Billias, George Athan. General John Glover and his Marblehead Mariners, (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1960.)
Hearn, Chester G. George Washington's Schooners: The First American Navy, (Naval Institute Press, 1995.)
Kellow, Ken. "American War of Independence at Sea", entry under "Officers" for Nicholas Bartlett, (last modified - August 6, 2014.)
Kellow, Ken. "American War of Independence at Sea", entry under "Schooner/Armed Brig America", (posted - September 21, 2014.)
Lewis, James A. Neptune's Militia: The Frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution, (The Kent State University Press, 1999.)
Lincoln, Charles Henry, preparer. Naval Records of the American Revolution, 1775-1783, (Washington: Library of Congress, 1906.)
Secretary of the Commonwealth. Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, Volume I: A-Ber, (Wright & Potter Printing Co., 1896.)
Letter, "To Benjamin Franklin from John Emery, 11 November 1778", (Founders Online, National Archives.)
Letter, "Editorial Note on Promissory Notes, 1780", (Founders Online, National Archives.)
Letter, "John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 March 1780", (founders Online, National Archives.)
Letter, "To Benjamin Franklin from Theobald Jennings, et al., 10 April 1780", (Founders Online, National Archives.)
Letter, "To Benjamin Franklin from American Gentlemen in France, [March 1780]", (Founders Online, National Archives.)
Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986
Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390
Wikipedia article. "HMS Lively (1756)", (last modified May 22, 2016.)
Wikipedia article. "Post ship", (last modified November 4, 2015.)
The writer of this blog finds it interesting that as one spends more and more time collecting information on an individual or events surrounding the subject of the frigate South Carolina, inevitably more information on these more specific topics appears. This is certainly the case with individual men who served in some capacity on board the frigate. This has occurred most frequently with the officers who served on board the frigate South Carolina. As research continues and more information is located and gathered on the frigate, it is quite understandable that new information and previously unknown sources will be found and incorporated into the ever-growing knowledge we have on this patriot ship-of-war. This specific post is no different due to previously unknown information being uncovered and duly recorded concerning Nicholas Bartlett, the 2nd Lieutenant and 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina for her initial voyage across the Atlantic Ocean.
(Note: Quite a bit of information has already been recorded concerning Nicholas Bartlett in the post entitled "...Also for Wages due his Servant..." - Nicholas Bartlett, 2nd and 1st Lieutenant of the Frigate South Carolina: Prior Service During the American Revolution and his Unnamed 'Servant' on board the Frigate South Carolina -" and dated "12/08/2015". The purpose of this current post, as previously outlined above, is to record newly found information on Nicholas Bartlett. Thus, this post may be quite brief in nature and content....famous last words.)
The writer of this blog will endeavor to avoid unnecessary repetition of materials previously recorded concerning Nicholas Bartlett. But, portions of this same information may of necessity need to be repeated so that a form of continuity will exist between this specific post and the previous post concerning Nicholas Bartlett dated "12/08/2015". The Secretary of the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts]'s work, Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War, the volume cited above in the brief bibliography of this post, page 730-731, gives an excellent synopsis of Nicholas Bartlett's activities early in the American Revolution at least until April 1778. The information presented in this volume is given in fragmentary form but, will be presented in this post in complete sentences for clarity of flow of thought. Some of this information is repetitious in nature having been previously cited in the earlier post on Nicholas Bartlett. But, there is certainly new information included and cited here. Thus, the entries in their entirety are given here. The information is as follows:
Nicholas Bartlett, Jr. -
Initially, he was engaged on December 28, 1776 as the Master of the brigantine Charming Sally. A portage bill exists for a voyage from Boston to France and return. The date he was discharged from this duty and length of service are not specified.
Also, he was engaged on December 28, 1776 as Master of the brigantine Penet. A portage bill exists for a voyage from Boston to France and return. He was discharged on July 8, 1777 after a total service of six months and ten days.
