Captain Frederick Marryat (10 July 1792 - 9 August 1848) was a British Royal Navy officer, a novelist, and an acquaintance of Charles Dickens. He is noted today as an early pioneer of the sea story, particularly for his semi-autobiographical novel Mr Midshipman Easy (1836), for his children's novel The Children of the New Forest (1847), and for a widely used system of maritime flag signalling, known as Marryat's Code.
Early life and naval career:
Marryat was born in Great George Street, Westminster, London, the son of Joseph Marryat (1757-1824), a "merchant prince" and member of Parliament, and his American wife Charlotte, née von Geyer. After trying to run away to sea several times, Marryat was permitted to enter the Royal Navy in 1806 as a midshipman on board HMS Imperieuse, a frigate commanded by Lord Cochrane (who later served as inspiration for Marryat as well as other authors).
Marryat's time aboard the Imperieuse included action off the Gironde, the rescue of a fellow midshipman who had fallen overboard, captures of many ships off the Mediterranean coast of Spain, and the capture of the castle of Montgat. The Imperieuse shifted to operations in the Scheldt in 1809, where Marryat contracted malaria; he returned to England on the 74-gun HMS Victorious.
After recuperating, Marryat returned to the Mediterranean in the 74-gun HMS Centaur and again saved a shipmate by leaping into the sea after him. He then sailed as a passenger to Bermuda in the 64-gun HMS Atlas, and from there to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the schooner HMS Chubb, where he joined the 32-gun frigate HMS Aeolus on 27 April 1811.
A few months later, Marryat again earned distinction by leading the effort to cut away the Aeolus's mainyard to save the ship during a storm and, continuing a pattern, he also saved one of the men from the sea. Shortly thereafter, he moved to the frigate HMS Spartan, participating in the capture of a number of American ships (the War of 1812 having begun). On 26 December 1812, he was promoted to lieutenant, and as such served in the sloop HMS Espiegle and in HMS Newcastle. Marryat led four barges from the latter ship on a punishing raid to Orleans, Massachusetts on December 19, 1814, the last combat in New England during the war. The affair had mixed results. Initially, Marryat cut out an American schooner and three sloops, but managed to escape with just one sloop. The local militia avoided casualties while killing one Royal marine. He was promoted to commander on 13 June 1815, just as peace broke out..........................