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" History of Elizabeth, New Jersey, " he says: "I immediately set out
for Amboy, and there seized a pilot boat, and, with forty men, was just

go ^^^ Jersey's Revolutionary Flotilla-Men. [April,

pushing out about two yesterday morning when I was joined by three
other boats from Elizabeth-Town with about forty men each, many of
them gentlemen from Elizabeth Town, who voluntarily came on this
service, under the command of Col. Dayton and Lieut. -Col, Thomas."
By letter dated February lo, 1776, Robert Ogden, Chairman of the Town
Committee of Elizabeth, also made an official report of this capture to
John Hancock, President of Congress. For his part in this affair, Con-
gress, in March, 1776, appointed Stirling a brigadier-general. Colonel
Dayton, in 1783, had the same rank conferred upon him. It would be
foreign to the subject of this paper to name the other and more brilliant
services in many battles of the Revolution of these two officers, each of
whom survived the war ; the one for a few months only, the other for some
years. Stirling died in 1783, before the treaty of peace was consummated,
the actual signing of the same being eff"ected in 1784 ; and Dayton died
in 1807.

In Hatfield's volume, just referred to, is published (I quote) "A
list of the officers and men belonging to the militia of Elizabeth Town,
who entered on board of the diff'erent shallops as volunteers in order to
take the ship Blue Mountain Valley, January 22, 1776, under the com-
mand of Elias Dayton, Colonel." Among the names on this list, is that
of Thomas Quigley, whose name will again appear farther on.

The summer of 1776 brought to New York the expected British
troops from Boston, with reinforcements from Halifax, and a British fleet
also. " On the thirtieth August, 1776, " says Lossing, "Admiral Howe
sailed up the bay with his fleet and anchored near Governor's Island
within cannon shot of the city." The battle of Long Island had been
fought and lost on the 27th, and Lord Stirling captured and sent a
prisoner on board Admiral Howe's flagship Eagle. Long Island, evac-
uated by the American forces on the night of the 28th, was now at the
mercy of the enemy, who, on the 3d of September, landed his whole
forces on the island, with the exception of about " four thousand men
left upon Staten Island to awe the patriots of New Jersey." During the
night after the battle of Long Island a forty-gun ship had passed the bat-
teries and anchored in the East River, somewhat damaged by shot from
Stuyvesant's Point, the site in later years of the Novelty Iron Works.
" Washington," says Lossing, "sent Major Crane of the artillery to
annoy her. With two guns upon the high bank at Forty-sixth Street, he
cannonaded her until she was obliged to take shelter in the channel east
of Blackwell's Island."

Mention of Colonel Crane, who hailed from Elizabeth, N. J., has
been here made, because he will figure later on as the leader of a board-
ing party, instead of in command of a shore battery. Washington's army
evacuated New York City September 15, 1776. In the "Official Reg-
ister of the Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Revolutionary War, "
compiled by Gen. Wm. S. Stryker, the adjutant-general of the State,
to whom I am much indebted for most courteously assisting me in
obtaining information sought, the names of thirty-six "captains " appear,
with the names of a number of armed vessels commanded by them,
under the head-line, "Naval Service." Among these names appear
those of Adam Huyler, "Captain Privateer Revenge;" William Marren-
er, unassigned ; Thomas Quigley, "Captain Privateer Lively;" Alexan-
der Dickie, John Storey, and John Storer, each unassigned. The names

1 89 1.] New Jersey s Revolutionary Flotilla-Men. (\\

of Huyler and Quigley also appear in the list of captains of militia.
Each of these privateersmen, therefore, bore either a naval or military com-
mission, or both, from his State. This marine militia formed the per-
sonnel of a private armed flotilla, consisting of coasting and river vessels,
mostly of fore and aft rig, and whaleboats propelled by oars, making a
very formidable mosquito-fleet.

