Saturday, January 5, 2013

Adventures Of The Nancy - Part Two

See Part One

Tall Ship Replica On Lake Huron - NOT Nancy


The next recorded incident in her history is narrated in a letter from her commander, Captain Alexander Mcintosh, to Captain Richard Bullock of the 41st Regiment, commanding the garrison at Mackinac, dated "5 miles from St. Joseph's," on the 16th of October, 1813. On the 4th of that month he had sailed from St. Joseph's for Amherstburg to obtain a much needed supply of provisions, and arrived at the mouth of the St. Clair river on the following afternoon when he sent two men ashore to ascertain whether it would be safe for him to enter the river. As they were prevented from returning by rough water, he decided to venture as far as the foot of the rapids. There he learned that the whole of the British squadron on Lake Erie had been taken and that the Americans were in possession of Detroit and Amherstburg. It was also reported that two of their armed schooners and two gun-boats were awaiting his appearance in the river below.

"Next day about noon," Captain Mcintosh wrote, "a white nag was seen coming towards us in a canoe. About half an hour afterwards I was hailed from the shore by a Canadian, ordering me to give up the vessel and that my property, as also that of the crew, should be respected. I went ashore to see who this man was. It was Lieutenant-Colonel Beaubien, of the militia, who wished me to surrender the vessel to him, repeating what he had already said. I told him I would give an answer in an hour's time.

I immediately went back and got all ready to defend the vessel. After the time had elapsed I went to him, gave him my answer, which was that I would defend the vessel until necessity compelled me to give her up, and that if the wind proved strong enough, I would attempt going back to the lake. He then replied, 'We shall fire on you.' 1 asked what number of men he had. 'Fifty,' was his answer. I returned to the vessel, made sail and was fishing the anchor when they commenced firing. I returned the fire as quickly as I received it, which continued for a quarter of an hour or more. They then ceased, whether from want of ammunition or that we had killed any, I know not.

During the action I was placed at the helm and exposed to the whole of their fire, but luckily escaped. Several shots struck the main boom and railing. No person was injured from their fire, but the blowing up of a couple of cartridges burnt one of the men severely on the face and hands. Whether it was from a piece of the cartridge or their lire, our main sail was blazing which was no sooner seen than extinguished. During the engagement my men behaved with the greatest coolness, and I cannot say too much for them.

As early as the 3rd of October, Captain Bullock had received information of the disastrous result of the battle on Lake Erie from Major-General Proctor, who informed him that he had already recommended that supplies for his garrison should be forwarded from York to Matchedash Bay.

The Nancy arrived on the 18th with her sails and cables so badly damaged as to render her unfit to navigate the lake during the storm of autumn, and Captain Mcintosh determined to take her to the Northwest Company's post, at Sault Ste. Marie, in the hope of procuring the necessary materials to refit her during the winter.

Here's a nice blog post about the Nancy and another from the Friends of Nancy Island and Wasaga Beach Park here.
Incorporating some archaeological aspects of the Nancy is a paper entitled "His Majesty's Hired Transport Schooner Nancy."

No comments: