Friday, January 20

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


Thursday, January 19

Acasta vs Prince of Neufchatel


Capt. Sir G. Collier of Leander
19 Dec 1814 - Leander sailed from Halifax bound off Boston, and on the 24th fell in with the Newcastle and Acasta.

22 Dec 1814 - Arab reported to the Leander, Newcastle and Acasta that the Constitution had sailed from Boston on the 17th inst. who departed in search of the US frigate.

28 Dec 1814 - the Leander, in company with the Newcastle and Acasta, captured the celebrated privateer Prince de Neufchatel.


Extract of the letter from Capt. Sir George Collier, of His Majesty's ship Leander 1815, Jan 28

Sir,

I have the pleasure to acquaint you, that with the squadron under my orders, being in quest of the American ships of war, which escaped during the late gales from the Ports of Massachusetts, I had the good fortune, yesterday, at sunset, to capture the celebrated privateer, Prince of Neufchatel, hermaphrodite rigged, pierced for 22 guns, and having 18 mounted, six of which are long nine, and twelve pounders, and the rest twelve pounder carronades; measures 330 tons, with a crew of 130 men under the Command of Nicholas Millin, by birth a Frenchman and one of superior professional skill and enterprize. She sailed from Boston on the 21st inst. and is the completest vessel I have ever saw. The activity of the Captains of the Newcastle and Acasta cut off the chance of escape from this cruizer during a chase of ten hours, the wind blowing a hard gale… etc

G.R. Collier, Captain.


From the London Gazette
The captors of an enemy Ship of War, national warship, privateer or letter of marque, were entitled to a bounty known as HEAD MONEY; this allowed that £5 would be paid for every member of the enemy crew whose was aboard the prize at the commencement of the action.

The three documents here comprise the HEAD MONEY papers for the capture of the American Privateer Prince of Neufchatel during the War of 1812.

Before a claim could be placed for Head Money the vessel in question had to be condemned in an Admiralty Prize Court, a sworn statement had to be taken from the surviving members of the captured crew as to the number of men aboard.

Having obtained these documents the Prize Agent, acting for the captors, could forward his claim, as shown below.


The State of the Case of Messrs. Wm. Marsh & Rd. Creed and Mr. Edmd. Lockyer jointly and severally Thos. Collier Esq. and Messrs. James Sykes and James Sykes jun. claiming payment of Bounty Money of £5 per Head for one hundred and thirteen Men belonging to the Prince of Neufchatel American Ship of War, which was taken on the 28th. December 1814 by H Ma. Ships Leander, Newcastle and Acasta commanded by Sir Geo. Collier, Alex. Rob. Kerr and the Right Honourable George Stuart 
They have produced
  • Proof of Condemnation of the said American Ship of War The Prince of Neufchatel in the High Court of Admiralty.
  • A Certificate of the number of Men above mentioned, grounded on Affidavits made before a master Extraordinary in the High Court of Chancery
  • Letters of Attorney from the Commanders Officers and Companies of the Ships appointing them their Agents
  • Lists of the said Ship's Companies certified as usual.
The Vouchers produced, being conformable to what are required by Act of Parliament, let a Bill be made out for the Head Money claimed.

[The supporting documents are the extract of the sentence of condemnation, given below, followed by the sworn statements from the officers of the Prince of Neufchatel as to the number of crew she carried.]

A photo posted by @hms_acasta on

Extracted from the Registry of His Majesty's High Court of Admiralty of England. 
On Friday the forth day of march in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen before the Right Honourable Sir William Scott, Knight, Doctor of Laws, Lieutenant of the High Court of Admiralty of England, and in the same Court Official Principal and Commissary General and Special and President Judge thereof, and also to hear and determine all and all manner of Causes and Complaints as to Ships and Goods seized and taken as Prize specially constituted and appointed in the Common Hall of Doctors Commons London present James Farquhar one of the Deputy Registrars


PRINCE of NEUFCHATEL
Nicholas Millin Commander 
Our Sovereign Lord the King against the said Ship her Tackle Apparel & Furniture and the Arms Stores and Ammunition therein taken by His Majesty's Ship Leander, Sir George Collier Bart, Commander in Company with His Majesty's Ship Newcastle and Frigate Acasta and brought to Penzance and against all persons in general.

