On an evening in 1814. H.M. Packet HINCHINBROOKE, successfully fought off the American Privateer Bring GRAND TURK. GRAND TURK was the third to wear this name; the second as a privateer, following after Elias Haskett Derby's famous privateer of the American Revolution, a three-masted ship of 28 guns and 120 men. Bentham-Dinsdale's excellent portrayal of the encounter is a perfect example of the intersection of history and legend, as he shows the British record that it was the much larger Revolutionary War's GRAND TURK that HINCHINBROOKE turned back, and not the more closely matched privateer brig.
GRAND TURK (III) was build in Wiscasset, Maine as a 300-ton vessel on spec, and was offered through an advertisement in the Salem GAZETTE on Sept. 8th, 1812. Twenty-seven Salem parties, and one each from Boston and Marblehead invested in the brig, and armed her to protect their shipping interests and to profit from the warfare where possible. HINCHINBROOKE was built in 1813 for the Falmouth Packet Service of Capt. James & Company.
After a two-hour pursuit, complete with maneuvers and some small arms fire, a successful broadside rake from the HINCHINBROOKE disabled GRAND TURK and the pursuit of a British mail-carrier was brought to an end. Still, the American brig had a successful career as a privateer during the War of 1812, capturing more than 28 prizes and is recorded as, "unquestionably one of the most successful private armed vessels of the War of 1812." GRAND TURK sold to the shipping interests of William Gray of Salem in 1815. This fine, detailed work by Bentham-Dinsdale skillfully honors the action of his British countrymen.
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