Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dr. Lewis Heermann-Navy.

Lewis Heermann was born in Germany, lived most of his life in Louisiana. He enlisted as a Surgeon from Virginia on Feb. 8, 1802, his pay was $50. dollars a month and 2. rations a day.

In the years of 1812 to 1813 and 1815 there is no duty stations given.

In 1814 his station was New Orleans, at this time his last name was spelled Hereman.

In 1818-1826 he was stationed at the Naval Hospital of New Orleans.

In 1827-1829 he was on leave.

In 1830 was station at New Orleans waiting orders.

In 1831 He was Fleet Surgeon in the Mediterranean.

In 1832-33 he was on leave.

The year of 1833 is the list time he can found on the Rosters
His last name was also spelled Herman, Hereman.

I Posted the above Information at Rootsweb, and got a answer from a Christina Clark, who is part of the family, her information is just below. Mrs. Clark, is looking for more information on her family. If you have any information on this part of the family she would be glad to hear from you, she can be reached at the following.

Dr. Lewis Heermann from Kassel, Germany. He was in the US Navy 1802 to 1833 when he died in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was a surgeon for the US Navy who fought in the battle with the Barbary pirates along the north African coast. Later he urged congress to establish hospitals at naval bases. A destroyer ship called USS Heermann was named after him, and this ship was used in WWII to fight the Japanese. Lewis had a son named Adolphus Lewis Heermann who was a well known ornithologist/naturalist/doctor who discovered Heermann's gull. Somehow these two are related to my German grandfather, Dieter Blume. Also, there is another doctor from Germany related to my grandfather who died during the cholera epidemic in St. Louis, Missouri. One of his two daughters was my grandfather's grandmother.


Dr. Lewis Heerman give a deposition, on the event, you well find it very interesting to read.

PHILADELPHIA, April 27, 1828.

DEAR SIR: In compliance with the demand of the honorable the chairman of the Naval Committee of the Senate, “to prepare a written statement of all the particulars relative to the capture, &c., of the Philadelphia,” I do myself the honor herewith to enclose to you also, as chairman of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives, my testimony (to the best of my recollection and belief) of a series of incidents and facts ‘connected with that affair;” and as, in the acquittal, I have exceeded the bounds orignaI1y prescribed to myself as requisite, it is incumbent on me to state that the information derived “from documents” alluded to in the affidavit, and a strong sense of justice to my deceased companions in arms, has been the ruling motive.
I have the honor to be, with signal respect and esteem, dear sir, your very obedient servant, LEWIS HEERMANN.


On this twenty-sixth day of April, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-eight, before me, William Milnor, an alderman of the city of Philadelphia, and, ex-officio, a justice of the peace of the State of Pennsylvania, duly appointed and sworn, personally appeared Doctor Lewis Heermanu, a surgeon in the navy of the United States, who deposit upon oath: That having been chosen, in common with his brother officers, by the late Commodore Stephen Decatur, then a lieutenant commandant, to accompany him on an expedition which had the destruction of the late United States frigate Philadelphia for its object, then in possession of the enemy of the United States, and lying in the harbor of Tripoli, on the coast of Africa, he, the deponent, departed under the command of the said Stephen Decatur, from Syracuse, in Sicily, on. the third day of February, eighteen hundred and four, in his official capacity as surgeon of the late ketch, (taken a prize by the said Decatur, from the enemy,) and called the Intrepid, for this especial occasion, by the late Commodore Edward Preble, then commanding’ the Mediterranean squadron; also, that the United States brig Syren, Lieutenant Commandant Charles Stewart, sailed in company, for purposes connected with the expedition.

Deponent further declared that, in the pursuit of the above object, great uncertainty and continued hardships were experienced by the officers and crew of the Intrepid, as arising from an accidental supply of putrid provisions, the frail construction and small size of the vessel, with the occurrence of a severe gale, which, in disappointing early success, laid the foundation of apprehensions for eventual failure; the discovery by the enemy of an armed force having been anchored near the port being rendered more than probable.

That, at or before mid-day on the sixteenth of February, the town of Tripoli hove in sight; that, on the evening of the same day, under an unpromising aspect of the weather, a council of officers, held on board the ketch, came to the conclusion of anticipating the hour previously appointed (by Captains Stewart and Decatur conjointly) for entering the harbor: with a full understanding on their part that the aid of the Syren’s boats was necessarily forfeited by this new arrangement, and the safety of retreat out of the harbor placed exclusively at the risk of the officers and men who formed the complement of the Intrepid a bold measure the responsibility of which they justly appreciated, but under existing circumstances was considered a lesser evil than that which would have arisen from procrastination. That by stratagem, and not without difficulty, the ketch was laid alongside the frigate, at or about ten o’clock.

