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

Armament
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

Leeches


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, 
Baptiste

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!


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

Footnote
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



 from: THE NEW NAVY LIST CHARLES HAULTAIN, K.H. 1844 page 105


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

PELL.
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.

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.

Thursday, March 16

John Lechmere, aged 13 years

LECHMERE.
Acasta Midshipman under Capt. Dunn, 1806, aged 13 years.

John Lechmere, born 9 Jan. 1793, is eldest surviving son of the late Vice-Admiral Wm. Lechmere, of Steeple Aston, co. Wilts, by Elizabeth Dashwood, youngest daughter of Sir John Dashwood King, Bart., of West Wycombe, co. Bucks; younger brother of Commander Chas. Lechmere, R.N. (1815), who died on board H.M.S. Leven 9 Nov. 1822; brother-in-law of the present Lord de Saumarez and a distant cousin of the late Lieut. Edm. Lechmere, R.N.

This officer entered the Navy, in April, 1805, as Midshipman, on board the Thunderer 74, commanded by his father ; after serving in which ship in Sir Robt. Calder's action he was lent, in time to participate in the battle of Trafalgar, to the Orion 74, Capt. Edw. Codrington. In Sept. 1806, having during the last few months been again employed with Capt. Lechmere in the Prince 98, and with Capt. Rich. Dalling Dunn in the Acasta 40, he joined the Royal George 100, flag-ship of Sir John Thos. Duckworth, with whom, in Feb. 1807, he passed the Dardanells. In May, 1809, he followed the same Admiral into the San Josef 110; and between Oct. in that year and Dec. 1811 he served, we find, on the Cape of Good Hope, Lisbon, and Baltic stations, in the Inconstant 36, Capt. Edw. Stirling Dickson, Fokmidable 98, Capt. Jas. Nicoll Morris, and Ckesst 74, Capt. Chas. Dudley Pater. On 24 of the month last mentioned Mr. Lechmere was on board the Grasshopper 18, Capt. Henry Fanshawe, when that vessel, to avoid being lost, as was her consort the Hebo 74, surrendered to the Dutch fleet in the Texel. He accordingly remained a prisoner until the peace of 1814, when he returned to England, and, on 3 Feb. 1815, was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

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, March 15

Adam Cuppage, Volunteer First Class.

CUPPAGE.
Acasta Volunteer First Class under Capt. Dunn, c.1805-6, aged 13 years.

Adam Cuppage, born 21 Nov. 1792, is second son of the late General Cuppage, of the Hon. E. 1. Co.'s service ; brother of Lieut.-Col. Cuppage, late of the 39th regiment ; and cousin of Capt. Wm. Cuppage, R.N.

This officer entered the Navy, 6 Jan. 1805, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Cyclops 20, Capt. Fras. Douglas, guard-ship off Lymington; joined next, for short periods, the Cracker gun-brig', Lieut.-Commander Wm. Henry Douglas, Thunderer 74, Capt. John Leohmere, and Repulse 74, Capt. Hon. Arthur Kaye Legge, employed in the Channel; and on ultimately proceeding to the West Indies in the ACASTA 40, Capt. Rich. Dalling Dunn, took an active part in the victory gained over the French, off St. Domingo, 6 Feb. 1806. Accompanying Capt. Dunn soon afterwards, as Midshipman, into the Royal George 100, flag-ship of Sir John Thos. Duckworth, he passed the Dardanells in Feb. 1807; and, on 27 of that month, served with the boats in a smart skirmish with the Turks on the island of Prota.

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.

Tuesday, March 14

In The News


The London Gazette 
Publication date:19 May 1818 
Issue:17361 
Page:913

Monday, March 13

John Wyatt Watling, aged 13 years

WATLING.
Acasta Midshipman under Capt. Fellowes/Wood, July 1802 - 1803, aged approx. 13 years.

John Wyatt Watling was born in 1789, at Leominster, CO. Hereford. He descends from the family of Sir Thos. Wyatt, who was beheaded in the reign of Queen Mary, for leading an insurgent force into London.

This officer (he had previously been in the merchant-service) entered the Navy 4 March, 1801, as Ordinary, on board the Veteran 64, Capt. Archibald Collingwood Dickson, and sailed shortly afterwards with the expedition against Copenhagen. On the memorable 2 of April, having rendezvoused in the launch on board the Elephant 74, bearing Lord Nelson's flag, he was successively employed in rendering assistance to the Bellona and Russel 74's, both which ships had grounded, also in towing the disabled Monarch out of action, and in taking possession of several of the prizes. He continued to serve in the Veteran in the capacity of Midshipman until July, 1802; and on then removing to the Acasta 40, Capts. Edw. Fellowes and Jas. Athol Wood, he sailed for the Mediterranean. He was subsequently, from Nov. 1803, until March, 1805, employed in the Goliath 74, Capt. Chas. Brisbane, and from the latter date until June, 1808, in the Iris 32 and Virginie of 46 guns and 281 men, both commanded by Capt. Edw. Brace. In the boats of the Goliath he aided, in the early part of 1804, in cutting out a French brig from under the protection of a national cutter of 10 guns, and of the powerful batteries at Sable d'Olonne; an affair in which the British sustained a loss of several men killed and wounded, including among the former a First-Lieutenant of Marines, Mr. Kent.

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.

Thursday, March 9

John Furneaux, aged 12 years



FURNEAUX.
Acasta Volunteer First Class under Capt. Dunn, 16 May, 1805, aged 12 years.

John Furneaux, born 27 April, 1793, at Swilly, Stoke Damerel, is third son of the late Rev. Jas. Furneaux ; grandson of Jas. Furneaux, Esq., R.N., many years First-Lieutenant to Hon. Rich. Byron; and grand-nephew of Capt. Tobias Furneaux, R.N., who commanded the Adventure, and accompanied Capt. Cook.

This officer entered the Navy, 16 May, 1805, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Acasta, 40, Capt. Rich. Dalling Dunn, and, after sharing in the pursuit of Jerome Buonaparte, and participating in the action off St. Domingo, successively joined, as Midshipman, the Royal George 100, and San Josef 110, bearing each the flag of Sir John Thos. Duckworth, under whom, in the Royal George, he received a severe wound in the left jaw at the passage of the Dardanells, 19 Feb. 1807.

  

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.