Josiah Shackford, Lieutenant

Second Lieutenant Josiah Shackford (2/7/1745-7/26/1829) of Portsmouth joined the Raleigh on 5 August 1776 and probably remained on board until her capture in 1778. According to British shipping records, Josiah Shackford was master of a number of ships trading in the West Indies immediately prior to the Revolution. In 1772, he commanded the 110 ton ship Middlesex built in Piscatagua in 1769 for owner John Langdon on a cruise to Montserrat. He travelled to St. Christopher’s and Montserrat again in 1772 and 1773 as master of the newly built 200 ton Montserrat Planter for owner John Langdon. Shackford cruised to Nevis in 1775 as captain of the 120 ton ship Marlborough built in Piscatagua the previous year for Woodbury Langdon. After serving on the Raleigh, in 1780 Shackford was master of the New Hampshire privateer ship Diana of ten guns owned by Thomas Martin and George Wentworth of Portsmouth. Shackford married his stepsister Deborah Marshall (d. 16 February 1826) on 21 February 1771. It is said that during one absence at sea, his father Josiah Shackford, Sr. married Madame Eleanor Marshall and moved into the mansion built by her father Nathaniel Mendum on the South side of State Street opposite Mulberry. “When he returned home, he sought the residence of his father. He met Deborah at the door. As soon as he saw her he fell desperately in love, and determined in his mind to make her his wife: but on making a declaration, she refused him, saying she had no heart to bestow, as hers was engaged to another. He however persisted in his suit, declaring she was the one who was raised up before him by an astrologer in Europe, and he should marry her or nobody. She being naturally of an amiable and condescending disposition, like a dutiful child took her parents’ advice and married him.” He sailed ships out of New York for many years. It is said, “He wished his wife to move to New York, but she refused to leave Portsmouth, and for several years she did not hear from him, when he returned suddenly to Portsmouth, put up at the hotel, took tea with his wife, and left the town next morning, never to return.” “In the Essex Journal and New Hampshire Packet of 2 May 1787, we find the following, related by a gentleman at New York, “A Mr. Shackford, sometime since, from Piscataqua, having the misfortune of discontent with his wife, left that place for Surinam. On his arrival there, he left the vessel he first sailed in, and took the command of one for Europe. He performed his voyage and gave such satisfaction to his owners, that they gave him a cutter-built sloop of about 15 tons. With her he returned to Surinam ALONE, after a passage of 35 days. When he arrived, the novelty of the expedition excited unusual surprise, so far as to induce the government to take notice of the fact. Suspicions prevailed of his having dealt unfairly by the people who were supposed to have come out with him. But he produced his papers and journal, and proved his integrity so far to the satisfaction of his examiners, that they permitted him to take another man on board and proceed to St. Bartholomews, where he arrived in safety, and now follows the coasting business from that Island.” We have understood that the place in Europe which he left was Bordeaux, in France. The vessel appears to have been a personal gift to him. He engaged a man to accompany him, who becoming fearful when he put to sea, jumped on board the pilot’s boat, and left Capt. Shackford with no other companion than his dog. He was a man of too stern materials to turn about, so he undertook the voyage of three thousand miles alone.” Moving to Alexandria first in 1802, Shackford “was next heard of in Ohio, where he purchased a large tract of land when that State was almost a wilderness, laid out a township, and in commemoration of the place of his birth called it Portsmouth. He erected mills and stores, and built several houses. He lived alone, excepting a boy, and never would suffer a woman to enter his house, having his washing and sewing sent out and brought home by his boy. His wife, after her mother’s death (at age 91), offered to go and live with him. She wrote him several letters, but received no answer. He wrote to his nephews in Portsmouth, and said if one would come out and settle there, he would make him his heir. The late Samuel Shackford, about forty years ago, went and visited his uncle, but returned, not liking well enough to remove there. At his death he left his property to strangers. He died about forty years since (on 26 July 1829), over 80 years old, living to see his town, so beautifully situated at the junction of the Scioto and Ohio rivers, become a place of note and the chief county town. He was a studious man, intelligent, but of an eccentricity which to some minds bore marks of insanity–but those who recollect him in Ohio will not allow that he was any other than a sane man.” Shackford was a freemason.

Posted in Navy Commissioned Officers | Leave a comment

Alphabetical Partial Roll of the Crew of the Frigate Confederacy (Nov 1780)

Alphabetical Partial Roll of the Crew of the Frigate Confederacy (Nov 1780). The Alphabetical Roll of the Crew of the U.S. Frigate Confederacy from Letter of Attorney of Nov. 3, 1780 is derived from the list of 209 officers and men that appears on pages 438 and 439 of “The Era: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Literature and of General Interest “ published by Henry T. Coates & Company (1901). The list was originally transcribed and contributed by William M. Mervine of Philadelphia on 30 April 1901. Although, Mervine does not reference the repository of this crew list clues can be found in another magazine note attributed to Mervine entitled “Sundry Notes from Letters of Attorney Regarding Sailors of the Revolution.” This reference led to the rediscovery of the list on 10 April 2015 by Joseph Ross in Exemplification Book 11 of the early deed books of the City of Philadelphia where a number of powers of attorneys are recorded for individuals and crews of Revolutionary War private armed ships.

