Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Privateer Rattlesnake

The December 12, 1778 issue of Philadelphia newspaper The Pennsylvania Packet or the General Advertiser carried news with the dateline Williamsburg, Virginia, October 9.  The news from Williamsburg closed with a story about Pennsylvania Privateer the Rattlesnake, dated November:

Nov. 27.  Advice is just come to town of a British armed vessel called the Swift, Captain Tathwell, having run ashore at the Capes, when in pursuit of the schooner Rattlesnake.  The Swift's people set their vessel on fire, and they, ninety-two in number, are carried prisoners to Portsmouth.  The Rattlesnake is entirely lost.

The web site American War of Independence--at Sea (awiatsea): The American Privateers reports that the Rattlesnake was "driven ashore and destroyed by HM Sloop Swift" on 22 November 1778, at the Virginia Capes near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay.  Joseph Tathwell commanded the Swift.  David McCullough, an ancestor of Jazz musician Harry Connick, Jr., commanded the Rattlesnake from December 1776 to 22 November 1778.  Awiatsea reports, "This was not the end of the Rattlesnake, however.  She was inspected, righted, salvaged, and put into service in Virginia."
Watch The Rattlesnake on PBS. See more from Finding Your Roots.

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