Alphabetical List of Officers and Men of the Frigate Virginia captured on 31 March 1778

The Alphabetical List of 124 Officers and Men of the Frigate Virginia captured on 31 March 1778 is derived from the rolls of the HMS Emerald (ADM 36/7830), HMS Richmond (ADM 36/7833) and HMS St. Albans (ADM 36/7857) 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 in order to assist internet browsing and has been annotated to include various derivations of names in brackets from entries in all three British vessels. The list includes rate or quality if noted in the Muster records.

The 30-gun Continental frigate Virginia (James Nicholson) was taken without a fight on 31 March 1778 by British frigates Emerald (Benjamin Caldwell) and Richmond (John Lewis Gidoin) after losing her rudder and running aground in the Chesapeake Bay while attempting to evade the enemy. Normally carrying a compliment of 170 men, many had been left behind on the Virginia’s tender when the frigate left Annapolis, including Lieutenant John Fanning and Captain of Marines Thomas Plunkett. In a controversial manner, Captain James Nicholson left the vessel with nine volunteers in the ship’s barge just before her capture. Reporting to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe on 3 April 1778, Emerald’s commander Captain Benjamin Caldwell writes, “ I have the honour to acquaint Your Lordship, of our having taking the Rebel Frigate Virginia, of thirty Guns and one hundred and Fifty Nine Men, (there was many more Men belonging to Her, but some were Sick on Shore, and others left behind).

The thirty-five men not entered in the musters of Emerald, Richmond and St. Albans were probably on the Emerald’s tender Conqueror, sloop Senegal, ship Ariel, remained on board the Virginia assisting in rudder repairs and sailing the crippled prize or entered into British service. Examination of the Senegal’s Muster (ADM 36/7770) or Ariel’s Muster (ADM 36/7937) and the Virginia’s Prize Court Records (HCA 32/475/14) shed no light on the matter. Afterward, the Virginia was libeled, condemned and taken into the Royal Navy on 19 May 1778 as HM frigate Virginia (John Orde) with her prize shares divided among Emerald, Richmond, St. Albans (Richard Onslow), Senegal (Anthony J.P. Molloy) and Ariel. The two American perspectives on the tragic loss of the frigate Virginia are captured in the narratives of the two Continental Navy protagonists, escaped Captain James Nicholson and imprisoned Lieutenant Joshua Barney.

Two days after the loss, Nicholson presents his defense to the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress explaining, “This will inform you of my misfortune in losing the Virginia, at three o’clock in the morning of the 31st ult. I had weighed from Annapolis at eight the preceding morning, and had taken the advantage of going down the Bay in company with a brig which had a pilot on board, supposed to be one of the best in the Bay, to whom I had agreed to give 100 provided he carried me out clear of the ground. The wind blew hard at N.W. and in every other respect it was a most favourable time; and altho’ my tender was absent with 19 hands, I thought it most adviseable to proceed. At the above mentioned time she struck on the Middle Ground, and in about an hour and an half beat over it, with the loss of her rudder, and making as much water as we could well clear her from with four pumps; in which case, we thought it was adviseable to come to an anchor until day light, when we found one of the enemy’s ships about two gunshots off, abreast of us, and another further up the Bay; upon which I hoisted out my barge, and took such of my crew as inclined to run the risque of getting on shore, viz. 10 including myself, and with the greatest difficulty I got on Cape Henry, where I waited until 10 o’clock, when I saw the two ships. I immediately went to Portsmouth, got a boat, and came on board the St. Alban’s with a flag, in order to procure the parole of my officers, which I expect to accomplish; after which I shall proceed to Baltimore, and from thence shall immediately wait on Congress. The Virginia is obliged to be towed, and is not yet got up.

