Volume 5: 1776


The turbulent vast oceans of the world—ever moving, ever changing—are in themselves the very embodiment of freedom and liberty defined so clearly almost two hundred years ago in the Declaration of Independence. Men who take to the sea to trade, to fish, to guard the peace or make war when necessary, share, feel and absorb an independence which is uniquely their own. There dwells in sailors a burning spirit which will not accept the shackles of tyranny just as the waters on which they serve cannot be stilled. This is true today, and the documents presented in the current volume, and previous ones of the series, demonstrate that this spirit was not wanting in the American seafaring patriots who carried the conflict to the enemy against overwhelming odds.

While the Declaration of Independence must be the central great occurrence in the time span of Volume 5, other events, as outlined in President Nixon's Foreword and in the Summary on pages one and two, were unfolding to test by fire America's search for independence. Would it remain only an inspired declaration or become a reality?

We cannot stress too strongly or too often that this work is made possible by the complete cooperation and priceless assistance received from libraries, historical societies, museums, other depositories, and private collectors in this country and abroad. Unpublished Crown copyright material in the Public Reccrd Office, London, is reproduced by permission of Her Majesty's Stationery Office.

Special appreciation must be accorded to Mr. John F. Leavitt, Associate Curator of The Marine Historical Association Incorporated, Mystic, Connecticut, who giving freely of his own time and knowledge prepared the fine pictorial article, "Shipwrights' Tools during the Revolution," for this volume.

As a perceptive commentator noted, the death of Mr. William Bell Clark, while Volume 4 was under preparation, deprived this project of

one of the keenest, albeit vicarious, observers of the American Revolutionary scene the twentieth century has yet produced.

 Through Mr. Clark's industry and foresight, and the gracious understanding of his widow, he has left a legacy of building blocks for Volume 5 and beyond. The work he had compiled for subsequent volumes, his library, and large collection of manuscript transcripts tirelessly amassed have come to the Naval History Division as an extremely valuable part of our holdings.

William James Morgan of the Naval History Division, author and Revolutionary War student, is now editor of the series. Those who are familiar with the undertaking since publication of Volume 1, and particularly the distinguished members of the Secretary of the Navy's Advisory Committee, know that Dr. Morgan has been intimately and essentially associated with the work since its inception. He comes, therefore, qualified and certainly no stranger to the awesome task.

Dr. Morgan is backed by a small crew of experienced, dedicated and highly capable colleagues in our Historical Research Section—Mr. Robert L. Scheina, Mr. and Mrs. Henry J. Scheffenacker, Mr. Robert I. Campbell, Mrs. Anne C. Ruggieri, Lieutenant (junior grade) Robert Munson, Ensign Kristin G. Tryon, Mr. E. Gordon Bowen-Hassell, Yeoman First Class Lenzie D. Crosby, Miss Jacquelyn L. Schmok, and during summer Naval Reserve duty, Chief Personnelman George K. McCuistion. We mourn the death during the past year of Commander William B. Rowbotham, RN (Ret) , who did outstanding research for us in the Public Record Office and other United Kingdom repositories.

Maps and charts are the province of Mr. W. Bart Greenwood, Navy Department Librarian, assisted by Miss Mary Pickens. The excellent selections found in this volume bear testimony to Mr. Greenwood's intense personal interest and knowledge of eighteenth century cartography. Mr. Charles R. Haberlein, Jr., of our Curator's Branch has done a fine job collecting, selecting, and describing illustrations.

On January 23, 1970, after a distinguished career crowned by his thirteen years as Director of Naval History, Rear Admiral Ernest McNeill Eller, USN, retired from the naval service. The outstanding achievements of the Naval History Division during Admiral Eller's tenure give full testimony to his total dedication, his keen intelligence, and boundless energies. This monumental Naval Documents work was started by him. He guided and nurtured the project which must now stand as the highwater mark among a legion of lasting and meaningful accomplishments. Admiral Eller has charted the difficult seas, and has set us a true course to follow.

F. Kent Loomis