Friday, December 19

Meet OUR Crew

The eclectic band of historical reenactors and interpreters that makes up the 'CREW' of HMS Acasta spans a wide spectrum of real life occupations.

We are made up of students, educators, academics (a surprising number of us are teachers) even a Ph.D., present and former Coast Guard and U.S. Naval men, artists & artisans, tailors, musicians, professionals & executives. We even have a freelance copywriter, farrier & presidential presenter thrown into the mix for good measure! (hint: look for the fellow that looks like Jackson from the twenty dollar bill!)

What does this odd lot all have in common? A love for the history of the Royal Navy and passing it on in a unique way to the public.

If you enjoy reading the adventures of the HMS Acasta, be certain to become an honorary member of the crew. This is a easy way to show us that you're out there and paying attention. It is a simple matter really, there is a blue button at the bottom of the page that will allow you to join.

To learn more about the reenactors that make up the recreated Acasta, be sure to go have a look at the CREW page.

Thursday, December 18

Original Crew Members


‘Royal Naval Biography; Or, Memoirs of the Services of All the Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired-captains, Post-captains, and Commanders, Whose Names Appeared on the Admiralty List of Sea Officers at the Commencement of the Present Year, Or who Have Since Been Promoted; Illustrated by a Series of Historical and Explanatory Notes’ by John Marshall. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1825

‘Naval Biography; Or, Memoirs Of The Services Of All The Flag-officers, Superannuated Rear-admirals, Retired Captains, Post Captains,  And Commanders... ...From The Commencement Of The Late Reign, In 1760, To The Present Period. With Copious Addenda.’
By John Marshall (B), Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Vol III - Part II. London: Printed for Longman, Rees Orme, Brown and Green, Paternoster Row. 1832.

‘A Naval Biographical Dictionary: comprising the life and services of every living officer in Her Majesty's Navy, from the rank of admiral of the fleet to that of lieutenant, inclusive. Compiled from authentic and family documents.’
By William E. O'Byrne, Esq.  London: John Murray, Albemarle Street, publisher to the Admiralty. 1849.

‘British Warships in the Age of Sail 1817-1863' Design, Construction, Careers & Fates. by Rif Winfield

‘The Navy List corrected to the end of Dec. 1814' Published by John Murray, bookseller to the Admiralty & Board of Longitude, No. 50 Albemarle Street. pg 48

List compiled by Albert Roberts, updated 3/14

For more information about the original Acasta and her REAL CREW, be sure to check out the HISTORY page.

Wednesday, December 17

Mission Statement

The purpose of the HMS ACASTA and the ROYAL TARS of OLD ENGLAND is to accurately portray a crew of His Majesty's Royal Navy circa 1800-1810 for the educational benefit of the public and for the mutual research and enjoyment of the individual members.

Our organization will educate via a series of first person activities designed to demonstrate the real lives of sailors as they go about their business and live their lives. Landing Parties, Surveying Crews, Recruitment Drives, Press Gangs, Shore Leave... these are but a few of the activities that our crew will undertake whilst encamped at an event. During duty hours, we follow proper Navy protocols and sailors are expected to live a sailor's life.

You can learn more about our group on the ABOUT US page.

Tuesday, December 16

At Boston Bay

The British force stationed in Boston bay in the beginning of December, 1814, consisted of the 50-gun ship Newcastle, Captain Lord George Stuart, 18-pounder 40-gun frigate Acasta, Captain Alexander Robert Kerr, and 18-gun brig-sloop Arab, Captain Henry Jane. On the 11th, when this squadron was cruising off St.-George's shoals, the Newcastle parted company, to reconnoitre the road of Boston. On the 12th Lord George discovered lying there the 44-gun frigate Constitution, Captain Charles Stewart, in apparent readiness for sea, and the Independance 74, with her lower yards and topmasts struck. The Newcastle then steered for Cape Cod bay ; where, in a few hours, after having grounded for a short time on a shoal, she came to an anchor. On the 13th one of her men, from a boat sent on shore, deserted to the Americans. On the 16th the Acasta arrived, and anchored near the Newcastle.

Excerpt from "Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. VI" by William James

Monday, December 15

John Wyatt Watling, aged 13 years

Acasta Midshipman under Capt. Fellowes/Wood, July 1802 - 1803, aged approx. 13 years.

John Wyatt Watling was born in 1789, at Leominster, CO. Hereford. He descends from the family of Sir Thos. Wyatt, who was beheaded in the reign of Queen Mary, for leading an insurgent force into London.

This officer (he had previously been in the merchant-service) entered the Navy 4 March, 1801, as Ordinary, on board the Veteran 64, Capt. Archibald Collingwood Dickson, and sailed shortly afterwards with the expedition against Copenhagen. On the memorable 2 of April, having rendezvoused in the launch on board the Elephant 74, bearing Lord Nelson's flag, he was successively employed in rendering assistance to the Bellona and Russel 74's, both which ships had grounded, also in towing the disabled Monarch out of action, and in taking possession of several of the prizes. He continued to serve in the Veteran in the capacity of Midshipman until July, 1802; and on then removing to the Acasta 40, Capts. Edw. Fellowes and Jas. Athol Wood, he sailed for the Mediterranean. He was subsequently, from Nov. 1803, until March, 1805, employed in the Goliath 74, Capt. Chas. Brisbane, and from the latter date until June, 1808, in the Iris 32 and Virginie of 46 guns and 281 men, both commanded by Capt. Edw. Brace. In the boats of the Goliath he aided, in the early part of 1804, in cutting out a French brig from under the protection of a national cutter of 10 guns, and of the powerful batteries at Sable d'Olonne; an affair in which the British sustained a loss of several men killed and wounded, including among the former a First-Lieutenant of Marines, Mr. Kent.


