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This was performed on the night of the third of March (Monday) by six
townsmen, under the command of Captain Quigley and myself, without
the firing of a musket by any of our party." "The vessel and cargo were
sold at auction at Elizabeth Town, on Monday, the 17th of March"
(New Jersey Gazette, No. 272).

The fortunate escape of^ this armed ship Eagle, by being stuck in the
mud, is suggestive of luck in names, in calling to mind David Bushnell's
torpedoes, and the escape of Admiral Howe's flagship Eagle from de-
struction by one of Bushnell's torpedo-boats, then called an "infernal

1 89 1.] ^ew Jerseys Revolutionary Flotilla-Men. 07

machine" or "marine turtle." In this submarine boat a young man
named Ezra Lee "'entered the water," says Lossing, " at Whitehall, at
midnight, on the 6th of September ( 1776). * * * In a few moments
a column of water ascended a few yards Irom the Eagle, the cables of the
British ships were instantly cut, and they went down the bay with the
ebbing tide, in great confusion." This was the first attempt by a sub-
marine boat to blow up a ship of which there is any record, though some
unsuccessful experiments with diving-boats were made in England in 1624
and 1774 ; and a bridge was blown up at Antwerp in 1585 by a powder-
boat, whose magazine was fired by clock-work, notices of which are pub-
lished in an English work, Sleeman's " Torpedoes and Torpedo Warfare "
(1889). The young man Lee safely returned to the Battery. His failure
to blow up the Eagle or any of her consorts was said to be due to the fact
that he could not secure the detachable torpedo to the bottoms of any of
the ships, because of the thickness of their copper sheathing.

In 1777 the British frigate Cerberus, at anchor off New London,
escaped destruction by Bushnell's drifting torpedoes. One of them
exploding, however, astern of the ship, caused the destruction of a boat,
accompanied by the loss of three lives.

In January, 1778, occurred the "battle of the kegs," when a number
of Bushnell's torpedoes were sent in kegs down the Delaware River from
Bordentown by "some Whigs." The British ships in the river, fortu-
nately for them, escaped at this time also, with only a great scare, having
hauled into the docks ai Philadelphia on the night of the kegs' attack.
Francis Hopkinson, one of the Signers, and father of Joseph, who was the
author of the national song "Hail Columbia, " wrote the well-known
laughable verses entitled "The Battle of the Kegs, " descriptive of the
British fright.

Colonel Crane was a lieutenant of artillery under Montgomery at
Quebec, and when his commander fell, December 31, 1775, Crane was
wounded in the ankle by a piece of an exploded shell, from which he suf-
fered until his death, which occurred forty years afterwards, the foot having
shortly theretofore been amputated. After the war he was made a general
of militia in recognition of his brilliant exploit at the Battery and his other
war services.

In the churchyard of the First Piesbyterian Church at Elizabeth, a
tombstone bears the following inscription :

"Sacred to the Memory of


Who died July 30th, 18 14,
Aged 67 \ears.

"One of the firmest patriots of our Revolution ; in the darkest period
of his country's oppression and danger he volunteered in her cause and
was wounded in her defence.

"Probity, benevolence, and patriotism characterized his life. He lived
beloved and died lamented. His sons have caused this monument, a
faint tribute of gratitude and affection, to be erected over his grave."

One of the sons of General Crane was the late Commodore William
Montgomery Crane of the navy, who entered the service in 1799. ^^

q3 New Jersey s RevoluHonary Flotilla-Men, [April,

had a command and distinguished liimself both at Tripoli and in the war
of 1812 ; was Naval Commissioner in 1841, and the first Chief of the
Bureau of Ordnance in 1842. He died in Washington in 1846. It was
doubtless the fame of the father's exploit at the Battery that determined
the son's naval career.

Privateering as a means of warfare, though authorized by the Consti-
tution of the United States, may not be regarded with favor. Indeed, by
treaty, and attempts at treaty, some nations have sought its abolition.
But privateering or no privateering, while the United States admits and
contends that "free" ships make "free" goods, contraband of war ex-
cepted, yet private property at sea, even not contraband of war, but carried
in lawful commerce, is not yet entirely exempt from an enemy's seizure ;
and special commerce-destroying public-armed ships of the highest attain-
able speed, coupled with great powers of endurance for long sea-cruises,
are now being built by this and foreign governments. Every officer and
enlisted man of a ship of war, within signalling distance and capable of
rendering assistance at the time of a lawful capture, is entitled by our laws
to share in the prize, after condemnation and judgment in a prize court.