(Note: Nicholas Bartlett is cited in this entry as having been the Master of two brigantines, Charming Sally and Penet, simultaneously. This is somewhat strange in nature. He may have been in charge as Master of two vessels making the same voyage as possibly indicated by their identical portage bills. The reason for his date of discharge and length of service for the first cited brigantine, Charming Sally, not being indicated is that it is indicated in the second ship's entry which may be intended to cover both vessels length of service.)
Later, he was engaged on February 21, 1778 as Master of the brigantine Favorite. A portage bill exists for a voyage "...from Boston to South Carolina, thence to France, and back to Boston...". In this service, he only served one month and twenty-four days because he is cited as being captured by the enemy on April 15, 1778.
The capture date given above corresponds to the length of service for Nicholas Bartlett's time as Master on board the brigantine Favorite. But, when compared with other information concerning Nicholas Bartlett, a few discrepancies appear. These comparisons can easily be made by the readership referring back to the much earlier post on Nicholas Bartlett entitled "...Also for Wages Due His Servant..." - Nicholas Bartlett, 2nd and 1st Lieutenant of the Frigate South Carolina: Prior Service During the American Revolution and His Unnamed 'Servant' on board the Frigate South Carolina -" and dated "12/08/2015". Information provided immediately above states that Nicholas Bartlett was captured on April 15, 1778 while acting as Master of the brigantine Favorite. Other sources cited in the earlier post dated "12/08/2015" cite him as being captured on board the General Glover in October 1779. As stated in the earlier post, Nicholas Bartlett does not appear in Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution as being a captive of the British at all. But, his brother, Jonathan Bartlett, who would serve as a Lieutenant of Marines on board the frigate South Carolina does appear as a captive with all of his pertinent information recorded in the earlier post dated "12/08/2015". The writer of this blog will leave the question of Nicholas Bartlett's capture and captivity among the British possibly for a later post, hoping the clarifying information will be located in the future and will be included in this overall blog.
(Note: A fascinating piece of information has been located concerning Nicholas Bartlett and places him on board at least one merchant vessel as a master of the vessel prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution. According to Hearn's work, George Washington's Schooners: The First American Navy, page 160, the following passage appears regarding Nicholas Bartlett and addresses Samuel Tucker attempting to fill out his crew of the schooner Hancock:
"Tucker added a lieutenant, master, master's mate to the crew and transferred his flag to Hancock. Twenty-six year old Nicholas Bartlett of Marblehead agreed to serve as lieutenant. In February 1775 Bartlett had been a master on an inbound vessel intercepted by HMS Lively. When the British had attempted to impress the crew, boats from Marblehead rowed out to their rescue and retrieved all but one man. Bartlett had a score to settle."
In Billias's work, General John Glover, pages 54-55, a more detailed account of this same incident is given and sheds a slightly different perspective on the episode. The same incident is related as follows:
"Marbleheaders reacted to this threat of impressment [by the British] in 1775 in the same fighting mood they had shown in 1769 when they resorted to harpoons against a British boarding party. On February 6, a barge from the [HMS] Lively intercepted an inbound vessel commanded by Captain Nicholas Bartlett and seized two men from her crew. Some of the townspeople on shore, observing the incident, rushed to their boats and rowed out to rescue the imprisoned pair from the clutches of the British. Overtaking the barge, the Marbleheaders yelled to the prisoners to jump overboard, and one of them did, boots and all, to be picked up by his deliverers. According to one account the British fired upon the escaping prisoner, and after he had been rescued, the Marbleheaders stood up with their muskets leveled and declared that they would return a volley if fired upon. The remaining hostage was carried aboard the [HMS] Lively.".