Huyler appears to have been the most noted commander or division
officer, so to speak, in this fleet, and the accounts of the exploits of him-
self and his men seem mure like tales of the imagination than sober reci-
tals of facts. He gave the enemy's navy, in possession of this harbor, no
rest, attacking and capturing armed transports and supply-vessels, and
cutting out store-ships from under the very guns of men-of-war and shore
batteries, Lossing, in referring to Huyler's and INIarrener's careers, says,
"On the arrival of the British the following summer (1776), Captain
Adam Huyler and William Mairener of New Brunswick, N. J., annoyed
them so much that an armed force was sent to destroy their boats. New
boats were immediately built, when these bold men commenced a regular
system of hostility. They cruised between Egg Harbor and Stalen Island,
and every Tory fisherman was compelled to pay them enormous tribute.
Huyler captured several small British vessels, and often made unwelcome
visits to towns on Long Island. * * * Huyler afterwards, with two
armed, boats, captured a British corvette in Coney Island Bay. They
went softly alongside in the night, boarded her and secured every man
without firing a shot. Placing their prisoners in their boats, they set fire
to the vessel, in which, unknown to Captain Huyler, were forty thousand
dollars in gold. * * * In some of these exploits Marrener accom-
panied Huyler, and their names became a terror to the Tories, Mar-
rener was a prisoner for some time under Major Moncrief, on Long
Island, and for the unkindness of that officer, Marrener after his exchange
seized him one fine summer's night and took him to New Brunswick."

When I began to trace out Huyler's career as a privateersman, I did not
know that anything like a detailed or connected account of his exploits
had been attempted, either from tradition or contemporaneous sources in
print. But in the course of my searches I became indebted to Dr.
Charles H. Voorhees of New Brunswick, who kindly allowed me the use
of a copy of a paper prepared and read by him before the Historical Club
of New Brunswick, which paper was published in the New Brunswick
Fredonian in its issue of March 29, 18S8. From this paper, and some
of the authorities therein cited, supplemented by others herein cited, I
have collected all herein relating to the career and death of Captain

Adam Huyler, at the age of fifteen years, emigrated about the year 1750
from Holland, and settled in New Brunswick. In 1760, in the old Dutch
Church, now the First Reformed Church, he married Annie Nevius, a de-
scendant of the Schureinan family. During the war he kept his fleet of
whaleboats and barges distributed at different places, from New Bruns-

*The following are the authorities cited in Dr. Voorhees' paper:
New Jersey Gazette (1781-S2); Philadelphia Packet and Ledger ; Rivington's
New York Royal Gazette ;OnA&x(S.QX\\^'i " Revolutionary Incidents of Long Island His-
torical Collections of New Jersey "'(Barber and Howe) ; " Tales and Traditions of New
York ; " " Huyler's Attempt to CapUire Lippincolt, " in New York Sunday TimeSy about
August 1851; Hon. Edwin Salter's Letter in New Brunswick /'nv/cwww, June 15, 1863;
Lieut. J. Drake Chandlee's Letter in Newark Sunday Call, February 4, 1886.

Q2 Neiv Jersey s Rcvohilionary Flotilla-Men. [April,

wick, along Raritan Bay, and as far south as Toms River. His first mate,
or first officer, was Captain William Marrener of New York, a coast trader,
known as a brave man and true patriot. Huyler selected his men with
great care, and only those of experience and skill as watermen, as well as
of known courage and daring, were retained. With muffled oars his
boats were pulled at great speed out of the darkness, and sometimes in
moonlight and daylight, directly alongside of an enemy's ship, whose
men were made prisoners and the ship a prize, before the watch on deck
could give an alarm. The rowlocks of these boats were carefully muffled,
and as they much resembled that useful article of equine equipment, they
were called by the land-people "horseshoes." It was part of the good
work of the patriotic women of New Brunswick to assist, with their
needles and sewing palms, or thimbles, the muffling of these rowlocks
with stuffed canvas. At the time of Huyler's exploits, now to be detailed
(commencing in 1781 and ending 1782), New Jersey had passed through
the crisis of its fate as the seat of war. The campaign beginning in
November, 1776, the battles of Trenton and Princeton had been fought
December 26, 1776, and January 3, 1777, respectively, followed June
20 by the enemy's evacuation of New Brunswick and the State — the
latter to be again invaded from Philadelphia, followed by the momentous
American victory at Monmouth, June 28, 1778. During the enemy's
occupation of the State, and New Brunswick in particular, Huyler either
cruised out of Egg Harbor into New York Bay, via Sandy Hook, or else,
being a captain of militia, he was possibly with the land force, until after
the battle of Monmouth, at least ; after which battle New Jersey, though
free from armed occupation by the British, was frequently raided by forag-
ing parties sent out from New York by Sir Henry Clinton, which, says
Lossing, " ravaged the whole country from the Hudson to the Raritan
and beyond." Having cruised between Egg Harbor and Staten Island
with his lieutenant, Marrener, and captured several British ships, as
before said, though I have found no dates or details of any captures by
him outside of Sandy Hook, Huyler, about April 14, 178 1, captured
in New York Harbor a sloop and ransomed her for five hundred dollars.
This exploit Rivington's Gazette credited to Huyler and Marrener. But
a few days later Marrener wrote an explanatory letter, published with Riv-
ington's notice of the event, in Onderdonk's " Revolutionary Incidents of
Long Island. " The letter is dated " New Brunswick, Apr. 24, '81," and
is as follows :

"To Mr. Loring* — Sir: In a New York paper it is said I was concerned in
taking a sloop. Such a report is without foundation. I am on parole, which I shall
give the strictest attention to. She was taken by Huyler and Dickie.

Yours, etc.,

Wm. Marrener.

About May 2, 1781, Huyler took a Hessian major in the night from
the house of Michael Bergen, at Gowanus, the enemy's camp being close
by. Then June 18, 1 781, surprising the sergeant and guard, he carried
them off from the house of Captain Schenck, at Canarsie, that officer,
probably luckily for himself, being absent. About October 7, 1781,
Huyler, with one gunboat and two whaleboats, within a quarter of a mile
of the guardship at Sandy Hook, attacked five vessels, and after a sharp

* Tory, and British " Commissary of Prisoners."

1 89 1.] New Jerseys Revolutionary Flotilla-Men. g-?

conflict of fifteen minutes carried them by boarding, without the loss of a
man, taking from one of the vessels fifty bushels of wheat and a quantity
of cheese. Part of this cargo belonged to Captain Lippincott, of New
York, who later, as will appear farther on, had a very narrow escape from
capture at the hands of Huyler and his "press gang." About October
15, 1 78 1, Huyler, with one gunboat and two whaleboats, boarded one
sloop and two schooners, which lay under cover of the post at the Sandy
Hook lighthouse. But, being much annoyed by a galling fire from an
armed galley lying near Staten Island, he burned the sloop (which was a
dull sailer), and reached New Brunswick with all his prisoners and one
schooner; the other schooner having grounded, he was compelled to
abandon it. About October 27, 1781, Huyler, with one gunboat, sur-
prised the refugee town near Sandy Hook, and there captured six noted
horse thieves, whom he brought off as prisoners. A few days prior to
November 14, 1781, Huyler, with one gunboat and a small party of
men, captured a ship at the Narrows, with her crew of about fifteen men.
He endeavored to run her up the Raritan River, but she grounded ; and
the enemy, approaching in force, compelled him to destroy her by fire to
prevent recapture. He succeeded, however, in carrying off part of her
cargo of rum and pork, with all of his prisoners. This ship was probably
the Father's Desire, whose cargo was sold at public auction as part of
Huyler's captures. About December 15 (13), 1781, Huyler, with his
whaleboats, captured at the Narrows two refugee sloops, having on
board specie to the amount of six hundred pounds sterling, dry goods,
sugar, and rum, all of which were taken to New Brunswick. The enemy
had been by this time so much annoyed by Huyler's forays, that an
expedition to destroy his boats was fitted out, which arrived at New
Brunswick on the 9th of January, 1782,* The party, consisting of three
hundred refugees and British, landed at New Brunswick, plundered two
houses, and held possession of the town for about an hour, destroying some
of Huyler's whaleboats while in the town. They were gallantly opposed
by the neighboring militia and driven off with some loss. Several of the
Tories were killed, and several carried off wounded. Five Americans were
wounded and six taken prisoners, but none killed.

Huyler soon repaired his losses of boats, but the force of British and
Tories, which on March 24, 1782, attacked and captured the Block-
house at Toms River, with its gallant commander and defender. Captain
Joshua Huddy, subsequently murdered by the "Associated Loyalists"
domiciled in New York, carried off a large barge which, the enemy
claimed, belonged to Huyler's fieet. But the next month, sometime in
April, 1782, Huyler, in an open boat, captured a large cutter lying near
Sandy Hook, almost in readiness for sea, and within hail of the British
frigate Lion of 64 guns. This prize mounted twelve eighteen-pounders.
Huyler made prisoners of her crew of forty men and blew up the ship.
He also captured a sloop, and ransomed her for four hundred dollars.
The New Jersey Gazette states that "on this expedition Hu}ler had with
him one gunboat and a barge, and that the cutter mounted six eighteen-
pounders and ten nine-pounders." Of the cutting out of this "cutter "
from under the guns of the Lion, man-of-war, one of the prisoners, her

* Accounts of this expedition were published at the time in Rivington's New
York Royal Gazette, in the New Jersey Gazette, and in the Philadelphia Faeket of
January 15 and 16, 1782.

