GAMBLE OF THE MARINES

BY RAYMOND J. TONER

Lieutenant John Marshall Gamble has the distinction of being the only Marine officer in American history to command a U.S. ship in combat. Gamble is placed in command of a captured prize ship by Captain David Porter of the USS Essex during the famous raid by the Essex on the British whaling fleet in the Pacific during the War of 1812. Lt. Gamble fights the ship to capture another British whaler. He is then left in command of several prize ships at Nooaheeva, a tropical South Pacific island in the Marquesas, when the Essex leaves to look for more British ships. That is only the beginning of Gamble’s thrilling adventures that include mutiny, battles with the island tribes and extreme hardship in escaping across the South Pacific.