6 April 1776

The voyage northward following the raid on New Providence was routine. An hour into the midnight watch on 6 April 1776, however, the situation changed ; two unidentified sails were sighted to the southeast. All hands were called to quarters as the distance closed, and it became clear that one of the vessels was a ship of considerable size. She proved to be the Glasgow, a 20-gun ship of the Royal Navy, accompanied by her tender. On board the Alfred, Marine Captain Samuel Nicholas was roused out of bed and his company ordered to assemble. Once collected and outfitted for action the Marines were divided into two groups; one group under First Lieutenant Matthew Parke taking the main deck, and the other under Captain Nicholas and Second Lieu­tenant John Fitzpatrick manning the quarter deck. As the Cabot reeled away under the weight of the Glasgow’s cannon, the Alfred was brought into action. In one of the first ex­changes, Captain Nicholas’ second lieutenant, John Fitzpatrick, was felled by a musket ball. “In him,” Nicholas later wrote , “I have lost a worthy officer, sincere friend and companion, that was beloved by all the ship’s company.” After several more broadsides a lucky shot from the Glasgow carried away the Alfred’s wheel block and lines making the ship unmanageable and causing her to broach to. As her crew at­tempted to bring her under control other ships of the fleet managed to work their way into the fight before the Glasgow turned about and made all possible sail for Newport harbor, her stern guns firing all the while.

Published by Michael Carver

My goal is to bring history alive through interactive portrayal of ordinary American life in the late 18th Century (1750—1799) My persona are: Journeyman Brewer; Cordwainer (leather tradesman but not cobbler), Statesman and Orator; Chandler (candle and soap maker); Gentleman Scientist; and, Soldier in either the British Regular Army, the Centennial Army, or one of the various Militia. Let me help you experience history 1st hand!

%d bloggers like this: