Skip to main content

Full text of "A full and correct account of the chief naval occurrences of the late war between Great Britain and the United States of America : preceded by a cursory examination of the American accounts of their naval actions fought previous to that period : to which is added an appendix ; with plates"

See other formats



3 1833 02521 1787 

Gc 973.525 J23f 

James, William, d . 1327. 

A full and correct account 
of the ch i ef naval 
occurrences ... late war 
















" Truth is always brought to light by time and reflection ; while the 
lie of the day lives by bustle, noise, and precipitation." 

Murphy's Tacitus, B. ii. 39. 


g . . 

HorrtJcn : 










J»uct Gold, l'ruiier, 105, Ulu't'lanc, 1 















(himself leading the boarders,) 










X HE account that an American 44, had 
captured a British 49, gun frigate, reached the 
author, when a prisoner in the United States. 
An Englishman, early accustomed to regard 
the navy as the bulwark of his country, and 
not aware of any difference between the no- 
minal or rated, and the real force of a ship, 
might well feel a degree of humiliation in the 
Guerriere's loss. The event naturally excited 
a spirit of inquiry ; truth and fiction separated 
by degrees; and, before the author effected 
his escape from the United States, he had 
learned duly to appreciate the tales of American 
victories, both by sea and land. 

Convinced that, the moment the actions 
between British and American ships could 


be submitted to arithmetical calculation, the 
popular delusion respecting them would cease, 
the author, upon his arrival at Halifax, Nora 
Scotia, commenced transmitting to the editor 
of the Naval Chronicle, under the signa- 
ture of " Boxer," a series of letters on the 
subject. As these were written soon after 
the accounts had transpired, it was hardly 
possible to avoid some mistatements ; nor 
would a literary correspondence admit of 
very minute details. Subsequently, the au- 
thor published at Halifax, a pamphlet, enti- 
tulcd, — " An Inquiry into the merits of the 
principal Naval Actions between Great Britain 
and the United States, &c." — This was a decided 
improvement upon the letters ; but, as nearly 
all the British ships had left the station, and 
the dearth of materials been encreased by the 
non-appearance in print of the British official 
accounts, in as many as twelve of the actions, 
much still remained to be done. The colonial 
public, however, gave the work a most flattering 
reception : id the short space of two months, 
nearly 2000 copies went off; and the remainder, 


about 500 in number, the author brought with 
him to England, 

A second edition, or, rather, an entirely new 
work, is now offered to the public. Not only 
have the details of each action been more fully 
and correctly stated, and the comparative force 
of the parties, more clearly exhibited ; but 
many naval occurrences of the late war, not 
noticed in the Halifax edition, have been 
added : and, as the American historians have 
commenced attacking the British naval cha- 
racter, from the war of 1776, it was incum- 
bent upon the author to bestow a slight re- 
trospect upon the events of that early period. 

To obviate the charge of partiality, so often 
alleged against histories of war-events, the 
published official accounts, American as well 
as British, are inserted in an Appendix. 
The plates are intended to illustrate the 
subject, not to ornament the work. Plate 1 
shows the description of shot used by the Ame- 
ricans, during the whole of the late war ; at 
first, attempted to be concealed under thewords 
" round and grape." Plates 2 and 3 explain 


themselves. The author had intended to repre- 
sent, in a fourth plate, the profile-views of the 
British and American frigates, but wanted inte- 
rest to procure copies of the sheer-draughts: 
indeed, it becomes him to state that, his own 
ttSB iduity alone, enabled him to give any plates 
at all. He might, it is true, have procured 
a drawing of the action between the Shannon 
and Chesapeake, or Pelican and Argus; but 
here he must have trusted to the pencil of 
another; and so little is generally thought 
due to the relative size and force of the 
ships, provided the piece, as a whole, produces 
a striking effect, that he has preferred being 
a plate deficient, to introducing one, calcu- 
lated to please the fancy, at the risk of 
entrapping the judgment, of his readers. 

With respect to the general credit of his 
work, the author has spared no pains or ex- 
pense, to render it worthy the subject upon 
which it treats. For the chief of his facts, 
not extracted from the Official accounts and 
American rikval historic*, he is indebted to the 
ready communications of many distinguished 


naval officers: the remaining facts are the 
result of his own observation and inquiries, 
as well while a prisoner, as since his escape. 

