1715 Fleet Mysteries - exactly 298 years later...

grossmusic

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Historical Questions about the 1715 Fleet

On this 298th anniversary of the disastrous Florida shipwrecks, I wanted to see if maybe this excellent group can shed light on a few ongoing mysteries in my research:


SHIPS:

What did the French do with the Hampton Court between 1707 & 1712? What did Echeverz do with Hampton Court from when he bought her in 1711/1712 until the shipwrecks?

Grifon or Griffon?

Regla or Regala?


CAPTAINS:

Why would Echeverz hang back, slowing everyone to such irritation that his own ships went ahead?

Was Echeverz a more experience, superior seaman? Was Ubilla incompetent as seaman & decision-maker as alleged by Linares & possibly evidenced by lost ships in 2 previous storms in Sept 1714 & March 1715?

Any biographical info at all on the major players? (before/after wrecks)
⁃ Echeverz
⁃ Ubilla
⁃ Salmon
⁃ Solorzano

Who was actually acting as captain on Echeverz’s capitana? Echeverz or Salvador Costan [Castan]?

Who REALLY captained San Roman? (statements conflict between Salmon, Equilaz & Yrrarte)


AFTERMATH:

Did horses survive? Salmon: “3 cavalry officers from Veracruz escaped the destruction of the Capitana."

What was the scandal around Solorzano’s operations? Was he executed for crimes related to wrecks?

Who was the unnamed son of Don Joseph Clemente Fernandez – sent to Havana to get a dozen slaves & some Indian divers to relieve sick white divers


TREASURE:

Any specific jewels/treasures that were “spectacular”? Status of recovery?

Was the Queen’s round 8-carat “white spotted” pearl ever recovered?


DOCUMENTATION:

Who/what is “Escribania de Camara” – just anonymous clerks? (Haskins)

Who/what is “Indiferente General”? (Haskins)

Has anyone translated the documents mentioned by Haskins: CONSULADO DE CADIZ 853 (legajo @ AGI containing relevant docs)?
 

SADS 669

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Primary Interest:
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Historical Questions about the 1715 Fleet

On this 298th anniversary of the disastrous Florida shipwrecks, I wanted to see if maybe this excellent group can shed light on a few ongoing mysteries in my research:

SHIPS:

What did the French do with the Hampton Court between 1707 & 1712? What did Echeverz do with Hampton Court from when he bought her in 1711/1712 until the shipwrecks?

Grifon or Griffon?

Regla or Regala?

CAPTAINS:

Why would Echeverz hang back, slowing everyone to such irritation that his own ships went ahead?

Was Echeverz a more experience, superior seaman? Was Ubilla incompetent as seaman & decision-maker as alleged by Linares & possibly evidenced by lost ships in 2 previous storms in Sept 1714 & March 1715?

Any biographical info at all on the major players? (before/after wrecks)
⁃ Echeverz
⁃ Ubilla
⁃ Salmon
⁃ Solorzano

Who was actually acting as captain on Echeverz’s capitana? Echeverz or Salvador Costan [Castan]?

Who REALLY captained San Roman? (statements conflict between Salmon, Equilaz & Yrrarte)

AFTERMATH:

Did horses survive? Salmon: “3 cavalry officers from Veracruz escaped the destruction of the Capitana."

What was the scandal around Solorzano’s operations? Was he executed for crimes related to wrecks?

Who was the unnamed son of Don Joseph Clemente Fernandez – sent to Havana to get a dozen slaves & some Indian divers to relieve sick white divers

TREASURE:

Any specific jewels/treasures that were “spectacular”? Status of recovery?

Was the Queen’s round 8-carat “white spotted” pearl ever recovered?

DOCUMENTATION:

Who/what is “Escribania de Camara” – just anonymous clerks? (Haskins)

Who/what is “Indiferente General”? (Haskins)

Has anyone translated the documents mentioned by Haskins: CONSULADO DE CADIZ 853 (legajo @ AGI containing relevant docs)?

Sick "white divers" could have been early cases of the bends (DCS) if they had a way of pumping air into diving bells or helmet like apparatus. This would suggest you start looking in water deeper than 40 to 50 ft where DCS is very unlikely.
 

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grossmusic

grossmusic

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Jul 19, 2013
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Shipwrecks
Another question has popped up in the past week of intense research...

Why do I keep seeing interpretations that Ubilla was somehow in charge of the entire flotilla? In all document sources it's clear there are two fleets sailing together, which is a result of broken tradition because of the disruption of war. By all primary-source accounts, Echeverz & Ubilla are equal in rank. Ubilla seems to possibly have been an experienced New Spain treasure fleet commander while Echeverz maybe had only had the treasure-related previous experience of creating the overland routes in Panama before his assignment to the Tierre Firme fleet.

But Echeverz was a 40-year veteran of service to the king and was fully in charge of his own fleet. In fact, he seemed to be the only one taking responsibility to initiate & coordinate communications while Ubilla seemed to be distracted by his own problems of port storms, delays, ship losses etc. & had little interest in overseeing anything but his own fleet.

The person I can't figure out is Salmon. He was an admiral. If any one person was in charge, I must assume it was him, & he just happened to travel in Ubilla's New Spain fleet. Am I wrong?
 

