After the siege of Newport was raised, we returned to the camp. General Washington and Congress decided to send La Fayette to France to ask for further supplies of men and money, the American paper money having fallen into utter discredit.
Great haste was made to finish building the frigate Alliance, which was to be a fast sailer, armed with thirty-six 12-pounders. The command of the new vessel was given to a Frenchman, Captain Landais of St. Malo, but the ship was under the orders of M. de la Fayette, and the captain was to land him wherever he wished. To complete the crew we, unfortunately, took seventy English prisoners. They were excellent sailors, and as they had all taken an oath of fidelity, it was thought they could be trusted.
The winter was very severe, and the ship was not fitted out till the end of January. The port of Boston was then frozen, and we were obliged to cut a passage for the ship through the ice. The wind was extremely violent, though favourable. We