Claghorn, Charles E. Women Patriots of the American Revolution: A Biographical Dictionary, (Scarecrow Press, 1991.)
Elias, Robert H. and Eugene D. Fitch, editors. Letters of Thomas Attwood Digges (1742-1821), (University of South Carolina Press, 1982.)
Gordon, Eugene. "Nicholas Bartlett (1751-1819)", (Find a Grave Memorial, record added - June 2, 2011.)
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.)
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., 1967.)
Stevens, Michael E., editor and Christine Allen, assistant editor. Journals of the House of Representatives, 1787-1788: The State Records of South Carolina, (University of South Carolina Press, 1981.)
Wates, Wylma Anne, editor. Stub Entries to Indents: Issued in Payment of Claims Against South Carolina Growing Out of the Revolution, (South Carolina Archives Department, 1957.)
Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986
Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390
Sometimes in composing each of the separate posts that make up this overall blog, the writer of this blog realizes that an individual's contributions are of a nature that demand greater detail than he had originally thought when he began this particular post. Such is the case with the services of Nicholas Bartlett, who served as both the 2nd and subsequently 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina. This man had an impressive record of service on behalf of the patriot Cause during the American Revolution that has only seemed to grow as the writer of this blog has attempted to record these feats for American liberty. The growth of these accomplishments for American freedom is that the writer of this blog has continued to uncover further information concerning and services provided by Nicholas Bartlett as the post research has progressed. These additional feats will be recorded in this post, even though their associated chronological events have already been set down in previous posts.
Even though the presentation of this information may be redundant, here is some small personal information concerning Nicholas Bartlett. He was born on December 2, 1751 in Marblehead, Massachusetts; Essex County, Massachusetts. During the American Revolution, he married Hannah Barker, also of Marblehead, Massachusetts on June 16, 1777. According to Claghorn's work, Women Patriots of the American Revolution, page 230, when Hannah Barker married Nicholas Bartlett, he was still known as "Nicholas Bartlett, Jr.". According to his pension application, "Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986", this marriage took place while he was master of the Massachusetts brig Penet, though the entry for Hannah Barker refers only to the brigantine America and, later, the brig General Glover upon which he was captured by the British in October 1779. He died on April 20, 1819 in Marblehead, Massachusetts. The information concerning his burial site and associated cemetery simply reads as "unknown".
A single source has come to light that previously was unknown to the writer of this blog which has bearing on Nicholas Bartlett's escape from a British prison. This citation is found in Elias and Finch's work, Letters of Thomas Attwood Digges, page 138, which is addressed to Benjamin Franklin and dated "London January 9, 1780". It reads as follows:
"...I am sorry to tell You, that no one step is yet taken for the Cartel going another trip. The sailing is delayed by the board of sick & hurt on the former stale account "the want of specification of numbers". This is the harder on me as they dayly [daily] breaking out & flying here for assistance & what is worse, many of the privates are entering into the King's Service.
I have helpt [helped] on board Ship (a Dutchman to Amsterdam) no less than six to day [today] & yesterday, i.e. Capn. Ruggles of a privateer, Capn, Coffin of Do., & the Captains White, Tracey, Bartlett & Clarke, all of New England...
The foot note, foot note 5, page 141, associated with the final sentence of the citation directly above states that, "...escapes had become frequent. Possibly the most recent were by Nicholas Bartlett and Christopher Clark, a carpenter on the Rising States who had been taken June 14, 1777; they had broken out of Forton Prison on December 31, 1779. By November 22, 1780, the Board of Sick and Hurt could report to the admiralty that 229 Americans had escaped from Mill and Forton prisons, 118 of them since January.".
This source is the only one to the knowledge of the writer of this blog which states that Nicholas Bartlett was committed to Forton Prison after his capture on board of the brig General Glover. It also gives that exact date of his escape from Forton Prison - December 31, 1779. Again, according to Kaminkow's work, Mariners of the American Revolution, there is no entry for Nicholas Bartlett. But, there does exist in this work on page 39 an entry for Christopher Clark which largely corroborates with the foot note cited above. The entry reads as follows:
"Christopher Clark - he was a carpenter on board the Rising States. He was committed to Forton Prison on June 14, 1777. He escaped, was recaptured and placed in the "black hole" on July 30, 1777. He was pardoned for exchange in December 1779.".