The passage cited immediately above clarifies several points of this narrative. First, it was a barge from the HMS Lively and not the HMS Lively herself that intercepted the inbound vessel commanded by Nicholas Bartlett. Second, this barge only seized two men from the crew of this same inbound vessel. The implication of the first cited passage is that the HMS Lively attempted to seize the entire crew of the inbound vessel and not just two men. This makes the rescue of the single individual more plausible. The Marbleheaders were only pursuing a barge and yelled at the apprehended men to leap overboard and swim for their boats. Third, the aggressive and clearly confrontational act of the Marbleheaders in the whale boats at the conclusion of the incident was probably calculated to convince the British commander to withdraw from the situation rather than escalating the hostile nature of the encounter by firing on the Marbleheaders who had directly interfered in a lawful, sanctioned British operation.
A foot note associated with the passage cited two paragraphs above would seem only to further confuse the issue of this unusual incident. According to Billias's work, General John Glover, page 209, foot note 19, states:
"Contemporary accounts of this episode are sketchy and do not agree. The number of craft that set out on the rescue mission varies; Bowen says two whale boats and a number of row boats; Appleton says a boat with men and arms. Ashley Bowen Diary, February 6, 1775, Essex Institute, and Nathaniel W. Appleton to William Smith, Jr., op. cit., 111-112.".
But, whatever the truth of this episode in the life of Nicholas Bartlett and his progress as a master of ships during the period immediately preceding the outbreak of the American Revolution, the future 2nd and 1st lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina, must have had long experience with the command of ships at sea and handling ships prior to the commencement of the American Revolution. This foreknowledge would only serve him well when he was called upon to command ships-of-war during the armed struggle that followed this fascinating and peculiar incident.)
(Additional Note: According to the Wikipedia article, "HMS Lively (1756)", "HMS Lively was a 20-gun post ship of the Royal Navy, launched in 1756.". According to the Wikipedia article, "Post ship", this definition of a vessel is as follows:
"A post ship was a designation used in the Royal Navy during the second half of the 18th century and the Napoleonic Wars to describe a ship of the sixth rate....that was smaller than a frigate (in practice, carrying fewer than 28 guns), but by virtue of being a rated ship (with at least 20 guns), had to have as its captain a post captain rather than a lieutenant or commander. Thus, ships with 20 to 26 guns were post ships, though this situation changed after 1817.".
The above naval definition qualifies HMS Lively as a "post ship", primarily due to the fact that she only carried twenty 9-pounder guns. HMS Lively had been commissioned during the Seven Years War and operated mostly in the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. Again, according to the Wikipedia article, "HMS Lively (1756)", after many recommissions as a Royal Navy ship-of-war, "...Captain Thomas Bishop recommissioned Lively in January 1774. On 16 April he sailed her for North America.". Once in North American waters and just prior to the American Revolution, she helped enforce the Boston Port Act. This took the form of a blockade of the port of Boston to punish the city for the Boston Tea Party. It would have been during this enforced blockade of the port of Boston that HMS Lively would have encountered Nicholas Bartlett and the unnamed vessel he commanded that was inbound for Marblehead, MA.)
A brief word should be said concerning the origin place of Nicholas Bartlett. If a reader examines the information cited a few paragraphs above, it would seem that Nicholas Bartlett was a native of Boston since he sailed from Boston on at least a few of his voyages. But, his pension application, "Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986" clearly states that "...I Nicholas Bartlett, Aged 69, of Marblehead in the County of Essex in the Commonwealth aforesaid...". Nicholas Bartlett, by his own admission, was a resident of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Also, foot note 13, page 205 of Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia cites both he and his brother, Jonathan Bartlett, as being natives of Marblehead, Massachusetts. Kellow's work, "American War of Independence at Sea, entry for "Officers", page 19, states that Nicholas Bartlett "...was now known as 'Nicholas Bartlett' having dropped the 'Jr.'. He listed his residence as Marblehead, Massachusetts.". Earlier, in this same passage from Kellow's work, page 19, Nicholas Bartlett was cited as being a resident of Boston in 1778.