Many years later Barney remembers in his autobiography, “… at day light we saw three of the Enemy’s Frigates near us, we had passed them; & the loss of our rudder prevented us getting to sea, the moment Capt. Nicholson saw the Enemy he ordered the Barge to be hoisted out & left us, not waiting to take his papers or even the private Signals with him & in that manner escaped onshore; so soon as he was gone I ordered the Cable cut, in order to run the Ship on shore at Cape Henry, which could very easily have been done, the wind being fair, but in this I was overruled by the other Lieut. & Pilot, who declared we could not approach the land so that all I could say was without effect: the men gave themselves up, broke open store & slop room got drunk &c & would do nothing. I then cut the Rudder away which hung by its ropes & at 10 O’clock the Enemy’s Frigate Emerald Capt. Caldwell came & took possession of our Ship… The next day Capt. Nicholson came on bd. in a Flag of Truce to enquire after his Cloaths, on which occasion I could not help upbraiding him with his conduct in quitting his ship the first man, who if he had remained onbd. there was not the least doubt but we should have ran the Ship on shore where she might have been destroyed by which means prevented her falling into the enemies hands & saved 300 men from being made prisoners.”

William Anderson
James Arn
Joshua Barney, 2nd Lieutenant
William Barney, Lieutenant of Marines
Anthony Bell
Simon Benjamin
Edward Bolf
Jervis Boswell
David Brenan
Jeremiah Brun
Thomas Burke
Stephen Burn, Midshipman
Timothy Burn
Alexander Burrell
Clement Cannon, Master’s Mate
Michael Carney
Charles Chelton, Purser
George Clark
Richard Clarke
Denis Coleman
Shed’k Davis
Joseph Day
Thomas Dennison
John Dick
Michael Dollas
Alexander Duffy, Master
Thomas Dunnick
Peter duRask
Charles Endele [Indle]
Thomas Eunich
Charles Fay
Peter Fems
Richard Foster
Jacob Fox
James Fulton, Surgeon’s 1st Mate
George Gilles [Giles]
John Grant
Joseph Griffiths
John Grimes
Will Guthrie
Joseph Halston
Anthony Hanson
Thomas Harcombe
John Herring
Anthony Higgins
William Jackson
Thomas James, Midshipman
Boswell James
Thomas Jennings
Joseph Jimes [Tims]
Jacob Jobb
Richard Jones
John Jones
Edward Kelly
John Killen, Captain’s Clerk
John King
Robert Lambert
John Langdon
Liven Langret, Master
Denis [Daniel] Larken
Richard Francis Larrimore
Henry Lawrence
John Lee
John Lomas
Jacob Long
Patrick Lynch
James Lynch
John Mathews
Daniel McDonald
Frederick McDonald
Charles McDonald
John McFerline
Joseph McGregor [McGrigor]
John McHenry
John McKew
James McMahon
Henry Mills
Lawrence Molten [Molton]
Andrew Moor [Moer]
Joshua William Morgan
David Murron, Surgeon
Samuel Murron, Surgeon’s 2nd Mate
Michael Neigle [Nigle]
Thomas Nelson
Joseph Newton
Thomas Osoncoatt
William Padeson
James Philips
Isaac Pirris
John Power
Thomas Pownal, 1st Lieutenant of Marines
John Radley
James Ragan
Anthony Remey [Renny]
Will Rice
Matthew Richards
Nathaniel Richards
John Baptist Roberts
Samuel Ropkins, Master’s Mate
Hampton Round, Midshipman
Thomas Seymour, AB
John Shanks
Peter Sharp, Midshipman
John Sleymaker, 1st Lieutenant
Philip Sovel
Henry Spencer, Carpenter
David Spring, Gunner
William Stack
James Stackable
James Stephenson
Walter Taylor
George Teague
John Thomas
Benjamin Thompson, Midshipman
Joshua Tull
Jacob Tycen, AB
James Wallace
John Walter, AB
Richard Watts
Thomas Westmuch
Aaron Williams
Richard Wisewau
Mathew Wright
John Young, Midshipman

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Confederacy Men entered into British Service on HMS Orpheus (April 1781)

List of Men from the “Confederacy Frigate” captured on 14 April 1781 and entered the following day into British service on the roll of the HMS Orpheus (ADM 36/10099) transcribed at the National Archives in Kew, England by Joseph and Joshua Ross in February 2014.

