Chesapeake Affair

Officers and government officials, on both sides, where still exchanging correspondence concerning these men when more deserters made their escape. On the seventh of March five seamen while weighing anchor aboard the Halifax threatened the officer to silenced with threats of murder seized the jolly boat making for Virginia. These men also enlisted with Lieutenant Sinclair for service aboard the Chesapeake. Richard Hubert had been impressed at Liverpool; William Hill of Philadelphia had enlisted at Antigua the others where George North, Henry Saunders, and Jenkin Ratford (Ratford of London.)

Barely had the names been added to the ships list when the Commander of the Halifax applied for their return. As there was a standard order not to enlisted British deserters knowing them to be such, Sinclair should have dismissed them. Instead he gave an evasive answer and kept them at the recruiting center. Request where made to Decatur, and the Mayor of Norfolk, and the Secretary of State, the British where informed reasons had already been given for not granting such request. Thus protected the men where sent to Washington. By the time the Chesapeake came down the Potomac all but Ratford had deserted.