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Vengeance Captures Harriot





Massachusetts Privateer Brig Vengeance Captures HM Packet Ship Harriot
17 September 1778



The 350 to 400-ton1 Massachusetts Privateer Brig2 Vengeance (Commander Wingate Newman)3 was an eighteen4 or twenty5 gun brig, manned by one hundred men.6 Another source indicates she was armed with twenty 6-pounders.7 Vengeance sailed to intercept a British convoy soon after her commissioning, in August 1778.8


On 17 September, at 49°N, 20°W, she fell in with HM Packet Ship Harriot9 (or Harriet,10  Captain Samson Sprague11 [Sparge]).12 Harriot was bound from Falmouth, England to New York, having sailed13 about 2 September14 or 7 September.15 She was armed with sixteen 3-pounders and had a crew of forty-five men.16 Surgeon Samuel Nye of the Vengeance, reports the beginning of the encounter: “Sept 17 Lat 49 Discovered a sail at 9 AM bearing ENE 4 leagues distance at 3 PM got within cannon shot of her gave her two or three bow chasers and received as many stern chasers from her soon after which she hauled up her courses and gave a broadside but her guns being light the shot did not reach she then endeavored to get away by making sail again but found it impracticable she again lay to till we got within pistol shot of her and then gave us another broadside which was returned on our part and to such purpose as to oblige her to strike at once after having one man killed and six wounded . . .”17


After fifteen minutes the Harriot struck,18 with one killed and five wounded aboard.19 Vengeance had one man killed.20 Newman called this a “small resistance.” The crew was removed and the prize was manned and dispatched to Newburyport.21


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

Vengeance

350

20

60

100

1

1%

1

1%

Harriot

16

24

45

1

2%

6

13%

7

15%

Time: 15 minutes



1 Blake, Euphemia Vale, History of Newburyport; from the Earliest Settlement of the Country to the Present Time with a Biographical Appendix, Press of Dambell and Moore, Newburyport: 1854, 116

2 Maclay, American Privateers, 117; Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359; Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution, 314; Claghorn, Naval Officers of the American Revolution, 308, refers to her as a ship; 219, as a brig; Howe, Beverly Privateers in the Revolution, 425, as a ship. Her commander, Wingate Newman, referred to her as a brig. The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778.

3 Maclay, American Privateers, 117; Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779

4 Maclay, American Privateers, 117

5 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779

6 Maclay, History of American Privateers, 117

7 The Pennsylvania Magazine of History or Biography, XIV, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: 1890, 93, from The London Chronicle, October 22-24, 1778

8 Blake, History of Newburyport, 117, from Surgeon Samuel Nye’s Journal

9 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359, from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778. Here the packet is spelled Hariot. The British date the capture to 18 September, at 49°N, 22°W. The Pennsylvania Magazine of History or Biography, XIV, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: 1890, 93, from The London Chronicle, October 22-24, 1778.

10 Maclay, History of American Privateers, 117

11 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778

12 The Pennsylvania Magazine of History or Biography, XIV, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: 1890, 93, from The London Chronicle, October 22-24, 1778

13 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778; The Massachusetts Spy: Or, American Oracle of Liberty [Worcester], October 29, 1778, datelined Boston, October 22

14 Blake, History of Newburyport, 117, from Surgeon Samuel Nye’s Journal

15 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778; The Massachusetts Spy: Or, American Oracle of Liberty [Worcester], October 29, 1778, datelined Boston, October 22

16 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778; Blake, History of Newburyport, 117, from Surgeon Samuel Nye’s Journal

17 Blake, History of Newburyport, 117, from Surgeon Samuel Nye’s Journal

18 The Massachusetts Spy: Or, American Oracle of Liberty [Worcester], October 29, 1778, datelined Boston, October 22

19 The Pennsylvania Magazine of History or Biography, XIV, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: 1890, 93, from The London Chronicle, October 22-24, 1778

20 The Massachusetts Spy: Or, American Oracle of Liberty [Worcester], October 29, 1778, datelined Boston, October 22

21 Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779; The Boston Gazette, and Country Journal, Monday, January 11, 1779, in a letter from Newman dated 4 October 1778


Posted 10 November 2009 © awiatsea.com