Friday, April 18

Post Labels

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Midshipman Raley - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta Midshipman David Raley.

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!

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.

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.

Thursday, April 17

USS Constitution, her blog

From the Log Lines site:
Log Lines is the blog of the USS Constitution Museum's curatorial department. Here, you can take a behind-the-scenes look at the Museum's archives and collections, gain new insights into Constitution’s history, and explore some of our favorite artifacts and recent acquisitions.

Matt Brenckle, Research Historian
Kate Monea, Archivist
Harrie Slootbeek, Collections and Exhibits Manager
Sarah Watkins, Director of Collections and Learning

Wednesday, April 16

Captain Philip Beaver

(1766 - 1813) in naval full dress uniform, looking to the left.
Oil on canvas. Size 30 x 25  by John Opie
Philip Beaver (28 February 1766 – 5 April 1813) was an officer of the Royal Navy, serving during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He played a varied and active role in several notable engagements, and served under a number of the most notable figures of the Navy of the age. 

Beaver was promoted to captain on 10 January 1801. He received the prestigious appointment to command the flagship, and took an active role in the operations on the coast of Egypt from 1800 to 1801. He quickly tired of the monotony of maintaining a blockade and obtained permission to take the frigate HMS Déterminée to Constantinople with dispatches. The Sultan wanted to acknowledge Beaver's services, and offered him a large sum of money, which Beaver refused. He did however accept a diamond box for himself and a gold box for each of the lieutenants. Beaver was also rewarded with the Order of the Crescent.

The Peace of Amiens temporarily ended the war with France, and Beaver and the Déterminée were ordered home. The Déterminée was paid off at Portsmouth on 19 May 1802, and Beaver was put in charge of the sea fencibles of Essex in July 1803. He was highly successful in these duties, and three years later returned to sea, having been appointed to command the 40-gun frigate HMS Acasta. He sailed her to the West Indies, remaining there until after the capture of Martinique in February 1809. He returned to England and after a few months, was appointed to command the 38-gun HMS Nisus, departing aboard her for the East Indies on 22 June 1810. He arrived on the station and joined the squadron under the command of Vice-Admiral Sir Albemarle Bertie. Beaver played a distinguished part in the capture of Mauritius in November 1810. Beaver and the Nisus then moved to a squadron under Rear-Admiral Robert Stopford and took part in the conquest of Java in August and September 1811. He spent nearly a year in Mozambique and off the coast of Madagascar, and received orders by the end of 1812 to return to England.

The Nisus was making her return voyage, when she put into Table Bay towards the end of March 1813. Beaver had complained of a slight indisposition previously, but became seized by a violent inflammation of the bowels. He spent a few days in excruciating pain, before dying on 5 April 1813. He had been a highly efficient and professional officer, and had attracted the patronage of highly placed and influential senior officers. He was widely read, and had read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica during one cruise. In common with many officers of the period, he was a strict disciplinarian, but was never charged with tyranny. His early death and the bankruptcy of his agent placed his family in financial difficulties, with his widow having to provide for six children. She became a matron of Greenwich Hospital school.

Tuesday, April 15

The Awarding of Medals

Admiralty Office, 25th January, 1849.

The Naval Medals prepared according to Her Majesty's gracious commands being now ready for distribution, Claimants, whether Officers or Seamen, and Marines, and Soldiers serving as Marines, and others, who served in any of the Ships hereafter named, and in the Actions specified, may give their names to the Staff Officers of Pensioners in the different Districts of the United Kingdom in which they reside, who will forward to the Admiralty lists of such Applicants on the 1st and 15th of every month (Sundays excepted), when their respective Medals will be remitted to the Staff Ofiicers for distribution. Officers may apply at the Admiralty, Whitehall, for their Medals, either personally, or by any known Navy Agent, or Banker, on and after the 15th February, between the hours of 12 and 3 o'clock.

It will be required of all applicants to make it clear to the Issuing Officer that they do not personate deceased Seamen, Marines, &c.

N.B.—The Medals awarded under the Gazette Notice of 1st June, 1847, and for which the claims were preferred in the same year, will be first issued.
By Command of their Lordships,
We deliver the following Lists specifying the Ships and the Battles for which, according to Her Majesty's gracious commands, and in compliance with the instructions of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, Medals have been awarded to the sui-viving Officers, Seameni, and Marines (and Soldiers who served as Marines) who were present in any successful action which at tlie time received the marked approbation of the Admiralty, as shown by the official records of the promotion granted ia compliment to each occasion.
JAMES A. GORDON, Rear-Admiral.

Monday, April 14

Charles Cotesworth, Volunteer First Class

Acasta Volunteer First Class, under Capt. Dunn, 1805, aged 13 years.

Charles Cotesworth, bom 11 Aug. 1792, is brother of Commander Wm. Cotesworth, R.N.-

This officer entered the Navy, 12 July, 1805, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Acasta 40, Capt. Rich. Dalling Dunn, in which frigate we find him taking part in the action off St. Domingo 6 Feb. 1806, and attaining the rating of Midshipman 22 July following. On accompanying Capt. Dunn into the Royal George 100, flag-ship of Sir John Thos. Duckworth, he attended the expedition to Constantinople in Feb. 1807 ; served with the boats in an attack on the Turks at Prota ; and was wounded at the repassage of the Dardanells.


Friday, April 11

Wax Sealing Your Letter

By now, we've written our letters and folded them and addressed them, now we just need to seal it shut so that the postman doesn't sneak a peek. Sealing wax was the common method of securing your letter. Red seems to be the most oft seen color when looking at extant examples of letters, but you also occasionally see blue and green as well. Letters sealed in black wax generally meant that someone had died, so if you get a letter sealed in black, you'd better sit down before you open it. The process of sealing is simple enough, Jas. Townsend has a good instructional video which can be seen Above: 

There are several places that offer wax and wax seals for the purpose of sealing your letter, Jas. Townsend carries wax and seals: 

I've purchased items from Nostalgic Impressions in the past, but you'll want to root through their inventory carefully. They carry a lot of modern looking seals, so choose wisely: 

Be sure to exercise caution, don't forget you're playing with fire and paper in close proximity. 

Did I answer all of your questions this week? I hope so… but if I didn't, you can contact me vis email or Facebook… or post you question in the comments below. I hope this helped, and we're looking forward to getting your letters as part of the MAIL PACKET project. Who's planning on participating? Let us hear from you!

Thursday, April 10

Addressing Your Letter

This may be the easiest part of the whole letter writing process... if you're participating in the Acasta's Mail Packet project, then addressing your letter is EASY, it would be addressed thusly:

Recipient's Rank and Name
HMS Acasta

And you might add 'Nova Scotia' or 'North American Station' as a last line, but as there was really only one 'Halifax' for Royal Navy ships of the era, the postman would be able to figure this out.

Halifax was the port that the Acasta was assigned to at the time in which we're 'sending' our letters. This doesn't mean that it went straight to the Acasta necessarily. It usually found its way to the post office at Halifax, then sat around and waited on the Acasta to return to port to be delivered... which was sometimes weeks or months depending on what was going on.

While a 'return address' was occasionally added, it was not a universal thing like we know on the mail of today.

Here are a few examples from the period:

From the British Postal Museum & Archive

and the Bath Postal Museum

and some examples from letters that were part of the last Mail Packet addressed specifically to members of the Acasta:

Stop by again tomorrow and let's tackle my favorite bit... the wax seal!