From the shores of Long Island Sound to the high seas of the West Indies, against British warships and letters of marque, Samuel Smedley left a stream of smoke and blood as he took prisoners and prizes alike.
At twenty-three years old, the Fairfield, Connecticut native enlisted as a lieutenant of marines on the state ship Defence during the American Revolution. Less than a year later he was her captain, scouring the seas for British prey. Smedley survived smallpox, a devastating shipwreck, was captured twice and escaped from prison, only to lose everything he owned.
Thoroughly researched and fully referenced, Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer will appeal to Rev War scholars, nautical-history buffs, and pirate and privateer fans alike by taking them inside Connecticut’s maritime war. In a state beset on three sides by enemy forces, Smedley ran the British blockade of New London and battled loyalists off the beaches of his hometown. And while he twice commanded crews of “gentleman volunteers” — privateers — Smedley learned his profession onboard the state ship Defence. But was there really a difference between the state navy and the privateers who fought for profit?
With Smedley at the helm, what began “for the Defence of the sea-coasts” of Connecticut soon transformed into something else.
“Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, but often it’s more exciting, too.” — Connecticut Magazine
“It takes a deep dive into the life and adventures of this colorful figure who was a key local player in the late 1700s.” — Fairfield Sun
“Captivating and refreshing to read.” — Bill Lee, Municipal Historian Emeritus, Fairfield, Connecticut
“Filled with adventure, compassion, and intrigue, this book reads almost as an epic action-romance, rather than the real life struggles of a single man.” — Eric Guignard, author and editor