Friday, March 31, 2017

The Quasi War's USS Merrimack-- Part 1: Presented to U.S. Navy

From Wikipedia.

While writing about the USS Chesapeake whose name was changed to USS Patapsco in 1799, this ship, along with the USS Merrimack, fought off a French attack on Curacao in 1800.  I, of course, knew about the USS Merrimack that later was turned into the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia in 1862, but knew nothing about this ship.

The USS Merrimack was launched by the Association of Newburyport Shipwrights 12 October 1798, and presented to the U.S. Navy where it saw action in the Quasi War with France.

It was 460 tons, has a crew of 220 and mounted 28 guns (twenty 9-pdrs. and eight 6-pdr. guns).


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Other Ships Named USS Chesapeake-- Part 3

The next USS Chesapeake was a bark that served as a training ship from 1900 to 1910.  It was renamed in 1905 and trained future officers at the USNA.  In 1910, it became a sub tender.  It was sold 7 December 1916.

USS Chesapeake, ID-3395 was a salvage ship used by the Navy from March to October 1919 and helped clear the North Sea of mines after World War I.

SS Chesapeake AOT-5084 was a transport tanker used from 2000 to 2009.

A Chesapeake Thing.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Other U.S.N. Ships Named Chesapeake-- Part 2: The USS Patapsco

This one was only temporarily named the USS Chesapeake.  Most likely its name was changed so that the new frigate could have it.

The Patapsco is the name of a river by Baltimore, Maryland.

USS Chesapeake/USS Patapsco, sloop.  During the time the Patapsco spent in the West Indies, it captured two French ships and aided the USS Merrimack, 28 guns, (a ship launched by the Association of Newburyport Shipwrights in 1798 and saw action in the U.S. Navy until it was sold in 1801) in defeating a French invasion of Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles..  A British frigate was also

The Quasi War with France resulted in a number of U.S. navy ships which were in service for just a short time, like the Patapsco.

Afterwards, the Patapsco returned to Philadelphia where it was sold in 1801.

So much for the first USS Chesapeake/Patapsco.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Other U.S. Navy Ships Named Chesapeake-- Part 1: The USS Patapsco

From Wikipedia.

USS CHESAPEAKE--  This sloop was renamed the USS Patapsco in 1799, while still under construction.  Most likely to free up the name for the frigate USS Chesapeake.  Launched in 1799 and sold in 1801.  Twenty guns and 87 feet long.

It was either changed to Patapsco while under construction or after launching on June 20, 1799.  Commanded by Captain Henry Geddes.  It escorted the brig Acteon to New Orleans, carrying General James Wilkinson and his staff there.  (he became the first Louisiana Territorial Governor in 1805).  He later commanded two very unsuccessful campaigns during the War or 1812 along the St. Lawrence River.

The Patapsco cruised in the West Indies during the Quasi-War with France to protect American shipping.

More to Come.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake-- Part 2

Charles Dickon is an Emmy-winning public radio and television producer based in Virginia.  His book "The Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake is available on Amazon for $22.

The 1813 battle of the Chesapeake versus the HMS Shannon was a big boost to British morale, proving that one of their frigates could beat a United States frigate in one-on-one battle.  It also provided the U.S. Navy with its "Don't Give Up the Ship" slogan.

After the battle, the Chesapeake served in the British Navu as the HMS Chesapeake.  It was broken up in 1820 and its timber eventually used in an English mill.

There is not only an account of the book at site, but you can get a lot of information by clicking across the top of the page.  There is more information on people, places, the mill, book notes and links.

Well Worth a Look.  --Brock-Perry

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Enduring Journey of the USS Chesapeake-- Part 1: A Book About the Ship

By Chris Dickon, Emmy-winning public radio and television producer from Virginia.

Mr. Dickon made a comment early on in my USS/HMS Chesapeake blog entries and is the author of a book on the subject, so has done a whole lot more research on it than I.

The USS Chesapeake was one of six frigates built in the 1790s and considered an "Unlucky Ship."  There was a death in Gosport Shipyard in Portsmouth on the ship's launching in 1799.  "In 1807 she was involved in a confrontation at sea that shocked the new American nation into a realization that it was now sovereign in the world and needed to be able to defend itself."


Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Body of James Lawrence-- Part 2: Many Burials

The battle between the USS Chesapeake and HMS Shannon took place on June 1, 1813, off Boston.  James Lawrence, the Chesapeake's commander, was mortally wounded, taken below and taken prisoner when the ship surrendered a few moments later.  He died on June 4, en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia,  where he was buried with full military honors at what was Her Majesty's Canadian Dockyard.  It is now the Canadian Forces Base Halifax (CFB-Halifax).

However, his body is  no longer there.

It was disinterred at some time afterwards and taken to Boston where another funeral was held.  Later, he was reburied in Salem, Massachusetts.  Later, again, he was dug up and buried for a final time at the trinity Church cemetery in Manhattan, New York City.

A Long Way From Halifax.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Body of James Lawrence-- Part 1

In the last post I mentioned the burial of U.S. Navy Captain James Lawrence in Halifax, Nova Scotia, by the British with full military honors.

From Wikipedia.

The body of James Lawrence was reinterred at Trinity Church in New York City which also contains quite a few other notables:  Robert Fulton, Albert Gallatin, Horatio Gates, Alexander Hamilton and John Peter Zenger.

Also buried there are two War of 1812 veterans:

Franklin Wharton (1767-1868).  Commandant USMC 1804-1818.
Silas Talbot 1750-1813, U.S. Navy.  Second captain of the USS Constitution.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

HMS Shannon, After the Battle With the USS Chesapeake-- Part 1

The HMS Shannon was a 38-gun British frigate.

The British buried American Captain James Lawrence in Halifax with full military honors.  Six senior British naval officers served as his pall bearers.

The Shannon was in ordinary in Portsmouth 1814-1815.  Between July 1815 and March 1817 the ship was at Chatham undergoing extensive repairs that cost 26,328 pounds.  It was then returned to ordinary where it stayed until 1826 when it underwent some minor repairs at a cost of 4,969 pounds and then fitted for sea between August-December 1828 for 14,746 pounds.

It became a receiving ship and a temporary hulk at Sheerness in 1831.  On 11 March 1844 and was broken up at Chatham in 1859.


HMS Shannon-- Part 1: Statistics

Tonnage--  1,065

150 feet long

39.11 foot beam

Crew:  330 officers and enlisted

Armament, Upper deck--  twenty-eight 18-pdrs.

Lower decks--  eight 9 pdrs. and fourteen 32-pdr. carronades.


Monday, March 20, 2017

HMS Shannon-- Part 2: Information

From Wikipedia.

A 38-gun Leda-class frigate.

Ordered--   24 October 1803

Laid Down--  August 1804

Launched--  5 May 1806

Completed--  3 August 1806

Receiving ship--  1831

Renamed HMS St. Lawrence in 1844

Broken up in 1859


The HMS Leopard After the Chesapeake Affair-- Part 2

The HMS Leopard took part in a convoy in the Mauritius Campaign 1809-1811 in the Indian Ocean.  In 1812, it had its guns removed and was converted into a troopship.

On 28 June 1814, en route from Britain to Quebec and carrying 475 Royal Scots Guardsmen, the Leopard grounded on Anticosti Island at the outlet of the St. Lawrence River in a heavy fog.  The ship was destroyed, but all aboard survived.


Friday, March 17, 2017

Trouble On the High Seas-- Part 3: Seizing and Sinking American Ships


This sort of trouble wasn't new.  Ships of the British Royal Navy had been stopping American merchant ships ever since 1793, when England went to war with France.  It was England's war policy to stop all ships from trading in French seaports.  To make sure that American ships were not taking war supplies to France, British warships stopped them on the ocean and British sailors went on board to search the cargo.

French warships did the same.  If the French or British found enemy cargo on board, the ship might be sunk or captured.  Dozens of American ships were lost that way, and thousands of dollars' worth of goods were lost with every ship.


Andrew Jackson's Birthday Commemorated at the Hermitage-- Part 2

Thursday, the Tennessee National Guard will have a concert and there will be a 19th century-era steeplechase as well as a presentation by the Tennessee Militia reenactment group.

There will be a person playing the role of Andrew Jackson in attendance and throughout the day, a chance to see "An Evening With Five Presidents.

Friday and Saturday they will have 150 re-enactors having a War of 1812 encampment.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Andrew Jackson's Birthday Commemorated at the Hermitage-- Part 1

From the March 13, 2017, Lebanon (Tenn) Democrat "Trump to visit Hermitage for Jackson's birthday."

Andrew Jackson was born on March 15, 1767.  On his birthday, yesterday, President Trump visited the Hermitage and placed a wreath at his grave.  However, unfortunately, the Hermitage was closed to the public that day, but with all this anti-Trump and anti-Jackson feelings around, probably a good thing.

However, the Hermitage is open today, March 16th, for what they're calling a Jackson Education Day.  This is the 250th anniversary of his birth.  They will be having Hickory Pole Racing, chocolate sampling and birthday cake.


Trump to Visit Hermitage for Jackson's Birthday-- Part 1

From the March 13, 2017, Lebanon (Tennessee) Democrat.

President Trump was to visit Andrew Jackson's Hermitage outside of Nashville on Wednesday before a rally in that city.  He becomes the 14th president to visit and the first since Ronald Reagan did in 1982.  He will lay a wreath on Jackson's grave.  Trump also has placed a picture of Jackson in the Oval Office.  All this coming at a time when Jackson is being blackballed by many for owning slaves and his treatment to the Indians.  Plus, his picture on the twenty dollar bills is going to be replaced.

I admire President Trump for taking this stance.

Andrew Jackson is a big reason the United States became as strong of a country as it is.

Way to Go, President.  --Brock-Perry

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The HMS Leopard: After the Battle With the Chesapeake-- Part 1

The HMS Leopard was a 50 gun, 4th class warship launched in 1790 and with a main battery of 22 24-pdr. long guns and 22 12-pdr. long guns.

The British were looking for four sailors, one British and three Americans,  known to have deserted and believed to have joined the Chesapeake's crew.

After the battle and removal from the Chesapeake, the four were taken to Halifax, where the British sailor, Jenkin Ratford, was hanged.  The three Americans were initially sentenced to 500 lashes, but hat their sentence dropped and the British offered to return them to the U.S..


USS Chesapeake Statistics-- Part 2

38-gun frigate

Length--  152.6 feet

Beam--  41.3 feet

Draft--  20 feet

Crew--  340 officers and enlisted

Armament--  29 18-pdr. long guns, 18 32-pdr. carronades, 2 12-pdr. long guns and 1 12 pdr. carronade.

(The USS Constitution carried 30 24-pdr. long guns for her main battery.)


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Stats on the USS Chesapeake-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Ordered March 27, 1794

Builder:  Josiah Fox

Cost:  $220,667

Laid Down:  December 1795

Launched:  December 2, 1799

Commissioned:  May 22, 1800

Captured:  June 1, 1813


The USS Chesapeake's Legacy-- Part 2: A Cannon Remains in Nova Scotia

**  The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, holds artifacts from the battle, including the mess kettle and an officer's chest.

**  One of the Chesapeake's 18-pounder cannons is mounted beside the Province House which is the home of the Nova Scotia legislature.


Monday, March 13, 2017

The USS Chesapeake's Legacy-- Part 1 "Don't Give Up the Ship"

From Wikipedia.

**  Captain James Lawrence's last words, "Don't Give Up the Ship" has become a rallying cry for the U.S. Navy.

**  In September 1813, Oliver Hazard Perry named his flagship the USS Lawrence.  At the Battle of Lake Erie, he flew a broad blue flag with the words "Don't Give Up the Ship" on it.

**  The USS Lawrence's blood-stained, bullet-riddled flag was sold at auction in 1908 and purchased by William Waldorf Astor (American-born, but moved to Britain).  It is now at the Britain's National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, along with her signal book.


Unlucky Ship: The USS Chesapeake

From Wikipedia.

Almost from the beginning, the USS Chesapeake was considered an unlucky ship.  It was "the runt of the leader," the smallest of the frigates built back then.

Then, there were its ill-fated encounters with the HMS Leopard and HMS Shannon.

Two of her captains were court martialed.  And, there were the accidental deaths of several crewmen.


Friday, March 10, 2017

From the Chesapeake Mill Website-- Part 2


  The historical significance of this fine building arises first of all from the timber used in its construction.  These timbers come from the United States frigate Chesapeake, which was captured by the Royal Navy during the War of 1812.

Architecturally, the mill is the finest example of re-used ship timbers within an industrial building outside the confines of the Royal Dockyards.

In addition to this maritime heritage, the mill has been a prominent feature of the landscape in the Meon Valley, performing a vital function in the rural economy from its construction in 1820 up to 1976, when it ceased commercial operations.

On My List of Places to Go If Ever in England Again.  --Brock-Perry

Thursday, March 9, 2017

From the Chesapeake Mill Website-- Part 1: Lots of Stuff to Buy

You can find it at

You can take a virtual tour of the building, which now is an antique/gift store and evidently quite a popular tourist destination.


We have dealers who offer a wonderful mix of antiques and collectable, antique pine, kitchenalla, and country made furniture, Georgian and Victorian mahogony, oak and walnut furniture for the bedroom, sitting room, dining room or for occasional use.

With some dealers offering Antique and Vintage Jewelry, ceramics and glass from early Staffordshire Pottery, Oriental Porcelain and Victorian Glass through to collectable 20th century ceramics and Quality Glass.

There is an award-winning restaurant on site, currently #1 in Wickham.


Chesapeake Mill

From Wikipedia.

Watermill in Wickham, Hampshire, England.

Designed and constructed in 1820 using the timber from the HMS Chesapeake, previously the United States frigate USS Chesapeake which was captured by the HMS Shannon in the War of 1812.

The interior of the mill was designed around the dimensions of the deck beams of the ship.

The mill remained open until 1976 and is now an antique and gift sellers building.

It has a Grade II listing.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Aftermath of the USS Chesapeake

From Wikipedia.

After the USS Chesapeake was captured on June 1, 1813, it was repaired and taken into service of the Royal Navy as the HMS Chesapeake.  It served on the Halifax Station under the command of Alexander Dixie through 1814.

It sailed to Plymouth in October 1814 and later made a trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

Later commanders of the ship were not too impressed with it and in 1819 it was put up for sale at Plymouth.  A Portsmouth timber merchant bought it for 500 pounds, dismantled it and then sold the timber to Joshua Holmes for 3,450 pounds.

Eventually the timbers became part of the Chesapeake Mill in Wickham, Hampshire, England.

In 1996 one timber fragment was returned to the United States and is on display at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Same USS Chesapeake

For some reason, I never put the USS Chesapeake that I wrote about on the last post as the one "victimized" by the HMS Leopard, together as being the same USS Chesapeake which was forced to surrender to the HMS Shannon during the War of 1812 and cost the life of its captain James Lawrence but who uttered the famous Navy words, "Don't Give Up the Ship."

The USS Chesapeake was launched in 1799, so I was wondering why eight years later it wouldn't be quite the seasoned warship.  But, I went to Wikipedia and found out it was coming out of an extended ordinary stay, the term used for "mothballed" back then, so had a new crew and was definitely not in top fighting shape when it was stopped and forcibly boarded.

Quite the Duh for Me.  --Brock-Perry

Monday, March 6, 2017

Trouble On the High Seas-- Part 2: The "Leopard" and the "Chesapeake"

In 1807 the American warship Chesapeake was leaving the Virginia coast when the British ship Leopard came up from behind and gave a signal.  The Chesapeake took in sail and slowed down, and a British naval officer went over in a small boat.  He had orders to arrest a British sailor who, he said, was aboard the Chesapeake.

The American captain told him that the sailor he wanted was not aboard the ship, and he would not let him make a search.  The officer went back to the Leopard, and eight minutes later the British surprised the Chesapeake by firing at her.