(Note: Just as a bit of extra information, Nicholas Bartlett's service to the patriot Cause of America continued after his service on board the frigate South Carolina. According to Lincoln's work, Naval Records of the American Revolution, page 222, on August 29, 1782, Nicholas Bartlett was commissioned as Master on board the Massachusetts schooner Adventurous Fisherman. This small privateer schooner carried two guns of undetermined size and a crew of ten. It was bonded for $20,000.00. The bonders are cited as being Nicholas Bartlett of Marblehead, MA; Joseph Prince of Boston; and Fortesque Vernon of Boston. The owners of the schooner are recorded as being "...Fortesque Vernon and others, Boston...". The witnesses of this commissioning and bonding were recorded as being Thomas C. Vernon and Samuel Tucker, Nicholas Bartlett's commanding officer on board the schooner Hancock in 1776- see the earlier post dated "12/08/2015" for information concerning this patriot ship-of-war. Thus, Nicholas Bartlett's wartime efforts on behalf of the patriot Cause continued after he was "honorably discharged" from the frigate South Carolina in Corunna, Spain on September 27, 1781.)
(Additional Note: It is interesting to note that the rather brief pension application of Nicholas Bartlett, "Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986", neglects to name several of the ships-of-war of which he is supposed to have served on board. It only mentions the "...United States Schooner of war Hancock -- Samuel Tucker, Commander..."; "...the Brig Penet..."; and "...the Frigate South Carolina...". It leaves out mention of any of the other vessels-of-war upon which he supposedly served. It also neglects to mention any captivities with the British which so many other sources mention. The three attached supporting affidavits from George Tucker, marine; Robert Pierce, sailmaker - also served on board the frigate South Carolina; and John Teshew - all of Marblehead, Massachusetts, do not mention any captivities for Nicholas Bartlett either.)
The remainder of the previously unknown information that concerns Nicholas Bartlett comes from letters that passed between individuals, mostly in France, for one reason or another, at the time of the writing of these letters. The majority of these letters are dated either in March or April 1780 with one exception being dated November 11, 1778. All of them except one involve Benjamin Franklin as either recipient or writer of that letter. The single exception is a letter that passed from John Adams to Abigail Adams. The point the writer of this blog is attempting to make here is that Nicholas Bartlett was known among famous and important circles of Americans in France. He actually met Benjamin Franklin, dined with John Adams, may have been well acquainted with John Glover being that both were natives of Marblehead, MA, and most probably had been at least introduced to Captain John Paul Jones. The name of Nicholas Bartlett may be all but forgotten in America today but, during the American Revolution, he was known by men and women whose names have gone down in American history as the great and powerful of our past.
The single letter concerning Nicholas Bartlett that is outside the time frame of March-April 1780 is dated "Bilbao November 11, 1778" and is written to Benjamin Franklin by John Emery, a Newburyport, MA merchant in Bilbao, Spain. According to the Founders Online, National Archives document, "To Benjamin Franklin from John Emery, 11 November 1778", the passage referring to Nicholas Bartlett is as follows:
"...yesterday came in here [Bilbao, Spain] the Brig America Capt. Bartlet of Boston & brought in with him a Guernsey Cutter of 10 Guns 16 Swivels & 45 men which he took 3 days past of [off] Cape Pinas on this Coast after a engagement of 3 Glasses in which the Guernsey Capt. had one leg shot away his Lieut. & Carpenter killed & Some wounded Cap Bartlet had only one slightly wounded...".
The reference to the schooner/armed brig America is accurate as being one of the vessels commanded by Nicholas Bartlett but, not included in any of the citations mentioned above in this post. The previous post dated "12/08/2015" does indeed refer to the America as being a ship-of-war commanded by Nicholas Bartlett. But, there seems to be a discrepancy between the dates he commanded the ship by this name. Kellow's site, "American War of Independence at Sea", entry for "America", page 4, states that:
"America was re-commissioned on 28 August 1778 under Commander Nicholas Bartlett, Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. She was listed as having a battery of sixteen guns and fourteen swivel guns and as having a crew of eighty men. America was noted as measuring 120 tons. Her $10,000.00 Continental and 4000 pound sterling Massachusetts bond were signed by McNeill and by John Larkin and Thomas Harris of Boston. The owners were listed as John Thomas, David Devens, and others of Boston.".
