GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2002-01 > 1010350321
From: "Edith Bailes" <>
Subject: [GM-L] Penobscot Expedition 1779
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2002 15:52:01 -0500
Hello everybody, I hoipe someone can help me.
John WILLARD was captured off an American vesel during the Revolutionary
War. Years after his death, his widow wrote a memoir in which she says he
was thrown into the JERSEY prison ship in New York Harbor,where according to
him he spent the winter of 1779 - 80.
I am trying to find out which naval action resulted in his capture. Because
of the timing, the Penobscot Expedition, in which Massachusetts sent a force
out from Boston to retake the port of Castine (now in Maine, then in
Massachusetts) may be the right one, assuming John and his widow got the
A list of army personnel who participated in that engagement has been
published, but I do not believe it contains the names of the naval
personnel, the ones who manned the "troop transports." John WILLARD may
have been one of those crew members. He had been serving as a seaman all
during the war.
Of the twenty (?) American vessels which went to the Penobscot, three, the
CHARMING POLLY, John PALMER commanding; PALLAS, James JOHNSON or JOHNSTON,
commanding; and RENOWN, Robert ADAMSON commanding, did not take part in the
battle. The PALLAS was burned; I do not now what happened to the other two.
Of the remaining vessels, the ROVER, ____PARKER commanding was taken by the
British. The HAMPDEN, Titus SALTER commanding, was taken and burned. All
the remaining vessels apparently were run aground and torched, to prevent
their falling into the hands of the British. Their crews escaped ashore and
made their way home through the woods.
If John WILLARD was on any of these vessels and was captured, he was
probably on the ROVER, the HAMPDEN, or possibly the PALLAS, since everybody
else seems to have escaped or did not participate.
Can anyone direct me to a place where I might find answers to the following
What happened to the crews of the ROVER, the HAMPDEN and the PALLAS? If
they were taken prisoner by the British, is there a record anywhere?
Was there any kind of a "debriefing" that took place in Boston after
everybody got back there after the fiasco? If so where are the records?
Can anyone suggest any other naval engagement of the year 1779 in which this
man might have been taken? Did the British in New York keep any record of
the passage of their vessels into and out of that port and if so, where
might those records be?
I will be grateful for the smallest clue and will reciprocate if I can.
Please feel free to forward this message to any person you think might be
able to advise me. Thanks everyoine, and Happy New Year - Edie in Maine
|[GM-L] Penobscot Expedition 1779 by "Edith Bailes" <>|