Monday, November 29, 2004

English Captain: Abraham Wheeler

Abraham Wheeler commanded the 6th Rate Greyhound from 1642 to 1644. In the summer of 1642, he was in the Summer Guard and then the Winter Guard. When he was in the Summer Guard for 1643, the Greyhound carried 18 guns and had a crew of 50 men. The Greyhound was not in the Winter Guard for 1643, but was again in service in the Summer Guard for 1644. At that time, the Greyhound was listed as being 120 tons, carrying 12 guns, and having a crew of 58 men. He was dismissed from that command. By the summer of 1645, John Coppin commanded the Greyhound. Abraham Wheeler reappeared in command of the 5th Rate Cygnet from 1646 to 1648. He commanded the Cygnet in the Winter Guard in 1646. In the summer of 1647, Captain Wheeler commanded the Cygnet in the North Sea Fishing Guard. The Cygnet was inactive during the winter, but in the summer of 1648, the Cygnet was assigned to "Guard Milford and to ply about Land's End". Sir George Ayscue was apparently the commander in charge of the four ships in the guard. In 1650, he commanded the 4th Rate Expedition (30 guns). He was with Blake's squadron, in March 1650, off of Portugal, blockading the Royalist squadron. Two letters list Abraham Wheeler as commanding the Expedition, not the Providence (they were sisterships). R.C. Anderson lists Captain Wheeler as commanding the Providence. In 1651, he commanded the 4th Rate Convertine. From 1651 until 1652, when he died, Abraham Wheeler had been captain of the 2nd Rate Triumph. He only appears in The First Dutch War in a list from early 1652. Before the Civil War, he had commanded the Greyhound from 1638 until 1641. Sources:
  1. R.C. Anderson, List of English Naval Captains 1642-1660, 1964.
  2. Dr. S.R. Gardiner, The First Dutch War, Vol.I, 1898.
  3. J.R. Powell, Ed., The Letters of Robert Blake, 1937.
  4. J.R. Powell, The Navy in the English Civil War, 1962.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

English Captain: John Pearce

There is a good deal of uncertainty about whether there was more than one Captain John Pearce. R.C.Anderson only credits him with serving in the Parliamentarian and Commonwealth navies. We know, however, that a Captain John Pearce served in the Restoration navy, although he came to a bad end. It is possible that the John Kearse who commanded the 8th Whelp in the Scottish squadron was the same man. After reading a great deal of handwriting from the 17th Century, I would think that they would likely be the same, as the "Kearse" name is only listed in 1645. John Pearce (or Pierce) commanded the Weymouth in the Summer Guard in 1646. His station was in the Downs. In the Summer Guard of 1647, he was assigned to the Western Guard. In the Winter Guard of 1647, he was at Guernsey, with the Robert and two ketches. In the summer of 1648, John Pearce now commanded the Hector in the Irish Guard, although Anderson still lists him as commanding the Weymouth until 1649. At least during the summer of 1648, John Bowen commanded the Weymouth, also in the Irish Guard. From 1649 until 1653, John Pearce commanded the 4th Rate Providence. He seems to have fought in the Battles of Portland, the Gabbard, and Scheveningen. From 1657 to 1660, a Captain John Pearce commanded the Lily. R.C. Anderson suggested that there could have been two men with the same name. A Captain John Pearce commanded the Convertine in the Second Anglo-Dutch War. At the Battle of Lowestoft, he was in the Duke of York's division. He was in Prince Rupert's division at the Four Days' Battle. They joined the battle over 3 to 4 June 1653 (Old Style). The Convertine (56 guns) tried to flee the battle on its own, and was taken by two Dutch ships. She was taken by the Wassenaer, seemingly without a fight. A Dutch newsletter reported that the crew had mutinied, afraid that the Dutch would not take their surrender if they fought. Captain Pearce later commanded the 4th Rate Sapphire, after the war. He ran his ship ashore on Sicily in 1671, rather than fight what he thought was a squadron of Algerines. They turned out to be English ships, and he was courtmartialed and shot. Sources:
  1. R.C. Anderson, List of English Naval Captains 1642-1660, 1964.
  2. James C. Bender, unpublished manuscript "English Ships 1652-1654", 2004.
  3. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666, 1996.
  4. J.R. Powell, The Navy in the English Civil War, 1962.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

English Captain: Robert Moulton, Jr.

