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Philadelphia, 17 September 1782

Account which I gave to the King's minister after our shipwreck in Chesapeak Bay.

A boarding with the Ceres two days after our departure from La Rochelle. Winds almost always contrary until Terceira, one of the Azores, where we spent three days at sea to take on water; winds still more unfavourable or perpetual calms until the environs of the Bermudas; a battle in the night and morning of the 5th against a vessel of 74 guns from which the Aigle and her escort extricated themselves with as much glory as good fortune; an eventual landing after a two-month crossing, two leagues from the Capes of the Delaware and at the point indicated by the Court papers; that is the summary of the events which befell us from or departure up to the moment when M. de la Touche, who at anchor on the morning of the 13th was awaiting the return of a trusted officer whom he had sent ashore from the evening of the 12th to fetch him pilots, was forced to weigh anchor and to enter the Delaware without pilots and in view of two vessels and two English frigates who were pursuing him at full sail and were approaching within his sight; but seeing no sign at all of the arrival of the officer he had sent ashore, and judging that his boat could have been cast on the shore, which sadly was only too true, and that he was left with no way out, he ordered the commander of the Gloire to send a boat ashore with one of his officers to get some pilots. He further used his authority to compel an English pilot who knew this river perfectly, and whom he had captured the day before on a little boat of the English fleet, to get him through the dangers which surrounded him, but as he failed to get far enough up-wind to re-enter the single channel by which the two frigates had been able to continue their passage to Philadelphia, and as this manoeuvre could not be executed without passing very close under the fire of two vessels and two frigates which were on their way to attack him with the wind behind them, he therefore made up his mind to run aground if he was pursued, and to destroy the frigates in such a way that the English could never use them. Hardly had he made this decision, when the English vessels dropped anchor. M. de la Touche did the same, and remained in this situation for more than four hours. The officer of the

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