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Commander Arthur Sinclair
He was appointed a Midshipmen in the United States Navy in 1823, when he was
13. He received his commission as a Lieutenant in 1835 and was made a
commander in 1855. A notable event in Arthur's service before the war of
secession was his command of the store ship 'Supply' in the expedition to
Japan 1852 -54 under commodore Matthew Perry. In 1854 he had with him 10
ships and 2000 men. The purpose of the expedition was to begin by treaty
with the Japanese an opening up of that country's ports to western commerce,
an object not less dear to European's than to American Hearts. The 'Supply'
carried gifts for the Japanese, including products of United states
invention and industry, intended to show the benefits which trade with the
west could bring. Arthur managed the arrangements for the distribution of
He resigned his commission in the US Navy and joined the confederacy in
April 1861 to become soon afterwards a Commander in the Confederate Navy.
Commander Arthur Sinclair's life ends when his ship the 'Lelia' (Named after
his wife) goes down in January 1865.
The Lelia was the victim of weather that was the worst known for 20 years.
Orders were given to lower the four ships boats. Captain Arthur Sinclair,
the pilot and several passengers got into the first boat, which was
immediately swamped and all the occupants were lost. Twelve of the crew then
got into the second boat which was lowered, which came into collision with
the third boat lowered, containing 13 men. A boat containing 12 men managed
to reach the lightship. It is stated that " He (Sinclair) bravely went out
in a blockade runner on orders during a storm, realising the vessel would
founder............. It is said he knelt in Prayer"
The finding of Captain Arthur Sinclair four and a half months later.
Early in the afternoon of May 31st 1865 James Wilson the skipper of the
Fleetwood fishing vessel ' Elizabeth and Emma' found the body of a man in
the water about ten mile from Fleetwood. The deceased was much wasted about
the head and hands, he was well clothed and well shod, a cravat bore a gold
and agate pin. A lever hunting watch of gold plate, a gold locket pendant
having plaited hair on one of it's sides, a mariners gold compass was also
found upon his person in a gold case. a pair of steel framed spectacles was
found in a pocket.
It was believed that it was the details of the watch which enabled them to
identify the body as that of Arthur Sinclair.
The watch was stopped at 10 minutes past four o'clock.
Since the loss of the 'Lelia' the federals had, however, taken Norfolk, "and
had ejected Mrs Sinclair and family from their home with great Barbarity"
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