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CHESTERFIELD (44) 5th rate Built in 1745, Rotherhithe.
Foundered in 1762.

  • 1745 "On 31st. October was launched at Mr Bird's Dock at Rotherhithe, his Majesty's Ship the Chesterfield, of 44 guns, the Command whereof is given to the Hon. Capt. Gordon, late Commander of His Majesty's Ship Sheerness." In June 1748 she carried St. Elmo. a Spanish privateer of 10 guns and 30 men, into Madeira. This privateer had captured the Mary, Phinaker, from Rhode Is. to Madeira within reach of the guns, but the prize was detained in port by the Portuguese for the English.
  • 1747 Capt. O'Brien DUDLEY, promoted out of the ROSE frigate, Coast of Africa.
  • On 15th. October 1748 Capt. Dudley, who was ashore at Cape Coast
  • Castle with some of his officers, sent off his barge to the 1st. lieutenant, Samuel Couchman, ordering him to send the cutter on shore with the boatswain, Mr Gastril, to see the tents struck, and everything belonging to the ship carried on board that night; but Couchman ordered the barge to be hoisted in, and the boatswain to turn all the hands to the quarter deck, where COUCHMAN, coming from his cabin with a drawn sword said, "Here I am, God damn me, I will stand by you, while I have a drop of blood in my body." He was accompanied by the lieutenant of marines, John Morgan; the carpenter, Thomas KNIGHT; his mate, John Place, and about 30 seamen with cutlasses. They then gave three huzzas and threw their hats overboard. Couchman then sent for the boatswain, to know if he would stand by him, and go with him. He replied "No," and said, "For God's sake, sir, be ruled by reason, and consider what you are about." Couchman then threatened to put him in irons if he did not join with him; but the boatswain told him he never would, in such piratical designs. He was then put in custody. Couchman then sent for Mr Gilham, one of the mates, and made the same speech to him. Asked where he was bound, the lieutenant replied that "To take, burn and sink, and settle a colony in the East Indies." Five or six were put into custody with the boatswain, but in the middle of the night Couchman sent for them into the great cabin, desiring them to sit and drink punch before dismissing them. The next day the boatswain was invited to dinner by the lieutenant, who began to rail against Capt. Dudley, and asked him and one of the mates what they thought of the affair? The boatswain replied that he thought it rank piracy, on which Couchman said, "What I have done, I cannot now go from, I was forced to it by the ship's company." The boatswain then told him, "That would be no sanction for his running away with the king's ship." The carpenter and the lieutenant then proposed their signing a paper, to which the boatswain replied, "He never would and would sooner suffer death." The mate said the same. When he left the great cabin he went to see the gunner, who was confined to his cabin with sickness, after he told him that Couchman's party had taken possession of the ship's arm, he said that he could furnish him with twenty pistols. By this time, the mates, Mr Gilham and Mr Frasier, the gunner's mate and yeoman, with the cockswain of the barge had come to them and the boatswain communicated his design of recovering the ship that very night and to this they all agreed. It was now 10 PM and very dark when the boatswain went to sound the ship's company. He found some 30 men on the forecastle and, in a plain but prudent manner disclosed the secret and soon convinced them of both the facility and necessity of putting his scheme immediately into practice. The first step was to get up all the bilboes, or leg-irons, on the forecastle and the twenty pistols were then all loaded. Those without arms were to stay by the bilboes and secure as many prisoners as he should send. Dividing his small company into two parties, one going down the main, the other the fore, hatchway, they soon secured eleven or twelve of the ringleaders, and sent them up to the forecastle without the least noise. The two parties then joined and went directly to the great cabin, where they secured Couchman, the lieutenant of marines, and the carpenter.
  • Back in England a court martial was convened on board his majesty's ship INVINCIBLE at Portsmouth, commencing on June 26th. 1749 and ending on July 1. President Vice-Ad. Sir Edward Hawke.
  • On the first day Capt. O'Brien Dudley was tried for neglect of duty, in keeping a number of his officers on shore at Cape Coast Castle. He was honourably acquitted of the charge. On the 28th. and 30th. Sam. Couchman and John Morgan were charged with exciting and encouraging mutiny and running away with a king's ship. They were found guilty and sentenced to be shot, the execution taking place on July 14th.
  • Thomas Knight, carpenter; Henry Haymes, Capt.'s cook; John Place, carpenter's mate; William Meeks, Robert Poor, William Anderson and Thomas Scott, seamen; Wm. Dumbleton, poulterer and John Read, quarter-master, were all condemned and hanged, except for Meeks, Poor and Dumbleton, who were reprieved at the last moment as they were standing with the halters round their necks.
  • Mathias Kitchen, Wm. Burges, Benj. Arwood and Benj. Bettis, marines; John Birmingham and Thomas Naish, sail-maker's mates; Thomas Ducie and Walter Barber, seamen; John Bennet, armorer's mate and Alex. Cowey, midshipman, were all acquitted.
  • Several letters were handed about including one from Place which upbraided Couchman with having been the murderer of those who were condemned with him. "I freely forgive you, tho' you are the cause of my death." Couchman replied with a single sentence "You will die like a villain." There was also a copy of a letter containing some charges against the captain who was not employed again.
  • 1749 Capt. James CAMPBELL, appointed on 26 January.
  • 1758 Capt. Herbert SAWYER, appointed on 26th. December, he shortly after removed to the ACTIVE frigate.
  • 1759 Capt. John SCAIFE, appointed on 22nd February. At the end of 1761 he was ordered to New York. He sailed from there on 11 June 1762 in company with the INTREPID and 15 sail of transports having on board troops intended to reinforce the army engaged in the siege of the Havana. On the 24th. July the CHESTERFIELD and four of the convoy ran on Cayo Comsite at the entrance to the Old Strait of Bahama on the Cuba side an hour before daybreak. All the lives were saved but the ships were lost.

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