Robert Moulton, Jr.'s father, Robert Moulton, Sr., also served in the Parliamentarian and Commonwealth Navies. Robert Moulton, Jr., also served after the Restoration. From 1646 to 1647, Robert Moulton, Jr., commanded the 6th Rate Increase at Chatham, on the Summer Guard in 1646. This seems to have been a prize taken about 1645 (12 guns and 133 tons). In 1647, he also commanded the Satisfaction in the Irish Guard in 1647. This was a prize taken from the Dutch in 1646. From 1649 to 1650, he commanded the frigate Constant Warwick (32 guns). He was with Blake's squadron off of Portugal in the Spring of 1650. His father commanded the Leopard with the squadron. From 1651 to 1652, Robert Moulton, Jr. commanded the 4th Rate Sapphire (38 guns). He fought at Dover in May 1652, in the opening action of the First Anglo-Dutch War. He was in Blake's squadron, originally lying in Rye Bay. He also fought in the Battle of the Kentish Knock. He disappears after the Kentish Knock. The next time we see him mentioned is after the Restoration. He fought at the Battle of Lowestoft, in 1665, in command of the 4th Rate Centurion (46 guns). He was in the Earl of Sandwich's division (the Earl of Sandwich was Admiral of the Blue). At the Four Days' Battle, he was in John Harman's squadron (Rear-Admiral of the White). In this battle, Robert Moulton, Jr. distinguished himself in command of the 3rd Rate Anne (58 guns). The Anne seems to have been disabled on the second day, and left the fleet. Robert Moulton was one of a small number of captains who were praised by the Duke of Albermarle. Sources:
  1. R.C. Anderson, Lists of Men-of-War 1650-1700, Part I English Ships 1649-1702, 2nd Ed., 1966.
  2. R.C. Anderson, List of English Naval Captains 1642-1660, 1964.
  3. Michael Baumber, General-At-Sea: Robert Blake and the Seventeenth Century Revolution in Naval Warfare, 1989.
  4. J.J. College, Ships of the Royal Navy, 2nd Ed., 1987.
  5. Frank Fox, A Distant Storm: the Four Days' Battle of 1666, 1996.
  6. Frank Fox, Great Ships: the Battlefleet of King Charles II, 1980.
  7. S.R. Gardiner, The First Dutch War, Vol.II, 1900.
  8. J.R. Powell, ed., The Letters of Robert Blake, 1937.
  9. J.R. Powell, The Navy in the English Civil War, 1962.

Friday, November 26, 2004

English Captain and Admiral: Samuel Howett

Samuel Howett served on the Parliamentarian side in the Civil War and in Cromwell's navy during the Interregnum. In 1645, he commanded the Duncannon in the Irish Squadron. The Duncannon had been a Royalist vessel that must have been captured by 1645. There is a confusing note in The Navy in the Civil War about the Duncannon being handed over by Lord Esmond in 1646. That seems to contradict the list of Parliamentarian ships from 1645. In 1649, he commanded the St. Cleer (persumably the St. Claire). She seems to have been a galliot. They council had thought that she was capable of carrying 16 guns, but they were informed that Samuel Howett had found that was not possible. He was appointed by the Council of State on 6 April 1649 (Old Style). In 1649 and 1650, he commanded the Concord, a Dutch prize. For a period in 1650, Captain Howett commanded the hired merchantman Falcon. In 1651 and 1652, he commanded the 4th Rate Foresight. After that, he commanded the Laurel and by early 1653, was Rear-Admiral of the Red. The new squadron system was only in place by the Battle of Portland. Later in 1653 and into 1654, Samuel Howett commanded the 3rd Rate Speaker and was also Rear-Admiral of the Red. At the Battle of the Gabbard, the Speaker carried 56 guns and had a crew of 300 men. He was George Monck's and Richard Deane's Rear-Admiral. References:
  1. R.C. Anderson, List of English Naval Captains 1642-1660, 1964.
  2. C.T. Atkinson, The First Dutch War, Vol.V, 1907.
  3. J.R. Powell, Ed., The Letters of Robert Blake, 1937.
  4. J.R. Powell, The Navy in the English Civil War, 1962.