During the American Revolution, it was fairly common for the exchanges to take place in groups, sometimes large groups. If the date of pardon was delayed or cancelled, this often lead to attempts at escape. The most frequently cited date in December 1779 for a pardon was December 11, 1779. If that cartel were delayed or suspended for any reason, it would possibly encourage American naval prisoners to attempt to break out of prison and flee to France. Evidently, that event took place and convinced Nicholas Bartlett and Christopher Clark to escape on December 31, 1779. So, we may possibly be able to fill in a few more blank spaces concerning the services and experiences of Nicholas Bartlett and how it was that he came to be in France in very early 1780.
The final issue concerning Nicholas Bartlett is the length of time that he was the 2nd Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina as opposed to the length of time subsequently that he functioned as 1st Lieutenant. Determining this length of time that Nicholas Bartlett served in the positions of both the 2nd and 1st Lieutenants also has direct bearing on when Peter Amiel was possibly removed as 1st Lieutenant of the frigate South Carolina for carrying on a secret correspondence with Sir Joseph Yorke, the British Ambassador to The Hague. The evidence does not indicate a specific date for the cashiering of Peter Amiel as 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina but, at the very least, provides a convenient time frame for the discovery of his correspondence and his subsequent removal as 1st Lieutenant.
As a bit of a refresher, a ship-of-war frequently had several lieutenants on board her at any given time. The most junior of the lieutenants had the highest cardinal number affixed to his lieutenancy. The next most senior lieutenant had the next lowest cardinal number attached to his lieutenancy and so on up to the most senior lieutenant who was rated as the 1st Lieutenant of the ship-of-war. The frigate South Carolina had at least three lieutenants on board her for the first cruise when she departed The Texel, Holland for America and five lieutenants on board her for the second, brief cruise that commenced on December 19, 1782. Due to the pension application of John Mayrant, "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", the order of all of the lieutenants for both the cruises on board the frigate South Carolina has come down to us today. The pension application of John Mayrant states that:
"...deponent [John Mayrant] having omitted to state above who were the officers on board the South Carolina when she left Amsterdam now adds that Commodore Gillon was the commodore. Peter Arniel [Ansiel] was first Lieutenant, Nicholas Bartlett 2nd Lieutenant and Powers 3rd Lieut.... that when the Frigate was at Philadelphia just before the capture Thomas White was 1st Lieut. in place of Peter Arniel [Ansiel] who had been cashiered for holding a correspondence with Sir Joseph York [sic: Sir Joseph Yorke] the British Ambassador at the Hague - 2 Lieut. Nathaniel Marston in place of Bartlett, who had resigned and left the ship at Corunna. This deponent was 3rd Lieut. Thos. [Thomas] Fitzgerald was the fourth and Robert Coram the 5th...".
Additional information is provided by the pension application of Nicholas Bartlett, "Pension Application of Nicholas Bartelett S33986". In this pension application, Nicholas Bartlett briefly states that:
"I further testify and declare -- That being in Holland, I entered June 6th 1780, a Lieutenant under Commodore Gillon [Alexander Gillon] in the Frigate South Carolina -- in the Naval Service, United States and was employed cruising against the Enemy until September 27 A.D.1781 -- was then honorably discharged...".
These two pension applications, taken together, provide a general time frame for the actual removal of Peter Amiel as 1st Lieutenant of the frigate South Carolina. The implication taken in the pension application of John Mayrant is that Peter Amiel was still 1st Lieutenant of the frigate when she set sail from The Texel, Holland on August 4, 1781. Nicholas Bartlett's pension application states that he was honorably discharged on September 27, 1781, which was three days after the arrival on the frigate in Corunna, Spain, an event that took place on September 24, 1781. The section of Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", page 136, cites Nicholas Bartlett as "2nd Lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant". This would seem to indicate that Nicholas Bartlett served in both capacities prior to being "...honorably discharged..." from the frigate South Carolina three days after her arrival in Corunna, Spain. It is completely feasible that the secret correspondence between Peter Amiel and Sir Joseph Yorke was discovered and revealed to the command staff of the frigate South Carolina after she had set sail from The Texel, Holland on August 4, 1781 but prior to the frigate's arrival in Corunna, Spain on September 24, 1781. The cashiering of Peter Amiel would have been swift and a new 1st Lieutenant would have been immediately required on board the frigate South Carolina. The thoroughly experienced and proven 2nd Lieutenant Nicholas Bartlett would have been a very logical choice to fill the vacant position. So, at some point during the first leg of the maiden voyage of the frigate South Carolina, she would have lost a native French-speaking 1st Lieutenant and then gained a new 1st Lieutenant from Marblehead, Massachusetts. Shortly after the arrival of the frigate South Carolina in Corunna, Spain, she would have lost her new 1st Lieutenant through resignation and departure from the frigate for a reason at which one can only speculate. According to the "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", Thomas White could have been promoted at this point in time to 1st Lieutenant to fill this vacancy.
