Try free for 2 months

  • Sailing the Graveyard Sea

  • The Deathly Voyage of the Somers, the U.S. Navy's Only Mutiny, and the Trial That Gripped the Nation
  • By: Richard Snow
  • Narrated by: Jacques Roy
  • Length: 8 hrs and 4 mins

1 credit a month to use on any title, yours to keep (you’ll use your first credit on this title).
Stream or download thousands of included titles.
Access to exclusive deals and discounts.
AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.
Sailing the Graveyard Sea cover art

Sailing the Graveyard Sea

By: Richard Snow
Narrated by: Jacques Roy
Try for $0.00

AUD $16.45/mo after 2 months. Renews automatically. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $26.32

Buy Now for $26.32

Pay using voucher balance (if applicable) then card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions Of Use and Privacy Notice and authorise Audible to charge your designated credit card or another available credit card on file.

Publisher's Summary

A riveting account of the only mutiny in the history of the United States Navy—a little-known event that cost three innocent young men their lives—part murder mystery, part courtroom drama, and as propulsive and dramatic as the bestselling novels of Patrick O’Brian.

On December 16, 1842, the US brig-of-war Somers dropped anchor in Brooklyn Harbor at the end of a cruise intended to teach a group of adolescents the rudiments of naval life. But this seemingly harmless exercise ended in catastrophe. Commander Alexander Slidell Mackenzie came ashore saying he had narrowly prevented a mutiny that would have left him and his officers dead. Some of the thwarted mutineers were being held under guard, but three had been hanged: Boatswain’s Mate Samuel Cromwell, Seaman Elisha Small, and Acting Midshipman Philip Spencer, whose father was the secretary of war, John Spencer.

Eighteen-year-old Philip Spencer, according to Mackenzie, had been the ringleader who encouraged the crew to seize the ship and become pirates, raping and pillaging their way across the old Spanish Main. And while the young man might have been a rebel fascinated by pirates, it soon became clear the order that condemned the three men had no legal basis. And worse, that perhaps a mutiny had never really occurred, and that the ship might instead have been seized by a creeping hysteria that ended in the sacrifice of three innocents.

Months of accusations and counteraccusations were followed by a highly public court martial which put Mackenzie on trial for his life, and a storm of anti-Navy sentiment drew the attention of the leading writers of the day (Washington Irving thought Mackenzie a hero; James Fenimore Cooper damned him with a ferocity that still stings). But some good did come out of it: public disgust with Mackenzie’s training cruise gave birth to Annapolis, the place that within a century, would produce the greatest navy the world had ever known.

Vividly told and filled with tense action based on court martial transcripts, Snow’s masterly account of this all-but-forgotten episode is naval history at its finest.

©2023 Richard Snow (P)2023 Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

More from the same

What listeners say about Sailing the Graveyard Sea

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.