American Prizes
December 1777

Name of Vessel:


Master of Vessel:

James Wadie [Waddie]

Rig of Vessel:

Brigantine [Brig]

Date of Capture:

13 December 1777

Place of Capture:

39°15'N [38°37'N]


Massachusetts Navy Brigantines Tyrannicide and Hazard

Home Port:

From What Port:

Halifax, Nova Scotia

To What Port:

Jamaica, British West Indies


Fish, oil, staves, lumber


120, 130




Prize master:

Joseph Lane (Tyrannicide)

Prize crew:

6 (Tyrannicide, 5; Hazard, 1)

Ordered Into:

Martinique, French West Indies

Into What Port:

Antigua, British West Indies

Date Arrived:

Date Tried:

Date Sold:





Comments: Massachusetts Navy Brigantines Tyrannicide (Captain Jonathan Haraden) and Hazard (Captain Simeon Sampson) were en route to Europe in December 1777. On 13 December they were at 39°15'N (or 38°37'N ). A sail was seen at 0200 and chased. She was quickly run down and captured at 0300. The prize was a 120 or 130-ton brigantine from Halifax, Nova Scotia bound to Jamaica, British West Indies with a cargo of fish, staves, oil and lumber, the Alexander (James Wadie [Waddie]). Joseph Lane of the Tyrannicide was sent aboard as prize master while Hazard furnished a mate, and Tyrannicide sent over five men as crew. The prize was ordered in to Martinique, French West Indies.

On the morning of 22 January 1778 she was about 100 miles northeast of Dominica, British West Indies where she was sighted and chased at 0800 by HMS Yarmouth (Captain Nicholas Vincent). A second vessel was seen at the same time by Yarmouth. At 0930 Yarmouth overran the second vessel (brig Fortune) and captured her. Yarmouth continued chasing Alexander. At 1300, some seventy-two miles north of Barbados, British West Indies, she was captured. The Americans evidently practiced a small deception on the British, for Alexander was reported, by the British, as a 130-ton brig, skippered by Joseph Lane, and bound from Salem, Massachusetts to Martinique, French West Indies with a cargo of fish and oil. Alexander was said to be owned in Salem and had a crew of seven men aboard. The prizes were escorted into St. Johns, Antigua, British West Indies. Although the Americans believed that this recapture was due to Lane mistaking Dominica for Martinique, this was clearly not the case.

[NDAR, X, 725 and note; XI, 192 and notes, 367-368 and 368 note, 527-528 and 528 note, 546-547 and 547 note, 644-645]

Posted 1 September 2014 ©