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ivan salis

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no Ubilla was the "senior" officer -- even if both officers are of the same rank the more senior officer with time in service over rules the junior one --- thus Ubilla was in overall command of the "combined fleet" while the 2 fleets were sailing "together" --Ubilla as "Senior Officer" was both in charge and thus responsible for all the king's treasure vessels in the "combined" fleet, so his orders took control of the treasure fleet vessels in Echeverz fleet , when the storm was about to hit the fleet Ubilla ordered all his vessels and both of the treasure vessels of Echeverz's fleet to stick together with his fleet --Echeverz had no choice but to comply with Ubilla's order --even if he though it stupid , so Echeverz took both royal treasure vessels and the dutch prize vessel "Olandesa" and joined up with Ubilla's fleet (making 8 vessels in total) --the other 3 vessels of Echeverz's fleet that belonged to Echerverz diecrtly he ordered to sail as they thought best in order to survive the storm --they all 3 DID NOT FOLLOW UBILLA'S FLEET BUT TOOK A DIFFERANT COURSE MUCH LIKE THE GRIFFON DID BUT AT A MUCH LATER TIME (MOST LIKELY THE DELAY IS WHY THEY DID NOT SURVIVE LIKE THE GRIFFON DID)

SALMON WAS A ADMIRAL BUT BY THE RANKING OF THE DAY A " CAPTIAN GENERAL" OUT RANKED AN ADMIRAL --UBILLA WAS A " CAPTIAN GENERAL" AND SALMON WAS THUS HIS 2ND IN COMMAND --AFTER THE FLEETS WRECKING WITH UBILLA DEAD , SALMON TOOK CHARGE OF THE SALVAGE , SINCE ECHEVERZ WAS NEW TO THIS SORT OF THING EVEN THOUGH HE HAD SOME "RANK" --HE WAS NOT UP TO THE TASK --SALMON WAS A SEASONED NAVAL OFFICER AND THUS BASICALLY JUST TOOK OVER --ECHEVERZ WAS NOT PLEASED AND PISSED AND MOANED QUITE A BIT TO THE KING IN HIS LETTERS.

note that the lead treasure vessel of a fleet vessel was a "Capitina" (captain) while the rear treasure vessel was the "Admirlina" (admiral)
 

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Au_Dreamers

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Some of the confusion comes from the “general use” of terms in describing rank, and ships and the fleet.

More accurately there were two Squadrons, those two squadrons made up the Flotilla (Fleet).

Also Admirals and Generals (Captain Generals) are different in 18th century maritime Spain than what we think of today and also if thinking in US Navy terms.

During the 16th and 17th century the two main naval captain general posts were Capitán-General de la Armada de la Mar Oceana and Capitán-General de Galeras, roughly Commander in Chief for the Atlantic and the Mediterranean respectively.
A Capitán-General (Captain General) was appointed by the king as the leader of a fleet, with full jurisdictional powers. The fleet second-in-command was the 'almirante' (admiral), an officer appointed by the capitan-general and responsible for the seaworthiness of the squadron.

We then get into Vice Admirals and Rear Admirals so to speak…
As the military expression goes, call a 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] Lieutenant, Lieutenant and he’ll get a *$!&* in his pants!

So many times sub-Admirals were generally just called Admirals while the Captain General was called General.


From highest rank to lowest rank

Capitan General de la Armada
Almirante General
Almirante
Vicealmirante
Contralmirante

The way I’ve understood it to be is that Ubilla was the Captain-General of the Fleet, which more accurately would be the Commander in Chief of the combined squadrons while Echeverz, also a Capitan General was the commanding military officer. If the ships came under attack Echeverz would assume command.
 

JT

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Sick white divers could have been early cases of the bends (DCS) if they had a way of pumping air into diving bells or helmet like apparatus. This would suggest you start looking in water deeper than 40 to 50 ft where DCS is very unlikely.

That's a good theory about the bends.

Another possible cause of "sickness" is ciguatera poisoning...seems likely that a treasure recovery party would be eating fish to extend whatever supplies they had....
 

Au_Dreamers

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So... should we start with why it is believed the site known as Douglas Beach is the Nieves and/or why you do?

Again I'll use my **disclaimer of internet tone** just in case. HAHA I love talking about shipwrecks and love hearing others opinions/theories!!

One day there will be someone/s that further the knowledge of the 1715.

It would be nice to get conclusive evidence that Echeverz Capitana was the Hampton Court and his Almiranta was originally a Dutch ship named the Mars!! Now wouldn't that shake things up a bit?? :laughing7:
 

Booty Salvage

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There is mounting evidence Douglas beach is not the site of the Nieves shipwreck, but another boat in the fleet. Cannons were removed before McKee and Wagner made their first discoveries. Also, a lot of coinage (gold and silver) comes from South America (Peru, Colombia) which doesn't jive right with the wreck being the Nieves.

However, Brandon believes that the larger vessels ubilia and escheverias capitana and Almirantas were loaded to the brim and to reduce the risk of losing their cargo to attack placed a significant amount of gold on the Nieves and doctored the manifests. There is large Kang Hsi Porcelain found near the north gold splashes that indicate it could have been stowed or hidden in the Porcelain vases.

So basically there is as much evidence proving Douglas beach is the Nieves as disproves it being the Nieves.

-capt Eric, booty salvage
 

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Au_Dreamers

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HAHA you're so right Eric!! I can argue with myself on which ship is where.

Here's some food for thought...

The wreck site of Soto Sanchez's Nieves was well known at the time of the disaster and after.

So was the Urca de Lima. Lima claimed his ship to be the most southern wreck. His ship actually stayed intact for 30 days after the disaster, until they burned it to recover cargo.

In the "general belief" of which ship is where the above conflicts with that belief.


The "Wedge wreck" can't be the Urca de Lima and Douglas Beach be the Nieves.
 

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