French Chef d'Escadre des Rabesnières

I found that I do have some information about M. des Rabesnières, who commanded the French rear division at the Battle of Solebay. I have two sources:
  1. R.C. Anderson, Journals and Narratives of the Third Dutch War
  2. Julian S. Corbett, A Note on the Drawings in the Possession of the Earl of Dartmouth Illustrating The Battle of Sole Bay May 28, 1672 and The Battle of the Texel August 11, 1673
I am very fortunate to have the prints of the drawings that accompany the latter booklet, as well. In the Battle of Solebay, M. des Rabesnières flew his flag on the Superbe (70 guns), which was his flagship, as Rear-Admiral of the French Rear Division. The Superbe seems to have been the fifth ship in line in that division. M. des Rabesnières had been present at the council of war that the Duke of York had held, immediately after the French had joined the fleet. They were hoping to intercept the Dutch East Indies fleet at the Dogger Bank, and draw De Ruyter's fleet into a pitched battle. Contrary winds changed the English plans. The combined fleet eventually had to resupply and refit, and did so at anchor at Southwold Bay (Solebay). The Dutch caught them at anchor, although a French frigate, scouting to sea, gave warning so that the fleet was able to get underway. The French ended up on the opposite tack to the English squadrons, heading to the south, fighting Adriaan van Trappen Banckert's squadron. As they got underway to the south, des Rabesnières' ship, the Superbe, was second from the rear of the squadron. He was engaged with Vice-Admiral Star, although at long range. This is captured on the first print from the series. The French were seriously engaged, as des Rabesnières was killed, the Superbe heavily damaged, and the total French casualties are estimated as 450.

My current thoughts about Witte de With

Witte de With was certainly a controversial figure. He never became the main fleet commander for any extended period of time because of his violent temper and because of his rivalry with Maarten Harpertszoon Tromp. Witte de With was not alone in having a temper. I had not realized that Michiel de Ruyter was another flag officer with a violent temper. De Ruyter was accepted, because he was clearly the preeminent admiral in the Dutch navy, after the death of Maarten Tromp. However, De Ruyter reported to Witte de With during the latter part of 1653. Witte de With was always acknowledged to be a skilled admiral, one of the best in the Netherlands, during his professional career. When important operations were planned, he was usually given command. In 1645, he commanded the operation to push a large fleet of merchant ships into the Sound without paying the toll. In late 1647, he was sent, with a small fleet, to try to retrieve the deteriorating situation in Brazil. He was totally without support from the homeland, and finally returned, to keep from losing the entire force from lack of maintenance. He was made the scapegoat, and probably only the death of Prince Willem II kept him from being executed. He was quietly returned to the service with a slap on the wrist, as we would now say. When Tromp was clearly not doing well in the late summer of 1652, Witte de With was given command of the fleet for the Battle of the Kentish Knock. The Dutch should have been badly beaten, but they only lost one ship sunk and one captured. Apparently, they fought in an informal line, and kept the English from closing. The English, under Blake, never were in good order, and some individual ships were badly damaged. Blake rushed into battle with the leading ships, so that despite their large size, they were greatly outnumbered, at the point of contact. Blake didn't seem to comprehend the importance of formation and maneuver, despite having been an army officer. The general animosity towards Witte de With kept the Dutch from recognizing that the battle had gone better than could have been expected. Tromp was restored to command, and so for several more battles, the main fleets were commanded by officers who underperformed (Tromp and Blake). The Dutch was so strong at Dungeness, that despite missteps, they won. Blake was blind to his failings, and blamed his captains for the loss. The Battle of Portland was fought under similar circumstances, except with the English fleet being much stronger. They finally wore down the Dutch and should have annihilated them, but let them go, instead. It wasn't until George Monck took command on the English side that the effects of Tromp's leadership really were shown. The Gabbard was a disaster, more from the manner of the loss than the actual numbers, although they were bad enough. Scheveningen was almost as bad as to material loss, but the surviving vice-admirals kept the battle from turning into the rout that had taken place at the Gabbard. Witte de With was instrumental in forming the rear-guard that kept the English from achieving a Trafalgar-like victory. They needed to do better, as they were up against an English fleet lead by George Monck, who was an able commander. The English also had men like Edward Montagu and William Penn, who were as able as Monck. In the fall of 1653, when a returning fleet of Indiamen needed escort home from Norway, Witte de With lead a fleet of 70 ships to retrieve them. Michiel de Ruyter was his second. Again, when the Dutch needed someone on an independent command, they went to Witte de With, as they recognized his ability. Witte de With continued to gain grudging respect until his death at the Battle of the Sound. There, he was subordinated yet again to an admiral of lesser ability, in this case Jacob Wasseaner van Obdam.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Foundation for 17th Centuray Naval History Research and Marine Archaeology

