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RACOON Built in 1808, Yarmouth.
Convict ship in 1819.
Sold in 1838.

  • 1808 James WELSH, 07/1808, Coast of Africa.
  • 1811 William BLACK, Jamaica.
  • 1812 Ditto, Portsmouth.
  • On 6 July 1813 RACOON sailed from Rio de Janeiro with the 36-gun frigate PHOEBE, Capt. James HILYAR, and the sloop CHERUB (18) Capt. TUCKER, and accompanied them round Cape Horn, with the ISAAC TODD, a Northwest Company vessel, under convoy to Juan Fernandez where they rendezvoused after being separated by the stress of weather.
    The little flotilla had sailed in response to pressure in London from the Montreal based Northwest Co.
    which, by representing the presence of John Jacob Astor's Pacific Fur Co.
    at Astoria on the Columbia River as an American threat, had persuaded the Royal Navy to try and capture the base of their rival, but PHOEBE and CHERUB diverted to search for Capt. PORTER'S ESSEX, which they located at Valparaiso, and only RACOON went on to the Columbia.
    John M'Donald, a partner in the Northwest Company, who had embarked as a passenger in PHOEBE, transferred to RACOON where he continued the talk, which had so influenced London, of the immense booty in prize money that awaited them at Astoria.
    En route the guns, which had not been fired since they left Rio, were fired and reloaded and M'Donald followed the first lieutenant round as this was done.
    At the tenth gun on the starboard side the priming, taking fire, communicated with the bags of powder for reloading over the gun and the resulting explosions passed from gun to gun, badly burning the men of the gun's crews.
    20 were wounded, including M'Donald, and 8 killed.
  • Meanwhile, on 7 October 1813, about 75 Canadians in canoes led by a Mr M'Tavish, the nephew of a partner in the NW Co., Mr Angus Shaw, arrived down river to bring the Americans the news that ships would soon arrive to "take and destroy everything American on the Northwest coast." He proposed that the Northwest Co.
    should purchase all the assets of Mr Astor at Astoria to save them from seizure.
    Mr M'Dougal of the Pacific Fur Co.
    agreed to the arrangement and the assets were passed over for about a third of their value.
    Mr M'Dougal became a member of the Northwest Co.
    shortly after.
  • When Capt. BLACK doubled Cape Disappointment and anchored in Baker's Bay on 30 November he was met by M'Dougal who, not knowing the identity of the vessel, had instructed the men in his canoe to be ready to pass themselves off as either Americans or Englishmen.
    M'Tavish meanwhile had taken two barges of furs 3 miles up river to wait at Tongue Point.
    M'Dougal was not well received; Capt. BLACK and his people had expected an important fortress with suitable prize money for its reduction, now they felt they had been duped by the business men.
    The following day BLACK landed and took possession of Astoria in the name of his Britannic Majesty, renaming it Fort George.
  • If Astoria had been captured it would have been restored to Mr Astor at the peace, but since it had been legally sold to a British company he had no claim, although he pursued it through the courts for three decades.
    Astoria is now as city of some 10,000 people in the state of Oregon.
  • (Based on information from Angela Gottfred of the North West Journal, a quarterly publication of the North West Brigade Club of re-enactors, historians and educators. See http://www.telusplanet.net/public/gottfred/nwj.html)
  • 1814 Ditto, Brazils and Lima, 16 July.
  • 1815 Capt. Alexander MONTGOMERIE, Brazil.
  • 1816 Capt. John Cook CARPENTER, Cape of Good Hope.
  • 1817 Capt. Robert Worgan.
    FESTING, Cape of Good Hope.
  • 1818 James WALLIS, who was promoted to post captain RACOON on 26 Nov.
  • 1817 Out of PODARGUS, Cape of Good Hope.
  • 1820 Hospital convict ship at Portsmouth.
  • Sold August 1838.

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