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The Chesapeak Bay Blockade: Winter 1778


-Chesapeake Bay:-

The Chesapeake Bay Blockade - Winter 1778:

“this is Now one of the worst Places . . . To get out of . . .”

Baltimore to Cape Henry




1. The British Squadron in Chesapeake Bay, January 1778


In early January 1778 the British squadron in the Chesapeake consisted of HMS St. Albans (64/500) commanded by Captain Richard Onslow, who was also in command of the squadron, and HM Frigates Phoenix (44/280), Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.; Emerald (32/220), Captain Benjamin Caldwell; and Richmond (32/220), Captain John Lewis Gidoin. HM Sloop Otter (14/125), Commander Matthew Squire completed the squadron. In addition HM Frigate Solebay (28/200), Captain Thomas Symonds, was under orders to join the squadron on 5 January, and escort two victualler transports (one was the Jane) from Newport, Rhode Island in the process.1 Including Solebay, Onslow had six ships, 208 guns, and 1,545 men to enforce the blockade. To this should be added the ad hoc tenders, the transports, and temporary additions to the squadron.


2. The First Actions: January 1778


On 3 January HM Frigates Richmond and Emerald were anchored in the York River, Virginia, along with Emerald’s tender. About 1400 Emerald sighted2 two strange sails coming down the bay. Caldwell remained an anchor for a time, to allow the potential victims to approach closer and allow daylight to get over the shoal water.3 At 1500 all three British vessels began chasing. The tender pulled ahead. At 1700 Richmond saw gun flashes ahead: the tender firing at the chase. An hour later Richmond fired two guns and stopped the tender’s prize: a French brig.4


The prize was L’Alexandrine (Jean François Forand), bound from the Rappahannock River, Virginia (or Baltimore, Maryland) to Dunkerque, France, but to  Martinique, French West Indies first, with a cargo of tobacco. L’Alexandrine had a crew of twelve men aboard. L’Alexandrine was captured in the Rappahannock River. She was sent to New York, New York5 for trial, arriving there on 16 January.6 Howe attributed her capture to Richmond in his prize list, but she was condemned to the Emerald at her trial on 20 February 1778.7


Night was coming on and the other sail had vanished, so the British anchored for the night.8 At dawn on 4 January Emerald, Richmond, and the tender were anchored about fifteen miles northeast of New Point Comfort, Virginia. Four sail were seen to the north and Richmond made sail at 0500 in chase.9 The other British  vessels, seeing her chasing a sloop and a schooner, also came to sail.10 About six miles northwest of the mouth of the Rappahannock River, at 0800, Richmond dispatched her boats after one of the four vessels being chased: a sloop,11 which had run into shoal water.12 At 1000 Richmond anchored about five miles off the north end of Gwynn’s Island, Virginia. From her anchorage Richmond saw a ship and a snow in the Rappahannock River, seven miles away to the northwest. Meanwhile, the boats had come near the sloop which fired several shots at them. Richmond recalled her boats. Emerald’s tender was still in chase, and was going in shore after the sloop. Richmond recalled her at 1130, and made sail. About noon she spoke Emerald with L’Alexandrine in company.13


Caldwell ordered Richmond to attend the prize,14 which was some distance astern, to protect her from the American armed vessels, which he thought were some sort of convoy. Emerald then set off in chase.15


All the British vessels set out after the two enemy vessels seen in the Rappahannock river. About 1300 they entered the mouth of the river, running north. Emerald and her tender were ahead, Richmond and the prize behind.16 The wind was coming down the river and the Emerald’s pilot was “not well enough acquainted to turn the Ship up; but fortunately one of my people, (a regular South Carolina Pilot,) took charge of the Ship, and worked her up in a masterly manner . . .”17 At 1400 Emerald made out the chase to be a ship and a snow. Both ran aground at 1600.18 By this time about six miles separated the two groups of British vessels. At 1430 19 or 1500 Emerald and the tender anchored,20 and Richmond and the prize anchored at 1700. About 1800 Richmond heard firing up the river.21


Carter's Creek, Virginia

No sooner had Emerald anchored off Carter’s Creek than she dispatched her barge after the ship and her cutter to the snow. The crew of the ship now abandoned ship and got ashore. The ship was quickly captured, but the snow was a different matter. Emerald’s cutter was fired on and returned to the Emerald.22 These were the shots heard by Richmond.

Men from Emerald worked on getting the ship afloat all day on 5 January. At 1600 she got unstuck. At 1700 Richmond and L’Alexandrine anchored by the Emerald. An hour later the prize ship came out and anchored nearby. The captured ship was the Dragon (Claude Bondit), bound from the Rappahannock River to Dunkerque with a cargo of tobacco aboard.23 Among the interesting documents aboard the Dragon was a commission from the French authorities as a letter-of-marque.24 Dragon was sent to New York as a prize of the Emerald. She was libeled on 28 January and condemned on 20 February 1778.25

The snow was still aground and now it was time to attend to her. A small company26 of Lancaster County militia under Captain Yerby27 had gathered to defend her, and a Virginia Navy Galley, probably the Page (Captain James Markham), lay in a nearby creek. Caldwell ordered Richmond to warp in the next day to clear the area.28 Richmond cleared for action at 0500 on 6 January and started warping in closer to shore an hour later. A party of Americans was busily stripping the snow and Richmond had to drive them off before the boats went in to shore. After four shots the Americans left the snow.29 The crew of the snow abandoned ship and the galley retreated up the creek. Caldwell sent a flag of truce ashore, to “assure the people, we would not hurt their houses, or do them any kind of damage, if they would not fire upon the Boats, as they must see, both the Village and the Snow, were under the Guns . . .” This was agreed to30 by Yerby.31 By afternoon the boats of the two frigates were lightning the prize and sending her cargo of tobacco aboard the frigates. At 1500 the snow floated free and by 1530 Richmond was back in her anchorage again. At 1700 the prize anchored near Richmond.32


The prize was the snow L’Elegante (Collenau), bound from the Rappahannock River, Virginia to Dunkerque, France with a cargo of tobacco.33 On 7 January the tobacco was transferred to L’Elegante and men from both frigates began re-rigging her.34 Sails were removed from Dragon and L’Alexandrine to finish the job.35  At 0900 boats went ashore under a flag of truce and released seven American prisoners.36 The snow was rigged by 8 January and Richmond sent nine mean aboard to carry her down to Hampton Roads. On 9 January Richmond, Emerald and three prizes dropped down the Rappahannock.37 She was sent into New York, New York as a prize of Emerald, and was libeled on 28 January. She was condemned on 20 February 1778 to the Richmond.38 In the records of the Vice Admiralty court she was described as an American merchant vessel.39


The government of Virginia was very unsatisfied with Yerby’s lack of action in the capture of L’Elegante. The Virginia House of Representatives introduced a resolution to award the owner compensation, referring to Yerby as having “most unwarrantably and traiterously delivered up” the snow on “certain Conditions, injurious to the Honour and Justice of the Commonwealth , and in Violation of the Protection which Foreigners have a Right, by the Usage of civilized Nations, to expect, while peaceably trading in its Ports . . .” Yerby was to be investigated and, if convicted, given “condign Punishment.” The resolution was delivered to the Virginia Senate on 22 January, which concurred. On 4 March 1778 the Virginia Council awarded L’Elegante’s captain £5000 in compensation.40


Caldwell’s expedition had returned to Hampton Roads by 13 January with the three prizes. Caldwell reported to Howe that he had taken over seven hundred and fifty hogsheads of tobacco in the three French prizes.41


Emerald was back in Hampton Roads on 13 January. From here Caldwell wrote to Governor Patrick Henry of Virginia concerning the numerous runaway slaves that applied to the British for protection. Caldwell always sent them back ashore on the condition that they would not be punished or mistreated for running away. This arrangement was made at the time that their masters had come and applied for them. This arrangement was not followed and the purpose of Caldwell’s letter was to complain about their treatment. Caldwell noted that if a stop was not put to this treatment, he would, in the future, keep all that ran away to his ship. Since he had been in the bay some 400 slaves had escaped to the Emerald. Caldwell thought that the Americans believed these men were landed to save food and water on the British ships, but that was not so. Caldwell explained that they could always be sent off in prizes. The same reason was attributed to his releasing prisoners, but again, Caldwell noted that they could always be sent to New York.42


3. The Continental Navy Ship Virginia, 19-20 January 1778


No less than three American navies operated in the Chesapeake Bay area while the British blockading forces were there. These navies were not necessarily opposed to the British. The Continental Navy in Chesapeake Bay at this time consisted of the Continental Navy Ship Virginia (Captain James Nicholson) and a very few smaller craft. The main concern of the men in charge of the Continental Navy was to get the Virginia out to sea past the blockade.


