Tuesday, October 31

Acasta in the News


Excerpt from 'The Sussex Weekly Advertiser; Or, Lewes and  Brighthelmston Journal' 30/11/1812
Printer / Publisher:  William and Arthur Lee   Volume Number: LXIV    Issue Number: 3449 

Monday, October 30

Naval Medals


Admiralty Office, 25th January, 1849.

The Naval Medals prepared according to Her Majesty's gracious commands being now ready for distribution, Claimants, whether Officers or Seamen, and Marines, and Soldiers serving as Marines, and others, who served in any of the Ships hereafter named, and in the Actions specified, may give their names to the Staff Officers of Pensioners in the different Districts of the United Kingdom in which they reside, who will forward to the Admiralty lists of such Applicants on the 1st and 15th of every month (Sundays excepted), when their respective Medals will be remitted to the Staff Ofiicers for distribution. Officers may apply at the Admiralty, Whitehall, for their Medals, either personally, or by any known Navy Agent, or Banker, on and after the 15th February, between the hours of 12 and 3 o'clock.

It will be required of all applicants to make it clear to the Issuing Officer that they do not personate deceased Seamen, Marines, &c.

N.B.—The Medals awarded under the Gazette Notice of 1st June, 1847, and for which the claims were preferred in the same year, will be first issued.
By Command of their Lordships,
W. A. B. HAMILTON.
We deliver the following Lists specifying the Ships and the Battles for which, according to Her Majesty's gracious commands, and in compliance with the instructions of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, Medals have been awarded to the sui-viving Officers, Seameni, and Marines (and Soldiers who served as Marines) who were present in any successful action which at tlie time received the marked approbation of the Admiralty, as shown by the official records of the promotion granted ia compliment to each occasion.
(Signed)
T. BYAM MARTIN, Admiral
T. BLADEN CAPEL, Admiral.
JAMES A. GORDON, Rear-Admiral.

Friday, October 27

Our Material Culture

We have created a good deal of items beyond just the clothing we wear for the Acasta in order to create the illusion of the early 19th Century and educate the public. Contained herein are images of some of the extra bits and bobs we have created to go along with our naval impressions.

Click any image to enlarge it.



The Bill of Fare, period repro newspapers and the signage to go along with our tented tavern, 'Lord Nelson's Arms'. Although we frequently joke that perhaps the name should have been 'Lord Nelson's ARM'.


We have created a veritable period post office populated with custom made, reproduction postage stamps!



Hand sewn canvas with custom designed and hand painted graphics for our recruitment banner!



A sailor's toolbox with his name hand painted on the side filled with custom items.


Hand painted hat ribbons bearing the ship's name for the sailors.


Letters and documents to fill pockets and laptop desks!


The dreaded Blue Pill! We roll our own and the sailors and public can even ingest them. Spoiler Alert: they're just colored dough allowed to harden.


Letters from home and from the Admiralty written by each Acasta member,
and sometimes even by YOU the reader! 


The Mail Packet itself, hand painted on canvas to look stained and aged with wear and use. 


Broadsides of all sorts based on the bills of the period. 






Custom designed and hand painted graphics for the Bosun's hat based
on graphics and designs of the era.





Tons of beautiful rope and knotwork!

Thursday, October 26

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 In January of 2015. 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!"

Wednesday, October 25

A Recollection of Young Teazer II

As it seemed that there would be a good deal of time before we would be able to intercept the American privateer, whose identity it would seem was generally believed to be Young Teazer, the order was given for hands to breakfast, I went below and Vasserman brought me coffee. Afterward, Reid and I made morning Sick Call at the mainmast.

We treated the number of ulcers and bruises to be expected from a crew so long exposed to the elements and the wet. The saltwater and handling of coarse rope is hard on the hands and feet of a sailor. The effected men formed a line for their treatments, but all eyes were distracted by the sails on the horizon as we went about our work.

"She can't be caught that one." said Mr. Rutherford as he stepped forward, hands held out to expose his neglected sores.

