Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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GARDNER, Caleb, sea-captain, born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1739: died there, 24 December 1806. Living near the harbor and owning a boat, he was in boyhood familiar with the waters and islands of Marragansett bay, and as a young man became a sea-captain, sailing his own ship to China, to the East Indies, and made other long voyages. Before the beginning of the Revolution he had retired from the sea and engaged in mercantile pursuits in his native town. The war found him a strong Whig. He raised a company, was assigned with it to Richmond's regiment, of which he presently became lieutenant colonel, and was later a member of the council of war and of the Rhode Island state government. He was residing in Newport in 1778, when the French squadron under Count d'Estaing was blockaded there by the greatly superior British fleet under Admiral Howe. A sudden and dense fog prevented an immediate attack by the English ; but they occupied both entrances to the harbor, and waited for daylight. Captain Gardner had noted from his housetop, through a spy-glass, the disposition of the hostile fleets, and, as soon as it was dark, rowed himself to the ship of the French admiral, offered to pilot him to a safe position, and with his own hand steered the admiral's ship through a channel which he had known from boyhood, the other vessels, with all lights extinguished, following singly in his wake. Having piloted the French beyond the enemy and to clear water, he returned to the island, reached his own house before daylight, and was among the groups along the water-front who marvelled, when the fog lifted, at the disappearance of the French fleet. Count d'Estaing's report of the affair to Louis XVI. was confidential, since its disclosure would have exposed his guide to the dangerous displeasure of the English government, and of the Tory element in Rhode Island" but the king, through his ambassador in the United States, the Chevalier de la Luzerne, sent to the amateur pilot a sum of money, with which the latter bought an estate near Newport, and built upon it a house, portions of which still remain in the cottage Known to the visitor of to-day as "Bateman's." Throughout the war Captain Gardiner was a trusted adviser of the French officers in Rhode Island, and of General Washington, who was his friend and correspondent. After peace was declared he was made French consul at Newport, where he resided until his death, being president of a bank, warden of Trinity Church, and head of the volunteer fire department of the town.--His great-grandson, Dorsey, born in Philadelphia, 1 August, 1842, is a grandson of Dr. John Syng Dorsey, noticed elsewhere. He removed to Trenton, New Jersey, in 1854, and entered Yale in 1860, but was not graduated. In 1864-'5 he published the "Daily Monitor," a journal established at Trenton in support of the Lincoln administration in the conduct of the war, and with the special purpose of creating public sentiment through New Jersey against the extension of the exclusive privilege of transportation between New York and Philadelphia, which was then possessed by the Camden and Amboy railroad company. In 1866-'8 he was one of the editors and proprietors of the "Round Table," a weekly literary and critical journal published in New York. After spending several months in Europe, he held editorial positions on the "Commercial Advertiser" and the "Christian Union," of New York, until he removed to Florida in 1869. Returning thence to Philadelphia in 1872, he became one of the secretaries of the United States centennial commission, and was charged with the publication of all the official documents relating to the International exhibition of 1876, including its catalogue and eleven volumes of final reports. Subsequently he assisted, in the state department at Washington, in the preparation of the official report on the Paris international exhibition of 1881 by the United States commissioner-general, Richard C. McCormick. He has published "Quatre Bras, Ligny, and Waterloo: a Narrative of the Campaign in Belgium, 1815" (Boston and London, 1882), and "A Condensed Etymological Dictionary of the English Language," a rearrangement, on an etymological basis, of the "American Dictionary of the English Language " of Dr. Noah Webster (Springfield, Massachusetts, and New York, 1884; London, 1886).
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