Virginia sailed about 19 January, accompanied by the Maryland Navy [Schooner] Amelia, a tender to the Maryland Navy Brig Defence. Amelia (Captain Henry Massey) was to serve as a scout vessel for Virginia, which was attempting to run the blockade and get out to sea. She didn’t get very far. At 1100 on 20 January Virginia and Amelia were sighted by two British frigates of the blockading force based in Hampton Roads, Emerald (Captain Benjamin Caldwell) and Richmond (Captain John Lewis Gidion). The British ships began chasing to the north and Virginia ran before them in squally weather with fresh breezes. By afternoon the British were past Cherry Stone Point. Night fell and they continued to sail north during the night.43


At 0600 the next day the Emerald saw an enemy brig going in to Annapolis. Ahead of her was the Virginia. At 0800 she was seen to be running north toward Baltimore. Caldwell, the senior British captain, thought it was wiser to anchor44 off Annapolis. Richmond noted the location as six or seven miles east by south of Rattlesnake Point.45 Emerald’s tender had accompanied the two frigates and was put to use in the afternoon. Two small vessels were seen coming up the bay and the tender was sent after them. The tender took one, with a cargo of salt. The salt was removed and the vessel released. Richmond took the other. She was released when the skipper showed the boarding party a pass from General Howe.46


St. Albans was moored in Hampton Roads on the morning of 30 January. Her boats were busy removing provisions from the victualler transport Jane and replacing them with empty casks and staves and hoops. HM Sloop Otter47 and her tender, HM Brig Tender Dunmore (Lieutenant John Wright)48 and the Armed Schooner Dasher were also anchored nearby. The wind was light in the afternoon when a ship was seen which hoisted French colors. Otter and the tender went in chase and returned at 2000 with the prize.49


The prize was the ship Fortune (Joseph Mass [Masse]), owned by Mass, with a crew of fourteen men aboard. She was bound from Guadeloupe, French West Indies to Nantes, France with rum and  sugar. She was sent to New York as a prize of St. Albans and Otter. She was libeled on 12 March 1778 and was condemned as a re-capture on 10 April 1778. Her cargo was condemned as a lawful prize. Fortune had been captured in the West Indies by a French owned and manned privateer fitted out at Martinique, French West Indies, and with a false Continental commission. She had been taken into Guadeloupe and sold. She was appraised at £1092 on 15 April and was ordered sold.50


The next day the Dasher and St. Albans’s pinnace were sent in chase of a sloop sighted in the northeast quarter. At 1700 they returned, having captured the sloop and set her on fire.51


4. Phoenix off Cape Henry, January 1778


Another ship of the blockading squadron in the Chesapeake was off Cape Henry on 4 January. HM Frigate Phoenix (Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.) was about sixty miles southeast of Cape Henry as the day dawned. At 0800 she chased a sail to the southwest. By 1000 three sail were in sight. At noon the frigate tacked. The afternoon weather was good with fresh breezes. About 15:30 Phoenix fired at the chase, which had raised French colors, and stopped her. She was the sloop Recovery (Ephraim Paynter), owned by P. Paynter and Sons of Bermuda, British West Indies. She was bound from Bermuda to North Carolina with a cargo of salt and rum and had a crew of five men aboard. A petty officer and six men went aboard as a prize crew and the prisoners were removed. Recovery was sent into New York, where she was condemned on 9 February 1778.52


Phoenix was forty-five miles southeast of Cape Henry on 7 January. At 0630 she began chasing a sail to the north. She caught up with the chase six miles off Cape Henry. The chase was the French brig La Genevieve (Pierre Tournet [Tourounet]), bound from Guadeloupe, French West Indies to St. Pierre and Miquelon, French North America. She was owned by Casamajor & Co. of Guadeloupe. There was a crew of seventeen men aboard and four guns mounted to go with her cargo of rum and salt. A petty officer and six men went aboard as a prize crew, the prisoners were removed, and she was dispatched to New York.53 Although La Genevieve did not have any letter-of-marque commission, she did have an official pass (congé).54 She arrived at New York on 11 January.55 She was condemned there as a re-capture (being claimed by Richard Dale and others) on 9 February 1778. The cargo was declared lawful prize.56


On 10 January Phoenix was in her usual area to the south of Cape Henry. She made two frustrating chases that day, unable to close with either vessel. At 1930 a sail was chased at the southeast in hazy weather. About 2100 the chase was run down. She was the brig Polly (Ebenezer Jenkins), owned by Seth Jenkins & Co. of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and had a crew of seven men aboard. Polly was bound from Nantucket to North Carolina in ballast. Parker removed the prisoners and Polly’s sails, and then destroyed the prize.57


Four days later Phoenix was eighty miles to the southeast of Cape Henry. At 0700 she chased a sloop to the northeast and captured the Sally (John Patterson) at 1130. Sally was owned by Roger McCallister of Maryland and was bound from Maryland or Virginia to St. Eustatius, Netherlands West Indies with a cargo of tobacco. The seven man crew was removed and a midshipman and six men went aboard as a prize crew. Sally was sent to New York.58


About 6 or 7 January Phoenix met with HMS Experiment, Captain Sir James Wallace, and spoke with her. Following the meeting with Experiment and after the capture of Sally, Phoenix encountered “violent gales of wind,” which forced her to bear away for the West Indies.59


Otter’s tender Dunmore, commanded by Lieutenant John Wright, was outside the bay on 27 January, patrolling to the north of Cape Charles. At 36°56'N she encountered and captured the brigantine Rebecca.  The American was bound from Bedford in Dartmouth, Massachusetts to North Carolina in ballast. She was sent in to New York, arriving on 1 February 1778.60


About the same time Dunmore captured a French sloop bound from Guadeloupe, French West Indies, to Virginia with a cargo of camp equipage, wine, and dry goods. She was sent in to New York, arriving on 1 February.61 This was probably Le Hardy (Pierre Marc), which had an official pass (congè) to proceed, probably to St-Pierre and Miquelon. She was tried and condemned at New York.62


Near the end of the month Solebay was coming to join the squadron. On 28 January she was anchored off Cape Henry. At 0700 a schooner was in Hampton Roads, coming out of the bay. Solebay made sail at 0800 and the schooner ran aground at 1000. Solebay anchored and sent away her boats. The boats returned at 1400, having destroyed the abandoned schooner.63


5. St. Albans in Hampton Roads, February 1778


HM Sloop Otter sailed from Hampton Roads on 4 February, observed by St. Albans. In the afternoon Onslow’s men reported seeing two sloops coming out of Portsmouth. St. Albans sent off her boats under a lieutenant to run them down. The two sloops proved elusive, but the boats did capture a two gun schooner (Joshua White) in the James River with a cargo of salt. She was bound from Suffolk to Williamsburg and was owned by William Roberts of Nansemond County, Virginia. The schooner was burned and the boats returned to St. Albans at 2100.64


Three days later St. Albans sighted a schooner anchored off the Capes. HM Brig Tender Dasher was manned, armed and sent off under a lieutenant to investigate. Dasher returned at 1800. The sail seen earlier was a French brig, L’Petit Camarade (M. Sylverieux), which had run ashore losing her rudder and mainmast. She was bound from Bordeaux, France to Saint Pierre and Miquelon Islands, French North America (or to Louisiana) with a cargo of salt, wine, tea, woolens and “all Necessarys for ye Rebels.” L’Peteit Camarade was owned by Pierre Père & Fils of Bordeaux, was armed with two guns and had a crew of seventeen men. Dasher removed some of the cargo, rescued the crew, and set her on fire.65 This is likely to be the unknown brig mentioned in the New York papers on 8 April.66


St. Albans was anchored in Hampton Roads, her usual station, on 14 February. At 1900 Onslow dispatched his boats with two lieutenants, and a full crew with small arms. The boats intended to cut out two vessels seen to have anchored within the bar at Hampton Creek [Hampton River].67


The mouth of Hampton Creek, Virginia

There were actually three American vessels in the bar: Virginia Navy Sloop Shore (Captain George Rogers), a trading vessel, sloop Defiance (John Rogers), and a third sloop. Shore was armed with four guns and had a crew of nine men aboard, and was bound from the James River to Cap Français, French West Indies with a cargo of tobacco. Defiance (John Rogers) was also armed with four guns and had a crew of nine men. She was bound from the James River to Martinique, French West Indies with a cargo of tobacco and staves, and was owned by the York River Company of Williamsburg.  It seems that both sloops had run aground in trying to get out of the bay.68 The third vessel was “a very Fine Sloop & Commanded by a Very Cleaver Fellow.”69


