Wednesday, July 29

United States vs Endymion

On the 1st of June, very early in the morning, the American squadron got under way and stood out to sea; but at nine o'clock, just as they were clearing the Sound, the ships were discovered by the British 74-gun ship Valiant, Captain Robert Oliver, and 40-gun frigate Acasta, Captain Alexander Kerr. The latter gave chase, and the former put back; both parties hauling to the wind under all sail. At about half past one the American squadron bore up for New-London; and the United-States and Hornet, being too deep for their trim, started their water and threw overboard a part of their provisions. At a quarter past two the Acasta, who was far ahead of the Valiant, having got within gun-shot of the United States, fired a bow-chaser at the latter, just as she was rounding New-London lighthouse. The United-States, returned the shot with one from her stern. Instead, however, of bringing-to and trying to cut off the British frigate from her consort, as many of the spectators on shore expected to be done, Commodore Decatur anchored with his squadron in the river. 

For several weeks previous to this event, the New York and Boston papers had been filled with panegyrics on their "naval heroes", whose valour they had depicted as impetuous, amounting almost to rashness. Some of the papers, as if a little ashamed of what they said, added "a rasee" to the two British ships, and gave that as a reason why the commodore suffered his squadron to be chased into new London- James's Naval Occurrences, p. 326. 

Had boarding been resorted to, the parties would have been nearly equal; thus:

The Acasta, thus left to herself, hauled to the wind and tacked, and soon afterwards, along with the Valiant, anchored of Gardner's Island, distant about twelve miles from New-London. having no persons onboard acquainted with the navigation of the sound, the British ships, particularly the 74, chased with much less effect than they otherwise would. It was not, of course, known to Captain Oliver, that he might even have followed the American squadron into New-London; and that, had the United-States and her companions ascended the river beyond his reach, he might, with little or no risk, have placed the Valiant and Acasta against the town, and blown the houses about the ears of the inhabitants, if they refused to give up the ships. 

After having blockaded the American squadron for upwards of six months, the Valiant and Acasta were relieved by the 74-gun ship Ramillies, Captain Thomas Hardy, 40-gun frigate Endymion, Captain Henry Hope, and 38-gun frigate Statira, Captain Hassard Stackpoole. "Tired out at length with his confinement, and the force now before New-London happily excusing him, in the opinion of all, from venturing to cut his way out, Commodore Decatur resolved to put in practice an epistolary stratagem; one that, even in its failure, should rebound to his advantage, by wiping off the impression of lukewarmness, which so many months of forbearance had in some degree attached to his character." 

On the 17th of January, 1814, he actually sent to Captain Hardy a written proposition for a contest between the United-States and Endymion, and the Macedonian and Statira. Instead of sending back the "proposition", as one to which the commanding officer of a British squadron could not with propriety listen, Captain Hardy consented that the Statira should meet the Macedonian, as they were sister ships, but, quite the contary, as may be supposed, to the wishes of Captain Hope, refused to permit the Endymion to meet the United-States, because the latter was the much superior force. 

From: The naval history of Great Britain: 
from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV 
William James 
London 1824.

Tuesday, July 28

From the Leander's Log

HMS Leander 
Captains's Log,

Wednesday 28th December 1814 
Position: Lat.40.38 N. Long.52.13 W.

4am Strong gales and squally with rain and a heavy sea squadron in company. 
Daylight observed strange sail SE by S, made Newcastle signal to chase. Out 3rd. reefs and made sail in chase .

9.40 up Top-gallant masts and main-top gallant yard, out 2nd reefs. 

11.10 swayed the gaff up and set the driver and reefed main top- gallant sail.

12. Strong breezes with heavy squalls, Newcastle S by E, Acaster W by N, Stranger NE 5 miles, trimmed sails occasionally. crew employed variously. 
Opened pease weight of 5 bushels. 
Water 224 1/2 tons.

PM Strong breezes and cloudy with squalls made and shortened sail occasionally. In the squalls carried away the trysail mast.

2.15 carried away the jib stay, spliced same and set the sail again, fired several shots at chase. Newcastle and this ship firing at chase.

4 fresh gales with heavy squalls. Observed chase shew American colours and bring to shortened sail, hove to close reefed the topsail furled, mizzen same and mainsail. Squadron in company.

4.30 sent Lieut. and 8 men on board prize, struck top-gallant yards and masts. DW by DW squadron and prize in company.

12 DW squadron and prize in company.

Thursday 29th December 1814 
Position: Lat. 41.21 N. Long 52.21 W.

4 am. Strong breeze and heavy squalls squadron in company.

6.40 am. ran down to close Newcastle and rounded to again

8 am. DW squadron and prize in company.

9 am. sent a boat onboard prize discovered her to be the American privateer Prince of Neufchatel of 18 guns and and 129 men, 8 days from Boston, found that the jolly boat had swamped and broke adrift during the night from the prize employed remaining prisoners, received 48 sent mid. and 8 men on board with a months provisions.

