Friday, March 31

Sailing Video Game

Looking for something to do to kill some time before your weekend begins?

 Some educational period Navy fun for young and old alike can be found at 

A site funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and a project of the USS Constitution Museum. Play games, explore the ship, meet the crew, this website is as educational as it is entertaining!

Thursday, March 30

The Ship Herself

Sir J. T. Duckworth's Action off St. Domingo, Feby 6th. 1806 (PAD5760)
Hand-coloured.; Technique includes etching. Published 1 Feb 1817

HMS Magicienne (36) at right and HMS Acasta (44) on the left at the Battle of San Domingo, the only primary source (original, from the era) image of Acasta, other than the original plans, known to exist.

HMS Acasta
Builder: John Randall & Co,, Rotherhithe
Launched: 14 March 1797
Class and type: Acasta-class fifth-rate frigate
Tons burthen: 112722⁄94 (bm)
Length: 154 ft (46.9 m)
Beam: 40 ft 9.5 in (12.4 m)
Depth of hold: 14 ft 3 in (4.3 m)
Sail plan: Full-rigged ship
Complement: 320
Armament: 40 guns

Nominal Guns:    40
Nationality:    Great Britain
Operator:    The Royal Navy
Ordered:    1795/04/30
Keel Laid Down:    1795/09
Launched:    1797/03/14
How acquired:    Built by Contract
Shipyard:    Rotherhithe
Designed by:    William Rule
Constructor:    Richard Wells
Category:    Fifth Rate
Ship Type:    Frigate
Broken Up:    1821/01/01

Dimension                           Measurement    Type                        Metric Equivalent
Length of Gundeck            154' 0"                Imperial Feet         46.9392
Length of Keel                    128' 11"              Imperial Feet         39.2938
Breadth                                40' 6"                 Imperial Feet         12.3444
Depth in Hold                      14' 3"                 Imperial Feet         4.3434
Burthen                                1,127 22⁄94          Tons BM

1797/04        Broadside Weight = 443 Imperial Pound ( 200.9005 kg)
Upper Gun Deck    30    British 18-Pounder
Quarterdeck             4    British 32-Pound Carronade
Quarterdeck             8    British 9-Pounder
Forecastle                  2    British 9-Pounder
Forecastle                  4    British 32-Pound Carronade

Crew Complement
1797/04    320 men

Source: British Warships in the Age of Sail 1793 - 1817    Rif Winfield

HMS Acasta Deck, Quarter & Forecastle
HMS Acasta Frame
HMS Acasta Gun Deck
HMS Acasta Inboard Profile Plan
HMS Acasta Lines
HMS Acasta Orlop Deck
HMS Acasta Upper Deck Plan
These plans from the Royal Museums Greenwich collection

Wednesday, March 29


Dearest Marie, 

Recently I have had some small diversion from the tedium of the blockage and a distraction from my longing for you and the boys. All our water stores were found to have become corrupted, so it was necessary to rewater right away. A sailor named Miller was sent ashore to look for a good source, He had been a soldier before and they are sometimes more skilled at such things. Miller soon found a spring pond, the location was not ideal, but the water was good. To get the barrels to the good water they would have to be floated and dragged up a shallow, swampy creek, then up a small hill to the spring pond. The Doctor sent me along with the water detail, supposedly in case one should be injured, but more likely to collect any odd insects, plants or creatures that we saw. The Captain will not allow him on the American shore for fear he might be captured.

 It was quite a troublesome task getting our barrels to the Spring, but once there the water was very nice. We had to float the barrels out into the pond to fill them. We had not been long employed before Miller says 'Bloody Hell". I have learned that when an English says "Bloody Hell" it can mean that he is surprised, shocked, disgusted, greatly pleased, hurt or disagrees with something said very strongly. This time it was surprised I think. When I look to him I see that he is tugging on something attached to his ankle that stretches as he pulls it. It was a leech of a type I had never seen before!

So all the sailors stop working and begin to search themselves for leeches. One named Mcquery had three, but most have none. I tried to collect all of them, but some the sailors had injured by pulling them off to roughly. As soon as the boson Hollybrass finds that he has none on hisself he roars “Back to work ye sluggards! Afraid of worms!  Ye should all be ashamed!” 