Unfortunately, the records do not include sought-after crew lists for either the Continental Navy frigate Randolph or sloop Saratoga, both vessels having originated their cruise at Philadelphia and lost at sea. This particular Letter of Attorney is associated with Nathaniel Richards of New London, CT trading as Richards and Sands, attorneys representing the listed crew. Located in the Philadelphia City Archives at 3101 Market Street, the Confederacy’s crew list can be found at page 317 and following on Roll 6 of the microfilm records. The list has been edited to offer a complete spelling of the abbreviated Christian name and offers alternate spellings of names (in parenthesis) in order to assist internet browsing. The list also includes a full description of quality or rate on the ship only abbreviated in the original.

William McKinley Mervine was a noted Philadelphia genealogist, member of the Lancaster County Historical Society, member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, an officer in the Swedish Colonial Society, a member of Sons of the Revolution of Pennsylvania, Board Manager of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and editor of a number of family histories. Son of William M. Mervine, Esq. of Milton, PA and Elizabeth Shaw King of Philadelphia, William M. Mervine died at the age of forty on 11 October 1914.

John Aitkins. Seaman
Charles Attmore, Boy
William Barbom, Midshipman
Joseph Bartram, Midshipman
Ivory Basset, Marine
Joshua Beebe, Landsman
Benjamin Beyle, Seaman
Gurdon Bill, 2nd Lieutenant of Marines
Cato Black, Marine
John Bowlin, Barber
John Brady, Marine
Michael Brady, Seaman
Jesse Brew (Breed), Volunteer
James Brien, Seaman
John Brian, Landsman
John Brian, Marine
Aaron Brooks, Marine
Charles Brooks, Seaman
John Brown, Boy
Marrit (Merrit) Brown, Seaman
Thomas Brown, Marine
John Bucks, Seaman
Joshua Buffum, Seaman
Francis Burridge, Landsman
Alexander Burt, Landsman
James Campbell, Boy
William Cannady, Marine
Thomas Carleton, Landsman
John Carroll, Marine
John Cary, Boy
William Cassady, Marine
Brittan Chapman, Midshipman
Elnathan Chaspilla, Marine
Henry Christy, Sergeant of Marines
Edward Cleaveland, Landsman
Samuel Coal, Marine
John Coffin, Boy
John Cohanting, Marine
Thomas Collet, Marine
Samuel Collins, Marine
James Collings, Master’s Mate
John Conally, Marine
Philip Connel, Marine
Robert Connor, Boy
Philip Cornay, Marine
James Creighton, Marine
William Crispin, Carpenter’s Crew
Levy Culon (Culver), Marine
James Daily, Marine
Samuel Davis, Acting Surgeon’s Mate
Thomas Davis, Boy
Eleazor Derby, Gunner
James Devean, Boy
Poat Doan, Seaman
Nathan Dorsey, Surgeon
Robert Douglas, Master-at-Arms
Ebenezer Downs, Marine
Peter Doyle, Landsman
Asa Dursey, Boy
Thomas Eagan. Volunteer
James Emanuel, Seaman
Anthony Eskett, Marine
Lewis Evans, Carpenter’s Mate
John Freeman, Marine
Jonah Frisbie (Prisbie), Master’s Mate
James Gallard, Cook
Edward Gilbertson, Landsman
William Glankland, Seaman
Francis Glaughland, Marine
William E. Godfrey, Gunner’s Yeoman
Andrew Gordon, Marine
James Gordon, Marine
Abel Gore, Master’s Mate
John Gournass. Seaman
William Gout, Marine
Mathias Graff, Boatman
Ebenezer Greenough, Seaman
Stephen Gregory, 3rd Lieutenant
George Griffett, Seaman
Simon Gross, 1st Lieutenant
John Haley, Landsman
William Hamilton, Boy
Josiah Hand, Marine
Seth Harding, Commander
Joseph Hardy, Captain of Marines
John Hart, Seaman
George Haughton, Landsman
Peter Haynes, Drummer
Thomas Haynyton, Seaman
Benjamin Haszard, Volunteer
Conrad Hoffman, Marine
Samuel Holt, 1st Lieutenant of Marines
Jesse Hunt, Landsman
T. (Turtle) Hunter, Seaman
John Jack, Seaman
Robert Jackson, Gunner’s Mate
John James, Seaman
Jacob Johns, Landsman
Joseph Johnson (Johnston), Quartermaster
Samuel Johnson (Johnston), Gunner
John Jones #1, Seaman
John Jones #2, Seaman
Theo. Jurinson, Marine
Richard Keen, Boatswain’s Mate
Peter Kelly, Seaman
John Knight, Seaman
Jedidiah Knox, Seaman
Garwin Kolly, Boatswain’s Mate
Samuel Laboghom (Laboyteaux), Midshipman
Francis Lain, Marine
John Lally, Landsman
Charles Land, Sergeant of Marines
Henry Land, Surgeon’s Mate
David Latham, Volunteer
John Lawrence, Captain’s Clerk
Caleb Ledyard, Volunteer
Richard Lee, Marine
Ezekiel Letts, Cabin Steward
John Linton, Seaman
Ezekiel Littleside, Coxswain
Philip Loud, Seaman
Ezekiel Lyons, Cooper
John Maning (Manning), Marine
James Martin, Boatswain
James Maxwell, Marine
John Maxwell, Steward’s Mate
James McCawen, Seaman
Patrick McCollister, Marine
Daniel McDonald, Landsman
Henry McGinnis, Landsman
Titus Mendo, Landsman
George Montgomery, Marine
John Montgomery, Seaman
Thomas Moore, Carpenter
Rich (Rial) Moorehouse, Midshipman
Potter Morris, Boy
James Moylan, Seaman
John Mullins, Landsman
Patrick Murfey, Marine
Brian Murphy (Murphey), Carpenter’s Crew
Cale Myers, Marine
Jack Negro, Boy
William Neil, Seaman
Henry Norris, Boy
Robert Norris, Marine
William Nourse (Nourte), Midshipman
Patrick O‘Harra, Marine
John Parker, Seaman
Israel Phillips, Marine
David Phipps, 2nd Lieutenant
Thomas Pilkington, Seaman
James Pim (Pine), Seaman
Thomas Powell, Seaman
Benjamin Ramstraw (Ramshaw), Seaman
Edward Randall, Landsman
Lawley Randall, Master’s 2nd Mate
James Richards, Acting Midshipman
John Rigby, Seaman
Joseph Rigow, Boy
John Riley, Marine
Philip Riley, Marine
George Robertson, Seaman
John Robertson, Steward
Q. Robertson, Marine
James Ross, Seaman
John Ross, Seaman
Benjamin Rothrock, Armourer
Patrick Roulan, Marine
John Royer (Roger), Master’s Mate
John Sachell, Boy
Samuel Salmon, Seaman
William Sandwich, Marine
Christopher Scott, Seaman
Patrick Shannon, Carpenter’s Crew
Daniel Shellinger, Volunteer
William Shle, Landsman
John Shover, Marine
Jesse Sipe, Boy
Jack Smith, Marine
John Smith, Mariner
William Smith, Marine
Thomas Spencer, Barber
John Srider, Landsman
William Stanley, Marine
John Steel, Seaman
William Steward, Carpenter’s Crew
John Sweney, Marine
John Tanner, Sailing Master
John Taylor. Landsman
Jacob Tobin, Seaman
David Thomas, Seaman
John Trevor, Seaman
John Tomson, Seaman
Frederick Trumel, Seaman
Samuel Walker, Quartermaster
Robert Warnick, Boy
Bassoll Warrin, Marine
John Whatson, Seaman
Lloyd Wharton, Acting Midshipman
Thomas Wharton, Seaman
Conrad Wilkins, Boy
John Wilkins, Seaman
John Williams, Marine
William Wills, Carpenter’s Crew
Edward Wood, Boy
Thomas Woods, Marine
John Young, Midshipman
Thomas Young, Seaman
Henry Younger, Marine

