William Tilghman, Civilian Ship's Cook, (in service 1861)
Name also spelled William Tillman



William Tilghman was serving as cook on board the American schooner S.J. Waring when she was captured by the Confederate Privateer Jefferson Davis at sea off the U.S. east coast on 7 July 1861. While she was en route to a Confederate port on 16 July, Tilghman, who as an African-American had every reason to fear for his future in Southern hands, used an axe to kill the prize crew and recapture the vessel. He then took S.J. Waring to New York City, where he received a hero's welcome. Reportedly, he later was given a six-thousand dollar award for his actions.

Click photograph for a larger image

Photo #: NH 59404

"The Attack on the Second Mate."


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 1861, depicting the recapture of the schooner S.J. Waring on 16 July 1861.
S.J. Waring had been captured by the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis in the Atlantic on 6 July 1861. Ten days later, her African-American cook, William Tilghman, overwhelmed and killed her Confederate prize crew with an ax. He brought her into New York on 22 July 1861.

NHHC Photograph

Online Image: 166KB; 740 x 585

 
Photo #: NH 58895

"Schooner 'S.J. Waring', Recaptured from the Pirates by the Negro Wm. Tillman."


Line engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", 3 August 1861.
The civilian schooner S.J. Waring was captured by the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis in the Atlantic off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, on 6 July 1861. On 16 July, William Tilghman, the cook in her original crew, overwhelmed and killed her Confederate prize crew with an ax, recapturing the vessel. He brought her into New York on 22 July 1861.

NHHC Photograph

Online Image: 130KB; 580 x 675

 


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