Islanders Recapture Sloop

Footnotes to Long Island History

Islanders Recapture Sloop


Thomas R. Bayles


The following story of the war of 1612, carried by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1895, was told by William R. Howell of East Moriches, who was 95 years old in that year. “It was early in 1813 that the Mary Anne Caroline, under command of Captain Almy of Newburne, N.C. was bound from that port to Boston with a cargo of southern corn.

She was captured by a British vessel lying in wait for such craft, and a surprise crew under a young midshipman was placed on board of her. None of them had experience with "fore and Aft” rigs, with the exception of a colored boy, a member of the original crew. He had no desire to continue the voyage with the English and decided to deceive the young middy. He managed to keep at the helm as much of the time as possible, with intention of running the sloop near the long Island shore. He worked along this way until he got close to the island shore off Southampton.

The whale men on that port on the lookout for whales, and as no whale could pass in the daytime without their notice, neither could a vessel. As the Mary Anne Caroline came abreast of the lookout, a boats crew consisting of James Pierson and others, with Captain William Fowler in charge, put out to hail the sloop. After talking with the young midshipman in command who informed them he was taking the sloop and her cargo to Halifax, Captain Fowler replied “If my crew are all of my mind, you will not go much further.

The whale boats crew, reinforced by other boats who had put out from shore took possession of the sloop anchored her off Southampton, and took the crew ashore. They unloaded the cargo of corn and stored it in buildings in Southampton. Awaiting instructions from Henery P. Dering, Customs officer at Sag Harbor, who advised that the owners be communicated with before other action be taken. “the sloop was towed by what boats to Shinnecock reservation, where she lay for several months until Captain Almy appeared one day in the Spring. He said he had escaped from the British and came to claim his sloop and cargo. He gathered a crew and the whale boats towed the sloop out through the inlet. Caption Almy bid his new friends goodbye and sailed for his Newburne home. Sometime afterward, he wrote the Southampton people of his safe arrival.”

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