Posted in Frigate Confederacy | Leave a comment

Alphabetical List of 278 Officers and Men of the Frigate Confederacy captured on 14 April 1781

The Alphabetical List of 278 Officers and Men of the Frigate Confederacy captured on 14 April 1781 is derived from the rolls of the HMS Orpheus (ADM 36/10099) and HMS Roebuck (ADM 36/8644), as well as the Jersey Prison Ship (ADM 36/9578) transcribed at the National Archives in Kew, England by Joseph and Joshua Ross in February 2014. The list has been edited to offer a complete spelling of the abbreviated Christian name and includes various derivations of names in brackets from entries in all three British vessels, as well as other sources. The list has also been annotated to include rate or quality if known in parenthesis. Rate and qualities are largely taken from a crew list of frigate Confederacy dated 3 November 1780 contributed by William M. Irvine of Philadelphia and published on pages 438-9 of “The Era: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine of Literature and of General Interest” (1901). According to Captain Seth Harding’s testimony in the Confederacy Prize Court Records (HCA 32/298) taken on 23 April 1781, the 942-ton 36-gun frigate Confederacy was carrying 290 officers and men along with six passengers when captured by the Roebuck and Orpheus under the command of Andrew Snape Douglas and John Colpoys respectively. Captain Harding testified that his crew was partly recruited at Philadelphia and partly at Cape Francois which explains all deviations in the crew list recorded in November 1780 to April 1781. Harding further testified that the vessel was loaded with a cargo of dry goods, sugar, coffee, tea and other merchandize shipped by “Mr. Lawrence Agent for the Congress at Cape Francois for and on Account of the United States of America, except [for] some Private Adventures belonging to the officers of the said Frigate.” His final admission to the Prize Court was “that he destroyed several Papers after the said Frigate struck to his Majesty’s said ships.” Interestingly, one of two documents confiscated in the capture and still remaining in the British National Archives collection is Seth Harding’s original commission as Captain in the Continental Navy dated at Philadelphia on 25 September 1778.