So they all go back to work and the barrels are soon filled, which was the easiest part of the job. When we are done I tell Hollybrass I wish to keep Mcquery- since the leeches seemed to prefer him- and stay behind for a bit. He starts to tell me no, but when I say it is for the Doctor he tells me just to be sure they do not have to wait on us. All the sailors think well of the Doctor.

So I have a bottle of sprits the Doctor has sent with me to pickle creatures in. As soon as they are gone I tell Mcquery he can have it all If he will just lay down in the water. “I would bath in a trough o’ them leeches fer a bottle o’ pure spirits like that!” he says and lays right down. He is Irish and spirits is as mothers milk to them.  The bites he had from before were still bleeding, and leeches can smell blood in the water. So he lays there contentedly drinking the spirits and the leeches come to us .Before we left I collected another  eight from him.  

When I go to get him to leve he is unsteady on his feet. I suppose the spirits were stronger than what he was acustomed to. For an Irish this was a surprise to me. When we get back to the cutter Hollybrass is upset- “he’s pissed” he says of Mcquery. “It is from to much blood taked by the leeches” I tell him. “Which you’ll be doing the explaining if an officer sees him when we get aboard” he says.

But we keep him away from the officers when we get aboard and it all ends well. I have found the American leeches to be inferior top the ones from Europe- but we have few of those left so cousin Jonathan’s leeches are stilled  welcomed .

Rumors abound of the War’s end, at least here in North America. I hope and pray it is true.

Ever your loving husband, 

Tuesday, March 28

The Lieutenant's Exam

Submitted by: Chris Bertani

Frederick Hoffman, who served as a lieutenant on HMS Tonnant (80) at Trafalgar, describes in his autobiography how he took, and passed, his lieutenant's examination in 1799: 

"I was soon on shore and at the door of [my captain's] room. I knocked. “Enter,” said a voice not at all encouraging. “What do you want, any orders?” “No, sir,” said I, with one of my best quarter-deck bows, which appeared to soften him. “I hope I am not intruding; I have taken the liberty of waiting on you, sir, to acquaint you that I have served my time.” He was half-shaved, and my visit appeared unfortunately ill-timed, and I began to apprehend by the expression of his countenance, and the flourishes he made with his razor, he intended making me a head shorter. “Who sent you to me at this inconvenient time?” asked he. “The first lieutenant, sir,” said I; “he thought it was better for me to inform you before you went to the Admiral’s pen.” “Oh, very well; you may go; shut the door, and let the barge come for me at seven o’clock.” On board I repaired, and delivered the message. I kept pondering whether my hardy, half-shaven captain’s manner was favourable to the information I had given him or not. My messmates were anxious to know how I was received. “Not very graciously,” was my reply. Next morning, to my agreeable surprise, I was ordered to take the barge, and go on board the Alarm frigate, where I met my old captain, who shook hands with me, and two others. “Well,” said the former, “are you prepared to prove you are an able seaman and an officer?” “I hope so, sir,” said I. He introduced me to his two brother officers, and informed them I had sailed with him some time, and that I had frequently charge of a watch. We all descended to the cabin, where Hamilton Moore’s “Epitome,” a slate and pencil were placed before me. I was first asked several questions respecting coming to an anchor, mooring, tacking, veering, and taking in sail. I was then desired to find the time of high water at different places, and the variation of the compass. 

They appeared satisfied with my answers and solutions, and before I left the ship they presented me with my passing certificate. On the following day I took the oath of allegiance, abused the Pope—poor, innocent man—and all his doctrines, and received my commission for a twenty-four gun ship which I joined the day after. I left some of my messmates with regret, as they were made of the very stuff our Navy required. "

Monday, March 27

Ropework Upclose

Some examples of the fine rope work of Acasta Josh Wilson, who says that most of the knowledge came from Hervey Garrett Smith's books "The Arts of  the Sailor" and "The Marlinspike Sailor". A lot of it was looking at pieces in museums and collections, and suggests that "Ashley's Book of Knots" has some great examples in it as well. Thanks to Josh for the images of his fine work!

Heavy duty sailor's knife and sheath for cleaving rope 

Rope mat ready to put on a step to prevent slipping

Ditty bag and lanyard

Sewing palm, needle case and folding knife 

Seam rubber and fid lying on a hammock 

Hammock clew

 Needle case and detail

Working a knot loose with a marlin spike

Friday, March 24

History Podcast

Mark Jessop of the ‘Wars of Coalition’ website recently interviewed the Acasta’s Albert Roberts about his two impressions (ship's doctor and Bosun), the pursuit of authenticity, and other reenactment interests... 

