Wednesday, January 28

A Wounded Knee


Our patient in this video is Robert Evans, who came all the way from England to participate in the 200th of the Battle of New Orleans earlier this month. Evans has a special connection to that particular battle, his 6x great grandfather, William Paterson, served and was wounded at New Orleans. Evans decided that he wanted to participate in the British Hospital and recreate one of the particular injuries that his ancestor Patterson received.

Colonel William Paterson joined the British Army in 1786 as an Ensign in the 57th Foot – shortly after transferring to the 21st Fusiliers and serving with them for the rest of his military career. He saw a great deal of action, including the capture of Martinique in 1794; the Irish Rebellion in 1802; and the capture of various French-held possessions in the Mediterranean from 1810 to 1813. 

From 1813 until 1815 he served with the British Army in America, commanding a Brigade during the Chesapeake campaign (which involved significant command at both the battles of Bladensburg and Baltimore) and leading his old regiment, the 21st, during the assault on Line Jackson at New Orleans. During this battle he was wounded twice: in the shoulder by grape shot and in the knee by a rifle ball.

Happily he survived, and went on to be knighted in 1831 and made a Lieutenant-General in 1837. He died in 1849, at the age of 82.   

Special thanks to Mr. Evans who let us participate in this very special recreation!


"Give 'em wot for Lt. Evans!"

Tuesday, January 27

A Promotion!



Our Captain Fryman has been recognized by the Crown Forces North America (CFNA) Naval Establishment group for his real life nautical and military experience. The Mission Statement of the Naval Establishment of the CFNA is as follows:

To portray with accuracy and fidelity the Royal Navy and Provincial Marine as it would have appeared and acted on service in North America during the War of 1812;

To provide instruction and experience in seamanship of the Navy of the Georgian era, and all sailorly arts pertaining thereto; and

To participate in company and cooperation with Crown Forces military reenactors in the design, organization, execution and mutual enjoyment of Crown Forces North America events and activities.

Robert Fryman's real life Coast Guard qualifications include:

- officer leadership and training (advanced to CG Lt - Junior Grade (equivalent to 1st Lt in the Army and Marines)

- PQS in Communications and Navigation

- Watch Stander, Sector Charleston

- Recipient of 2 Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendations (one of which was for my participation in Operation Joint Response)

- Boat Crew qualified

- Since 2010 have been active with the CG Auxiliary assigned to Sector Hampton Roads as staff officer for Marine Program Visitation and Public Education

Therefore Robert has been made a 'Post Captain' in the CFNA! The CFNA has some fairly strict standards for their Post Captain candidates.

They require their Post Captain candidates to possess a CCG/MoT 60-Ton Limited Waters Command Qualification with Sail Endorsement, or an equivalent USCG-certified or United Kingdom MoT qualification or parallel certification (e.g. British Yachtmaster minimum with additional certification) and an acceptable record of command of multi-masted traditional-rig vessels, or professional certification as a practitioner of a naval/marine art or skill that historically was recognized by the granting of Post rank or its equivalent, e.g. Dockyard Captain. A further qualification shall be an acceptable degree of historical knowledge about the Navy of 1792-1815.

It's really awesome that Robert has been recognized in this way. We give him joy of his acknowledgement!

Monday, January 26

Midshipman William Bowles

BOWLES, C.B., M.P.
Acasta Midshipman under Capts. Fellowes & Wood.

William Bowles, born in 1780, is eldest son of Wm. Bowles, Esq., of Heale House, co. Wilts, by Dinah, daughter of the late Sir Thos. Frankland, R.N., Admiral of the White ; nephew of the late Wm. Frankland, Esq., M.P., a Lord of the Admiralty, and of the late Sir Boyle Roche, Bart. ; and first cousin of the present Capts. Edw. Augustus and Chas. Colville Frankland, and Henry Gosset, R.N.

