The information presented in this post is taken from the following sources:
Bockstruck, Lloyd DeWitt. Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants: Awarded by State Governments, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1996).
Brown, Parker B. "The Battle of Sandusky: June 2-4, 1782", in Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, Vol. 65, No. 2 - April 1982.
Daughters of the American Revolution. Pierce's Register: Register of the Certificates Issued by John Pierce, Esquire, Paymaster General and Commissioner of Army Accounts for the United States, to Officers and Soldiers of the Continental Army Under Act of July 4, 1783, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1984).
Felldin, Jeanne Robey and Gloria Kay Vandiver Inman. Index to the 1800 Census of Pennsylvania, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1984).
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army: During the War of the Revolution, April, 1775 to December, 1783, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1982).
Hoyt, Max Ellsworth and Frank Johnson Metcalf. Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications, (National Genealogical Society, 1966).
Jackson, Ronald Vern. Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 - Pennsylvania, (Washington Government Printing Office, 1908).
Kaminkow, Marion and Jack. Mariners of the American Revolution, (Magna Carta Book Company, 1967).
Lewis James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina During the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999).
Moss, Bobby Gilmer. Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1983).
Revill, Janie. Copy of the Original Index Book: Showing the Revolutionary Claims Filed in South Carolina Between August 20, 1783 and August 31, 1786, (Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 1969).
de Wetter, Mardee. Incognito: An Affair of Honor, (Yucca Tree Press, 2005).
Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. "Crawford Expedition", (last modified: 01/07/2016).
In doing research on a post that will appear later in the course of this blog, the writer of this blog came across a reference to a "Gustavus Henderson" who the writer remembered to be a "2nd surgeon" or "surgeon's assistant" on board the frigate South Carolina on her second rather brief voyage. But, the actual reference, which piqued the writer's interest, is contained in Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 284, and states, "Henderson, Gustavus. See John Rose." The writer of this blog is also familiar with the name of "John Rose" in the context of the personalities of the American Revolution. In short, the name of "John Rose" is associated with an German-Baltic nobleman from the province of Livonia, Estland, today known as Estonia. His full name is recorded as having been Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal, who fled Russia after killing a man in "an affair of honor" - a duel - at some point in 1775. Evidently, he came to America by way of England and joined the patriots who were fighting for their independence from Great Britain. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page viii, he is cited as the "...only...man [who] came from the Imperial Russian province of Estonia to fight side-by-side with the American patriots in their war for independence..." The writer of this blog is somewhat familiar with the story of the German-Baltic nobleman and his nom de guerre "John Rose" but, the reference cited above is the first occurrence for the writer of this blog of the association of the name "Gustavus Henderson" with this figure in the history of the American Revolution. It is the sincere hope of the writer of this blog that this specific post will make the connections between the man bearing the nom de guerre of "John Rose", Gustavus Henderson - 2nd surgeon on board the frigate South Carolina, and the Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal of Estland, Russia. It is the hope of the writer of this blog that these connections will be made and prove that the man known as "Gustavus Henderson" was indeed this man also known as "John Rose" and that he served on board the frigate South Carolina on her second, brief voyage resulting in her capture off the Capes of the Delaware on December 20, 1782.
One must deal with each of these names in some type of logical progression so that the validity of the writer of this blog's intent might be proven - an absolute as possible connection between these three men. The writer of this blog has chosen to begin with the first "real name" of the individual, Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 6, de Rosenthal was "...born in 1754..." An article addressing the genealogy of Gustav Heinrich von Wetter-Rosenthal and managed by "a private user" cites de Rosenthal's birth date as "...January 1, 1753..." His birth place is cited as "Waddemois, Marjamaa vald, Raplamaa, Estland". Other than this scant information, nothing else is communicated concerning his early life except that he was "...educated at the Knight's Academy, the Domschule, in Reval (now called Tallinn)..." His noble title of "Baron" has a bit more detailed information given concerning its origin and social importance within Russian society of the mid-18th century. Again, according to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 7-8, "...his was an inherited Swedish title, conferred on an ancestor more than 100 years earlier by another queen, Queen Christina of Sweden. Because the Russians dispensed titles wholesale, they were valued less than the older Swedish ones. ...the Czarina [Catherine the Great] ... considered the Baltic aristocracy superior."
