George Long, Impressed Midshipman

Following is the interesting pension testimony of George Long (#S-18087) transcribed by Joseph Ross in May of 2013 which details his experience of being unjustly impressed on the Continental Navy frigate Warren. By virtue of his proven service in the Continental Army, Long was permitted a pension and therefore had standing to recount his compulsory unpaid naval service for posterity.

“I George Long of Portsmouth, State of Newhampshire, Merchant of the Age of seventy years & upward- Son of Col. Pierce Long who Commanded the first New Hampshire Regiment- Testify and say that in May 1776 (as well as I can remember having lost Col. Long’s two Commissions and Regimental books in the Great fire of 1816- when I lost my store) Col. Long was by the then provincial-Government appointed to the command of the first New hampshire Regiment, his officers were Lt. Col. Mooney- Major Hodgdon, both of Dover- some of the Captains were Ebenezar Dearing of the artillery- [blank] of the infantry- Capt. Mark Wiggin- Perkins- Barnard- Hilton- Adjutant James McClure- paymaster Noah Emery, both of Exeter- Rev. E Evans Chaplain- all stationed about the harbour of Portsmouth for its defence (the British had then held Boston)- that your deponent was attach’d to said Regiment by Col. Long as his Clerk- whose duty was to be at head Quarters- copied all Reg’l orders- delivered them daily to Adjutant McClure, who delivered them to the several Companies- your deponent continued with Col. Long executing the duty aforesaid, so long as Col. Long continued in the service. In July 1776, Col. Long received Orders from Gen’l Washington (as I then understood) that the first New hampshire Regim’t would no longer be paid by the Province and that they must be reinlisted into the Continental service, and would receive Pay accordingly- Col. Long immediately issued orders to the several Captains in the Reg’t to this effect- which brought the whole Reg’t together, were the Orders were read; requiring a new inlistment- immediately every man in the Reg’t came forward and signed a new roll for one year,on the Continental establishment, with the exception of two subalterns,Abner Blasdell and Stacy Hall (who gave reason they were unable to leave their families for a length of time should the Reg’t be ordered to the northern frontiers (Lake Champlain) where it was tho’t it would go, in the course of the year) a very few months after the inlistment, the Reg’t was ordered to Ticonderoga (Lake Champlain)- that in Nov or December following- Col. Long detach’d the several Companies belonging to the his Regim’t to their place of destination; through Exeter, Charlestown, over the Green Mountains to Ticonderoga where Col. Mooney and Maj’r Hodgdon had previously gone to receive the attachm’t as they should arrive- On or about the last of December- Col. Long with Adjutant McClure, myself & a servant of Col. L’s in a Sley with two horses & baggage, left Portsmouth to join the Reg’t at Ticonderoga- we arrived some time in January 1777- this station was commanded by Gen’l Arthur St. Clair who shortly afterward placed Col. Long in command of Mount Independence (a formidable Fortress on the East side & opposite Ticonderoga) with both Col. Long’s Reg’t & that of Col. Hay- we remained there all winter & spring without anything material taking place- shortly after the weather moderated, say June 1777- Gen’l Bourgoine with his whole force- 11,000 strong, made a movement from Qu├ębec up the lakes direct for Ticonderoga- Gen’l St. Clair knowing his own weakness tho’t prudent to convene a Council of War on the 5th July (at night) who decided to Evacuate (I your deponent hear’g Gen’l St. Clair say by doing so it would be the Salvation of the Country, for reason it would encourage the Enemy to advance, when the people seeing the necessity, would turn out en mass and await the foe) which eventually proved Gen’l St. Clair a prophet. The whole establishment on the morning evacuated the place with much precipitation, the troops took different routes some by land & some by water- to Col. Long was given in charge the American fleet of several Sch’s of 12 & 10 Guns, with several floating batteries; on board of this fleet Col. Long embark’d his Reg’t- with a few others were closely persued by the Whole English fleet, much superior to the American- they having one Ship of 20 Guns with several Brigs and schooners- Col. Long was enabled to reach the Landing at Sheensboro, only time enough