A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Robert Treat Paine Papers, Volume 3

From David Cobb
Cobb, David RTP
My Dear Sir, Boston June 17th, 1776

Agreeable to promise in my last I now send you a Journal of the last week, and hope to continue it in future.

Monday 10th. In the course of the Afternoon sundry Transports arriv’d to the Ships below with the Highland Troops on board under the convoy of 2 Men of War; likewise receiv’d Intelligence that two Sugar Ships were bro’t into Providence & New London, & a Barbadoes Rum Vessel carried into Plymouth. The Fortifycations going on with alacrity, but great uneasiness that we can’t remove the Ships from below; for which we are now preparing.1

Tuesday 11th. Leave was obtain’d to go, with a Flagg, on board the Commedore’s Ship to endeavour the exchange of the Prisoners of the Yankee Hero; the Commedore treated the Flagg with the greatest politeness & promis’d to use the utmost of his influence to obtain an Exchange. The Capt., 1st Lieutt. & 14 privates of the Brigg were wounded & 5 killed—a warm engagement. The whole Crew consisted but of 36.

Wednesday 12th. Nothing material.

Thursday 13th. The Town was guard’d last night to prevent any communication to the Ships, & it is intended tonight to take possession of three heights that surround the Shiping, viz. The East head of Long 229Island, the East head of Pettick’s Island & Nantaskett Hill; & parties of 500 Men each are drafted for the seperate post, exclusive of Volunteers & Militia. The Town in great confusion from the beating of Drums for Volunteers, rattleing of Cannon &c., & my Chamber pertakes of it in proportion, where you can’t have admission without asking Liberty from bundles of Raggs, Surgeon’s Instruments &c. My station Sir is on Pettick’s Island, where, you must note I attend in the Rear.

Fryday 14th. We sett sail from the Long Warf last night half after Nine, but for want of Wind, loosing our Way etc. never arriv’d to our station ’till day. The Nantaskett party were in the same scituation. The party on Long Island only succeeded where they erected a Battery & by six in the Morning began to play on the Ships, & altho’ at a great distance yet the Cannon were so well serv’d that they took the Topmasts from two of the Transports & a Top gallant Mast from a third, upon which the Fleet immediately up Killeck & stood out to sea; The Commedore now & then, in the fullness of his Wrath, poping a Gun at the people on Nantaskett as he pass’d, whilst they from the open Hill were returning the Compliment. The Enemy blow’d up the Lighthouse in their retreat. We are now, Thank God, intirely free from pyrates & in possession of the finest Harbour in the World, which we are endeavouring to secure by fortifying the Islands.

Saturday 15th. Lodg’d last night at Brigadier Palmer’s in Germaintown. The Brigadier & Family desire their Compliments. Return’d in the afternoon to Nantaskett, soon after embark’d for Boston; but having a piece of Artillery to take in from one of the Islands, we were detain’d all Night upon the Water—bad fair—but Soldiers must never complain.

Sunday 16th. Return’d to Boston where we have the disagreeable report of General Thomas’s Death by the small pox, & the bad scituation of our Army in Canada. May God soon grant a different aspect to our public affairs in the North. Firing in the Bay. A Ship two Briggs & two Schooners are seen off. The Ship & one of the Briggs suppos’d to be prizes.

Monday Morning. The above Vessells are at Nantaskett but have not receiv’d any Intelligence who they are, but still suppose some of ’em to be prizes.

Your Letter I receiv’d last Wednesday & shall endeavour the return of an Answer by Wednesday’s post. Our Friends at Taunton are well. Don’t forgit sending papers or pampletts that are usefull. If you have a proper conveyance, do be so good as to send me, Cullen’s materia Medica.2


We cou’d wish that a Commander in Chief for this department, might be without any connections in the Provence. I am Dear Sir Your Constant Friend

David Cobb

RC ; internal address: “To R. T. Paine Esqr.”; endorsed.


The events of June 10 and 11 are the same as mentioned in David Cobb to RTP, June 10, 1776.


Lectures on the Materia Medica, as Delivered by William Cullen, M. D., Professor of Medicine in the University of Edinburgh. Now Published by Permission of the Author, and with Many Corrections from the Collation of Different Manuscripts by the Editors (Philadelphia, 1775).

From Anthony Mosengeil
Mosengeil, Anthony RTP
Sir, Rariton Smelting House, June 18th 1776

The Answer I had the Honour to write to your Letter of the 1st inst: you have, Sir, I suppose, received by this Time.

I have since consulted with my Partners, who are concerned with me in the Copperworks, without whose Advice I could not undertake any other Busseness in Hand, and they think the errecting of a Sulphur work a great Service to the Cause of the Colonies, upon which I have concluded to undertake it, and visit the Copperworks now and then, while putting the Sulphur works in such a Condition, that some ingenious Person may attend the Process hereafter with Success.

I shall, Sir, not at all be extravagant in the Terms, but leave that to the Committee of Congress. I am with great Respect, Sir, Your most humble Servant,

Anthony Mosengeil

RC ; addressed: “Robert Treat Paine, Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed in an unidentified hand.