Lady’s Adventure Fights Off Oliver Cromwell

British Transport Lady’s Adventure Fights Off Pennsylvania Privateer Ship Oliver Cromwell
13 April 1777

Pennsylvania Privateer Ship Oliver Cromwell was commissioned on 7 February 1777 under Commander Harman Courter. She was stated to be a ship of twenty-four guns, with a crew of 150 men.1 Oliver Cromwell sailed from the Delaware River on 17 February, bound for the West Indies.2

On 13 April 1777 the British Army Transport Lady’s Adventure (James Cooper) was off the Île a Vache, Saint-Domingue, French West Indies. Cooper saw a large ship to the southwest, standing north under easy sail. The ship got right ahead of Lady’s Adventure, tacked to the south, and shortened sail. Cooper thought she wanted to speak to him. The stranger was about three quarters of a mile away, between Lady’s Adventure and the sun. Cooper shortened sail and the ship raised either blue, or white, colors and fired a gun to leeward. Cooper noted the time as 1730, ran up British colors and also fired a gun to leeward. This was evidently the wrong answer to the stranger’s signal and she began to edge away. Cooper put a round in front of the ship, which was ignored. Lady’s Adventure fired again: the ship raised all sail and stood away before the wind. Cooper fired a third shot, which he thought struck the ship. The stranger now hauled her wind, hoisted her colors, and fired a broadside at the British, which was returned. The ship wore around and fired another broadside, which was also returned. Finally, the ship fired three guns, which Cooper again answered. She then set sail and stood inshore, being about twenty miles from Port Louis. Cooper reported that she had twenty-four guns on her gun deck and six more on her quarterdeck. Cooper thought it best not to follow her because of the great number of passengers aboard, and steered for Nevis with the ship Mermaid (Bowie). Cooper stated the stranger had fought him under French colors. This engagement was possibly with the Oliver Cromwell.3

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Oliver Cromwell





Lady's Adventure

Time: [unknown]

1 Hahn, Harold M., Ships of the American Revolution and their Models, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis: 1988,  75, 78

2 Hahn, Ships of the American Revolution and their Models, 75

3 NDAR, “Captain James Cooper to Vice Admiral Clark Gayton,” VIII, 343-344 and 344 note

Posted 7 January 2011 ©