(Note: According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 155, "...on July 28, 1652, Queen Christina of Sweden granted the patent of nobility to Adolf Friedrich Wetter, thus bestowing upon him and his family the title of baron in the Baltic nobility with the name of Rosenthal. Thus the name Wetter-Rosenthal was formed.")
According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 12, at some point in 1774, Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal was called to the Imperial Court in St. Petersburg and, while there, became embroiled in a duel. According de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 10, William L. Stone, author of the preface to the journal of "John Rose", states that de Rosenthal became involved in the duel "....because his antagonist had inflicted a blow upon an aged uncle in his presence..." There exists the possibility that the "aged uncle" was Berend Johann von Uexkull of Schloss Fickel who was almost twice Gustav's age at the time of the duel and would have been most likely to have accompanied the younger nephew to St. Petersburg. But, ultimately, according to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 10, "...the name of the man he killed, and why he chose to fight remain a mystery..." Even though dueling was still definitely viewed as a legitimate resort to the defense of one's honor or the honor of one under your care, it was also seen as murder, if one of the participants were to die as a result of the duel. Punishments, even for a nobleman guilty of this offense, could easily be banishment or execution. Thus, the Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal, at the young age of twenty-two years old, chose the only alternative he could possibly envision for himself - flight. This flight meant not only leaving St. Petersburg as well as his native land of Estonia, but flight from the imperial territories of the Czarina Catherine the Great because he would be subject to arrest and indictment if found anywhere within the borders of the Russian Empire. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 15, "...it was during this time that he selected a name to replace his own. He would become "John Rose", shortening Rosenthal, and using his father's name, Johann, translated into English, as his given identity..." For whatever reasons or motives, he shortened his name of Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal into a type of English variant - "John Rose". Thus, the young German-Baltic nobleman from Estland assumed a new identity as he began his journey towards America.
Again, according to de Wetter's work, Incognito, pages 17-18, Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal made his way to Nantes, France where he probably would have taken passage on any of a number of French vessels that were engaged in smuggling arms, ammunition, medicine and other military stores to the patriot rebels fighting against France's age-old enemy, Great Britain. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 18, "...one such ship, the Margaretta, commanded by Captain Louis Gerrard, set sail for Baltimore [Maryland] in early March 1776 at the most probable time for John Rose to have taken passage..." Once having reached Baltimore, Maryland, according to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 19, that "...he had taken a brief course of surgery under Dr. Wisendorf, a German physician whose language he spoke, and finally had succeeded in obtaining the situation of surgeon's mate..." The citation for this information is the preface to the journal of John Rose, entitled Journal of a Volunteer Expedition to Sandusky, from May 24 to June 19, 1782. This preface is the one indicated in the paragraph immediately above and written by William L. Stone. Also, according to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 19, there is no "Dr. Wisendorf" listed as a doctor in Baltimore, Maryland at this time period but, there is indeed "... a Dr. C. F. Wiesenthal who ran a school for surgeons in Baltimore..." Further on in de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 24, it specifically states that "... it was Dr. Wiesenthal who arranged for John Rose to join the Continental troops as a surgeon's mate at the hospital in Yellow Springs, ten miles west of Valley Forge..."
It is at this point that other historical documents intrude upon the narrative and introduce not only new information but, a new name or "nom de guerre". According to Heitman's work, Officers of the Continental Army, page 284, the citation for "Gustavus Henderson" reads "See John Rose". On page 474, the lengthy citation of John Rose states, in part:
"John Rose (Pa.) - His proper name was Baron Gustavus H. de Rosenthal. Surgeon 7th Pennsylvania, 12th June, 1777; found not competent and transferred to General Hospital as Surgeon's Mate, under the name of Gustavus Henderson..."