Peter Grant
James Moyland
John Hambleton
Thomas Wharton
George Griffy
John Steel
David Thomas

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Confederacy Men entered into British Service on HMS Roebuck (April 1781)

List of Men from the “rebel prize Frigate Confederacy” captured on 14 April 1781 and entered that day into British service on the roll of the HMS Roebuck (ADM 36/8644) transcribed at the National Archives in Kew, England by Joseph and Joshua Ross in February 2014. All were entered as able-bodied seamen. Men marked with an * asterisk were subsequently entered on the ship’s book of HMS Chatham on 2 July 1781. Man marked with a + sign was noted runaway at New York on 16 June 1781.

Hy Gillinger
Jno Founds
Jno Mowles
Wm Still
Thos Spencer
Jas Harvey
Andw Edwards
Jas Hall
Jno Effrern
Jno Knight *
John Ross *
Jno Thompson
Alex Reive *
Ro”t Basto
Geo Vanblacken *
Michl Brady
Jas Bethy *
Thos Raydon
Jno Raydon Walker *
Jno Appleby
Phi’p Robson
Jno Rigby *
Wm Potter +
Geo Capstick
Jno Jones *
Cato Black *
Thos Brown *
Wm McGloughlan
Wm Ross
Joseph Nichols *
Thos Vick *
Thos Harris

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HMS Roebuck Muster Roll of Confederacy Men (April 1781)

List of Officers and Men of the “rebel prize Frigate Confederacy” captured on 14 April 1781 and entered on the roll of the HMS Roebuck (ADM 36/8644) transcribed at the National Archives in Kew, England by Joseph and Joshua Ross in February 2014. All prisoners not otherwise marked were entered on the Prison Ship Jersey at New York on 19 April 1781. Prisoners marked with an * asterisk were entered on the Prison Ship Jersey on 20 April 1781. Prisoners marked with a + sign were paroled at New York on 30 April 1781. Despite the official notation in HMS Roebuck’s Muster Book that Lieutenant Stephen Gregory was paroled, Gregory appears to have been singled out for surreptitious independent punishment, kept in confinement and sent to England.

Patk Sullivan
Gerry Shaw
Jno James
Jno Brady
Geo Robinson
Peter Doyle
Patk Kelly
Danl Finn
Wm Miller
Jno Jones
Jas Emmanuel
Jno Lynton
Jas Vind
Jos Windsor
Peter Hanscourt
Tho Lee
Heny Christian
Jno Hart
Benj Chittington
Pierce Drinkwater
Jno Andrews
Geo Guilchrist
Jno Freeman
Jno Watson (1)
Jno Watson (2)
Wm Allen
Terence Turner
Jno Brian
Richd Halley
Geo Montgomery
Jack Smith
Jas Johnson
Alex Burt
Jose Buffum
Edwd Randall
Jno Buck
Thos Conden
Wm Smith
Peter Durfey
Frans Air
Wm Kennedy
Jos’h Riso
Absm Henricks
Jno Fowler
Thos Smithson
Henry Ditto
Benj Beeby
Chas Brooks
Jno Jones
Thos Lowe
Jos’h Sampson
Jno Spriggs
Rich’d Casey
Jno Bradford
Danl Steedham
Richd Lees
Edwd Wood
Skipper Lunt
Jno Perkins
Patk McAllister
Jon’n Sackell
Jno Davies
Jas Johnson
David Freeman
Wm Johnson
Jno Sackell
Jesse Hunt
Patk Shannon
Car’y Egan
Lewis Evans
Wm Wells
Jas Gordon
Ivory Bastin
Jno Diamond
Robt Conner
Thos Powell
Nellum Wells
Oliver Tucker
Chrisr Morrell
Jno Taylor
Wm Crispin
Natl Rowland
Danl McDonald
Josha Beevy
Christr Watmon
Black Jack (1)
Patrk O’Haran
Jno Green
Dotter Andrew
Jno Mongomery
Jno Barren
Jno Brown
Wm Smith
Jno Jack
Ednd Cleveland
Ebenr Greenock
Chas Robinson
Jas Cummins
Jere Knox
Jos’h Stround
Mattw Craft
Jno Coholon
Jas Ross
Jno Lilling
Josia Hann
Henry Morgan
Robt Sanders
Jas Oldsmith
Wm Doyle
Jas Campbell
Aaron Brooks
Jno Grigg
Edmd Minds
Andw Gordon
Richd Williams
Jas Maxwell
Saml Foote
Staffd Congdon
Thos Collett
Jno Trever
Anty Carner
Jno Williams
Saml Johnson
Jno Parker
Saml Walker
Jno Brian
Frans Burrage
Frans McLane
Jacob Jones
Alex Campbell
Jas Chreighton
Jo Tobin
Phillip Lovitt
Thos Ferdino
Edwd Gilbertson
Jno Gruness
Levi Culve
Henry McGuiness
Jno Akins
Jno Williams
Saml Soloman
Jno Rowley
Ezl Lyons
Thos Carlton
Jas Collins
Wm Grant
Jno Thomas
Wm Raleigh
Thos Hill
Jas Daily
Jno Maxwell
Conr Huffman
Merrt Brown
Thos Foy
Chrisr Scott
Jno Swiney
V A Haynes
Brian Murry
Patk Murphy
Robt Dorslas
Jno Young
Jno London
Britton Chapman
Saml Davies
Mitchell Clements
Arel Moorhouse
Jos Bartrump
Wm Nourse
Thos Edgar
David Natham
Jett LeCerf
James Richards
Benj Hazard
Jesse Brade
Soln Jenkins
Robt Grome
Thos Moor
Jno Robinson
Chas Denieb
Peter Johnson
Wm Godfrie
Jno Rieves
Jas Riley
Turtle Hunter
Jas Haloy
Wm Johnson
Peter Roger
Jno Davison
Jno Gollard
Wm Cassady
Robt Hunt
Wm Nelson
Jas McMichael
Black Jack (2)
Henry Norris
Geo McKenzie
Jas Devereux
Benj Rothors
Jas Morton
Calob McCull
Lewis Cand
Elisa Dalby
Ezl Lotts
Henry Land
Guff Fredk Kyelman
Kellup Culley
Benj Hazard
Jesse Brado
Soln Jenkins
Natl Dawson
Mons. Democaux *
Monsr Wuorbore *
Mons Demoux *
Geo McKenzie *
Robt Warnock *
John Cary *
Saml Deverick *
Henry Norris *
Peter Seville *
Jesse Sip *
Seth Harding Capt +
Simon Gross Lt +
David Phipps Lt +
Stepn Gregory Lt +
Jno Turner Mas +
Saml Holt Capt of Mar +
Gorden Bill Lt of Mar +

