Wednesday, May 13

What's this then?

The purpose of 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.

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.

If you enjoy reading the adventures of 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 at the bottom of the page 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!

Monday, May 11

William Yeames

William Yeames
Promoted to master 15/06/1810

Was Master of the Crane, and frequently engaged with the Boulogne flotilla, and at the siege of Cadiz ; was Master of the Acasta in the attack on New London (in 1813).


Tuesday, May 5

Whoever Should I Write To?

Wondering who to write to for this year's Mail Packet Project? Here's a listing to the guys who will be in attendance at the Fair at New Boston. Some haven't submitted their short character biographies yet, I'll update this as they do. In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions you might have about the project and enjoy!

Robert Freyman Captain- Born on June 15, 1754 in Portsmouth, England during the reign of George II to Reinhardt Freymann (Capt. of Marines on board HMS Centurion) and Jacqueline Louise von Stroebel of Braunschweig, in the Duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbeuetel.  At the age of 9 he was sent to Greenwich to attend the Royal Hospital School, where he demonstrated a natural aptitude for Mathematics and Astronomy and in 1766 was appointed as Midshipman to HMS Dolphin on the vessel’s surveying voyage to the South Pacific.  Upon the return of Dolphin to England in 1768, he continued in the service of the ship being posted as Master’s Mate in 1770 and passed for Lieutenant on May 1, 1775.  Posted to HMS Preston under the command of Captain William Hotham, under whose tutelage and patronage Freymann honed his navigational skills, he experienced his first battle against a French 74 gun ship of the line.  During the American Rebellion, the Preston served on the North American Station which allowed Freymann to become familiar with coastlines of New York and Virginia.  In the intervening years of 1783 and 1789 he purchased a small cottage, named Hulldon Cottage, near Poole, England which he has continued to increase through purchase of neighboring tracts.  In 1792 he was appointed 1st Lt. on HMS Britannia, through the influence of now Vice Admiral Hotham, and saw action at the Battle of Trafalgar.  Following Trafalgar he was promoted to Post-Captain on December 12, 1805 and assumed command of HMS Acasta which he has commanded since.

Capt. Freymann is fluent in German and maintains an avid interest in various areas of Natural Philosophy, particularly geology and astronomy.  When in the solitude of the Great Cabin, he enjoys reading literary works, including poetry and Goethe’s various writings, and playing the violin.

James Hamilton 1st Lieutenant- Born January 27, 1764 Northamptonshire England. 2nd son. Father: James Hamilton MP – Member of Parliament (Tory) Borough of Kettering. Mother: Frances Wellesley Uncle: Horatio Hamilton, Admiral of the Blue –retired. Formerly of the HMS Lively.

Christened in St. Andrews Church March 17, 1795. Attend school at Bishop Stopfords Acadamy in Kettering from the age of 9 to 14. Where he studied Mathematics, Latin, Greek, and theology, as well as other topics. On July 21, 1779 he received a post as Midshipman on the HMS Sphinx. 20 gun frigate. In 1783 James passed his Lt. and was immediately commissioned with the assistance of his uncle. Major actions include Battle of Camperdown, 3rd LT on HMS Triumph and the Battle of The Nile as 2nd LT aboard HMS Zealous. Currently serving as 1st LT HMS Acasta.

Michael Ramsey 2nd Lieutenant- Born just outside of Cambridge in 1782 to a prosperous merchant family, he joined the Navy as a Midshipman at the age of ten.  Service in his early career took him to the East Indies.  There he served aboard H.M.S. _________ and saw many wondrous things both on the voyage and when given shore leave in India.  At the age of 21 (1802) Ramsey passed his Lt.'s Exam, but was placed on 1/2 pay due to a lack of openings. For the next several years, he used his time to make connections in Parliament, the Home and Foreign Offices, and the Naval Office.  His social life flourished as he did well with the ladies of Society as well as at the Gaming tables.

Ramsey's winnings coupled with his half pay made for a fashionable lifestyle, but he yearned to travel again.  While waiting for the connections he had made in Government to come through, Ramsey decided to assist his family.  Sailing on a Merchantman (Captained by his Uncle Randolf) Ramsey spent the next two years sailing to the various ports of England's European Allies (these trips were only for short stints of time, 2-10 weeks). After each trip he would return to the Naval Office with the hopes of new orders, but it was not until the year 1806 that he finally received orders to join H.M.S. Acasta.  There he would find a new home among steadfast officers and a brave crew.

