Monday, December 31, 2007

The hired ship Mars in October 1653

I just found the page that has information about the hired ship Mars in October 1653. The Mars was hired by the Admiralty of the Noorderkwartier, and Rens Cornelisz Sevenhuijsen was appointed as captain in July 1653. He sailed with Witte de With's fleet on the voyage to Norway from September to November 1653, and kapitein Sevenhuijsen apparently served as Schout-bij-Nacht in one of the squadrons. The Mars carried 38 guns and had a crew of 152 men.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ron van Maanen's translation from Brandt

Ron van Maanen has kindly made available his translation of text from Brandt's biography of De Ruyter about the VOC ship Vogelstruis, which I have slightly edited:

Het leven en bedryf van den heere Michiel de Ruyter. G. Brandt, Amsterdam, 1687

At the battle at Plymouth 28 february 1652 the Struis or Struisvogel was commanded by Douwe Aukes with 40 guns and 200 men, E.I.C.- chamber Amsterdam. In the fight she came in the middle of the British fleet and her scared crew wanted to surrender. Her captain threatened to his crew to blow her up. Her crew started to fight again, destroying two British ships (800 men drowned)and heavily damaging a third. An other version is that she was attacked by two British warships, doing nothing, let them come alongside, than giving the first a broadside which sank it, the second a broadside which caused it to flee. Suddenly she was entered by a third one with so many men that her crew wanted to surrender and Aukes threatened to blow the ship up. After a heavy fight the free themselves and join the Dutch fleet again.

28 february 1653 she was part of the fleet commanded by M.H. Tromp which fought against the British commanded by Blake. De Struisvogel was now commanded by Kornelis Adriaensz van Kruik from Schiedam which fought together with De Ruyter and Sweers against 7 or more British ships until the evening. After fighting with several ships she was hardly manned and lost her masts. When Tromp saw this he ordered commandeur Gideon de Wiltdt to tow her away to safety. Due to low winds he didn’t succeed. Her decks were shattered with blood, wounded and dead, and 80 dead men could be seen. From the 40 sailors from Schiedam, of which the youngest as 20 years old, only 3 remained. The British stopped plundering fearing she would sink. The next day she was found by the British drifting as a empty hull with no sails and hardly any crew left and was brought into Portsmouth. Brandt wrote about Kruik that he was a very brave man.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

So what ship was this, if any we know?

Among that ships that were hired in the March to April 1653 timeframe may have been one with these specifications:
A fluit ship laying at Medemblick
132ft long
 27ft wide
 12-1/2ft hold
  6-1/4ft deck height

with 32 guns:

Was this ship hired and if so, under what name and organization did it serve?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The 125ft ship in the 28 January 1653 page could be the Walvis

Nothing is exact or necessarily even partly correct in the Netherlands in the 17th Century. Although there is at least one difference between the 125ft ship in the 28 January 1653 page, the ship seems to be the Moorin (commanded by Cornelis Jol), which is listed by name on 18 February 1653. I guess that the 130ft ship is the Hollandsche Tuin, so that accounts for both. I consulted my page at The only difference between the unnamed ship and the Hollandsche Tuin is that the latter ship carried more guns.

The Groote Sint Lucas?

I am not able to have any new research done right now, so I am taking time to look at what I already have in hand. One page dated 28 January 1653 lists two new ships armed with 28 guns. One is 125ft long and the other is 130ft long. I am less than certain that I can supply names for them. The reason that I am interested is that I am looking for candidate ships that could have been the ship named Groote Sint Lucas, which is the name given for the ship commanded by Sipke Fockes in the Three Days Battle (the Battle of Portland). Sipke Fockes was killed and his ship was captured in the battle. Since March 1652, he had commanded the Amsterdam Directors' ship Sint Maria (28 guns), which I believe was just 122ft long. I have documentary evidence that the Sint Maria fought in the Three Days Battle and was damaged, but was not captured. I theorize that Sipke Fockes was appointed as captain of a newer, larger ship named the Groote Sint Lucas, and that someone else was appointed as captain of the Sint Maria. It seems that the Sint Maria was ultimately discarded as being not worth repair, but I cannot prove that, other than the ship disappears from subsequent lists.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Google Books has John Charnock's book History of Marine Architecture as a full view book

My son told me that some surprising books are now available from Google Books. I wondered if some fo the rare books might be there. Sure enough, I was able to download the pdf file for John Charnock's classic work History a Marine Architecture, from 1800-1802.

