Vice Admiral Samuel Graves

to Philip Stephens1

Preston Boston 22d April 1775

Sir, Captain [John] Collins in his Majesty's Sloop Nautilus arrived here the 14th. in the Evening and Captain [John] Linzee in the Falcon the 16th. By these Vessels I have received their Lordships Orders, your Letters, with Duplicates there-of according to the annexed Schedule. I am extremely happy in their Lordship's Approbation of my Conduct and can at present only repeat my Assurances of paying the strictest attention to all their Commands.

After the Arrival of the two Sloops above mentioned I ordered the Nautilus to get ready for Sea again immediately, intending to send either her or the Swan to Georgia, where their Lordships have been pleased to order a Sloop to be stationed in future; and have appointed the Falcon to lie within Hull point, between it and Pettick's Island, where I have long desired to place a Sloop; but the March of part of the Army and their being unexpectedly attacked by the Rebels on the 19th. instant has entirely put a stop to my stationing these Vessels as I had intended.

On the 18th in the Evening all the boats of the Squadron landed the Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the Army near the entrance of Cambridge River, from whence they marched towards Concord; and in the Morning a Brigade followed them round by the way of Cambridge Bridge. I am concerned to acquaint you that meeting with a considerable body of armed Men an Engagement ensued wherein many were Killed and wounded on our side. The Rebels followed the Indian manner of fighting, concealing themselves behind Hedges and Trees, and skulking in Woods and Houses, where they galled the Soldiers exceedingly . . . The Troops returning that Evening to Charles Town, and every Boat was employed to bring them over to Boston. I can with great truth inform you that the Somerset being within a Quarter of a mile of Charles Town Kept its Inhabitants in awe and thereby secured to the Troops an unmolested retreat into that Town, and a peaceable Embarkation for Boston.

Accounts of this Battle you may imagine instantly flew to all parts of the Country, and great numbers of their Militia and Minute Men are assembled at Cambridge and Roxbury and its Neighbourhood. They are at this time intrenching themselves at Roxbury, and have absolutely prohibited every kind of provision from being brought to Boston. They are so elated with having destroyed a few of the King's Troops that they talk of erecting Batteries at different places to destroy the Men of War, of bombarding the Town, and taking Castle William. I have sent to acquaint the Inhabitants of Charles Town with my determination to destroy it whenever I perceive them making any preparations for erecting Batteries to annoy the Kings Ships, which I shall most certainly do the moment I perceive them fairly at Work.

Last Night the Rebels were reconnoitring Castle William in Canoes, and upon being challenged fired at the Centinels. They escaped by the darkness of the Night, but today the Asia and Hope Schooner are so placed that every Attempt upon the Castle must be fatal to them.

The Falcon is in Gallows Creek. The Nautilus at the N.W. End of Boston. Every Sail is kept in Town, and the utmost precautions are taken for the general Safety . . . Their Lordships may depend on my heartily co-operating with the General and on my giving him every assistance in my power in support of such measures as shall be thought best for his Majesty's Service. I am &c.

Sam Graves

1. Graves's Conduct, I, 79-81, MassHS Transcript.
Source: Naval Documents of the American Revolution, I, 205-6