12 am. moderate with heavy swell. 
Opened Beef no.7 of 38 lbs, Pork No.7and8 of 56 pieces each, Sugar No. 395 of 280 lbs. 
Water 222 1/2 tons.

3.45 pm. out 3rd. reefs and set mizen topsail supplied prize with a compass her being washed away.

4 pm. Lt. ? and fine fine with a heavy swell squadron and prize in company.

5 pm. bore up and set foresail.

6 pm. DW

7 pm. a breeze springing up from the SW trimmed sails

8 pm. moderate and cloudy braced the yards by to let prize come up. Newcastle WSW, Acasta NW by W, prize WNW .

9 pm. rounded to for prize.

11 pm. bore up and burnt a blue light.

12 pm. moderate and cloudy, lowered the topsails, Newcastle and Acasta in company.

Monday, July 27

Truth vs Fiction

An entry into the Log by Jas. Apple:

Often while at sea we seem to be made to suffer, and it often seemed that it was our only lot in life.

The Frenchman Baptiste always seemed to maintain his fictions, in my mind it made a good story fore and aft and could make even the most  unbearable toils of the day shrink around mess time, and often he would be invited to tell the  same story, to the same number, over and over again.

Like me, he never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

(Hurry home Baptiste, Mr. Apple is lonely and has scarcely stopped crying since you left!  -the Doctor)

Thursday, July 23

Leave Her Johnny

During the Acasta's final dinner before home, we dined like kings. Ship's carpenter, Jas. Apple led the table in a rousing rendition of 'Leave Her Johnny, Leave Her' and added some delightfully ribald lyrics of his own creation (one of which elicited the reaction seen above from young Mr. Calhoun).

Additional words by J. Apple

The press gang came and took me away
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
So I volunteered for a shilling paid
And it's time for us to leave her

They signed my name and I made my mark
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
From the tender we embarked
And it's time for us to leave her

For four long years we sailed the seas
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
From Halifax to the warm Carrib'
And it's time for us to leave her

The prizes were great while on blockade
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
I got my share, a fortune made
And it's time for us to leave her

But I drank and whored it all away
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
I sold my hair just to pay my way
And it's time for us to leave her

A god damned spar broke my nose
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
And while at sea I lost three toes
And it's time for us to leave her

Stabbed in the chest by a angry tar
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
He said was sorry but it left a scar
And it's time for us to leave her

So take my word, when the press gangs near
"Leave her Johnny leave her"
Ya best leave town, ya best steer clear
And it's time for us to leave her

More 'Going Home' Dinner images to come!

Tuesday, July 21

'Going Home' Dinner

As the original Acasta was called home after the war in July of 1815, we decided to celebrate the passing of her final 200th anniversary with a 'Going Home' dinner at Locust Grove this past weekend. New Acasta recruit (and real life 5 Star Chef) Mike Schwendau slaved in the period reproduction kitchen in the record setting Kentucky heat to prepare a fantastic period feast! Below are some of the images he snapped while it was in production, along with his comments:

ingredients waiting to be tended to for the dinner before home...

Chickens.... getting ready to go into the dutch oven.

The steamed pudding nestled into the bowl and ready to sing...

searing pork loins before going to the dutch oven. Topped with sage and thyme from the garden. In the copper the boiled pudding is just beginning to sing a bit.

Steamed pudding of dried cherries and dowsed with Apricot Brandy and Blue Berries, accompanied with English custard… not pictured.

Lemon Polenta Pound cake. garnished with fresh strawberries, dried cherries and almonds. Spritzed with Apricot brandy and topped with english custard at service.

Special thanks to Locust Grove for allowing us to make use of their amazing facilities, and HUGE thanks once again to Mike Schwendau for making the dinner happen! More images of the dinner to come soon!

Monday, July 20

Naval Establishment Gazette (Amended)

Naval Establishment Gazette 2015 (Amended)
By Their Lordships Command
Naval Establishment Gazette
For the Year A.D. 2015

Given at Merrickville, U.C.
This 7th day of July, 2015.

Notices and Appointments

After the success of the demonstration off Fort McHenry in September of last year, Commander Peter Rindlisbacher is promoted Post Captain, to be dated October 1st 2014, and he is charged with the Command of the newly created Gulf Station, there to police the seas and rid them of enemy vessels, pirates and privateers, and slavers.

After the success of the raids in the Chesapeake, and in particular of HMS Acasta’s crew in numerous boat actions, Robert Fryman is promoted Post Captain, dated January 1st, 2015 and to continue in 
Command of HMS Acasta, currently patrolling the Atlantic Coast of the United States.

Maurice DePas of His Majesty’s exploration vessel Discovery, is promoted Master and Commander in her, dated to January 1st, 2015 and will patrol the southern Pacific Coast Station from Panama to the north of California.

Christopher Sorenson of His Majesty’s Brig Chatham, is promoted Master and Commander in her, dated February 1st, 2015, and will patrol the northern Pacific Coast Station from the Bering Strait south to California where, from time to time, he is expected to co-operate with Commander DePas in covering that hot-bed of enemy activity, and frustrate their efforts.

