Liverpool Packet 1812-1814

Probably the most successful Canadian privateer ever. Sometimes nicknamed "The Black Joke", she was an ex-slave ship taken by the Royal Navy just before the War of 1812. When hostilities began she put to sea as a privateer as soon as a commission became available and quickly earned a reputation as a fast and successful prowler off Cape Cod, Boston and other American ports. She was captured briefly by the Americans during the war, but soon retaken by the British and returned to cruising under her old name. The success of this tiny raider caused hysterical fear in American ports where newspapers, in anger and fear, often exagerated her success (sometimes crediting her with up to 200 captures!) She was sold after the war to owners in Kingston Jamaica and her subsequent fate is not known.
Crew: 40
Tonnage: 67
Rig: Topsail Schooner
Armament: 5 guns (one 6 pdr and two 4 pdr cannon plus two 12 pdr carrondes)
Homeport: Liverpool
Letter of Marque Issued: Aug. 20, 1812
Captains: Thomas Freeman (1812), Joseph Barss Jnr. (1812-1813), Caleb Seely (1813-1815) and Lewis Knaut (1814)
Owners: Enos Collins, John Allision, and Joseph Barss
Prizes Taken: 50

Sources: Letters of Marque at National Archives of Canada RG 8 IV Vol. 140 and Public Archives of Nova Scotia MG 20 Vol. 701 #21, #22, #23; "The Fortunes of War" by Faye Kert, MA Thesis Carleton University 1986.

Text of Liverpool Packet's 1813 Letter of Marque

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Copyright Dan Conlin 1997 Modified July 1, 1998