<br /> Lee Letter: n340_0585

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Marine Committee
Recipient: Benjamin Dunn

Sir

We gave you orders yesterday respecting the service you are required to
perform in Delaware Bay, after that is performed you are to have
recourse to these Orders which you are to obey and execute soon as
possible. You are to proceed with the Sloop Surprize and Cargo on board
direct for St. Nicholas Mole in Hispaniola and on your arrival there
wait on the Governor to ask the liberty and protection. In this visit
you will be attended by Mr. John Dupuy, Merchant at that place to whom
you will deliver the letter given you
herewith1 and the Cargo being consigned
to this Gentleman you are to deliver the same to him immediately and if
this Gentleman has on hand any goods or Stores belonging to the Public,
say the united states he will put the whole or as many as you can
conveniently take in on board the Surprize for which you must grant
bills of Lading and then proceed back to the first safe port you can
get into in these united states preferring this part of the Coast if
equally safe. You are to land the stores and goods wherever you arrive
giving us notice thereof and employing proper Persons to take charge of
them until we can direct how they are to be disposed of. We think there
is sufficient water for the Surprize in Egg Harbour, several of the
Inlets southern of Cape Henlopen, and in several inlets of North
Carolina & probably this may be safer than the great Bays. You will
be careful to keep your men on board wherever you go and take in three
or four Months Provisions. We hope this business will be finished
before the first day of July. Should there be no public Stores at the
Mole, you may then proceed from thence on a Cruize against our enemies,
get as many men as you can to enter the service on board the Surprize
and exert your utmost endeavours to take, burn, Sink, and destroy as
many of the enemies Ships as possible. You many send your prizes into
the French Ports. Mr. John Dupuy will transact your business faithfully
at the Mole as will Mr. Stephen Ceronio at the Cape Francois and these
Gentlemen will also supply you with every thing wanting for the Service
of the Sloop. You may order them to sell all perishable Prize Goods or
those particularly suited to the West India Markets taking care they
are actually prize agreeable to resolves of Congress, but the Vessels
and other parts of the Cargoes must come to some American Port for
Condemnation. In this manner you may continue Cruizing until the first
day of July and should you return from the Mole and land a Cargo on the
Continent as already mentioned before the first day of July, you may
proceed on a Cruize for West India Ships or others in these Seas until
that day. On the first day of July you are to open the sealed orders
enclosed herein2 and exert yourself to
the utmost in the execution of them taking care that the Surprize is
clean, well manned, victualled and every way in good Order for Service
at that time.3

Notes:

Letter book, Marine Committee Letter Book, Marine Committee Miscellaneous
Papers, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration,
Washington, D.C. Addressed: “captain Benjamin Dunn of the Sloop
Surprise.”

1 The Marine Committee’s first known letter to Dupuy is dated April 29, 1777,
and printed below.

2 Not found.

3 For the continuation of this letter, see Marine committee to Dunn, May 2,
1777.