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Massachusetts Privateer Schooner Black Bird




Black Bird [Blackbird]

Schooner

(1) Commander William Groves

Massachusetts Privateer Schooner

6 August 1777-
(2) Commander Joseph Pitman
24 October 1777-
(3) Commander Nathaniel Reynolds
27 March 1778-


Commissioned/First Date:

6 August 1777

Out of Service/Cause:


Owners:

(1) Walter Prue Bartlett et al of Salem, Massachusetts; (2) Edward Norris of Salem, Massachusetts (3) Samuel Page and Walter P. Bartlett of Salem, Massachusetts


Tonnage:


Battery:

Date Reported: 6 August 1777

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside


Total:

Broadside:

Swivels: eight


Date Reported: 24 October 1777

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside


Total:

Broadside:

Swivels: eight


Date Reported: 27 March 1778

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside


Total:

Broadside:

Swivels: eight


Crew:

(1) 6 August 1777: 21 [total]
(2) 24 October 1777: 21 [total]
(3) 27 March 1778: 21 [total]


Description:


Officers:


Cruises:


Prizes:

(1) Schooner Lively (David Fletcher), [September] 1777, with the Massachusetts Privateer [unknown] Spy, New Hampshire Privateer Schooner Friends Adventure, and Massachusetts Privateer Schooner Fancy

(2) Sloop Annabella (Potts), [September] 1777, with Massachusetts Privateer Schooner Resolution

(3) Sloop Adventure (Zachariah Foot), [November] 1777

(4) Schooner Dolphin (Jeremiah Allen), [January] 1778


Actions:


Comments:


Massachusetts Privateer Schooner Blackbird was commissioned on 6 August 1777 under Commander William Groves of Salem, Massachusetts. She was listed as having a battery of eight guns (although this surely means eight swivels) and a crew of twenty men. Her $5000 bond was signed by Groves, Walter Prue Bartlett of Salem, and Eliphalet Hale of Exeter, New Hampshire.1


Groves was at sea soon after, operating with several other privateers. Two prizes resulted from the cruise. On 6 October 1777 Groves libeled the 60-ton schooner Lively (David Fletcher), along with the commanders of the Massachusetts Privateer [unknown] Spy (Commander Elias Smith), New Hampshire Privateer Schooner Friends Adventure (Commander Kinsman Peverly), and Massachusetts Privateer Schooner Fancy (Commander John Farrey [Ferry]). Trial was set for 10 October 1777.2


On 9 October Groves libeled the 100-ton sloop Annabella (Potts), which he had captured in conjunction with Massachusetts Privateer Resolution (Commander Jeremiah O’Brien). Trial was set for 28 October 1777.3


Massachusetts Privateer Schooner Black Bird was re-commissioned on 24 October 1777 under Commander Joseph Pitman of Salem. She was listed as having a battery of eight swivel guns and a crew of twenty men. Her $5000 Continental bond and her £500 Massachusetts bond were signed by Pitman, and by Edward Norris and Daniel Hopkins of Salem. Edward Norris was listed as her owner.4


Sometime after that, probably in November 1777, Black Bird captured the 60-ton sloop Adventure (Zachariah Foot),5 from Halifax to the Bay of Fundy with a cargo of fish.6 Adventure was libeled on 4 December 1777, with trial set for 23 December.7 Another prize, the 40-ton schooner Dolphin (Jeremiah Allen) was captured about January 1778. Dolphin was libeled on 23 February 1778, with trial set for 27 March 1778.8


Black Bird was re-commissioned on 27 March 1778 under Commander Nathaniel Reynolds of Salem, Massachusetts. She again listed her battery as eight swivel guns and her crew as twenty men. Her new bonds ($5000 Continental and £500 Massachusetts) were signed by Reynolds and by Samuel Page and Walter Price Bartlett, both of Salem. The owners were Page and Bartlett.9



1 NRAR, 239. Also listed in Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution, 82.

2 NDAR, “Libels Filed in the Massachusetts Maritime Court of the Middle District,” X, 45-46 and 46 notes

3 NDAR, “Libels Filed in the Massachusetts Maritime Court of the Middle District,” X, 89-90

4 Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution, 82. There is no direct connection between this Black Bird and the other Blackbird. However, two schooners of the same name, listing the same battery, owned in Salem within three months is a rather long coincidence.

5 NDAR, “Libels Filed in the Massachusetts Maritime Court of the Middle District,” X, 664-665 and 665 note

6 Faibisy, “A Compilation . . .,” in NDAR, X, 1201-1210

7 NDAR, “Libels Filed in the Massachusetts Maritime Court of the Middle District,” X, 664-665 and 665 note

8 NDAR, “Libels Filed in the Massachusetts Maritime Court of the Middle District,” XI, 406-407 and 407 note

9 Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution, 82.


Posted 21 September 2014 © awiatsea.com