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).
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).
Quinones, Diana. "Berks County Men Who Died on the Ship 'South Carolina' on December 19, 1782", (PAGenWeb Project, Berks County PAGenWeb Project, last modified October 16, 2008).
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).
Trussell, John B. B., Jr. The Pennsylvania Line: Regimental Organization and Operations, 1776-1783, (Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1977).
Pension Application of Abijah Hunt S23271
Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390
Pension Application of Joshua Mersereau S7224
When I was a graduate student in the field of History in the early 1990s, I first heard the term "prosopography" used in a professional context. Thus, my thanks goes out to Gary Zboray, PhD. for introducing me to the concept of what he described as a "group biography". The memory of those conversations and the implications of this field of historical research and study has remained with me until now. So, this specific post will be the first tentative venture into this field of history that in the past has been mostly associated with ancient history rather than history of the early modern period, which is where the American Revolution fits into the overall chronological time frame of history.
A definition of the term, "prosopography" is in order at this point. According to the Wikipedia article, entry for "Prosopography", page 1:
"...Prosopography is an investigation of the common characteristics of a historical group, whose individual biographies may be largely untraceable, by means of a collective study of their lives, in multiple career-line analysis. Prosopographical research has the goal of learning about patterns of relationships and activities through the study of collective biography; it collects and analyses statistically relevant quantities of biographical data about a well-defined group of individuals. This makes it a valuable technique for studying many pre-modern societies."
This definition will suffice for the purposes of this post but, a bit of the history of this term, also provided in the Wikipedia article, gives more insight into this field of historical study as well as forms the opening phrase of the title of this post:
"British historian Lawrence Stone (1919-1999) brought the term to general attention in an explanatory article in 1971. The word is drawn for the figure of Prosopopeia in classical rhetoric, introduced by Quintilian, in which an absent or imagined person is figured forth - the "face created" as the Greek suggests - in words, as if present."
One of the foci of this overall blog has been the "revelation" of the men who sailed on board the frigate South Carolina or were in some manner associated with the patriot ship-of-war. But, this concept of "prosopography" fits what the writer of this blog is trying to accomplish almost perfectly - to give these men, so long gone from the scene of human activity, their faces back so that we of the 21st century might be able to "see" them and understand them in their proper historical context.
The definition above mentions the "collection and statistical analysis of data" as an integral part of prosopographical study. This specific post will utilize some statistical data usage but, probably not to the degree that real prosopography employs this type of data. But, since we are addressing a fairly small group of men, specifically officers, the use of percentages should be straightforward and uncomplicated. Again, the intent of this post is to give some "warm-blooded" humanity to these men and make them real for us today.
With this introduction to the meaning and focus of prosopography having been defined, it is the point where we can turn information of a more cogent nature, relevant to the subject of the frigate South Carolina. This post continues the theme of Pennsylvania and the state's role in the second voyage of the frigate South Carolina. This theme seems to have run through the majority of the last several posts and will be continued in this specific post. Whereas the first crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina was composed of sailors and marines from literally all across the thirteen colonies, the second crew and marines of the frigate were overwhelmingly Pennsylvanian by birth or affiliation. This is the theme that will be continued and developed further in this post.
There have been a few posts in the past that have addressed the subject of previous military experience by the members of the crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina. These have addressed mostly the men who were recruited for the second, brief cruise of the frigate. But, several of the earlier posts have addressed, on an individual basis, various different enlisted men or officers who also had military experience prior to signing on board the frigate South Carolina. Usually, this information is located through the use of pension applications in which the individual cited the prior military experience such as Isaac Dade of Massachusetts or Robert Faucett of North Carolina. Some of these men may have signed on board the frigate prior to it sailing from the Texel, Holland on August 4, 1781 on its first, maiden cruise and ending in Philadelphia, PA on May 29, 1782. This post will hopefully address these men, too.
Also, this post will examine the officers on board the frigate South Carolina for her second, brief voyage ending in her capture off the Capes of the Delaware on December 20, 1782. There were many more officers on board the frigate on this fateful day than those cited in this post. But, this smaller group of officers cited here seem to have had previous military experience, particularly in the Continental Line of Pennsylvania. So, the post will focus on these men cited here and attempt to draw conclusions looking at these ten men.
