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Vengeance Captures Eagle





Massachusetts Privateer Brig Vengeance Captures HM Packet Snow Eagle
21 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 21 September, at 51°26'N,  19°27'W,9 Vengeance encountered HM Packet Snow Eagle (Captain Edward Spence10 [S. Spencer]11 armed with twelve12 or fourteen13 3-pounder14 carriage guns and with sixty men aboard including military passengers. She was bound from New York to Falmouth,15 and had sailed about 24 July 1778.16 This was the second packet Vengeance had met in a four day stretch. After another long chase the Eagle was brought to action, Newman again holding his fire until very close to the British.17 After a twenty minute fight the Eagle surrendered18 with two killed and six wounded.19 Among the dead was a Colonel Howard of the 1st Guards Regiment, one of the passengers.20 Among the other passengers were four21 lieutenant colonels,22  three majors,23 and a dragoon officer. en route from America. The Americans had one man wounded, Commander Newman, hit in the thigh by a musket ball. After removing his prisoners, Newman sent the Eagle off to Newburyport with a prize crew.24


Surgeon Nye reported this fight as follows: “Sept 21st Lat about 49 Discovered ourselves within a league of a sail at 7 AM came up with and engaged her She fought bravely fifteen or twenty minutes and then struck after having two of her people killed and four or five wounded one of them so badly I was obliged to amputate his leg The prize proved to be the Eagle Packet a snow Spence commander from New York to Falmouth out twenty eight days mounting twelve three pounders and having forty three men beside the following passengers Col Howard of the 1st Regiment Guards killed in the engagement Col McDonald 71st Regiment Highlanders Col Anstruther Col Stevens of the Guards Maj Barcley Maj Forbes and the Hon Maj afterwards Lord Charles Cathcart Capt of the Athol Highlanders and 2d Major of Lord Cathcart’s legion and brother to Lord Cathcart Mr Sloper cornet of horse two sergeants three or four servants and Miss Jane Marsh On board were some dry goods besides plate and cash to a considerable amount Got the prisoners on board our brig and sent Mr Thomas Newman prize master and a gang of our people aboard to repair her rigging We had no person hurt except Captain Newman who received a musket ball in the thigh wound not dangerous . . .”25


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

Vengeance

350

20

60

100

1

1%

1

1%

Eagle

14

21

60

2

3%

6

10%

8

13%

Time: 20 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 The Pennsylvania Magazine of History or Biography, XIV, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: 1890, 93, from The London Chronicle, October 22-24, 1778

10 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

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

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

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

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

16Blake, History of Newburyport, 117, from Surgeon Samuel Nye’s Journal

17 Maclay, History of American Privateers, 117

18 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

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 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

21 Maclay, Privateers, 117; Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779

22 Maclay, History of American Privateers, 118

23 Maclay, History of American Privateers, 118; Allen, Naval History of the American Revolution, i, 359 from a letter by Newman in the Boston Post, January 9, 1779

24 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

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


Posted 10 November 2009 © awiatsea.com