to land his men & destroy his fleet; here your deponent with Wm Dearing a Drummer in the Artillery, were sent by Col. Long to Onion River (with a guide) to bring Col. Long’s two horses (which had been put there to board) when we were there. Mr. Van (something) informed us the Horses were all stolen & carried away some time since by a party of the enemy’s Indians and Canadian Tories- Col. Long after forming his men on the Bank, took up his march toward Fort Ann, where he was overtaken by the British 9th Reg’t under Lt. Col. Hill, where a severe conflict ensued, which terminated in Col. Long’s taking several prisoners, and without further molestation on the next morning, moved toward Saratoga to join the main body under Gen’l Gates- before Col. Long could reach that place with his Reg’t, the time for which they had enlisted expired (one year) the largest part of the Reg’t took their discharge and returned to their houses (with the exception of four officers who remained with Col. Long- Viz. James McClure Adjutant- Lt Meshuch Bell- Noah Emery paymaster- and Rev. E Evans Chaplain, these all joined the Main Army at Saratoga as Volunteers, continued and assisted in capturing Gen’l Bourgoine & his Army- and then returned to their houses in New hampshire- Col. Long returned to Portsmouth about first of Dec 1777- without health, money, or clothing, except what he rode in having had his Trunk with his clothing, as also the pay of himself and the Officers with him captured by the enemy, in the retreat from Sheensboro toward Fort Ann. I hope Sir I have not consumed your time unnecessarily, in detailing the services of Col. Long but I think you will readily see the necessity of my so doing in Order to show that of your deponent- who was with the Regim’t in Portsmouth in the Provincial service, as well as Continental service eight months- then on the Northern frontier until the time of the Regim’t expired- making together at least Fourteen months- Your deponent takes leave to remark- that his duty confined him closely to Col. Long’s quarters where but few belonging to the Regim’t had much intercourse; these few were Lt. Col. Mooney, Maj’r Hodgdon, Adjutant McClure, the Chaplain, Noah Emery paymaster as well the several captains all have been gathered to their fathers for many years, as well as Col. Constant Freeman late 4th Auditor in the Navy Department- he belonged to Col. Long’s Reg’t, was about my Age, we knew each other well, and kept acquaintances so long as Col. F. lived- so that at this late period I know of no person who knew my particular services in the War of the Revolution. Again in July 1778, your deponent went with Col. Long and a Company of Horse among which was Gov. John Langdon and the late District Judge John S. Sherburne, as Volunteers to R. Island and there joined Gen’l Sullivan, was near when Judge Sherburne lost his leg- Col. Long here acted as Aid to Gen’l Sullivan- until the American army made good their retreat, with all the Stores off the Island and on to the Maine- after this the Volunteers all returned to Portsmouth- this expedition consumed two months- I do not remember that Col. Long ever rec’d any pay- this I know I rec’d nothing. In the same year your deponent, engaged in the Sea services in a ship of 20 Guns & 130 men & did go with Capt. Moses Brown, James McClure was first Liut. (the same who had been Adjutant of Col. Long’s Reg’t- he having been bro’t up to the Sea) in this ship we encountered a British Ship- about one hour & captured her, in this action we had 2 kill’d & 9 wounded; among the latter- Lt. McClure lost his leg- In May 1779, I entered on board the Polly John Palmer commander- 10 Guns & 25 men, Our 1st Lt. was James Falls, 2nd Lt. Burns- your deponent Master’s Mate, we sailed in Co. with three other Ships Sally, Capt. Holmes 18 Guns 60 men, Minerva Capt. Grimes 10 Guns 40 men, Cadwallader 10 Guns 30 men- after being at Sea two days- we encountered a British Ship named Blaize Castle- Capt. Shepherd of 22 guns &130 men; from Halifax- this ship was engaged by the whole fleet (alternately) for 2 & half hours when she struck her colours- we had one killed & Capt. wounded- the others had more or less kill’d and wounded- the whole of us not so many as the enemy; they had laying on her Deck (when your deponent went on board the enemy immediately after striking to us) 13 dead men & they told us they had 30 or 40 wounded- with our prize we all came to Boston to repair damages (which were considerable in sails