Apr 07, 2022 - Sale 2600

Sale 2600 - Lot 25

Price Realized: $ 1,875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION--1782.) James Crawford. Letter describing the dramatic naval Battle of Delaware Bay. Autograph Letter Signed "J.C." to John Brown "care of Governor Hancock" in Boston. One page, 9 x 7 1/2 inches, plus integral blank with docketing and address panel marked "4" for postage; seal tear to address leaf, otherwise minimal wear. Philadelphia, 16 April 1782

Additional Details

While the land battles of the American Revolution came almost completely to an end at Yorktown in 1781, the two powers still clashed at sea. This letter passes on the fresh news of the Battle of Delaware Bay (or Battle of Cape May). Three American privateers were accompanying a merchant convoy into Philadelphia when they were attacked by three ships of the Royal Navy. The privateer Hyder Ally was commanded by Continental Navy captain Joshua Barney, who delivered the British a thrashing.

Here, a Philadelphia merchant writes to Continental naval agent John Brown (1748-1833) of Philadelphia, then visiting with Governor John Hancock in Boston. After addressing a minor insurance matter, he passes on dramatic news. "Nothing new since my last, except Capt. Barney in the ship Hyder Aly taking the King ship Monk of 10 nine pounders, in an action of 30 minutes. The Hyder Aly mounted 6 nines & 10 sixes. There never was more execution done by the same force in the same time. The Monk had every officer except two, killed or wounded. Amongst the latter was the Capt. She had in all 21 kill'd & 32 wounded. The Hyder Aly had 4 kill'd & 11 wounded. From such slaughter no doubt you'd conclude one of them boarded, but it was not the case. A fair action within pistol shot."

Crawford also adds a postscript about a notable American privateer: "Rec'd a New York paper of the 11th giving an acc't of Capt. Nicholson in the Dean being cary'd into Jam[aic]a by a 40-gun ship."