In the summer of 2002, I realized that what we need is a foundation for 17th Century naval history research and for marined archaeology. For that to be possible, we need a source of funding. The good news is that there is a great deal of material to be examined. We just need to be able to make funding available so that researchers (like us) would be able spend continuous periods of time examining the available records.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Dutch Captain: David Swerius (Sweers)

David Swerius served the Admiralty of Amsterdam. He was killed on 21 August 1673, at the Battle of the Texel (Kijkduin). He is first mentioned by Brandt in 1671, when he commanded the small frigate Brak (24 guns and a crew of 77 sailors and 16 soldiers). In May 1672, he commanded the Beschermer (50 guns and a crew of 200 sailors and 45 soldiers). He fought in the Battle of Solebay, and his ship had 15 killed, 17 severely wounded, and 10 lightly wounded. He was in De Ruyter's squadron. David Swerius commanded the Beschermer until his death at the Battle of the Texel. He is listed next in September 1672, with the fleet. At the beginning of the Schooneveld battles in 1673, his ship had a crew of 216 sailors and 29 soldiers. For the Battle of the Texel, the Beschermer had a crew of 200 sailors and 16 soldiers. He was one of six Dutch admirals and captains killed (Isaac Sweers, Jan de Liefde, Jan Pauluszoon van Gelder, David Swerius, Hendrick Visscher, and Dirk Jobszoon Kiela).

Saturday, November 20, 2004

I suspect that the correct name is "Sampson"

The name that Grove and I read from the handwritten documents as "Samplon", is almost certainly "Sampson", instead. The handwritten name looks something like "Sampfon", where I put an "f" being a 17th Century, lower-case "s". That is why Brandt wrote the name as "Samson" (actually, something like "Samfon", without the cross on the "f"). The Dutch seem to have written the name as either "Samson" or "Sampson", interchangeably. I will look again at the handwritten text, but this is my current estimate.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Dutch Captain: Hendrick Janszoon de Munnick

Given Hendrick Janszoon de Munnick's presence in the list of ships and captains that took part in the blockade of Danzig in 1656, we must conclude that he was not, in fact, killed at the Battle of Portland. There are a number of cases where we see in The First Dutch War, where there is correspondence telling of a captain's death, and then we find that the writer was mistaken. There is no doubt, however, that his ship, the Wapen van Holland, was sunk at Portland. There were a number of ships of that name taken or sunk, and one of them served with the English fleet as the Arms of Holland. We can be certain that this was not Hendrick de Munnick's ship, as the Arms of Holland was listed on December 27, 1652, in the English service (The First Dutch War, Vol.IV, page 315).

More about Jan Samplon

I have checked my notes for the 1654 list, and Jan Samplon is not listed there. That means that the earliest listing for him is in Brandt, on page 99, where he is called "Jan Samson". Grove's list for the Battle of the Sound gives his name as "Jan Samplon". I also have copies of handwritten documents from right before the Battle of the Sound. I am looking at the page that has his name written, and the name is clearly "Samplon". I have no other sources that refer to Jan Samplon, either before 1656 or after 1658.