Friday, December 12

A Letter to Hollybrass

To Sam'l Hollybrass
Aboard HM Ship Acasta


I have been ashore these three years now and since my leg won't allow me to go to sea no more, I used my prize money winnings and little bit of pension money to purchase John Juety's old dwelling house, brewery, hop yard and stable and have begun brewing beer like we always talked about when we served together with Captain Dundas in the old Euryalus in the Mediterranean station in '06.

I even run an advertisement in the newspaper like a real man of business, I advertised Strong Beer at 32s. per Barrel, good Table Beer for 15s. per Barrel, and Small Beer at 10s. Out of the House we sell Strong Beer by the single Gallon 1s. or 6d. a Quart. We even sell Grains for feeding Milch Cows, Horses and Swine by the Bushel and Strong Beer Yeast for 8d. per Quart.

As you was always exceptional kind to me when we was mess-mates, I wanted to cut you in on the deal. So if you ever find yourself ashore again and at your liesure from the King's navy, come out and I'll set you up as the Brewer and I'll take care of the dwelling house. We'll split up the profits from the old place and drink up anything extra that don't sell and be happy as Lords for the rest of our days like we always talked about! I passed along the same offer to our boy Cullen, but I ain't heard nothing back from him.

Keep your head out of the path of French balls, and remember me fondly to the rest of our old shipmates!

R. Martin
at the Plow
Essex Road

Thursday, December 11

Whatever shall I Read?

You can find specific content by following the labels at the bottoms of each day's posts, or by clicking on the links below:

200th - Posts with this label are posts that have to do with the 200th anniversary of some event that took place during the War of 1812. Either with the Acasta herself, or the war in general. Want to know what was happening on a particular date? Here you go.

Apple - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's carpenter Mr. Jas. Apple.

Baptiste - Posts with this label are either written BY or about the Acasta Surgeon's Mate.

Book Review - These posts take a look at books written about Naval subjects of interest.

Capt Freymann - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's Captain Robert Freymann

Capt Hurlbut -  Posts with this label are either written BY or about Captain Tom Hurlbut, friend to the Acasta.

Capture - Information regarding historical captures made by the Acasta during her service.

Event Invite - These posts are invitations to the general public to attend specific historic events. A great way to figure out where the Acasta crew will be during the year!

Images - This label is given to any post that is picture heavy. Looking for lots of awesome War of 1812 or Royal Navy recreation pictures? Look no further! The Acasta has been gifted with some amazing photography over the years from a variety of sources.

In The News - Historical news articles that make mention of the Acasta or her crew.

Jane Austen Festival - Given to any post that has to do with the annual Jane Austen Festival that is held every July in Louisville, KY.

Letter Writing - Posts relating to writing letters that look to be from the period portrayed by HMS Acasta. Great help if you wish to participate in the Mail Packet project.

LIST This label is given to the series of reenactor list, Ways to improve, the best and worst things about the hobby, stupid questions asked by the public and so forth.

Lt Ramsey - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's Second Lieutenant Michael Ramsey.

Lt. Hamilton - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's First Lieutenant Jim Hamilton.

Lt. Tumbusch - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's Third Lieutenant Tom Tumbusch.

Master & Commander - Posts that have to do with the Aubrey-Maturin series of books by author Patrick O'Brian or the 2003 movie.

Mail Packet - This label will involve letters (real or digital) sent or received by Acasta crew. It also occasionally has to do with a call to readers for letters, a fun project for authors and historians alike!

Miscellany - A grab bag of odds and ends posts that couldn't really be labeled anything else.

Mission 1 - All posts pertain to the Acasta's first play test of the "Spy Game", a first person activity played between teams at Mississinewa 1812.

Mission 2 - A writing exercise by members of the crew involving the 1813 chase of the US vessel, 'Young Teazer'

Mission 3 - These posts involve the Doctor's special assignment to take part in a mock Naval assault at Niagara on the Lake.

Mission 4 - The Acastas go ashore at the Fair at New Boston in an attempt to catch a spy, and the Doctor gets engaged!

Mission X - All posts related to the Doctor's covert mission to France.

Mississinewa 1812 - Given to any post that has to do with the annual Mississinewa 1812 event that is held every October in Marion, IN.

Music - Music or lyrics (or both) to old period songs.

New Boston - Given to any post that has to do with the annual Fair at New Boston event that is held every Labor Day Weekend near Springfield, Ohio.

Press Gang - Content and images from the Acasta's Press Ganging activities at events.

Real Crew - Posts with this label are either written by or about REAL historical members of the crew of the Acasta between 1797-1815.

Red Box - Content and images having to do with the "Red Box' game.

Signal Flags - These posts involve images and information having to do with this means of communication during the War of 1812. Sometimes they even involve fun messages to be decoded!

The Doctor - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta ship's surgeon Albert Roberts

Toasts - information pertaining to the Daily Royal Naval Toasts given at dinner.

Vassermann - Posts with this label are either written BY or about the Surgeon's personal servant James Vassermann.

Video - Any post with a video or a link to a video in it can be found here.

Wedding - These image heavy posts are all about the Doctor's 1813 style wedding.