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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Pickering

 

Timothy Pickering, born at Salem, Mass., 17 July 1745, graduated from Harvard in 1763. He fought in the American Revolution as a colonel in the Massachusetts militia in 1775, served as adjutant-general of Washington’s army in 1777, as a member of the Board of War from 1777 to 1780, and as Quartermaster General from 1780 to 1783. Appointed Secretary of War in 1795, he promoted the construction ofthe American frigates that fought so well against Britain in the War of 1812. From August 1795 to 1800 he was Secretary of State. He served in the Senate from 1803 to 1811 and in the House from 1813 to 1817. He died at Salem, Mass., 29 January 1829.

 

(RC: dp. 187; l. 77’; b. 20’; dr. 9’; cpl. 70; a. 14 4-pdr.)

 

Brig Pickering was built at Newburyport, Mass. in 1798 for the Revenue Service, Captain Jonathan Chapman, USRCS in command. Taken into the Navy in July at the outbreak of the Quasi-War with France, she departed Boston on her first cruise 22 August.

 

In 1799 and the early part of 1800 she was with Commodore Barry’s squadron in the West Indies. Lieutenant Edward Preble commanded Pickering from January through June 1799. It was during this period that she fought a notable engagement with the French privateer L’Egypte Conquise. The Frenchman was well fitted out and manned to capture Pickering. Against her 14 9-pdrs., 4 6-pdrs., and crew of 250, the cutter had only 14 4-pdrs. and seventy men. But after a nine-hour battle, the larger ship surrendered.

 

Pickering was permanently transferred to the Navy 20 May and Master Commandant Benjamin Hillar, USN, assumed command in June. She continued to cruise in the West Indies, and before her return to the United States she captured four French privateers.

 

She departed Boston 10 June 1800. Ordered to join the squadron of Commodore Thomas Truxton on the Guadeloupe Station, West Indies, she sailed from Newcastle, Del. 20 August, but was never heard from again. She is supposed to have been lost with all hands in a gale that September.