Friday, August 17

Acasta Anniversaries

A special post designed to celebrate our members that have been with us a while! It's THEIR dedication that helps to make Acasta the group that it is! These are the Four and Five year members...

Jim Apple's first event with us was the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY. 7/2013

Frank Jarboe's first event with us was the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY. 7/2013

Tony Gerard's first event with us was the Fair at New Boston 8/2013

James Vassermann's first event with us was the Fair at New Boston. 8/2013

Jake Book's first event with us was the Acasts's School of the Sailor in Louisville, KY. 1/2014

Steven Diatz's first event with us was the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY. 7/2014

Richard Stone's first event was Fort Bowyer 9/2014

David Hobbs's first event was Fort Bowyer 9/2014

Sam Linden's first event with us was the Fair at New Boston, 2014

Thursday, August 16

December 1814 Captures

Capt. Sir G. Collier of Leander
19 Dec 1814 - Leander sailed from Halifax bound off Boston, and on the 24th fell in with the Newcastle and Acasta.

22 Dec 1814 - Arab reported to the Leander, Newcastle and Acasta that the Constitution had sailed from Boston on the 17th inst. who departed in search of the US frigate.

28 Dec 1814 - the Leander, in company with the Newcastle and Acasta, captured the celebrated privateer Prince de Neufchatel.

Extract of the letter from Capt. Sir George Collier, of His Majesty's ship Leander 1815, Jan 28


I have the pleasure to acquaint you, that with the squadron under my orders, being in quest of the American ships of war, which escaped during the late gales from the Ports of Massachusetts, I had the good fortune, yesterday, at sunset, to capture the celebrated privateer, Prince of Neufchatel, hermaphrodite rigged, pierced for 22 guns, and having 18 mounted, six of which are long nine, and twelve pounders, and the rest twelve pounder carronades; measures 330 tons, with a crew of 130 men under the Command of Nicholas Millin, by birth a Frenchman and one of superior professional skill and enterprize. She sailed from Boston on the 21st inst. and is the completest vessel I have ever saw. The activity of the Captains of the Newcastle and Acasta cut off the chance of escape from this cruizer during a chase of ten hours, the wind blowing a hard gale… etc

G.R. Collier, Captain.

From the London Gazette
The captors of an enemy Ship of War, national warship, privateer or letter of marque, were entitled to a bounty known as HEAD MONEY; this allowed that £5 would be paid for every member of the enemy crew whose was aboard the prize at the commencement of the action.

The three documents here comprise the HEAD MONEY papers for the capture of the American Privateer Prince of Neufchatel during the War of 1812.

Before a claim could be placed for Head Money the vessel in question had to be condemned in an Admiralty Prize Court, a sworn statement had to be taken from the surviving members of the captured crew as to the number of men aboard.

Having obtained these documents the Prize Agent, acting for the captors, could forward his claim, as shown below.

The State of the Case of Messrs. Wm. Marsh & Rd. Creed and Mr. Edmd. Lockyer jointly and severally Thos. Collier Esq. and Messrs. James Sykes and James Sykes jun. claiming payment of Bounty Money of £5 per Head for one hundred and thirteen Men belonging to the Prince of Neufchatel American Ship of War, which was taken on the 28th. December 1814 by H Ma. Ships Leander, Newcastle and Acasta commanded by Sir Geo. Collier, Alex. Rob. Kerr and the Right Honourable George Stuart 
They have produced
  • Proof of Condemnation of the said American Ship of War The Prince of Neufchatel in the High Court of Admiralty.
  • A Certificate of the number of Men above mentioned, grounded on Affidavits made before a master Extraordinary in the High Court of Chancery
  • Letters of Attorney from the Commanders Officers and Companies of the Ships appointing them their Agents
  • Lists of the said Ship's Companies certified as usual.
The Vouchers produced, being conformable to what are required by Act of Parliament, let a Bill be made out for the Head Money claimed.

[The supporting documents are the extract of the sentence of condemnation, given below, followed by the sworn statements from the officers of the Prince of Neufchatel as to the number of crew she carried.]

Extracted from the Registry of His Majesty's High Court of Admiralty of England. 

