ship Ulysses, 340 tons, was built
in Haverhill and registered in Salem
in 1798; William Gray, owner, Josiah Orne, master.
She was 100 1/2 feet long, 28 feet wide, and 13 feet 10 1/2 inches deep.
She had an uneventful career as a merchantman. She sailed for Batavia
in June 1798, returning in July the following year, when she paid
$13,000 in duties according to Salem Custom House records.
In August 1799 she was
commissioned as a private armed vessel, commanded by William Mugford. She
carried 11 guns and 28 men. She cleared for India that month.
The next entry made on this ship in the Salem Custom House was in 1801,
when she returned from Lisbon with a cargo of salt and Lisbon wine.
She sailed for Isle de France (Mauritius) in 1802 bering
Letters of Marque signed by
President Jefferson an Secretary of State Madison. (The papers are on deposit
with the Peabody-Essex Museum of Salem, formerly the East India Marine
Her primary fame in the marine literature came not from her merchant service
or her average success as as a privateer, but from her technical achievement
in surviving an immense gale.
In January 1804 Ulysses left Salem for Marseille, and three days
out encoutered a terrific gale. She was sailing at 9 knots, when a large sea
struck her astern and tore clean away the whole rudder and stern-post. She
broached to with her mainmast sprung, and in this helpless position she lay for
three weeks of tempestuous weather. Captain Mugford was able to jury-rig a
temporary rudder within twenty days and was able, without further disaster, to
enter Marseilles at the end of March. The painting by Antoine Roux shows
Ulysses at Marseilles.