Willing’s next target was the town of Manchack upon which he descended “so rapidly that they reached the Settlements without being discovered.” On the 23rd, Willing’s advance parties captured the 250-ton British sloop Rebecca, with sixteen 4-pounders and six swivels. It was a coup worthy of Navy SEALS. Rebecca was normally a merchant vessel, but had been armed and sent upriver to contest the Rattletrap’s advance by protecting Manchack. Instead, her presence had strengthened Willing’s force. Captured while lying against the levy opposite the town, she only had fifteen men aboard when an equal or superior force of Americans struck about 7 am. With Manchack captured and the Rebecca renamed the Morris, Willing turned his attention to the end game at New Orleans, where he hoped to dispose of his booty and obtain supplies useful for the American war effort.
At New Orleans, the Congressional Agent, Oliver Pollock, was aware of Rattletrap’s advance and began making preparations to dispose of the property Willing and his raiders had taken, a growing portion of which constituted slaves. He organized a small force under his nephew, Thomas Pollock, to go up river and help Willing bring his vessels and cargo into port. Instead, Pollock and his men proceeded down the river, where they captured an English brig, the Neptune, eventually bringing her into New Orleans as a prize. (The British would argue strenuously that Neptune and a private boat were not in fact legal prizes.)
Continue reading “Captain James Willing’s Mississippi Raid, Part 2”