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Capt Samuel Marshall's inscription

S_E_Marshall_inscription.jpeg - 1228Kb

In case you can't read this:



S E Marshall
Aged 24
Captain in the Russian Navy
who in the Engagement with
the Swedes on the 10 July 1790
having with unparallelled valor
fought for 17 Hours & received
many wounds wrapt himself
up in the Colors of his
Ship when sinking &
perished with her
in the Waves

Note (a) that his first initial is 'S' not 'J', confirmed by the first letter of 'Swedes' and (b) at that
time they used what we would now call the American spellings of 'valor' and 'color'.

Interestingly The Times of 19th Aug 1790, p.3, does not have him perishing in the Waves:

"In a letter just received from a friend at Petersburg, are the following curious particulars relative to the last naval fight between the Russians and Swedes:--

"The carnage in the late engagement between the galley fleets, when the King of Swedes commanded in person, was dreadful. Eight Russian frigates commanded by foreigners, which came to the assistance of the gallies, are lost. Five English Captains were killed, and Farquarson's two daughters were made widows in one day. Dennison had his head shot off, and Trevanen is dead of his wounds. Poor Perry too; whose life only would make a wonderful history, has finished his career; a cannon ball took him in the middle, and he leaves a young wife who doted on him. Captain Marshall, however, is saved; he shot a Russian officer who was going to strike, when they had lost 200 out of 230 on board the ship and as the vessel was sinking with the remaining thirty, he jumped into the water and himself and five more of them were picked up by other ships alive."

This may appear to contradict the triptych but he could have died later.

And a perplexing comment was made on this report the following day on p. 2 of The Times at the foot of a prototype leader column:

"Captain Marshall's shooting a Russian Captain, in the late Swedish engagement, who was endeavouring to save the remaining brave thirty of his 200 men; by honourably striking to a superior force, may be called heroism at Petersburgh, but in England it would be deemed SAVAGE and BARBAROUS MURDER. What right had he to deprive a fellow-creature of life, because that fellow creature tempered humanity with courage!"
Roll on a time machine to find out what actually happened!

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