Thursday, November 28

HMS Acasta Images

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 awesome photgraphers and sources. From Events, games, battles, press gangs, clothing, weddings, you name it... you'll find it here.

Wednesday, November 27

200th Anniversary Posts

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.

It can be anything from 200th Anniversary events and historical reenactments, posts from period books, letters and documents and lots of Acasta actions. Most of these posts are not only labeled as '200th', but they are also marked with a special '200th' ribbon graphic created to make them easier to spot.

Tuesday, November 26

Pride of Baltimore II

From their website:  One of the most famous of the American privateers was Captain Thomas Boyle, who sailed his Baltimore Clipper, Chasseur, out of Fells Point, where she had been launched from Thomas Kemp's shipyard in 1812. On his first voyage as master of Chasseur in 1814, Boyle unexpectedly sailed east, directly to the British Isles, where he unmercifully harassed the British merchant fleet. In a characteristically audacious act, he sent a notice to the King by way of a captured merchant vessel that he had released for the purpose. The notice, he commanded, was to be posted on the door of Lloyd's of London, the famous shipping underwriters. In it he declared that the entire British Isles were under naval blockade by Chasseur alone! This affront sent the shipping community into panic and caused the Admiralty to call vessels home from the American war to guard merchant ships which had to sail in convoys. In all, Chasseur captured or sank 17 vessels before returning home. 

On Chasseur's triumphal return to Baltimore on March 25, 1815, the Niles Weekly Register dubbed the ship, her captain, and crew the "pride of Baltimore" for their daring exploits. 

Monday, November 25

Bulletins of the Campaign 1813

My copy of 'Bulletins of the Campaign 1813' compiled from the London Gazette arrived with the last mail packet. To my dismay, it would seem that it was damaged in transit! The lower third of the book was missing, to such an extent as to make the copy almost completely impossible to read.

I will write immediately to the London Gazette offices to have them replace it with an undamaged copy.

Friday, November 22

Acasta Labels

Looking for something to 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Mr. Cushing - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta Purser Brian Cushing. 

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.

Tuesday, November 19

Sailors Wanted

The Doctor & the Captain.
When the seeds were planted in May of 2011 to create the HMS Acasta between Robert Fryman (Captain) and Albert Roberts (Ship’s Surgeon), it was decided right from the start to have the group be ‘invite only'. This was to ensure that the individuals would mesh well and that all members would be on the same page with the Acasta's philosophy of education through first person activities and demonstrations.

To that end, for the purposes of recruitment of new people to the group... we have the ‘Landmen Program'.

How it works:
Contact us and arrange with the Acasta leadership to attend one of our official events throughout the year. Then, you come dressed out to the prearranged event with the Acastas as a sort of 'audition'. This gives the Acasta leadership a chance to see how you mesh with the other members and how you interact with the public as well. This is not a guarantee that you'll get in, the leadership of HMS Acasta reserves the right to refuse anyone membership.

Here's what we're looking for in new members. 
Someone who is motivated to learn and share their knowledge, someone who knows about the position that they're portraying, someone who can act in the manner befitting the station that they portray. First-person and acting skills (no 'Monty Python' accents need apply). And don't forget to salute!

Be sure to read the Clothing Guidelines as laid out on the Acasta website:

Then check out our group’s Philosophy:

Do you think you have what it takes? Contact us to apply today!

Friday, November 15

A Letter to Upper Canada

Captain Thomas Hurlbut
Royal Navy Squadron on the Lakes
Burlington Heights
Upper Canada

My dear Sir,

I should like to thank you for your letters carrying the news from Upper Canada. News upon the blockade, as you may well know, can be infrequent and frustratingly slow to arrive.  The most recent Mail Packet arrived from Halifax last week and I found myself the recipient of a great deal of correspondence. Among the letters were a goodly number of notes from friends and family offering their well-wishes upon the occasion of my recent marriage, two eager letters from the new Mrs. Roberts herself, an invitation to give a lecture at a French surgical institute, several requests from colleagues on matters of Physick, and a congratulatory letter from Sir Joseph along with a box that contained the gift of a single, well preserved sylvia moltonii from his collection. The sylvia moltonii as it seems, has a geographic range you may find of interest.

Things here in the North American Station have been quiet for the past few months, save my wedding at the beginning of October, there has been little activity to speak of. My dear Mrs. Roberts has had a good deal of the remaining food from the wedding sent with us back to the ship. There has been so much that I have been able to treat the wardroom to dinner for weeks. We have dined on ham, chicken, meat pasties, apples, cheeses, grapes, various pies and cakes to such an extent that it borders on gluttony. We have only just begun to deplete the supply!

The long, slow days and light duty have given me ample opportunity for contemplation. Lately I find my mind turned to moral and philosophical dilemmas. There is a philosophical question that I should like to pose to you, as I hold your opinion in high esteem.

Let us say that one man were offered an opportunity to potentially end the war against Napoleon's forces in a single stroke. Say, for example a British agent could be positioned in such a way as to be able to poison a single man, and in so doing, save thousands of lives. The lives spared would be not only English, but French and Spanish alike. It could spare carnage on a massive scale. Would this hypothetical agent not be obliged, for the very sake of humanity, to undertake this morbid task, no matter how repugnant it might be to his nature or counter to his beliefs and profession? Do the lives of thousands outweigh the life of one, no matter how vile the individual?

I need not explain to you how desperately spread thin our forces are, fighting wars in America and Europe, nor the immense cost of such wars to the Crown in men and materials. But if the death of this one hypothetical man were to occur, and thousands could be spared in Europe, could not those forces then be brought to bear in a single, undivided force against the United States, ending that conflict in a more humane and timely manner, sparing countless more?