and rigging)- after refitting and nearly ready for Sea, an embargo was laid on all vessels in Port- for reason, that an Armament was fitting out by the State of Massachusetts, under sanction of Congress; called the Penobscott Expedition; for the purpose of recapturing a Fort on Penobscott River (then an integral part of Massachusetts) which had been in the possession of the British some time- there were assembled in Boston Harbour about 20 Ships & Brigs and other armed Vessels for this expedition (a list of which I have forwarded at this time) among which were two belonging to the U. States, the largest was the US Frigate Warren- Dudley Saltonstall Esq. Commodore of the fleet, 36 guns- the other the Sloop Providence 10 Guns- a few days before the departure of the fleet for Penobscott (say July) a boat with several Officers came on board Our vessel, the head man’s name was Dane or Dana (as I heard him address’d) he ordered our Capt’n to muster all his Crew forthwith which was done, We were then told by this Gentleman; that we must all go on board the US Frigate Warren, Commodore Saltonstall, she wanting Seaman (to this we one & all objected) we were then told, if we did not go- freely, we should be compelled so to do (a guard was left on board our Vessel as well as onboard every one of our consorts as I understood) the next day we were Transhipp’d to on board the US Frigate Warren. Your deponent asked the Officers from shore if we were impressed, the answer was you may call it what you please, shortly after being on board the Warren frigate- we the impressed men were mustered; when a Roll or Shipping Paper was presented to each of us to sign, which your deponent, not only refused to do but advised all his associates not to sign- we were then told by a Lieutenant if we did not sign the Ship’s Roll- we would not receive any Wages (which proved to be true) I never rec’d a Cent. I observed to him if we signed the articles we should be considered as having voluntarily become part of the Crew (which was not the case) as we were impress’d men- we chose to remain as such- being a Petty Officer on board our own Ship, I acted as Midshipman on board the Warren. The fleet all left Boston in July (of this I am not positive) in a few days arriv’d before Penobscott (called Braggaduce) where much time was consumed in Councils of War & nothing decisively done- suffice it to say a Superior British fleet arrived from New York, with 1500 men to reinforce the Garrison- the fleet was under the Command of Sir George Collier; it proved sufficient to prevent the escape of the American fleet, which were all Captured- that did not run up the river & be destroyed by the Americans- Your deponent with many others were captured & sent to Halifax and there imprisoned, we were called rebels & was so treated All but starved. The treatment caused great mortality among the Prisoners that 2 from every 3 died from two crews belonging to Portsmouth (in about 8 months). Your deponent was exchanged 25th of Nov 1779, arrived the Cape Ann Jan’y 1780 having been absent from Portsmouth Eight months, had been sick twice in prison with the prevailing feaver and when arrived too sick to be exposed as I was compelled to be, before I reached my father’s house- to which your deponent was immediately confined with the same feaver- from which I was unable to be abroad until the May following making One whole year, all of this occurring by reason of being impressed from 1779 to May 1780, and then not able to do anything until the fall of that year- In 1781 January your deponent entered on board Ship Hector- Tho’s Manning Comm’r 18 Guns with 100 men- few months we were Captured by the British frigate Virginia of 32 guns, carried to Bermuda, was soon released (arrived at Portsmouth) Went next on board Sloop Fox same Capt. Manning; few weeks we captured 3 British ships, very valuable, one of which your deponent bro’t into Port 1781- next on board cutter Grey-hound 8 guns Samuel Stacy Esq. Command’r, with this vessel we captured a Brig of equal force by boarding- she was taken with Brandy, Wine, with a few bales of dry goods- she arrived safe- but we were captured by the Assurance 44 gun ship, Sir Andrew Douglas Command’r- carried to New York (where we suffered badly) after a few months were released- In 1782 I engaged myself as Lieut. On board the Brig Scorpion of 12 guns, John Stokle Commander- in this Vessel, I met the Peace of 1783-“

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