He also created this smashing illustration of Mr. Hollybrass for the occasion, give it a listen!

Thursday, March 23

The Trial of William Bradford

The Old Bailey, 1808
1097. WILLIAM BRADFORD was indicted for that he, on the 3rd of June , at St. Mary Le Strand , feloniously did falsely make, forge, and counterfeit, a certain bill of exchange , to the tenor and effect following, (that is to say,)

"868 l. 9 s. 6 d. Sterling,
"His Majesty's ship Acasta, 27th of March, 1815.
"GENTLEMAN, Thirty days after sight of this my first of exchange, my second and third of same tenor, unpaid, please to pay unto Mr. Jonathan Gaine , or order, the sum of eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds nine shillings and sixpence sterling, for value received in provisions, purchased for the use of his Majesty's ships, Acasta, Newcastle and Leander, as per vouchers, to be transmitted by,
"Your humble servant,
"The Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty's Navy, London."
"I do hereby certify that the above bill is drawn for the services therein expressed, and by my order,
"A. R. KERR, Captain."
With intention to defraud our Sovereign Lord the King, against the statute.

SECOND COUNT. For feloniously uttering and publishing as true a like forged bill of exchange, with the like intent.

THIRD & FOURTH COUNTS. The same as the two former, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud John Clark Searle , esq. George Philip Towry , esq. Nicholas Brown , esq. Thomas Welch , esq. John Aubin , esq. Frederick Edgecumbe . esq. and Robert William Hay , esq. Commissioners for victualling his Majesty's Navy .

FIFTH & SIXTH COUNTS. The same, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud Alexander Robert Kerr .

SEVENTH & EIGHTH COUNTS. The same, only stating the prisoner's intent to be to defraud John Trevaston .

NINTH COUNT. That he having in his custody and possession a bill of exchange as described in the first count, feloniously did falsely make, &c. upon the said bill of exchange, an indorsement thereof, as follows, (that is to say,)

"G. Guy" with intention to defraud our Lord the King.

TENTH COUNT. That he having in his custody and possession a like bill of exchange, upon which was a like forged indorsement thereof, feloniously did utter and publish as true the said forged indorsement of the said bill of exchange, with the like intention, he knowing it to forged, against the statute.

ELEVENTH & TWELVETH COUNTS. The same as the ninth and tenth, only with intent to defraud the persons named in the third and fourth counts, viz. The Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty's Navy.

THIRTEENTH & FOURTEENTH COUNTS. Only with intenth to defraud Alexander Robert Kerr.

FIFTEENTH & SIXTEENTH COUNTS. The same, only with intent to defraud John Trevaston .

SIXTEEN OTHER COUNTS. The same as the former sixteen other counts, only in setting forth the bill of exchange putting
"perv hers," instead of
"per vouchers" and
"Commissioners," instead of

SIXTEEN OTHER COUNTS The same as the first sixteen Counts, only in setting forth the bill of exchange, putting
"dates" instead of

SIXTEEN OTHER COUNTS. The same as the second sixteen counts, only in setting forth the bill of exchange, put
"dates" instead of

WILLIAM BOWKER . I am a clerk in the bill department at the Victualling Office, Somerset House. When bills are drawn by his Majesty's officers, they are left in a box at the office for acceptance. (Forged bill put into the hands of the witness.) I look at this, and remember to have found it in the the box, as I described, on the 2nd of June. I find an entry made upon it, of
"the 3rd of June," which entry I made myself. (Reads.)

"On the 3rd of June, ordered to be accepted from the 2nd of June, and charged as interest against Captain Kerr." This entry is made upon the bill for the purpose of ascertaining whether an examination is made to see whether the duplicate and triplicate are paid. There is another
"not paid," and my initials,
"W. B." are affixed to those words; there are also the initials
"T. R." which I believe to be the initials of Mr. Richardson; he checks my examination, and these initials are indicative of his check,
"W. Gosling, ordered to be accepted," is also written on the bill; that is his hand writing; I have also,
"5th of June, V. O." I believe that to be Mr. Evitson's writing. - No; I am corrected; it is not so.

- HOLDFORD. I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. I look at the forged bill, and see
"5th of June, V. O. 1147." V. O. means Victualling Office; the last means that it is registered on the 5th of June, and that the number of the entry is 1147.

