Wooden cane, 35.25 in. ln., with sterling silver knob engraved: "John Read Dilworth/ This cane made from wood of the British Frigate Augusta sunk at the battle of Red Bank, October 23rd 1777/ Captain John Dilworth of the British Navy/ On his ship the Roebuck led the Augusta Up the Delaware River." No further information has been found regarding Captain J.R. Dilworth.
The Revolutionary War-era Battle of Red Bank occurred on the Delaware River near Fort Mercer, and involved six British ships, including the 64-gun man-of-war Augusta, which were engaged by smaller American gunboats. During the engagement, the Augusta along with the sloop-of-war Merlin ran aground on a shoal trying to avoid a series of underwater man-made obstructions that had been designed to pierce the hulls of intruding British warships. Despite the best efforts of the HMS Roebuck to drag the Augusta off the shoal, it wouldn't budge. On the morning of October 23, 1777, the British ships were engaged by Fort Mifflin and the Pennsylvania Navy, and by the afternoon, the Augusta had caught fire. The fire spread quickly, and within the hour, the warship exploded. Soon after, the crew of the Merlin abandoned the ship and set it on fire. The Augusta is considered the largest British vessel lost in combat by the Royal Navy in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
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