The Chronology of HMS Falcon’s activities – Jan  thru Aug 1775

This following is a chronology of the activities of HMS Falcon commanded by Capt. Linzee in the months just prior to the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. Dates in blue are hyperlinks, current as of Aug 2016, connecting to a website containing the ship’s logs, journal entries, official naval dispatches, and letters describing the events.

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29 January 1775 The Falcon is transferred to Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves’ North American fleet by order of the Lords Commissioners of the British Admiralty.
16 April 1775 The Falcon arrives in Boston from England; ordered to remain before the town.
17 April 1775 The Falcon‘s arrival noted in the Boston Gazette.
20 April 1775 Samuel Graves orders the Falcon to haul as far as possible into Gallows Creek (south of Boston).
22 April 1775 In a letter to Philip Stephens, Secretary of the British Navy, Samuel Graves mentions the arrival of the Falcon, and his plans and orders for her.
30 April 1775 Samuel Graves orders the Falcon to Tarpaulin Cove, Massachusetts, to prevent the Rebels from removing cattle from the Elizabeth Islands; and, if possible, to persuade the cattle’s owners to dispose of their flocks for His Majesty’s use.
do. Samuel Graves amends his orders of that morning, directing the Falcon to seize the Champion in Martha’s Vineyard and send her to Boston before proceeding to the Elizabeth Islands.
6 May 1775 The Falcon arrives in Newport, Rhode Island.
10 May 1775 Letter re: May 5 — The Falcon attempts to take two sloops at New Bedford, Rhode Island; loses both sloops, fifteen men (one dead, two badly wounded; thirteen sent to Taunton Gaol).
11 May 1775 The Falcon takes a prize (the Champion) at Homes Hole in Martha’s Vineyard Sound; also, they attempt to take an unnamed sloop (later reports indicate that the encounter went badly).
12 May 1775 Captain Linzee puts a prize crew of twelve men aboard a sloop seized the previous day, then sails to Tarpaulin Cove and takes two schooners (the Hawke and the Doctors Box).
13 May 1775 In a letter to Philip Stephens, Samuel Graves enumerates the results of his orders to the Falcon of 30 April.
15 May 1775 Samuel Graves mentions awaiting the Falcon‘s return with the Champion in another letter to Philip Stephens.
17 May 1775 At Tarpaulin Cove, Massachusetts, the Falcon captures the sloop Three Friends, bound from Cape Nichola Mole, Hispanolia; prize cargo sold at Boston, but Three Friends too badly damaged to proceed.
19 May 1775 In response to the capture of the Falcon’s men on the 5th May (among other reasons), Samuel Graves suggests adding a Sergeant, Corporal and Private Marines to the crew complements of armed Schooners.
22 May 1775 The Falcon captures a brig at Tarpaulin Cove; two marines and the purser’s steward desert.
do. An article in the Newport Mercury describes the disposition of the Falcon crewmembers taken prisoner on the 5th of May.
do. An article in the New York Gazette mentions the encounter between the Falcon and the unnamed sloop on the 11th of May.
23 May 1775 The diary of Dr. Ezra Stiles mentions the incident of the 11th.
24 May 1775 The Massachusetts Spy prints an article about the incident of the 11th, indicating that nine of the Falcon prisoners were brought to Worcester on the 23rd.
25 May 1775 The Falcon at anchor in Nantasket Roads (near Boston Harbor).
do. In Tarpaulin Cove, the Falcon brings to a schooner bound from St. Vincent’s.
do. A letter from a gentleman in Providence (Rhode Island) makes mention of the capture of the Champion by the Falcon.
29 May 1775 The Champion, captured by the Falcon and manned by some of her crew, arrives at Boston.
do. A letter from Nathaniel Freeman to the Massachusetts Provincial Congress recounts some of the events of the 11th; apparently, the good citizens who rescued the two schooners demanded ransom from the owners, then refused to return the vessels.
30 May 1775 The Falcon sails to Homes Hole; captures two sloops and a boat, but none of them are carried to Boston as prizes.
31 May 1775 The affidavit of John Tucker (and others) accuses Captain Linzee of stealing 206 sheep from the Elizabeth Islands.
do. The deposition of Elisha Nye, who not only accuses Linzee of stealing sheep, calves and veal, but also accuses the ship’s doctor of stealing Nye’s pistol.
2 June 1775 The Falcon sails from Plymouth to Boston.
4 June 1775 Elizabeth Bowdoin levies more accusations of cattle theft against the Falcon, and asks the Committee of Safety of Massachusetts to station a hundred armed men on the Elizabeth Islands.
16 June 1775 Captain Linzee informs General Thomas Gage that two sloops recently armed for service in the Royal Navy were in want of ammunition.
do. Samuel Graves, in a report to the Admiralty, mentions the losses the Falcon took on the 5th of May.