The Noorderkwartier ship Eendracht (1639)

I was impressed with just how heavily armed that the Noorderkwartier ship Eendracht was. The Eendracht was the ship built in 1639 and armed with 41 guns. The odd gun was an iron 8pdr, by the way. 18 ofthose guns were bronze and the rest were iron. The Eendracht fought in the Mediterranean Sea during 1652 and 1653, when the Dutch ultimately established control, driving the English from the area. Sadly, you will probably need to wait for the hardcover book to be released, probably not from me (although I still have hopes). More likely, the book would be in Dutch.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dutch status reports after the First Anglo-Dutch War battles

I hypothesize that after every battle of the First Anglo-Dutch War, that a status report was compiled, along with inventories and damage reports for all the ships. I only have most of what was compiled after the Battle of the Gabbard (the Zeeslag bij Nieuwpoort). I understand that at least some of what was compiled after the Battle of the Kentish Knock has survived, as well, although not in the same location at the Nationaal Archief. I would that that such reports probably would have been compiled after the Three Days Battle (the Battle of Portland), but I am not sure that anything has survived. The report after the Battle of the Kentish Knock, the Three Days Battle, and the Battle of Scheveningen (the Zeeslag bij Terheide) are all gaping holes in the information that I have. I have some thousands of photographs of documents (which can't be published directly), but I still just have a fraction of what exists. I have most of the "easy stuff", and getting more will be more costly, as we really don't know where to look. Since I am in America, and currently cannot afford to travel back to The Hague right now or to visit Rotterdam or Amsterdam, I am feeling blocked.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Why Vreugdenhil gave the Hector 34 guns

I to give the reason why Vreugdenhil gave the Hector 34 guns in his 1938 list. He knew that Lambert Pieterszoon's ship had 34 guns in the list published on page 262 in Vol.I of The First Dutch War. That list was originally published in the Hollandsche Mercurius for 1652. The main problem was that Vreudenhil had been misled by Dr. Elias about the name of Lambert Pieterszoon's ship. The name was actually the Nassouw van den Burgh, commonly called the Burgh. Dr. Elias also mistook that ship, when commanded by Lt-Commandeur Hendrick Adriaensz Glas, for a Rotterdam Directors' ship when it was actually an Amsterdam Directors' ship.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ship number 127, the Hector

In Vreugdenhil's list of Dutch ships, published by the Society for Nautical Research in 1938, he has entry 127, a ship named Hector with 34 guns, hired by the Amsterdam Directors. I believe that this entry originated with footnote 2 on page 87 of volume III of Dr. Elias's book Schetsen uit de Geschiedenis van ons Zeewezen. That note puts Lambert Pieterszoon, who actually commanded the Nassouw van den Burgh (usually called the Burgh) as commanding a ship named Hector. Actually, captain Reijnier Sickema commanded a ship named Hector van Troijen, which was hired by the Admiralty of Friesland. Vice-Admiral Witte de With had attempted to court martial captains who he felt shirked their duty it the Battle of the Kentish Knock.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Overijssel commanded by Abraham van der Hulst in the first part of 1652

The one thing that causes concern for me when deciding that the ship Overijssel commanded by Abraham van Hulst up to August 1652 was the old ship which was said to have been sold in March 1652 is that I have what seems to be complete information about Amsterdam ships that served in 1652. I even have dimensions and gun lists for the ships lost or discarded in June to August, such as Jeroen Adelaer's ship Middelburg and Barent Pietersz Dorrevelt's ship Amsterdam, which foundered in the storm off the Shetlands in early August. Why would the Overijssel be any exception? The argument for the Overijssel being the old ship is that it seems likely that the ship being fitted out by Jan van Campen, in August 1652, was the ship built in 1650, also named Overijssel. Another factor, though, is that the ship Gelderland, commanded by Cornelis van Velsen, and of identical dimensions and armament, was in service during 1651 and early 1652. Somehow, that seems to argue that the new Overijssel would not have sat idle. Another argument is that I have a page in a document that says (in old Dutch):
Gemant me 100 hoofden wact van 
de Soldijen bedraeght ter maendt
1356 comt van uit Julij 1651
tot den 20 November Anno 1653   f37516:0:0

In another document, the ship is listed as being one of the 36 ships funded in 1651, as this text seems to indicate, as well, given the July 1651 date of funding.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Odd sized Dutch guns: 20pdr, 15pdr, 10pdr, and 5pdr

The usual Dutch guns, by shot weight in the mid-17th Century were 3pdr, 4pdr, 6pdr, 8pdr, 12pdr, 18pdr, and 24pdr. There was an alternate series of guns: 5pdr, 10pdr, 15pdr, and 20pdr. I happen to have weights for those particular pieces, at least the ones used on ships of the Admiralty of Zeeland (from a list from 27 March 1653):
20pdr bronze   3781 lbs
15pdr bronze   2750 lbs
10pdr iron     3162 lbs
 5pdr iron     1530 lbs
 5pdr bronze   1406 lbs

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