QA New Jersey's Revolutionary Flotilla-Men. [April,

captain, is said to have told the following story, published in Barber and
Howe in an "Extract of a letter from New Jersey, June 19, 1782." This
extract, after referring to Huyler's capture of this eighteen-gun vessel,
makes her captain say in substance as follows : "Our vessel was at anchor
near Sandy Hook, the Lion about a quarter of a mile distant. I was on
deck with three or four men. We were admiring the beautiful full moon,
when we suddenly heard several pistols discharged in the cabin, and,
turning around, we perceived a number of armed people on deck, who
ordered us to surrender in a moment. We were put below and the
hatches immediately barred over us. The firing, however, had alarmed
the man-of-war, which hailed us to know what was the matter. We were
not in a situation to answer, but Huyler was kind enough to do it for us,
telling the people on board the man-of-war, through his speaking-trumpet,
that ' all was well ; ' after which, unfortunately for us, they made no
further inquiries."

About May 25, 1782, Huyler, with his armed boats, being in the
Shrewsbury River, was attacked by a detachment of troops, which sought to
intercept and capture him in passing through the "gut." Huyler landed
thirteen men and charged the enemy, killing or wounding four men and
making prisoners of a captain and eight men. About July 2, 1782,
Huyler, accompanied by Captain Storey, with two whaleboats, boarded
and captured in New York Bay, at noon, the schooner Skip-jack z.xvs\tdi with
six guns and swivels, made prisoners of her crew of nine or ten men, and
then burned the prize in sight of the guardship. About the same time
he also captured three or four trading vessels loaded with calves, sheep,
and stores. About, or shortly before, the date last mentioned, Huyler
determined to capture Captain Richard Lippincott (whose surrender had
been demanded by Washington and refused). Lippincott was a native of
New Jersey, but then one of the "Associated Loyalists " in this city.
Lippincott had headed the party which murdered Captain Joshua Huddy,
and had even pulled on the rope with which he was hanged. A full his-
tory of this crime appears in a published address of General Stryker, enti-
tled "The Capture of the Blockhouse at Toms River, March 4, 1782,"
read by him at the memorial service at Toms River, May 30, 1883.
Huyler, therefore (as told in Barber and Howe and Lossing), with his men
and himself disguised as a man-oi-war's press gang, left the Kills of Staten
Island after dark with one boat, and arrived at Whitehall Street about nine
o'clock. Leaving his boat in charge of three men, he went to Lippin-
cott's residence, but, upon inquiry, he learned that Lippincott had gone
to a cock-fight. Failing, therefore, in his object, he returned to his boat
with his " press gang," and, leaving Whitehall, he captured oflf the Bat-
tery a sloop from the West Indies, laden with rum. Before daylight he
reached Elizabethtown Point, and had landed from her and secured forty
hogsheads of her cargo, when to prevent recaptures he was burned. It
may be recalled here that the refusal to surrender Huddy's murderer
came very near costing the young British officer Captain Asgill his life.
He was condemned to be executed in retaliation, but the strong interces-
sion of friends in England and France, and the close of the war, induced
Congress to order his release.

Huyler's operations, however, were not always without mishaps, and
this brave man's career was now drawing to its close. In Onderdonk's
"Revolutionary Incidents, " heretofore mentioned, an account probably

1 89 1. J New Jerseys Revolutionary Floiilla-Men. gr

from Rivington's Gazette or Gaine's Mercury, under date of July 24,
1782, states in substance that "on Tuesday last Mr. Huyler with three
large twenty-four oared boats made an attack on the galley stationed
at Prince's Bay, south side of Staten Island. Cashman gave him an
eighteen-pounder, which went through the stern of one of the boats, and
obliged Huyler to put ashore, where, after a short combat, he was obliged
to leave one of his boats and make the best of his way home. " John
Althouse with twelve men was on board of a guard-boat in Prince's Bay
when the two whaleboats were descried under the South Amboy shore.
The weather was calm, and a twenty-four-pounder sent a shot through
Huyler's boat. His crew was taken in by the other boat (Dickie's) and
they all made off for New Brunswick with Gen. Jacob F. Jackson, whom
they captured on South Bay." Huyler seems here, even in retreat, to have
made some reprisal.

The New Jersey Gazette of September 25, 1782, contained an account
of Huyler's death and funeral, and the supposed cause of his death
— poison — is therein thus explained : It is asserted that Huyler,
"while on shore at South Amboy, after a successful foray, wenf into a
tavern where poison was surreptitiously administered to him in his food
or drink, through the agency of some Tory enemies in that place. He
reached his home, where he lingered for several weeks, but finally suc-
cumbed to the effects of the drugs."