Neither American skipper was ready to give up as the British boats approached. A hot little fight followed before both sloops were captured and burned. Two British sailors were “dangerously wound’d” and six cutlasses and five pistols lost in the fight. Twelve Americans were captured.70 The third sloop got into Hampton Creek “after a Very hot Engagement attackted by 6 Barges—”71


6. Expedition to the Potomac River, 5-15 February 1778


On 5 February Richmond and Solebay were up the bay, in the Potomac River, anchored nine miles southeast of Cherryfield Point, Maryland. In moderate and hazy weather two sail were seen to the southwest. At 1500 they were chased and split up. Gidoin ordered Solebay after the one that went south. The other tried to get into the Little Wicomico River in Virginia, but ran aground. Richmond’s boats captured the sloop, with her cargo of tobacco, and burned her.72


a. Capture of the Lydia, 9 February 1778


Meanwhile, the Maryland Navy Trading Ship Lydia (Captain Ignatius Fenwick) was preparing for sea up the Potomac River. Fenwick reported on the status of the Lydia on 28 January. She was then at Piscataway Creek in Maryland, where she had been frozen in the ice for six days. The ice was beginning to break up but Lydia had no pilot. Fenwick had tried to get one from St. Marys on two occasions, but no pilot had turned up yet. There were reports circulating that British ships were above the mouth of the river. Fenwick advised the Council that Conqueror had not yet arrived. He was also short two men in the crew: his sources in Alexandria had failed and those men sent by Captain Cook of the Defence had never reported. Even so, Fenwick would sail at the first favorable opportunity.73


The Maryland Council, on 30 January, advised Fenwick that Maryland Navy Galley Conqueror (Captain John David) had sailed a few days before, with some requested supplies and to escort Lydia to sea.  The latest letter it had received from Fenwick was that of 18 January. The Council suggested that Lydia sail down to meet the galley. Unfortunately, no additional crew could be recruited in Annapolis. The Council hoped Fenwick could recruit them.74


On 9 February 1778 David was in Leonard Town, Maryland, conferring with Colonel Richard Barnes, the lieutenant of St. Marys County. The Conqueror was at the mouth of Breton Bay. After the conference David left. Soon after Barnes heard the news that British ships were in the St. Marys River. The wind was fair for Lydia to sail, so Barnes sent off a courier to David, to alert him and prevent Lydia from sailing.75 Lydia sailed down the Potomac with the fair wind, ignorant of the British shipping.


Richmond and Solebay were indeed close to the Lydia. They were in the Potomac River, off St. Marys River on 9 February 1778. Under a flag of truce Gidoin sent ashore two prisoners for exchange and a proclamation. The proclamation stated that he would not annoy the inhabitants by landing men or burning houses, provided the local people did not interfere with the British. Colonel Vernon Webb wrote to his superior, Barnes, for prisoners to exchange, but there were none.76


The mouth of St. Mary River, Maryland


In the afternoon Richmond and Solebay were about two miles ENE of St. Georges Island in the Potomac River. At 1800 the Richmond sighted a ship coming in to St. Marys River. Both British frigates gave chase.77 Lydia tacked and tried to run back up the Potomac to get out of sight. By the time she had come about the British were under sail. As the British closed to within three quarters of a mile, Fenwick, First Mate John Ridgely, Pilot Stephen Gough and some other men abandoned ship and got ashore,78 taking the colors and salvaging a few items in the process.79 At 2100 they brought her to. She was the Lydia, from Alexandria to Bordeaux, France, with tobacco. Four prisoners were removed and a Lieutenant and twelve men went aboard as a prize crew.80 The ships moved around St. Georges Island and anchored near Piney Point. The local militia had begun to muster by now and communication with the shore was cut off.81


b. Action off the St. Marys River, 11 February 1778


There was still the Conqueror. She was also ignorant of the British presence and was proceeding to rendezvous with the Lydia. Solebay was anchored off St. George’s Point on 11 February. The day was windy and hazy in the morning, but cleared off in the afternoon. At 1300 the men on the Solebay sighted a “Rebel Galley” coming down the Potomac River through the haze.82 Conqueror ran within two miles of the Solebay.83 Symonds raised sail and began chasing the galley. Conqueror fired a shot84 or two at the frigate,85 which returned fire at David’s galley. For half an hour Solebay took potshots at the elusive target,86 with David getting off a shot every now and then. The galley always kept in shoal water and finally Conqueror slipped in the St. Marys River.87 Unable to get closer Symonds broke off the action and returned to anchor near the Richmond at 1600. No less than sixty-five 9-pounders were fired off by Solebay with no results.88


Colonel Barnes reported the capture to the governor on 10 February from Leonard Town.89 The Maryland Council, under the impression that Fenwick and his crew had been captured, initiated steps to secure the release of the prisoners on 13 February, and sent orders recalling the Conqueror unless Colonel Barnes needed her as part of the local defense.90 Lydia was sent to New York, New York, where she arrived on 10 March 1778.91 She was condemned as a re-capture on 1 April 1778, being originally owned by Rawlinson & Chorley.92


HM Frigate Emerald was anchored in Tangier Sound on 23 February. In the morning Caldwell sent his tender, HM Sloop Tender Polly, in chase to the north. Around 0900 a sloop from New York. The tender was back at 1200, having captured a small sloop with a cargo of flour. The flour was transferred to Emerald and the sloop released. In the afternoon Polly captured another sloop, this one with a cargo of tobacco. She was the Friendship. On 1 March Emerald, Otter, Polly and the prize all sailed down the bay. Friendship was eventually sent to New York.93


By now the blockade was becoming tight. William Lewis, in a letter to James Hunter, from Norfolk, Virginia, reported that the “Man of war at present Block up the road that there is hardly any gitting Out.”94 In another letter to Hunter on 20 February, Lewis stated that “this is Now one of the worst Places in Virgina. To get out of for two man of war Blocks up the Place.”95


The presence of British warships in the bay encouraged the local loyalists on the eastern shore to become more active. One John Starling [Sterling] was on the Big Annemessex River [Great Annamessick River] in Worcester County, Maryland in February 1778. Starling was recruiting Loyalists, which had come to the attention of the Maryland authorities. The governor sent off a letter with orders for Colonels Joseph Dashiell, relative to John Starling. The man carrying the letter embarked on a vessel to cross the bay. As it happened, Virginia’s tenders, Amelia and Dolphin, were active in the bay. About 22 February the man with the letter came to Colonel  and Southy Simpson, at Accomac County, Virginia. Dashiell happened to be there and saw the man. The man had been en route to Dashiell when he was chased in the bay by one of Virginia’s tenders. Thinking she was British he sank the instructions overboard. Starling had by now recruited enough Tory assistance to capture three vessels in the Sound and on the river and take them down to the British ships. Dashiell, in reporting this incident from Snow Hill on 27 February, asked the governor if he could possibly “Send a galley to that Station, she Would be of grate Use in keeping the Annemesex Gentary in order, who are Continuly Saplying the Ennemy—”96


Emerald, Solebay, and Richmond had returned to the Hampton Roads anchorage by mid February. It was just as well as an entirely unexpected development was about to occur in the blockade.


7. The Affair of the French Ships, 21 February


Back in November and December 1777 the French government had decided to forward more supplies to the Americans. Following the decision to sign treaties of alliance and trade with the United States efforts were made to involve merchants in adventures to the American states. The French granted “defensive” letters-of-marque to certain vessels. Other vessels were probably blockade runners set up sub rosa by the French government or one of the contractors supplying the Continental Congress’s Commerce Committee or the American Commissioners in France. A great many of these vessels sailed with a common destination: the Chesapeake Bay.


a. L’Anonyme (Vicomte de Veaux)


As far back as June 1777 the American Commissioners in France had been interested in using the ship L’Anonyme for a cargo to America. She was originally intended to be used for Captain Thomas Hynson, until that un-worthy brother-in-law to Captain Lambert Wickes turned traitor. She next turns up in a very confused, and confusing, intelligence report, probably from L’Orient, about the middle of December. Here she is said to be 450 or 500 tons and to be loading at L’Orient, bound for America. Nothing further is stated about her.97 Either just before or just after she sailed, the ship was re-named the Vicomte de Veaux,98 after her owner, the Vicomte de Veaux of Paris.99


Vicomte de Veaux (Pierre Donat de La Garde) was described as being armed with twenty-four guns and as having a crew of eighty-nine men aboard. De Veaux had loaded her with a cargo of salt, woolens, cordage,100 and other European and East Indian goods.101 She sailed with a prominent passenger, the Vicomte de Sabron102 going over to America to become a Major General in the Continental Army. Obviously, Vicomte de Veaux was not your common merchant craft.