Dutch Captain: Jan Samplon (or Samlon)

Jan Samplon served the Admiralty of the Noorderkwartier. The earliest that I have been able to find reference to him was in 1654, in the "Staet van Oorlog te Water" for that year. He commanded a Noorderkwartier ship, and was mentioned in July 1654. He was likely to have been a lieutenant in the First Anglo-Dutch War, but I have not been able to verify that. He was present at the Blockade of Danzig in 1656, under Lt-Admiral van Wassenaer. Jan Samplon commanded the Hollandsche Tuin (39 guns and a crew of 120 men) in that operation. He fought in the Battle of the Sound in 1658, where he commanded the Monnikendam (32 guns and a crew of 97 men). The Monnikendam was lost in the Baltic after the battle, in action with the Swedes, and Captain Samplon may have been killed at that time.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dutch Captain: Adriaan Teding van Berkhout

Mollema's "Honor Roll" briefly mentions Adriaan Teding van Berkhout. He served the Admiralty of the Noorderkwartier, and was a lieutenant in 1652. He was promoted to captain in 1665. In 1652-1653, he served as a lieutenant, under Cornelis Tromp, in the Mediterranean Sea. In 1666, he fought in the Four Days Battle and the St. James's Day Battle. We also know that he commanded the Prinses Roijaal (40 guns) from June to August 1665. In 1666, he commanded the Drie Helden Davids (48 guns). In 1671, he commanded the small Noorderkwartier frigate Zierikzee (24 guns and a crew of 87 sailors and 35 soldiers). I have a note that says he commanded the Akerboom at the Battle of the Texel, but I believe that must be an error, and that it was Jacob Teding van Berkhout.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Brandt's biography of De Ruyter

For the period from 1665 until 1676, we are really dependent on Brandt's biography of De Ruyter (Het Leven en Bedrijf van den Heere Michiel De Ruiter) originally published in 1687. For tunately for us, there is a fine facsimile reproduction available that is reasonably priced and readily available. If you have the money, the original is frequently available, although you might have to settle for a later edition. For 1667 to 1676, Vreugdenhil seems to have greatly depended on this work for his list published in 1938.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

I need to spend more time studying De Sneuper

I learned some new things from De Sneuper in the last few days. My assessment is that I need to spend more time studying what is there and translating it to English so that I can better read the material. The ship list is useful, in itself. The list of captains is just as useful, if not more so. For example, I learned that Jan Coenders was restored by the Admiralty of Friesland, after being courtmartialed, and that his yacht had the guns fall through the deck, due to the general poor condition of the vessel.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Jan Coenders' ship, the Graaf Willem

I had long thought that we didn't know the name of Jan Coender's ship. I noticed, however, upon a closer reading of The First Dutch War, that his ship was named the Graaf Willem. The passage called the ship a fluit. "De Sneuper" website, however, confirms what I had thought might be the case: the Graaf Willem was the Friese jacht. The obvious thought would be that this is the same Graaf Willem listed by Vreugdenhil, in his list from 1938. If so, then we know that the Graaf Willem carried 10 guns and was built in 1644. Her dimensions were: 74ft x 18.5ft x 7ft. I translated the text about Jan Coenders on "De Sneuper":
  • 1653 Sea battle at Nieuwpoort 12/13 June, Captain Coenders on the yacht Graaf Willem
  • On 11 July 1653, a courtmartial convicted Jan Coenders and found him unfit for further sea service. The verdict was signed by, among others, M. H. Tromp and M. A. de Ruyter.
  • On 30 July Hessel Fransz. commanded the Graaf Willem, instead of Jan Coenders. Jan Coenders had been accused and convicted, but afterwards was rehired by the Friesland Admiralty.
  • Battle near Wijk en Zee or Terheide, Jan Coenders commanded the yacht Graaf Willem. The ship was in a very bad state so that the guns fell through the moldy and rotten decks.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Dutch Captain: Adam van Brederode