Before the reader pronounces upon any- 
harsh expression he may observe in the work, 
let him study, attentively, the grounds upon 
which it is uttered. National character is a 
sensitive thing ; and, surely, the existing peace 
between the two countries does not oblige 
us to let pass, unrefuted, the foulest asper- 
sions, or wholly to suppress the feelings of a 
just indignation. How little the Americans 
consult any punctilio of the kind, may be seen 
in a collection of libels upon both British navy 
and army, published as late as September 
last ; and dedicated to the " Honorable James 
Munro," on the eve of his becoming president 
of the United States. The high tone assumed 
by the American author, when speaking of 
the intentions of his government, coupled with 
the dedication of his work, is a convincing 
proof, that he was sanctioned in the perform- 
ance of it ; and that, had he thought the deck- 
plans, or sheer-draughts, of any of the Ame«< 


rican ships of war, would farther his object, 
the American navy-board, when applied to on 
the subject, would not hare thought it expe- 
dient to withhold them from his sight. 

In the separate details of each action, par- 
ticularly those of the late war, the author has 
endeavoured at a methodical arrangement, 
something like the following: 

Meeting of the ships. 

Details of the action. ( British and American ac- 

(counts compared together. 

\ ship's damages, — loss. do. do. 


British 1 ship's guns, and compleO , , 

American) ment of men and boys.) 

Dimensions of the ships. do. do. 

Comparative force of the ships computed, and exhibited in 
a statement. 

Remarks arising out of that statement; illustrations, Sec. 

The merits of the different actions might 
have been detailed in less than half the space 
they occupy in the present work, had not the 
American editors, by heaping falsehood upon 
falsehood, so often compelled the author, — not 
unfrequently by a tedious operation to both the 


reader and himself, — to remove the obstruction 
ere he could proceed. Yet he does not pledge 
himself to have remarked upon all the contra- 
dictions and inconsistencies to be found in the 
American official accounts : much remains for 
the reader's discernment. Had the suppressed 
British letters duly appeared in the Gazette, 
there would have been something to counter- 
act, in the public mind, the baneful effects of 
the American accounts, so freely circulated, 
without a word of comment, by British jour- 
nalists ; and the author would not now have to 
eradicate one impression, before he can hope 
to succeed with another. 

There were a few boat-attacks and other 
spirited enterprises, performed upon the coast 
of the United States, that are not recorded in 
these pages. The chief reason for omitting them 
was, the impossibility of getting at the relative 
force of the parties; without which, the details 
would comprise no more than what had been 
seen by the public. The same motives, added 
to the work's having already exceeded, by 
upwards of ISO pages, the limits originally 


assigned to it, induced the author to leave out 
of his plan, the numerous gallant actions fought 
by British packets and merchant-ships, with 
American privateers. It is the actions between 
the public cruizers on each side, — the higher 
classes especially, — that stand as conspicuous 
national events; and which ought, therefore, 
to be handed down to posterity in characters 
of truth. 

An earlier appearance of the present work, 
might have rendered it more acceptable ; but 
the author had only to choose between, waiting 
till he had obtained the required information 
from officers dispersed all over the United 
Kingdom, and rashly committing to print, a 
mass of crude facts and imperfect details, 
upon so highly interesting a subject. Indeed, 
ii #*l only in February last, that the full par- 
ticulars of (lie wanton attack made by the U. S. 
ship Peacock upon the honorable East India 
company's cruizcr Nautilus, appeared in an 
authenticated form ; and yet more recently, 
that the Last American work on the occur- 
rences of the laic war, arrived in this couutry. 


Without the latter, the advantage of the re- 
ply, after an adversary has exhausted his 
eloquence in embellishing his own, and black- 
ening our cause, would have been lost : with- 
out the former, an important event of the late 
war, would only have reached the public, 
disfigured by American misrepresentation. 