b. La Beaumont (Lyon)


La Beaumont was at L’Orient in November 1777. Her owners, Dessaudrais Sebire and Co., approached Charles Pierre Gonet, the Commissary of Marine at L’Orient, concerning the voyage of L’Beaumont. They planned to load the ship with 1100 or 1200 casks of goods and clear her out for Cadiz or the French colonies in America. The merchants had assured Gabriel de Sartine, the French Minister of Marine, that no munitions were being shipped. The cargo would be valuable and guns and a large crew would be needed. The owners wondered if Gonet could be of assistance. Gonet wrote to Sartine on 17 and 26 November for instructions.103


Sartine answered on 2 December 1777. He instructed Gonet to make sure no munitions were loaded, but the voyage was permitted to go forward. If the defensive guns were in the hold they might be thought to be cargo, therefore it was best to mount the guns. As soon as Gonet determined that 200 men were needed in the crew, he was to allow a levy, taking care to keep the best sailors for the French naval service. The captain of La Beaumont was to be required to pledge only to go to a French colony and return to France.104


The owners clearly intended L’Beaumont for America. On 19 December the sailors were paid their advance wages and were told at that time that the big ship was bound for Boston, Massachusetts. If Gonet did not hear this, British intelligence did hear it.105


La Beaumont (Jean Michel106 [Michell]) was a three-decked107 behemoth of 1000108 or 1100 tons,109 an old East India ship,110 and mounted forty111 or forty-four guns112 and had a crew of over 200113 or 250 men.114 Michel carried a “defensive commission,” and a cargo of European and India goods.115 La Beaumont also carried a cargo of salt, forty tons of cordage, sail cloth, clothing and other items.116


Both La Beaumont and L’Anonyme cleared out for St. Pierre and Miquelon in French North America, but were actually bound for Chesapeake Bay.117 They were “determined to force a Trade, and to oppose inferior Force,” according to a British officer.118 Indeed, Vicomte de Veaux had a letter-of-marque commission.119 It is not a coincidence that these two ships dropped down the Loire River immediately after the Continental Navy Ships Raleigh (Captain Thomas Thompson) and Alfred (Captain Elisha Hinman) on 28 December 1777. Alfred and Raleigh sailed on 29 December; the two French ships were to sail the next day.120


L’Beaumont acquired a new name about this time: the Lyon.121 The two French ships sailed on 31 December122 or 1 January 1778123 and joined the American warships, which, apparently, were to serve as escorts out of European waters. These ships stayed with Alfred and Raleigh until about 13 January 1778.124


c. Ferdinand


The Ferdinand was a large ship, armed with forty-four guns, and with a crew of 250 men, commanded by Denis-Nicolas Cottineau de Kerloguen.125 Fifty of these men were volunteers from St. Malo, France. Ferdinand may have sailed from St. Malo.126


Sailing from St. Malo, possibly with the Ferdinand, was the ship L’Hector (Charles Porée [P. Parrie]), owned by Roualt of St. Malo. She was bound for Hampton Roads, Virginia, in Chesapeake Bay with salt, bale goods,127 cordage,128 and other items. L’Hector was armed with fourteen guns and had a crew of forty-five men.129


d. The Lyon and Vicomte de Veaux Make Landfall, 21-23 February 1778


At 0400 on 21 February 1778, HM Sloop Senegal (Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy) was about ninety miles east by north of Cape Henry, Virginia. Senegal was inbound to Chesapeake Bay. About 0630 her lookouts sighted land in the early morning light. At 0700 something else was sighted: two sail were made out ahead, standing in for the Virginia Capes. Senegal was running in behind them. Molloy fired two guns as a private recognition signal, which was ignored. The two strangers did display French colors. The largest ship was following the smaller and both were steering towards the James River. Molloy noted that both were armed.130


HMS St. Albans (Captain Richard Onslow) was moored in Hampton Roads, Virginia that same morning. His lookouts sighted two sail standing in for Chesapeake Bay at 0900. By 1000 St. Albans’s men could see three sail, all ships. The two in front appeared large. The battleship made the private recognition signal, which was not answered. The two leading ships did hoist French colors and pendants. St. Albans could not get underway as there was only a small wind and the tide was coming in, so Onslow got springs on his anchor cable and prepared for action.131


By afternoon Senegal was only two or three miles from Cape Henry, with the French ships still ahead, standing in for Hampton Roads, where St. Albans waited. About 1400 the two ships tacked, followed by Senegal. Molloy expected St. Albans to come out.132 St. Albans, meanwhile, had partially unmoored and hauled on her spring to turn the ship. At 1430 Onslow saw the French haul to the southward and stand back out toward Cape Henry. He thought they were just east of Willoughby Shoals. Onslow noted they had a tier of guns and appeared armed.133 When St. Albans did not move, Molloy tacked and Senegal stood directly for the French ships. They hauled down their colors and hoisted vanes. About 1530134 Senegal passed within hail of the two ships.135 The largest had forty-four guns, the smaller had twenty-four and both were “full of Men, & under Arms, & seemed prepared for Action & Tompions out . . .”136 By 1600 Senegal was close enough to answer St. Albans’s private signal and at 1700 Senegal anchored in Hampton Roads.137


At dawn on 22 February the two French ships were seen in the bay, under sail, from the Senegal.138 The wind was unfavorable and the two French ships anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, Virginia.139


The British saw the French vessels were still in Lynnhaven Bay at dawn on 23 February. The day dawned with light winds and hazy weather, but enough wind to conduct a regular chase. Onslow ordered Senegal to an anchorage below Point Comfort, Virginia to protect a victualler and several prizes anchored there. At 0900 St. Albans got underway towards the entrance to the bay,140 accompanied by Senegal.141 At 0930 her lookouts saw two sail to the east. The French were trying to get out of the bay. St. Albans met HM Frigate Solebay (Captain Thomas Symonds) at 1000, whereupon Onslow ordered a general chase to the east.142 Solebay had been anchored off Point Comfort. Symonds came to sail at 0900, having sighted two ships “off the Cape,” that is, in the entrance and trying to get out.143


The chase wore on into the afternoon. The weather had cleared off and the winds had picked up to a moderate breeze, according to St. Albans.144 According to Solebay there was little wind. At 1630 Solebay145 raised her colors146 and began firing at the Vicomte de Veaux, eight shots splashing in the water.147 De La Garde displayed French colors148 and continued to run. About 1800 Solebay was in a little closer and fired four more shots. Vicomte de Veaux hove to and surrendered,149 although “cleared and ready to engage . . .”150 By 1930 Symonds had taken possession of his prize. St. Albans was still coming up to chase the Lyon. Symonds hailed Onslow as St. Albans passed, told him the French prize was from St. Malo, and that Lyon bore to the southeast.151


At dawn the next day Lyon was far to the southeast from Cape Henry. Her pursuer, St. Albans, was a mile and a half northeast of the cape. Onslow’s men saw the chase and raised all sail. The winds were light and even studding sails were set. For thirty miles the chase went on. At noon Onslow gave up: “it being little Wind, and no Chance of Speakg the Chace not Judging it proper to be lead off the Coast with only 35 Tons of Water on board.”152


At dawn of 25 February, Senegal sighted two sail at anchor within Cape Henry, one with French colors. Another was seen at sea, plying back and forth. Molloy sent his tender to investigate and discovered the two ships were the Vicomte de Veaux and the Solebay. These two anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, by the Senegal, at 1100. The other ship was the St. Albans, returning from her fruitless chase, which anchored in Lynnhaven Bay at 1330.153


Onslow examined the French crew. He was informed that he ships had cleared out for the West Indies. After sailing the names of the ships were changed and false journals and reckonings were kept, but no papers were found aboard: “Indeed they do not scruple saying, that they have destroyed their Letters and papers . . .” More ships were coming, according to Onslow’s informants, up to forty, in batches of four to six at a time.154


Vicomte de Veaux was sent in to New York, New York, as a prize of the Solebay.155 She arrived there on 10 March 1778 and was reported to be a 600-ton ship, armed with twenty-four guns.156 She was condemned there on 10 April 1778.157


Meanwhile, Lyon fled to the eastward, then steered north. On 3 March 1778 Michel saw a fleet of thirteen sail with two warships, flying the Continental colors. Michel was not to be fooled and thought they were a British fleet. Lyon arrived at New London, Connecticut on 7 March1778.158


