Even without guns, Nichols was determined to venture on, but the crew did not share his buoyancy. He mustered around the mutinous lot, “appearing to multiply himself on the eyes of his despondent crew,” while asserting, “You shall be masters of this brig, or I will.” He then flattened the insurgent ringleader with a billet of wood to restore order.
Out of this conflict “rallied some of the bravest spirits of war about him.” That very same day, the Decatur captured two prizes, thus replenishing arms and the crew’s spunk. The Duke of Savoy and the Elizabeth were sent sailing up the Merrimack, conjuring the Port with the vigor of heavy guns and a blazing exposé of 50 flags. No doubt, this Brit vanquisher was a sight for sore eyes!
The story of Capt. William Nichols will be continued tomorrow. For more, visit www.customhousemaritimemuseum.org.
Visit Melissa Davenport Berry of Beverly at www.ancestoryarchives.blogspot.com.