Christeen, High Land of, off
(of Christeen River)
Skirmish, *Pennsylvania galleys & schooner Wasp vs. HMS Roebuck & Liverpool, 8 May 1776
Where: 39.7159465 -75.5121424 Christina River, mouth
Maps: [map notes]
- Gardner W. Allen, A Naval History Of The American Revolution, chapter 5, Boston, Houghton, 1913.
The British man-of-war Roebuck, 44, cruised about the Virginia and Delaware capes from the middle of March until June. May 5, in company with the Liverpool, 28, and a number of tenders and prizes, she came up Delaware Bay. On the 8th these vessels were met below Chester by thirteen Pennsylvania galleys and an engagement followed which lasted all the afternoon. The Continental schooner Wasp, Captain Alexander, came out of Christiana Creek, into which she had been driven the day before by the British, and recaptured one of their prizes - a brig. The Roebuck was considerably injured in her rigging and, in attempting to get near the galleys, grounded on a shoal; the Liverpool anchored near by for her protection. During the night the Roebuck got off and the British dropped down the river. The galleys followed and another action took place. An American prisoner, impressed on board the Roebuck, says that the galleys "attacked the men-of-war the second day with more courage and conduct [and] the Roebuck received many shots betwixt wind and water; some went quite through, some in her quarter, and was much raked fore and aft . . . During the engagement one man was killed by a shot which took his arm almost off. Six were much hurt and burned by an eighteen-pound cartridge of powder taking fire, among whom was an acting lieutenant." (Am. Arch., IV, vi, 810.) The British ships then retreated. In his official report to the admiral the captain of the Roebuck says: "On the 5th of May I took the Liverpool with me, sailed up the River as far as Wilmington, where I was attacked in a shallow part of the River by thirteen Row Gallies attended by several FireShips and Launches, which in two long Engagements I beat off and did my utmost to destroy . . . After having fully executed what I had in view, I returned to the Capes the 15th." (Brit. Adm. Rec., A. D. 487, November 28, 1776.)
- Mary Barney, A Biographical Memoir of the Late Commodore Joshua Barney: From Autographical Notes and Journals, 1832, Gray and Bowen:
He enters onboard the
Schooner Wasp, Captain Alexander.--- Encounter with the Enemy.---The
Wasp is driven into Wilmington Creek.--- Gallant Achievement of her Commander.
assisted by Barney, while there. ---Action of two days between the
Philadelphia Row-Galleys, and the Uritish Frigates Roebuck and Liverpool. ---
Barney volunteers to bring a disabled Galley into action. --- The Enemy
are driven below Newcastle.
- Thomas Jones Rogers, A New American Biographical Dictionary:, p.39, 1824:
In 1776, Barney embarked in the schooner Wasp, under
orders of captain Charles Alexander, a brave Scotchman,
... they convoyed off the coast the vessel in which Dr.
3Franklin was going to Europe. The Wasp returned into Cape May channel with great hazard, as the English ships
Roeburk of forty-four guns, and Liverpool of twenty-eight
guns, lay in the roads. As the Wasp returned up the bay she
was chased by the Roebuck and Liverpool, but she got into
Wilmington [Christiana] creek. The next morning several row gallies
went down from Philadelphia, under commodore Hazlewood,
and attacked the British ships. The captain of the Wasp
took advantage of the cannonade to come out. and he attacked
and took the brig Tender, from the British, although under the
guns of the enemy. The Americans took her into a port of New
Jersey. This little affair was thought a bold one; but they
had afterwards harder fighting, for getting under the enemy's
guns in a fog. they with difficulty succeeded in joining the
galleys, which fought all day. Barney joined one of the vessels
which wanted hands, and had his share of fighting. He
was now sent on board the sloop Sachem, then fitting out, as
commanding officer, and he was complimented for his conduct
on the Delaware, by Robert Morris, president of the
Marine Committee, who presented him with a lieutenant's
commission. He was not seventeen years of age.
- J. Kirkpatrick Flack, ed., Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., 1911, The Society, p.77-80.
- listing for May 1776:
5/8/1776 off the High Land of Christeen, Delaware River, Province Sloop HMS Roebuck. Draw.
Confidence level:: See above.