Notwithstanding all the bitterness between Tory and Patriot engendered
by the war, and the innumerable mutual predatory incursions made by New
Jersey's citizens against, and suffered by them from, the common enemy,
we have the testimony of New Jersey's good and great governor,- William
Livingston, to the honorable conduct of the New Jersey patriots. In
a letter to General Washington dated May 14, 1782, "predicated no
doubt," says General Slryker in his Toms River address above mentioned,
"on a perusal in Rivington's Gazette of the severe arraignment of the
patriots by the Tory Board," Governor Livingston says: "I really do
not recollect that the militia of this State, or any other of its citizens, have
ever committed against a prisoner of war any act of cruelty, or treated any
such prisoner, in any instance, contrary to the laws of arms."

Who can say that the brilliant examples of Dayton and Stirling, and
of Huyler and Crane and their men, upon the water, and the recitals of
their deeds, then still fresh in living minds, did not largely serve to stim-
ulate the growth of New Jersey's large roll of distinguished naval officers
subsequent to the Revolution, though not unmindful of the great service
performed by the Continental navy and privateers as a whole? "A
record of maritime operations under the several colonies and on private
account during the war would," says Lossing, "fill a volume." "It is
asserted by good authority that the number of vessels captured by Amer-
ican cruisers during the war was eight hundred and three, and that the
value of merchandise obtained, amounted to over eleven millions of dollars.
The British vessels in the West India trade suffered terribly from our pri-
vateers. Clarke, in his 'Naval History' (1, 61), says that of a fleet of
sixty vessels from Ireland for the West Indies, thirty-five were captured by
American privateers. Our cruisers almost destroyed the British trade
with Africa. At the beginning of the war two hundred ships were employed
in that trade ; at the close of 1777, only forty vessels were thus employed.''

To Somers, and the grandeur of his fate at Tripoli ; to Lawrence, Bain-
bridge, and Stockton, natives ; and to the great captain Charles Stewart,
a citizen by adoption, not to name other distinguished sailor-sons, mari-
time New Jersey may ever point with pride.

Bainbridge and Stewart, successively after Hull in the war of 1812,

189 1.] New Jerseys Revolutionary Flotilla- Men. qq

commanded the frigate Constitution, and under all three the lucky, noble
"Old Ironsides" made captures among the most brilliant in naval history.
Ten years ago this society was entertained by the reading before it of a
literary and biographic gem, by its present president. Its subject was
"Commodore Isaac Hull." May I add here, that in my boyhood, from fam-
ily tradition, I learned that the day before he set sail from the Chesapeake,
on that eventful cruise on which, skillfully escaping from the enemy's
fleet, he captured a few days thereafter one of his pursuers, the Guerrihe,
Hull passed the evening at my maternal grandfather's house in Annap-
olis, during which visit his hopes and anxieties were freely expressed.

An old song, composed soon after the war of 181 2, thus sounds the
praises of the Constitution' s victories, and the Hornet's victory under
Lawrence, in the order of their occurrence :

" First Dacres, who thought he tlie Yankees could scare,
Proudly wrote on his sails, ' I'm the famed Gtierrikre.'
Says Hull, ' Ave you there?' So together they pulled;
In forty-five minutes the Gueiriere was Hulled.

"See the firm Constitution, our Washington's pride,
With Bainbridge at helm, in true majesty ride ;
Pour a stream from her side, like Vesuvius' red lava
Which quite overwhelmed the whole Island of Java.

" Then a Peacock was strutting about in his pride.

When a Hornet, like lightning, stuck close in his side.
Which stung him so sore, that from battle he turned ;
Noble Lawrence that Peacock in ocean inurned.

" But hark again braves ! 'tis old ' Ironsides ' roar ;
With peals of her thunder 'round ocean and shore.
The Levant and Cyane, so terribly did quake,
Bold Stewart soon found them reduced in his wake."

The old song continues in a similar strain to devote a stanza to nearly
every naval victory of the war.

Happily the instances are few in which our naval officers have failed,
in the judgment of the Government, to fully support the country's honor
in those emergencies in both peace and war which sometimes occur with
but little time for deliberation. And rare, also, are the cases in which,
righdy, wrongly, the officer has been censured for proceeding too. far when
his country's honor was assailed.