In these dull times I cannot help but let my mind wander to these places, perhaps a line or two from you on the matter will ease my mind. Until then I shall wish you all health and success and know that if I might be able to render you any acceptable service, you have but to request it of,

Yr humble Obt Svt,
The Doctor,
A. Roberts
Ship's Surgeon
HMS Acasta

Wednesday, November 13

The Red Box

New & revised rules, updated 10-14-13

The American and British forces are locked in battle during the War of 1812. Victory is not guaranteed for either side at this stage.

Some time back, British Intelligence devised a secret plan that could potentially win the war for England against her enemies in France and America. Plans and schematics were laid out and placed in a locked Red Box for transport across the Atlantic to the British commanders on the American front.

A week ago, the ship carrying the Red Box was intercepted by an American cutter and captured. The Red Box was given over to an American military unit for safe transport to American Military Intelligence in Washington.

What the box contains is known to be of great import, but its exact contents are a mystery. The Crew of the HMS Acasta have been tasked with recovering the Red Box and keeping its contents a secret.


The goal of the American Forces is to retain possession of the Red Box and to capture the key from the British Navy man who is in possession of the keys to the box.

Goals for the Acastas are to get possession of the Red Box while maintaining possession of the keys to the box.

Once either team gets possession of both the Red Box AND the keys to it, the game is over and the team that holds both items wins, and may open the Red Box to divvy up its enigmatic contents in whatever manner they see fit.


The American Forces start the game in possession of the locked Red Box and the Acastas start the game in possession of the key to the box. A 'start time' shall be agreed upon by both teams, at which time the game continues until one team captures both the Box and the Key, or the event ends and both teams are in a draw.

Rules for the RED BOX:

The Red Box must be displayed in front of the American Commander's tent in plain sight and may not be hidden inside of tents or other personal/private areas or obscured/covered by other objects. The Red Box is considered a great prize and the American Commander displays it as a morale boosting, rallying point for his troops.

The Americans may not pick the lock on the box or otherwise cause it to be opened without the proper key from the Acastas. It is rumoured that British Intelligence may have booby-trapped the box in some manner, and it is feared that tampering with the lock might damage the important contents.

Other than that, the American Forces may take what steps they see necessary to keep the Red Box safe (posting guards, booby traps, etc.)

Rules for the KEY:

The Key to the box must be in the possession of one of the Acastas at all times. The key will be passed off to one of the Acastas before the officially agreed upon start time for the game and remain in his custody until the game is over or it is discovered by the Americans. The Key may not be passed from Navy man to Navy man, it must remain in the possession of ONE Acasta at all times.

The key may be hidden in almost any of the Acasta's clothing, hat, coat, waistcoat, shirt, shoes/boots or other exterior garments. It may also be placed in a haversack, market wallet (or other similar item), as long as it remains with them at all times.

It may not be hidden in the Acasta's pants or pants pockets, as those are reserved for the reenactor's private items, car keys, wallet, money etc. Acastas do not have to submit to a search of their breeches or trousers.

Acastas must try their best to avoid falling into the custody of the American Forces, if a UNIFORMED and armed American approaches and wishes to search you, you must submit to their requests.

OBJECTIVES (or: "Why play the Red Box?")

As a first person style interpreter, I have always been somewhat disappointed in the lack of first person opportunities at events. To that end, I have created a series of scenarios/games to play in order to give the Acastas period appropriate things to do at events, and opportunities to do some of the 'first person' that I enjoy so much. It livens things up for both the public and for ourselves.

Most recreated military units don't have much to think about, or do, between battles. They tend to just go back to camp and sit around, waiting for the next battle.

The Red Box game is a costumed version of 'Capture the Flag' played at an event. The point of the game is to give Americans and Acastas a scenario to work around.

Think about what it will be like for the public as they encounter us playing the game: American Soldiers in camp and doing guard duty or questioning people who enter camp, British Navy officers creeping around the edges of the American camp with spy glasses, American riflemen patrolling the shops, stopping and searching British Sailors in the streets, Court martials of captured British officers and then putting them up before a firing squad.

There are so many excellent opportunities for period correct, first person interpretation that can be brought about by the inclusion of the 'Red Box' scenario at an event.

The Red Box is not intended to be a light-hearted farce or a campy romp. Remember that both sides are struggling to control the contents of the Box in an effort to turn the tide of the war in their favour. The fate of the war could hang in the balance, and the game should be played thusly.

Tuesday, November 12

Recent Intelligence

Recent intelligence would appear to indicate that the French are hard at work on their navy in an attempt to get the upper hand against England.

Thursday, November 7

A Letter Home

From: The Complete Letter-writer:
Containing Familiar Letters on the Most Common Occasions in Life, Also a Variety of Elegant Letters for the Direction and Embellishment of Style
W Darling, 1778 - 249 pages

Monday, November 4

Acastas in Action

Recently, I retooled the 'IN ACTION' page here on the website to act more as a sort of Acasta group resume. It now displays a visual record of some of the events that the Acastas have attended, either in part or as a whole. I didn't realize how many events we'd been to in our Navy duds until I started redoing the page! Stop over and have a look when you get a moment.

Friday, November 1


Welcome aboard HMS Acasta! 

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.

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 that will allow you to join.

And Second, I would ask that you comment from time to time on the posts that interest you the most. This is an excellent way to let the crew of the Acasta know what you, the reader, is the most interested in seeing. It is always most gratifying to know what the readers like. For those of you that have commented in the past, we thank you for you support and interest!

If you find a post that you are particularly fond of... be sure to share a link with your friends, over Facebook, Tumblr, Google Plus, etc. so they can enjoy it too!

The Acasta log is generally updated every weekday at 8am CST, visit back often, and encourage your History/Royal Navy friends to visit us.

Thanks for reading!

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