Francis Ayre
John Aikens [Akins, Aitkins] (Seaman)
William Allen
Dotter Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
John Appleby (Seaman)
John Barren
Joseph Bartrum [Bartram, Bartrump, Bertram] (Midshipman)
Ivory Basset [Bassett, Bastin] Marine
Robert Basto (Seaman)
Benjamin Beebe [Beeby, Bevey]
Joshua Beebe [Beevy, Beevey] (Landsman)
James Bethy (Seaman)
Gordon [Gurdon] Bill (Lieutenant of Marines)
Cato Black (Marine)
John Bogart
Jesse Brade [Breed] (Midshipman)
John Bradford
John Brady (Marine)
Michael Brady (Seaman)
James Bryan [Brien] Seaman
John Bryan #1 [Brian] (Landsman)
John Bryan #2 [Brian] (Marine)
Aaron Brooks (Marine)
Charles Brooks (Seaman)
John Brown (Boy)
Merrit Brown (Seaman)
Thomas Brown (Marine)
Thomas Brown (Seaman)
John Buck [Bucks] (Seaman)
Francis Burrage [Burridge] (Landsman)
Alexander Burch [Burt] (Landsman)
Joshua Buffum (Seaman)
Alexander Campbell
James Campbell (Boy)
Lewis Kale [Kail]
George Capstick (Seaman)
Thomas Carleton [Carlton] (Landsman)
Anthony Carner [Carney]
John Cary [Carey] (Boy)
Richard Casey
William Cassady [Cassidy] (Marine)
Britton Chapman (Midshipman)
Benjamin Chittington
Henry Christie [Christy, Christian] (Surgeon’s Mate)
Mitchell [Ignatius M.] Clements
Edward Cleveland [Cleaveland] (Landsman)
John Cohollon [Cohauling, Cohanting] (Marine)
Thomas Collett (Marine)
James Collins [Collings] (Steward’s Mate)
Thomas Condon [Conden]
Stafford Condon [Congdon]
Robert Connor (Boy)
Mathias Craft [Boatswain]
James Creighton [Chreighton, Craton] (Marine)
William Crispin (Carpenter’s Crew)
Levi Culver [Culve, Culvi] (Marine)
James Cummins [Cowins, McCowan, McCawen] (Seaman)
James Dailey [Daily] (Marine)
Christian Daniel
Eleazor Darby [Elisa Dalby, Dolby] (Gunner)
John Davis [Davies]
Samuel Davies [Davies] (Acting Surgeon’s Mate)
John Davidson [Davison]
Nathaniel Dawson
Mons. Democaux
Mons. Demoux
Charles Denieb
James Devereux [Devericks, Deverix] (Boy)
Samuel [John] Deverick
John Diamond
Henry Ditto [Dittoe]
Nathan Dorsey (Surgeon)
Robert Douglas [Douglass] (Master-at-Arms)
Peter Doyle (Landsman)
William Doyle
Pierce Drinkwater
David Dumerou
Peter Durfey
Thomas Edgar
Andrew Edwards (Seaman)
John Effrern (Seaman)
Caraway Egan [Hagan]
James Emanuel [Emmanuel] (Seaman)
Lewis Evans (Carpenter’s Mate)
Thomas Ferdino [Vandivo]
Daniel [Dennis] Finn
Samuel Foote
John Founds (Seaman)
John Fowler
Thomas Foy [Foye]
David Freeman
John Freeman (Marine)
Edward Gilbertson (Landsman)
Henry Gillinger (Seaman)
William Godfrey [Godfrie] (Gunner’s Yeoman)
John Gallard [Gollard, Gullard] Cook
Andrew Gordon (Marine)
James Gordon (Marine)
Peter Grant
William Grant
John Green
Ebenezer Greenough [Grenough, Greenock] (Seaman)
Stephen Gregory (3rd Lieutenant)
George Griffy (Seaman)
John Grigg
Robert Grome
Simon Gross (1st Lieutenant)
John Gruness [Grunness, Garnass, Gournass] (Seaman)
George Gilchrist [Guilchrist]
James Hall (Seaman)
Richard Halley
John Haley (Landsman)
John Hamilton [Hambleton]
Josiah Hand (Marine)
Peter Hanscourt [Howcourt]
Seth Harding (Captain)
Thomas Harris (Boy)
John Hart (Seaman)
James Harvey (Seaman)
Peter Hayes [Haynes, Heynes] (Drummer)
Charles Hatmore
Benjamin Hazard (Volunteer)
Absalom Hendricks [Henricks]
Thomas Hill
Samuel Holt (Captain of Marines)
Conrad Hoffman [Huffman, Hoofman] (Marine)
Jesse Hunt (Landsman)
Robert Hunt
Turtle Hunter (Seaman)
Black Jack #1 [Jack Negro] (Boy)
Black Jack #2
John Jack (Seaman)
John James (Seaman)
Solomon Jenkins
James Johnson #1 [Johnston]
James Johnson #2 [Johnston]
Peter Johnson [Johnston]
Samuel Johnson [Johnston] (Gunner)
William Johnson #1 [Johnston] (Seaman)
William Johnson #2 [Johnston]
Jacob Jones [Johns] (Landsman)
John Jones #1 (Seaman)
John Jones #2 (Seaman)
John Jones #3
Patrick [Peter] Kelly (Seaman)
William Kennedy
John Knight (Seaman)
Jeremiah [Jedidiah] Knox (Seaman)
Gustaf Frederick Kjellman [Kyelman]
Charles Land (Marine)
Henry Land (Surgeon’s Mate)
David Latham (Volunteer)
Jacque LeCerfe
Thomas Lee
Richard Lee (Marine)
John Lilling
John London
Ezekiel Lotts [Letts] (Cabin Steward)
Philip Lovitt [Lowett]
Thomas Lowe
Skipper Lunt
John Linton [Lynton] (Seaman)
Ezekiel Lyons (Cooper)
Edmund Mando [Titus Mendo] (Landsman)
James Maxwell (Marine)
John Maxwell (Steward’s Mate)
Patrick McAllister [McCaslaster, McCollister] (Marine)
Caleb McCulley [Caleph McCollough]
Daniel McDonald (Landsman)
William McGloughlan [McGlaughlin] (Seaman)
Henry McGuiness [McGuinness, McGinnis] (Landsman)
George McKenzie [McKinzie]
Francis McLane [McLain, McClean] (Marine)
James McMichael [McMickle]
John Merrell
Jacob Miller
William Miller (Seaman)
George Montgomery (Marine)
John Montgomery (Seaman)
James Moore
Thomas Moore (Carpenter)
Ariah Morehouse [Rial Mourehouse, Moorhouse] (Midshipman)
Henry Morgan
Christopher Morrell [or Warrell]
James Morton (Boatswain)
John Mowles (Seaman)
James Moyland (Seaman)
Patrick Murphy [Murfey] (Marine)
Brian Murray [Murry, Murphy] (Carpenter’s Crew)
Keile Myres [Cale Myers, Mires] (Marine)
William Nelson
Joseph Nichols (Seaman)
Henry Norris (Boy)
William Nourse (Midshipman)
Patrick O’Hara [O’Harra] (Marine)
James [John] Oldsmith
John Parker (Seaman)
Jonathan Perkins
David Phipps (2nd Lieutenant)
James Pine (Seaman)
Louis Pinot
William Potter (Seaman)
Thomas Powell (Seaman)
William Raleigh
Edward Randall (Landsman)
Thomas Raydon (Seaman)
James Richards (Acting Midshipman)
James Reiley [Riley]
Philip Riley [Reiley] (Marine)
Alexander Rieve (Seaman)
John Rieves [Reives]
John Rigby (Seaman)
Joseph Rigo [Rigou, Rigow] (Boy)
Charles Robertson [Robinson]
George Robertson [Robinson] (Seaman)
John Robertson [Robinson] (Steward)
Philip Robson (Seaman)
John [Peter] Roger
James Ross (Seaman)
John Ross (Seaman)
William Ross (Seaman)
Benjamin Rothrock [Rothors, Rotters] (Armorer)
Patrick Rowland [Rowlin]
John Rowley [Rowly]
John Sachell [Satchell] (Boy)
Jonathan Sachell [Satchell] (Coxswain, Quartermaster)
Joseph Sampson
Robert Saunders [Sanders]
Christopher Scott (Seaman)
Peter Seville [Leville]
Patrick Shannon (Carpenter’s Crew)
Jeremiah Shaw
Jesse Sipp (Boy)
Jack [John] Smith (Marine)
William Smith #1 (Marine)
William Smith #2
Thomas Smithson
Samuel Salmon [Soloman] (Seaman)
Thomas Spencer (Barber)
Joshua Spriggs
William Stanley [Stanly] (Marine)
Daniel Stedham
John Steel (Seaman)
William Still (Seaman)
Joseph Stroud
Patrick Sullivan
John Sweeney [Sweney, Swiney] (Marine)
John Tanner [Turner] (Sailing Master)
John Taylor (Landsman)
David Thomas (Seaman)
John Thomas
John Thompson (Seaman)
Joseph [Jacob] Tobin (Seaman)
John Trevor [Trever] (Seaman)
John Truman
Oliver Tucker
Terence Turner [Terime Tweney]
George Vanblacken (Seaman)
Thomas Vick (Seaman)
John Raydon Walker (Seaman)
Samuel Walker (Quartermaster)
Robert Warnick [Warnock] (Boy)
Christopher Watmon
John Watson #1 [Whatson] (Seaman)
John Watson #2
Nellum Wells
William Wells [Wills] (Carpenter’s Crew)
Lloyd Wharton (Acting Midshipman)
Thomas Wharton (Seaman)
Felix Wibert
John Williams #1 (Marine)
John Williams #2
Richard Williams
Joseph Windsor
Edward Wood (Boy)
Mons. Wuorbore
John Young (Midshipman)

