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Virginia Navy Trading Brig
Adventure





Adventure

Captain Lawrence Sandford

Trading Vessel

[1 September] 1776-11 January 1777

Virginia Navy Brig


Commissioned/First Date:

6 September 1776

Out of Service/Cause:

11 January 1777/captured by HM Frigate Roebuck


Tonnage:

110


Battery:

Date Reported:

Number/Caliber  Weight        Broadside


Total:

Broadside:

Swivels:


Crew:

11 January 1777: 9 [total]


Description:


Officers:


Cruises:

(1) Portsmouth, Virginia to Môle Saint-Nicolas, St. Domingue, [1 November] 1776-[25 November] 1776

(2) Môle Saint-Nicolas, St. Domingue to sea, [20 December] 1776-11 January 1777


Prizes:


Actions:


Comments:

Virginia Navy Brig Adventure was in service by late summer of 1776, when she was loaded with a cargo of tobacco1 for a projected voyage to Dunkerque, France.2 Brig Adventure was laying at Norfolk, Virginia on 1 September 1776, when Surgeon George Hunter (of the American Congress) noted in his journal “The Como with seven others set off for Norfolk, I should have accompanied him but for the number of sick. About 5 of the evening having waited on board Sandford’s brig Adventure Lieut. Skinner and Lt. John Thomas the former & self proposed to return and call at an elegant Brick House that just offered to our view imagining that the best mode of introduction would be to enquire for fruit.”3 On 6 September 1776, Commodore John Thomas Boucher was ordered to escort brig Adventure thirty miles out from the Virginia Capes, with his squadron of five vessels.4


Unfortunately, Adventure was unfit to sail. She was ordered, on 20 September, moved from York to Portsmouth, there to unload her cargo, refit, and then reload. Her destination was changed from France to Môle Saint-Nicolas, Saint-Domingue.5


By 16 October 1776 she was at Portsmouth, where Captain Sandford drew sail cloth for the brig. Letters from abroad had arrived, and Adventure's destination was again changed, back to Dunkerque. Sandford was ordered to report to Stival & Sons at that port.6 As sailing time drew near, Sandford approached the Virginia Navy Board and requested to know the terms of his voyage. On 18 October the Board agreed to pay him eight shillings per day plus cabin stores, and his mate six shillings per day.7 Adventure finally sailed in late October or early November 1776. Her destination had evidently been changed again, for Sandford took her to Môle Saint-Nicolas. She probably arrived there in mid-November, delivered her cargo, and took aboard a return cargo of 11,200 pounds of gunpowder.8 Sandford sailed for home in late December 1776.


On 11 January 1777, HM Frigate Roebuck was forty-eight miles east of Cape Henlopen, Delaware,9 just getting under way to proceed south to Antigua to refit,10 when a sail was sighted at 0700, away to the southeast. Roebuck commenced a chase, and her crew manhandled a 9-pounder onto the gangway at 0900 to open fire on the quarry. The chase was the Adventure of course, trying to sneak into the Chesapeake Capes. Several 6-pound and 9-pound shots were fired before Sandford struck at 1100. A prize crew was sent over and the prisoners removed.11 Roebuck ordered the prize sent to Antigua, and both arrived 27 January 1777.12 Vice Admiral James Young, the commander at Antigua, ordered the powder purchased for the Royal Navy on 26 February 1777 as he was afraid the Americans would secretly buy it at a public auction.13 Adventure was tried and condemned at Antigua14 on 18 February 1777.15


Sandford was back in Alexandria, Virginia by 17 June 1777. He was then considering going out in another unarmed vessel, but rejected the idea.16



1  NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Council of Safety,” VI, 919

2 NDAR, “Virginia Navy Board to Commodore John Thomas Boucher,” VI, 728

3 Stewart, Virginia’s Navy of the Revolution, 16

4 NDAR, “Virginia Navy Board to Commodore John Thomas Boucher,” VI, 728

5 NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Council of Safety,” VI, 919

6 NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Navy Board,” VI, 1296-1297

7 NDAR, “Journal of the Virginia Council of Safety,” VI, 1326

8 NDAR, “Vice Admiral James Young to Peter Alsop,” VII, 1303

9 NDAR, “Master’s Log of H.M.S. Roebuck,” VII, 932 and note

10 NDAR, “Narrative of Captain Andrew Snape Hamond,” VII, 1048-1049 and 1049 note

11 NDAR, “Master’s Log of H.M.S. Roebuck,” VII, 932 and note

12 NDAR, “Narrative of Captain Andrew Snape Hamond,” VII, 1048-1049 and 1049 note

13 NDAR, “Vice Admiral James Young to Peter Alsop,” VII, 1303

14 NDAR, “An Account f Ships and Vessels taken as Prize of War, by His Majesty’s Ships and Vessels, under the Command of Vice Admiral Young at Barbado’s, and the Leeward Islands and in the Seas adjacent; between the Last Account transmitted the 9th Decemr 1776, and the 10th March 1777,” VIII, 82-83

15 NDAR, “List of Prizes Condemned in the Vice Admiralty Court of Antigua,” XI, 124-130, where the captain’s name is listed as Lawrence Langford.

16 NDAR, “Jenifer & Hooe to Governor Thomas Johnson,” IX, 132



Posted 21 September 2014 © awiatsea.com