17 June 1775 Several ships, including the Falcon, fire upon rebels at Charlestown, Massachusetts; then provide cover for troops who burn the town.
do. Another account of the above incident.
do. The above incident as recorded in the Falcon‘s journal.
do. Samuel Graves’ more detailed account of the above incident.
21 June 1775 The Falcon leaves Boston for Piscataqua, in company with the Resolution transport.
22 June 1775 The Falcon comes in at Piscataqua River (the border between Maine and New Hampshire), to dismantle the ordnance from Fort William and Mary at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
do. Samuel Graves, in a report to the Admiralty, mentions the Elizabeth Islands sheep procured by the Falcon, as well as the burning of Charlestown.
29 June 1775 The Falcon and the Resolution, having dismantled the ordnance from Fort William and Mary, set sail for Boston.
do. John Wentworth, Governor of New Hampshire, writes a letter complaining about the Falcon‘s mission, as he was residing in the Fort and is now left without protection.
do. John Wentworth writes another letter, this time complaining to General Thomas Gage, and asking for money.
30 June 1775 The disposition of the British fleet as of 30 June 1775.
1 July 1775 The Falcon and the Resolution arrive at Boston with the ordnance from Fort William and Mary.
7 July 1775 Samuel Graves directs the Falcon to anchor in Boston Harbor, examine all ships that pass, and destroy any vessel belonging to the Rebels, as well as any whale boats that come within distance.
do. Samuel Graves writes concerning his orders to the Falcon that day, as well as the details of a new kind of boat invented by the Admiral.
12 July 1775 The Senegal picks up a Falcon crewman who had been taken prisoner, but had escaped his captors.
16 July 1775 In a report to the Admiralty, Samuel Graves mentions the Falcon‘s mission to dismantle Fort William and Mary.
17 July 1775 Samuel Graves orders the Falcon to patrol between Cape Cod and Cape Ann, to seize all cargo vessels and send them to Boston, and to destroy any Rebel vessels.
19 July 1775 The Falcon takes two whale boats, two leagues south of Plymouth Lighthouse; later comes in to Cape Cod Harbour and sends a boat ashore for intelligence.
24 July 1775 In Samuel Graves’ report to the Admiralty, he relates the escape of the captured Falcon member, and the intelligence he brought away with him.
25 July 1775 Off Cape Cod, the Falcon captures the schooner Industry, loaded with rum and sugar. Sent to Boston, but the captain is permitted to sell his cargo and depart with the vessel.
do. In response to a letter from General Thomas Gage regarding a pirate in the area, Samuel Graves indicates that the Falcon is on patrol between Cape Cod and Cape Ann.
28 July 1775 The Falcon at Nantasket Bay, Massachusetts.
do. Samuel Graves indicates that he intends to replace the Symmetrywith either the Falcon or the Merlin when they arrive. The lack of fresh provisions, coupled with the hot weather, is causing diarrhœa, incapacitating a number of the men in Graves’ squadron.
29 July 1775 The Falcon convoys the Russia Merchant twenty leagues eastward of Cape Cod.
30 July 1775 The Falcon sails with directions to cruise between Cape Ann and the Isle of Shoals to intercept supplies intended for the Rebels.
1 August 1775 Off Cape Ann, the Falcon captures the Byfield schooner as a prize; the cargo is sold in Boston, and the ship taken.
2 August 1775 The Falcon captures the Deborah schooner off Cape Ann; she was condemned and sold in Boston.
8 August 1775 The Falcon makes a disastrous attempt to take two schooners at Cape Ann Harbour, losing both schooners and 30 men in the process.
10 August 1775 The New England Chronicle prints an account of the Cape Ann incident.
do. Captain Linzee’s report of the Cape Ann incident, sent to Samuel Graves.
11 August 1775 A list of the Falcon crewmen taken at Cape Ann.
13 August 1775 A letter from Gloucester (printed three days later in the Massachusetts Spy) recounts the Cape Ann incident.
14 August 1775 The Boston Gazette runs an article mentioning the Cape Ann incident.
16 August 1775 An article in the Massachusetts Spy indicates that gunner Justin Budd, captured at Cape Ann, escaped captivity and returned to the Falcon.
17 August 1775 The New England Chronicle reports that twenty of the Falconcrewmembers taken at Cape Ann arrived in Cambridge from Ipswitch.
do. Samuel Graves reports on the Falcon‘s orders of July 30, as well as her losses at Cape Ann, in a report to the Admiralty.
19 August 1775 Samuel Graves reports that the Falcon and the Merlin are to escort transport ships for forage and cattle to Annapolis, Windsor and Cumberland Harbor.
21 August 1775 The Boston Gazette reports that the Falcon prisoners arrived at Watertown on the 14th, and had gone forward.
do. Major Robert Magaw mentions the Cape Ann incident in a letter to Brigadier General Horatio Gates.


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