In pain of Parties cited thrice called and not appearing Bishop [Acting for the Crown] gave the usual Allegation which in like pain the Judge at his Petition admitted and assigned the Cause for Sentence on the first and second assignations immediately, and having heard the Proofs read, on Motion of His Majesty's Advocate by Interlocutory Decree pronounced the said Ship her Tackle Apparel & Furniture, Arms Stores and Ammunition to have belonged at the time of the Capture & Seizure thereof to Enemies of the Crown of Great Britain and as such or otherwise subject and liable to Confiscation, and condemned the same as good and lawful Prize taken by His Majesty's Ship Leander Sir George Collier Knight Commander in Company with His Majesty's Ship Newcastle and Frigate Acasta
And moreover pronounced the said Ship to have been a Ship of War in the Service of the Enemy, and that there were alive and on board the same at the commencement of the Engagement in which the same was taken one hundred and thirteen men.

Statement by the Officers of the Prince of Neufchatel as to the number of crew.

These are to certify the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, or whom else it may concern that there came and personally appeared before me
  • Nicholas Millin late Commander
  • William Stutson late first Lieutenant
  • John Martin late second Lieutenant
on board of and belonging to an American Privateer called the Prince of Neufchatel, and Jointely and severally made Oath and said that: 

the said American Privateer was taken and seized about five o' clock in the Evening of the twenty eight day of December one thousand eight hundred and fourteen by his Britannic Majesty's Ship Leander, commanded by Captain Sir George Ralph Collier Bart in sight of his Majesty's Ships of War Newcastle, commanded by Captain A. R. Kerr, And that they the said Deponents had since been brought into the Port of Plymouth, being the first Port they were brought into after being taken,
- And that he the said Deponent Nicholas Millen, with William Stutson late first Lieutenant and John Martin late second Lieutenant taken as aforesaid And the three Deponents further said that they were actually alive on board of and belonging to the said American Privateer at the Time She was taken as aforesaid one hundred and thirteen men including the Deponents.

Nichs Millin
Wm Stutson
John Martin
Sworn at Asburton in the County of Devon the twenty eighth day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifteen.

Reference: Head Money Vouchers: ADM 43/67 from The National Archives, Kew

Wednesday, January 18

In The News



The London Gazette 
Publication date:14 January 1800 
Issue:15222
Page:46




Tuesday, January 17

COD, a fishy review

Cod 
by Mark Kurlansky
A brief review by Tony Gerard

Once I was working in Portugal. At lunch there were a couple of choices, one of which was cod. One of the Portuguese crew assured me it was delicious. It was horrid. It wasn’t just frozen cod- it was salted cod. One of the Portuguese guys later told me salted cod was the favorite food of the Portuguese.

I’d often wondered since how a country on the ocean (and having access to fresh seafood I assumed) came to be so fond of a slated fish from so far away. This book told me why.

Kurlansky takes the history of humans and codfish from their beginnings up to the late 1990s, when the book was written. Ever heard of the Cod Wars? Me neither, but they happened, and they were a big deal at the time. I between chapters the author throws in little edible tidbits about cod- usually a historic recipe. He covers the basics, although not in great detail, about cod fishing- both historic and modern.

If an Acasta had a back-story of being a former fisherman, or coming from a fishing family this would be a book I recommend. Heck, if you like to eat fish, or are just interested in odd history I recommend this book. It’s well written and an easy read. It even encouraged me to check on where codfish stocks stand today (Spoiler alert- the picture is not as bleak as they did when the book was published).



Friday, January 13

From the Naval Chronicle


PORTSMOUTH REPORT,
FROM SEPTEMBER 26 TO OCTOBER 24.

Sept, 28. Arrived the Venerable, of 74 guns, Captain Hood; and the Russel, of 74 guns, Captain Cuming, from Sir J. Saumarez's squadron, off Cadiz. Also the Tartar, of 36 guns. Captain Walker, from off Havre; and the Glenmore, of 36 guns, Captain Talbot from Plymouth. Sailed the Mondovi sloop of war, Captain Duff, with dispatches for Egypt.