This is certainly the same "John Rose" documented in de Wetter's work, Incognito. Yet, her work, as well as the preface to the journal of John Rose written by William L. Stone, indicate that he was a surgeon's mate all along and there is no mention of his initial attempts at being designated as a doctor/surgeon. "...Found not competent..." are harsh words to be included in any personnel report and ones that would be most unwelcome by any individual. According to Brown's article, "The Battle of Sandusky", page 123, the same incident is documented and it is explained as such - "... an administrative axe then cruelly chopped Rose's pride. He was judged incompetent, reduced to surgeon's mate, and ordered to a hospital near Valley Forge. To hide his humiliation, he worked there under another assumed name, Gustavus Henderson...." "...A hospital near Valley Forge..." would mean the recently-constructed medical facilities at Yellow Springs, located about ten miles west of the main encampment at Valley Forge. There is no reference to this incident in de Wetter's work, Incognito: An Affair of Honor at all. Again, there is every indication in de Wetter's work, Incognito, that young "John Rose" was taken into medical service directly as a "surgeon's mate" through the auspices of Dr. C.F. Wiesenthal.
Thus, the new name, or "nom de guerre", of "Gustavus Henderson" appears related to the individual of the previous assumed name of "John Rose". This is where the frigate South Carolina enters the scene of action. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, the section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina" , page 150, the following entry appears:
Gustavus Henderson Second surgeon
(Note: The writer of this blog has not done any research into what is exactly indicated by the title "Second surgeon". It may mean that he was seconded to an actual surgeon who might have been referred to as the "Surgeon" or "First surgeon". It may have indicated that Gustavus Henderson was a surgeon's assistant or surgeon's mate and, thus, the term "Second" was utilized. Finally, it may have indicated that Gustavus Henderson was the second surgeon to serve on board the frigate South Carolina after the first surgeon had left the frigate.)
A check of the captive rosters of the three British men-of-war - the HMS Diomede (post dated: "03/24/2015"), HMS Quebec (post dated: "03/25/2015"), and HMS Astrea (post dated: "03/26/2015") - finds Gustavus Henderson as a prisoner-of-war on board the HMS Diomede. Thus, he was certainly on board the frigate South Carolina for her second brief voyage prior to her capture off the Capes of the Delaware on December 20, 1782. Most of the first crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina had left the service of the frigate after she moored in Philadelphia, PA harbor on May 29, 1782. The new crew that was recruited by the various officers sent into the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding countryside were by and large Pennsylvanians themselves. In several of the references to "John Rose" as well as "Gustavus Henderson", both are cited as being from or related to the colony of Pennsylvania. As each of these citations are presented below, the citation will be indicated. This association with the same colony further firms up the possibility that these two individuals are indeed the same man.
The name "Gustavus Henderson" has numerous references in the official records whereas "John Rose" has virtually no references aside from a connection to "Gustavus Henderson". The one reference where "John Rose" is mentioned is found in Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 474, and is cited in part five paragraphs above. The complete text of the entry on "John Rose" is cited here in full:
John Rose (Pa.) - His proper name was Baron Gustav H. de Rosenthal. Surgeon 7th Pennsylvania, 12th June, 1777; Found not competent and transferred to General Hospital as Surgeon's Mate, under the name of Gustavus Henderson; appointed Surgeon's Mate 7th Pennsylvania, 1st March, 1780; afterwards appointed Surgeon on the Revenge; taken prisoner in fall of 1780; when not stated; served as an Aide-de-Camp to General Irvine in 1781 and 1782; Lieutenant 4th Pennsylvania, 1st April, 1781; transferred to 3rd Pennsylvania, 1st January 1783, 1783, and served to June, 1783. (Died 1829.)
According to Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 435, the following citation occurs:
Gustavus Henderson - he served as second surgeon aboard the South Carolina. A.A.3520A; Y218.