The Chesapeake was a new ship, not ready for battle.  There were ropes and supplies all over her deck and only a few cannons were in place to fire.  The Americans were badly hit even before they could begin to shoot back.  After twenty men were wounded, the captain lowered his flag.  A British naval party came aboard, lined the crew of the Chesapeake, and found the man they were looking for.  They took him and three other seamen off the ship, and the Chesapeake went limping back to port.

Them's Fighting Words.  --Brock-Perry

Trouble On the High Seas-- Part 1: Make Treaties But Stay Out of European Wars

From the textbook "Adventures in American History"

Of interest to see how textbooks have covered the War of 1812.  This is one of the textbooks I used while teaching.

When Washington was President, his plan was to keep out of European troubles.  His policy was to make friendly treaties with the foreign countries but do nothing that might get the  United States into European wars.  That was John Adams' foreign policy, and it was Jefferson's too.

But after James Madison became President, war finally broke out between the United States and England.  It was the War of 1812.  This part of Chapter 11 is about the troubles between England and the United States that led to war between the two nations.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Grave Site of 1812 Veteran Dedicated: John Whitmore

From the June 11, 2016, Register-Mail.

John Whitmore's grave at Clover Chapel Cemetery near Woodhull was dedicated and several of his descendants were there.

He was a private, born in 1790 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and married in 1816.  he had ten children.

The Illinois Society of the War of 1812 and the U.S. Daughters of 1812 presented the ceremony.


Ten Strange Tales From America's Second War For Independence-- Part 4: T.J.'s Library

2.  Along with other buildings in Washington, D.C., the British also burned the nation's Library of Congress, consuming all the accumulated books.  Thomas Jefferson sold his 6,487 books to it in 1815 to settle debts he had incurred.

1.  Black refugees:  The British promised black slaves their freedom if they joined them and served.  Some 4,000 did.

After the war, they settled in Trinidad, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the West Indies.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Ten Strange Tales From America's Second War for Independence-- Part 3: Dolley Madison's Red Dress

4.  Dolley Madison's red dress's origins have long been a question.  As the British approached Washington, D.C., she saved the red velvet draperies from the Oval drawing Room.  Eventually, evidently, she had them, or at least some of them made into a dress.

3.  Machias Seal Island is about 20 cares and lies between Maine and New Brunswick, Canada.  It was not mentioned in the Treaty of Ghent so there is some question as to what country it belongs.  Persons born here can claim dual citizenship.


Ten Strange Tales From America's Second War of Independence-- Part 2: The Rockets Red Glare

7.  Hiram Cronk was the last surviving American veteran.  He enlisted in the New York militia in 1814 at age 14 and served for 100 days.  Death came to Mr. Cronk in 1905 at age 105.

6.  Like before the Civil War, there was a question about secession, when the New England states considered it.  They didn't think the Southern states had the right to secede 20 years later, though.

5.  The war marked the use of Congreve Rockets which gave rise to the National Anthem's "Rockets Red Glare."


Ten Strange Tales From America's Second War For Independence-- Part 1: Big Role for Kentucky

From the December 5, 2015, Listverse by Debra Kelly.

Of course, you can find much more information at the site.

10.  Kentuckians accounted for 60 percent of the American casualties.  With a population of 400,000, some 25,000 served.  A total of 1,876 Americans were killed in battle and of that, 1,200 were from Kentucky.

9.  Laura Secord was Canada's Paul Revere.

8.  Uncle Sam came about because of the war.


Thursday, March 2, 2017

War of 1812 Presentation Back in 2016 on Fort Edwards

From the January 8, 2016, Rock River (Illinois) Times  "Archaeological Institute hosts War of 1812 presentation."

The Rockford Society of Archaeological Institute of America held a free multi-media presentation on Archaeology on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Burpee Museum of Natural History at 737 N. Main Street.

The topic will be "The War of 1812 and Rediscovery in Illinois:  Military Fort on the Mississippi River" and will feature Mark C. Branstner.  He will be speaking about the War of 1812 Fort Edwards near Warsaw, Illinois that has been rediscovered.

His talk will focus on the fort's rediscovery and recovered historical objects.