JOHN EVITSON . I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. I look at the forged bill, and see my initials on it. I wrote them for the purpose of signifying that I checked it off; I mean by that, that I had heard the case read off against the bill.

CHARLES SMITH . I am also a clerk in the Victualling Office. (Turning to his book.) I have an entry of the delivery of a bill, on the 13th of June; it is

"on the 13th of June, to George Williams, for George Guy , 7, Montague-street, Russell-square." That entry refers to the bill No. 1147, registered 5th of June, the amount eight hundred and sixty eight pounds nine shillings and sixpence. (Forged bill put into the hand of the witness.) I think that is the bill. By the entry in my book, I am enabled to say, that I delivered the bill to a person named George Williams , for Mr. Guy; that is, that the person who came for the bill called himself Williams, and said he came from Mr. Guy.

RICHARD BOWER. I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. It is my business to deliver out what is termed the case.

LORD ELLENBOROUGH. Then the case is a proecipe to the cashier, for the payment of the bill.
Mr. Attorney General. Yes. Richard Bower . (Reads.)

"Case, 5th of June, date of assignment, 4th of July." I mean by the date of assignment, the date for the order for payment. (Continues to read.)

"eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds nine shillings and sixpence, bill delivered on the 5th of July, to George Williams, for George Guy , 7, Montague-place, Russell-square." The latter part of the entry enables me to say that the person who called for the bill, called himself George Williams , and said he came from George Guy . (Forged bill and case thereof, put into the hands of the witness.) There are the bill and case to which my entry relates; I annexed the bill to the case, and delivered them to Williams.

CHARLES TWEDIE . I am cashier of the Victualling Office. (Bill and case thereof, put into the hands of the witness.) That bill and its case were delivered to me for payment. on the 5th of July last; I recollect that it was past two o'clock considerable; that was after the hour of business, which closes at two. I recollect a reason for my giving a draft; the person who brought the bill said it would be a matter of consequence, as he came a considerable distance. I accordingly paid him with this draft upon the Bank of England. (Producing the draft.) The name of " George Williams ," is on the back of the bill; that is the name of the person who brought the bill, and by whom, by that means it was discharged.
Mr. Attorney General. Then John Nokes brings his bill to you, and you having given him a draft upon the Bank of England for the amount, he puts his name upon the back of it, and by that means discharges it - A. Exactly so.

Q. I observe that there is an endorsement on the back of the draft
" George Williams " - 
A. I did not see it then.

Q. Was it written at your office - 
A. I know nothing at all about it.

GEORGE JAMES WILLIAMS . I am in the employ of the East India Company, as a rider in the home department. I have been acquainted with the prisoner for the last three years. He called at my father's house, and requested I would call at Somerset House to do a little business for him; he told me to come between twelve and two. I went. He gave me a particular bill, and told me to go to a certain apartment for a bill; he pointed out the particular apartment to which I was to go; he gave me some instructions; he told me to say I came from Mr. George Guy , Montague place, Russel square. He assigned as a reason for his not doing this, that he, being a clerk in Somerset House, was not allowed to do agency business. He said, the bill had been sent to him by a friend, a lieuteuant, in the Country. He shewed me a part of a letter, which had an import to that effect. So instructed, I went to the place which he directed me; I was asked the questions which he pre-supposed to me that I should be asked, and I gave the directed answers. I got the bill; I gave my name in, George Williams , for George Guy ; the bill then purported to be accepted. (Forged bill put into the hands of the witness.) That is the bill; my signature is affixed to it, which I did when Mr. Twedie gave me the draft upon the Bank of England for the payment of the amount. When I so received the bill, I gave it to Bradford; he, and I, then walked into the City together; then we parted. He called upon me, on the 5th of July, at my father's house, and requested I would call upon him that day at Somerset House, before two o'clock. I went accordingly to his request. He then gave me that bill, and directed me to go into a certain apartment for a case. I did not then know what the case meant. He pointed out the appartment. I went, and gave in the bill, and got it back affixed to the case; the bill was wafered to the case. (Case put into the hands of the witness.) That is the case to which the bill was wafered when delivered to me. I was then directed by the gentleman from whom I got it, to go to Mr. Twedie, but I went to the prisoner, who accompanied me to the outside of the door of Mr. Twedie's office, and as it was past two o'clock, directed me, if Mr. Twedie should object to pay the bill on account of its being past the hour of business, to say, he would oblige me by paying it at that time, as I came a considerable distance. I then went to Mr. Twedie; he made the objection, on account of its being past two o'clock; I made the directed reply, and received the draft from Mr. Twedie to prevent my having the trouble of calling again. On my coming out, Bradford was in the hall, and I gave him the check.

