Washington, George, 1732-1799. The writings of George Washington from the original manuscript sources: Volume 4
Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library

| Table of Contents for this work |
| All on-line databases | Etext Center Homepage |

INSTRUCTIONS TO CAPTAIN WILLIAM COIT Head Quarters, October 22, 1775.

    1. You being already appointed a Captain in the Army of the United Colonies of North America, are hereby directed to take


Page 38

the Command of a Detachment of said Army and proceed on board the army schooner Harrison; lately fitted out and equipped with Arms, Ammunition and Provisions at the Continental Expence.

    2. You are to proceed as Commander of said Schooner immediately on a Cruize against such Vessels as may be found on the High Seas or elswhere bound inwards or outwards to or from Boston in the Service of the ministirial Army and to take and Seize all such Vessels laden with Soldiers, Arms, Ammunition or Provisions for or from said Army or which you shall have good Reason to suspect are in such Service.

    3. If you should be so Successful as to take any of said Vessels you are immediately to send them to the nearest and Safest Port to this Camp under a Careful Prize Master directing him to notify me by Express immediately of such Capture with all Particulars, and there to wait my farther Directions.

    4. You are to be very particular and diligent in your Search after all Letters or other Papers tending to discover the Designs of the Enemy or of any other Kind and to forward all such to me as soon as possible.

    5. Whatever Prisoners you may take you are to treat with Kindness and Humanity as far as is Consistent with your own Safety; their pri [mutilated] after being duly Searched, and when they Arrive at any Port you are to apply to the Committee or to any Officer of the Continental Army Stationed at Such Port for a Guard to bring them up to Head Quarters.

    6. For your own encouragement and that of the other Officers and Men to Activity and Courage in this Service over and above your Pay in the Continental Army you shall be intitled to one third Part of the Cargo of every Vessel by you taken and sent into Port (military and naval Stores only excepted, which the Vessels and Apparel are reserved for the Public Service),


Page 39

which said Third Part is to be divided among the Officers and Men in the following Proportions: Shares, Captain 6, 1st. Lieutenant 5, 2nd. Lieutenant 4, Surgeon 4, Ship's Master 3, Steward 2, Mate 1½, Gunner 1½, Boatswain 1½, Gunners Mate and Sergeants 1½, Privates 1 each.

    7. You are particularly charged to avoid any Engagement with any Vessel of the Enemy, tho' you may be equal in Strength or may [mutilated] some small advantage. The Design of the Enterprise being to intercept the Supplies of the Enemy, which will be defeated by your running into unnecessary Engagements. In this your own Discretion and Prudence must Govern.

    8. As there may be other Vessels employed in this Same service with yourselves you are to fix upon proper Signals and your Stations being Settled so as to take the greatest Range avoid cruizing on the same Ground; if you should happen to take prizes in sight of each other the Rules which take Place among private Ships of War are to be observed in the Distribution of the Prize Money.

    9. In case of retaking the Vessel of any Friend to the American Cause, I will recommend it to Such Persons to make a suitable Compensation to those who have done such a Service, but [mutilated].

    10. You are to be extremely careful and frugal of your Ammunition, by no means to waste any of it in Salutes for any Purpose but what is absolutely necessary.