This officer entered the Navy, 9 Sept. 1796, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Theseus 74, Capts. Augustus Montgomery and John Aylmer, employed in the Channel and off Cadiz ; removed with the latter officer, as Midshipman, in June, 1797, to the Captain 74 ; served, from May, 1798, to Nov. 1800, in the Daphne 20, Capts. Sir Chas. Lindsay and Rich. Matson, on the North Sea and West India stations ; then returned home in the Hydra frigate, Capt. Sir Fras. Laforey ; and after a consecutive attachment to the Royal William, Capt. Fras. Pickmore, lying at Spithead, Acasta frigate, Capts. Edw. Fellowes and Jas. Athol Wood, in the Mediterranean, and Driver sloop, Capt. Fras. Wm. Fane, was appointed, 22 July, 1803, Acting-Lieutenant of the Cambrian 40, Capts. Barclay and John Poo Beresford, on the Halifax station, where he was confirmed by commission dated on 30 of the following Aug. Mr. Bowles, whom we next find serving in the Leander 50, flag-ship of Sir Andrew Mitchell, and Milan 38, Capt. Sir Robt. Laurie, both on the coast of North America, was promoted to the rank of Commander 22 Jan. 1806...

Source: A NAVAL BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY: COMPRISING THE LIFE AND SERVICES OF EVERY LIVING OFFICER IN HER MAJESTY'S NAVY, FROM THE RANK OF ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET TO THAT OF LIEUTENANT, INCLUSIVE. Compiled from Authentic and Family Documents. BY WILLIAM E. O'BYRNE, ESQ.
LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, PUBLISHER TO THE ADMIRALTY. 1849.

Friday, January 23

Images from the Hospital

The following are images taken by Tony Gerard and Jim Apple in the British Hospital run by members of HMS Acasta at the 200th anniversary or the Battle of New Orleans.












Thursday, January 22

A Letter to the Doctor


19 December 1813

Dear Sir,
                                                                                        
It will most likely come as surprise to hear from your old loblolly boy, but rest assured Sir I have not forgotten you. Perhaps you may have asked yourself over the years ”I wonder what has ever became of old Silas Craig?”. 

Well Sir, for such a kind and generous soul as yourself, the true story would make you weep. The very next commission after I served with you I had a gun to crush my foot. The surgeon took it off at the ankle, but after a bit the leg Above it become corrupted and he took it off at the knee and they sent me to the hospital in Greenwich, but I survived anyhow. 

I had hoped to get a commission then as a cook, but there was none to be had and they sent me off a poor cripple with just a small pension to try and survive on. What was I to do? Well Sir, you will well remember I was never one to beg charity- and no one was handier than me on a make and mend day. 

I begun to take old discarded clothes and patch and mend them up and sell them again at a fair price. I done good enough at it that folks begun to bring me clothes they no longer needed which I would buy from them and mend and sell. After a bit they begun to bring me broken or old odds and ends that I would patch and mend and polish to sale at a fair price. My father was a tinker so I knew a bit of how to do such things. 

With my pension and my mending and such I was getting by when- who could have known- the constables grab me up! They claim that the things I had been buying was stold! And a bunch of them blackhearts what sold things to me lined up in court to say so. A sorry situation it was. I might have been hanged were it not for Lieutenant Murtry- you will remember him as midshipman Murtry- stepping up and putting in a kind word for me. 

As it was they sent me to Botany Bay. Oh Sir, I well remember how fond you was of seeing the bushes and bugs and fish and such of a new place- but there is nothing to love here! Every bush that does not draw blood with thorns and such will give you a rash. The animals here is all scorpions, spiders and snakes and such so poisonous that a fellow does not go three paces after he is bit. 

And the people from here is all Blackfellas that would just as soon spear a man as look at him. So here I am a poor cripple, innocent of any crime, condemned to labor in such a place. So I survived my time- and a miracle it was, me being a cripple and all- and now I am a gain a free man, if free it can be called to have to live in such a desolate and God forsaken place as this. 

Now I scrape by as a servant for Reverand Elias Penwell, who was an innocent persecuted unjustly on false testimony of villains and sent here like myself. His eyes are going and often times he will have me to read for him. I was reading him an old copy of the Navy list which had made its way here when I come across you as the surgeon of the Acasta.