(Note: Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", page 136, is the only citation that the writer of this blog is aware of that cites Nicholas Bartlett as "2nd Lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant". It is completely that a mistake in the correct positions of Nicholas Bartlett took place in the recording of his positions on board the frigate South Carolina. A more careful examination of the relevant passage in John Mayrant's pension application could indicate that Thomas White was promoted directly into the vacant position of Peter Amiel and that Nathaniel Marston was promoted in the same manner into Nicholas Bartlett's position when he resigned and left the frigate in Corunna, Spain. The paragraphs immediately above concerning the positions occupied by Nicholas Bartlett while he was on board the frigate South Carolina are purely speculation on the part of the writer of this blog as to how he could have been both the 2nd Lieutenant as well as the 1st Lieutenant during the period August 4, 1781 to September 24, 1781 and the circumstances that could have provided the opportunities for the advancement of Nicholas Bartlett from 2nd to 1st Lieutenant.)
At this point in the narrative, we come to the final service Nicholas Bartlett was able to do for Commodore Alexander Gillon. This service came well after Nicholas Bartlett and his brother, Joseph Bartlett, Lieutenant of Marines on board the frigate South Carolina, had left the ship. The earlier 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" describes the circumstances and situations under which Nicholas Bartlett and his brother Joseph left the frigate South Carolina. But, this final service was provided to Commodore Alexander Gillon and the frigate herself almost a year after Nicholas Bartlett and his brother had left the ship and after the frigate South Carolina had moored in Philadelphia, PA harbor on May 29, 1782. Interestingly, this service came in the form of a written defense of the leadership qualities of Nicholas Bartlett's former commanding officer - Commodore Alexander Gillon of South Carolina.
When the two Bartlett brothers decided to leave the frigate South Carolina at Corunna, Spain some time around September 27, 1781, several other "passengers" also chose to leave the frigate at this same point in time. Their reasons seem to have been obscured by the passage of time since then but, it has been ascertained that at least a few of them departed the frigate after having seriously disagreed with Commodore Alexander Gillon and the manner in which he was handling the affairs of the frigate. One of these seriously disgruntled passengers was Colonel James Searle. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", page 165, James Searle was simply designated as a "passenger" on board the frigate. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 35, Colonel Searle was an officer in the Pennsylvania militia who had been sent to Europe to locate and secure military supplies for the patriot forces in America. He had these supplies loaded on board merchant ships which the frigate South Carolina was supposed to escort across the Atlantic Ocean safely to America. Commodore Gillon had grown impatient as well as weary of waiting for the merchant vessels to assemble off The Texel and finally had departed without them, much to the chagrin and loud protests of Colonel Searle and a few other "passengers". These initial disagreements only intensified as the voyage continued towards America. When Commodore Gillon decided to redirect the course of the frigate into Corunna, Spain's harbor in order to resupply the frigate's food and water, the handful of disgusted "passengers" decide they had had enough of these arbitrary decisions and elcted to leave the frigate soon after she had moored in Corunna's harbor. Thus, Colonel Searle seemed to have dropped out of sight as far as Commodore Alexander Gillon the frigate South Carolina were concerned. But, Colonel Searle was a Pennsylvanian by origin and eventually returned to the land of his residence and military duties, since he was also a Colonel in the Pennsylvania militia. So, after he had heard of the arrival of the frigate in Philadelphia harbor, Colonel James Searle saw his opportunity to damage the character of Gillon using the press as his device to broadcast the "villainy" of Commodore Gillon.