The question may be asked, — Have we not 
already, in the Annual Registers and other 
periodical works, faithful accounts of the naval 
events of the late American war ? — In not one 
of them, are the actions between British and 
American ships correctly stated. Nor is it 
surprising, when we consider, that the editors, 
in the numerous cases in which the British 
official letters were not published, had hastily 
to glean their materials from the rumours of 
the day, or the official and other accounts of 
the Americans. Even here, had the authori- 
ties been cited, the antidote, in most cases, 
would have accompanied the poison ; but, very 
often, the latter was rendered more potent by 
the editor's remarks ; and more so still, when 


the judgment that dictated them, had become 
warped by the spirit of party. 

The present work differs from others upon 
the same subject, in one material point; the 
attempt to exhibit the comparative force in 
naval actions, by placing in confrontation, first, 
the amount, in pounds-weight, or calibers, of 
the shot thrown by each ship or fleet, in a broad- 
side, or discharge from all their guns upon 
one side, distinguishing the long guns from 
the carronades; then, the complement or 
complements of men and boys, and lastly, 
the size in tons, of each opposing ship or fleet. 
The reasons for adopting this method, have 
been fully set forth in the first or introductory 
chapter. Another point of difference con- 
sists, in submitting to the reader's view, the 
enemy's official account of each action. It is 
seldom we see a French official account ; and 
then, the aid of a translator is required, to give it 
general currency : whereas an American official 
account no sooner meets the eye of an Eng- 
lishman, than it finds its way to both his head 
and his heart. 


In a work like the present, the reader may 
expect some political discussions, upon the ori- 
gin of the late American war, the manner in 
which it was conducted by each party, and the 
merits of the treaty by which it terminated. 
If so, he will be disappointed : the author has 
confined his attention to naval subjects ; and, 
should he have succeeded in exposing to ridi- 
cule, American bombast, and in vindicating the 
character of British seamen, from that perti- 
nacious system of falsehood and detraction, 
upon which the Americans have founded their 
novel pretensions to excel us in deeds of arms 
on the ocean, — he has accomplished his object. 

Loudon, June 1st, 1817. 


Page 2 line 29, dele Neptune her charioteer. 

— — 30, for his read a. 
33 — 14, for 23 read 26. 

— — J 7, for four read two. 

— — 19, for 6 read 2. 

fi2 — 8, for 1760 rend 1800. 

Ill — 10, /or fore read main. 

322 — 5, for squadron read squadrons. 

332 — 12, dele men. 

419 — 19, for larger than, read nearly as large a*. 

322 — 29, for four read three. 

*\iii — 13, for 29 read 20. 

N.B. 7V/c author has in preparation, a zcork, intended to he 
in uniformity to the present, upon the military occurrences of 
the late rear between Great Britain and the United States 
of America. 

PLATE i ,<r .InuriftiH n unit ,uui ,ir<i(>, .h<r .» . 4t pJJl- UJLLt 


American naval histories — Their partiality — List 
of several — Nature of a ship's armament — Dif- 
ferent kinds of cannon in use — Their compara- 
tine qualities — Advantages of large-sized shot — 
Weight of less consequence than diameter — Ame- 
ricans of a contrary opinion — Its fallacy exposed 
— British and American shot in use- — Advantage 
of shifting guns — Definition of a ship's broad- 
side-weight of metal — Necessity of estimating the 
complement — Also the size in tons — British and 
American ships' rates — Deception upon the public 
— New order in council — Difference in ships of 
war, as to number of decks — Not a true criterion 
of force — Nor difference in rig, of size — Injunc- 
tion to the reader on the foregoing heads. 

AN a work professing to exhibit correct ac- 
counts of the naval occurrences of a war, it 
would be an insult to the readers understand- 
ing, to call for his decision upon exparte state- 
ments. Yet, not one of the naval histories pub- 
lished in the United States, pays any respect to 
the statements of an enemy. American official 
accounts, however improbable or contradictory, 
are held too sacred to be doubted; and even idle 



rumour, and newspaper paragraphs, are often 
made the grounds of the most positive assertions, 
upon the most important points. 

The American details of their naval actions, 
will be extracted from four of their principal 
works on that subject. It may be as well to 
give, at once, a summary of their respective 
title-pages : 

" The Naval History of the United States, 
from the commencement of the Revolutionary 
War to the present time; by Thomas Clark; 
second edition; published at Philadelphia, 
January 3, 181 4." 

