Living in Close Quarters

Compared to modern frigates that are 400 feet long and displace 4,000 tons, an 18th Century frigate is really small. They were around 120 – 130 feet long, had a beam around 35 feet, drew 12 feet of water and displaced 650 – 700 tons. They carried 28 – 36 cannon...

Life Aboard an 18th Century Frigate

Just like it is today, going to sea on either an 18th Century merchant ship or a warship in either the Royal or Continental Navy was not for everyone. The framers of the workplace regulations for OSHA would be apoplectic if they saw men walking 70 feet above the deck...

Prize Money – War, Patriotism and Instant Wealth

One of the fastest legal ways to make a fortune in the 17th and 18th century was through prize money. In the U.K., captured merchant ships and their cargoes were sold at auctions run by Admiralty Prize Courts. Countries who issued letters of marque had similar...

Continental Navy Sailors – We Paid Them How Much?

Right after the Revolution began, the Continental Congress began issuing a currency called dollars. Rather than use a decimal system, the smallest unit was 1/6th of a dollar. The largest bill was $80. To complicate matters, each of the 13 colonies issued their own...