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Captain Thomas Daniels, RN

Biography[]

-- Early Life -- Thomas Daniels was born in Williamsburg, Virginia on the 30th of July in the Year of our Lord, 1690. Early in his life, Daniels expressed an interest in ships and life at sea, as his father was a former Captain in the Royal Navy and told many stories of his exploits around the world. Captain Nicholas Daniels, who had retired to the New World and taken up tobacco farming, saw to it that his son received a respectable education and ensured that he could pursue a military career as he did. Daniels excelled in his education, expressing curiosity and intellect in a range of subjects, notably history and composition. Consequently, Daniels has a valuable knowledge of military history, drawing on the lessons learned over the centuries to formulate his own doctrine and strategy. In addition, he possesses a gift for writing and oratory, which has enhanced his ability to command competently. His weaknesses are in the sciences and mathematics, but neither have been able to severely impair his ability in both a seamanship and a leadership.

-- Early Naval Career -- In the year 1702, at the age of twelve, Captain Nicholas Daniels finally deemed his son old enough to go to sea. He procured a midshipman's billet aboard the frigate Greenford under his old friend and former lieutenant, Captain Richard Parson. Daniels was taken under Parson's wing early on and he began to develop the young boy into a gentleman who knew a thing or two about the intricacies of sailing. The Greenford spent several years in the Mediterranean, combating Algerian corsairs and keeping the Crown's trading routes open. It was this early contact with piracy that would shape the rest of Daniels' career. In 1710, after eight years aboard the Greenford and the ship-of-the-line Northampton as a midshipman, Daniels passed his examination for Lieutenant. He was posted to HMS Relentless as the ship's third officer, serving as a convoy escort on the trade route from London to the Far East. On his voyages to the far side of the world, Daniels gained insight to the variety of cultures and peoples that lived in those far off and exotic lands. He became familiar with the characteristics of junks and, coupled with his exposure to xebecs as a midshipman, learned how to combat lateen-rigged vessels in a square-rigger. By 1715, Daniels had risen to the appointment of First Lieutenant aboard HMS Virginia, a brig-of-war built, officered, and crewed by colonials from the Chesapeake Bay region. His station under Commander Alexander Kent was along the North American coastline, maintaining a patrol for smugglers. During one particular customs inspection, the schooner they were boarding opened fire on the Virginia as Daniels was rowing over, killing Commander Kent and leaving Daniels in open water. From the gig, Daniels took command of the Virginia and managed to row back before he was left in the wake of the running battle. Once back aboard, Daniels quickly chased down the schooner and managed to take off her maintopmast, ending the engagement with a struck prize. For his actions, Daniels was promoted to Commander and given the Virginia.

-- The Virginia Capes Squadron -- By 1719, Daniels had earned himself a reputation as a thorn in the side of enemy shipping. Over the course of the past four years, his exploits had frequently brought him in the company of a local privateer, one William Rogerson. Together, they devised an idea that could benefit both the Royal Navy and the privateers of the North American coast. They submitted their plan to the Admiralty, which detailed the formation of a squadron composed of both warships and privateers. It was to allow British ships the safety of numbers and release stress on the Royal Navy, who was beginning wars with both France and Spain. Admiral Lockwood quickly approved the idea, stating it was the final motivation he needed to promote Daniels to Captain. Captain Daniels was given command of HMS Williamsburg, another locally-built ship, which had nearly suffered a mutiny at the hands of an incompetent captain who had just been given command of a prison hulk on the Thames. Captain Daniels quickly whipped the crew of the Williamsburg back into shape as he worked with Captain Rogerson to recruit a squadron that would operate out of the Virginia Capes. On the December 15th, 1720, the Virginia Capes Squadron was formed for the purpose of defending the interests of the Crown in the New World. However, rising tensions in the Caribbean saw the squadron deployed to the south, basing out of Bartica to protect British shipping along the Antilles.

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