The reasoning for using the technique of prosopography in this specific post is that the subject is the officers of the frigate South Carolina during her second, brief voyage. Those men will be introduced now and are here cited in alphabetical order. Some of the information may well have been previously cited in other posts but, for the sake of clarity, will be cited here again. The first citation is from Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, the section entitled, "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina" and found on pages 135-170. The following citation is from Heitman's work, Historical Register of Officers, and contains their regimental affiliations, ranks achieved, lengths of service, and any other pertinent information. These citations will be followed with information taken from Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots and Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book. The entry for each man will close with any pertinent information provided by Trussell's work, The Pennsylvania Line. The men are as follows:
John Blair - midshipman
John Blair (Pennsylvania) - Ensign, 7th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, November 15, 1776
resigned, April 29, 1779
(Also known as William Blair)
According to the entry for John Blair in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 75:
John Blair - he served eight months and three days as a midshipman aboard the South Carolina during 1782 and 1783. A.A.530; Y196.
------- Bull - 4th Lieutenant
Thomas Bull (Pennsylvania) - Lieutenant, 6th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, February 15, 1777
Captain, 6th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, November 1, 1778
taken prisoner at Monmouth, June 28, 1778
released February, 1780 and did not return to the army
According to Trussell's work, The Pennsylvania Line, page 88, states that "...although Bull is listed as a company commander as of September 7, 1778, he was actually a prisoner of war at the time, having been captured at the Battle of Monmouth on the preceding June 28; his promotion to captain did not take place until November 1, 1778; he was not released until February, 1780; and he never returned to duty."On page 90 of the same work, the following passage appears: "...apparently, it [the 6th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot] was not heavily engaged with the enemy at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, its only known losses being the previously mentioned capture of Lt. Thomas Bull and the wounding of one private."
(Note: This above cited individual's first name is actually not recorded in Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, the section entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", page 140. He simply appears as "------- Bull, 4th Lieutenant". The writer of this blog has tried through out this entire blog to resolve these cases of "partial identity" by filling in the blanks, usually first name of individuals. In a few cases, he has been successful but, in many of these cases he has not succeeded at all. In this specific case, the writer of this blog feels that this may well not be the individual in question but, the dates and circumstances do fit in a way. He was captured at Monmouth in late June 1778 and not released for almost two years. It is documented that he did not return to the army. He is a native of Pennsylvania and could conceivably been in the countryside when the recruiting officers were moving through the area. He is not cited on any of the three captive's lists of the British men-of-war, HMS Diomede, HMS Quebec, and HMS Astrea, but, he might have been overlooked in the documenting of the crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina. Instead, Robert Coram is listed among the prisoners-of-war and is cited as being the 4th Lieutenant of the frigate South Carolina. But, in the "Pension Application of Joshua Mersereau S 7224", the 4th Lieutenant on the second voyage of the frigate South Carolina is cited as being "------- Bull". This discrepancy might be cleared up with more research but, the passage of over 200 years may well have obscured the reality beyond positive recognition. Again, this is just a possibility but, a feasible one.)
John Henderson - Lieutenant of Marines
John Henderson (Pennsylvania) - Ensign, 12th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, October 1, 1776
transferred to 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, July 1, 1778
Captain Lieutenant, July 1, 1778
Captain, May 12, 1779
resigned, December 11, 1781
According to the entry for John Henderson in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 435:
John Henderson - he served nine months aboard the South Carolina. A.A.3522; Y213.
According to the entry for John Henderson in Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 386:
In Return 82, John Henderson received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 95p/1s/1d on October 29, 1785. This money was for services rendered by John Henderson in support of the United States during the American Revolution.
The military experiences of John Henderson prior to his signing on board the frigate South Carolina have been recorded in detail in the post entitled "On Board of One of the Finest and Best Found Ships in the World..." and dated "02/07/2016" in this overall blog.
Greenberry Hughes - midshipman
Greenburry Hughes (Pennsylvania) - Ensign, 6th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, February 15, 1777
retired, July 1, 1778
According to the entry for Greenberry Hughes in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 471:
Greenberry Hughes - he served aboard the frigate South Carolina. Revill, p. 385.