This is a second reference of Gustavus Henderson as a "second surgeon" on board the frigate South Carolina. Again, the writer of this blog is unclear on the use of this term and its exact meaning in an 18th century context. Possibly, a reference to the two indent numbers that follow his brief citation would help in clearing up this matter.
In Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, there are several pages where information related to Gustavus Henderson is found. On page 154 of Revill's work, Gustavus Henderson is cited among all whose last name is "Henderson". He is cited as having his claim against the state of South Carolina paid in Return Number 82 which, according to the section of Revill's work entitled "State of the Returns" on pages 378-379, was issued to its individual recipients on October 29, 1785. On pages 385-386 of the same work, there appears a section of the work entitled, "A List of the Officers & Men of the Frigate South Carolina to Whom Certificates Have Been Issued". Towards the top of page 386, the name of Gustavus Henderson appears with the citation that his certificate paid to him amounted to 52p/9s/4d and was indeed included in the Return Number 82. In comparison to the amounts awarded other individuals contained in this list, this is the approximate amount awarded to lower-ranking officers or specialists in a particular field such as Gustavus Henderson as a "Second surgeon" or surgeon's assistant.
In the above three cited sources, there are no citations of a "John Rose" that is associated with the colony of Pennsylvania or is of equivalent rank or specialization as Gustavus Henderson. Yet, Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 474, cites Gustavus Henderson as the new adopted name or "nom de guerrre" of "John Rose" and that he became a "Surgeon's Mate" under this new name. According to Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 435, Gustavus Henderson is cited as a "Second surgeon" who also served on board the frigate South Carolina. Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 386, also confirms that Gustavus Henderson served on board the frigate South Carolina and was awarded 52p/9s/4d in compensation for his services rendered on board that frigate. There is building confirmation in these sources that Gustavus Henderson did indeed serve on board the frigate South Carolina even though there is no mention of this services in any manner recorded in de Wetter's work, Incognito, nor is there any reference to the additional "nom de guerre" of Gustavus Henderson.
There is a single source in which some discrepancy occurs as to the possibility of "Gustavus Henderson" and "John Rose" being two separate individuals. According the Daughters of the American Revolution's work, Pierce's Register, page 217, there is a single entry for "Gustavus Henderson", citing that he was issued a certificate numbered "68557" for a grand total of $6.61. This is all the information recorded on Gustavus Henderson. Yet, on page 437 of the same work, there are no less than twenty-five "John Rose" or "Jonathan Rose" citations with certificate amounts ranging from $3.04 to upwards of $1600.00. There is no way of knowing for sure which, if any, of these "John Rose" or "Jonathan Rose" citations are for individuals associated with the colony of Pennsylvania or if these are indeed the "John Rose" at issue in this post. But, there is only a single reference to Gustavus Henderson contained in this work though the amount of the certificate issued to him seems to be incredibly small for a "surgeon" or "surgeon's mate".
But, there were also compensations in other forms than just monetary. These took the form of land grants by the government of the new United States of America to its veterans, both of the army and of the navy, as a show of gratitude for the services and sacrifices of its soldiery. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 91, somehow "John Rose" had heard that he had been "...pardoned by the Czarina [Catherine the Great] through the mediation of his family..." and was now free to return home without fear of reprisal and imprisonment. Thus, he felt that it was his honorable duty to return home to Estland. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 90, his last letter written while he was still in America was addressed to General William Irvine of Pennsylvania and was dated "April 2, 1784". In the letter, he stated that he supposed the ship would sail "...for Amsterdam in the course of the next week..." All the can be ascertained is that he left at some undetermined time after the date of the final letter he wrote while here in America. There is no record of when or at what port of entry he reached the continent of Europe but, one is safe in assuming that he arrived in Estland at some point during the summer of 1784. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 97, at some point in 1787, now-recognized Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal "...received a letter from his old friend and mentor, General William Irvine. Irvine sent good news. The young United States government had granted bounty lands on the fork of the Muskingum and Wabash Rivers to the Continental troops. Irvine, who handled all of "John Rose's" interests in America, concluded his letter with the information that he had secured land for Rose on both Oil Creek and French Creek." Baron de Rosenthal would remain interested in the lands he rightfully owned in America, as a result, of his services to the fledgling United States, for the remainder of his life. References to these lands and inquiries after them would frequently occur in his later letters to the Irvines in Pennsylvania, even after the death of his benefactor, General William Irvine, on June 30, 1804.