Q. What is on the back of the draft, (putting the draft into the hands of the witness,) 
- A."Received for George Guy, 7, Montague place, Russel square. George Williams." When I delivered that draft to the prisoner, no such writing as that was upon it. There is no part of that my hand writing. We then went to the Bank together; I saw him write something upon a piece of paper, which I supposed was the description of the notes he wished the check to be paid in; I remember he received a five hundred pound note, for I heard the clerk say what notes he wanted. After he was paid, we walked together as far as the end of Leadenhall-street, and there we parted. I never have received any gratuity or recompence in any way whatever for this business which I transacted for the prisoner.

Cross examined by Mr. Alley. I am positive I received the bill in Somerset House, and not in the City. I believe this bill to be the same I left for acceptance; it was out of my possession for a considerable time, from the middle of June to the 5th of July; but under all circumstances, I believe it to be the same.
Be-examined by Mr. Attorney General. When I delivered the bill to the prisoner after I received it again, he did not make any objection that it was not the same bill.

PETER BENTLEY. I am a clerk in the Bank of England. (Check put into the hands of the witness.) On the 5th of July last, that check was entered for payment; I look at the back of it, and by that means am enabled to say that it was presented on the 5th of July; on its being presented, I requested the person who presented it, to write a receipt on the back of it, as is customary; that person did so, and I gave him an order, a voucher on the cashier for payment. I hold in my hand the order I gave the presenter for eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds, and a separate order for nine shillings and sixpence.

THOMAS WRAGG . I am pay clerk to the Bank. On the 5th of July, an order was sent to me by the last witness, for payment of eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds; the bank notes in which I paid it were checked by Mr. Bonquet.

JAMES JOHN BONQUET . I checked the notes which were paid by the last witness, in satisfaction for that draft; among others, I paid a five hundred pound note, dated the 20th of June, 1815, and numbered 5327; also a twenty pound note, dated 26th of May, 1815, number 3747, and also a ten-pound note, dated 7th of June, 1815, number, 12,553; I also paid two hundred pound notes; I paid to the amount of eight hundred and sixty-eight pounds.

MARY HEDGES. My husband keeps a public-house, called the Nelson, in Nelson-street, Hackney road.

Q. Do you know the prisoner at the bar - 
A. Yes. I recollect his calling upon me some time in the month of August last, to pay a small debt he owed, not exceeding four shillings; he paid it in a twenty-pound note, which he endorsed with his name, and which endorsement, I subscribed,
"at Mr. Sharp," that being the place where the prisoner lodged.
(Bank of England note for the payment of twenty-pounds, number 3747, was here put into the hands of the witness.)

Q. Is that the note - 
A. It is, I believe.

JOHN VAUGHAN . I am a journeyman to Mr. Fielding, pawnbroker, of Whitechapel. I recollect a person coming to our house, on the 5th of July, in the present year, to redeem a silver watch, which had been pledged; the principal and interest of which amounted to one pound nine shillings and seven pence; he tendered in payment this note, (producing a note,) which I changed, deducting the amount, and delivering him the watch, together with the change; he put on the front of the note, Mr. Smith, 7, Oxford street, Whitechapel, and that was the name in which the watch was pledged; (turning to a book.) The number of the watch was 2698, and the name of the watch maker was James Rollinson , London.

Cross examined by Mr. Alley. 
Q. When was that name and number entered in that book - 
A. On the day the watch was pledged.

Q. Who made the entry? did you - 
A. No.

Q. Is the person here who did make it - 
A. No.

Mr. Alley. Then my lord, I submit that this will not do.

COURT. Q. To Vaughan. Did he describe the watch? did he produce a duplicate - 
A. Yes, and I gave him that watch for it. (Both duplicates produced.)

Mr. Attorney General. The reason it is called a duplicate, is this; two tickets are made out, one is affixed to the article pledged, the other, which is a facsimile of it, is delivered to the pawner, who upon wishing to redeem the pledge, presents you that ticket; you then have recourse to the pledge; on your observing a correspondence, between the ticket given you and the duplicate on the back of the pledge, you know it to be the same, and deliver it to the pawner, on the payment of the principal and interest - A. Exactly so.

