Thursday, April 30

Now on Instagram!

Have you discovered the Acasta on Instagram yet? Each image is like a little window in time that will take you back to the golden age of sail.






Wednesday, April 29

Sailors Wanted!


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:





Wednesday, April 22

Calling ALL Writers!


Open Call to ALL Reenactors, 
Historians and Creative Writers!

The Royal Navy reenacting group that represents HMS Acasta usually attends the Jane Austen Festival in July of every year. 

One of the things that we've done with your help, is deliver a 'mail packet' full of letters to the various Acasta members. This is a project that we have undertaken in the past with awesome results.

THIS YEAR, the group that holds that festival is hosting the huge Annual General Meeting for the national organization, so there's NO Jane Austen Festival in 2015. Never fear, they assure us that the Festival will be back on in July 2016.

So, we're moving the Mail Packet project back a little so that the letters are delivered to the Acastas at the Fair at New Boston that is to be held Sept 5-6, 2015.

This is where YOU come in!

Anyone who would like to submit a period correct letter to add to the packet is encouraged to do so! We'd love to have your contribution, however large or small! Anything added to the packet will help to enhance the historical experience for not only the Acastas who receive them, but for the public who will attend the Fair at New Boston as well.

Another alteration this year that was requested by several of you was that we needed to have some biographical information on the recipients of the letters so that the writers would know a little bit more about who they're writing to.

We have several of the character biographies written so far, here are some examples of those:

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. 




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.


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 very slender and handsome, making him very popular with the ladies ashore.



Some examples of things that we got in 2014 as part of the project:

Lt Ramsey got a love letter from Germany with candy in it.

Captain Freymann got a letter from a surveyor about his property back in England and a map of said property.

Midshipman Hamilton got a letter from a worried Aunt with a hand knitted scarf in it.

Baptiste got a letter with a black spot in it from an anonymous 'former shipmate'.

The Bosun Mr. Cullen got a letter from a former shipmate inviting him to join him in a business venture back in England.

The Ship's Chaplain got a solicitation letter from a company that manufactures mourning candies.

Need some ideas for what to write? Try one of these:

Letter from a friend or colleague back home. 
(But none from immediate 'family' this year if you please. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces & Nephews are fine, but none from Mothers, Fathers, children.)
A bill or request for payment.
An overdue payment of debt.
A letter carrying news of the war(s)

Or, use the link below to see some other types of period letters:

The Complete Letter Writer...

Wondering what a period letter looks like? Here are some beautiful examples:

http://www.bathpostalmuseum.co.uk/john-palmer/

Contact me to find out where to send your finished letter… or questions, or for any other additional information.

Finshed letters will need to be to ME by the first of August so that they can find their way into the Mail Packet!


Start thinking about what you'd like to contribute this year, and HAVE FUN!

Tuesday, April 21

Apple's Recollection

Written by Jas. Apple

When time goes slow and my mind wanders about the ship in my hat rack looking for even the smallest of duties that could keep myself and my crew from the doldrums of chronic idleness, and then my thoughts turn to how cold it is at sea. While on ship cold infects you, it eats at you layer by layer till you feel it in your marrow. As I sit here writing the day down in my log book my mind goes back to home and life before my father left us at the carriage shop to go back to Deutschland.

When the weather looked fair for butchering, we would clean the smokehaus and sharpen knives and axes, clean the big kettles for larding. We also needed flat wagons for us all to work on and we had to make sure we had enough wood to see us from start to finish and still have enough for the smokehaus. Still salt and fresh water were to be fetched for the brine, and my mother would collect all the herbs she had dried just for this day, she was in charge of the sausage and would have made us what looked like a big meat chains, each link a serving for one of us.

All work would stop in the shop and before first light fires would be started and of course all the water would have frozen a bit over night and that need to be brought up to a rolling boil for scalding. 

Sometimes there would be this layer of grey snow on the ground, the east end was good about turning everything pretty a filthy hoary color.

