During our absence from home, the Revolutionary war had commenced, and
we found that the British had begun their depredations upon our commerce
and maritime towns.
We left Stonington in the night, entertaining the hope, that, with a
favorable wind, we might get into Providence without being discovered
by the British cruisers, which we knew were cruising somewhere between
Newport and Providence.
If the breeze had continued favorable, we should have effected our
object; but, unfortunately, the wind subsided a little before daylight,
and in the morning we found ourselves close by the enemy, consisting of
two ships of war, and a small vessel called a tender between them and
the land. The American commander, Commodore Whipple, with a naval force
greatly inferior to the British, was seen by us, higher up the bay, out
of reach of the enemy, making signals for us to press all sail and
But unluckily we were ignorant of the meaning of the signals,
and did not know whether they came from a friend or an enemy. As the
cruisers were to the windward of us, we tacked one way and the other,
hoping that we should be able to beat up the bay; but, finding that the
tender was about to intercept our progress in one direction while the
cruisers approached us in the other, and, no chance of escape appearing,
we bore away and ran our vessel ashore.
<- Cape Francois Editorial Notes ->