"Is that the same Doctor Roberts you always peak so highly of?" he asks me. 

"I am sure it is the same " I reply. 

"You should write him of your distress here" he says to me. 

"Oh Sir " say I "I could never bother him with my problems". 

"Why Mister Craig" he says  "I am surprised you would treat the good Doctor Roberts with such disrespect!" 

"Never in this life should I disrespect the Doctor!" says I. 

"Well Sir, you should well know that nothing cheers a Christian heart more than helping those in need and distress! If this Doctor Roberts is half the magnanimous fellow you describe he would be distressed beyond measure to find he could have helped you in your time of need but was deprived of the opportunity through ignorance. To deprive him of this opportunity to practice Christian Charity would be cruel indeed!"

So after the Reverand had explained things with such intelligence the wisdom of his words was undeniable.

So Sir you might send whatever charitable ammount you seen fit to me here at Botany Bay through the Reverand Penwell.  Also good would be - if you have any influence at home- would be to see that I might be allowed to return to my native land and not die here a poor cripple in this desolate place.

Ever your loving and obedient Servant, 
Silas Craig

Wednesday, January 21

A Letter to the Captain


8 December 1813

Dear Robert,
     Greetings once again from Verdun. I have  no idea if my letters ever reach you- except for two that were returned which I know certainly did not- perhaps this will be the one to escape the continent. This week begins the fourth year of my confinement. I use that term loosely, for I am free to go and do as I please as long as I am within the borders of the village by dusk. But My God how slowly the time passes! I have completely given up hope of being exchanged. As the war continues it seems the "little corporal" has given up the practice entirely. I am convinced only his defeat will grant me liberty. Remember when old Wallis would send us up to the tops with mathematical exercises to complete if our books were not up to snuff? Those hours fairly flew by compared to the last three years spent here.

However life here is not without its diversions. We have several different smoking clubs. There is a cockpit, and some of the French bird lines are quite remarkable. I actually managed to have one of my horses from home imported through Germany- a King's ransom it cost me! , but the comfort he affords me I count as worth the cost. The problem is the foxes here! Every third one goes to ground like a hare without giving even the pretense of a good chase. They could learn a thing or two from our noble English foxes. If an English fox  were imported here I am sure he would be King of the Foxes within a year! Ha! 

Quite a number of the fellows here have brought over their wives or even entire families. Others say that to house their entire family here would be too expensive, but in actuality most necessities are cheaper here than at home for a person of means. I think the actual truth is that a French mistress is less expensive still! Ha!

A photo posted by @hms_acasta on

Along that line Michael Denton was a Mid with you I believe? Took him three reviews to pass for Lieutenant I have heard. Well, he is here and actually betrothed to a local girl!  How disappointed she will be when she learns that he is the youngest of three in line for his father's estate. 

In that same vane the better families here are constantly putting on some social event or another. You would hardly know our countries are at war. Their daughters are very ambitious and as a widower I am quite in demand! Ha! But Lord! Robert how pretentious they are! They take things to a level beyond our genteel  huntresses at home! Give me a simple low bred country girl any day! Ha!

John Carslake, I believe you know him, and another lieutenant, John Bingham are my neighbors. Poor Clarslake has been here since 09. They have taken to gardening to pass the time and help with their expenses. Their garden rivals any I have seen here, and outshines almost all at home.

I have a servant here, an old fellow who was a clerk for one of the bourgeois who was guillotined back in the nineties. He came very close to losing his head also I understand. He speaks good English, is an excellent servant and I have grown fond of him. If at all possible I plan to bring him with me when I finally return home.

I see from the papers that you are still on the Acasta on North American station and that you have taken a prize or two. I will bet that brother Jonathan puts up a better fight than the French? After all they were once English! Ha! God willing they will be one day again! Ha!   Well, it is now late and I have a busy day of twiddling my thumbs and whistling tomorrow, Ha!, so I will close.

I pray I will always be your friend and brother in arms, 
Bernard Prater

PS Forgive me if I draw one of Bonaparte's infernal bees near the seal. Carslake tells me that letters so adorned stand a better chance of escape!