Posted in Frigate Confederacy | Leave a comment

Alphabetical List of Officers and Men of the Frigate Raleigh Captured on 28 September 1778

Appointed master of the Raleigh by the Marine Committee on 21 May 1778, Captain John Barry (1745–1803) arrived in Boston to assume command on 24 June to find a court martial underway in the great cabin. He also found the ship without a crew, cannon or supplies. Most of the ship’s cannon had been thrown overboard in the North Atlantic as former Captain Thomas Thompson fled from the British. As the Raleigh lay in port under Thompson, the officers and crew were permitted to leave the ship, looting it’s stores as they departed. Barry writes, “I found the ship had been Robb’d of a great many things.” Barry had enlisted less than half of the ship’s compliment by early August 1778, despite recruiting close to a hundred of the ship’s former crew. Former officers of the Raleigh returning to duty included New Hampshire natives Lieutenants Josiah Shackford and Hopley Yeaton and Captain of Marines George Jerry Osborne. To staff the manpower shortage, the Navy Board again turned to the idled crew of the Continental Ship Trumbull still stranded in the Connecticut River. Lieutenant David Phipps of New Haven was transferred from the idled frigate Trumbull with a “large detachment of seamen”. Other officers included Lieutenant of Marines Jabez Smith and Midshipmen David Porter of Massachusetts, Jesse Jacocks and Matthew Clarkson of Philadephia, Clarkson having been previously acquainted with Barry during his service on the Delaware. Filling out the Raleigh’s compliment of 235 men were “fifty of General Burgoyne’s soldiers” serving as marines. Although the list of officers and crew on board the frigate Raleigh when she sailed from the Piscataqua River on 12 August 1777 and also those on board at L’Orient, France on 22 January 1778 is widely circulated, a crew list for this final and fatal cruise of the Raleigh is not known to be extant.