29. Arrived the Arethusa frigate, Captain Wolley, from Madeira.

30. Arrived the St. Antonio, of 74 guns, Hon. Captain Dundas; and on

Oct 1. Arrived the Audacious, of 74 guns, Captain Peard, from Sir James Saumarez's squadron.

2. Arrived the Fortunee frigate, Captain Lord A. Beauclerc, from attending his Majesty at Weymouth; Acasta, of 36 guns, Captain Fellowes, from the West Indies, last from the Downs; and the Union cutter, Lieutenant Rowed, from a cruise.

3. Arrived the Wasp sloop of war, Captain Bullen, from a cruise; and the Racoon, Captain Rathborne, with a smuggler, which the captured off Beachy Head. Sailed the Union cutter, Lieutenant Rowed, on a cruise.

5. Sailed the Barfleur, of 98 guns, Rear-Admiral Collingwood, Captain Ommaney, to join the Channel Fleet; Tartar, of 36 guns, Captain Walker, for Cork, to take the trade from thence to Jamaica; and the Constance, of 24 guns, Captain Mudge, with General Count Viomenil and suite on board, for Lisbon.

from the Naval Chronicle Vol 6. Page 346 1801

Thursday, January 12

A Report from Adm. Sir J. B. Warren, R.N.

ADMIRAL SIR JOHN B. WARREN, R.N., TO
 
FIRST SECRETARY OF THE ADMIRALTY JOHN W . CROKER

Halifax 16th Octr. 1813.
Sir,

It is with extreme regret I am under the necessity of communicating to you for their Lordships information that Commodore Rodgers has effected his arrival in the United States Frigate President at Newport, I had made the best disposition in my power to intercept his return into Port and I am sure that every Captain was anxiously vigilant to fall in with him- the following was the arrangement of the Squadrons employed on this particular service.

La Hogue and Tenedos -On the tail of the Banks of Newfoundland-
Poictiers and Maidstone -From Sambro lighthouse to Sable Island, thence in a S:E direction twenty Leagues and back by Cape Sable-
Ramillies and Loire -From Cape Sable, South East, along the edge of St. Georges Bank as far as Latde: 42°: '00 Sir Thos. Hardy having the Command off Boston Nymphe, Majestic, Junon and Was~Inshore Squadron under the Orders. of Sir Thomas Hardy, off Boston -The Nymphe is refitting being relieved by the Junon
Orpheus and Loup-Cervier. From the Tuckanuck passage to Block Island-
Valiant and Acasta and Atalante Sloop also Borer Gun Brig. From Block Island to Entrance of Long Island Sound and off New London
Plantagenett -Off Sandy Hook
Belvidera Statim Morgiana Off the Entrance of the Delaware.
Dragon, Lacedemonian, Armide, Dotterall & Mohawk At the Entrance of the Chesapeak.

I am entertained the most confident hope that Commodore Rodgers would not have been able to escape through all these Ships, but in steering for the Tuckanuck passage he fell in with the Highflyer Schooner Tender, which, on my way from the Chesapeak to this Port I had stationed upon Nantucket Shoals for the express purpose of watching that Channel, and in the event of seeing the President, to carry the information to the Squadron off Boston, & which from her very Superior Sailing and light draft of Water, she might have done in time to apprize his Majestys Ships.

The Orpheus having sprung her Mainmast was obliged to come into Halifax for a new one and I had no Ship to replace her so soon as she again, got ready and proceeded to her Station-

The Albion is now under Orders to reinforce the Orpheus and Loup-Cervier and the Narcissus just returned from Quebec proceedes to join the Belvidera off the Delaware. 

The Statim is here, but so very bad in her top sides, knees &c that I purpose sending her to guard Long Island Sound and assist in blocking up the United States Frigates United States, Macedonian & Hornet Sloop in New London for a short time and so soon as I can replace her on that Station to order her to the West In- dies to take home Convoy from thence The Victorious is refitting at Halifax very short of compliment and her Crew slowly recovering from Sickness, many having been Invalided- I have the honour to be Sir Your most obedient humble Servant.

John Borlase Warren

LS, UkLPR, Adm. 1/504, pp. 417-20.