This is based on my translation of the entry in Mollema's "Honor Roll" with some additional material:

Adam van Brederode served the Admiralty of Amsterdam. He lived until 1676. In 1665, he distinguished himself at the Lowestoft in the Haarlem (46 guns). In 1666, he burnt English ships in the Elbe as a reprisal for the attack on the Vlie by Robert Holmes. In 1673, he commanded the Prins te Paard (55 guns) at the Battle of the Texel. In 1676, he commanded the Vrijheid (50 guns) in the battles at Etna and Palermo and in the latter battle was severely wounded.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Onstelde-Zee and Brandt's biography seem to be a mixture

I actually have a number of texts from the 17th Century. I have the handwritten "Staet van Oorlog te Water" for 1628, 1629, 1631, and 1633, the Onstelde-Zee (1654), pages from Hollandsche Mercurius, Brandt's biography of De Ruyter (1687), and Aitzema's Saken van Staet in Oorlogh. These all seem to be in a mixture of "Middle Dutch" and "New Dutch". "New Dutch" preceded "Modern Dutch". Both of these had different spellings and different words than what is in "Modern Dutch". I discovered this website, today, that addresses the history of the Dutch language. This is on the University College London website. There is a related Dutch website, as well, the The Nederlandse Taalunie.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Dutch Captain: David Janszoon Bondt (or Bont)

David Janszoon Bondt (Bont) lived from about 1600 until 6 September 1652. He served the Admiralty of Amsterdam. He was a Lieutenant in 1621, an Extraordinary-Captain in 1644, and Captain in 1652. In 1639, he was a Commandeur at the Battle of the Downs. He was in Commandeur Denijs' squadron on the South side of the battle.

Captain Bondt was initially under Joris van Cats, but Cats was replaced in early July 1652 by another old Mediterranean hand, Johan van Galen. Captain Bondt was killed in action at the Battle of Elba (Monte Christo) on 6 September 1652, while fighting the English. He commanded the 40-gun ship Maan (which had a "man-in-the-moon" painting on the taffrail). The Maan and the Vereenigde Provinciën had clapped themselves alongside Richard Badiley's flagship, the Paragon, but both captains were killed and the ships driven off. The Maan's crew had actually been ready to surrender, but Badiley was too hard-pressed to take possesion of the Maan. The Maan was completed in 1643 and her dimensions were 128ft x 31.5ft x 12ft. Her crew consisted of 140 men.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

More about Cornelis Engelen Silvergieter

In 1628 and 1629, Cornelis Engelen Silvergieter commanded the Rotterdam ship Zeekalf. The Zeekalf was a vessel of 170 lasts built in 1623. She had a crew of 85 men and carried 23 guns. Her armament consisted of 2-18pdr, 2-12pdr, 14-8pdr, 1-6pdr, 2-5pdr, and 2-4pdr guns. We are fortunate that this level of detail is available for ships as old as this (at least from the Admiralities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam).

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Dutch Captain: Cornelis Engelen Silvergieter

I was disappointed to see that Cornelis Engelen Silvergieter was not mentioned in Mollema's "Honor Roll" nor in Dr. De Boer's book Tromp en de Armada van 1639. C.R. Boxer did note Captain Silvergieter's presence during the campaign of the Battle of the Downs. Cornelis Engelen Silvergieter served the Admiralty of Rotterdam. The "Staet van Oorlog te Water" for 1629 lists him as commanding a Rotterdam ship. He also appears in the list published in Vol.I of The First Dutch War. He commanded a small Rotterdam frigate with 22 guns. At the beginning of the First Anglo-Dutch War, he commanded the Overijssel. From Hendrick de Raedt's pamphlet, we know that he was present on the expedition to the Shetlands. We also know that his ship survived the storm, but he vanished from the scene after they voyage.

Captain Dirck Vijch succeeded Captain Silvergieter in command of the Overijssel, and was still in her in 1654 (at least according to the "Staet van Oorlog te Water" for 1654).