Monday, January 19

Meet Charles Anthony

ANTHONY.
Acasta First Lieutenant under Capt. Beaver, c.1806-1813

Charles Anthony entered the Navy, 6 March, 1793, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Russel 74, Capts. John Willet Payne and Thos. Larcom, the former of whom, after participating in the actions of Howe and Bridport, he rejoined, in Oct. 1796, on board the Impetuehx 74. During the three following years he served, as Midshipman and Master's Mate, under Sir Thos. Livingstone, Sir Home Popham, and other officers...

...From 19 June, 1806, until promoted to the rank of Commander, 29 Dec. 1813, Mr. Anthony was next employed, as First Lieutenant, on the Home, West India, and Canada stations, of the Royal George 100, flag-ship of Sir John Duckworth, Acasta 40, Capt. Philip Beaver, Hippomenes 16, Capt. Edw. Woolcombe, Harpy 14, Capt. Geo. Wm. Blainey, St. Domingo 74, flag-ship of Sir Rich. Strachan, and Wolfe 18, bearing the broad pendant of Sir Jas. Lucas Yeo.

Source: A NAVAL BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY: COMPRISING THE LIFE AND SERVICES OF EVERY LIVING OFFICER IN HER MAJESTY'S NAVY, FROM THE RANK OF ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET TO THAT OF LIEUTENANT, INCLUSIVE. Compiled from Authentic and Family Documents. BY WILLIAM E. O'BYRNE, ESQ.
LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, PUBLISHER TO THE ADMIRALTY. 1849.

Wednesday, January 14

British perspective on the Battle of New Orleans





The following report from the 200th of the Battle of New Orleans was made by DEEPAK SAINI of local ABC affiliate WGNO who came out and interviewed members of the British camp on Friday, Jan 9th. In the video, you'll see some sailors that you know...


From Chalmette (WGNO)– This week, we’re looking back 200 years to the Battle of New Orleans. As usual, there are always two sides to every story. WGNO reporter Deepak Saini takes you to the British camp near the Chalmette Battlefield.

Monday, January 12

John Alexander

Happy New Year!
Today continues the prolong'd weekly series wherein we introduce to you some of the REAL Acastas, the men who served aboard at some point between the period from her launch in 1797 to her final year in service to the Crown in 1815. Stop back every Monday to meet an all-new, REAL Acasta!

ALEXANDER.
Acasta under Capt. Dunn.

John Alexander entered the Navy, 5 May, 1800, as Ordinary, on board the Fairy 18, Capts. Fred. Warren and Rich. Dalling Dunn. If we except a brief attachment in 1804, and again in 1806, to the Aeolus 32, Capt. Lord Wm. Fitzroy, and Hurcule and Veteran, Capts. Barrington Dacres and Andrew Fitzherbert Evans, he afterwards, from Nov. 1801, until the early part of 1807, served uninterruptedly with Capt. Dunn, and nearly the whole time also with Admiral Sir John Thos. Duckworth, in the Southampton, Leviathan, Hercule, Acasta, and Royal George, on the West India and Mediterranean stations. While in the latter ship, he took part in a desperate skirmish with a body of Turks on the island of Prota, 27 Feb. 1807, and was severely wounded at the re-passage of the Dardanells. Being promoted to a Lieutenancy (by commission dated 28 Feb. 1807) in the Standard 64, Capt. Thos. Harvey, he subsequently, on 26 June, 1808, succeeded, with the yawl belonging to that ship under his orders, in capturing a French despatch-boat, Le Leger although exposed to a sharp fire of musketry from the island of Corfu.

Source: A NAVAL BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY: COMPRISING THE LIFE AND SERVICES OF EVERY LIVING OFFICER IN HER MAJESTY'S NAVY, FROM THE RANK OF ADMIRAL OF THE FLEET TO THAT OF LIEUTENANT, INCLUSIVE. Compiled from Authentic and Family Documents. BY WILLIAM E. O'BYRNE, ESQ.
LONDON: JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, PUBLISHER TO THE ADMIRALTY. 1849.