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I am researching William Bolton Finch (he changed his name to to William Compton Bolton later in life) (?-1849) of the US Navy in the early part of the 1800's. I know he was involved in the War of 1812. Here is one mention of him.

On the 12th of Dec, 1812 in the South Atlantic the USS Essex captured its second British prize, the Nocton, a government packet with a crew of thirty one men bound for Falmouth. She had fifty five thousand dollars in specie on board. This treasure and her crew were transferred to the Essex and Lieutenant Finch, afterward Captain William Compton Bolton, with a crew of seventeen men was directed to go to the United States with her. She was re-captured by a British frigate between Bermuda and the Capes of Virginia.

But I have found nothing on the www about the re-capture of the Nocton. Does anyone have a summary of the re-capture of the Nocton? What happened to Finch and his prize crew? When was the Nocton re-captured? I know Finch was later involved in a decise battle on Lake Ontario on Sept. 18, 1813, so he was not held prisoner.


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Sorry, never mind. I found my answer. I found a letter from Finch to the Secretary of the Navy:

New York
February 13th. 1813
.....In consideration of her bearing the character of a King's vessel and well calculated
to supply the loss of the Nautilus Capt. Porter I believe was induced at
that distance to dispatch her for the Umted States-
Havin reached the Lat. 31°. 30' N and Longe. 66°. W whiie lying too (at day
light on the Morning of Jany. 5th) with the Wind from the Westward a large sail
was descried on our Weather beam- I immediately bore up made N. carried
sail through heavy squalls from her but to my mortification perceived my
chance of escape hopeless- and after a chace of three hours and twenty mmutes
the frigate Belvidera going at the rate of Eleven Knots and an half ranged
alongside and took possession of me having in the chace sprung her mizen cap
& Topmast badly and necessitated in consequence to furl her mizen top sall--
I shall report myself to Como. Decatur and await your further orders and If
consistent request permission to proceed to Washn. . .
I regret that I am necessitated to conclude my letter by informing you of the
detention of one of the prize crew as a French-man-who has been sent to french
prison at Halifax- I could receive no other satisfaction by remonstrance than the
assurance that all recognized as frenchmen would be detained."


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