Papers of John Adams, volume 4

IX. Committee Report on Fortifying Harbors, 24 June 1776 JA Continental Congress IX. Committee Report on Fortifying Harbors, 24 June 1776 Adams, John Continental Congress
IX. Committee Report on Fortifying Harbors
ante 24 June 1776

The Committee appointed to consider what Harbours are proper to be fortified,1 have attended that Service, and come to the following Resolutions. vizt

Resolved as the opinion of this Committee, that the Harbour of Cape Ann, in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, ought to be fortified, and to this End that Twenty Pieces of large Cannon, with Ten Eighteen Pounders and Ten Twenty four Pounders, be procured at the Continental Expence and sent to that Place, and that the Commanding officer in the Eastern Department be directed to order an Engineer to dispose of said Cannon to the best Advantage for the Defence of that Harbour, and also to order a sufficient Number of Troops there to do the necessary Work.

Resolved That Twenty two Pieces of heavy Cannon, Eighteen and Twenty four Pounders, be furnished at the Expence of the Continent for the Fortification of the Harbour of New London, and that Governor Trumbull be impowered to raise three Companies of Troops on the Continental Establishment of Pay, Rations, and Disbursements, to be stationed at New London to Garrison the Forts there and defend the Harbour.

Resolved that the Marine Committee be impowered and instructed, to build, Man and equip two large Row Gallies for the Defence of little Egg Harbour, so called, in the Colony of New Jersey.2

MS in JA's hand (PCC, No. 28, f. 193); docketed: “No: 5 report of Committee—what Harbours are to be fortified”; printed: JCC , 5:476.


On 23 March the congress, after adopting a set of resolutions for fitting out armed vessels to prey on British shipping, passed a “secret” resolution establishing a committee on fortifying harbors for defense and the reception of prizes. The committee members chosen were Benjamin Harrison, JA, Joseph Hewes, Robert Morris, and William Whipple. On 15 April the committee was directed to request Washington to have New England ports examined by a qualified person. The committee's letter to the General of 17 April is in DLC: Washington Papers. Richard Gridley and Henry Knox in-16spected the harbors of Cape Ann and New London respectively. In replying to the committee, Washington mistakenly referred to the committee's letter of 14 April. Washington forwarded Gridley's report on 8 June ( JCC , 4:233, 283 and notes; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:504; 5:109–110).


When this report was presented on 24 June, the congress ordered it tabled and empowered the committee to draw on the treasurer for money enough to have the ports surveyed and examined ( JCC , 5:476).