" An impartial and correct History of the 
War, &c: carefully compiled from official do- 
cuments : by John Low, at New York, in 1815." 

" Naval Monument, containing official and 
other accounts of the battles fought between the 
navies of the United States and Great Bri- 
tain, during the late war, &c. : by A. Bowen, 
at Boston, in 1816." 

" Historical Sketchis of the late war be- 
tween the United States and Great Britain, 
&c; by John Lewis Thompson, at Philadel- 
phia third edition; 1816." 

One of these works, the " Naval Monument," 
has a remarkably modest frontispiece. It re- 
presents America riding triumphant on the 
waves, and Neptune, her charioteer, pointing, 
with his trident, to a cluster of American wor- 


thies, fantastically stuck upon a tall monument ; 
whose foundation, by the bye, is not clearly dis- 
cernible. Addison has described the design in 
a very few words. — " One kind of burlesque," 
says he, ' c represents mean persons in the ac- 
coutrements of heroes." 

The " Naval History of the United States" 
partakes rather of an official character; and Mr. 
Clark, in his first edition, did style himself, — 
" U. States topographical engineer." He has, 
evidently, been allowed access to all the public 
records. Both democrats and federalists lavishly 
praised his first edition; and the author has, 
very judiciously, placed in front of his second, 
under the imposing head of " Criticism," seve- 
ral complimentary scraps. Among them, is the 
following from the American " Portefolio:" 

" This is a very interesting collection of facts 
and documents, no where else to be found in so 
convenient a form, on the most important sub- 
ject which now engrosses the attention of the 
American people. The naval history of a coun- 
try is a theme on which we all dwell with pecu- 
liar pleasure ; since our national pride cannot 
fail to receive its highest gratification from a 
series of brilliant and daring achievements. The 
author of the present work has, therefore, ren- 
dered a useful service, by enabling the public at 
large to become more familiar with our naval 

b 2 


A third edition, and a dedication to the late 
American secretary of state. Mr. Munro, confer 
some authority upon the " Sketches of the war." 
That, and the " Naval History," may be consi- 
dered as speaking the sentiments of the Ameri- 
can people, upon the great national subject that 
fills the pages of both. 

The indulgence of the naval reader is now re- 
quested, while a few observations, chiefly cal- 
culated for such as are unacquainted with the 
subject, are submitted, upon the nature of a 
ship's armament, and upon what really consti- 
tutes her force, — or power to do and resist in- 
jury, when contending with an enemy. 

That ships constructed for the purposes of 
war, mount guns or cannon, is well known. 
Guns have their cylinders of various diameters or 
calibers, from 2| to 8 inches ; and each gun is 
named from the weight of the shot, which its 
cylinder will admit to pass freely. Thus, a gun 
of a <2\ inch caliber, being capable of receiving 
and discharging an iron shot that weighs half a 
pound, is called a half-pounder, or more com- 
monly, a nrivel) from the way in which it is 
usually mounted; and a gun of an 8-inch ca- 
liber, discharging a shot weighing sixty eight 
pounds, is ealled a 68-pounder. Between these 
extremes, are several gradations, each distin- 
guished in a similar manner. 

The <^\\n which throw* a shot of sixty eight 


pounds weight, was invented in 1779, at Carron 
in Scotland ; and thence called a carronade. 
This gun is shorter and lighter., in proportion to 
its caliber, than any of the common kind. The 
carronade admits of variety in caliber, but not 
to so great an extent as the long gun ; the 
cylinders of few of the former being below 
fourinches in diameter; the caliber of a 

No long gun at present in our service throws a 
heavier shot than of thirty two pounds. There 
is, however, a kind of gun, still shorter than the 
carronade, the diameter of whose bore extends 
to thirteen inches. These guns are named 
mortars and howitzers; and are designated ac- 
cording to the diameter of their bores, thus: 
" A 13-inch mortar;" — " An 8-inch howitzer." 
The} 7 are chiefly employed to throw shells ; and, 
for that purpose, mounted on board peculiar 
vessels, called bomb- ships. 