Colonel James Searle had already spent some amount of time denigrating Commodore Alexander Gillon to others here in the rebellious United States, George Washington being the most prominent among the recipients of letters from Searle. But, when he knew his nemesis was here in America, and in Philadelphia's harbor no less, he became vitriolic in his writings. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 80, "...phrases such as 'discredit and disgrace [to America', 'the knavery of this base man', and the 'tyranny [of Gillon]', flowed from the Pennsylvanian's pen in his description of the leader of the South Carolina." The Commodore's response was swift and overwhelming for Searle. Again, according to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 80:
"The Commodore handled this public attack by having all his officers (including the Bartletts who had left the frigate in Corunna at the same time as Searle) respond in a collective newspaper article of their own. Published both in Philadelphia and Baltimore, it denied the Searle charges and asserted that the Pennsylvanian, along with [William] Jackson, had been more interested in cargo than the safety of the ship, more willing to deprive sailors and marines of their daily sustenance than to remove excessive baggage, and guilty of encouraging a mutiny by French marines and officers to seize control of the ship. Lastly, it was alleged that Searle had been so blinded by partisan zeal that he failed to appreciate Gillon's role in preventing his and Jackson's arrest and imprisonment in the ship's hold for treason, as had been the unanimous desire of the frigate's command."
The initial sentence of the above lengthy quotation clearly indicates that Commodore Alexander Gillon enlisted the aid of all the command staff of the frigate South Carolina, past and present, to assist him in combating this threat. This effort included the assistance of the Bartlett brothers - both Nicholas and Joseph. According to Lewis's work, page 80, the threat was easily dealt with and effectively shrugged off. This incident and its resolution was the final service provided by Nicholas Bartlett to Commodore Alexander Gillon and the frigate South Carolina during the course of the American Revolution.
The remaining information we have concerning Nicholas Bartlett all comes from the period after the conclusion of the American Revolution. This information seems to revolve around attempts on the part of Nicholas Bartlett to collect money he felt was due him for his services on board the frigate South Carolina during the American Revolution. The following information comes out of Stevens's and Allen's work, Journals of the House of Representatives, 1787-1788 as it is a part of "The State Records of South Carolina". The first entry concerning the claims of Nicholas Bartlett is found on page 345 and is entered under the date of "Wednesday, January 23rd 1788". The information reads as follows:
"An Account was laid before the House of Nicholas Bartlett for pay due him as a Lieutenant on Board the Ship South Carolina.
Ordered That it be referred to the Committee on Public Accounts Vizt. Captn. John Blake, Mr. Slann, Mr. Stevens, Mr. Watson, Mr. Peter Smith."
A simple petition for pay to a junior officer on board the frigate South Carolina during the war against the common enemy. As the second entry indicates, Nicholas Bartlett's petition for pay due him for services rendered on board the frigate in question was referred to the Committee on Public Accounts with the committee members being cited by name.
The next instance in which Nicholas Bartlett was referred to in the Journals of the House of Representatives, 1787-1788 is found on page 378 and is entered under the date "Thursday January 31st , 1788". The information concerning Nicholas Bartlett is all that will be cited here because a number of separate individual's accounts were also enumerated, some concerning services on board the frigate South Carolina and some not. The information concerning Nicholas Bartlett only is as follows:
"Captn. John Blake from the Committee on public Accounts Reported on the Accounts of...Nicholas Bartlett...which he read in his place and afterwards delivered it in at the Clerks Table where it was again read for information.
Ordered That it be taken into Consideration to Morrow."
The third reference to the claims of Nicholas Bartlett is found in the above cited work on page 488 and is entered under the date of "Saturday February 23rd 1788". It very directly states that:
"They [the House of Representatives] also recommend that the Treasurers be directed to Grant Indents to the following persons Vizt.
To Nicholas Bartlett for Ballance of his Account for pay due on Board the South Carolina Frigate [pounds sterling symbol] 100 and that the Interest due thereon from the 1st April 1783 be paid in Special Indents.
Resolved That this House do agree with the above Report."
So, as far as Nicholas Bartlett was concerned, all had been resolved in his favor. From the introduction of his account to the House of Representatives to the final resolution of that House on the issue of his account was exactly one month's time. Even though he was a native of Marblehead, MA, he was being awarded his claim against the state of South Carolina for his services on board the frigate South Carolina during the course of American Revolution, however brief that service may have been. The following entry appears in Wates's work, Stub Entries to Indents, page 131:
Issued 9th November 1790 to Mr. Nicholas Bartlett for Ninety seven Pounds 19/2 Stg. [Sterling] for balance of Pay due him as a Lieut. [Lieutenant] on board the Frigate So. Carolina, Also for Wages due his Servant.