Kellow's article clearly states that the Massachusetts Schooner/Armed Brig America was re-commissioned under Nicholas Bartlett in August 1778. The previous post on Nicholas Bartlett dated "12/08/2015" noted that Nicholas Bartlett was master of America in 1777. The confusion may well stem from the fact that Nicholas Bartlett is credited with command of several ships-of-war from the very beginning of the American Revolution right up until the cessation of hostilities with Great Britain in 1783. A comparison between the facts provided in this specific post and the earlier post on Nicholas Bartlett will prove out this point.
The remaining three documents all seem to address, in some form or fashion, the actual capture and imprisonment of Nicholas Bartlett. Yet, this event is only directly stated in one of these documents and is otherwise implied or alluded to in the remaining two sources. But, all of these documents, taken together, seem to confirm that he was indeed made a prisoner-of-war of the British, possibly in April 1778. Chronologically, the first of these documents is the Founders Online, National Archives document entitled "Editorial Note on Promissory Notes, 1780". The entirety of the document consists of a modern-day explanation of the use and distribution of promissory notes in France by Benjamin Franklin. There is no example of an original promissory note as issued to a former prisoner-of-war of the British seeking financial assistance once they had arrived in France. The document initially states:
"Now that [Benjamin] Franklin was distributing printed promissory note forms to prisoners receiving assistance, we will no longer publish individual promissory notes as sample documents. Instead, in this and subsequent editorial notes, we will take notice of each person, the date on which he received a loan, and the sum.
Printed forms survive from thirteen escaped prisoners for the months covered in this volume. On March 11, [Benjamin] Franklin gave three louis apiece to Benjamin Ashton and George Girdler. Two days later [March 13, 1780] he gave six louis apiece to Nicholas Bartlett and Peter Duhard, both from Marblehead, Francis Robins from Boston, and Capt. William White...".
(Note: The group of four men in which Nicholas Bartlett is included received the largest amount of assistance from Benjamin Franklin when compared against the amounts received by the remaining "...thirteen escaped prisoners..."except for the two titled individuals who received substantially more, probably due to their being European nobility. These were the Baron d'Arendt and the Baron de Wulffen.)
The second document concerning Nicholas Bartlett is the Founders Online, National Archives document, "Letter - John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 March 1780", John Adams, one of the American Commissioners in France, wrote to his wife, Abigail, that "...Captain Bartlet, who is escaped from an English Prison, will carry this. He will dine with me today, with Captain Nathaniel Cutting, and another American, but are in such Haste and going off this Afternoon...". Again, this is another reference to Nicholas Bartlett as having escaped from the British. Th foot note associated with this document states that this is "...probably Nicholas Bartlett, Jr., master of the brigantine Favorite, who had been captured in April 1778...".
A random check of these men against their entries in Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution, indicates that most of these men, if not all of them, were pardoned for exchange on December 11, 1779. A large number of them had been held during their imprisonment with the British at Forton Prison near Portsmouth, England. Thus, it may well be that Nicholas Bartlett was captured somewhere near the same sea lanes where he had captured the "...Guernsey cutter of 10 guns 16 swivels & 45 men...". The capturing British ship-of-war, whether a privateer or Royal Navy man-of-war, would have carried him and his captive crew into England for incarceration. Once in England, and possibly at Forton Prison, Nicholas Bartlett seems to have escaped from his captors and eluded pursuit until he was able to reach France and safety. The writer of this blog has supposed that a possible reason for Nicholas Bartlett's name not being cited in works concerning American naval prisoners in British prisons, is that he may have escaped prior to actually being recorded by the British prison officials.
