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The Legacy of David Cutler Braddock

Born in the year 1717 in Southold to Captain  John Braddick and Mary Cutler, I  grew up on Long Island, breeding ground in colonial days of superb mariners. My father was a notable mariner in New England waters as had been my grandfather, also Captain John Braddick. My mother's father, a surgeon, had come from Holland to Hingham, MA in the mid-1600's and had changed his name from Johannes DeMesmaker to its English equivilent, John Cutler. Grandfather Cutler served in the local militia and fought against the Indians in Prince Philip's War. I haven't wasted the maritime and fighter legacy I received from them nor the experience I gained in apprenticeship upon the decks of my father’s vessels, as my record of exploits will clearly testify:

11/1740 By the time I was twenty-three, I was serving as first mate on merchant ship "Ancona" hauling a cargo of rice from  Carolina to England when she was captured by Spanish privateers and taken into St. Augustine.

1/31/1741 I escaped from the Spanish fortress in St. Augustine, Castillo San de Marcos, and made my way to Fort Frederica on St. Simon’s Island. The affidavit I made at Fort Frederica of my capture and escape is preserved in Colonial Records of Georgia..

7/17/1741 Gen. James Oglethorpe, leader of Georgia, sent me to Charles Town with orders to purchase a schooner capable of carrying Ninety men, two nine-pounders, four six pounders, and swivel guns. The orders included instructions for me to recruit a crew for the vessel, which I would command in defending the Georgia Coast.

3/6/1742 As reported in the South Carolina Gazette, I returned today from a mission in Florida with a party of Indians. Our mission was to capture prisioners. We brought back with us three scalps and five Spaniards.

6/1742 I commanded the Schooner "Norfolk" in helping repel a Spanish invasion of St. Simons and was in the fleet that chased the enemy back to St. Augustine where we bombarded Castillo de San Marcos.

9/1742 Because of the abilities and bravery I displayed against the invading Spanish fleet, Captain William Lyford Sr., commander-in-chief of South Carolina's two half galley's, gave me command of one of them, the "Beaufort."

11/7/1742 I married my commander’s daughter, Mary Lyford.

12/1742 Several other captains and I successfully petitioned for monetary retribution for slaves who served on our vessels during the Spanish attempted invasion.

1742/1746 I made numerous cruises along the Southern coast to keep an eye on Spanish activities. Part of this time my vessel was stationed in a small cove at the southern point of Hilton Head Island. The cove and the point have had my name ever since.

1/28/1743 My commander, Captain William Lyford Sr.--also my father-in-law--and I successfully petitioned for better pay and rations for the crewmen under our command.

5/1745 I successfully defended myself before the governor’s council against false charge that I had conspired to trade with the Spanish at St. Augustine.

1/27/1747 I received a grant in Georgia for 500 acres on the Ogeechee River outside Savannah and became a privateer.

9/26/1747 As records in the Bahamas archives will show,  the privateer “Viper,” which I commanded, captured a Spanish vessel appraised at 12,500 British pounds.

11/6/1747 The same records will show that the “Viper” captured another Spanish prize valued at 1,050 pounds.

3/25/1748 The same records show that the Isabella, under my command, captured a Spanish prize valued at 15,000 pounds.

1/10/1749 As a councilman in Georgia's Trustee government, I was--I am now sorry to say--one of many who signed a letter to the king in England seeking approval for slavery, which had been banned in Georgia since its founding in 1733.

1/1751 I was named in a letter to Georgia's secretary in England as the man on whom the colony should rely to solve navigation problems of the Savannah River.

8/17/1752 I was involved in a variety of maritime ventures. One was commercial shipping. As reported in the South Carolina Gazette, my vessel was captured by a Spanish privateer while on a voyage to England and taken into Mexico.

1/1754 I acted as pilot of British man-of-war "Shoreham" while she was on station in the Caribbean.

1754/1756 Shipping records in the British Public Records Office  show I was engaged in commercial shipping between Caribbean islands and the mainland.

11/1/1756 With a new privateer, "Cockspur," I drew up a privateering contract with several others and immediately captured a French ship in the Savannah River.

12/1756 While in the area on a privateering expedition, I made a chart of the Florida Keys which will one day be in the Library of Congress. As naturalist and explorer Barnard Romans will write in a book he will publish in 1776, I am generally acknowledged as being the first Englishman to explore Tampa Bay. To see the chart, click here:

5/12/1757 Even the best of sea-fighters occasionally meet their match:  The South Carolina Gazette reported, "On Monday arrived Capt. Roberts from Providence, by whom we have the following advices, viz. . . . That a Virginia Privateer had sent in there a Rhode Island Vessel laden with Horses, Provisions, etc. which she took just entering a French Port, That this vessel had spoke with the "Cockspur" Privateer, of Georgia, commanded by Capt. David Cutler Braddock, who had 5 Hours Engagement with, and several Times boarded, a French Privateer Schooner, of superior force off Cape Francois, which killed 3 of his Men and wounded several more, and so terribly maul'd the "Cockspur" that while they repaired her Sails and Rigging the Frenchman escaped and got safe into the Cape;  Braddock soon after met with some New York Privateers, who supplied him with everything he stood in need of. "

2/10/1758 A little setback such as this did not daunt me. With a new privateer, "King of Prussia," I was granted a letter-of-marque by the Court of Vice Admiralty at Savannah.

11/20/1758 A few months later, The South Carolina Gazette reported on my successes with my new vessel, ". . . a new Privateer brigt. (reckoned one of the best fitted in America) sailed on a cruize from New Providence, mounting 18 carriage and 20 swivel guns, with 130 choice fellows on board (the prime of all the Bahamas), called the "King of Prussia," commanded by Capt. David Cutler Braddock." The article also mentioned that three French prizes were taken by the "King of Prussia" and  two other privateers.

12/23/1758 The South Carolina Gazette reported that two more prizes I captured were taken into New Providence.

8/1760 The privateering industry began falling off so I returned to commercial shipping and also took command of the Georgia scout boat.

3/18/1763 The 14-gun man-of-war "Epreuve" ran aground in the Savannah River and was given up by all as lost.

7/14/1763 After the four-months' efforts of all others to salvage the "Epreuve," the South Carolina Gazette  carried the following article echoing an accolade to me printed earlier in the Georgia Gazette:  "The Georgia Gazette of 14th of July, contains the following compliment to Capt. Braddock, commander of the king's scout-boat, to whose skill and uncommon perseverance is said to be principally owing the saving of his majesty's ship the "Epreuve"  after  it was  thought by most people impossible.   It  is with pleasure we acquaint  the   public,  that  the  "Epreuve" has  safely come to her moorings in this harbour,  which adds great honour to the merit and assiduity of Capt. David Cutler Braddock, and plainly elucidates the experience and great abilities of that gentleman."

10/25/1764 I was elected a representative to the colonial Georgia General Assembly. I served on numerous committees engaged in activities to improve our young colony. Among matters with which committees I served on were concerned were: regulating the provincial militia, endowing of a college, establishing ferries,  inspecting conditions of the Savannah River, appointing tax examiners, corresponding with the colony's agent in England, developing new roads, appointing collectors of duty, and appointing a new agent to represent the colony in England--Benjamin Franklin.

2/1769 Not giving the exact date, the February 8th issue of the Georgia Gazette reported my departure on what will be my final voyage, a voyage that will take me far beyond the horizon of life. The legacy I received as a mariner and a fighter will not die with me. I have entrusted it into the hands of my son, Captain John Cutler Braddock, who will use it quite capably to establish himself as a mariner of note and a man of service. . . . but thats another sea story.

Signed: Capt. David Cutler Braddock

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