crossed sabresWith the Fourth of July holiday rapidly approaching here is another seasonal post. Previously, Balladeer’s Blog has looked at the swashbuckling actions of some American privateers from the Revolutionary War. This time here’s a look at one of the most successful months for our privateers – September of 1778.

crossed swords picSEPTEMBER 1st-5th – The American privateer ship the Active seized multiple prizes and took aboard several British Prisoners of War. Unfortunately, the Captain of the Active had stretched his crew too thin. The captive Brits gleaned the vulnerable position of their captors and rose up to seize control of the ship and were determined to link up with the first British vessel they could find to help take in the seized U.S. ship and consummate their freedom.

SEPTEMBER 6th – The 10-cannon brig the Gerard, an American privateer, under Pennsylvania’s J. Josiah, came upon the seized Active and, after a long chase, compelled the ship to surrender. Captain Josiah and his men learned they had just saved the American privateer crew and had recaptured the British POWs. The Gerard escorted the Active back to its Philadelphia port in case the POWs grew frisky again.

SEPTEMBER 17th – The 18-cannon privateer ship Vengeance, under one Captain Newman of Massachusetts, chased the British packet ship Harriet (16 cannon) for at least 6 hours before engaging it in battle. The Americans won and the Harriet surrendered.       

SEPTEMBER 19th – From Massachusetts and commanded by Captain Hardy, the 20-cannon privateer ship General Hancock clashed with the 32-cannon British ship the Levant. After a 3 hour battle a shot from the privateer vessel happened to reach the Levant’s magazine, causing an enormous explosion. Over 100 Brits died in the blast, with the Americans rescuing and capturing the 18 British survivors.  

SEPTEMBER 21st – On this date the 18-cannon Vengeance battled the 14-cannon British ship the Eagle. The American privateers won and, in addition to the material plunder from the Eagle the U.S. captured 4 Lieutenant-Colonels and 3 Majors who were being transported by the vessel.

SEPTEMBER 29th – The storied American privateer ship the Tyrannicide defeated and captured the British privateer Juno

SEPTEMBER ? – The General Hancock under Captain Hardy worked in unison with another privateer ship the Beaver to expertly cut out the 8-cannon British merchant ship Lady Erskine from a 21-ship convoy. Though the merchant convoy was escorted by multiple British warships the two privateer vessels managed to isolate the Lady Erskine then seize it and its cargo. 

SEPTEMBER ? – The privateer ship Providence, under Captain J. Conner of Pennsylvania, defeated and captured the British schooner Friendship as well as the brigs Chase and Bella during this busy month. 



© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


Filed under Neglected History


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