Narrative of Vice Admiral Samuel Graves1

[Boston] 7th [July 1775]

The Falcon sailed down the Harbour and anchored between Hull Point and Pettick's Island with Orders to examine every thing that passed, to seize and destroy every Vessel or Boat belonging to the Rebels, and to send the Admiral what information he could procure of the Whale Boats said to be bringing across the Neck from Dartmouth and Dorchester to Hingham and the neighbouring Villages.

The Admiral observing that the sharp construction and great draught of water of the men of wars boats rendered them very unfit for going up the narrow Creeks which abound in the neighbourhood of Boston, where if they took the ground and there was not room for them to turn about, it would be hardly practicable to retreat, and the crew be in danger of becoming prey to the enemy, invented a boat of particular construction. This vessel was 36 feet in length and nearly 12 in width calculated to row with either end foremost, and by having the greatest draught of water amid ship and from thence gradually shallowing towards the extremeties, was by means of her curved keel admirably formed for mooring quickly forward or backward without a necessity of winding round, so in all cases to approach or make off from the shore with equal ease and speed as occasion should require; and yet this her make facilitated even her putting about or spinning as it were upon her own center, where there was room. She mounted a four pounder at each end, had eight swivels upon the sides, rowed with 20 oars, carried 75 men armed and accoutred, with a weeks provisions of both kinds compleat, and yet drew but 9 or 10 inches water at most, steered with an oar in a grummett; and would outrow the fleetest of the navy barges. If she run aground from eagerness of pursuit or in the night, the rowers had only to face about upon their present seats or upon the next thwarts, pull in the contrary direction, and she went off in a moment. Each bow was secured by a mantelet of oxhides against musquetry, & the piece of ordnance there, by moving in a groove, pointed in any direction. This invention, equally formidable and useful for a weeks campaign in shallow Creeks, being found to answer its design, the Admiral caused a neat model to be made and sent to the Admiralty for their satisfaction.

1. Graves's Conduct, I, 135, 136, MassHS Transcript.
Source: Naval Documents of the American Revolution, I, 836