Principal - 97p/19s/2d
Interest - 6p/17s/1d"
Even though the introduction and resolution of his claim against the state of South Carolina moved rather quickly through the South Carolina House of Representatives - occurring between January 23 and February 23, 1788 - it would be over two and one half years before Nicholas Bartlett would actually receive the money for his time spent on board and in the service of the frigate South Carolina and thus of the state of South Carolina during the American Revolution.
(Note: This information given above matches up closely with the information cited in Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, pages 24, 386. On page 24 of this cited work, Nicholas Bartlett appears but with only an "Entry Book" page number 247 listed. Usually, beside an individual's name given in this work are cited the "Return Numbers" of the actual return in which this man's claims were paid out to him. Instead of Nicholas Bartlett's number being cited, there is a space occupied by a "----". Yet, Jonathan Bartlett, Nicholas's brother who was a Lieutenant of Marines on board the frigate South Carolina and who also left the service of the frigate in Corunna, Spain when Nicholas left it, has both an "Entry Book" number as well as a "Return Number" cited next to his name. The information cited on page 386 of this same work, indicates that Nicholas Bartlett received the amount stated under the "principal" amount with no reference to the "interest" amount at all.)
According to the "Pension Application of Nicholas Bartlett S33986" submitted to the Congress of the United States of America, written at an unknown date but, probably within a year of the death of Nicholas Bartlett in 1819, Nicholas Bartlett issued a very concise and brief statement of his services to the United States during the course of the American Revolution. He closed his brief pension application with the following statement:
"That the Declarant is infirm; that from his reduced circumstances in life he is now in need of assistance from his country for support; and that he hereby relinquishes his claim to every pension heretofore allowed him by the laws of the United States."
Nicholas Bartlett died on April 20, 1819 in Marblehead, MA, the town of his birth. Evidently, he spent his entire life there, except for the exciting and dangerous years of the American Revolution when service to his country took him far afield. On April 30, 1819, the following obituary appeared in the "Salem Gazette". It will serve as a fitting tribute to this intrepid New England mariner and is cited here in full:
"Last Wednesday, died at Marblehead, Capt. Nicholas Bartlett, aged 70. He was on the pension list and the only remaining officer on that list in Marblehead. He died by a paralytic affliction, after a few days illness. He was one of the worthy men who deserve to be held in everlasting remembrance. He entered into the American service on the continental establishment in the war of the revolution, on the first of May, 1776, as first Lieutenant on board the U. States ship of war Hancock, Samuel Tucker, commander, and continued in his cruise against the enemy until Feb. 15, 1777, and was then honorably discharged, in order to take command of the brig Penet. In that month he engaged with the board of war in Boston, to go and return from France in said brig, on the continental establishment, with military stores. He returned in July following, with a cargo powder, arms, clothing and such articles, on the account of the U. States, and was then honorably discharged. He afterwards commanded the armed brig America, and on the cruise engaged and captured a cruiser of the enemy. He then commanded the armed brig General Glover, but was captured and carried to England. From England he got over to Holland, and in Holland, on 6th June, 1780 he entered on board the frigate South Carolina, as first Lieutenant, under Commodore Alexander Gillon, commander in the naval service of the U. States, and continued cruising until 27th September, 1781, and was then discharged. After the peace of 1783, he for a year was in reputation as a ship master, and then engaged in Commerce at home, until the memorable period of the British adjudication, by which he was reduced from good circumstances as to need the assistance of government, which he received for one year before his death. He had been through life in good reputation and he is still remembered by our patriots, who remember the days of our political salvation -- Register,".
As far as the writer of this blog knows that death date of Hannah Barker Bartlett is not recorded in any known source. It can only be assumed that she died after the death of her husband, Nicholas Bartlett but, once again, this is only an assumption. Nicholas Bartlett lived his life in service to his country and did so honorably and "...in good reputation...". Yet, like so many others whose stories are recorded in this blog, he fell on hard times and met with "...reduced circumstances in life...". He turned to a, hopefully, grateful country for assistance in his fading years and evidently received that requested assistance. It can also be assumed that he died very shortly after having his pension granted by the Congress of the United States of America. Rest well and in Peace, Nicholas Bartlett of Marblehead, Massachusetts... your services are indeed not forgotten nor taken lightly by the subsequent generations of Americans that have followed you.