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Stephen Moylan to General Washington



Portsmouth, October 13, 1775.

SIR: I arrived here the 11th instant, and delivered Colonel Reed' s letter to the Chairman of the Committee; in consequence of which, he called a meeting of the members. The result was, that they would deliver to my care twelve hundred barrels of the flour, and let me know what would be done with the rest of the cargo, when they received an answer to a letter they had wrote to your Excellency, in which (they inform me) they express the great want of that article in this Province. As even half a loaf would be better than no bread, I told them I would take immediate charge thereof, and yesterday I engaged two sloops, to begin the transportation; one of them will take in this day.

I have engaged, in behalf of the Continent, to ensure (against the enemy only) the vessels — the Committee will appraise them — they are to receive one shilling, lawful


money, per barrel; which, at this season of the year, is not extravagant. I find, by having had a few barrels weighed, they fall short three, four, and five pounds of the weight marked on them; and, as it will probably become a Continental charge, I have thought it best to have them all weighed, that the publick, or the Commissary into whose hands they fall, may not pay for more flour than they really have.

As there are people in this Town inimical to the cause, I think best (in part) to keep it secret where this flour is to be landed. The engagements I have made are, that they must proceed to Newbury, Ipswich, Cape Ann, Salem, or Marblehead, according to the orders I shall give them when going to sea. A copy of these orders I have the honour of enclosing to you.

I have appointed Trist˙ Dalton, Esquire, of Newbury, agent for the armed schooners, and any prizes they may carry into that port; and Colonel Joshua Wentworth, for this Province. They are to obey all orders they will receive from Head-Quarters.

I have the honour to be your Excellency' s most humble and obedient servant,


P˙ S. Your Excellency will be pleased to order two hundred and forty dollars to be sent me by the bearer, that I may pay the freight and other charges attending this business.