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Hopley Yeaton, Lieutenant

Third Lieutenant Hopley Yeaton, born 1739 at New Castle, NH was a leader of the Sons of Liberty at Portsmouth in 1775-76. Yeaton joined the Raleigh on 28 September 1776 and remained on her until her capture exactly two years later. Afterwards, he served on the Continental frigate La Hague or Dean in 1779 and 1780. Yeaton first appears in Portsmouth where he witnessed the will of Nathaniel Sargent on 24 October 1760. Hopley Yeaton married Comfort Marshall (died 29 June 1788), the daughter of George and Thankful (Weeks) Marshall at South Church in Portsmouth on 15 November 1766. Yeaton purchased land in Portsmouth in 1769. The church records show the following baptisms of their children: John on 13 October 1769, Mary on 29 August 1772, Hopley on 20 August 1775, Hopley 16 October 1777, George 4 April 1779, Samuel 5 October 1782, Samuel 24 August 1784. On 26 September 1789, Captain Hopley Yeaton married Elizabeth Gerrish. He was commissioned by President Washington on 21 March 1791 as Captain in the United States revenue cutter service, in command of the cutter Scammel, the first one built. She was stationed at Portsmouth and patrolled the New Hampshire and Maine coasts. It is said Yeaton probably brought along his slave Senegal during patrols as this practice was permitted by the Treasury Department at that time. He helped establish a Masonic Lodge in Eastport and urged the government to build a lighthouse at West Quoddy Head. He resigned from the service on 30 September 1809 at age 70 and settled on a farm in North Lubec, ME where he died on 14 May 1812. In 1975 his burial site was threatened by development and the Coast Guard Corps of Cadets sailed the Barque Eagle to Lubec where his remains were exhumed and removed to Groton. His tombstone reads, “Here lies the first officer commissioned under the Constitution by George Washington into the Revenue Cutter Service which is the forerunner of the modern day Coast Guard.”

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