There is documentary evidence of this land grant awarded to "Gustavus Henderson" by the new United States government. According to Bockstruck's work, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, page 241, the following entry appears:
Gustavius Henderson (Pa.) - Surgeon, 14 October 1786, 300 acres to John Henderson, administrator.
Other than slight misspelling of his first name - "Gustavius" instead of "Gustavus" - the details all match up. Pennsylvania is the colony with which both "John Rose" and "Gustavus Henderson" are associated. The date of "14 October 1786" is well after "John Rose's" departure from America, hence his notification by General William Irvine via letter that he had received a land grant from the government. His profession would seem to be a bit unlikely - "Surgeon" instead of "Surgeon's Mate" - until one examines the amount of the land grant awarded to "Gustavius Henderson". The amount received by "Gustavius Henderson" is the exact amount of land granted to a "Regimental Surgeon's Mate" rather than a "Regimental Surgeon" which would have been 600 acres of land instead of 300 acres, which is the amount "Gustavius Henderson" received for his services during the American Revolution.
(Note: The interesting fact is the name cited in this entry for "Gustavius Henderson's" administrator - John Henderson. This fascinating individual, who is most definitely documented as having served as a "Lieutenant of Marines" on board the frigate South Carolina will be covered thoroughly in a post in the immediate future.)
According to Bockstruck's work, Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants, page 456, there are two "John Roses" cited as having been from the colony of Pennsylvania. Both of them are cited as having been Lieutenants which was the terminal rank of "John Rose" prior to the cessation of hostilities between Great Britain and the now-independent United States. Both received 200 acres, which is the amount due a lieutenant. But, the date of the land grant being assigned causes a question to arise - April 19, 1787. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 97, the implication is that William Irvine's letter informing Baron Gustav de Rosenthal of the land grant to him by the government of the United States arrived at some point in time after April 1787. Unless General Irvine had almost immediately written to Gustav de Rosenthal concerning the land grant, this date seems too early for the fact to be communicated. Letters took months to cross the Atlantic Ocean by ship. Having once reached the continent, there was the land distance for it to travel to reach Baron de Rosenthal's estate in the countryside. Also, several of the baron's later letters to General Irvine indicate that he was much better at communicating via letter than his former commanding officer, frequently with years passing between his hearing from his former benefactor in America. Thus, it is purely the assumption of this writer that these two references to a Lieutenant "John Rose" of Pennsylvania must not be the same person referred to in this post as "John Rose".
Finally, there is the question of the grave of "Gustavus Henderson" or "John Rose". According to the Sons of the American Revolution's work, Revolutionary War Graves Register, page 288, there is no grave marked as belonging to a "Gustavus Henderson" located in any identified cemetery in the United States. There are two for "John Rose" that could have both been from Pennsylvania but, in both cases, the death years are incorrect for Baron de Rosenthal who is cited as having died on June 29, 1829 at his estate of Felks, Marjamaa vald, Raplamaa, Estland. But, if he died in Estland, then he must have been interred there also and not here, somewhere in America. There is no indication that any of his mortal remains were ever transported to America and interred here. Thus, there should be no grave here for Baron de Rosenthal, "John Rose" or "Gustavus Henderson". But, finally, there is no mention of "Gustavus Henderson" being buried in any cemetery in America and the two referenced "John Rose's" are negated as a possibility due to the incongruity of their death years. Rather, Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal left America in April 1784 and never returned.
