Massachusetts Privateer Ship Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

(1) Commander Jonathan Haraden

Armed Ship/Sloop-of-War

11 April 1782-December 1782

Massachusetts Privateer Ship

(2) Commander Thomas Benson
4 March 1783-15 March 1783

Commissioned/First Date:

11 April 1782

Out of Service/Cause:

15 March 1783/captured by HM Frigates Astrea and Vestal


(1) Joshua Ward et al of Salem, Massachusetts; (2) John Haraden et al of Salem, Massachusetts




Date Reported: 11 April 1782

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside


Total: 14 cannon/

Broadside: 7 cannon/


Date Reported: May 1782

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside

14/6-pounder      84 pounds  42 pounds

Total: 14 cannon/84 pounds

Broadside: 7 cannon/42 pounds


Date Reported: 4 March 1783

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside


Total: 14 cannon/

Broadside: 7 cannon/


Date Reported: 15 March 1783

Number/Caliber  Weight          Broadside

18/9-pounder     162 pounds   81 pounds

Total: 18 cannon/162 pounds

Broadside: 9 cannon/81 pounds



(1) 11 April 1782: 41 [total]
(2) 4 March 1783: 101 [total]




(1) Salem, Massachusetts to Martinique, French West Indies, May 1782-[15] June 1782

(2) Martinique, French West Indies to Salem, Massachusetts

(3) Salem, Massachusetts to Nantes, France

(4) Nantes, France to Salem, Massachusetts, 18 November 1782-31 December 1782

(5) Salem, Massachusetts to sea, [10] March 1783-15 March 1783


(1) Schooner [unknown], May 1782, off Bermuda

(2) British storeship, November 1782, in European waters


(1) Action with two British privateers, 5 June 1782


Massachusetts Privateer Ship Julius Caesar was commissioned on 11 April 1782 under Commander Jonathan Haraden of Salem, Massachusetts. She was listed as measuring 200 tons, and as being armed with fourteen guns and as having a crew of forty men. Her $20000 bond was signed by Haraden and by Joshua Ward and John Norris, both of Salem.1


Jonathan Haraden

Julius Caesar sailed for the West Indies. About late May 1782 the Julius Caesar was off the west end of Bermuda. In sight of two British brigs, one armed with twenty guns and one with sixteen guns, she re-captured a schooner from New London which one of the brigs had captured. Both British brigs showed no inclination to intervene. The Julius Caesar mounted fourteen 6-pounders and had a crew of forty men at the time.2

On 5 June 1782, Haraden fell in with two British vessels, a ship with eighteen 9-pounders, and a brig with sixteen 6-pounders. Julius Caesar fought them in a two and a half hour action. The British ship was shot up. As the Julius Caesar was wearing ship to get alongside the brig, she received some “unlucky fires.” Haraden thought it expedient to break off the action and proceeded to Martinique with the prize schooner. The Americans had no casualties.3

Julius Caesar’s next voyage was to Nantes, France. It seems possible that Julius Caesar received a coppered bottom in France. Haraden sailed for home about 18 November 1782. En route he captured a 400-ton ship from Gibralter, one of the storeships from the fleet of Lord Howe.4 Haraden arrived at Salem from Nantes on 31 December 1782,5 in forty-three days from Nantes.6

Julius Caesar was re-commissioned on 4 March 1783 under Commander Thomas Benson of Salem. Her battery was unchanged but her crew was increased to 100 men. Her new $20000 bond was signed by Benson, Ward and Norris.7 Haraden was now among the owners of the Julius Caesar.

Julius Caesar was captured on 15 March 1783 by HM Frigates Astrea (Captain Matthew Squire)and Vestal (Captain William Fox) and HM Sloop Duc de Chartres (Commander John Child Purvis)8 while bound to Virginia to load a cargo of tobacco. She was reported to be coppered and armed with eighteen 9-pounders.9 Julius Caesar was sent into New York, New York, where she was tried and condemned in the Vice Admiralty court in 1783.10

1 NRAR, 362

2 The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser [Philadelphia], Tuesday, August 6, 1782, datelined Salem, July 18, 1782

3 The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser [Philadelphia], Tuesday, August 6, 1782, datelined Salem, July 18, 1782

4 The Salem Gazette, Thursday, January 2, 1783

5 The Independent Chronicle and the Universal Advertiser [Boston]. Thursday, January 2, 1783; The Connecticut Courant and Weekly Intelligencer [Hartford], Tuesday, January 7, 1783, datelined Salem, January 2, 1783

6 The Salem Gazette, Thursday, January 2, 1783

7 NRAR, 362

8 The London Gazette, Tueesday, November 14 to Saturday, November 18, 1786

9 The Royal Gazette [New York], Wednesday, April 2, 1783

10 HCA 32/381/9/1-7

Posted 21 September 2014 ©