Thomas Tumbusch 3rd Lieutenant- the son of a Royal Navy officer who hails from Portsmouth, a seaport and naval base in Hampshire, England on the island of Portsea in the English Channel (also the modern-day home of HMS Victory, Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar). Through a connection with one of his father’s former shipmates, he began his naval career at the age of 10. He previously served under Captain Freymann as a midshipman, and has since returned to his service after being re-posted to the Acasta as Third Lieutenant. While serving on the North American station out of Halifax, he had the good fortune to secure the affection of Antonia Norton, a tailor’s daughter, which enables him to sport much finer uniforms than he would otherwise be able to afford.

Albert Roberts Ship's Surgeon- (The Doctor will not be present for the Mail Packet this year. Instead, please direct your correspondence to Mr Hollybrass below, that poor fellow never gets mail!.) Born 9th Jan. 1776, the second son of an upper midling family in Lincolnshire. Trained in medicine at the hospital at Boston, Lincolnshire. Physician, Surgeon, amateur Naturalist with a moderate interest in navigation and mathematics. A temperate fellow with moderate habits Before he served aboard Acasta, Roberts was the Surgeon aboard HMS Zealous under Capt Hood and served at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. Roberts has a fashionable young wife back home and four daughters who are nearly ready to come out into society.

James Apple Carpenter- Born in Hackney, England 1766 in April. Grew up in a family of Carriage makers and blacksmiths with a moderate shop in the east end. His father, james Appel was born in Hesse and went back to take care of family affairs some time ago. His mother, Barbara  Bedwell still manages the shop and has a tendency to be to lenient on collecting payment for finished work. He has a son, Hunter that turned 18 in October of 1814 and since has gone to sea under the name of Nathaniel Bekket. He also has a daughter, Golden Jewel that turned 16 in August of 1814 that has moved with her mother to Chataguey, just outside of Montreal, Quebec. He has a new wife, Lynne, who now keeps his house in Hackney and looks in on his mother in addition to teaching many if the lesser-sorts to read and write at the new Church of St. John.

He has been the ships carpenter on HMS Acasta since mid summer of 1813 and has been on blockade in the North American station since then, wintering in Bermuda has done well with his promotion to Warrant Officer in the way of prize money and hopes to expand his family's carriage shop and livery with the addition of a publick house under the sign of the "Fighting Cock" upon the end of the war.

Nicholas Armitage Purser- Volunteered to serve aboard 'HMS Acasta' in 1792, with prior experience in London merchant grocer businesses and counting houses, that gave him some skills requisite for a ship's purser. His half-brother William St George, currently serving as a lieutenant on 'HMS Conqueror' (74), and Armitage does have a wife in London ('Georgiana Carr Armitage')'.

James Vassermann Surgeon's Servant- The dapper young personal servant to the ship's surgeon, Vassermann is also mute. He reads and writes well, generally making himself understood through a combination of gestures, looks and a little book and pencil he carries in his waistcoat pocket. Regardless of being of lower birth, he's very slender and handsome, making him very popular with the ladies ashore.

Jean Baptiste Girard Surgeon's Mate- A well traveled old Creole who has usually worked in some medical capacity on merchant ships. He has been impressed onto the HMS Acasta, but is not unhappy there. In his time Baptiste has traveled through both the East and West Indies and spent six years among the Igorots of the Spanish Philippines when a Spanish privateer (on which he was a prisoner) was shipwrecked there. During the French revolution a Captain who he admired and respected was guillotined, cementing his philosophy as a Monarchist.  His wife Marie is Igrot; she is currently living in Louisiana on the plantation of Messr. Francois Rochambeau. They have young twin boys.

Early in his career Baptiste learned that he could make extra money by collecting curiosities from his travels to sell to educated gentlemen. His non-formal education in natural history and things medical still allows him to believe many superstitions in both fields.

Samuel Hollybrass Able Seaman- The bulk of Hollybrass's teen and adult life has been spent at sea. Hollybrass has followed Captain Freymann for years from ship to ship, sometimes to Freymann's dismay. A competent leader of men without the learning or refinement to be an officer. A well meaning, if gruff old seaman with no family back home that he knows of. Hollybrass is enthusiastic and lusty, but tends to do poorly with the ladies given his general appearance and lack of hygiene. 