The census records of the state of Pennsylvania should give evidence as to whether there was a "Gustavus Henderson" residing within the borders of the state at the time of that specific census. Neither Jackson's work, Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790 - Pennsylvania, nor Felldin and Inman's work, Index to the 1800 Census of Pennsylvania show a single "Gustavus Henderson" as residing within the state of Pennsylvania at either of those census years. Both the Census of 1790 as well as the Census of 1800 indicate several "John Roses" scattered, literally, all over the state but, there are no "Gustavus Hendersons" at all. It is as if he never even existed, unless, of course, he and his name, or better - "nom de guerre", were already long gone from the state of Pennsylvania when its first census was taken in 1790 and the second in 1800.
Also, there is reference in both Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 474, and de Wetter's work, Incognito, pages 37-42, to "John Rose" having served on board the privateer Revenge, probably out of Philadelphia, PA. A search of Kellow's site, "American War of Independence at Sea" reveals no ship by this name out of Philadelphia, PA. Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution, page 238, does indicate a privateer vessel by the name of Revenge captured around the same time as the ship that "John Rose" supposedly shipped on. According to Kaminkow's work, Mariners, page 238, the entry for the Revenge is as follows:
Ship's Name - Revenge
Captain's Name - Alex Murray
Capturing Ship's Name - HMS Enterprize
Date of Capture - ante October 1780
PRO Reference Number - 3/227
In the account given in de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 37-42, the name of the privateer ship-of-war matches up but, the similarities stop there. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, pages 40 and 42, the captain's last name was "Day", not "Murray", as given in Kaminkow's work, Mariners, page 238. Also, de Wetter's work, Incognito, page 40, states, with certainty, that "John Rose" sailed "...aboard the Revenge, a neat little brig of less than 100 feet long, well rigged, with thin planking..." on September 19, 1780. The same text on page 41-42 cite the Revenge as being captured after less than eight weeks at sea, which would have placed her capture around the middle of November 1780. Yet, Kaminkow's work, Mariners, page 238, cites the capture date of the Revenge as "ante October 1780", which would have been much too early. Even Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 474, states that "John Rose" - now operating under the "nom de guerre" of "Gustavus Henderson" - was "...afterwards appointed Surgeon on the Revenge; taken prisoner in the fall of 1780; when not stated..." Of course, neither Kellow's site nor Kaminkow's work claim to be authoritative or comprehensive in their scope. Both claim that there were other ships that have not yet been documented. Further research will be needed to verify the existence of a privateer ship-of-war named the Revenge out of Philadelphia, PA.
So, in conclusion - what? This has been a long and extremely intricate adventure with the life and multiple personas of a single man, Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal of Estland. It has been confirmed that at some point between fleeing Estland (modern-day Estonia) and after arriving in America, the baron chose the pseudonym of "John Rose" to mask his true identity. There are further sources which confirm that later this "nom de guerre" was altered to "Gustavus Henderson". It also appears that the former name of "John Rose" was then only utilized in personal writings, such as his journal of the expedition to Sandusky and letters to his mentor, benefactor and commanding officer, General William Irvine. Since these writings were of a personal nature, the name of "John Rose" does not appear in official documents after the adoption of "Gustavus Henderson" as his new "nom de guerre". Instead, the name of "Gustavus Henderson" appears. There are striking similarities though between "John Rose" and "Gustavus Henderson", almost too striking to be ignored. Both are associated with the colony of Pennsylvania in their Revolutionary War services. Both are cited as a "surgeon's mate". Both experienced captivity as a result of service on board a patriot ship-of-war. Neither of these men filed a pension application after the end of the war, even though their services entitled them to do so. And, both are cited as sequential "nom de guerres" of the same man - Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal of Estland. It is the firm belief of the writer of this blog that all three of these men - Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal of Estland, "John Rose" and Gustavus Henderson" - were indeed one and the same man. Even though though "John Rose's" involvement with the frigate South Carolina is not referred to at all in de Wetter's work, Incognito, it is also the firm belief of the writer of this blog that this one and the same man served as "Second surgeon" or "surgeon's mate" on board the frigate South Carolina on her second, brief voyage that terminated in her capture by elements of the Royal Navy off the Capes of the Delaware on December 20, 1782.
