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Thorn Captures St. David





Massachusetts Privateer Ship Thorn Captures St. David
21 October 1781



On 21 October 1781 Massachusetts Privateer Ship  Thorn (Commander Richard Cowell) fell in with the large ship St. David, a letter-of-marque which was the former American privateer Jason, commanded by John Manley. St. David had already had a most interesting voyage. St. David had sailed from Jamaica. During her passage she met the ship Chambreux (Perry), which foundered at sea the same day. Chambreux had a number of invalids returning home from Jamaica. Although St. David saved many people, twenty-three were lost. On 18 October 1781 St. David fell in with the storeship Lord Howe, which went down as her crew watched. No one answered St. David’s hails, and it was surmised the Lord Howe’s crew had abandoned ship. Three days later the St. David fell in with the Thorn.1


St. David put up an “obstinate resistance to the Thorn and had several men killed before she surrendered. The Americans noted she was bound from Jamaica to London, with a cargo of sugar and rum, and had some invalids aboard.2 Although there were false reports that the prize had gotten into port, she was recaptured by the Sir Andrew Hammond and sent off to Halifax, where she arrived on 16 November 1781.3 By 3 January 1782 the Americans knew she had been re-captured although the details were incorrect.4


Summary Table

Vessel

Tons

Guns

Broadside

Men

Killed

%

Wounded

%

Total

%

Thorn

305

18

54

[100]

St. David

18

[3]

[3]

Time: [unknown]



1 The Connecticut Journal [New Haven], Thursday, February 21, 1782, datelined Halifax, December 8, 1781. Three other newspapers have the same report.

2 The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser [Philadelphia], Tuesday, December 4, 1781, datelined Boston, November 19, 1781. Same in one other paper.

3 The Connecticut Journal [New Haven], Thursday, February 21, 1782, datelined Halifax, December 8, 1781. Three other newspapers have the same report.

4 The Salem Gazette, Thursday, January 3, 1782; same report in two other papers


Posted 30 January 2009 © awiatsea.com