John Griswold Ship's Chaplain- The Rev. Mr. John Phinehas Griswold was born August 2, 1755 in the town of Kenilworth, in the [then] Colony of Connecticut.  Descended from Edward Griswold of Warwickshire and loyal to the King, John received his formal education in the Colonies during those turbulent years of the rebellion before traveling to England to complete his ordination.  Upon taking residence near Warwick, John met and married the radiantly beautiful Miss Agatha W., the younger sister to Lady Caroline Linnington.  

After his ordination, it was the prolific writings of the Rev. John Newton, a former sailor, who greatly influenced Griswold’s faith and practice. Newton’s books and letters along with the sermons of Rev. James Ramsay, a former Naval Surgeon, first alerted Griswold to the possibilities of serving in His Majesties Navy as a Chaplin.  News of the successes of the Evangelicals in serving in ships under “Blue Light” Captains drove Griswold to actively seek a place to serve.  But it was not until Agatha’s tragic death three years ago that Griswold was able to consider fulfilling that call.   Preaching at sea seemed a suitable balm for his weary soul, and a salary of 11.8.0 per annum was of no consequence as eternal prospects far outweighed temporal rewards. Rev. Griswold has served onboard the HMS Acasta for the past two years.

Alexander Hamilton Midshipman-

William Calhoun Midshipman-

Samuel Loomis Midshipman- The second son of Mr. Adam Loomis of Bury, Mr. Samuel Loomis is a diligent young midshipman hoping to rise in the ranks of His Majesty's Navy. During leave on his father's estate in Bury, Samuel enjoys hunting, riding, and courting his young betrothed like any young man. Mr. Loomis is an avid scholar of mathematics, and, although he is devoted to his career, he still has a long way to go to understand the art of sailing.

Josh Wilson Able Seaman- Born in Virginia, Josh was the son of American Patriots. He apprenticed with a sail maker before taking to sea. Josh voluntarily enlisted in the British Navy to fight Napoleon Bonaparte because he saw him as a usurper and an enemy of America's French allies and believed that if Napoleon should take England, nothing would stop him from looking across the Atlantic to the new formed United States. The allure of prize money also helped to seal the deal. Josh is married to a teacher still residing in Virginia.

Alexander Haberfield Able Seaman-

Nathaniel Beckett Able Seaman-

Cody Miller Ordinary-

Michael Arazia Able Seaman-

David Hobbs Ordinary-

Houston Hamilton Able Seaman-

Monday, May 4

Midshipman Alexander

Detail of a miniature of an unknown Midshipman c. 1807
J. Alexander, Mid. of Hercule, and present at capture of Fr. squadron near Cape Francois, 1803; of Acasta at St. Domingo, 1806; and wounded when Mid. of Royal George at the passage of the Dardanelles. Lieut, of Standard, and commanded her yawl at the capture of an armed vessel under a heavy fire of musketry near Cape St. Mary, in 1808. Gaz. 1807, 08. 

From: The New Navy List And General Record Of The Services Of Officers Of The Royal Navy And Royal Marines. Conducted By Joseph Allen, Esq. R.N. Greenwich Hospital. London: Parker, Furnivall, And Parker, Military Library, Whitehall. 

Friday, May 1

Whatever Shall I 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.

Book Review - These posts take a look at books written about Naval subjects of interest.

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.

Capture - Information regarding historical captures made by the Acasta during her service.

CFNA- Posts related to the organization known as Crown Forces North America (CFNA).

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!

History - Posts involving the REAL history of HMS Acasta or her crew

HMS Bounty - Articles or images concerning this particular vessel.

HMS Victory - Articles or images concerning this particular vessel.

Hollybrass - Posts with this label are either written BY or about Acasta crew member Samuel Hollybrass, a generally unpleasant sort of fellow.

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.

In The News - Historical news articles that make mention of the Acasta or her crew.

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.

Letter Writing - Posts relating to writing letters that look to be from the period portrayed by HMS Acasta. Great help if you wish to participate in the Mail Packet project.

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!

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!

Mission X - All posts related to the Doctor's covert mission to France.

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.

Real Crew - Posts with this label are either written by or about REAL historical members of the crew of the Acasta between 1797-1815.

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!

Tall Ship - Posts with this label contain information about or images of tall ships.

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.