Philadelphia 26th Nov. 1779
My appointment to the command of the Warren, including a number of armed vessels, the expedition to Penobscot, the misfortunes that attended it, are facts of publick notoriety & familiar to your Excellency__ The natural ill humour consequent on disappointment, private animosity & popular prejudice, have subjected me to a court marital on a multiplicity of charges, unnecessary to be repeated at present __ So long ago as the 20th of last month my defense was closed & the court left the themselves to form their opinion, as yet no judgment I am informed by your Excellency has been forwarded, this I cannot but consider as an unreasonable delay, subjecting me to a most disagreeable suspense & giving room for every malignant whisper to circulate against me. Conscious of having done my duty I solicited on the first intimation that the disasters at Penobscot were by some imputed to me a scrutiny of my conduct, confident that the measures I pursued cannot be disapproved without adopting erroneous principles, I am impatient to
have my cause laid before Congress__ I therefore earnestly request that your Excellency will be pleased to write to the Navy Board at Boston by authority derived from whom the Court Martial refer’d to was held, desiring them to cause the proceedings of the Court-Martial to be sent forthwith to your Excellency__ that I may not be obliged by intolerable delay expense & from the calls of business, to neglect a matter of so delicate and interesting a nature_
I am most respectfully
Your Excellency’s most
Obedient and very
His Excellency Samuel Huntington
The Naval Board found Saltonstall guilty of a number of charge and placed him on the reserve list “out of actual service” and eventually dismissed him from the Navy. In 1781, Saltonstall became captain of the Connecticut privateer MINERVA and captured the single greatest prize for a Connecticut ship during the Revolution.
Samuel Huntington of Norwich, Connecticut served as President of the Continental Congress from September 29, 1779 to July 9, 1781. The position was mostly ceremonial with no real authority.