The third and final document of this strange series is the Founders Online, National Archives document entitled "Letter - To Benjamin Franklin from Theobald Jennings et al., 10 April 1780". The letter to Benjamin Franklin is dated similarly but, is posted from "Bayo" which must be Bayeaux, France. The pertinent portion of the text reads as follows:
This to Inform your Excellency of our Safe Arrival from forton prison Which Place We had been Confined for the space Of Six or Seven Months and no hopes Of A Cartel Which Was our Occasion of Running away took a small boat and on the 8 Ultimo We Arrived Safe Within Six Miles of this place Where We was Received with great kindness by the Inhabitants...".
The letter then proceeds to name the escaped prisoners along with information concerning from which ship and its accompanying master they had been captured. The last escaped prisoner cited is "...Joshua Woodman taken in the General Glover Nicholas Bartlett...". The associated foot note reads that "...the General Glover was captured in September 1779...". A reference to Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution, page 211, reveals the following entry:
Joshua Woodman - he was incarcerated in Forton Prison. He was pardoned for exchange on December 11, 1779.
Prisoner cartels were supposed to consist of American maritime prisoners held in England being placed on a cartel ship and taken to France where they were to be exchanged for an equal number of British prisoners who would be repatriated o England in exchange. Another associated foot note states that one of the cartel ships had returned empty and the British authorities had retaliated by halting all exchanges. This crisis situation fostered an atmosphere of desperation among the prisoners, some of whom resorted to escape as a means of relief for their imprisonment.
(Note: The reference to the "....General Glover, Nicholas Bartlett master...", does have a corresponding citation in Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution, page 225. This entry indicates that the General Glover was captured in October 1779. She was captained by Nicholas Bartlett and carried a crew of sixty-six men. the citation concludes with a number "2/126*". This is the PRO [Public Records Office] Reference Number, indicating that the High Court of the Admiralty Class 28 contains a reference to this capture by the Royal Navy. The asterisk (*) indicates that the individual names of the captured crew members appear in the prisoner list of Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution.)
Again, there is reference to both the brigantine Favorite as well as the Massachusetts armed brig General Glover as being the ship-of-war upon which Nicholas Bartlett was captured. The Favorite was captured in April 1778 and the General Glover was cited as being captured in either September or October 1779. These two dates are far enough apart chronologically that Nicholas Bartlett could have conceivably served on board both of these ships-of-war. He may have somehow avoided personal capture on the Favorite only to be captured on board the General Glover at a later date. There are records indicating that many naval personnel served more than one term of imprisonment with the British due to separate captures of the vessels of which they were on board. As far as the writer of this blog knows, there are no contemporary documents in existence that address this being the situation with Nicholas Bartlett. But, one cannot be certain that it did not happen this way or in some other similar fashion. Unless documentation is uncovered at some point in the future, this may well remained a point of some confusion in the life of Nicholas Bartlett.
The final document to be examined concerning Nicholas Bartlett's services during the American Revolution is a curious document entitled "To Benjamin Franklin from American Gentlemen in France, [March 1780]" (Founders Online, National Archives). It takes the form of a letter, allegedly in the hand of Captain John Paul Jones, written to Benjamin Franklin as the senior American Commissioner in France. The dateline reads, "...L'Orient March 1780..." and it bears the signatures of twenty-nine men. The reason for this letter was an earlier letter (Founders Online, National Archives; Letter - "From Benjamin Franklin to John Paul Jones, 18 March 1780") in which Benjamin Franklin communicated to Captain John Paul Jones that the King of France, Louis XVI, intended to incorporate the captured HMS Serapis into the French Navy. According to a foot note associated with the former letter states that the letter is "...in John Paul Jones's hand...", the original which is in the Yale University Library's archives. John Paul Jones later made a notation on the letter stating that "...This Letter was Signed by a great Majority of the American Gentlemen in France.". The intent of the letter seems quite clear - Jones was attempting to convince Benjamin Franklin to use his influence with the French Court to persuade the French King to release the former HMS Serapis "...to the infant American Navy...". The foot note referenced above concludes with the statement that, "...undoubtedly, he [Jones] circulated this letter among American merchants, mariners, and ship owners, 29 of whom signed it.". This concluding statement seems to be in error, though. The three names that appear immediately after the signature of Nicholas Bartlett - Francis Robins, William White, Nathaniel Cutting - are all certainly those of maritime individuals as ascertained from one of the letters referenced above. But, at least one of the names is that of an individual who was more occupied with the daily activities and functioning of the three American Commissioners in France - Edward Bancroft. Some of the remaining names might also be those of other Americans in France at the time of the drafting of the letter who were not associated with maritime activities but, were in France on other business. The twenty-sixth signature affixed to this document which was then delivered to Benjamin Franklin is that of Nicholas Bartlett.