The service of Gustavus Henderson on board the frigate South Carolina could have happened in a number of ways, being that Gustavus Henderson was in Pennsylvania while the frigate South Carolina was moored at Philadelphia, PA. According to de Wetter's work, Incognito, pages 87-88, "...throughout this time Rose remained Irvine's aide-de-camp. Irvine used the trustworthy young man as paymaster for the troops, sending him on journeys to the "Secretary at War", and to the Congress. Rose traveled the dangerous route from Philadelphia to Pitt more than once..." According to Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 474, "...throughout this time..." was referring to the time 1781-1782 in which "John Rose" served as an aide-de-camp to General William Irvine. In these many travels between Fort Pitt on the western frontier of Pennsylvania and the highly urban and sophisticated city of Philadelphia, PA, he could easily have become aware of the frigate South Carolina moored in the harbor. He could just have easily have learned of the recruiting parties of the frigate moving through the countryside, seeking recruits for the ship's next voyage. He may have encountered Edward Scull and/or John Henderson, both recruiting officers for the frigate South Carolina, moving throughout the countryside and been enticed by their offers of fame and fortune to be had on board the powerful ship-of-war. In the same manner, he could have found out, either from these two previously mentioned gentlemen or from others, that the Commodore of the ship, Alexander Gillon, spoke the native language of "Gustavus Henderson" - German. The youthful "Gustavus Henderson" had no reason to divulge his true identity to these men, if he actually met them and conversed with them, or to Commodore Gillon, who, though he spoke German, had yet to win the trust of this baron-in-disguise. According to numerous references in de Wetter's work, Incognito, "Gustavus Henderson"/"John Rose" viewed General William Irvine as a mentor and benefactor. He may have felt little hesitation in requesting a temporary release from duties to serve on board the frigate, especially since the projected cruise was to be a short one. Thus, "Gustavus Henderson" would have signed on board the frigate South Carolina as the "Second surgeon".
As stated earlier, his name does indeed appear on the captive's roster of the HMS Diomede on December 20, 1782. He would have arrived in New York City harbor on December 23-24, 1782 and been assigned to his fate. Being that he had been promoted to lieutenant in the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot on April 1, 1781, he would have escaped the prison "hulks" of Wallabout Bay, NY and been paroled on Long Island until his exchange at the end of the war. But, since he was a prisoner-of-war, he would have been maintained on the roster of his new regiment, the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, to which he was transferred on January 1, 1783. Thus, Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, page 474, states that he "...served to June, 1783..." After the cessation of hostilities, "Gustavus Henderson" would have filed for compensation from the state of South Carolina for his services on board the frigate South Carolina and his time in British custody. Upon his release from British captivity, he would have renewed his relationship with his mentor and benefactor, General William Irvine, and his family and written his final letter to the General on April 2, 1784 before boarding a ship bound for his native homeland. When that ship cast off its mooring lines and headed for the open Atlantic Ocean, he left these shores forever and never returned to America.
The writer of this blog has done quite a bit of exploration and extrapolation of information in this post on Baron Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal of Estland. It may well be he did not serve on board the frigate South Carolina at all. But, the evidence seems to indicate that he did indeed serve but, under the moniker of "Gustavus Henderson". Why he never mentioned this service in his writings is a mystery. Perhaps, he was embarrassed about being captured so soon after leaving the harbor of Philadelphia, PA. Perhaps, he never wrote about it because his journal, his only complete writing, deals with the expedition to Sandusky and would have predated his service on board the frigate South Carolina. His reason is lost to history and his subsequent writings do not provide the answer. But, it is intriguing to examine this information which tends toward a convincing argument that once upon a time a baron of Estland, Gustav Heinrich Johann de Rosenthal, hiding his true identity behind the "nom de guerre" of "Gustavus Henderson", walked the decks of the frigate South Carolina and contributed to the winning of the independence of the United States of America - the only known Russian to fight in the patriot's Cause.