The Raleigh represented John Barry’s return to sea and on 10 September 1778, the captain received orders to cruise off of North Carolina specifically to intercept and destroy “certain armed Vessels fitted out by the Goodriches.” With the full length whiskered figure of Sir Walter Raleigh gracing the bow of his 32-gun namesake, this “fast sailer” turned for Portsmouth, VA at dawn on Friday 25 September 1778. Barry’s own account describes best what happened soon after the pilot was dismissed just six hours into the cruise, “At noon two sail were sighted at a distance of fifteen miles to the southeast. The Raleigh hauled to the north, and the strange vessels, which were the British fifty-gun ship Experiment and the Unicorn of twenty-two guns, following in pursuit.” The chase continued until dark on the 25th with Barry noting the British ships “to all appearance gained nothing of us the whole day.” The following day, on Saturday 26 September the pursuers were sighted at seven o’clock in the morning. About four in the afternoon the Raleigh having been shadowed astern all day, the captain “lost sight of the said Vessels…Thinking they had quitted Chasing of us as I could not perceive they gained anything the whole time.” On the morning of Sunday 27 September “the ships were not in sight, but reappeared about half-past nine in the forenoon. The wind blew fresh from the west, and the Raleigh, running off at a speed of eleven knots, drew away from her pursuers, but in the afternoon, the wind having diminished again, the Unicorn gained on her.” Barry decided to engage the smaller frigate Unicorn as “I found we were a Match for her.” “Give him a gun” Barry commanded as the ships drew within a quarter mile of each other as the sun began to set.

The published narrative of two of Raleigh’s officers including Captain of Marines George Jerry Osborne details the action to follow, “Our ship being cleared for action and men at their quarters, about five P.M. coursed the headmost ship, to windward athwart her fore foot, on which we hoisted our colours, hauled up the mizzen sail and took in the stay sails; and immediately the enemy hoisted St. George’s ensign. She appearing to be pierced for twenty-eight guns, we gave her a broadside, which she returned; the enemy then tacked and came up under our lee quarter and the second broadside she gave us, to our unspeakable grief, carried away our fore top-mast and mizzen top-gallant-mast. He renewed the action with fresh vigor and we, notwithstanding our misfortune, having in a great measure lost command of our ship, were determined for victory.” With no defenses and while the crew feverishly worked to clear the deck of wreckage while under fire, the Unicorn’s unrelenting broadsides inflicted most of Raleigh’s twenty-five casualties. The Raleigh’s officers’ account continues, “He then shot ahead of us and bore away to leeward. By this time we had our ship cleared of the wreck. The enemy plied his broadsides briskly, which we returned as brisk; we perceiving that his intentions were to thwart us, we bore away to prevent his raking us, and if possible, to lay him aboard, which he doubtless perceived and having the full command of his ship, prevented us by sheering off and dropping astern, keeping his station on our weather quarter. Night coming on we perceived the sternmost ship (Experiment) gaining on us very fast, and being much disabled in our sails, masts and rigging and having no possible view of escaping, Capt. Barry thought it most prudent, with the advice of his officers, to wear ship and stand for the shore, if possible to prevent the ship’s falling into the enemy’s hands by running her on shore. The engagement continuing very warm, about twelve midnight saw the land bearing N.N.E. two points under our bow. The enemy, after an engagement of seven hours, thought proper to sheer off and wait for his consort, they showing and answering false fires to each other.” The Experiment soon came up and joined in the fire, and the British tried to cut off the Raleigh from the shore. “Encouraged by our brave commander, we were determined not to strike. After receiving three broadsides from the large ship and the fire of the frigate on our lee quarter, our ship struck the shore, which the large ship perceiving poured in two broadsides, which was returned by us; she then hove in stays, our guns being loaded gave us a good opportunity of raking her, which we did with our whole broadside and after that she bore away and raked us likewise, and both kept up a heavy fire on each quarter, in order to make us strike to them, which we never did. After continuing their fire some time they ceased and came to anchor about a mile distant.”

What Captain Barry did not know was the Experiment was under the command of Sir James Wallace, the same enemy who had engaged him in the Delaware six months earlier. Wallace and the Unicorn’s Captain John Ford were apprised of the identity of the Raleigh’s commander and were determined for victory. The British perspective of the engagement is detailed in the Experiment’s log. At quarter before six P.M. on the 27th, the “Unicorn came to close Action with the Chace, the first Broadside carried away the Enemys foretopmast and Main top-gallant Mast, at 7 a violent fireing on board both Ships, 1/2 past 9 the fireing ceased 1/2 an Hour, on which we fired several Signal Guns & was answered by the Unicorn with Lights & false Fires bearing N 1/2 E 3 miles, at 10 the Unicorn still in Action, at 11 spoke her & found the chace close by her, soon after got alongside the Chace, she gave us a Broadside & we riturned it, she then run upon the Shore, we being close to the Rocks, tacked & Anchored about 1/2 a Gun Shott from her, as did the Unicorn in 20 fathoms Water.”

