whaling ship Sally of New Bedford


of New Bedford


     Sally was built in Wethersfield, Connecticut, in 1803. The ship was 222 tons, 85 1/2' long, 25' 5" wide and 12' 1/2" deep. It was registered for the first time in New Bedford in August 1804 under the ownership of John Howland, William Rotch, Jr. and Thomas Hazard, Jr. Sally had 2 decks, 3 masts, a square stern and a female figurehead. Rotch and Hazard continued as owners of the ship through 1812. When it was registered in 1810, John Howland was no longer an owner, but James Arnold was the third partner.1

voyage #1: (crew list) The ship left New Bedford about 29 July 1808.2 No report of her has been found until December 1809, when whaler Maria placed her off the coast of Peru with 900 barrels of oil.2.1 The next report found is also the last, when Sally arrived in New Bedford.2.2 The ship left the coast of Peru about 30 March and arrived home on the 16th of August. Coming north throught the Atlantic, Sally was very close to the coast of Brazil. Just north of the port of Recife she encounterd the London ship Mary, which was armed, but not called a warship of any kind. After firing shots at Sally Capt. Clark raised his flags, as was customary, but the English vessel "still continued firing with swivel and musket until the colors were hauled down." Mary came aside, still shooting, and the captain called Clark a "damned rascal" (which the Mercury called "very abusive language") for not "setting his colors," which referred to the raising of the flags. The shooting stopped and the English ship's lieutenant came aboard Sally for an hour before she was allowed to continue. This account indicates odd and random behavior by the English crew, which were likely intent only on harassing American shipping, sense aside. This practice was widespread at the time as the War of 1812 approached. The next trip of Sally was less dramatic but more traumatic for the crew and owners of the ship. The safe return to New Bedford in 1810 assured them profits, but they got none two years later.

voyage #2: (crew list) Sally was cleared for sailing to the Pacific between the 9th and the 16th of November 1810.2.3 No report of her has been found until newspapers covered her capture by a British sloop-of-war in the Atlantic east of Baltimore. For more details, see John Briggs' biography page. The ship and it's 1650 barrels of oil were taken to Bermuda as war prizes, amounting to a major loss for all Americans with an interest in Sally. "Rotch and Hazard" were listed as the owners, very likely referring to Thomas Hazard, a prominent New Bedford Friend. He may have been a co-owner earlier. Ship registers for Sally need to be researched.



1. Ship Registers of New Bedford, Massachusetts, vol. I (Boston:1940), p. 284.
2. date of the crewlist at NARA, Northeast Region (Boston, MA) is 29 July, which usually also indicates the departure date, or nearly so. There is no shipping report in 29 July issue of The New Bedford Mercury (hereafter NBM). The 5 August issue, p. 3, says the ship had been cleared to sail, but that could have covered the previous two weeks.
2.1. NBM, 11 May 1810, p. 3.
2.2. Ibid, 17 Aug 1810, p. 3; Old Colony Gazette, same date and page.
2.3. Ibid, 16 Nov 1810, p. 3.
3. The New Bedford Mercury, 21 Nov 1817, p. 3.
4. crew lists, NARA, Northeast Region (Boston, MA); The New Bedford Mercury, 16 Jan 1818, p. 3.



John Briggs shipping record
John Briggs biography page
Doug Sinclair's Archives site index
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all text and photographs © 1998-2008 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted
title image from a crewlist at The National Archives & Records Administration, Northeast Region (Boston, MA)