On Friday the forth day of march in the Year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifteen before the Right Honourable Sir William Scott, Knight, Doctor of Laws, Lieutenant of the High Court of Admiralty of England, and in the same Court Official Principal and Commissary General and Special and President Judge thereof, and also to hear and determine all and all manner of Causes and Complaints as to Ships and Goods seized and taken as Prize specially constituted and appointed in the Common Hall of Doctors Commons London present James Farquhar one of the Deputy Registrars

Nicholas Millin Commander 

Our Sovereign Lord the King against the said Ship her Tackle Apparel & Furniture and the Arms Stores and Ammunition therein taken by His Majesty's Ship Leander, Sir George Collier Bart, Commander in Company with His Majesty's Ship Newcastle and Frigate Acasta and brought to Penzance and against all persons in general.

In pain of Parties cited thrice called and not appearing Bishop [Acting for the Crown] gave the usual Allegation which in like pain the Judge at his Petition admitted and assigned the Cause for Sentence on the first and second assignations immediately, and having heard the Proofs read, on Motion of His Majesty's Advocate by Interlocutory Decree pronounced the said Ship her Tackle Apparel & Furniture, Arms Stores and Ammunition to have belonged at the time of the Capture & Seizure thereof to Enemies of the Crown of Great Britain and as such or otherwise subject and liable to Confiscation, and condemned the same as good and lawful Prize taken by His Majesty's Ship Leander Sir George Collier Knight Commander in Company with His Majesty's Ship Newcastle and Frigate Acasta
And moreover pronounced the said Ship to have been a Ship of War in the Service of the Enemy, and that there were alive and on board the same at the commencement of the Engagement in which the same was taken one hundred and thirteen men.

Statement by the Officers of the Prince of Neufchatel as to the number of crew.

These are to certify the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, or whom else it may concern that there came and personally appeared before me
  • Nicholas Millin late Commander
  • William Stutson late first Lieutenant
  • John Martin late second Lieutenant
on board of and belonging to an American Privateer called the Prince of Neufchatel, and Jointely and severally made Oath and said that: 

the said American Privateer was taken and seized about five o' clock in the Evening of the twenty eight day of December one thousand eight hundred and fourteen by his Britannic Majesty's Ship Leander, commanded by Captain Sir George Ralph Collier Bart in sight of his Majesty's Ships of War Newcastle, commanded by Captain A. R. Kerr, And that they the said Deponents had since been brought into the Port of Plymouth, being the first Port they were brought into after being taken,
- And that he the said Deponent Nicholas Millen, with William Stutson late first Lieutenant and John Martin late second Lieutenant taken as aforesaid And the three Deponents further said that they were actually alive on board of and belonging to the said American Privateer at the Time She was taken as aforesaid one hundred and thirteen men including the Deponents.

Nichs Millin
Wm Stutson
John Martin
Sworn at Asburton in the County of Devon the twenty eighth day of February one thousand eight hundred and fifteen.

Reference: Head Money Vouchers: ADM 43/67 from The National Archives, Kew

Wednesday, August 15

The Purser Ashore

Today's post penned by S. Diatz 
who portrays our Ship's Purser N. Armitage

"..when on-shore, we 'Acastas' always try to 'recruit new hands' for our frigate.. As ship's purser, I like to display the 'sumptuous fare of naval rations'..salt pork or beef, ship's biscuits, oats, raisins, cheese, rice, limes, beer, rum, etc..that will serve our crew's needs, when on the high seas. after the fresh stores are gone. It's the 'shopkeeper in me'..that has me 'hawking our wares', betimes.." 

Nicholas Armitage, RN, Portsmouth

Tuesday, August 14

The Doctor's Last Letter

It would seem our former Ship's Surgeon knew about Baptiste's promotion before Baptiste did! The following is the letter Baptiste got as part of the mail packet that arrived while ashore at the Jane Austen Festival.

Old Harbour, Jamaica
29th June, 1805
Aboard Mercury

My dear Baptiste,

By now, I suspect that you have received your warrant from the Admiralty assigning you to the Surgeon’s position aboard our old Acasta and I give you joy of your promotion! I can not think of a man better suited for the task.

Know sir that it was only my Esteem and affection for you that I recommended you for the posting, and not simply motivated out of a desire to keep poor, unfortunate Mr. Ried out of that position.

I am bound for Whitehall by way of Jamaica and Liverpool aboard a vessel called the ‘Mercury’. She is a little thing compared to our Acasta, but said to be stout and reasonably fast and we are to meet up with HMS Theseus and a convoy on our return trip.

