Friday, April 25

A Letter to the Captain

To: Captain Robert Freymann,
HMS Acasta,
On blockade duty off the coast of the United States

From: Captain Thomas Hurlbut
Royal Naval Dockyard,
Kingston, Upper Canada.

April 14, 1814.

Dear Captain Freymann,

This has been a banner day in Upper Canada with the launch of two ships, designed to wrest control of Lake Ontario from our counterparts on the American side of the lake. These are the largest ships ever seen on our inland seas and should give the superiority necessary to gain the upper hand in our conflict.

HMS Prince Regent is a spar-decked ship of 1293 and 50/94ths tons burthen, 155 feet and 10 inches between perpendiculars and a maximum breadth of 43 feet and 1 inch, making her nearly as large as the big American frigates. She will be armed with 28-24 pdrs on the upper deck with 4-68 pdr and 24-32 pdr carronades on the spar deck.

Shortly after Prince Regent was launched, a second ship slipped down the ways and HMS Princess Charlotte joined her large consort in Navy Bay. She is smaller, having been altered on the ways from a proposed transport, and measures 756 tons burthen, 121 feet between perpendiculars, with a breadth of 37 feet and 8 inches. She will be armed with 24-24 pdrs on the upper deck, with 2-68 pdr and 16-32 pdr carronades on quarterdeck and forecastle giving her a formidable broadside for a vessel of this size.

HMS Prince Regent
Both these ships are expected to be fully commissioned in a few weeks.

While the Americans have not been idle, they have been slow to start and their expected frigates are still far from completion. The ordnance for their ships comes from Oswego on the New York shoreline of Lake Ontario and must be transported to Sacket’s Harbour. If we can take the place and intercept the guns, then their ships will be toothless and no threat.

Sir James will hoist his broad pennant on Prince Regent and the newly posted Captain William Mulcaster will take command of the Charlotte. While no-one could complain that this deserving officer is unworthy, I confess to being disappointed at not being awarded a command. As new ships spring from the shipyards, so too do command officers arrive from Britain.

I shall continue to tell you of our struggles here in the interior as opportunities afford. The ice is out on the lower lakes and the battle will be renewed. Wish us good fortune as I do you.

Your Most Humble and Obedient Servant,

Thomas Hurlbut,
Captain, RN,
Upper Canada.

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