Sea History 153 - Winter 2015-2016

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Carolina with a cutter able to match the firepower of the privateers sailing in and out of C harleston h arbor. In June 1798, the Service decommissioned and sold off the old South Carolina. With a n ew cutter under construction, the Revenue C utter Service chartered the privately owned ship Unanimity, armed her with fourteen guns and placed her under Cochran's command. Within months, the more formidable South Carolina II took up station at C harleston under the command of a new master. Elderly and out of favor with federa l officials, Cochran was let go by the service the same time it decommissioned the interim cutter Unanimity. With Cochran's depart ure, Campbell was promoted. In July 1798, the Service m ade him a revenue cutter master and assigned him to one of the new supercutters . These new cutters incorporated Baltimore clipper-style hulls and exp ensive copper sheathing to keep their wooden planks free from shipworms and marine growth. Two sharply raked mas ts supported a fore-and-aft rig alow and square topsails aloft. Mariners of rhe day referred to these vessels as brigs. Their lofty spread of canvas and hydrodynamic hulls gave these cutters the speed necessary to overtake rhe swiftest privateers. In August 1798, Campbell arrived in Philadelphia to rake possession of rhe recently launched super-curter Eagle for rhe Service and get her ready for sea and combat. The 187-ton vessel measured fift yeighr feet on rhe keel, with a twenty-foot beam and nine-foot hold. Eagle carried fo urteen 6-pound carriage guns on h er main deck. Ar about six feet in length and weighing roughly 700 pounds apiece, these 6-pounders required a high degree of skill, training, and physical strength to m ai ntain and operate. The cutter was likely pierced with extra gun ports for handling anchor lines and ranging cannon forward through the bow. Problems h ad em erge d b efo re Campbell arrived in Philadelphia, adding weeks to Eagle's departure. A yellow fever epidemic had struck rhe ciry, and regulations forbidding en listment of black seam en delayed recruiting. Under orders from Navy Secretary Benj amin Stodden, Campbell did his bes t to "Enlist none but healthy

SEA HISTORY 153, WINTER 20 15- 16

Cutter Eagle in pursuit ofthe French p rivateer Le Bon Pierre in the West Indies, off Guadeloupe. Campbell and his crew successfully captured the French vessel, adding it to their growing tally of vessel seiz ures- and prize money for Eagle's captain and crew. white men, and give preference to Natives if they are to be had ." Compared to rhe old South Carolina's crew of ten men, Eagle required a complement of no fewer than seventy men to sail her, man her guns, board enemy ships and supply prize crews for captured vessels. The cutter's manning requirements included rhe m as ter, mares (first, second, and third) , boatswain, carpenter, gunner, able seamen, ordinary seamen, cook, steward, boys, and a contingent of fourteen marines. Shortages of war material and provi sions further del aye d Eagle's deployment. Before sailing for the theater of operations, Eagle needed to load four months' worth of provision s and two months' supply of water. Philadelphia's naval suppliers were tasked with providing military stores, such as powder, Bines, cutlasses, pistols, blunderbusses and gun carriages. Eagle required forty ca n non ball s per 6-pound gun-a total of 560 cannon sh ot-that required additional time to acquire. Nevertheless, by !are November, Campbell was fully provisioned and ready to sail in harm's way with likely rhe swiftest vessel in the American fl eer. Eagle's d eployment cam e none too soon as rumors spread rhar French privateers were cruising in Southern waters, causing concern among American merchants and shippers. Campbell received orders to patrol off the South Carolina and Georgia coasts, so he weighed anchor and set a course down

rhe Delaware River on his first war patrol since rhe American Revolution . Campbell's mission showed rhe US flag along rhe coast and proved a success in the eyes of nervous merchants, bur Eagle encountered no enemy cruisers during her deployment. In January 1799, Campbell received new orders to rendezvous with rhe American naval squadron based at Prince Rupert's Bay, Dominica. Master Campbell set sai l for rhe Caribbean, initiating his two-year depredation of enemy shipping and privateers. Before fa lling in with rhe American squadron, on 2 March, Eagle re-took rhe captured American sloop Lark from a French prize crew. As was rhe custom at rhe rime, revenue cutters and navy ships received prize money for capturing enemy vessels, or a smaller amount of salvage money for recapturing prize vessels. Lark proved rhe first of many re-taken vessels to line rhe pockets of Campbell and his men with salvage money. A lso during rh ar month, Congress enacted legislation that brought rhe Revenue C utter Service under rhe control of rhe US Navy in rime of war. After this legislation became law, revenue cutters would serve as part of rhe navy during armed conflicts, as wo uld modern Coast G uard cutters centuries later. In March 1799, Campbell reported for dury to squadron commander John Barry, captain of rhe 44-gun frigate USS United States. Eagle fell in with rhe rest of