(Note: Further research seems to have uncovered the real last name of Diana - Quinones. I found a slightly altered article that upon closer examination, turned out to have the same exact text as the above cited article. This article is signed by one Diana Quinones. Thus, it is the more educated opinion of this blog writer that the woman's actual last name has been identified correctly.)
The last cruise of the South Carolina was very short. She docked at the "City of Brotherly Love" on May 29, 1782. Most of her crew hired in Europe took this opportunity to leave the ship, being that their enlistments had long ago expired. Her entire marine contingent, the Legion (or Volunteers) of Luxembourg, departed and attached themselves to units of the French army who were soon destined to return to France. As Lewis points out in his book, Neptune's Militia, the presence of marines aboard a ship separate it from corsairs (pirates) and ships authorized under letters of marque (privateers). Thus, Commodore Gillon was keen to recruit marines before the South Carolina sailed again. He had few options available to him. In the end, he recruited them from Hessian POWs who were incarcerated in the immediate environs of Philadelphia. These men represented several regiments - the Erbprinz, von Riedesel, de Menge, and von Specht. Also, it seems that a few Pennsylvania Germans may have signed on as marines. Eventually, due to legal difficulties, Gillon turned command of the South Carolina over to John Joyner, his second in command, and left for his home state of South Carolina. Further legal proceedings caused Joyner and the other officers of the South Carolina to take the ship and drop down the Delaware River to Billingsport, NJ. On December 19, 1782, the South Carolina slipped her moorings at Billingsport, NJ and dropped further down the Delaware River towards the Delaware Capes (Cape Henlopen, Delaware). A day later, as she cleared the Delaware Capes, she and her convoy spotted three strange sails to the north of their position. These turned out to be the three British ships lying in wait for the South Carolina. What followed, after an 18-hour pursuit and a 2-hour battle, was the capture of the South Carolina. All sources state that casualties resulting from this engagement were extremely light on both sides. The American casualties are listed as 6-8 wounded and killed and the British as none - only some cut rigging and damage to sails.
During the 18th century, the different arms of the British military, the Army and the Royal Navy, had responsibility for holding and administering their own prisoners of war. The Army usually incarcerated them in large, vacant or appropriated public buildings like mills, warehouses, churches, convents/monasteries or captured rebel fortifications. The Royal Navy, on the other hand, chose to imprison their charges on "prison hulks". These were decommissioned warships that had been stripped of their ordinance, rigging, masts and other useful items. Then, their gun ports were sealed shut and they were towed into position and stationed there as floating prisons. There were several of these hulks in New York harbor during the American Revolution, of which the Old Jersey was possibly the most infamous.
The South Carolina was taken to New York City, a major British military base in North America. The officers of the South Carolina were paroled within the city limits of New York. But, the enlisted crew members and marines were interned aboard the infamous Old Jersey in Wallabout Bay. This "prison hulk" was notorious as a death trap for anyone unfortunate enough to be incarcerated there. Contagious diseases, lack of fresh water, abuse/mistreatment by the guards, and malnutrition quick took its deadly toll. The shores of Wallabout Bay were lined with shallow graves of hundreds, possibly thousands, of deceased rebels who died aboard the numerous prison ships anchored there, the Old Jersey among them.
The final cruise of the South Carolina was too short for 21 of these men to have died aboard her and to have been "buried in the Atlantic Ocean". Rather, I suppose that these men were among the marine contingent of the South Carolina on that final, short cruise and were captured on December 20, 1782. These unfortunate individuals were interned aboard the "hell hole" of the Old Jersey and died there - to be buried in an unmarked grave along the shore of Wallabout Bay. None of these men filed the letters of administration in Berks County Wills Office, predominately in 1794. Rather, it was left to widows, fathers, sisters, brothers, in-laws, uncles, and, in two cases, creditors to make these claims for their deceased relations. Another tragic, grief-stricken episode of the American Revolution.