Here, Michel contacted Nathaniel Shaw, the Agent for Connecticut and the Continental Navy. On 13 March Michel went forward to Governor Trumbull, with Shaw’s brother. Shaw explained that Michel would have called on the governor before, but the bad weather had prevented traveling. Shaw had suggested that the Lyon go out on a cruise after landing her cargo and suggested that the governor so advise Michel. The Lyon was a “fine Ship mountg 40 Guns and has 220 Men and a Good Sailing Ship. If any of the goods aboard the Lyon were needed by the state Shaw recommended getting them as soon as they were landed.159


Michel was well received at Lebanon, Connecticut and met with the Connecticut Council of Safety on 16 March concerning his cargo.160 On 19 March Trumbull informed Shaw that the Continental Board of War would purchase all the clothing loaded on the Lyon.161 The Navy Board of the Eastern District was interesting in purchasing the sail cloth and forty tons of cordage in the Lyon.162


e. Arrival of the Good Hope, 28 February 1778


The next big ship to make landfall on the Chesapeake Capes was the 700-ton163 Danish ship Good Hope (Jurgen Lassin164 [Larsen]).165 HM Frigate Richmond was working into Chesapeake Bay on the afternoon of 28 February, when, at 1300 she saw a sail to the east northeast. Richmond steered toward her and an hour later166 could see Danish colors flying from her.167 By now Good Hope had also attracted the attention of Solebay and Senegal. With HMS St. Albans anchored within sight Lassin might well have concluded he was in trouble.168 At 1600 the chase anchored. Gidoin sent his boats to the chase, which was soon revealed to be the Good Hope, bound from Cadiz, Spain to St. Thomas, Danish West Indies (but actually to Williamsburg, Virginia) with a cargo of salt169 and military stores including twenty brass cannon.170 Good Hope was owned by Niel Ferguson of Albany, had a crew of twenty-two men and was armed with three guns. Richmond and her prize anchored in the mouth of the Chesapeake at 2000, near Solebay and Senegal.171 She was sent to New York with the prizes escorted by Vicomte de Veaux and arrived on 10 March 1778.172 Good Hope was tried and condemned on 10 April 1778.173A prize ship named Good Hope was advertised for sale on 13 April with the auction to be held on 14 April.174


f. The Ferdinand at North Carolina, 26 February 1778


Ferdinand arrived at Cape Lookout, North Carolina before 26 February 1778. Cottineau intended to go into Beaufort, North Carolina, but he was forced to anchor in Bogue Sound (Cape Lookout Bay) because Ferdinand drew too much water. Since this anchorage was insecure, Cottineau sent six 12-pounder guns ashore and established a battery at the point. One of his passengers, the Chevalier de Cambray, directed the work. De Cambray was going to Washington to offer his services in the Army.175


From this anchorage Cottineau wrote a letter to George Washington, announcing his arrival and enclosing a copy of the invoice of the cargo of the Ferdinand. Cottineau styled himself as “Capt. Of the Frigate Ferdinand.” The letter is filled with flattery. In in Cottineau offers his services in the “naval Service.” He also offers his ship to the “Continent.” Cottineau proposed to go into Beaufort after discharging his cargo. There he would erect another battery. He intended to name the two small forts after Washington and Hancock. The invoice itself contains a very long list of goods.176


On 5 March 1778 Cottineau placed an advertisement in the North-Carolina Gazette for deserters from his ship. He promised a reward of $25 for each French sailor taken up within twelve miles of the Ferdinand and returned to the commanding officer at Beaufort. The advertisement was published on 27 March. From this we can infer that Ferdinand was still in the sound.177


Meanwhile, Cottineau was landing the cargo. An advertisement for the sale of the goods appears in the 6 March issue of the North-Carolina Gazette, with a complete list of the goods to be sold. The heading is most interesting, for it describes Ferdinand (given here as Ferdenand) as a thirty-six gun ship with a crew of 200 men. Cottineau (as Gatinau) was noted as “one of the king’s officers . . .” The sale was to take place on 12 March.178


Washington received Cottineau’s letter and passed it on to Congress. On 31 March the letter was read and it was resolved that the Committee of Commerce should purchase such articles of Ferdinand’s cargo as needed after conferring with the Board of War and the Marine Committee. The letter was referred to a committee of three (Duer, Chase and Francis Lightfoot Lee).179


g. One More That Got Away, 1-5 March 1778


Solebay and Senegal chased another French ship on 1 March. The chase was a “Frigate like ship (supposed to be French) with bright sides . . .” After a long chase the French ship got away in the night.180 Symonds reported she was a “long Frigate-built French Ship, but he did not think it prudent to follow her any longer, as a NW Gale came on . . .”181 Although the identity of this ship is unknown, it might be one called Le Brune. This one sailed from the mouth of the [Loire] in early December 1777. She was described as 500 or 600 tons, with a cargo of salt and forty-six guns in the hold, covered with salt. The master’s name was Mallet. She cleared out for Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, but was bound for America. She sailed with a ship called Le Sage. This is apparently not the ship that later became the Continental Navy Ship Queen of France.182


Solebay was about seventy miles off Cape Henry on 5 March. At 0200 she chased a sail to leeward and soon brought to a schooner from Boston, Massachusetts bound to Virginia,183 with a cargo of salt.184 The crew was removed, a prize crew put aboard, and Solebay took her in tow. She was the schooner Newport (John Groce [Gross]). Newport arrived in Hampton Roads with Solebay on 6 March.185 She was sent to New York, where she arrived on 10 March.186 was condemned on 10 April 1778.187


h. The Second Wave of French Ships, 12-13 March 1778


All the British vessels made sail on the morning of 12 March at 0600.188 St. Albans, Solebay, Emerald, Richmond, Senegal, and Otter189 were joined by the Dunmore soon after 0600. At 0700 Richmond was ordered to chase to the southeast after a French ship,190 along with the Senegal.191 At 0900 Emerald turned and stood up the bay.192 Two other ships anchored between the Horseshoe and the Middle Ground shoals. Richmond and Senegal were chasing the French ship.193


The French ship being chased ran across the tail of the Middle Ground steering for Smiths Island. About 1100 she ran aground about the middle of the island. French colors fluttered up on the haliards and a shot was fired in the general direction of Senegal. Molloy returned one shot. At 1130 Senegal anchored and sent in her pinnace with a flag of truce to speak the chase. Seven shots were fired at the boats, which put back to the Senegal. At 1200 the chase’s mainmast fell overboard, followed soon after by her foremast.194 Immediately after the chase bilged.195


Meanwhile Richmond had observed the French ship run aground and Senegal and Dunmore anchor close inshore. Richmond sent off her boats with a Lieutenant to Molloy with orders to get the French ship afloat, or to destroy her.196 Richmond’s boats arrived and Molloy sent all the boats to rescue the crew and make sure the ship was destroyed.197


When the British got aboard the ship she was found to be the 350-ton LeTonnere (I. Dessau), with fifty men and eighteen198 or twenty guns,199 bound from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue “to the Rebells.”200 She was owned by Deledebat of Bordeaux, France and had a cargo of bale goods.201 Dessau explained that he had been sick in bed and that the American pilot had fired the guns at the boats. The pilot then escaped ashore in the ship’s boat.202 The crew was rescued; the guns were thrown overboard, and the British withdrew.203 At 1400 Richmond’s  boats returned. The ship had been left a “Compleat wreck.” Richmond made sail, accompanied by the Senegal and Dunmore,204 steering for Cape Henry.205


In the afternoon St. Albans saw a sail coming into the bay and sent her tender Dasher out after the ship. The ship lay to, flying French colors. Soon after she came in and anchored a half gunshot from the St. Albans, off Willoughby’s Point. Onslow’s boats went over and boarded the prize. She was the twelve gun Le Jean Andrè (Guillaume Coronet [Couronnet]), with a crew of thirty-eight or forty men, and owned by Jauge & Co. of Bordeaux, France. Le Jean Andrè was bound from Bordeaux to the Chesapeake with clothing, canvas,  cordage,206 and salt. She was sent in to New York, arriving on 26 March with L’Hector.207 Le Jean Andrè was libeled on 30 March and condemned on 27 April 1778.208


At 1700 two sail were sighted to the south by Senegal, Richmond, and Otter, standing in for the Cape. All three British vessels began chasing. By 2300 Richmond made the private recognition signal to the ship, now within the cape. The signal was not answered.209 The three British ships were chasing yet another French ship into the bay.


