Oliver Cromwell Escapes Again

Massachusetts Privateer Ship Oliver Cromwell Escapes Again
[10] September 1779

Massachusetts Privateer Ship Oliver Cromwell (Commander James Barr) sailed from Salem, Massachusetts a short time after 28 August 1779.1 Oliver Cromwell had eighteen guns and a nominal crew of 110 men.2 She headed south towards Bermuda.

Some time after sailing, on a hazy morning in the first part of September 1779, the Oliver Cromwell sighted a large ship ahead, with a yellow streak around her sides. She had stump topgallant masts and looked, to Barr, like a vessel of the West India company. Barr raised sail and came up with the ship. As he approached she raised her waist cloths and revealed two rows of gunports. The “West India” ship was a double-decked British frigate. The British frigate fired a whole broadside into the Oliver Cromwell, cutting her up considerably. Fortunately there was little damage aloft and the Oliver Cromwell eluded her pursuer.3

Nearly two years previously the Oliver Cromwell had experienced a very similar incident. She was said to be a “lucky” ship.

1 Essex Institute Historical Collections, Volume 27, Essex Institute; Peabody and Essex Museum, Salem, Essex Institute Press: 1890, 135

2 Allen, Massachusetts Privateers of the Revolution, 231-232. In Howe, Beverly Privateers, 425, Barr is said to have been commissioned to the “sloop” Oliver Cromwell on 11 August, and to the “ship” Oliver Cromwell on 16 August. These are the same vessel, commission and man.

3 McManemin, Captains of the Privateers, 113

Posted 7 January 2011 ©