According to the entry for Greenberry Hughes in Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 385:
Greenberry Hughes received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 56p/17s/9d on May 31, 1783. This was money for services rendered by Greenberry Hughes in support of the United States during the American Revolution.
Alexander Moore - midshipman
Alexander Moore (Virginia) - Ensign, 14th Virginia Regiment of Foot, January 7, 1777
Lieutenant, October 4, 1777
resigned, January 10, 1778
According to the entry for Alexander Moore in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 694:
Alexander Moore - he served aboard the frigate South Carolina. Revill, p. 385.
According to the entry for Alexander Moore in Revill's work, Copy of the Oringinal Index Book, page 385:
Alexander Moore received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 213p/7s/3d on July 1, 1783. This was money for services rendered by Alexander Moore in support of the United States during the American Revolution.
(Note: These may well be two completely separate Alexander Moores being spoken of here - the one cited in Heitman being separate from the one cited in Moss and Revill. The writer of this blog has come across a "Find a Grave Memorial" entry for Alexander Moore who served in the 14th Virginia Regiment of Foot and was promoted twice with corresponding dates and ranks as cited above. There is no reference to his having resigned from his lieutenancy in the 14th Virginia Regiment of Foot on January 10, 1778. There is no reference to him having served on board the frigate South Carolina. But, an Alexander Moore did indeed exist and he served on board the frigate South Carolina as cited in both Moss's work and Revill's work. He is not mentioned in any of the three British captive's lists for the three British men-of-war who carried the prisoners-of-war into New York City between December 23-24, 1782. The reasoning for placing him among the officers of the second voyage of the frigate South Carolina is that he was issued a certificate by the state of South Carolina at around the same time as the other officers who did sail on the second voyage of the frigate. This is rather flimsy reasoning for his inclusion in the group of officers who did serve on the second cruise of the frigate South Carolina but, there is a possibility that he was on this cruise. A second reason for him not being mentioned as an officer on board the frigate for its second cruise is that he may have been only on the first cruise and like others chose to leave the frigate at some port of call during its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean or when it docked in Philadelphia, PA on May 29, 1782. The dates of his service in the 14th Virginia Regiment of Foot still fit the time frame for the frigate South Carolina departing from the Texel in Holland to commence her maiden voyage to America. He could have traveled with Commodore Gillon to France to assist in staffing the frigate as so many others did also. If he did so, then it is highly unlikely that he was the Alexander Moore indicated here. Further research might ultimately reveal the actual Alexander Moore being referenced here and who exactly he was.)
Edward Scull - Lieutenant of Marines
Edward Scull (Pennsylvania) - Adjutant, Haller's Battalion of the Pennsylvania Flying Camp
Captain, 4th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, January 3, 1777
resigned, May 11, 1779
According to the entry for Edward Scull in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 852:
Edward Scull - he served as a lieutenant in the marines aboard the South Carolina. Y248.
The military experiences of Edward Scull prior to signing on board the frigate South Carolina have been recorded in detail in the post entitled "Who was Edward Scull?..." and dated "03/12/2015" and "Who was Edward Scull?, Pt. II..." and dated "02/24/2016" in this overall blog.
John Stoy - Volunteer, Lieutenant of Marines
John Stoy (Pennsylvania) - Lieutenant, 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, January 1, 1777
Captain Lieutenant, May 16, 1779
resigned, January 17, 1781
According to the entry for John Stoy in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 902:
John Stoy - he was a lieutenant of marines aboard the South Carolina. A.A.1880A; Y245.
According to Trussell's work, The Pennsylvania Line, page 46, a discussion is put forward concerning the ninth company to be added to the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot. This would have been known as the "Lieutenant Colonel's Company" in the organization of a regiment of foot. The final sentence of the discussion states that "...as of mid-1780, however, the actual commander of the company was Capt.- Lt. John Stoy, who remained on duty with the unit until January 1, 1781."
William Thompson - Lieutenant of Marines
William Thompson (Pennsylvania) - Ensign, 8th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, August 9, 1776
Regimental Adjutant, 9th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, November 15, 1776
Ensign, June 2, 1778
Lieutenant, June 16, 1778
retired, January 17, 1781
According to the entry for William Thompson in Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 385:
William Thompson received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 113p/18s/5d on May 30, 1783. This was money for services rendered by William Thompson in support of the United States during the American Revolution.
