Friday, August 23, 2019

Oliver Hazard Perry 200 Years -- August 23, 2019

Alexandria Gazette and Daily Advertiser,  29-September-1819
200 years ago today, on 23-August-1819, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of the US Navy died  of yellow fever while returning from a diplomatic visit to Venezuela.  The enlisted men of the Third West India Regiment were of African birth or descent.  He was buried in Port of Spain, Trinidad and his remains were moved to Newport, Rhode Island in 1826.  

DIED, On Monday evening, the 23d inst. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, of the United States Navy, at the early age of 34. He was dispatched by his government with the Ship of War John Adams and Schooner Nonsuch, on a mission to Angostura, the seat of the Insurgent Government of the Main. After staying there some time, the John Adams sailed for this Port, leaving Commodore Perry, with the schooner Nonsuch, at the before mentioned place, until the object of his mission should he fulfilled, when this was accomplished, he hastened to join the John Adams, and in two days arrived at the mouth of the Orinoco, from Angostura, and embarked on board the Schr. Nonsuch.— He had before embarking, a slight attack of fever which rapidly, increased after the vessel sailed ; and notwithstanding every exertion which was made to shorten the voyage, and hasten his arrival at this place, where every assistance and convenience could he procured, they were upwards of five days on the passage. As soon as the Nonsuch had anchored in the Gulf, at which time his fever had arrived to an alarming crisis, he was removed to the John Adams, and in a quarter of an hour breathed his last, in his death his country will have to lament the loss of one of her bravest and most intelligent Naval Officers—private society, that of one of the most accomplished of its members. He has left a widow and four children (who reside in Newport, Rhode Island) to deplore his untimely fate, by whom, and his brother officers, he will long be remembered with love and regret.

On the following day his remains were attended to the grave with every mark of attention an4 respect on the part of the Civil and Military Authorities, and the inhabitants of this Town in general. At 4 o’clock, P. M. the 3d West India Regiment was marched to the King’s Wharf, to receive the corpse, and, about 5 o'clock, the boat, with the body, left the John Adams, that ship firing minute guns until its arrival at the Wharf, when Fort St. Andrew commenced the same ceremony. which continued until the Procession reached the Burying Ground. The following was the order of the Procession :—

The Chief of Police, and his Deputy.
The 3d West India Regiment, with arms reversed—the Officers with white scarfs and hat-bands.
The Band of the Regiment, playing the Dead March in Saul
The Commandant of the Garrison and his Staff, with scarfs and hat-bands.
Alcaldes of Barrios. Alcaldes of Barrios.
Three Officers Horseback, as Bearers. Three Officers Horseback, as Bearers.


The Officers of the John Adams, and Nonsuch, two and two.
A great number of respectable Inhabitants as Mourners—two and two.
One hundred and twenty men of the crews of the John Adams and Nonsuch, two and two.

On arriving at the entrance to the Burying Ground, the troops filed off. and formed a line for the Procession to pass through.— the Funeral Service was performed by the Rev. Mr Clapham. in a solemn and impassive manner; and, after the body was committed to the grave, the troops fired three vollies of musketry. in the usual manner—the whole body of the attendants on the Funeral, retiring from the Burying Ground with every mark of sympathetic grief for the premature death of a gallant man, a good parent end citizen, increased by the consideration of his eminent rank in society. His personal appearance was imposing, having been a man of large stature.

The Public will perceive the impression made on the minds of the American Officers, from the attention paid to the Funeral of their late commander, by the following communication, which has been handed to us for insertion :—

“ The Officers of the United States' vessels John Adams and Nonsuch, tender their grateful acknowledgements to the Inhabitants of Port Spain, for their kind and respectful attention to the Funeral rites bestowed on the body of their late Commander, Commodore Perry. The disposition manifested by all classes was highly in unison with their feelings, and merits their warmest thanks.”

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