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December 20th 1776 Boston Harbour Boat Passage Permit Signed by Nathaniel Barber Commanding at Boston Harbor

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NATHANIEL BARBER military officer who served in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War known to have held a commanding position in the defense of Boston Harbor; believed to have been a “Tea Party” Participant and Massachusetts State Naval Officer in Boston.

December the 20, 1776-Dated Revolutionary War Period, Partially-Printed Document Signed, “Nat(aniel) Barber” as Naval Officer for Boston Harbour, 1 page, measuring about 3.75” x 5.5”, being an Official Naval Pass, Framed, Very Fine. Barber is the draftsman and the Signer of this fully executed “Pass” Permit form. Prefessionally modern matted and framed, seen through special UV Plexiglas and ready to hang on display. The first example of this 1776 Boston Harbour PASS we have offered. This exceedingly rare original Document reads, in full:

“Boston December the 20, 1776. --- PERMIT the Boat Friendship Stephen Green

Master, navigated with Ten Men, to pass the Forts and Guards under your

Command. --- To the Commanding Officer or Officers of the federal Fortresses and Guards

in the Harbour of Boston. -- (Signed) Nat Barber.

Note: Nat Barbour is believed to be a Tea Party participant and State Naval Officer in Boston.

Provenance Ex: Meuhler (sp) Sale November 5, 1959.


During the American Revolutionary War, the commanding officers of federal fortresses and guards in the harbor of Boston varied throughout the conflict due to changes in command and military operations. However, one prominent figure associated with the defense of Boston Harbor during this period was General Artemas Ward.

Artemas Ward was a militia commander from Massachusetts who played a significant role in the early stages of the Revolutionary War, including the Siege of Boston. He was appointed as the first commander-in-chief of the Continental Army before George Washington assumed the position.

In terms of specific fortresses and guards in Boston Harbor, the command structure would have included various officers at different times. Some of the key fortifications and positions in and around Boston Harbor during the Revolutionary War included:

Fort Independence: Located on Castle Island, Fort Independence was a crucial defensive fortification guarding the entrance to Boston Harbor.

Fort Warren: Situated on Georges Island, Fort Warren served as another important fortress in the harbor's defenses.

Fortification on Noddle's Island (present-day East Boston): This fortification was constructed to protect the inner harbor area.

Other coastal batteries and fortifications: In addition to the major fortresses, there were likely several smaller coastal batteries and fortifications strategically positioned around Boston Harbor.

The officers commanding these fortifications would have included both Continental Army officers and militia commanders. While General Artemas Ward was a prominent figure associated with the defense of Boston and the surrounding areas during the Revolutionary War, there were likely other officers who served under him or alongside him in various capacities.

Due to the dynamic nature of military operations and changes in command during the Revolutionary War, it may be challenging to provide a comprehensive list of all the commanding officers of federal fortresses and guards specifically in Boston Harbor throughout the entire conflict.
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Early American
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