The success of the recent patrol on Lake Champlain leads to the promotion of Midshipman Michael McLeod to that of Acting-Lieutenant on the Lake Simcoe and Upper Lake Huron Station. At a future Naval Establishment event, he and other candidates will have opportunity to demonstrate their suitability for permanent rank at a Lieutenants’ Board

Other appointments, Lieutenancies and Warrants are under review and shall be Promulgated shortly.
The Naval Establishment Squadron

The following vessels and longboats have served, or expressed willingness to serve, as vessels of A Naval Establishment squadron and Longboat Flotilla when circumstances and available support warrant.

Fair Jeanne, brigantine
St Lawrence II, brigantine
Pathfinder, brigantine
Playfair, brigantine
Mist of Avalon, schooner
Lynx, schooner
Empire Sandy, schooner

La Revenante, schooner (sold out of the service)
Caledonian, schooner (sold out of the service)

The Naval Establishment Longboat Flotilla
Subject to revision and correction

Auld Alliance
Dawn Star
General Arnold
Bytown Whalers (2)
Royal George

I have the Honour to be
With very great Regard
Victor Suthren
Rear Admiral Commanding
Naval Establishments
Crown Forces North America


Friday, July 17

The Most Beautiful Thing

There was a great stirring up on deck, more so than the usual sound of men about their watches. The stir was followed shortly by a choir of excited voices and cheers from every man on deck from the focsle to the quarterdeck. The Doctor put on his coat and went up to see what was afoot. 

Once there, he noted that it seemed as though every man aboard the Acasta was up on her deck looking across to the water larboard at the flags that Valiant had hoisted.

On the quarterdeck, Captain Freymann had the younger Midshipmen rooting through a well worn copy of Popham's Telegraph Signal Book to decipher the signal. Young Calhoun sat on the deck with his legs folded, the large book on his lap, the older boys looking over his shoulder and instructing him on where to look, urging him to turn the pages faster.

"Good Afternoon Doctor!" Freymann's face shone with joy as the ship's surgeon drew near.

"Indeed it would seem to be." The Doctor replied, referring to the general sense of mirth among the men, "What have I missed?" he asked, appearing a bit confused.

Freymann looked across the water toward the Valiant again through his glass before he continued, "About two hours ago the Flag received her mail. Then a few minutes ago they made our number, and followed it up with this!" The Captain passed his telescope carefully to the Doctor, who had a reputation for dropping them and cracking lenses.

He took up the glass, steadied it against a rope as he had been instructed years ago and looked across to the Valiant, he espied the signal right away, "It's a short one." the Doctor observed.

"That it is, but it is the most beautiful thing!" Captain Freymann replied, smiling.

Wednesday, July 15

Your Presence is Requested

This Saturday, July 18
at Locust Grove
561 Blankenbaker Lane,
Louisville, KY 40207

Your presence is requested at 

A Splendid Wedding 

accompanied by much Hustle & Display 

Historic Picnic & Croghan Family Wedding

Relive the historic 1822 wedding of

Miss Ann Croghan to General Thomas Jesup

Come dressed in the attire of any period you wish, including the present.

The day’s festivities will include special performances, picnicking on the grounds, food &
beverage for sale & a GRAND BALL in the evening.
Festivities begin at 12 pm; the ceremony will be performed at 4pm

Details at:

$8 General Admission/$4 children/under 6 free
$12 Additional for Ball
Ball reservations recommended - (502) 897-9845

Events of the day:
- Historic picnic- beginning at noon - bring your own, or purchase here

- At 1:00 - Kentucky Shakespeare Company reads some of Miss Jane Austen’s humorous and little-known early works.

- Re-creation of the wedding of Ann Croghan & General Thomas Sidney Jesup at 4 pm.

- Tours in the 1790s house 

- Vendors of period goods 

- The Acasta crew, a Royal Navy vessel, will be in residence.

A GRAND BALL will commence at 7:00 pm, with traveling dance instructor, Dr. John Gardiner-Garden. The dances to be called are listed here. The ball will be held in the air-conditioned Audubon Auditorium in the Visitors Center. Post & Crown from Cincinnati will provide live music. Advance reservations for the ball are recommended, $12 per person - call 502-897-9845.

For more information call 502-897-9845.

Thanks to the Jane Austen Society of North America- Greater Louisville Region for co-sponsoring this event.

Tuesday, July 14


The ACASTA is looking for quality reenactors
to portray English sailors circa 1800-1812

Our organization seeks to educate via a series of first person activities designed to demonstrate the real lives of sailors as they go about their business etc. 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. 

Be sure to read the ABOUT US page

If these sound like a good fit for you, then you may have what it takes to be an Acasta! Email Albert Roberts today to find out more about joining the crew at:

Some Images of Acasta sailors at work (and play):

Want some cheater's hints at how to get in good with the officers? 

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!

In addition here is the 'Visual Guide' for what we want our sailors to look like:

Monday, July 13

What's This Now?

Welcome aboard HMS Acasta! 

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!