Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pratt Stories - The Bartram Family III

Here at some length is the story of the privateer Defence during the year 1776 when our ancestor Ebenezer Bartram (Jr) was !st Lieutenant (second in command) Much of this is extracted from "History of Maritme Connecticut during the American Revolution", a 1925 book by Louis F. Middlebrook:
On January 1, 1776 Governor Trumbull of Connecticut wrote to General Washington about the action taken by the General Assembly to resolve "...that the brigantine owned by Capt. John Griggs of Greenwich be purchased for the use of this Colony to be fitted and improved as an armed vessel for the defence thereof...at a price not exceeding 1,000 pounds...that she was a new vessel which had made but one voyage to the West Indies, that her hull was well built and well calculated for a privateer. Her hull was 62 feet on the keel, 23 feet beam, 11 feet depth of hold. She would well mount 16 6-pounders and 24 swivels. She was originally the Lily Ann...somebody renamed the brig "Defence", presuambly the Assembly...The overhauling and refitting of the brig began at once in New Haven..."
"When the Defence first went into commisiion at New Haven, in February, 1776 as a Brig, her component of commissioned officers was as follows:
Captain                 Seth Harding of Norwich
First Lieutenant      Ebenezer Bartram of Fairfield
Second Lieutenant  Samuel Smedley of Fairfield
Third Lieutenant      Henry Billings of Norwich
Lieut of Marines      Joseph Squire of Fairfield
Master                   Josiah Burnham of Norwich
First Mate              Edward Beebe of Stratford
Second Mate          Jesse Jeacocks of New London
Surgeon                 Dr. Ezra Bushnell of New London
...In addition to her battery of sixteen carriage 6-pounder guns, the Defence carried some swivels, nearly 100 muskets, 59 pistols (including the Bartram pistol?), 51 cutlasses, 11 blunderbus "murtherers" and two boarding-grappling irorns. She also carried two barges and one yawl."
MY NOTE: That sounds like one formidable warship. I am trying to picture in my mind's eye what our ancestor looked like with his uniform and arms. The book has an illustration
of a three masted brigantine with eight cannons pointing out which it identifies as the Defence.
NEXT: The capture of prizes.

Emailed Sept. 24

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