The following is the notice of his death and funeral :

"Died, September 6, 1782, after a tedious and painful illness, which
he bore with a great deal of fortitude, the brave Captain Adam Huyler of
New Brunswick.

"His many enterprising acts in annoying and distressing the enemy
endeared him to the patriot part of his acquaintance. He left a wife
and two small children to bewail his death. His remains were decently
interred, with a display of the honors of war, in the Dutch burial ground,
attended by a very numerous concourse of his acquaintances."

Rivington's Gazette of September 11, 1782 (quoted by Onderdonk),
says : " Huyler died of a wound in the knee, accidentally given by him-
self some time ago."

Rivington's Gazette "^wA Gaine's Aferczi/y, notorious Tory papers, were
published in this city, the former on Wednesday and Saturday, and the
latter on Monday of each week. But as early as December 19, 1774, the
patriots of Elizabeth, according to Hatfield, " boycotted," to use a
modern expression, Rivington's paper for its mendacity ; and the war-poet
Philip Freneau puts in Rivington's mouth in Rivington's "Reflections,"
these words, referring to the lenity of the patriots :

" And it must be a truth that admits no denying,

If they spare us for murder, they'll spare us for lying."

As to'?, Mercury , Moore's "Diary of the American Revolu-
tion " contains a " new catechism" from Brasher's "Journal," in which
one of the numerous questions is : " Who is the greatest liar on earth } "
The answer to which is : " Hugh Gaine of New York, printer."

Leaving the adventurous Huyler interred with the honors of war, we
are told in Barber and Howe's volume that his lieutenant, Marrener,
" lived several years after the war, at Harlem, and is remembered as a
facetious old gentleman."

g5 New Jersey s Revolutionary Flotilla-Men. [April

But the flotilla-men were still active. The New Jersey Gazette of
November 13, 1782, as quoted by Onderdonk, says : "The brave Captain
Storer, commissioned as captain of a private boat of war, under the State,
and who promises fair to be the genuine successor of the late valiant
Captain Hurler, has given a recent instance of his valor and conduct in
capturing" one of the enemy's vessels, and in cutting out a vessel lying
under the flagstaff and within half pistol-shot of the battery of fourteen
guns at the watering place, Staten Island." A letter from New Brunswick,
dated in December, 1782, referring to this event, says that the latter vessel
alluded to "was a sloop in the engineer department of H. B. M. service,
and was carried away safely. "

The war for independence now seemed to disclose a propitious ending.
The British campaign in the South had closed. Cornwallis had surren-
dered October 17, 1781, and peace seemed dawning. But the men of
Elizabeth Town having been, under Stirling and Dayton, early in the
fray, now emulating the deeds of the men of New Brunswick under Huy-
ler, and led by brave Crane, made other captures as part of the closing
work of the war. "In June" (1782), says Hatfield, "an expedition was
fitted out from this town, of which an account is given, as follows "
(New York yowrwa/, No. 176): " Intelligence being received at Elizabeth
Town of two whaleboats, fitted for a two months' cruise in the Delaware
Bay, lying at a wharf the north side of Staten Island, a plan was concerted
to surprise and bring them off", which was put in practice last Thursday
night (20th); and the boats, with all their appurtenances, were safely
moored at Elizabeth Town bridge next morning, together with eighteen
prisoners that were on board, six of whom were valuable negroes. The
party. Continentals and volunteers, consisted of upwards of thirty, com-
manded by Major (William) Crane. There was a sentinel in each boat,
who hailed and attempted to fire on the party, but their pieces providen-
tially flashing in the pan, the party, regardless of danger, rushed on them
with such impetuosity that they had not time to prime again, and a few
moments put them in complete possession of their object, without further
alarm." Hatfield further states: "One act more of aggressive hostility
on the part of citizens of this town, March, 1783, remains to be narrated.
It will be told in the words of Major William Crane, the leader of the
enterprise, as written the next day" (New Jersey Gazette, No. 273) :
"I have the pleasure to inform you of the capture of the sloop Katy, of
twelve double fortified four-pounders, containing one hundred and seven-
teen puncheons of Jamaica spirits, lying, at the time of capture, within
pistol-shot of the grand battery of New York and alongside of the ship
Eagle, of twenty-four guns, which we also took, but were obliged to leave
there, as she lay aground. The captains and crews of both the vessels were
brought up by us in the sloop to this place, where we have them secure.

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