Responding to dire circumstances enveloping the Raleigh, Captain Barry advised First Lieutenant Phipps of his plans to “run her ashore and burn her.” The engagement continued to rage after midnight into the early morning hours of Monday 28 September, providing no opportunity for the Americans to escape. Finally, as the first hand accounts describe, the Raleigh’s pierced main topsail drove the ship aground as the four stern guns continued a defensive cannonade. To Barry’s “great Grief” the Raleigh had been grounded on a rocky island near Penobscot Bay. Although named as Fox Island in certain pension records and called Seal Island by the British, it is now surmised to be Wooden Ball Island. Its identity is still not known with certainty as not one of the Raleigh’s experienced mariners recognized the location. Immediately Barry proceeded to land his crew, intending to destroy his ship. Barry writes, “As soon as the firing was over I thought it most prudent to get the Boats out in order to save what Men I could, it then being between one and two O’Clock Monday A.M. And not a Man on Board knew what Island we were on or how far it was from the Main.” Within two hours, all surviving crew were silently evacuated from the ship to the island, leaving fifteen presumed dead behind. When it became clear that he wouldn’t be able to retrieve the Raleigh’s cannon to defend the island, Barry divided his men into four groups. Twenty-three of the crew would return to the ship under the command of the Sailing Master with Midshipman Jesse Jacocks and scuttle her by lighting fires before escaping in one of the three longboats. Twenty-four men would attempt escape to the mainland under the command of two senior officers in each of the other two remaining boats. Captain Barry and Captain of Marines Osborne would command one with Lieutenants Shackford and Yeaton commanding the other. First Lieutenant David Phipps with Marine Lieutenant Jabez Smith and the remaining men including most of the midshipmen and warrant officers would stay on the island awaiting rescue. Either through negligence or treachery the combustibles prepared for firing the ship were not ignited. Barry was convinced that Midshipman Jacocks, who did not return with the Sailing Master’s escape boat, foiled Barry’s plan to scuttle the ship. Others suggest an impressed English seaman was responsible and struck the Continental colors when the British fired on the ship in the morning.

The Experiment’s log records, “at 5 A.M. the Enemy still on shore on a small barren Island called Seal Island, the Rebel Colours still hoisted, at 7 weighed and Anchored near her, fired several Guns & hoisted out all our Boats, Manned & Armed, sent a Boat ahead with a Flag of Truce to offer them Quarters, on discovering which she hawled down her Colours, her first Lieutenant and One Hundred & thirty-three Men were got ashore on the Island, but surrendered on a Summons by Truce.” Thirteen of the crew of the Raleigh escaped detection on the island to be reunited with Barry. The British soon took possession of the frigate and made prisoners of those of her crew who remained behind. The Raleigh lost twenty-five killed and wounded while the Unicorn saw ten killed and many wounded with severe damage to her hull and rigging. Leaving the wounded in the care of the ship’s surgeon on the mainland, Captain Barry with the balance of his escaped crew rowed their way back to Boston where they arrived two weeks later on Wednesday 7 October 1778. Captain of Marines Osborne and another officer suspected to be Thomas Vaughan would recount the naval battle in the Boston paper for news hungry readers. Captain Barry finishes his accounting of the engagement, “about 11 O’Clock A.M. About 140 of our Men were taken Prisoners and about 3 P.M. They got the Ship off… The reason I could not tell how many of our Men were made Prisoners was because there was no return of the kill’d on Board.” At high tide on 28 September, the British refloated the Raleigh and after repairs took her into the Royal Navy as the HBMS Raleigh. Despite the loss of the Raleigh, Captain John Barry’s reputation was not impugned as he was “Honestly acquitted” by a court of inquiry.

The Alphabetical List of 143 Officers and Men of the Frigate Raleigh captured on 28 September 1778 is derived from the roll of the HMS Experiment transcribed at the National Archives in Kew, England by Joseph and Joshua Ross in February 2014. The list has been edited to offer a complete spelling of the abbreviated Christian name and includes rate or quality if known in parenthesis. An asterisk has been added if the individual was entered on the ship’s book of the Experiment on 29 September 1778. All others were delivered to the prison ship Jersey in New York on 13 October 1778 from whence they were exchanged or distributed to other prison ships.

John Abrahams

Christopher Allen

Robert Ashley *

John Avery * (AB)

Nicholas Bailey or Bayley * (AB)

Matura Baleyou

Richard Barnes

Isaac Bayard

Joseph Bennett * (AB)

Clement Blompe *

John Blompe * (AB)

Thomas Bolton

Ishmael Bowers *

Jonathan Bradlock * (AB)

Josiah Bullock * (AB)

Josiah Bushby * (Boatswain’s Mate)

Joseph Butler *

William Butler * (AB)

Robert Caldwell

Duncan M. Cannon *

Michael Carew

Remmey Carrol *

William Carson * (AB)

William Carter * (AB)

James Castle

John Chace

James Clark

Matthew Clarkson (Midshipman)

Josiah Cockquet

Robert Cockran or Cochran (Cooper)

Christopher John Coit

Nicholas Coleby

Edward Coony

Basil Cooper

John Cooper (2) * (AB)

Thomas Crook

John Daggett

Thomas Davis

Thomas Day

Moses Day

John Demain

James Dennison

William Divers

Robert Dobson

John Dufour *

Hugh Duncan

Richard Eaves

Francis Edwards

William Elliott

John Emmett or Emmott * (AB)

William Fee or Tee * (AB)

Elisha Fimsher

Aaron Fish

Thomas Fitch

Michael Flanegan * (AB)

James Forrant

Joseph Fox

Andrew Gardner

Peter Genowish *

Robert Gillis * (AB)

Arnold Glitton

William Gooch

John Grant *

Pierre Guy

Jonathan Haden

William Hallott

Thomas Hampton

William Hart

Andrew Hay * (AB)

Joseph Hitchburn

Charles Hooper *

Jesse Jeacocks (Midshipman)

Edward Jebeau or Debeau

William Jeffery

Emmanuel Joseph

Joseph Kent

John Kerr

John Knapp

Lewis Lambert

David Latham

John Lee

William Linn

Robert Lucas

Samuel Mann

John Mason

James McNamara * (AB)

