The Trafalgar Chronicle New Series 1

THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE Dedicated to Naval History in the Nelson Era New Series 1 ~~~~~~~ Journal of THE 1805 CLUB Editedby PETERHORE In association with The 1805 Club

Text copyright © individual contributors 2016 First published in Great Britain in 2016 by Seaforth Publishing, An imprint of Pen & Sword Books Ltd, 47 Church Street, Barnsley S70 2AS British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978 1 4738 9572 0 (PAPERBACk) ISBN 978 1 4738 9574 4 (EPUB) ISBN 978 1 4738 9573 7 (kINdLE) All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing of both the copyright owner and the above publisher. The right of the individual contributors to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, designs and Patents Act 1988. designed and typeset in 10/12 Times New Roman by M.A.T.S, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex Printed and bound in Malta by Gutenberg Press Ltd

3 CONTENTS President’s Foreword – Admiral Sir Jonathon Band 5 Editor’s Foreword – Peter Hore 7 Nicholas Biddle: America’s Revolutionary War Nelson – Chipp Reid 9 The Earliest known ‘Stars and Stripes’– Peter Hore 20 Nelson in Troubled Waters – Joseph F Callo 27 The Chesapeake–Leopard Affair, 1807 – Anthony Bruce 36 Impressment: Politics and People – kathryn Milburn 46 A Boy in Battle – Charles A Fremantle 59 The Rocket’s Red Glare: Francis Scott key and the Star-Spangled Banner – Charles Neimeyer 71 Frédéric Rolette: Un Canadien héros de la guerre de 1812 – Samuel Venière and Caroline Girard 82 Pathfinders: Front-line Hydrographic data-gathering in the Wars of American Independence and 1812 – Michael Barritt 92 Charting the Waters: The Emergence of Modern Marine Charting and Surveying during the Career of James Cook in North American Waters, 1758–67 – Victor Suthren 104 Captain Archibald kennedy, an American in the Royal Navy – Byrne McLeod 114

4 THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin: Nelson’s American Pallbearer – Peter Turner 126 What did HMSVictoryActually Look Like at the Battle of Trafalgar? – John Conover 140 Thomas Buttersworth: A Biographical Note of a Sailor Turned Artist – kathryn Campbell 161 Port Mahon under Admiral Fremantle 1810–11 – Tom d Fremantle 174 Sir Richard Strachan – Mark West 184 Samuel Brokensha, Master RN – Nigel Hughes 196 Contributors’ Biographies 221 Notes 224 Colour Plate section between pages 96 and 97

5 President’s Foreword I welcome this, the first of a new series of the Trafalgar Chronicle, the yearbook of The 1805 Club. Over the last quarter of a century, theTrafalgar Chroniclehas established itself as the leading depository of knowledge about the Georgian navy, while its subject matter has broadened to include not just new research and rare details of the life of Admiral Lord Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar, but also about other men, great and small, about strategy, operations and tactics in the sailing navies of the Georgian era, and not just in the British navy, but in the navies of Britain’s rivals and allies. Last year The 1805 Club marked its silver jubilee with a twenty-fifth anniversary edition, in the year of the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, which was devoted to the theme of the victory of sea power which made Waterloo possible. In 2016 the first volume of the new series takes a slightly different format, but continues the idea of being themed. The relationship between the Royal Navy and the United States Navy has been extremely important throughout their shared history, and I am delighted that this is celebrated in this edition which contains new information and the results of new research into North America and North Americans in the sailing era. Another feature of the Trafalgar Chronicle has been the publication of rarely seen images of the age, and this practice is maintained here. Over its life the Trafalgar Chronicle has taken on an international character and here too the contributors come from Britain and overseas. They include foremost experts in their fields of study, as well as antiquarians and amateurs who have addressed their interests with the thoroughness and energy which is unique to them, and I wish to thank them each and every one for their contribution. AdMIRALSIRJONATHONBANdGCBdL Former First Sea Lord President of The 1805 Club

Frontispiece fromNelson’s Letters from the Leeward Islands by Geoffrey Wales, The Golden Cockerel Press, 1953. (From the collection of Rear-Admiral Joseph F Callo, USN)