(Note: The name of Edward Bancroft appears third in order of the signing of this letter addressed to Benjamin Franklin. It was ascertained several years after the conclusion of the American Revolution that Edward Bancroft was a spy for the British who worked to "obstruct" the functioning of the American Commissioners in France for the duration of the war. The twentieth signature affixed to this letter was that of Peter Amiel, the subject of the post immediately prior to this post and dated "06/22/2016". The entirety of the post concerning Peter Amiel, the initial 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina, was an attempted investigation into proving that Peter Amiel was also a British spy/correspondent who was cashiered after his secret correspondence with Sir Joseph Yorke, British Ambassador to The Hague, was revealed during the first voyage of the frigate across the Atlantic Ocean to America.)
So, in conclusion, it can be easily stated that Nicholas Bartlett was a very experienced Master of ships prior to his signing on board the frigate South Carolina. His service seems to have been exclusively on board of Massachusetts privateer ships-of-war, though he mastered several of these types of vessels. In fact, his initial confrontations with "British tyranny" went back to the days immediately prior to the outbreak of the American Revolution and involved activities of other native Marbleheaders as well that could have easily turned from overt defiance of British naval policies to catastrophic violence and bloodshed. At some point, he experienced capture and incarceration in a British prison, most likely Forton Prison in Portsmouth, England from which he successfully escaped and made his way to France. It would be there in France that he would hear of the frigate South Carolina, most probably for the first time, and would sign on with her as her 2nd Lieutenant. This would be the shipboard position he occupied when the frigate slipped her moorings in The Texel, Holland on August 4, 1781 and set out on her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to America. Nicholas Bartlett's activities and contributions to the functioning of the frigate while she voyaged from The Texel, Holland to Corunna, Spain - the frigate's first port of call - from August 4, 1781 to September 24, 1781 are all documented in the earlier post on Nicholas Bartlett dated "12/08/2015". For some undisclosed, unclear reason, in Corunna, Spain, Nicholas Bartlett, now 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina, and his brother, Jonathan Bartlett, Lieutenant of Marines on board the same ship-of-war, would chose to leave the service of the frigate and that of the state of South Carolina. These two native Marbleheaders would find their own way home, most probably traveling to the port of Bilboa, Spain and taking passage on board another Massachusetts privateer-of-war, the Cicero. Yet, as will be seen in the next post, this was not the last that either Commodore Alexander Gillon or the state of South Carolina would hear of Nicholas Bartlett, that intrepid Marblehead Master of ships-of-war.
(Note: The frigate South Carolina arrived in Corunna, Spain on September 24, 1781. But, the pension application of Nicholas Bartlett, "Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986", states that he was "...honorably discharged... [on] September 27, 1781...". Obviously, there exists a three-day discrepancy between the arrival of the frigate and the discharge of Nicholas Bartlett from the service of the frigate. Nicholas Bartlett must have either incorrectly recalled that date of his discharge from the frigate or he made his final decision to leave the frigate South Carolina and sought discharge some days following the frigate's mooring in that harbor. The reason for his departure and that of his brother is unclear though there is the implication that the two brothers disagreed with the decisions of the command staff of the frigate and, in particular, with those of Commodore Gillon. But, as hopefully will be clearly stated in the next post on the activities of Nicholas Bartlett back in America during the final years of the war and after the conclusion of the war, subsequent actions on the part of Nicholas Bartlett and his brother might prove this last statement to be incorrect.)