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Independence Takes Friendship





Rhode Island Privateer Sloop Independence Captures A Transport
[5] November 1776



In the early part of November 1776, Rhode Island Privateer Independence (Commander John Tillinghast) was at sea. Independence was armed with eight guns and had already made one successful cruise.


About 5 November, the Independence fell in with the 300-ton British Navy Victualler Friendship1 (Samuel Broomstone2 [Bromstone]),3 en route from Cork, Ireland to New York, New York with a cargo of beef, pork, butter, oatmeal, flour, bread, peas, gunpowder, cannon shot, and cordage. The transport mounted sixteen guns, 3-pounders and 4-pounders, and eight swivels. She had about thirty men aboard, including a sergeant, corporal and eleven soldiers.


Broomstone decided to fight and the Independence began an action that lasted twenty minutes. Tillinghast, whose only advantage probably lay in the size of his crew, closed in and boarded the Friendship. A short but vicious fight followed on the deck before the British were driven from their quarters, leaving Broomstone alone, and wounded, on the deck. He surrendered. The British lost three killed (the sergeant and two privates) and seven men wounded (including Broomstone). Tillinghast was wounded, shot by a musket ball. Three other Americans were wounded and two killed.4


While this fight was going on two sail had come up to support the Friendship, a fourteen gun ship and a brig mounting eight swivel guns. After exchanging a few broadsides with the Independence, the ship sheered off. The brig never got involved. Independence and her prize got into Providence5 by 21 November.6


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

Independence

8

2

4

6

Friendship

300

16

[28]

30

3

10%

7

23%

10

33%

Time: 20 minutes



1 NDAR, “Providence Gazette, Saturday, November 23, 1776,” VII, 250-251

2 NDAR, “British Prisoners Sent to Newport for Exchange,” VII, 1079-1080

3 NDAR, “List of All the Vessels Cargoes &c Brought into the Port of Providence and Libelled Tried and condemned in the Maritime Court AD 1776-,” VII, 642-647. She was libeled on 21 November by Tillinghast.

4 NDAR, “Providence Gazette, Saturday, November 23, 1776,” VII, 250-251

5 NDAR, “Providence Gazette, Saturday, November 23, 1776,” VII, 250-251

6 NDAR, “List of All the Vessels Cargoes &c Brought into the Port of Providence and Libelled Tried and condemned in the Maritime Court AD 1776-,” VII, 642-647. She was libeled on 21 November by Tillinghast.


Posted 20 March 2011 © awiatsea.com