Mr. Driver who was as good of a man to have working for you, would have made a fine sailor, he was as good at making iron parts for a carriage as well as the finer work in wood. He had a way with all animals and was always sought to kill the hogs, he had fashioned in his forge what for lack of a better description was a boarding axe. With all the other things ready and in place for the day he would take to the larboard side of the hog and with one hard strike would hit between the ears with the spike end and the job was done. I of course tried to do it just like Mr. Driver years later but always seemed to make a mess of things till I one day happened to recall that he was left handed, because he would often complain about the flash when he fired his fowling piece. So when I switched sides I became quite proficient.


Thursday, April 16

Amputation, for the kids!



The Doctor during his performance at last year's New Harmony event.

Wednesday, April 15

At New Harmony


Every year for the past few, your Royal Navy Doctor has been invited to perform his medical program at the Heritage Artisan Days event in scenic New Harmony, Indiana. The fine folks who put the event on put me in the Murphy Auditorium, a big theater built in the early 1900's. I generally do nine shows for school kids from the surrounding area ranging from 4th to 8th grade. My crowds are a great mix of public, private and home school kids.

Last year, I performed for 2700+ kids as the Navy Surgeon, and talked to the kids about 'joining His Majesty's Navy'. After my pep talk, I could have easily recruited several hundred boys single handed! If I keep it up at this rate, they'll call me the 'one man press gang'!

The Royal Naval Medical talk was a big hit, I believe that I have convinced Mr. Vassermann to join me next year to assist with the big crowds!

This year, the event at New Harmony is April 15-17, wish me luck! Photos and video to come.

The children showing off their Naval salute!


Preparing for 'amputation'.

Tuesday, April 14

2015 Schedule


Where are the Acastas planning on being?

2015

Jan 6-11, 2015 200th Anniv. Battle of New Orleans
Chalmette Battlefield, New Orleans, Louisiana 

May 23-24, 2015, Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous,
Vincennes, IN.

June 13-14, 2015, Shore Party at London Town & Gardens, Edgewater, Maryland


July 18, 2015, Acasta Dinner at Locust Grove 
Louisville, KY. 

Sept 5-6, 2015, The Fair at New Boston (Press Gang)
at Springfield, Ohio 

Louisville, KY.

Monday, April 13

Acasta Marriages


94 ALLEGATIONS FOR MARRIAGE LICENCES IN HAMPSHIRE,

… Pabnall, Thomas, of H.M.S. Acasta, gunner, 21, b., & Ann Monk, of Portsmouth, a minor, with c of her m., Jane Monk, at Portsea, 8 Oct., 1801.

IN THE REGISTRY OF THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER. 269

… Tayloe, William, of H.M.S. Acasta, w., & Jane White, of Pitsligo, Scotland, 21, sp., at Portsea, 26 Dec, 1801.

From: Hampshire allegations for marriage licences granted by the Bishop of Winchester, 1689 to 1837
EXTRACTED AND EDITED BY WILLIAM J. C. MOENS, F.S.A. LONDON 1893. 

Thursday, April 9

The Acasta Bible

 
After the bicentennial of the Battle of Queenston Heights,  near Fort George, Ontario, 3rd Lt. Tom Tumbusch had the honor of meeting with John Cocking, a likely descendant of a historic Acasta crew member named Robert Arber. He showed Lt. Tumbusch Robert's Bible and several other interesting documents it contained.

Robert Arber's Bible. For scale, the coin to the right is a "toonie" (a Canadian two-dollar coin).
Mr. Cocking.
Close-up of the inscription...Plymouth Dock, July 1813
Text of a petition for Greenwich Hospital to more adequately provide for old sailors who had contributed the Greenwich Sixpence. Robert is listed in census documents as having been a Greenwich pensioner.
Letter in Robert's hand from 1840.
This document was among those preserved between the pages of Robert Arber's Bible.
Special thanks to Mr Cocking for contacting us so that we could examine his lovely family bible, and to Tom Tumbusch who did the examining and took all these pictures!