Q. Was this done in the present instance - 
A. Yes.


Mr. Abbot. Then what was that note - 
A. A ten pound note, number 12,555, 7th of June, 1815.
(Watch produced to witness, by Vickery, the officer.)

Q. Is that the watch of which you have been speaking - 
A. Yes.

JOHN VICKERY . I am an officer. I saw the prisoner in custody after he was apprehended. He directed me to go to his father-in-law's, Mr. Sharp's, No. 10, Nelson street, Hackney-road; he told me, I should find the five hundred pound note and the two one hundred pound notes in a drawer under a press bedstead, in the front room, in which he lodged, at his father-in-law's house; he said, the notes were wrapped up in a piece of paper, under a quantity of old newspapers. This is the five hundred pound note in my hand, which I found as he directed, and the place answered in every respect his description. It is a five hundred pound note. (read)
"No. 5327, dated 20th of June, 1815." The watch was produced to me by Mr. Sharp; I had my reasons for asking for it.

ALEXANDER ROBERT KERR . I commanded his Majesty's ship Acasta . On the 27th of March, she was between three and four hundred miles to the Windward of Barbadoes; I was then on board; I never received any supplies on the 27th of March; it is the custom of the service when provisions are required, for the purser to draw a bill upon the Commissioners for Victualling his Majesty's Navy, at the bottom of which bill, I signify that it is well and duly drawn, for the consideration therein mentioned. (Forged bill put into the hands of the witness.) The name of our purser is Trevaston; the signature of this bill,

" John Trevaston ," is not his hand writing.

JOHN TREVASTON . I am purser of his Majesty's ship Acasta; that vessel was at Say on the 27th of March. This signature affixed to the bill in question, "A. R. Kerr," is not his hand writing.

JOHN ROSS . I was acting lieutenant of his Majesty's ship Acasta. I have examined the signatures "John Trevarton and A. R. Kerr," affixed to this bill. I am well acquainted with Captain Kerr's and Mr. Trevarton's hand writings, and neither the one nor the other of these signatures is either of their hand writings.

________ TULLY. I have had various opportunities of observing Captain Kerr and Mr. Trevarton write their signatures. Neither of these names written on this bill is either of their hand writings.

[Special Research note: The above named Mr. Tully (with no first name given in the Old Bailey records) could potentially be the Acting Master John Tully as originally learned about in a REAL CREW post made Dec. 1st 2014. His biography states that he served aboard "Acasta 40, Capt. Alex. Robt. Kerr, until presented, in Aug. 1815, with a Lieutenant's commission…", so the timing would be right, not to mention as the acting master, Tully WOULD have had 'various opportunities' to observe the Captain and Purser sign their names.  --Albert]

MARY SHARP . The officer, Vickery. came to my apartments for a watch; it was Mr. Bradford's watch; he used not constantly to wear it about his person. I saw the officer search the drawer under the bedstead Mr. Bradford occupied the apartment where that drawer was, in which the note was found. Mr. Bradford slept in that room the night previous, and went out at the usual hour in the morning.

THOMAS MOORE . I am a clerk in the Victualling Office. The prisoner sits in the next desk to me; I have known him and his hand writing for three years. I look at the indorsement on the order for payment, and the words,

"received. 5th of July, George Williams, for George Guy ," are the prisoner's hand writing.
Mr. Alley. Objected that in this indictment, in setting forth the bill, stated,

"that the bill was for provisions purchased for the use of his Majesty's ship Acasta. Newcastle, and Leander, as per vouchers, to be transmitted by, &c" Now, on the face of the bill, no such word

"as vouchers," occured; for there was only

"as" of some letter or other, and the letters

"hers," and therefore that statement was not maintained.

LORD ELLENBOROUGH. This has been the case by the application of a wafer, and I don't think it is a defect at all. I am endeavouring to find a word of which this can be a fragment consistent with the context, and there is no other word than "vouchers." Without that, it would be rank nonsense.

Prisoner's Defence. I received the bill from Guy.

Eight respectable witnesses gave the prisoner a good, character for integrity and assiduity in his official duties for five years previous.

GUILTY - DEATH , aged 23.

First Middlesex Jury, before Lord Ellenborough.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (, version 7.0, 22 February 2014),
October 1815, trial of WILLIAM BRADFORD (t18151025-116).

