All of these "captains" will be listed here in alphabetical order according to their last names and their "position" will be cited in full as it appears in Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina, pages 135-170.
Juan Adan Sea captain (capitan del mar)
Josiah Arnold Sea captain, volunteer
Robert Burrell Sea captain and volunteer
Joseph Dizamore Captain, volunteer
Elias Elvell Captain and volunteer
John Ervan Captain and second mate on prize ship
Abraham Freeland Volunteer, boatswain, captain
--------- Gibens Captain
Jacob Higgins Captain?, volunteer, gunner?
John Joyner Captain
Michael Kalteissen Captain of marines
Thomas Smith Captain
John Spencer Captain of marines
Nathaniel Tibbets Captain(?), volunteer
John Tiler Captain, volunteer
Eber Warters Captain, volunteer
Three of these men can be dealt with easily. Captain John Joyner was known to have accompanied Commodore Alexander Gillon across the Atlantic Ocean on Gillon's mission to France and Holland looking to rebuild the South Carolina Navy once again after the disastrous fall of Charleston, SC in May 1780. Michael Kalteissen and John Spencer also accompanied Gillon on this voyage, with the intention of commanding at least some portion of the non-Luxembourg marine contingent on board the frigate South Carolina. Each of these men are individually addressed in previous posts in this blog.
(Note: For ease of reference, the three men mentioned immediately above are individually cited in the following dated posts on this blog site -
John Joyner - 10/06/2014
Michael Kalteissen - 10/08/2014
John Spencer - 10/16/2014
Each individual is treated in greater detail due to more information being at hand concerning each of them and their services during the American Revolution as well as their time on board the frigate South Carolina.)
That leaves thirteen of these listed men to account for as to why they were on board the frigate South Carolina and still claimed the rank of "captain". It may be very easy to deal with this remaining group of thirteen men who sailed on the frigate. As a matter of fact, this blog writer will state that his assumptions here may well be an oversimplification of possibly a more complicated situation that should be investigated on an individual basis rather than being all lumped together and dealt with as a group of men. In Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 35-36, he discusses the issue of "passengers" who took passage on the frigate South Carolina as she was preparing to sail from the Texel in Holland in August 1781. On page 35, it states that "...quite possibly the arrangements varied with each passenger." On page 35-36, it names several of these "passengers", some of whom were already famous or became so later. On page 36, it states that "who the other passengers might have been is difficult to say, but several merchant sea captains who had been captured and released were returning on the South Carolina, and these may account for the bulk of the additional passengers."
Dr. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 35, states that there were twenty-six "passengers" on board the frigate South Carolina. Dr. Lewis individually names thirteen of these passengers. These thirteen men, most assuredly some of them having just obtained their freedom from the enemy, would have fulfilled part of the statement in the paragraph above that "...these may account for the bulk of the additional passengers." All thirteen of these "captains" would still leave Dr. Lewis's count of twenty-six a bit short of a full count of twenty-six. It is an almost certainty that these men would have been on board the frigate South Carolina for her first voyage across the Atlantic Ocean and would have disembarked from her in either one of the other European ports that the frigate put into - Corunna, Spain, St, Croix, Tenerife - or Havana, Cuba and have found other ways of getting to America more directly or would have disembarked at Philadelphia, PA when the frigate docked there on May 29, 1782.
As stated in an earlier post, by this point in the war, the exchange of prisoners between the France and Great Britain was functioning very well and smoothly. These men could have easily been released or exchanged and sent to France on one of the vessels carrying these freed prisoners between the two countries. Twelve men were not too many for this to be a feasible assumption as to why they were on board the frigate South Carolina. After reaching France and freedom from an English prison, these men would have separately sought out Commodore Gillon and negotiated their passage to America on board the frigate South Carolina. As commanding and ranking officer on board the ship, Commodore Gillon would have ascertained if these men had skills that he felt would be useful in getting the frigate across the Atlantic Ocean. These men would have been signed on as "volunteers" on board the frigate South Carolina and served a specific function while the frigate was in route to the Americas. If they presented no skills that might be useful, then the Commodore could easily have resorted to stating a price for their passage.