John Allen (Alleyne) Walter - Lieutenant of Marines
John Allen (Alleyne) Walter (South Carolina) - Lieutenant, 1st South Carolina Regiment of Foot, June 17, 1775
According to the entry for John Allen Walter in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 964:
John Allen (Alleyne) Walter - he served as a first lieutenant in the First Regiment from June 17, 1775 until he resigned on September 22, 1775. At some time, he served as an assistant commissary of supplies. He was dead prior to July 1791. Heitman, p. 567; S.C.H.&G., II, 19; A.A.8158; A7; Z615; Yearbook, 1893.
According to the entry for John Allen (Alleyne) Walter in Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 385:
John Allen (Alleyne) Walter received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 94p/2s/3d on June 17, 1783. This money was for services rendered by John Allen (Alleyne) Walter in support of the United States during the American Revolution.
Thomas White - 1st Lieutenant
Thomas White (Pennsylvania) - Lieutenant, Montgomery's Battalion of the Pennsylvania Flying Camp, July 1776
taken prisoner at Fort Washington, November 16, 1776
exchanged, 1778 and did not rejoin the army
According to the entry for Thomas White in Moss's work, Roster of South Carolina Patriots, page 986:
Thomas White - he served as a lieutenant aboard the frigate South Carolina. He married a woman named Sarah -------. A.A.8439.
According to the entry for Thomas White in Revill's work, Copy of the Original Index Book, page 385:
Thomas White received a certificate from the state of South Carolina for 538p/8s/8d on May 29, 1783. This money was for services rendered by Thomas White in support of the United States during the American Revolution.
(Note: A cautionary word - there are possibly two Thomas Whites being discussed here. The one intended to be addressed in this post served as a 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate South Carolina on the second, brief voyage of the frigate. One of these individuals named "Thomas White" is addressed in the post entitled "New Englanders on board the Frigate South Carolina" and is dated "10/20/2014". This man was possibly from either Salem or Marblehead, MA. The second one and the one cited above was from Pennsylvania. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 205 n.13, cites several men as being from New England. Many of these men would have been prisoners-of-war from British prisons, such as Old Mill Prison and Forton Prison, who had either been released in a prisoner cartel or escaped and made their way to Holland to sail on the first voyage of the frigate South Carolina. But, Thomas White is specifically mentioned as a 1st Lieutenant on board the frigate just prior to her setting out on her second, fateful voyage. John Mayrant, another ranking officer on board the frigate South Carolina and a South Carolinian himself, states in his pension application, "Pension Application of John Mayrant S32390", the names of the five lieutenants on board the frigate. Thomas White is clearly referred to as the "1st Lieutenant". By the time the frigate South Carolina reached the port of Philadelphia, PA on May 29, 1782, most of the crew and marines on board the frigate who had journeyed with her across the Atlantic Ocean left her, either through expiration of their terms of enlistment or desertion. The recruiting efforts by the command staff of the frigate South Carolina have been detailed in a few of the immediately preceding posts but, due to these recruiting efforts, the second crew and marines of the frigate were overwhelmingly Pennsylvanians. Thus, it is the thought of the writer of this blog that the "Thomas White" being addressed in this specific post was a native of the state of Pennsylvania.)
This is all the information that has been collected on these ten men who served in some capacity as an officer on board the frigate South Carolina for her second voyage ending with her capture on December 20, 1782 just off the Capes of the Delaware. There exists the distinct possibility that some of these men have been misidentified and that the wrong man has been recorded here. At the same time, there were indeed more officers on board the frigate than these ten men. But, these men all exhibit previous military experience to their signing on board the frigate South Carolina. It is this prior military experience that is the beginning point of our prosopographical study.
Looking for similarities running through out the lives of these men and their military careers, the first facet that stands out in high relief is that the majority of these men cited above are Pennsylvanians. Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, confirms that the overwhelming majority of the second crew and marines of the frigate South Carolina were Pennsylvanians by extraction. This makes sense due to the intense recruiting efforts that took place in the city of Philadelphia itself and the immediate environs of the city. There are only two non-Pennsylvanians included in the list of ten officers - Alexander Moore of Virginia and John Allen Walter of South Carolina. Alexander Moore is debatable that he was actually on the second voyage of the frigate South Carolina but, John Allen Walter does indeed appear on the captive list of the HMS Diomede as a prisoner-of-war transported into New York City between December 23-24, 1782. Included in this list of ten officers is "------- Bull" who in this post is assumed to possibly be Thomas Bull. The writer of this blog has been occasionally successful in identifying the missing first names that so often appear in the roster of the frigate South Carolina as contained in the section of Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, entitled "Appendix: Crew and Marines of the South Carolina", pages 135-170.