Within these few years, a sort of medium-gun 
has been invented, for sea-service, called by us, 
Govei's, or Corigreve's gun. The Americans call 
their's a Columbiad; probably from its having 
been cast at the cannon-foundery situate in the 
district of Columbia, in the United States. 

The English short long-gun weighs about two- 
fifths less than a gun of the same caliber, of the 
common construction ; but a 68-pound-carro- 
nade weighs only one-sixth more than the lightest 


24-pound gun, and a 42-pound carronade weighs 
considerably less than the lightest 18-pound 

Owing to this circumstance, the carronade re- 
quires fewer hands to work it, and can be loaded 
and pointed with more quickness and facility, 
than the long gun. The benefit to be derived 
from employing a species of cannon capable of 
throwing shot of so extraordinary a size, appears 
in the following extract from a celebrated trea- 
tise on gunnery : 

" r l he most important advantage of heavy 
bullets is this, that with the same velocity, they 
break out holes in all solid bodies, in a greater 
proportion than their weight: that is, for in- 
stance, a 24-pound shot will, with the same ve- 
locity, break out a hole in any wall, rampart or 
solid beam, in which it lodges, above eight times 
la "ge? than will be made by a 3-pound shot ; 
for, its diameter being double, it will make a 
supcrlieial fracture above four times as great as 
the 3-pounder, (more of a smaller hole being 
closed up by the springing of the solid body than 
.w i great one,) and it will penetrate to more 
tlian twice the depth. By this means, the firmest 
walls of masonry are easily cut through their 
whole substance by heavy shot, which could 
r !><• ellVctcd by those of a smaller caliber; 
and in ships, the strongest beams and masts are 
hereby lractured, which a great number of 


smaller bullets would scarcely injure." (Robins, 
p. 285.) 

In Rees's Encyclopedia, title, Cannon, are the 
following additional remarks upon large-sized 
shot. — Si The 68-pound carronade is superior to 
the long 24 and 32-pounders, particularly in 
close combats, by the size of the holes which its 
shot makes in the side of a ship, and from its 
likewise passing through the same with less ve- 
locity. For a shot, especially if its diameter be 
but small, that passes very quickly through a 
ship's side, makes only a clean hole; whereas 
one of a large diameter that penetrates it with 
less celerity, makes a rough and ragged hole, by- 
tearing and splintering the planks and timbers." 

It may be necessary to offer a few words on 
the comparative distances to which cannon 
of the different calibers and descriptions will 
project a shot. Robins, who wrote upwards 
of thirty years before the invention of carro- 
nades; and therefore had reference to long guns 
only, says : — " The larger bullets being less re- 
sisted in proportion to their weight than the 
smaller, the distance to which these larger bullets 
fly with the same proportion of powder, exceeds 
the flight of the smaller ones, almost in the pro- 
portion of their diameters ; so that a 32-pound 
shot, for instance, being somewhat more than 
six inches in diameter, and a 9-pound shot but 
four inches, the 32-pound shot will fly near half 



as far again, as that of 9-pound, if both pieces 
are so elevated as to range to. the furthest dis- 
tance possible." (P. 284.) In another place he 
says, " a 24-pounder, loaded in the customary 
manner, and elevated to S°, ranges its bullet, 
at a medium, to about a mile and a half; 
whereas, a 3-pounder, which is of half the di- 
ameter, will, in the same circumstances, range 
but little more than a mile." (P. 256.) 

Some information relating to the range of 
carronades, is here extracted from a little work 
entitled the " Naval Pocket Gunner." 

" 7?«wge with carronades, l-12//t the weight of 
the shot, with one wad; the line of Jive from six to 
nine feet above the water's level." 



42 pndr. 


330 yds. 
1087 .. 


300 yds. 
1050 .. 



Point-blank . . . 
Five degrees. . . 

450 yds. 
1280 .. 

400 yd,. 
1170 .. 

270 yds 
1000 .. 

870 .. 

Therefore, a ship, armed with carronades 
only, however large in caliber, would be quite at 
the mercy of an adversary, armed with long 12 
or 18-pounders; provided the latter ship, by 
possessing the weather-gage, or a decided supe- 
riority in sailing, could choose her distance. 
Let the two ships once close, and the larger balls 
would soon establish their destructive superi- 


There is another advantage attending large 
cannon, which Mr. Robins justly calls " a ca- 
pital one;" — " that of carrying the weight of 
their bullet in grape or lead-shot, and thereby 
annoying the enemy more effectually, than could 
be done by ten times the number of small 
pieces." (P. 285.) 