That under an irresistable impetus the assailants boarded and carried her, while Midshipman Thomas O. Anderson, with a crew detached from the brig Syren on the day before, took his assigned station in a boat, for the purpose of dispatching those of the enemy who might flee from the carnage of the boarders; as also to give notice of and attack any of the enemy’s force that might approach the ship. That deponent, according to prior arrangement, was placed simultaneously in command of the Intrepid, with orders suitable to the occasion; that “look-outs” were stationed by him to observe any movement in the harbor, and guard against surprise. That the same precautionary vigilance adopted on board the frigate formed one of the fundamental measures of security, as was proved in the instance of one of the “look-outs,” (believed to have been stationed on the starboard bow of the Philadelphia,) reporting in quick succession the approach of enemy’s boats, and their retreat, with an interval of time just sufficient to execute the order which grew out of it “of killing all prisoners,” and draw from the ketch part of a supply of ammunition, small arms, and pikes, for the defense of the ship.

That after the hasty retreat of the boats, attributable to the sudden illumination of the gun-deck at this juncture by the lighted candles of the boarders, combustibles were handed on board, a part of which had been received on board the ketch at Syracuse, (where some had been prepared and others purchased,) and a part from the brig Syren after leaving port. That the systematic arrangement of the plan, embracing every contingency licident to the boarding, capturing, and firing the ship, having been formed with consummate skill and foresight, the execution of these objects with the greatest regularity, consumed a smaller space of time that could possibly be imagined. That the boarding officers and crew, literally chased from below deck, were pursued by the flames to the ketch, and herself from the unavoidable difficulty of getting from alongside, was well nigh enveloped.

That to obviate this calamity various and well directed efforts were made without effect, until at last her boats being got ahead, and her rigging, &c., claeared, she was successfully towed out of the influence of the current of air that with great violence rushed from every side towards the flames, which, issuing from the hatchways and seizing the rigging from below to two of the mast-heads then standing, played also most furiously from every gun-port and scupper-hole athwart the ketch. That in the momentary confusion that preceded this escape, the frigate’s boat, which had been captured alongside and the crew killed by Mr. T. O. Anderson’s party at the commencement of the action, got adrift, and the enemy’s flag of the frigate being also lost, left no trophy in possession save one Tripolitan, who toward the close of operations was made prisoner by deponent. That the whooping and screaming of the enemy, on being boarded and defeated, drew an almost instantaneous and continued fire of small arms from two xebecs lying near; and that after throwing a rocket by Captain Decatur, which was done immediately upon possession being had of the ship, a brisk cannonade commenced, arid was kept up from the castle and other batteries.

That, by means of towing, (exclusively by one or both of her boats, ) sweeps inboard, and sails set, the ketch made good her retreat, and had arrived at the rocks forming the outermost boundary of the harbor, when. she was met by the Syren’s boats, who, in being so much nearer at hand than had been calculated on, surprised the nautical officers of the Intrepid quite as much as had the inquiry of the cap- tam of the Philadelphia, before boarding her, “respecting the vessel astern” meaning the brig’ Syren; and proving that, notwithstanding great distance in the offing during daylight, she had been noticed. That, ere this time, the frigate’s guns ad commenced discharging, and those of the enemy now slackened their lire; that now, also, the breeze freshened, and, shortly after, increased considerably, but being fair, made good weather of it.

That, some time after midnight, the ketch joined company with the Syren, then under way, and at a distance in the offing: and that the two vessels reached Syracuse on or about the nineteenth of the same month. Deponent also states that, after the perusal of documents accompanying a report bearing the number 201, of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives, made at the present session, being the first of the twentieth Congress, he feels himself bound likewise to declare, under oath, that in frequent converse and common parlance with the officers of the brig Syren, on the incidents of the expedition, he never heard any pretensions advanced by them, or either of them, to any agency or cooperation whatever in the consummation of the enterprise within the harbor; and moreover, that nothing did ever transpire, in his intercourse with the officers of that vessel, or those of any other vessel in the squadron, which could have kd to an anticipation of the painful necessity to defend, at this date, the entire and undivided credit, acquired nearly one-fourth of a century ago, by the officers and crew of the late ketch Intrepid, and consecrated no less by official records than the concurrent testimony of a multitude of gallant officers, now no more.
LEWIS HEERMANN, M D., Surgeon U. S. Navy.

Sworn and subscribed before me, this 26th day of April, eighteen hundred and twenty-eight. WILLIAM MILNOR, Alderman, and, ex-officio, Justice of the Peace.

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