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A Yankee Skipper Who Preyed On British Shipping Relates His Wartime Experiences
American sea captain George Coggeshall tells of his experiences evading the British navy during the War of 1812 and spending over half a century at sea.
October 1957 | Volume 8, Issue 6
Postscript: Coggeshall arrived safely in Cadiz after an uneventful trip. Two months later he sailed to Lisbon and there embarked for America on a Portuguese brig. “On the 19th of May ,” he wrote, “we got a Sandy Hook pilot on board and the same day arrived in New York, and I was rejoiced to land once more in the United States after an absence of sixteen months and twenty-one days.” During that time he could boast of the capture of nine British prize ships. To be sure, the Leo had been lost, but the ship itself was to blame. The warrior merchant Coggeshall had also made a small but respectable profit, for he had not forgotten what Calvin Coolidge would remind the nation of over a hundred years later—that the business of America is business.
After a long, arduous, and reasonably successful career at sea, Coggeshall retired in 1841. Always an avid reader and an indefatigable journal-keeper, he turned to writing in his declining years. Among his published works are Voyages to Various Parts of the World and History of American Privateers. Coggeshall died in Milford on August 6, 1861, at the age of 77.