7 Editor’s Foreword On 23 June 1800, during the USA’s Quasi-War with France, Commodore Thomas Truxton wrote from USS Constellation to George Cross commanding the US frigate JohnAdams: A good understanding with the British Navy officers is highly necessary as we are acting in one common cause against a perfidious enemy, and we should endeavour to cement our union by acts of kindness, civility and friendship to each other on all occasions for it is unquestionably our interest and their interest always so to do. Then in 1859 Rear-Admiral Josiah Tatnall USN, who had fought against the British in the War of 1812, remarked during an incident in the Second Opium War, when he and his sailors voluntarily served British guns against the Chinese, that blood is thicker than water. Blackwood’s magazine responded: ‘Gallant Americans! You and your Admiral did more that day to bind England and the United States together than all your lawyers and pettifogging politicians have ever done to part us!’ For your editor, these two quotations sum up the special relationship which has existed down two centuries between the Royal Navy and the United States Navy, a relationship which, as Truxton reminds us, started as soon as the ink dried on the Treaty of Paris in 1783, in the era of the Georgian navy which has been the focus of the Trafalgar Chronicle over its twenty-five years. I therefore have much pleasure in dedicating this edition to North America and North Americans in the era of the Georgian sailing navies. There are two articles about the Star-Spangled Banner – the first time that the flag was seen at sea, and the writing of the words to the US national anthem, another article which challenges accepted wisdom about impressment as the cause of the War of 1812, two about charting under sail, and, as much of what we know about the sailing navy has come down to us via the marine painters of the age, there is a superbly illustrated article about Thomas Buttersworth. Several other articles address the great men

8 THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE and small of the age, many of whom had mixed backgrounds in Britain and in the USA. Again the editor is grateful to contributors from several countries who have written so ably for the Trafalgar Chronicle, contributors who include leading contemporary scholars, as well as some first-time writers. I am also grateful to all those who have kindly refereed articles, and to the new publishing and production team who include Julian Mannering, Stephanie Rudgard-Redsell and Michael Harrington, the quality of whose work is self-evident. In2017theTrafalgar Chroniclewill look at the Royal Marines and the US Marine Corps in the Georgian era: it is never too soon to sharpen your quills, and proposals for articles are welcome now. Please contact the editor at PETERHORE

Portrait of Captain Nicholas Biddle by Orlando Lagman, after a painting attributed to James Peale. (US Naval History and Heritage Command) 9 Nicholas Biddle: America’s Revolutionary War Nelson ChippReid The explosion lit up the night, showering the sea and everything on it with debris. The crew of the 64-gun HMSYarmouthstood dumbfounded at the scene. For nearly fifteen minutes, the nimble Yankee frigate Randolph had pummelled the much larger British warship, whose captain, Nicholas Vincent, appeared on the verge of surrendering the Yarmouth when his opponent suddenly exploded.1 The rain of splinters, iron and copper caused even more casualties on the Yarmouth. Only four men survived on the American vessel.2 Among the dead was the American commander, Captain Nicholas Biddle.

10 THE TRAFALGAR CHRONICLE If any Continental Navy officer could lay claim to being America’s Horatio Nelson, it was Biddle. Arguably the most accomplished officer in the fledgling colonial fleet, Biddle’s seamanship and courage were beyond question. Washington Irving, best known for ‘Rip Van Winkle’ and the ‘Legend of Sleepy Hollow’, wrote in a biography of Biddle sixty years after Biddle’s and more than thirty after Nelson’s death, that Nelson had warned his Royal Navy colleagues at the onset of the American Revolution that Biddle would be England’s toughest opponent at sea.3 Although Irving never gave the source of Nelson’s warning, if anyone knew Biddle and the American’s abilities, it was Nelson. The two warriors met in 1773 when they served on Captain Constantine Phipps’s (later Lord Mulgrave) expedition to find a passage through the Arctic. Biddle was eight years older than Nelson and already an accomplished mariner. His life to that point had been one in which he surmounted obstacle after obstacle as he worked toward his ultimate goal, which was to serve in the Royal Navy. Biddle was born in Philadelphia on 10 September 1750, the eighth child of William Biddle and Mary Scully.4 Nicholas showed an early predilection to head to sea, like his older brother Charles, who had secured a rate on a merchant vessel thanks to his brother-in-law, William McFunn. Nicholas signed on as a cabin boy at fourteen on the snowAnn and Almack, in which McFunn had a one-third ownership interest and Charles was second mate.5 He spent a year at sea, leaving Philadelphia on 11 October 17646 and returning on 2 September 1765.7 The voyage only whetted Nicholas’s desire for adventure. He signed on for a second cruise and shipped out on 20 October 1765, bound for Jamaica. On 2 January 1766 the snow was in the eastern Caribbean, sailing just off the Northern Triangles, a particularly dangerous chain of reefs, when a gale sprang up, driving the Ann and Almackonto a reef. She stuck fast and the crew abandoned her. A wave carried away the ship’s longboat, leaving just a small yawl in which to escape. McFunn put Nicholas in charge of the crew’s only lifeboat and he calmly had it launched and expertly kept it away from the wrecked snow. ‘He did everything he was ordered with as much coolness as he would have done alongside a wharf,’ his brother said.8 The ten-man crew managed to reach an island eight miles away, where four of them would have to remain, as only six men could fit in the yawl. The crew drew straws to see who would remain behind and Nicholas was one of the four who had to stay.9 The castaways spent thirteen days on the island, surviving on lizards they caught, a bit of ship’s bread and salt pork, and a pool of brackish water.10 Their misery ended 18 January 1766, when Charles Biddle arrived in a small sloop. The brothers remained with