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H. Wentworth to General Washington



Portsmouth, October 19, 1775.

MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY: We beg leave to acquaint you that an express is just arrived here from Falmouth, Casco Bay, informing us that on Monday last came in there the Canceau, armed ship, Captain Mowat, together with a schooner mounting fourteen guns, a large transport, and two sloops, all full of men; that they lay at the mouth of the harbour till Tuesday following, making signals for some person to come off to them, which being taken no notice of by the Town, they weighed their anchors and came up and lay between the ferryways and Papusdock, from whence they sent on shore a message, acquainting the inhabitants that they had orders to fire upon the Town. In consequence of this message, a Committee went on board Captain Mowat, to whom he showed his orders from the Admiral, which were, that in case the inhabitants did not forthwith deliver up their arms, and give hostages for their future good behaviour, he was to destroy that Town, and afterwards proceed and destroy this, Captain Mowat, however, acquainted the Committee , that in case they would deliver up part of their arms that night, he would give them till next morning to consider of his requisition; they accordingly sent on board eight muskets that evening. At half past eight, yesterday, this express came away, and heard a heavy firing all day afterwards, which began precisely at nine o' clock.

We entreat your Excellency' s patience while we assure you that the people of this Province, and of this Town in particular, have exerted every nerve to put this port in a proper state of defence, but that all our precautions are to no effect, for want of a sufficient quantity of powder, our whole stock of which at present is only seventeen barrels. We have therefore despatched Mr˙ D' Ewing, who has orders to wait on your Excellency before he sleeps, to


Request the favour of your Excellency to spare us as much powder as you may think proper.

I am, very respectfully, by order of the Committee of Safety, Sir, your Excellency' s most obedient humble servant, H˙ WENTWORTH, Chairman.

His Excellency General Washington.