Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yet Another Account of the Capture of the British Ship Schuldham Off Pelham Shores During the Revolutionary War

In the last few weeks I have posted a couple of interesting accounts of the capture of a British ship named the "Schuldham" in waters off the shores of Pelham during the Revolutionary War. See:

Friday, July 14, 2006: Capture of the British Ship Schuldham in Pelham Waters During the Revolutionary War

Tuesday, August 29, 2006: Another Brief Account of the Capture of the British Ship Schuldham in Pelham Waters During the Revolutionary War

Today's Historic Pelham Blog posting transcribes yet another account of the capture of the Schuldham published in 1886. It is particularly intriguing because it purports to originate from one of the original participants in the capture of the ship. The transcription appears immediately below.

"It was near City Island that a daring and successful enterprise was accomplished by a few of the Americans in the year 1777, being no less than the capture of a British gun-boat used as a guard-ship, and stationed at the month of East Chester Creek. The particulars, as related by one of the party engaged in the capture to an aged citizen of Pelham, now in his ninety-second year, and by him communicated to the writer, are as follows:

'The guardship 'Schuldham' was one of several vessels stationed by the British along the shores of the Sound, through whose instrumentality most of the hardships complained of by the Americans, such as those referred to in the petition by Benjamin Palmer, were inflicted. The officers and crews of these vessels often treated the inhabitants of the towns and villages along the shore with great severity. They were consequently regarded with no friendly feelings by the oppressed people, and plans for their capture were frequently discussed.

'A party of whale-boatmen from Darien, Connecticut, were fortunate enough to carry enough such a design into execution. They conveyed their boat by hand across the Neck, and took possession of the market sloop which plied regularly between East Chester and New York. From the master of this sloop they ascertained that on his weekly passages to the city he was sometimes hailed from the guardship, and requested to sell them fresh provisions, such as eggs, chickens, vegetables, &c., for which, to insure their delivery, he was liberally paid. These Connecticut whale-boatmen, to the number of ten or twelve, armed, concealed themselves in the hold of the sloop. Their leader, however, remained on deck, and forced the owner to lay his craft alongside the sloop, as if for the purpose of furnishing the usual supplies. It was early in the morning, before daylight, and the moment the two vessels touched, the boatmen rushed up from below, boarded the British vessel, and took the crew prisoners before they were fairly awake. They then compelled some of the prisoners to help navigate the vessel, and making sail on the prize, ran her into the port of New London.'"

Source: Lindsley, Charles E., Pelham [Chapter XVII] in History of Westchester County, New York, Including Morrisania, Kings Bridge, and West Farms, Which Have Been Annexed to New York City, Vol I, p. 705 (Scharf, Thomas, ed., Philadelphia: L.E. Preston & Co. 1886).

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