Monday, 9 March 2015

Thomas Pratt master of the Courier

    From now on we will learn more about the master of the Courier .Tomas Pratt, his ship and  a prize he captured .Today arrived a big envelope from the national archive with all the facts.
    The Courier was a ship of 12 guns and 106 tons burthen, Thomas Pratt, master; letter of marque dated 22 February 1805.

    The Hired armed cutter Courier appears twice in the records of the Royal Navy. The size and armament suggests that both contracts may represent the same vessel. On the first contract the captain and crew were awarded clasps to the Naval General Service Medal, one for a boat action and one for a single ship action in which they distinguished themselves.
  • First contract

    The first contract for Courier was from 6 June 1798 to 1 November 1801.[1] She was of 1163894 tons burthen (bm) and carried an armament of twelve 4-pounder guns.[1] She had a crew of 40 men.
    In 1799 she was under the command of Lieutenant Thomas Searle, in the North Sea. On 15 April he recaptured the Nellyfrom the French privateer Vengeur.[2] On 16 April, Courier was in company with LatonaAstraea and Cruizer when they captured the Prussian hoy Dolphin.[3]
    Then on 2 May, Ranger, with the Courier in company, captured the Vreeda.[Note 1]
    On 12 May, while off Winterton on the coast of Norfolk, Courier engaged a French 16-gun privateer.[2] The French brig was attacking a British merchant sloop when Courier intervened. The brig was armed with 16 guns, mixed 6 and 9-pounders.[5] After an hour and forty minutes of fighting, the privateer chose to take advantage of the wind and her better sailing qualities and escape in the darkness and thick weather.[6] Courier tried to chase her but lost her after midnight.Courier had five men wounded in the action.[5] Latona and Ranger assisted in the action.
    The next day Courier captured the French brig's consort, the privateer schooner Ribotteur off the Texel. She had a crew of 26 men and was pierced for six guns but carrying four 3-pounders, having thrown two overboard during the chase.[5]Ribotteur did not resist.[7][Note 2] During the action Courier observed another privateer, a lugger, in the distance, that remained aloof from the action.
    On 26 June Courier and Circe captured the Twee Gesisters.[9]
    On 1 July, Courier captured the brig Frederick.[Note 3] Then on 10 July Courier was a part of a small squadron consisting of CircePyladesEspiegle and the hired armed cutter Nancy, all under the command of Captain R. Winthrop of Circe. The boats of the squadron rowed for 15 or 16 hours into the Watt at the back of Ameland. There they captured three merchant vessels carrying sugar, wine and brandy, and destroyed a galliot loaded with ordnance and stores.[10]
    Between 18 July and 1 August, CourierCircePyladesEspiegle and Nancy captured the Marguerita SophiaTwee GesisterTwee Gebroders (Master, Vink) Twee Gebroders (Master, Nolholt), Jussrow Maria ChristinaVrow Henterje MarguarithaStadt OldenburgVrow AntjeVrow GesinaEndraght, and the Frederick.[Note 4]
    Between 11 and 12 August, Pylades, a 16-gun sloop under the command of Adam Mackenzie, accompanied by the 16-gun brig-sloop Espiegle and Courier, attacked the ex British gun-brig Crash, moored between the island ofSchiermonnikoog and Groningen.[11][12] Courier started the action, which resulted Crash surrendering after the two sloops joined in.[12][13] Pylades lost one man killed and two wounded. Crash had a crew of 60 men and was armed with 12 carronades. The British also captured a schooner, which MacKenzie armed with two carronades and named theUndaunted. The boats of the squadron, now including boats and men from Latona and Juno, then attacked the 6-gun Dutch schooner Vengeance and a battery on Schiermonnikoog. The British were able to burn the schooner on the second attempt and to spike the guns of the battery.[2] The squadron's boats also captured a number of Dutch schuyts. During the attack Courier grounded and was only saved with some difficulty.[14][Note 5] In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issue to the surviving claimants of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Schiermonnikoog 12 Augt. 1799".[16][17]
    LatonaAstreaCruizerPyladesRangerBusyCourier, hired armed lugger Speculator, and the hired armed cuttersFox and Diligent captured the AeolusJonge Picter , Vrow AlydaVerwagtingVinnern, and the Almindeligheden. The same British vessels were also involved in the capture of NeptunusSen SoskendeBornholmFabiusZee Star, andFrou Eagle.[18][Note 6]
    On 21 November, Courier sailed from Yarmouth and on the afternoon of the following day saw a suspicious sail stopping a bark. Searle passed the bark, which reported that the other vessel was an enemy. Courier gave chase and came up with her the next morning 10 or 12 leagues off Lowestoft. After a close action of 50 minutes Courier captured the French privateer cutter GuerrierGuerrier was armed with fourteen 4-pounder guns, had a crew of 44 men and was commanded by Citizen Felix L. Sallemand.[20][21] During her five days out of Dunkirk she had captured the Nile, a brig from London carrying coal. Courier lost her master, Mr Stephen Marsh, who was killed at the start of the action, and also had two seamen wounded. The French had four killed and six wounded.[22] Searle later received a promotion to Commander dated 23 November.[Note 7] In 1847 the Admiralty authorized the issuance of the Naval General Service Medal with clasp "Courier 23 Novr. 1799" for this action.[16][17]
    In December 1800 Courier was obliged to quit her station between the Humber and Flamborough Head after an action with a French privateer a few days earlier.[24]

    Second contract

    The second contract was from 23 July 1804 to 18 August 1806.[25] She was of 1145794 tons burthen and carried twelve 4-pounder guns.[25]
    Her commander throughout the contract was Lieutenant James Boxer.[26] Courier served off Boulogne, Ushant and Rochester. At the end of her contract she was returned to her owners.[27]
    On 12 December 1804 Courier was with the hired armed cutter Countesss of Elgin and the hired armed schoonerCharlotte, when they recaptured the ship New Concord.[28] Then on 2 September 1805, Courier alone captured the French schooner Angelique.[28]
    During the second half of 1805, Courier returned to the Downs in a battered state after having engaged a shore battery. While on patrol, she had recovered a warship's boat, together with a lieutenant and 16 men. Shortly thereafter she spotted a French privateer lugger sheltering under the protection of a shore battery. Courier attempted to cut out the lugger but came under fire from the battery's 24-pounders and a 12-pounder field piece on shore. Because of the shallowness of the water and the lack of wind, Courier was unable to proceed further. Having sustained serious damage she gave up the attempt. During the action Lieutenant Newby from the sloop Megaera was killed, as were two other men, and one man was wounded. (Presumably the men that Courier had earlier recovered were from Megaera).[29]

    Letters of marque

    Three letters of marque were issued to a ship or ships named Courier. The first may have been the same vessel as the first contract hired armed cutter Courier. The second and third letters of marque appear to have been issued to the same vessel, which however was neither the first letter of marque nor the hired armed cutter of the second contract above. For all three letters below, the vessel is described as being armed with twelve 3-pounders.
    • Of 12 guns and 122 tons burthen, Arthur Threlful, master; letter of marque dated 22 November 1798.
    • Of 12 guns and 106 tons burthen, William Adamson, master; letter of marque dated 3 November 1804.
    • Of 12 guns and 106 tons burthen, Thomas Pratt, master; letter of marque dated 22 February 1805.
  • The ships sailed by Thomas Pratt
  • Ship Names Type Commanders Tons Men Date of warrant
  • Hibernia ship Pratt,Thomas 204 35 1803 August 24 
  • Courier ship Pratt,Thomas 106 25 1805 February 22 
  • Cruizer ship Pratt,Thomas 207 30 1805 October 28 
  • Duke of Kent ship Pratt,Thomas 284 30 1807 November 13
from the book chronology of shipboards slave revolts
1807/1808 Hibernia (Liverpool England Capt Thomas Pratt TST CD 81835
from the Demerary Newspaper 
On Friday the 16th Instant, the Subscriber will Expose for Sale at Bourdau's Logie: - 213 Prime Windward Coast Slaves. Imported in the Ship Hibernia, Captain Thomas Pratt.
Demerary, 10th March 1804. W. Brereton.

To Sail for Liverpool, as early as she can be got ready; The Ship Hibernia, Capt Thomas Pratt; - For Freight or Passage, apply to the Captain on board, or to
Demerary, March 10th 1804. W. Brereton.

Abraham Rietdijk arbeider wonende Rockanje schuldig aan Thomas Pratt negotiant wonende Hellevoetsluis 220 gld wegens geleend geld. Waarborg een huis, schuur en keet onder Rockanje in St Annapolder en Schapengors cohiernr 6 afdeling B en 77 roe 22 el boomgaard en bosland, op een gedeelte waarvan de woning staat, onbelast.
Aard van de akte:
Naam notaris:
Leendert Plooster
110 Notarissen

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