All of these men, both Pennsylvanians and non-Pennsylvanians, served their army careers in the Continental Line Regiments of their respective states. Two of these men, Edward Scull and Thomas White, served in the Flying Camp which provided replacements for the Continental Line regiments when these regiments required reinforcing through additional manpower. Edward Scull would eventually be transferred into the 4th Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot. Even the two men who were from states other than Pennsylvania served in Continental Line regiments of their home states - John Allen Walter in the 1st South Carolina Regiment of Foot and Alexander Moore in the 14th Virginia Regiment of Foot. Collectively speaking, these ten men would have experienced a great deal of battle conditions and would have been quite accustomed to handling men and troop formations in combat. These men were experienced warriors.
All of these men's time lines agree with the time frame of the frigate South Carolina either with the frigate leaving the Texel, Holland on August 4, 1781 or being moored in Philadelphia, PA from May 29, 1782 until mid-December 1782 and thus with their possible service on board the frigate South Carolina. Except for John Allen Walter, Lieutenant of Marines, who resigned his commission on September 22, 1775, all the other men resigned or retired between January 10, 1778 and December 11, 1781 - a period of almost four years. Two of the men cited above were captured and spent a considerable amount of time in British custody before being exchanged or released. Thomas Bull was captured at the Battle of Monmouth on June 28, 1778 and not released until February 1780. Thomas White was captured at the surrender of Fort Washington on November 16, 1776 and was exchanged in 1778. Neither of these men chose to return to the army after their freedom was gained. At least two and possibly three of these men resigned their commissions as a direct result of the re-organization of the regiments of the Pennsylvania Line that, in turn, was the result of the Rising of the Pennsylvania Line on January 1, 1781. These men were William Thompson and John Stoy and, possibly, John Henderson. The remainder of the officers, a total of five, resigned at various points in time between the two dates cited above.
But, there is no reason why an officer who served on board the frigate South Carolina for its maiden crusie might not chose to stay with the frigate as it prepared for its second, ultimately fateful, voyage. According to Lewis's work, Neptune's Militia, page 85, "...the first and most serious difficulty faced by [Alexander] Gillon and [John] Joyner was to find a new crew and marine contingent. With the exception of the frigate's officers, nearly everyone who had shipped on the frigate in Europe had left upon arrival in Philadelphia...". This statement clearly indicates that the officers by and large chose to remain with Commodore Alexander Gillon and the frigate South Carolina. Thus, certain ones of the men cited above, primarily John Allen Walter of South Carolina, who may well have been on board the frigate South Carolina for its maiden voyage, may have elected to stay on board the frigate while Alexander Moore of Virginia may have elected to leave the ship-of-war at some point while she lay in Philadelphia, PA harbor. The reasoning behind this is when Commodore Alexander Gillon was selected to go to France in 1778 by the South Carolina legislature, he took a number of South Carolinians with him as officers, NCOs, and enlisted men to form a skeletal crew prior to "fleshing out" the total ships compliment of crew and marines. In the same manner, Alexander Moore of Virginia, who was incarcerated in Forton Prison and released in a prisoner cartel in May 1779, may have made his way to France and been directed by Benjamin Franklin to go to Holland to sign on board the frigate South Carolina under Commodore Gillon. Thus, he, too, could have been on board the frigate for her first cruise but, not the second, which is why his name does not appear on any of the captive's lists for the three British men-of-war who captured the frigate South Carolina on December 20, 1782.
(Note: For the disposition of Alexander Moore of Virginia, see the post entitled "The First and Second Rosters of the Frigate South Carolina, Pt. III..." and dated "11/10/2015". An examination of the entry for Alexander Moore in that post indicates that he was either a midshipman or a prize master. He was committed to Forton Prison on August 7, 1777 and released in a prisoner exchange on May 31, 1779. As stated above in the note at the end of the entry fro Alexander Moore, if he did indeed join the frigate South Carolina for its first cruise, then he most likely was not the Alexander Moore addressed above.)
A contributing factor to these officers leaving the service of the army of the United States may be disillusionment or disappointment with the rate of promotion. None of them held ranks above that of captain and, at that, only three of them held this rank. Most were only ensigns or lieutenants. They often held these ranks without any indication of promotion for one or two, sometimes almost three years prior to their resignations or retirements from the army. This was a time period in not only American history but, world history when officers were viewed as "gentlemen" and this had some control over their destiny. One convenience afforded them was that they could resign their commissions when and where they saw fit to do so. Thus, if an officer found himself to be stymied in rank advancement, he could choose to resign or retire in protest, which may well have been a driving factor in the decisions being made in these cases.
In the same manner, in two of the cases cited above, the men had been captured and held as prisoners-of-war fro extended period of time, which seems unusual for an officer. These two men are Thomas Bull and Thomas White, both of Pennsylvania. Thomas Bull was taken prisoner at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778 and not exchanged until February 1780 while Thomas White was captured at the surrender of Fort Washington in November 1776 and not released until 1778. These two men, both officers at the time, may well have been disillusioned that they were in British custody for so long and chose to turn their backs on any further commitments to a Cause that had left them in British hands for so long. Of all the men cited above, these two are the only ones known to have spent time in British prisons.
In conclusion, these ten men are the ones, as far as can be ascertained, that had previous army experience during the American Revolution prior to signing on board the frigate South Carolina. There were certainly others who had previous naval experiences - on board privateers, state navy or Continental Navy ships-of-war - prior to their service on board the frigate South Carolina. But, these ten men brought a slightly different experience to the decks of the frigate and the command of either Commodore Alexander Gillon or Captain John Joyner. They might not have been familiar at all with "all things nautical" but, they would have most certainly brought a wealth of combat experience and troop command with them. This may have been very welcomed by both Commodore Gillon and Captain Joyner in view of the number of positions they had to fill in order for the frigate to embark on another combat cruise against the enemy.
Yet, this very milieu of army experience may have provided at the same time a deep sense of disappointment or disillusionment for this specific group of men. Several of them experienced lengthy periods of non-promotion beyond their rank of junior officer. At least three of them may well have experienced the humiliation of being physically ejected from their regiments during the Rising of the Pennsylvania Line and having the stand by and watch as these wrongs to their persons were never corrected or paid for by the malefactors. A deep sense of uncorrected insults may have resulted from this. It would appear that many of these men turned their backs on the army and its much-vaunted glory and may have done so with quite a sense of bitterness. Thus, when the recruiting parties began to comb the environs of Philadelphia and the immediate countryside, these same men, still bitter about their past experiences, may have seen a way to "right the wrongs of the past" and redeem their injured honor. This would be accomplished by setting out on a cruise in a naval ship-of-war that held the prospects of not only possible financial gain and personal adventure that the army could never afford to them. It was John Henderson, one of these ten men and a former captain in the 3rd Pennsylvania Regiment of Foot, who expressed this feeling in a letter to his friend, Mr. Stacy Potts, on December 19, 1782, that he hoped "...we shall do something more to advantage than can be expected in the land Services." But, they may have also seen this on a far different level as a type of "redemption" of their earlier time spent in the army and their efforts on behalf of the patriot Cause prior to their signing on board the frigate South Carolina. Thus, this patriotic endeavor might well heal these past wrongs and set all right in their minds and hearts.
Unfortunately for these men, the three British men-of-war - HMS Diomede, HMS Quebec, and HMS Astrea - were waiting on station just beyond the Capes of the Delaware for the frigate South Carolina to emerge from the Delaware River. These men would experience prisoner-of-war status at the end of the war and be later be exchanged back to the patriots after the conclusion of hostilities. So many of these men, both of these ten cited above as well as the rest of the officer corps of the second cruise of the frigate South Carolina, had experienced incarceration in British prisons before the capture of the frigate. Possible hopes of glory, personal wealth, and redemption of the time of struggle for the patriot Cause, of laying to rest the pain and humiliation of the past would be dashed. "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry....". Of such are the vagaries of war.