Milliphont McNamara * (AB)

Charles McNiel or McNeil

Mina Miles

John Mitchell * (AB)

William Morgan

Justin Morgan

Benjamin Morris

William Musgrove

John Mutch

Ceasar Newell * (AB)

Stephen Newell

Samuel Newell

Prince Nichols *

Andrew Peterson

Thomas Phillips *

David Phipps (1st Lieutenant)

David Pickin

David Porter (Midshipman)

Pierce Power

William Richards * (AB)

John Richardson * (AB)

Francis Riley

John Ross

Andrew Rotch

Nathaniel Row

Michael or Richard Ryan

John Andrew Saphir

Joshua Skinner

John Skinner

Andrew Smith

Jabez Smith (Lieutenant of Marines)

John Smith (3) * (AB)

Theodore Soper

Joshua Staples

Joseph Stevens

Joel Stevens

Richard Stevenson

Robert Stevenson

William Strickland

Elijah Swift

Adam Thaxter

William Thornton

Edward Thornton

James Tindall or Tindal * (AB)

James Todd *

Samuel Trass

Daniel Wanton *

Patrick Ward

Sampson White

Joseph Whitmore

Abraham Wickwive *

Henry Williams

Samuel Wise

Joseph Wise

Hugh Wolworth

John Woods

John Wright

In examining the above list one quickly observes the relatively large number of captured sailors who joined the Experiment either by compulsion or for wages. However, it must be remembered that filling out the Raleigh’s original compliment of 235 men were “fifty of General Burgoyne’s soldiers” serving as marines. It is also worth noting Captain Barry’s accusation that Midshipman Jesse Jeacocks was a traitor is not consistent with his exchange soon after confinement on the Jersey prison ship on 13 October 1778 and immediate posting on the frigate Confederacy two weeks later supervising the rigging of the ship as ranking midshipman. He was later posted as Masters 1st Mate when the Confederacy put to sea. Pension records add some of the human drama which unfolded with the capture of these unfortunate men. While Joshua Newhall [S.36,189] does not appear on the above list of captives, it is likely he is either the Samuel or Stephen Newell who are as 1st Lieutenant David Phipps testifies to their imprisonment together afterward in the pension record. Newhall was detained for three months before he was liberated with “no discharge and no pay.” Seaman Giles Chester [W.17,611] was confined on the prison ship Jersey for about five months after his capture on the Raleigh while marine Aaron Fish [S.10,673] was put on board the Good Hope prison ship where he remained confined prior to his exchange in late December 1778. The pension record of marine Edmund Pratt [R.8436] recounts that early in the morning of his capture, Barry and the boats rowed in sight of those stranded on the island with the intent to take them off, however at that moment, a British party came up and took them prisoner. Pratt recalls, “Captain Barry seeing this and knowing that he could render us no service, waved his hat to us, as we supposed, in token that he wished us a better fate and retired.” The pension record of Edmund Pratt further recounts that after the engagement, Experiment, Unicorn & Raleigh kept a “good distance” off the coast in order to avoid American vessels and that they experienced a storm which contributed to a delay in their passage which took three or four weeks. When arrived at New York, Pratt testified that he remained confined on the Experiment for “about a fortnight” before being conveyed on board the “well known prison ship Prince of Wales then lying near Pawles Hook.” Pratt said he suffered there with “about 500 other prisoners” until exchanged and returned to Saybrook, CT in late December 1778 in a feeble state of health. Like Joshua Newhall, Edmund Pratt’s name does not appear on the Experiment’s books; however no other name is similar by comparison. If Pratt indeed used an alias and the rejected pension testimony can be believed, he names a number of the Raleigh’s inferior officers including Sailing Master Stephen Porter, Hosmer, Purser John Carr, Surgeon (James) Geagen, Surgeon’s Mate (Nathan) Dorsey, Surgeon’s Mate John Plumb and Boatswain Celio Parker. Following is a list of Officers and Men known to have been among those not captured or died in the engagement:

John Barry (Captain)

Josiah Shackford (2nd Lieutenant)

Hopley Yeaton (3rd Lieutenant)

James Geagen (Surgeon &/or Chaplain)

Nathan Dorsey (Surgeon’s Mate or Surgeon)

George Jerry Osborne (Captain of Marines)

Unnamed (Sailing Master)

Thomas Vaughan (Suspected)

Frederick Calkins (Masters Mate) [W.5056]

James Cassell (Seaman) [S.30,314]

Posted in Frigate Raleigh | Leave a comment

James Geagan, Chaplain, Surgeon

James Geagan. Relatively little is known about Chaplain James Geagan who first entered on board the frigate Alliance under the command of Captain John Barry on 1 December 1781. He followed Chaplain Benjamin Balch who served Barry and the Alliance between October 1780 and June 1781. Balch was immediately preceeded in that rate by John Watkins from May 1779 to June 1780. After initially serving as a Continental Army chaplain for Col. Ephraim Doolittle’s Regiment at the siege of Boston, Balch entered the Continental Navy under Captain Samuel Tucker on the frigate Boston on 28 October 1778. When the Boston was captured in South Carolina, Chaplain Balch joined the frigate Alliance with his sons Thomas and Benjamin. Known as the “Fighting Parson,” Benjamin Balch was the son of a Royal Navy chaplain and father to the first chaplain commission in the reconstituted U.S. Navy in 1798. Continue reading

Posted in Chaplains, Navy Wardroom, Warrant and Petty Officers | Leave a comment