On referring again to the " Naval Pocket 
Gunner," it appears, that the difference in the 
relative weights of grape-shot, when made up, is, 
iitsome cases, much greater than exists between 
the relative weights of round shot. For instance, 
a single grape-shot for a 24-pounder weighs 
two pounds; and, for an 18-pounder, one pound 
eight ounces : but while the grape, when made 
up, weighs for a 24-pounder, twenty four pounds 
four ounces, it weighs for an 18-pounder only 
sixteen pounds eight ounces. 

It is commonly thought, that a shot fired at a 
very long range, should it even strike a ship, 
would do far less injury, than a shot fired from 
a short distance. The extract from Rees's En- 
cyclopedia, already given, disproves this; and, 
to the same effect, are the words of Mr. Robins : — i 
*i It is a matter of experiment, that a bullet, 
which can but just pass through a piece of tim- 
ber, and loses almost all its motion thereby, has 
a much better chance of rending and fracturing 
it, than if it passed through it with a much 
greater velocity." (P. 291.) And, in another 


place: — M In penetrating solid bodies, that bul- 
let which has but just force enough to go through, 
will produce much greater effect, than a bullet 
which has a considerable velocity left, after it 
has got through." (P. 307.) 

The Americans, it appears, have "accurately 
weighed together" their shot and ours, of the 
same caliber ; and one naval commander officially 
states, that a British 32-pound shot weighs one 
pound three-quarters more than an American 
one. This alleged di fference in weight (rather less 
than one-eighteenth) the Americans ascribe, not 
to the diameter of their shot being smaller than 
ours of the same nominal weight, but to the tex- 
ture being looser, arising from some difference 
in the two methods of casting. Whenever the 
Americans do venture upon a calculation of 
comparative weight of metal, they take care to 
profit by this discovery. 

It is not worth enquiring, whether or not 
this alleged trilling variation in weight between 
Ann rican and British shot, does exist; or whe- 
ther it may not arise from a new shot having 
been picked out on one side, and an old one, 
dented in the casting, or abraded by rust, on 
the other. Under the article already quoted 
from Rets's Encyclopedia, it is stated, that " a 
hollow shot equal in diameter to a 68-pound 
shot, bii' weighing only forty pounds, fired from 
a suitable distant-*, pen* (rated a bulk-head, as 


thick as the sides of a first-rate ; and afterwards 
striking against an oak post or stud, nine inches 
square, tore, shattered, and splintered it almost 
to pieces." 

It has just appeared, that one advantage of a 
large shot, is the size of the hole it makes in a 
ship^s side ; and that the less the celerity of the 
shot in its passage through, the greater will be 
the damage. Were the exact weight, and not 
the diameter, of a shot to be taken, in proof of 
its destructive power, the above hollow shot, of 
eight inches diameter, filled with combustible 
matter till it weighed forty eight pounds, must 
be considered as less effective than a solid iron 
shot of the same diameter, weighing sixty eight 
pounds; and that, precisely as 48 is to 68. 
Either the Americans mean this, or they mean no^ 
thing. It is to be hoped, they will not again 
broach a principle so truly ridiculous. 

The only kinds of shot used in the British 
navy, are, round, grape, and case or canister, a 
smaller species of grape. But the Americans, 
both in their public, and private-armed vessels, 
employ, under the denomination of " round and 
grape," chain, bar, star, and double-beaded 
shot; which, in close combat especially, enables 
them to unrig a ship, much more quickly than 
could be accomplished by the shot in general 
use. An accurate representation of these dis- 
mantling shot may be seen in Plate I. 


The editor of the " Naval History" says that, 
— " in an engagement between ship and ship, 
the effect produced is, by the broadside, or the 
number of guns placed in battery on one side of 
a ship." Mr. Clark should have said — " num- 
ber and description of guns;" his present state- 
ment implying, that a 3 and a 32-pounder are 
productive of equal effect. 