It is likely that I will be some time on my special assignment for Sir Joseph and the Crown and I thought it best to leave the Acasta and her crew in the most capable hands I could think of. Your new position as Surgeon is that of a Warrant Officer, therefore you may require a new suit of clothes. Fortunately, with your new position comes an increase in pay to 5 pounds per lunar month. 

Not only do you get to select your own assistants, but you will need to find yourself a personal servant, as I will be taking Vassermann with me. 

If this letter was deliver’d as it was supposed to be, it should have arrived to you with the Doctor’s chair, which I gift to you. I cannot rightly carry it in the field on my business for Sir Joseph. It belongs with you aboard our Acasta.

When the war is over, it is still my hope to start the private practice as per our previous discussions. It would please me greatly to have you and your family join us on our estate and for you to assist me. Our place is near Woolhampton, the village straddles the London to Bath road between the towns of Reading and Newbury. Tell them at the parish that you’re looking for ‘Birdsall Cottage’ and they shall steer you in the right direction. You should enjoy Woolhampton, it’s very green and located on the river Kennet, so there are plenty of frogs and snakes for you to catch and study in your leisure hours. We can fill every jar in the house with specimens!

I wish you all health and success in your new endeavour, and know you to be equal to the task,

Yr Obt Svt,
Dr. A. Roberts

Monday, August 13

Prudence, Diana, Stephanie, Hazard, Jane & Delaware

Jas. Apple waves across at a recently captured schooner.

From The London Gazette 
Publication date:14 March 1815 

Friday, August 10

Images from Fort Niagara

Below you will find images taken by our own Tony Gerard at the recent 1812 Grand Tactical event at Fort Niagara in Youngstown, New York.

Thursday, August 9

A letter from Fort Niagara

From: Thomas Hurlbut, 
HM Sloop Royal George, 
Navy Bay, 
Upper Canada.

To: Sir James Rehme,
HMS Acasta,
At sea.

3rd August, 1813.

My Dear Sir James,

I must express my Appreciation for the Loan of several of your prime Seamen for the recent Exercise against Brother Jonathan at their stronghold at the Mouth of the Niagara River. The nature of the Operation as conceived by Commodore Yeo and General Prevost, required a significant Marine force to be landed on the unforgiving Beach at Niagara with precise Timing, thereby to take Advantage of the exposed Position of the US forces. Commodore Yeo detailed myself to be Responsible for this Element of the operation and, I can say with some measure of Pride, it went off Marvellously.

In the end, the fort was carried by storm, due in no small part to that played by the forces under my direct command

While I was aboard the Pennant vessel Auld Alliance, involved in directing the Naval forces and the landing of the Marines, your new 3rd Lieutenant, Lord William Fitzroy was in direct command of the Vessel itself and performed Admirably. I shall place his name in my report, urging that Sir James Yeo mention him in his Dispatch to the Admiralty. He seems to be a Promising young Officer and, if he manages to keep from having his Head knocked off by an enemy Ball, should go far.

However, Sir, not all I have to report is pleasant to hear. Due to the Desperate shortage of trained Seamen here on the Lakes, I fear I must ask that we Retain your men a while longer. I have no doubts but that you will receive Fresh drafts of Men from Britain long before we shall see a Soul here in the Interior. I am sorry, but I believe Commodore Yeo will issue Orders to that effect.

(I have arranged an exemption for Hollybass though. You may have him back.)

In the meanwhile, I wish you good Hunting on the Atlantic coast and hope that you fall in with one of the American frigates soon. I’ve no doubt but that your Ship will win a resounding Victory!

I am,

Your most Humble Servant,

Thomas Hurlbut,


Wednesday, August 8

Company Promotions

At the recent Jane Austen festival, our new captain made his first surprise appearance and brought promotions with him! You can see him promote two of our own in the above video… you may need to turn up your volume in order to best hear it.

Buzz Mooney was promoted to the role of Sailing Master and Tony Gerard who portrays Baptiste the Surgeon’s Mate was promoted to Acting Surgeon.

In addition, there have been several other promotions earned, and they are as follows:

Two of our young gentlemen took the Volunteer First Class test and passed with flying colors! They are as follows:

Plus we have gained two new very promising recruits:

And last, but certainly not least, we have gained another Rooster! Introducing BLUE PETER, the son of Lord Nelson!

Tuesday, August 7

The New Crew Page

If you've visited the crew page recently, you'll notice the master graphic has changed to reflect changes made to the group since the Jane Austen Festival in July!