Friday, October 24

Capt. Kerr's Grave Monument

St John and St Cuthbert (joint)'s Church Cemetery, Edinburgh, Lothian, Scotland 


Capt Alexander Robert Kerr
age 61
b.1770
d.1831

Charlotte Maule
age 70
b.1782
d.1852
wife of Alexander Robert Kerr

Jessie Kerr
age 1
b.1807
d.1808
daughter of Alexander Robert Kerr

Matilda Ann Kerr
age 17
b.1818
d.1835
daughter of Alexander Robert Kerr

John Hunter Kerr
age 53
son of Alexander Robert Kerr

Charles Maule Kerr
age 74
b.1812
d.1886
son of Alexander Robert Kerr

Robert Kerr
d.1886
son of Alexander Robert Kerr

Anna Maria Beresford Kerr
age 76
b.1824
d.1900
daughter of Alexander Robert Kerr

Thursday, October 23

During a Hot Press

From Ship's Carpenter, Jas. Apple:

Sometimes as I recall during a hot press it was often necessary while in the search of able seaman to go outside of the normal bounds and look for men. We simply needed two arms, two hands and two legs, two feet and a body with a head on top

And often those who had heard the rumor that we were on the prowl would switch into long clothes and slip right off the reel, not be seen or heard from again till the coast was clear, that is to say we had set sail.

So with very little to tender we would crack on and start to careen from tavern to pub the nasties, and as I recall rarely did we find Jack or Joe, but more likely a spitkid full of dogsbodys begging for hanky panky to stay warm if it was cold. And lord we promised them a easy number, warm food and signing bonus and prize money.

So with a fair amount of hogging, even the worst chaffered up enough to make a landsman and on occasion with time if they didn't die or get whittled down make a damn fine and able seaman.


Wednesday, October 22

Mission X part 3

When our walk concluded, my wife and I eventually returned to our rooms to clean up and ready ourselves for supper. Another meal might offer me the opportunity to complete my secret mission for King and Country.

That night there was a supper laid out in the upper rooms of the town hall. The court and guests were all in attendance followed by Josephine. While there were fewer guards, there was a table of well-dressed French commanders and generals just behind me who were relaxing, drinking and telling stories in an animated fashion. This particular meal was more in the style of a buffet, making it an ideal opportunity to administer my dose covertly, but as it turned out, Bonaparte did not see fit to attend. I was crestfallen.

After the dishes were removed, I passed the time by playing cards with Mr. Evans and Mr. Flory. I taught them how to play One & Thirty and won every hand against Mr. Evans, relieving him of his pocket full of Italian bills. At one point my wife nudged me to quietly alert me to the fact that Josephine had taken notice of our game and seemed to have cast a disapproving glance upon the venture. Mr. Evans seemed agreeable to continue our game, asking if I would accept his note of hand. I was about to let him know that I would when the exit doors were filled with armed French soldiers.

They were here to escort us down into the square where we were met by Bonaparte. An impromptu parade formed that lead back to the park behind Château de Bois-Préau. The party was lead under arms as the public crushed in around us. They followed us back to the private area where Bonaparte's tent stood and we were treated to a magnificent display of fireworks.

The display seemed to originate from the back of Château de Bois-Préau and was as lovely a presentation as I have ever seen. 

…to be concluded


Have you spotted the little green bottle yet? Keep looking!

Special thanks to the photographers who have allowed me to make use of their amazing pictures:



Monday, October 20

John Moon Potbury, Volunteer Second Class

POTBURY.
Acasta Volunteer Second Class under Capt. Dunn, 1 Nov. 1805.

John Moon Potbury died at the commencement of 1848.

This officer entered the Navy, 1 Nov. 1805, as Second-cl. Vol., on board the Acasta 40, Capt. Rich. Dalling Dunn, under whom he fought in the action off St. Domingo, 6 Feb. 1806. Between Deo. in the latter year and July, 1808, he served on the Plymouth station, part of the time as Midshipman, in the Porcupine 24, Capt. Hon. Henry Duncan, in another ship, the name of which has escaped us, and in the El Firme, Capt. Wells. He was next, from June, 1810, to March, 1811, employed in the North Sea on board the Christian VII. 80 ; and in May, 1812, he joined the Namur 74, stationed at first on the coast of North America, and then in the West Indies;

Source: 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.

Friday, October 17

"To The Bottom!"


"The Acasta Frigate"

                                  "Captain Kerr places a due confidence in the largest, the best officered, and best manned frigate in the service, has been roaming about for his prey for several months, and we only wish him fairly alongside the President, Constitution, or the United States.  On receiving the accounts of the capture of the Guerriere, Captain Kerr assembled his crew, and addressed them as follows: 

'My lads, it is with a distress which I cannot sufficiently depict to you, that I inform you of the capture of the Guerriere, by the Constitution American frigate.  We are going to sea, and in the largest and best armed frigate in the service.  Hear my determination ‑ I am determined never to strike the colours of the Acasta ‑ My mind is made up ‑ What say you, my boys?'  The exclamation of ‑ 'To the bottom!' and three truly British cheers, followed his words, and the anchor was weighed. 

– From the excellent equipment of the Acasta, her great size, weight of metal, and number of men, we are confident that with her there will be no desecration of the seaman's religion ‑ the Flag!  The Acasta has taken on board 24‑pounders on her maindeck ‑ and we may cheerfully trust the national honour to her efforts."

from THE NAVAL CHRONICLE: The Contemporary Record of the Royal Navy at War.  Nicholas Tracy, editor.  London: Stackpole Books, 1999‑2000. Volume 5, Page 148

Thursday, October 16

Mississinewa: 1812 in Images


You can now find the first images from this year's Mississinewa:1812 event on their website.
You're likely to find a few fellows you know…