From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships


A former name retained.

(Whaler: t. 338; cpl. 25; a. 10 guns)

Prize ship Greenwich was a whaler cruising as a letter-of-marque ship and was captured off the Galapagos Islands by Essex, Lt. David Porter, 28 May 1813. Porter converted her to a storeship and placed her under the command of Lt. John M. Gamble, of the Marine Corps. Greenwich cruised with Essex off South America until 3 October 1813 when the ships departed for the Marquesas Islands for overhaul and provisioning.

Upon his arrival in the Marquesas, Porter erected a fort on what he called Madison Island, and before leaving for Chile 12 December placed prizes Greenwich, Seringapatam and Sir Andrew Hammond under the protection of its guns. Soon after Porter's departure, Gamble, who was left in charge, was forced to land a detachment to quiet the threatening natives.

Lieutenant Gamble, despairing of Porter's return, began to prepare for departure from the islands in April 1814 by rigging Seringapatam and Sir Andrew Hammond for sea. Evidence of an impending mutiny was discovered and although Gamble transferred all ammunition to Greenwich as a precaution, the mutineers attacked and captured Seringapatam 7 May 1814, wounding Gamble. Two days later the determined officer attempted to get Sir Andrew Hammond to sea, but was attacked again, losing four of his men.

His entire party now reduced to eight men, only four of whom were fit for duty, Gamble finally put to sea in Sir Andrew Hammond and made the 2,000-mile voyage to the Sandwich Islands without a chart, only to be captured there by the British 19 June 1814. Greenwich was burned by Gamble before he departed the Marquesas.

Transcribed by Yves HUBERT (