Ferdinand’s probable sailing consort, L’Hector, made landfall at Cape Henry, Virginia about 12 March 1778. She anchored off the Capes,210 awaiting daylight to enter Chesapeake Bay. About midnight  Richmond and Senegal passed the exit of the bay, past the capes and discovered a ship at anchor. Both steered for L’Hector.211 At 0130 on 13 March, about fifteen miles northeast of Cape Henry, Richmond raised her colors and fired four guns at L’Hector.212 Senegal joined in with six shots at the chase at 0200.213 Porée raised his French colors and then immediately lowered them again, in token of surrender. Richmond’s boats and one of Senegal’s went over to examine the French ship.214 Richmond anchored two miles off Cape Henry.215 Senegal anchored by the prize, four miles off Cape Henry.216


At 0700 both Senegal and L’Hector entered the bay and anchored in Lynnhaven Bay by St. Albans. In the afternoon some of the French prisoners were sent aboard the St. Albans. By now someone had noticed that L’Hector was leaking. A close examination discovered three holes “bored through her Bows near the waters edge, with Cork in them . . .” These were quickly repaired.217 L’Hector was sent off to New York, New York, [escorted by Senegal].218 She arrived there on 26 March.219 She was libeled on 1 April 1778 and condemned on 27 April 1778.220


i. A Swedish Prize, 21 March 1778


On the morning of 21 March Senegal was anchored twelve miles north northwest of Cape Henry. At 1100 she sighted a ship to the southeast standing in for the bay. The stranger fired a gun and signaled for a pilot. Senegal then made the private recognition signal and raised French colors. The stranger raised “Rebell” colors. The day was windy and Senegal had trouble raising her anchor. Finally, Molloy cut his cable and stood for the ship, which had anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, and raised Swedish colors. At 1400 Senegal fired one shot and the stranger struck her colors.221 The capture had been observed by St. Albans, anchored in Hampton Roads. She noted in her log that two ships were anchored just off Cape Henry in the afternoon.222


The stranger was the 340-ton Swedish ship Louisa Uldrique [Louisa Ulrica] (Peter Arvidson), owned by William Borritz of Göteborg, Sweden. Her crew of seventeen men had been shipped in Göteborg. Louisa Ulrica was armed with two guns. She was bound from Cadiz, Spain to Williamsburg. The ship had a fabulous cargo: 137 “Cannon for the Rebells,”223 consisting of forty-eight 6-pounders and eighty-nine 12-pounders.224 The guns were loaded at Cadiz by Rey and Brandenburgh with fake bills of lading for Bordeaux, France.225 Onslow thought she was “of too much consequence” to send to New York without an escort, and dispatched her about 27 March escorted by HM Frigate Ariel (Captain John Becher).226 She was sent in to New York, arriving there on 9 April 1778.227 She was libeled on 10 April and condemned on 6 May 1778.228


8. Blockade Routine, 24-30 March 1778


The British ships acted as a magnet for runaway slaves. Thirty-five of them came out to the St. Albans on 20 March,229 having stolen a boat at Portsmouth. Onslow wrote to Colonel Charles Harrison that he would return these people if he could be reassured they would not be mistreated.230 Six more slaves fled to the St. Albans the next day, but several were returned ashore.231


HM Schooner Tender Dasher was up the bay from Hampton Roads. On the morning of 24 March she returned to Hampton Roads and anchored near the St. Albans with two prizes which she had captured on 21 March. One was sloop Holt, bound from Williamsburg to Elk River, Maryland with pork. She was owned in Williamsburg and had a crew of four men. The other prize was schooner Hawke, bound from Baltimore to Williamsburg with a cargo of iron and a crew of three men. She was owned in Baltimore. Hawke was broken up for firewood on 5 April 1778; Holt suffered the same fate the next day.232


In a report to Admiral Viscount Howe on 27 March, Onslow noted that scurvy had broken out among the crew of St. Albans and that several men had died from it. Onslow thought he would have to withdraw from the Chesapeake by mid-April and proceed to New York to allow the crew to recuperate. One problem was the lack of supplies from ashore. Onslow had received fresh beef on 26 March and was promised more, yet “The Law of the State makes it dangerous for the Adventurers who supply us: It is seven Year’s Banishment to the Mines for any Person detected in supplying us with any Sort of Provisions.”233


9. Virginia’s Last Run, 30-31 March 1778


Since her first breakout attempt in January, Virginia had been recruiting her crew and awaiting another chance. As it happened the Purviances had a brig at Baltimore with an old Chesapeake Bay pilot aboard.234 This might possibly be the Maryland Privateer Brig Saratoga (Commander Alexander Murray), armed with twelve guns. Saratoga’s pilot was “supposed to be one of the best in the bay . . .” Nicholson promised to pay this pilot £100 if he could get Virginia out without going aground.235


Virginia began her next breakout attempt by moving down to Annapolis from Baltimore with the Saratoga. On 30 March, at 0800, Virginia raised anchor and made sail. She was accompanied by the brig. The wind was very favorable, coming hard out of the northwest. Virginia’s tender (the Dolphin perhaps) was absent with nineteen men236 under Captain of Marines Plunkett and  Lieutenant John Fanning.237 The Virginia worked her way down the bay without mishap, the brig preceding her. As night fell the brig hoisted a stern lantern to guide the ship.238


About 0130 on 31 March, a brig armed with ten guns passed by the blockading squadron. She was seen by Solebay, which slipped her cables and went in chase.239 This would have been the Saratoga. She had pulled away from the Virginia, making the pilot useless. Virginia was about an hour and a half behind the brig. All seemed to be well until 0300 when the frigate struck on the shoals of the Middle Ground. The hard northwest wind pushed her along the shoal, bumping the bottom and opening leaks.240 The tide was going out and the frigate heeled to her starboard side as she slide along the shoal. Her rudder was forced back, springing the pins,241 and shattering it to pieces.242 The experience, played out in relatively slow motion, was surely sheer terror for many of the men aboard. At 0430 the Virginia was pushed over the shoal. She was leaking badly. Nicholson put four pumps to work, which just about balanced the incoming water. With no rudder the ship could not be steered, and the leaks could not be repaired in the dark. Virginia dropped anchor to await daylight.243


The last run of the Continental Navy Ship Virginia, 30-31 March 1778


At daylight two British frigates were seen nearby, one within two gunshot range and abreast of the Virginia. Nicholson ordered the barge hoisted out and called for volunteers to man her. He said, in his letter to the Marine Committee, that he “took such of my crew as were inclined to run the risque of getting on shore . . .”244 In plain truth Nicholson was going to abandon ship. The wind was blowing violently.245 With nine men the captain went ashore, getting on to Cape Henry. There he waited and watched to see what happened.246


Lieutenant Barney was left in command. Barney apparently called a council of officers. He suggested cutting the ship’s anchor cables, in the hope that she would drift ashore on Cape Henry. From there the crew could be saved and the ship destroyed. There was a real danger that Virginia might miss Cape Henry and drift, unmanageable, into the open ocean. The other officers rejected this suggestion. As the crew waited for the British to come discipline broke down. Some of the crew broke into the ship’s liquor and got drunk. There was little else to do.247


The British had been watching Virginia since a half hour after she had cleared the shoal. At 0500 Emerald’s lookouts sighted the Virginia at anchor to the east with her sails loose. Caldwell cleared for action and waited for flood tide. At 0800 the tide came and Emerald stood toward the Virginia. The Americans raised their colors and waited. At 0900 Emerald fired a single 6-pounder at the Virginia, which promptly surrendered. Caldwell sent a boat on her to take possession. He reported she was armed with thirty guns and had 159 men aboard. At 1000 Richmond joined the Emerald and the American prisoners were transferred to the two frigates.248 Her crew was later reported to be from 140 to 170 men.249


The British moved Virginia to Lynnhaven Bay at 1000,250 and got her leaks stopped.251 Nicholson claimed she was still aground on 2 April.252 Virginia was sent to New York, New York, where she was libeled on 6 May 1778 and was condemned on 28 May as a prize of the Emerald’s. Her prize shares were divided among Emerald, Richmond, St. Albans, Senegal, and Ariel.253 She was taken in to the Royal Navy as HM Frigate Virginia, rated as a 32-gun frigate.


Nicholson, waiting on Cape Henry, saw the British frigates move down and capture the Virginia. He went up to Portsmouth, got a boat, and went out to St. Albans254 on 1 April,255 to arrange the parole of his officers,256 and to ask for the return of his personal effects.257 Barney, also aboard the St. Albans, saw Nicholson and became very angry. He approached his captain and publically “. . . upbraided him with his conduct in quitting the ship . . . when if he had remained on board there was not the least doubt but we should have run the ship ashore where she might have been destroyed.”258 Nicholson was still aboard the St. Albans on 2 April 1778. It was from aboard the British ship that he reported the loss of the Virginia to the Marine Committee.259 Finding he was unlikely to obtain the paroles he returned ashore,260 to proceed to Baltimore and then to Congress.261


10. Summary


The British squadron blockading the Chesapeake Bay was very successful during the winter of 1778. Not only did the blockade clamp down tight enough for the Americans to complain, the squadron had several brushes with the local naval forces, all successfully. The biggest victory was the capture of Continental Navy Ship Virginia. Of the thirty-one vessels captured or destroyed, no less than eleven were French, which should have been reason for reflection. The appearance of the large French ships in late February was even more suggestive of future French involvement. Onslow’s squadron had captured at least 532 prisoners and 119 guns during this interval.