The navy of to-day, in ships, ordnance, and materials of war, is being
rehabilitated by gradual approaches to obvious requirements, if the coun-
try, as of yore, would maintain security at home and respect abroad.
And the Vi2My personnel is now, as it ever has been in the past, ready for
all demands upon it, though skilful and gallant handling is now required
of very different types of vessels. The new machine navy is the successor
of the old sailing navy, and inherits its glories. The nation surely can
never forget the one, nor in the future neglect the other. With such a
coast as ours and such a commerce as must again cover the sea under the
American flag, and as long as supported by a diplomacy at home which,
while demanding only what is right, will submit to fiothing that is wrong,
our navy will continue to be, as in the past, iji pace decus, in hello prcesidium.

lOO The Count of Paris. [April,


By Gen. Jas. Grant Wilson.

The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has recently
lost from among its limited number of honorary members one of the most
illustrious soldiers of the nineteenth century, and the last survivor of the
four great captains who led the armies of the North to victory. Curiously
enough they were representatives, through their ancestry, of the nationali-
ties that comprise the Kingdom of Great Britain : The Scotchman Grant,
the Welshman Thomas, the Irishman Sheridan, and the Englishman
and survivor of the famous quartette, Gen. William T. Sherman.

The place made vacant by the death of General Sherman has been filled
by the unanimous election, as an honorary member of our Society, of
Louis Philippe Albert d'Orleans, Count of Paris, who was born in the
Palace of the Tuileries, August 24, 1838. His father, the Duke of
Orleans, eldest son of Louis Philippe, King of France, was killed by being
thrown from his carriage at Neuilly, then a suburb of Paris. When the
throne was abdicated in 1848, the king claimed recognition as his succes-
sor for the young Count of Paris, but he, with all the other members of the
Orleans family, were driven from France. The Duchess of Orleans, with
her two sons, soon after sought refuge in England, where they remained
for ten years, and where the young princes were educated. After her
death in 1858, the king their grandfather having died in 1850, the count
and his brother travelled in Europe for several years. Desiring to see
something of actual war and the New World, they crossed the Atlantic in
September, 1861, accompanied by their eldest uncle, the Prince Joinville,
and before the close of the month accepted positions as volunteer aides on
the staff of the commander of the Army of the Potomac. The princes were
known as Captain Louis Philippe of Orleans and Captain Robert of Or-
leans. They served without pay or emolument, were present at the siege
of Yorktown, and served in the severe engagements around Richmond.
After General McClellan's retreat in July, 1862, the count and his
brother resigned their commissions, owing to the increasing ccolness
between France and the United States arising from Napoleon's interference
in the affairs of Mexico. War was among the possibilities, and the young
princes could not fight against the flag of their native land. Returning
to France, the count in May, 1864, married his cousin Marie, daughter
of the Duke of Montpensier, who last year died in Spain. Of their six
children, the eldest is the Queen of Portugal, while the second is the
Duke of Orleans, who accompanied the count to this country in 1890,
and who was recently imprisoned for returning to France in defiance of
the Expulsion Act of 1886.

The Count of Paris offered his services to France at the beginning of
the war with Germany in 1870, but they were declined. He, however,
obtained a seat in the National Assembly, and later was commissioned
colonel and placed on the retired list of the army. The accompanying
portrait was taken at that time. In 1873, ^^ chief of the Orleanists he
met the Count of Chambord, head of the Bourbon or elder branch of the
royal family of France, and formally recognized him as the representative
of the royal house and de jure King of France. Ten years later Cham-


The Count of Paris.


bord died, and the Count of Paris succeeded to liis rights, being generally
acknowledged by the Legitimists. .In the summer of 1889 the count
and countess celebrated their silver wedding at Sheen House, near Rich-
mond on the Thames, at which the writer and his family were present,
the only other Americans who enjoyed the privilege being Mrs. and Miss
McClellan, Lady Randolph Churchill, and several members of the United
States legation. The Orleans family were there, with many of the old
noblesse of France, members of the Eng-
lish royal family, and perhaps a thousand
ladies and gentlemen, including numbers
of the most distinguished personages of
London society.

On the second day of October, 1890,
the count and his son, with six compan-
ions, arrived in New York, and before sail-
ing on his return to England, a month
later, he had visited Gettysburg and other
battle-fields of the Civil War in which he
participated, had seen Philadelphia, Wash-
ington, and Niagara Falls, and spent several
days in Montreal and Quebec, an account
of which appears in an attractive illustrated
brochure now before me, entitled "' Recep- /^ jo^..^^

tion de Mgr. le Comte de Paris a Montreal .^C^^ ^c:^^^'^^^^^^^''^
et Quebec.'' Perhaps the most notable /^-'^ (y^ y^

among the many public and private enter- ^ J'^-e>tyay*

Online LibraryNew York Genealogical and Biographical SocietyThe New York genealogical and biographical record (Volume 63) → online text (page 13 of 30)