18 December 2003
WHIPPLE, William (1730-1785), Signer (New Hampshire). Autograph letter signed to unknown recipient, Philadelphia, 5 August 1776. 1 page, folio.
WHIPPLE REPORTS ON THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED U.S. NAVY
A Portsmouth, New Hampshire merchant, Whipple served in the Continental Congress from 1776-1779. He also saw action in the Saratoga and Rhode Island campaigns of 1777 and 1778, respectively. Here, a month after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, he reports to a Rhode Island ship builder (probably John Morgan or James Hackett) on the actions of The Wasp, an American naval frigate: "We have at last heard of Admiral [Esek] Hopkins. The Wasp arrived here the day before yesterday. Leaky, she parted from him about a fortnight ago off Bermuda, where he had been cruising some time, to intercept the transports from the West Indies. He has been at New Providence [Nassau, The Bahamas], & taken from thence between 90 & 100 Cannon from 18 to 42 Pounder, a large Quantity shot & one ton Powder. It's supposed he is gone to Road [Rhode] Island. If so you'll hear of him before I shall. A schooner arriv'd the 2d instant from Guadalupe with 1200 Cask Powder but it seems small, the whole containing not more than 7 or 8 tons." Whipple then speculates on the officers to be named by the Congress's Marine Committee to command the new ships being built in Rhode Island. "Will Thompson take the command. I think Follet would make a good officer. There are many good men that I cannot recollect. I hope we shall have such as will do Honour to the service." A snapshot from the formation of the American navy.
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