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Dutch Captain: Jacob Willemszoon Broeder

Jacob Willemszoon Broeder served the Admiralty of Amsterdam. He was promoted to captain in 1662 and was killed in action on 16 November 1692. In 1666, he fought in the Four Days Battle and the St. James's Day Battle. In 1667, he participated in the Raid on the Medway as commander of the Zeven Provinciën (46 guns). In 1673, he fought at the Schooneveld battles and at the Battle of the Texel. In 1676, he commanded the Kraanvogel (46 guns) in the battles of Etna and Palermo. In 1692, he fought five French privateers with Boutemantel and was captured. He was shortly exchanged. In the same year, he was killed while fighting with Jean Bart in the North Sea. His commands in the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars (and in the continuation against the French alone):

  • 1665-1666 Dom van Utrecht (46 guns)
  • 1667 Zeven Provinciën (46 guns)
  • 1672 Edam (32 guns)
  • 1675-1676 Kraanvogel (46 guns)

Friday, November 05, 2004

Morale and competence in the Restoration Navy

A striking feature of the Restoration Navy was the suddenness that morale could collapse in the face of adversity. The foremost example was the loss of the Royal Prince at the Four Days Battle. I believe that Sir George Ayscue was suspect as a naval leader, so I partly atribute the debacle in the Four Days Battle to him. After the Royal Prince grounded, the crew panicked and became unmanageable. A stronger leader might have restored the situation, but Ayscue did not. He seemed powerless to affect the outcome.

A related example played out much differently. When the Henry, John Harman's flagship at the Four Days Battle was fired, the crew also panicked. In this case, John Harman took charge, rallied the crew and put out the fire. The Dutch were amazed to find, later, that the Henry had been saved to fight another day.

The issue may be partly attributed to the extent that crews were pressed. Many men pressed into service maintained a good attitude and served for extended periods, such as Edward Barlow. His journal is a classic, and is illustrated by Barlow's ship drawings (primitive but good).

Perhaps the real answer is the moral tone set during the Restoration period by the King and Duke of York. They were good men, loyal to the navy, but their private lives were not what we would expect in these stricter times.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Abraham Crijnssen's squadron, dispatched to the West Indies in December 1666

In December 1666, Abraham Crijnssen was dispatched from Zeeland to the West Indies with a small squadron. His original squadron had 750 sailors and 225 soldiers. The ships in his squadron were as follows:
  • Frigate Zeelandia, 34 guns crew 140 men Captain-Commandeur Abraham Crijnssen
  • Frigate West Cappel, 28 guns Captain Simon Loncke
  • Frigate Zeeridder, 34 guns crew 167 men Captain Pieter de Mauregnault
  • Yacht Prins te Paard, 14 guns crew 75 men Captain Salomon Le Sage
  • Hoeker Wester-Souburg, 6 guns crew 13 men Captain Rochus Bastaert
  • Fluit Aardenburg Commandeur Abraham Trouwers
  • Snauw Commandeur Hayman Adriaensen

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

17th Century shipwrecks in the Caribbean

I have met someone who is interested in shipwrecks in the Caribbean, especially those near Grenada. One idea that I had was to look at William Laird Clowes' The Royal Navy: A History From the Earliest Times to the Present. The seven volume book is a treasure, but I get exasperated with the first two volumes. Only towards the end of the second volume does the coverage get to where it should have been.

Monday, November 01, 2004

English Ship: Marmaduke

The Marmaduke was a former Royalist ship, the Revenge. She deserted to the Parliamentarians circa 1650. There is a note from Captain John Taylor, the Master Shipwright at Chatham saying that the Marmaduke would be ready in 10 days. This was reported, based on a letter from the officer preparing the ship dated August 27th, 1652.

The Marmaduke fought in the First and Second Anglo-Dutch Wars. In 1666, she carried 12-culverins (18pdr), 22-demi-culverins (9pdr), and 8-sakers (5-1/4pdr). Her dimensions were 87ft x 31ft-5in x 15ft-2in. 87ft was the length on the keel. I would estimate that her length on the gundeck would be about 108ft. The purpose-built frigates had less rake, but the Marmaduke was a former merchantship and I would expect a rake of at least 0.25 x LK.

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