American vessels captured or destroyed in Chesapeake Bay, Winter 1778. Each red cross marks one capture.



British Prizes in the Chesapeake, January-March 1778

Date

Rig

Name

Master

Cargo

Nationality

Guns

Men

1/3

Brig

L’Alexandrine

Jean François Forand

Tobacco

French

 

12

1/4

Ship

Dragon*

Claude Bondit

Tobacco

French

  

1/4

Sloop

Recovery

Ephraim Paynter

Salt

British

 

5

1/6

Snow

L’Elegante

Collenau

Tobacco

French

 

[7]

1/7

Brig

La Genevieve

Pierre Tournet

 

French

4

17

1/10

Brig

Polly

Ebenezer Jenkins

Ballast

American

 

7

1/14

Sloop

Sally

John Patterson

Tobacco

American

 

7

1/21

[unknown]

[unknown]

[unknown]

Salt

American

  

1/21

[unknown]

[unknown]

[unknown]

 

American

  

1/27

Brigantine

Rebecca

[unknown]

Ballast

American

  

1/27

Sloop

Le Hardy

Pierre Marc

Military

French

  

1/28

Schooner

[unknown]

[unknown]

 

American

  

1/30

Ship

Fortune

Joseph Mass

Rum

French

 

14

1/31

Sloop

[unknown]

[unknown]

 

American

  

2/4

Schooner

[unknown]

Joshua White

Salt

American

2

 

2/7

Brig

 L’Petit Camarade

M. Sylverieux

Salt

French

2

17

2/9

Ship

Lydia

Ignatius Fenwick

Tobacco

American

4

2/14

Sloop

Shore

George Rogers

Tobacco

American

4

9

2/14

Sloop

Defiance

John Rogers

Tobacco

American

4

9

2/23

Sloop

[unknown]

[unknown]

Flour

American

  

2/23

Sloop

Friendship

 

Tobacco

American

  

2/23

Ship

Vicomte de Veaux*

Pierre Donat de La Garde

Cordage

French

24

89

2/28

Ship

Good Hope

Jurgen Lassin

Cannon

Danish

3

22

3/5

Schooner

Newport

John Gross

Salt

American

  

3/12

Ship

Le Tonnere

I. Dessau

Clothing

French

18

50

3/12

Ship

Le Jean Andrè

Guillaume Coronet

Clothing

French

12

38

3/13

Ship

L’Hector

Charles Porée

Cordage

French

14

45

3/21

Ship

Louisa Ulrica

Peter Arvidson

Cannon

Swedish

2

17

3/24

Sloop

Holt

 

Pork

American

 

4

3/24

Schooner

Hawke

 

Iron

American

 

3

3/31

Ship

Virginia

John Nicholson

Warship

American

30

159

Totals: 31 captured/destroyed; 119 guns; a minimum of 532 prisoners. One Continental Navy ship, one Maryland Navy ship, one Virginia Navy ship captured/destroyed.

1  NDAR, “Disposition of His Majesty’s Ships and Vessels in North America under the Command of the Vice Admiral the Viscount Howe,” XI, 36-40

2  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 23-24 and 24 note

3  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

4  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 23-24 and 24 note

5  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 23-24 and 24 note

6  NDAR, “News from New York City,” XI, 207 and notes

7  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 23-24 and 24 note

8  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

9  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” 29-30 and 30 note

10  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

11  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 29-30 and 30 note

12  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

13  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 29-30 and 30 note

14  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 30 and note

15  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

16  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 29-30 and 30 note

17  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

18  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 30 and note

19  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 29-30 and 30 note

20  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 30 and note

21  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 29-30 and 30 note

22  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 30 and note

23  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 30 and note

24  HCA 32/311/3/1-10

25  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 30 and note

26  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

27  NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Senate,” XI, 189-190 and 190 notes

28  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

29  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 48 and note

30  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

31  NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Senate,” XI, 189-190 and 190 notes

32  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,,” 48 and note

33  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 47-48 and 48 notes

34  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 48 and notes

35  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 58 and notes

36  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 48 and notes

37  NDAR, “Master’s Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidion,” XI, 48 and notes

38  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 58 and notes

39  HCA 32/317/8/1-7

40  NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Senate,” XI, 189-190 and 190 notes

41  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Vice Admiral Viscount Howe,” XI, 112-113 and 113 note

42  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Governor Patrick Henry,” XI, 110-112

43  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 176 and note; “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 176 and note

44  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 180 and note

45  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 181 and note

46  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 180 and note

47  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 237 and note

48  NDAR, “The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, Monday, February 2, 1778,” XI, 265-266 and 266-267 notes

49  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 237 and note

50  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 237 and note. In NDAR, “The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, Monday, February 2, 1778,” XI, 265-266 and 266-267 notes the editors seem to either misidentify the “sloop” with the “ship” Fortune, or the newspaper has furnished the wrong date. Fortune, captured on 30 January in Virginia, would have extremely unlikely to have been in New York Harbor on 1 February.

51 NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 244 and 245 notes

52  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Phoenix, Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.,” XI, 30 and note. See also “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, February 28, 1778, in NDAR, XI, 466 and note; HCA 32/437/13/1-9.

53  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Phoenix, Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.,” XI, 58-59  and 59 note. See also “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, February 28, 1778, in NDAR, XI, 466 and note.

54  HCA 32/340/16/1-21

55  NDAR, “The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, Monday, January 12, 1778,” XI, 101 and note

56  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Phoenix, Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.,” XI, 58-59  and 59 note

57  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Phoenix, Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.,” XI, 90 and note

58  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Phoenix, Captain Hyde Parker, Jr.,” XI, 152 and note

59 NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, February 28, 1778, XI, 466 and note

60  NDAR, “The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, Monday, February 2, 1778,” XI, 265-266 and 267n19

61  NDAR, “The New-York Gazette: and the Weekly Mercury, Monday, February 2, 1778,” XI, 265-266 and 267n20. Editors say this was ship Fortune. Date of capture and arrival in New York seem unlikely.

62  HCA 32/348/4/1-15

63  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 227 and note

64  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 283 and note

65  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 304 and note

66  The New-York Gazette, and the Weekly Mercury, Wednesday, April 8, 1778

67  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 349 and note

68  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 349 and note

69  NDAR, “William Lewis to James Hunter, Jr.,” XI, 391-392

70  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 349 and note

71  NDAR, “William Lewis to James Hunter, Jr.,” XI, 391-392

72  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 294

73  NDAR, “Captain Ignatius Fenwick to Governor Thomas Johnson, Jr.,” XI, 224 and notes

74  NDAR, “Maryland Council to Captain Ignatius Fenwick,” XI, 236 and notes

75  NDAR, “Colonel Richard Barnes to Governor Thomas Johnson, Jr.,” XI, 317-318 and 318 note

76  NDAR, “Captain John Lewis Gidoin, R.N., to Colonel Vernon Webb,” XI, 310 and notes; “Proclamation of Colonel John Lewis Gidoin, R.N.,” XI, 310 and note

77  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 311 and notes

78  NDAR, “Deposition of Captain Ignatius Fenwick and the Crew of the Maryland State Trading Ship Lydia,” XI, 326-327 and 327 note

79  NDAR, “Maryland Council to Captain Ignatius Fenwick,” XI, 380 and notes; “Memorandum of Sundry Articles Delivd Capt. David of the Conqueror,” XI, 413-414

80  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 311 and notes

81  NDAR, “Colonel Vernon Hebb to Colonel Richard Barnes,” XI, 318 and notes

82  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 323 and note

83  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 323 and note

84  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 323 and note

85  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 323 and note

86  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 323 and note

87  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 323 and note

88  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 323 and note

89  NDAR, “Colonel Richard Barnes to Governor Thomas Johnson, Jr.,” XI, 317-318 and 318 note

90  NDAR, “Maryland Council to Colonel Richard Barnes,” XI, 334 and notes; “Maryland Council to Captain John David,” XI, 335 and notes

91  NDAR, “News from New York,” XI, 688-689 and 689n8

92  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 311 and notes. See HCA 32/392/25/1-9.

