Monday, December 28, 2009


The men on this page were either impressed from other ships or were working on British ships when the war of 1812 came. Those who were on British ships at the time give themselves up as prisoners of war and refused to work any more for the British. But the British was not having none of this, the men were told to serve them or be punished or worse. The British believed they had the same right as the French had done and that was to get men to fight were ever the could get them, and the British would do the same and would be damn on the American diplomatic diplomacy.

I, Beekman or Beckman Verplanck Hoffman, of the town of Poughkeepsie, do certify, that I am a Lieutenant in the United Navy; that I was a lieutenant on board the Constitution frigate in the action and capture of the Guerriere; that, after her surrender, I was sent on board; and after taking out the crew, fired and blew up the ship; that eight impressed American seamen were among the crew of the Guerriere, who were liberated at Boston. I was also on board the Constitution, in the action and capture of the Java and was sent on board that vessel, and after the crew were removed, set her on fire and blew her up. Amongst the crew of the Java, thirteen impressed American sea-men were found, three of whom had entered the British service, and were left, the other ten were liberated as Americans.

Poughkeepsie Aptil 16, 1813.
Beekman. Verplanck Hoffman.

Family. Wife Phebe W. Townsend, father Harmanus Hoffman, mother Catharine Verplanck.

Service: Midshipman, 4 July, 1805. Lieutenant, 21 May, 1812. Master Commandant, 5 March, 1817. Captain, 7 March, 1829. Died 10 December, 1834.

Richard Thompson being sworn, saith, that he is a native of New Paltz, opposite Poughkeepsie; that he sailed from Wilmington, abdut1the 28th of April 1810,on board the brig Warren, William Kelly, captain, for Cork. On the homeward passage, in September following, he was impressed and taken on board the Peacock, a British sloop of war, and compelled to do. duty. That, while on. board that vessel. he made many unsuccessful attempts to write td his friends to inform them of his situation. He farther saith that after he had heard of’ the war, himself and two other impressed American seamen, who were on board the Peacock, went aft to the captain, and claimed to be considered as American prisoners of war, and refused to do duty any longer.

They were ordered off the quarter deck, and the captain called for the master-at arms, and, ordered us to be. put in irons; we were then kept in irons about twenty-four hours, when we were taken out, brought to the gangway, stripped of our clothes, tied and whipped each one dozen and a half lashes, and put to duty. He further saith, that he was kept on board the Peacock, and did duty till the.-action with the Hornet; after the Hornet hoisted American colors, he, and the other impressed Americans, again went to the Captain of the Peacock, asked to be sent below said, it was an American ship and that they did not wish to fight against their country.

‘The Captain ordered us to our quarters; called midshipman Stone to do his duty; and if we did not do our duty, to blow our brains out. “Ay, ay!” was the answer by Stone, who then held a pistol at my head, and ordered us to our places. We then continued at our pieces, and were compelled to fight till the Peacock struck; and we were liberated after an impressments of about two years and eight months.
Poughkeepsie, April 17, 1813, Richard Thompson .

James Tompkins, being sworn saith, that he is it native of Ulster county opposite Poughkeepsie; that he sailed out of New York, in the month of April, 1812, in the Ship Minerva, bound to Ireland; that on her homeward, bound passage, in July after, this deponent, with three other American seamen, Samuel Davis, William Young, and John Brown were impressed and taken on board the British ship Acteon, David Smith; Captain. .We were taken on Saturday evening on Monday morning we were brought to the gangway, and informed that we must enter on board the ship and live as other seamen, or we should live on oatmeal and, water and receive five dozen lashes.

This deponent says himself and the other three impressed with him, did refuse to enter, and each of them were then whipped five dozen lashes. On Wednesday following, we were again all brought up and had the same offer made to us, to enter, which we refused, and we were again. whipped four dozen lashes, each. On Saturday after, the like offer was made to us, and on our refusal we were again whipped three dozen, lashes. On Monday fo1owing, still refusing to enter, we were again whipped two dozen., each. On Wednesday following we were again whipped one dozen each, and ordered to be taken below, and put in irons till we did enter and the Captain said he would punish the damned Yankee rascals till they did enter. We were then put in irons, and laid in irons three months.

During the time of our impressment the ship had a action, and. captured a French ship. Before this action we were taken out of irons and asked to fight, but we refused; and after the action we were again ironed, where we remained till the ship arrived at London. After arriving there we first beard of the war with America, and that the Guerriere was taken. This deponent took his shirt Samuel Davis and William Young took their handkerchiefs, made stripes and stars for the American colors, an hung it over a gun. and gave three cheers for the victory.

The next morning at six o’clock were brought up an. whipped, two dozen lashes Each, for huzzaing the Yankee flag. Shortly after this, we were all released by the assistance, of the American Consul and Captain Hill, who knew us. This deponent further saith that all had protections, and showed them, and claimed to be American, at the tune they were impressed.
James Tompkins.

Sworn before me this 17th day of April, 1813; it which time the said James Tompkins showed me his wrists, which, at his request, I examined, and there appeared to be marks on both of them. occasioned, as I suppose, from his having been in irons.
WM. W. .BOGARDUS, Justice of the Peace.

The following American seamen were on a British ships of war, who upon hearing of the war offered to give themselves up as prisoners of war, and for doing so or for refusing to do service have been punished.

John Ballard, on board the Zenobia, offered himself a prisoner, refused, and was put in irons for one night.

John Davis, on board the Thistle, gave himself up as a prisoner, and refused further service, for which he was flogged.

Ephraim Covell, on board La Hogue, gave himself up as a prisoner, and, refused further service, in consequence of which he was kept seven days in irons.

John Hosman, on board La Hogue, gave himself up as a prisoner, and refused further service; was pat in irons, still kept therein, and was threatened by the commander with further punishment.

Russell Brainard, on board La Hogue, gave himself up as a prisoner, was put in irons, and still kept therein.

Thomas W. Marshall, Peter Lazette, Edward Whittle Banks, and Levi Younger, on board the Royal William, gave themselves up as prisoners, and. Were in consequence thereof put into close confinement for eight days.

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