Wednesday, March 22

From the London Gazette

Whitehall, June 4, 1815.

HIS Royal Highness the Prince Regent, acting in the name and on the behalf of His Majesty, has been graciously pleased to nominate and appoint the undermentioned Officers, belonging to His Majesty's Naval and Military Forces, to be Companions of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, in conformity with the ordinance relating to the third class of the said Order, as published in the London Gazette of the 2d of January 1815 :

Captain Alexander Robert Kerr, Royal Navy.
Commander of HMS Acasta from March 1811 until September 12, 1815

The original page from the London Gazette can be viewed as a PDF HERE.

Tuesday, March 21

Peter Henwood, Purser

Just when we thought we couldn't possibly find any more REAL CREW that served aboard the Acasta, the internet proved us wrong.

Acasta Purser Henwood's actual medal
Lot 331
Date of Auction: 19th - 21st June 2013
Sold for £4,000
Estimate: £3,000 - £3,500

Naval General Service 1793-1840, 2 clasps, Camperdown, St. Domingo (Peter Henwood, Purser) small edge bruise, otherwise good very fine £3000-3500

Peter Henwood is confirmed on the rolls as a Clerk aboard H.M.S. Veteran at Camperdown, and as Purser aboard H.M.S. Acasta at St Domingo.

Peter Henwood was born in 1769 and joined the Navy as a Clerk in 1797 aboard H.M.S. Veteran, in which ship he was present at the battle of Camperdown. For his part in the battle Henwood was promoted to Purser in January 1798, having served as Clerk for only seven months, and in this capacity joined H.M.S. Tisiphone. He joined H.M.S. Acasta as Purser in July 1802 and was still serving in this ship at the battle of St Domingo in February 1806. He was paid off from Acasta in September 1806 and served subsequently aboard the Achille, L’Alexandre, and Spencer, in which last ship he served from August 1807 until April 1815, when he was paid off and shortly afterwards placed on half-pay. He had been on active service for nearly 18 years and was then aged 46.

Peter Henwood died in 1851.

Sold with some research and copies of relevant entries in the Admiralty rolls.

From: Dix Noonan Webb auction catalogue June 2013
and: Naval General Service Medal Roll 1793-1840 by Kenneth Douglas Morris


A listing of the ships and men at the Battle of Camperdown, from: The United Service Magazine, Part 1 H. Colburn, 1844 page 86

Monday, March 20

Mr. Pell, the Mid with One Leg

Acasta Midshipman under Capt. Wood, c.1806, aged 18 years.

Sir Watkin Owen Pell, born in 1788, is son of Sam. Pell, Esq., of Sywell Hall, co. Northampton, by the daughter of Owen Owen, Esq., of Llaneyher, co. Denbigh.

This officer entered the Navy, in April, 1799, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Loire 38, Capt. Jas. Newman; and on 6 Feb. 1800 was deprived of his left leg while assisting, in company with the Danae 20, and Fairy, Harpy, and Railleur sloops, at the capture of the French 38-gun frigate Pallas, under the heavy fire of a battery on one of the Seven Islands. Being in consequence obliged to leave his ship, he did not again go afloat until Jan. 1802. He then rejoined Capt. Newman, as Midshipman, on board the Loire; and on 11 Nov. 1806, after a servitude of four years and a half on the Home and West India stations in the Acasta 40, Capt. Jas. Athol Wood, Veteran 64, and Vanguard 74, both commanded by Capt. J. N. Newman, Pompee 74, Capt. Rich. Dacres, and Virginie 38, Capt. Edw. Brace, he was made Lieutenant into the Mercury 28, Capts. Chas. Pelly, Jas. Alex. Gordon, and Hon. Henry Duncan, employed at first at Bermuda and Newfoundland, and afterwards in the Mediterranean.


Friday, March 17

The 7 Worst Things About Being a Reenactor

Every hobby has its own quirky PROS and CONS, historical reenacting is no exception. While there are a LOT of delightful PROS, there are plenty of CONS as well...

...Here are the 7 worst things about being a reenactor:

For a weekend event, I need almost an entire day to cram all my clothing and gear into the car and another day to get it all unpacked when I get home. I'm fortunate in that I have a mini van with a little more space, but even then there's the hassle of dragging the heavy seats out of the back to make room. It can turn a Saturday/Sunday event into a Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday event.