93  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell,” XI, 414 and note

94  NDAR, “William Lewis to James Hunter, Jr.,” XI, 300

95  NDAR, “William Lewis to James Huntet, Jr.,” XI, 391-392

96  NDAR, “Colonel Joseph Dashiell to Governor Thomas Johnson, Jr.,” XI, 459 and notes

97  NDAR, “Intelligence lately receivd from good Authority,” XI, 863-864

98  NDAR, “Jacques-Alexandre Gourlade and Pierre-André Montigny de Monplaisir to the American Commissioners in France,” X, 1158, refers to her as L‘Anonyme, the last time she is so referenced.

99  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes; “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

100  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes; “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

101  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

102  NDAR, “Vice Admiral Viscount Howe to Secretary of the Admiralty Philip Stephens,” XI, 656-659 and notes

103  NDAR, “Gabriel de Sartine to Charles Pierre Gonet, Commissary of Marine at L’Orient,” XI, 1059-1060

104  NDAR, “Gabriel de Sartine to Charles Pierre Gonet, Commissary of Marine at L’Orient,” XI, 1059-1060

105  NDAR, “Intelligence lately receivd from good Authority,” XI, 863-864 and 864 notes

106  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488. It was not the Ferdinand (Denis-Nicolas Cottineau de Kerloguen), NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 398-399 and 399 note; “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778

107  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

108  NDAR, “Intelligence lately receivd from good Authority,” XI, 863-864 and 864 notes

109  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

110  NDAR, “Intelligence lately receivd from good Authority,” XI, 863-864 and 864 notes

111  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes; NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778, 749-750 and 750 notes

112  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

113  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

114  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

115  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

116  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes; “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

117  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes; “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

118  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488 and notes

119  HCA 32/471/10/1-47

120  NDAR, “JacquesAlexandre Gourlade and Pierre-André Montigny de Monplaisir to the American Commissioners in France,” X, 1158

121  NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778, 749-750 and 750 notes

122  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

123  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488 and notes

124  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

125  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 399n1. Ferdinand is not, however, the ship involved in the incident chronicled here. The Lyon is the French ship involved in this incident; NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488 contains the same information and clarifies the chase information.

126  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488

127  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 631 and note

128  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

129  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 631 and note

130  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 309 and note

131  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 398-399 and 399 note

132  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 309 and note

133  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 398-399 and 399 note

134  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 309 and note

135  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 398-399 and 399 note

136  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 309 and note

137  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 309 and note

138  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 309 and note

139  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 415-416 and 416 note

140  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes

141  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 415-416 and 416 note

142  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes

143  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 415 and notes

144  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes

145  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 415 and notes

146  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes

147  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 415 and notes

148  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes

149  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 415 and notes

150  NDAR, “News from New York City,” XI, 688-689 and 689 notes

151  NDAR, “Journal of HMS St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 415 and notes

152  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 422 and note

153  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 430 and note

154  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488 and notes

155  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488 and notes

156  NDAR, “News from New York City,” XI, 688-689 and 689 notes

157  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 488 and notes

158  NDAR, “News from New London,” XI, 629 and notes

159  NDAR, “Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., to Governor Jonathan Trumbull,” XI, 628-629 and 629 notes

160  NDAR, “Journal of the Connecticut Council of Safety,” XI, 659-660 and 660 note

161  NDAR, “Nathaniel Shaw, Jr., to Governor Jonathan Trumbull,” XI, 628-629 and 629 notes

162  NDAR, “John Deshon to William Vernon,” XI, 765-766 and 766 note; “William Vernon to James Warren,” XI, 796-797 and 797 note

163  The New-York Gazette; and The Weekly Mercury, Wednesday, April 8, 1778

164  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 468 and note

165  HCA 32/344/2/1-25

166  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 468 and note

167  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 468 and note;  “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778,” XI, 749-750 and 750 note; however, she is mis-identified in the note.

168 NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778,” XI, 749-750

169  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 468 and note

170  [NDAR, “News from New York City,” XI, 688-689 and 689n6. She is mis-identified in the note as Louisa Ulrica.]

171  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 468 and note

172  NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778,” XI, 749-750 and 750 note. She is mis-identified here as the French ship Hector.

173  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 468 and note

174  The New-York Gazette, and the Weekly Mercury, April 13, 1778

175  NDAR, “Denis-Nicolas de Kerloguen to General George Washington,” XI, 441-443

176  NDAR, “Denis-Nicolas de Kerloguen to General George Washington,” XI, 441-443

177  NDAR, “Notice of Reward for Deserters,” XI, 519 and note

178  NDAR, “Advertisement of Sale of Imported Goods,” XI, 534 and note

179  NDAR, “Journal of the Continental Congress,” XI, 846 and note

180  NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778,” XI, 749-750 and 750n4. The editors identify the chased ship as Ferdinand, however she was in port at this time.

181  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 562 and notes. The editors identify the chased ship as Ferdinand, however she was in port at this time.

182  NDAR, “Intelligence lately receivd from good Authority,” XI, 863-864

183  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 519 and note

184  NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778,” XI, 749-750 and 750n4

185  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 519 and note

186  NDAR, “News from New York,” XI, 688-689 and 689n9

187  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Solebay, Captain Thomas Symonds,” XI, 519 and note

188  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

189  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 621 and note

190  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

191  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

192  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

193  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 621 and note

194  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

195  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 806-807 and 807 note

196  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

197  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

198  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

199  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

200  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

201  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

202  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 806-807 and 807 note

203  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

204  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

205  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 621-622 and 622 note

206  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 621 and note

207  The Royal Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], Tuesday, April 14, 1778, datelined New York, March 28, 1778

208  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 621 and note

209  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 620-621 and 621 note

210  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

211  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

212  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 631 and note

213  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

214  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 631 and note; “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

215  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 631 and note

216  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

217  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. Molloy,” XI, 631-632

218  According to NDAR, “Rivington’s The Royal Gazette (New York), Saturday, March 21, 1778,” XI, 749-750 and 750 notes, she was escorted to New York by the Vicomte de Veaux, arriving on 10 March 1778. This can not be correct.

219  The Royal Pennsylvania Gazette [Philadelphia], Tuesday, April 14, 1778, datelined New York, March 28, 1778

220  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Richmond, Captain John Lewis Gidoin,” XI, 631 and note; HCA 32/351/9/1-7

221  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 753 and note

222  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 752 and note

223  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 760 and note

224  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 806-807 and 807 notes

225  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 760 and note

226  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 806-807 and 807 notes

227  The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], April 24, 1778, datelined New York, April 9

228   NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J.P. Molloy,” XI, 760 and note. See also HCA 32/391/29/1-8.

229  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 743

230  NDAR, “Captain Richard Onslow, R.N., to Colonel Charles Harrison,” XI, 743

231  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 752 and notes

232  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. St. Albans, Captain Richard Onslow,” XI, 775 and note

233  NDAR, “Extract of a Letter from Captain Onslow to the Viscount Howe,” XI, 806-807

234  Letter, William Ellery to William Whipple, 31 May 1778, in Smith, Letters of Delegates to Congress, 9:783-784

235  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

236  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

237  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 170; Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, 105

238  Van Powell, Noland, The American Navies of the Revolutionary War, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York: 1974, 48

239  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell.” XI, 848-849 and 849 notes

240  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

241  Van Powell, American Navies, 48

242  Letter, William Ellery to William Whipple, 31 May 1778, in Smith, Letters of Delegates to Congress, 9:783-784

243  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

244  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

245  Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 9 February 1, 1778 - May 31, 1778, William Ellery to William Whipple, 31 May 1778, 783-784

246  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

247  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 170

248  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell.” XI, 848-849 and 849 notes

249  NDAR, “Captain Benjamin Caldwell, R.N., to Captain Richard Onslow, R.N.,” XI, 848 and notes

250  NDAR, “Journal of H.M. Sloop Senegal, Commander Anthony J. P. Molloy,” XI, 849 and note

251  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell.” XI, 848-849 and 849 notes

252  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

253  NDAR, “Journal of H.M.S. Emerald, Captain Benjamin Caldwell.” XI, 848-849 and 849 notes. See also HCA 32/475/14/1-15.

254  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

255  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 170

256  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

257  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 170

258  NDAR, Miller, Nathan, Sea of Glory: A Naval History of the American Revolution, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis: 1974, 317-318

259  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778

260  Smith, Marines in the Revolution, 170

261  Letter, Nicholson to Marine Committee, 2 April 1778, in The Pennsylvania Evening Post [Philadelphia], Wednesday, May 20, 1778


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