Lineage Society, Sources of Service

What’s the Minerva?

Owned by William Griswold, the Minerva served first in the Revolutionary Navy.[1] In August of 1775, it received a commission from the colony of Connecticut:

[…] that a certain brig, called the Minerva, belonging to Capt. Griswold and now lying in Connecticut River at Rocky Hill, is one proper vessel to be employed for the service aforesaid, and do therefore agree and resolve, to take up and employ said brig in the service of this Colony as aforesaid, during such term as said Assembly or this Committee shall find needful to employ her in said service […] [2]

By September, commissions were issued for its officers.[3] However, the crew refused to obey their first order to sail in November 1775.[4] In December, the Assembly ordered the vessel returned to its owner.[5] It reappears in the control of the state in April 1778.[6] Robert Herron suggests it was purchased by the Continental Congress in 1781.[7]

The Minerva eventually became a privateer, whose prizes included the Arbuthnat and the Hannah.[8] It appears in the records of the Continental Congress twice in 1781, first under the command of Dudley Saltonstall and then James Angell.[9] Saltonstall was in command during both captures.[10] Under Angell, the Minerva recaptured the American ship, Rose.[11]

Was your family among the Minerva’s crew? The original commissions can be found in the Public Records of the State of Connecticut and the Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut. The crew under Angell can be found in History of Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution, 1775-1783, Vol II. [12] More details of the Minerva and images of her ensign can be found in the Zaricor Flag Collection, particularly “U.S. 13 Stars flag – Privateer Minerva.”[13]


[1] Wick Griswold, A History of the Connecticut River (Charleston: The History Press, 2012), 56.

[2] Charles J. Hoadly, Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut From May, 1775 to June, 1776 (Hartford: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co, 1890), 111.

[3] Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut From May, 1775 to June, 1776, 129.

[4] Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut From May, 1775 to June, 1776, 176-177.

[5] Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut From May, 1775 to June, 1776, 201.

[6] Charles J. Hoadly, Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut From October, 1776 to February, 1778 (Hartford: Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co, 1894), 580.

[7] Robert Herron, Hidden History of Rocky Hill (Charleston: The History Press, 2001),  32.

[8] A History of the Connecticut River, 56.

[9] Naval Records of the American Revolution, 1775-1788 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1906), 393.

[10] Louis F. Middlebrook, History of Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution, 1775-1783, Vol II (Salem, MA: The Essex Institute, 1925), 163-164.

[11] History of Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution, 1775-1783, Vol II, 165.

[12] History of Maritime Connecticut during the American Revolution, 1775-1783, Vol II, 165.

[13] “U.S. 13 Stars flag – Privateer Minerva,” Zaricor Flag Collection (https://www.flagcollection.com/itemdetails-print.php?CollectionItem_ID=2268: accessed 27 Jan 2022).