Nathan Green



Occupation 1

privateer in the War of 1812




NA/New England region


Maritime Republic (1751-1815)








Privateer captain�

It seems very likely that Green was a merchant sailor or officer in Salem before his activities during the War of 1812. What is known for certain is that he received a commission as captain of the privateer Grand Turk (the third ship of that name) on 14 July 1814, and that on 6 August 1814 he led the ship out of Salem Harbor on its fourth privateer cruise during the War of 1812.

Green took the Grand Turk across the North Atlantic to a position about 100 miles west of the Scilly Isles, where he could intercept merchant ships bound for England. After being chased by a British sloop of war on 7 September 1814, Green headed his ship south to the Bay of Biscay and the coast of Portugal, where he encountered continued success in finding and capturing British merchant vessels. Ending a cruise that had lasted 103 days, Green brought the Grand Turk to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 17 November 1814. During the cruise, Green and his crew had captured eight ships, burned four others, and stopped twenty-three ships that turned out to be neutral vessels. Green had sailed with 150 men aboard his ship. At the time of his return he had only forty-four of his original crew on board; the rest had been assigned to prize vessels. This fourth cruise of the Grand Turk was the most successful voyage made by any American privateer during the War of 1812�

On 1 January 1815 Green took the Grand Turk out of Salem again. Unaware that the Treaty of Ghent had been signed on 24 December 1814, Green headed south to Brazil, where he soon took two prizes, one of which held about $17,500 in gold. On 10 March 1815 Green sighted a ship that turned out to be a British frigate. The Grand Turk fled from its foe, but the wind shifted, leaving both ships without headway. Between 10 and 12 March the Grand Turk used boats with sweeps to keep just out of range of two British frigates (a second had appeared soon after the first). By noon on 12 March the breeze had returned in enough strength that the Grand Turk could outdistance its pursuers. Green captured another merchant ship, the British Acorn, about a week later and learned of the signing of the Treaty of Ghent. Upon the receipt of this news, he turned for home and arrived in Salem on 28 April 1815, having captured three prizes during the fifth and last war cruise of the Grand Turk. In regard to Green's seamanship and skill, it can be said without exaggeration that his ship's escape from two British frigates over a period of two days was as remarkable as the escape of the USS Constitution from a British squadron in the summer of 1812.

Little is known of the rest of Green's life. The only documentary evidence indicates that he died from drowning in New York early in 1825 (Salem Gazette, 25 Feb. 1825)�

Record ID: 73