Why must it be a thousand degrees outside when you have to wear a wool coat on top of other thick layers of clothing? Why must it begin raining right as it's time for the battle reenactment to start? Or it starts raining right before it's time to start packing your canvas? Or it's crazy cold outside when you didn't pack appropriate clothing for it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fair weather reenactor. I am aware that it was occasionally hot/cold/rainy in the past, but yikes!

It can only mean one thing... God hates reenactors.

We've covered these in a previous post... you know the ones I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong, I love working with the public, but these can wear on a body after repeated application.

I love seeing new places and attending events at far flung historic sites... but yikes I get tired of the hours in the car! I have worn a hole in the carpet where the heel of my gas foot goes and mashed a dent in my armrest where my elbow sits. I've worn through oil and tires and put a zillion miles on my poor car in the pursuit of my beloved hobby. I know reenactors who have burned up tires, engines and entire cars in their travels. A moment of silence for our four-wheeled friends who have lost their lives in the tireless pursuit of our hobby.

I'm the worst about it in the world. I goto an event to present or demo for the public, or with some other agenda, and I'm so busy all weekend that I completely forget to eat or drink. Or it's nasty hot and I'm just too sweaty to even consider food of any sort. Then to compound the problem, when the public leaves there's a rum ration issued to the unit or an adult beverage offered to me on an empty stomach.

Crash starvation + Alcohol = I'm missing colors on Sunday morning

For some years I labored under the mistaken impression that cliques went away after high school, SPOILER ALERT... they do not. 

North, South, Indians, Slaves, English, French, American, Militia, Army, Navy, Longhunters, Stitch Nazis, Librarians, Farbs, Mainstreamers, Progressives, Old-timers, Spirit of 76ers, Costumers, Steampunks, Quebecois, Western, Performers, Presenters, Demonstrators, Craftsmen, Research hoarders, Doctors and Surgeons, Officers, NCOs, you name it.

In the end we're all doing roughly the same thing in our own way, giving the public a glimpse of life in the 'old-timey' days while trying to learn and experience some aspect of history for ourselves. Play nice out there kids!

I already don't enjoy using strange toilets. But I REALLY don't enjoy using strange PUBLIC toilets. Then, put that strange public toilet in a cramped, outdoor blue plastic booth while wearing my 'funny clothes'... and it is my ultimate recipe for discomfort. There are so many layers of clothing between you and your eventual goal that it is the least graceful and practical thing you can do at an event.  

I have been known to avoid port-a-potties like the plague unless I'm just absolutely desperate. And even IF I decide to make use of one, I usually try to use the 'handicapped' potty because they're so much bigger than the regular ones, there's generally enough room to take off and hang up the five layers of clothing between me and the plastic seat. God forbid my clothing be allowed to touch any of the mysterious and fetid fluids that lurk on any and ALL of the potty's surfaces.

Now, a tale that the lovely Mrs. Roberts twisted my arm to make me include.

A year or so ago, I was at a nice little event whose name I won't mention (but it rhymes with 'Long Run Massacre') and I had avoided the port-o-johns all weekend and finally was beside myself with desperation. So I picked out one that was partially obscured from public by the treeline. At least the event coordinators had made an attempt to hide them a little bit.

I enter and immediately realize this is going to be an unpleasant visit. The little blue booth was full in the hot afternoon sun and had been baking there for several hours. To make matters worse, it would seem that everyone else had used it before me, leaving it a complete wreck!

There were no interior hooks for me to hang my waistcoat etc from, so I very carefully folded it up and placed it precariously on a little shelf attached to the exhaust pipe. Then, I very carefully got myself arranged so as to do my duty (as it were). I was mindful the entire time not to allow my breeches to touch the wet floor.

Once my transaction was complete, I stand to pull up my breeches. But because of the small size of the little potty and the awkward angle at which I had to stand in order to keep my breeches from touching the floor. I was having a hard time. Then the perfect storm occurred, Leather soled period repro boots met slick plastic floor, awkward crouching angle met wonky balancing act center of gravity. I sliped forward and banged my head on the plastic door then fell in a half-clothed crumple onto the wet floor.

Needless to say, the scream that issued forth from the interior of that little blue hell must have sounded like a middle school girl.
Be sure to check out this other list of interest:

That does it for this reenactor list. If you have enjoyed reading this or the other adventures of the 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 very bottom of the page that will allow you to join.

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Thanks for reading!

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