The following article was published in the Stamford Mercury dated Thursday 13 November 1777, and concerns the ‘taking’ of a ship named the Sophia of Leith by an American privateer. On board of course, was a Wishart…..
By a letter from Halifax, in Nova Scotia, dated the 2nd September last, we hear, that the Sophia of Leith, Captain John Aire, was taken by a rebel privateer, called the Black Snake, mounting fourteen six-pounders, eight swivels, and sixty men, commanded by John Coulton, of Salem; this happened in latitude 37.43, longitude 54.59. They took from the Sophia, the mate, David Wishart, the cook, and a boy; and that on their way proceeding to Salem with the prize, after putting on board a prize-master, and eight more men, the Black Snake and the Sophia parted in a gale of wind, and upon the 4th of September near Halifax, the Sophia met with his Majesty’s ship the Mermaid, commanded by Captain Halker, who retook her, and the rebels had run her on shore, and carried her into Halifax, upon the 5th of September. The rebels had taken out of her, while they had her in possession, five bags of cotton, a good many spare sails, and spare new cordage, and two swivel guns.
Captain Aire, before he was taken, kept a running fight, from eleven o’clock forenoon to three o’clock in the afternoon; and fought with the privateer two glasses, after she came up with them; but having only four carriage guns and six swivels on board the Sophia, and twelve men and three boys, he was at last obliged to strike to such superior force.
The Black Snake was eventually captured by the British Navy the following year only to be re-captured by a William Marriner with 9 men and a whale boat!