Prelude to the War of 1812

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Impressment of American Sailors
The Chesapeake Affair of 1807
American Reaction to the Chesapeake Affair
Entanglement in World Affairs


Commodore Barron's Inquiry into the Presence of Deserters aboard the Chesapeake

Navy Yard, Washington, April 7, 1807

Sir--I have the honour to enclose you the result of my enquiries, relating to the men mentioned in our letter of yesterday, and have the honour to be, sir, with great respect, your obedient servant


William Ware, pressed on board the brig Neptune, Capt. Crafts, by the British frigate Melampus, in the Bay of Biscay, and has served on board the said frigate 15 months.

William Ware is a native of America, born on Pipe Creek, Frederick county, state of Maryland, at Bruce's mills, near Baltimore, and drove a waggon for several years between Hager's Town and Baltimore. He also served 18 months on board the US frigate Chesapeake, under the command of Commodore Morris and Captain James Barron. He is an Indian looking man.

Daniel Martin was pressed at the same time and place. He is a native of West-Port, in Massachusetts, about 30 miles to the eastward of New-Port, Rhode-Island, served his time out of New York, with Captain Marrowby, in the Caledonia--refers to Mr. Benjamin Davis, Merchant, and Mr. Benjamin Coree, of West-Port. He is a coloured man.

John Strachin, born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Queen-Anne's county, between Centreville and Queen's Town--refers to Mr. John Price and . . . Pratt, esq. on Kent Island, who knew his relations--Strachan sailed in the brig Martha Bland, capt. Wyvill, from Norfolk to Dublin, and from thence to Liverpool. He there left the brig and shipped on board an English guineaman. He was pressed on board the Melampus off Cape Finisterre; to better his situation he consented to enter, being determined to make his escape when opportunity offered. He served on board the frigate two years. He is a white man, about 5 feet 7 inches high.

William Ware and John Strachan have protections--Daniel Martin says he has lost his after leaving the frigate.

John Little, alias Francis, and Abrose Watts, escaped from the Melampus at the same time, known by the above persons to be Americans, but have not been entered by my recruiting officer.

William Ware, Daniel Martin, and John Strachan state, that some time in February last, there was an entertainment on board the Melampus, lying then in Hampton Roads--that while the officers, etc were engaged, and all the ship's boats except the captain's gig, being hoisted in-- Themselves and the other two men mentioned, availed themselves of a moment to seize the gig and row off--that as soon as they had got into the boat they were hailed to know what they were going to do--they replied they were going ashore--a brisk fire of musquetry instantly commenced from the ship--that in defiance of balls and the hazard of their lives, they continued to pull, and finally effected their escape to Sewell's Point--that they then carefully hauled up the boat, rolled up the coat, and placed that and the oars in the boat, gave three cheers and moved up the country.

Continue to:
Admiral Berkeley's Orders to Search the Chesapeake

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