"What's that?" asked I looking up from my chest, removing the bottle of salve.

"The Young Teazer that is Sir," says Rutherford, "she's crafty, raised our own colours in Halifax Harbour to escape capture, they didn't even know she was there 'til she was long gone. She'll not be taken easy."

"Mister Rutherford," answers I, "I'm certain the Captain would not appreciate such stuff and nonsense. Regardless of who she is, it is only a ship, and any ship can be captured if pursued long enough by the right Captain."

"Oh yes sir, I didn't mean no disrespect to Captain Freymann or nothin'. Just a bit of idle talk..."

"No, I am certain you did not. As for these hands," I scolded whilst applying the salve liberally, "you should not have waited so long before you brought these sores to my attention. Neglect on this order is akin to rendering yourself unfit Mister Rutherford. I shall wrap them tightly and suggest you wear gloves for several days while on duty. Keep them as dry as possible when off duty."

"Y-yes sir." Rutherford saluted with a freshly bandaged appendage.

Once I was certain that my mates had things in hand, I paid my two patients belowdecks their forenoon visit.

Downie's condition seems generally improved since his emetic, but I suspect that my greatest treatment came in the form of stopping his grog. His speech is clear and his much complained of 'headache' abated. If he remains in this manner for the remainder of the day, I shall release him back to duty.

Ford's fever is down from yesterday and he seems to have regained some of his appetite.

At noon, I rejoined the officers on the Quarterdeck to have another look through my glass at the Wasp and her quarry. They were a great distance off, nearly over the horizon. Resigning myself that it would be a long chase, I went below to have something more substantial to eat.

Tuesday, October 24

A Recollection of Young Teazer


At dawn, I was awakened by the drumming To Quarters, wherein Mr. Reid, Mr. Vasserman and I made ready the surgery. Afterward, it was pointed out to me by Vasserman that I had neglected to fix my cravat, and he straightened and tied it for me. Only then did I venture up on deck to ascertain the situation fully.

The men seemed to be making the proper amount of haste in readying their stations in this ungodly hour, several nearly knocking me to down whilst rounding corners quickly.

The Acasta had been off Cape Sable some distance with Capt. Oliver's HMS Valiant through the night. I bid the officers good morning and joined them in having a look at the excitement through my glass. The lookout had spotted His Majesty's Sloop Wasp in pursuit of and American vessel. I could see them both fairly clear as they came around the area the officers referred to as 'Baron Bank'. There behind the Wasp's prey flew the American flag.

"Does anyone know who that American vessel is?" queried I, still watching it.

"Looks to be 'Young Teazer' Doctor, make note of the 'Alligator' that makes up her figurehead."

I scarcely had the heart to mention that their figurehead looked nothing like the Alligators I'd seen drawings of.

I turned my eye over to the nearby Valiant, and through my glass I could espy Capt. Oliver and his officers watching the Wasp's approach from their own quarterdeck. Through my lens, Oliver lowered his own telescope and began to silently issue orders to his men. The vague sound of distant and incoherent shouting could be made out across the water between the Acasta and the Valiant.

There came a great shouting on the Quarterdeck as orders were giv'n and repeated and then passed down the chain of command to give chase.

To be continued...

Monday, October 23

ROYAL TARS, A Book Review

A short review by Tony Gerard - 

"Royal Tars- The Lower Deck of the Royal Navy 875-1850" by Brain Lavery

When I asked about this book way back in April, Patrick Schifferdecker's response "...I tend to shy away from books that cover broad swaths of time" was prophetic. The book covers too much to be of any great value for a re-enactor doing a late 18th early 19th century impression. It does have a chapter on the time period from 1803-15, but like so many other authors Lavery tends to go too deeply into the political and military Big Picture and not deeply enough into the small picture of actual life in the lower decks for my taste. I'm not saying the book was bad, just not what I wanted.

My opinion- get "Jack Tar" by Roy and Lesley Adkins instead.