines, which will be completed in a few days. She has most of her guns mounted. The shot are now casting at a furnace in the. neighbourhood; and if we had powder, she would be very soon fit for action. We wrote to our Delegates at the Congress, to purchase for us, in Philadelphia,


twenty barrels of powder, and forward it to us by land, to serve until we could get a larger supply; which they promised to do, so soon as it could be procured there; but none has yet come to hand, and we are very uneasy lest some of the enemy' s cutters should come up this river, to destroy our vessels before they are. in a posture of defence. As this equipment will be as beneficial to the inhabitants on the north side of the Potomack as to those on this side, we doubt not the disposition of your Board to promote it; and, under these circumstances, we fake the liberty to apply to you for the loan of ten barrels of the powder lately imported for your Province in Captain Conway' s vessel, now in the Eastern Branch of the Potomack, which shall be replaced out of the, first powder we receive from the northward, or elsewhere. If ten barrels cannot be spared, even five or six barrels would be very serviceable, and might answer our purpose until the supply we expect from Philadelphia arrives.

We beg the favour of an immediate answer, and hope that the urgency and importance of the business will excuse the trouble we have taken the liberty to give you.

We are, with much respect, gentlemen, your most obedient servants,



To the Honourable the Council of Safety of Maryland.