Virginia, Fairfax County March 15th 1776.
Being employed by the Committee of Safety for this colony to fit out three armed cruisers, & two row gallies, for the protection of potomack River, we have, in consequence thereof, bought three sloops; the largest of which (called the American Congress) will mount 14 Carriage Guns, 6 & 4 pounders, & be man'ed with about ninety men. We are now raising the company of Marines, which will be compleated in a few days; she has most of her guns mounted, the shot are now casting, at a Furnace in the Neighbourhood, & if we had powder, she wou'd be very soon fit for action. We wrote to our delegates at the congress to purchase for us in Philadelphia twenty Barrels of powder, & forward it to us by land, to serve 'til we could get a larger supply, which they promised to do; so soon as it could be procured there, but none has yet come to hand, & we are very uneasy, least some of the enemies cutters should come up this river, to destroy our vessels, before they are in a posture of defence. As this equipment will be as beneficial to the inhabitants on the north side of potomack as to those on this side, we doubt not the disposition of your board to promote it, and under these circumstances, we take the liberty to apply to you for the loan of ten bars. of the powder lately imported for yr. province, in Capt. Conway's vessel now in the eastern Branch of potomack, which shall be replaced out of the first powder we receive from the northward, or else where: if ten bars. cant be spared, even five or six bars. wou'd be very serviceable, & might answer our purpose until the supply we expect from Philadelphia arrives. We beg the favour of an imediate answer, & hope that the urgency & importance of the Business will excuse the trouble we have taken the liberty to give you. We are with much Respect Gentn. your most obdt. Serts.