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Letter from Captain Squire to Admiral Graves


Intercepted Letter transmitted to Congress by General Washington, with his Letter dated December 18, 1775.


Otter sloop, off Norfolk, December 2, 1775.

SIR: My Lord Dunmore having a quantity of corn, which he understands would be of great service to, and was much wanted for, the cavalry to the northward, and begged I would send some men in a sloop to carry it to Boston, I have, therefore, for the good of the service, sent a petty officer and six of my people in the Betsey sloop for that purpose. In my last to you of the 13th September, by the Mercury, I informed you that the people of this part of Virginia seemed to be peaceably inclined, but am sorry to say, that for these two months past, they have taken every method to annoy the King' s ships, boats, and troops, wherever they see them, firing On them on all occasions. I some time since went in a tender, with three other tenders in company, in order to prevent their sinking vessels in the mouth of Hampton harbour, when they fired on me, and killed two of my people, and wounded two more; and from the imprudence of the officer on board, a small tender running too near the town, their musketry was so


great, that several of my people swam from her to me, and the Rebels took the vessel with four men, which men they have since returned. On the 14th of last month, His Excellency Lord Dunmore, and the detachment of the Fourteenth Regiment, embarked in boats from Portsmouth, and went up a river near a place called the Great-Bridge, intending to dislodge some men that he heard were there, whose intention was to stop provisions coming to Norfolk.

His Lordship from thence, in his march to Norfolk, was attacked and fired on by some Rebels, whom he soon drove off, after killing one, and taking seven or eight prisoners, with a Colonel Lawson and Colonel Hutchins, men who have been very busy in corrupting the minds of the poor deluded people of this Colony. His Lordship then issued his proclamation, (a copy of which I send you.) As Mr˙ John Atkinson, the petty officer that brings you this, was a volunteer with Lord Dunmore, on the expedition, I refer you to him for more particulars. We have now a small fort at the Great-Bridge, which the Rebels must pass to come to Norfolk. We have destroyed the bridge, and for these ten days past, have kept a body of near nine hundred Rebels from passing. We have likewise intrenched the town of Norfolk, and I have great reason to suppose, and hope from their being such cowards, and cold weather coming on, that they will return to their respective homes, and we shall be quiet the remainder of the winter. I am securing all the provisions I can for the King' s ships, and I hope to get a sufficient quantity until we can have a supply from the northward. I must hope, sir, when in your power to spare a victualler, you will send one.

I, by desire, have sent two prisoners taken by his Lordship; no doubt but his Lordship has sent their accusations. Two other prisoners taken by Captain Montagu, the one Captain Dean, whose accusation I here enclose, the other a Captain Porter, for bringing powder and shot for the Rebels, and in sight of the King' s tenders throwing it overboard. Enclosed I send you the state and condition of His Majesty' s sloops Otter and Kingfisher, with the demands for stores from the officers of the said sloops.

I am well convinced that had we a few more troops, and one or two more ships, that the Rebels in these parts would be very soon quieted.

Am also to acquaint you, that from the boatswain of the Otter' s frequently behaving in a tyrannical manner to the ship' s company, often insolent to the officers, as well as neglecting his duty, I have thought proper to suspend him, and have given an acting order to one of my seamen. Enclosed I send you three letters, which I received from St˙ Augustine, to be forwarded to you; and am, sir, with assurances that all that can be done for the good of the King' s service shall be done by, sir, your most obedient, humble servant, W˙ C˙ SQUIRE.