The armed schooners of the United States 
often appear with their guns fitted in a manner, 
that, one would think', requires only to be 
known, to be generally adopted. For instance, 
a schooner of 80 or 90 tons, upon which we 
should place six 12-pound carronades at least, 
would, as an American prixateer, carry three 
long 12-pounders, upon pivot-carriages; so as 
to be used upon either broadside. Thus, while 
numerically of only half her former force, she 
throws the same weight of metal in broad- 
side; and possesses the immense advantage 
of long guns over carronades of the same ca- 

All the American public ships derive a par- 
tial benefit from using slutting guns upon 
their Upper decks; for which they are pro- 
vided witli spare ports, exclusive of those at 
the bow and stern. These guns, as well as 
those placed on pivot-carriages, belong to the 
broadside-force ; and should be estimated ac- 
cordingly. Mr. Clark, by including, in his 


statement of the force of our frigates, the 
shifting or boat-carronade which they usually 
carry, admits the correctness of this principle. 

Standing bow or stern-chasers, or any other 
guns in the ship, for which no broadside-ports 
(in contra-distinction to the bow or bridle-port) 
are provided; or which, from the construction 
of their carriages, cannot be fought, otherwise 
than through ports, will not be estimated. By a 
ship s broadside-weight of metal, is therefore to 
be understood, the united calibers, in pounds, 
of all the long guns and carronades, which she 
can "place in battery on one side of her," 
whether those guns are stationed upon her decks, 
or in her tops. 

The guns of a ship are useless lumps of iron, 
without men to handle thein. A ship that has 
not men enough for all her guns upon the broad- 
side, must either allot to each gun fewer hands 
than can properly work it, or fully man a part 
only of her guns, and leave the remainder un- 
supplied. In either case, that ship's whole 
force or power is not brought into action. 

Suppose two ships, equal in guns, to engage ; 
one to have full crews for every gun upon her 
broadside, marines for her gangways and tops, 
seamen in abundance to trim sails, repair run- 
ning-rigging, clear away wrecks of spars, stop 
shot-holes ; in short, men for every possible ser- 
vice in the ship. Let the other ship have men 


enough to work two-third of her guns only, 
scarcely any to employ as marines, and so few 
for trimming sails and maneuvering the ship, 
or for hastily repairing slight accidents in the 
rigging, that she can neither take a position to 
rake her opponent, nor prevent being raked 
herself; her disability encreasing, by every shot 
that is fired. Will any one pronounce this to 
be an equal match ? Yet, were a ship's force to 
be estimated from her guns only, the affirmative 
Mould be the answer, whatever absurdity it 
might involve. 

Strictly speaking, every gun that cannot be 
manned, should be thrown out of the estimate. 
None would be by this such sufferers in fame, 
as the commanders of American privateers. 
One of their schooners, of ten heavy guns, might 
have captured, in quick succession, six merchant- 
ships, of twelve guns each; every one of which 
would, of course, be pronounced " superior" to 
herself. Yet the whole six British crews, would 
not, perhaps, outnumber the single American 

Again ; when two ships grapple, of what con- 
sequence is an equality in cannon ? She that 
has most men, with arms in their hands, will 
inevitably carry her opponent, unless, indeed, 
the ■dfftatagtB is rendered of no avail by a de- 
fu i» n( v in valor. This fact has been established 
repeatedly, in the < nua-cinenls with our packets, 


armed transports, and even merchant-ships, as 
many a disappointed privateersman can testify. 

American editors, in their statements of ac- 
tions, conceal, not only the weight of metal, 
but, invariably, the complements, on each side; 
aware that, as " successful contributors to na- 
tional character," they dare not make the dis- 

In the present work, a ship's complement will 
be added to her broadside-weight of metal ; and, 
as a British ship's complement always consists 
of a great proportion of boys ; (and of very 
young ones, too;) while scarcely any are to be 
seen on board an American ship, it would be 
to consider men and boys as equal in effective- 
ness, not to enumerate them separately. The 
same distinction must be observed, when non- 
combatant-passengers are on board. 

Hitherto, estimates of the comparative force 
of ships have been usually considered as com- 
plete, when the force in guns and men was accu- 
rately stated ; but, it is submitted, a disparity 
in size, especially if it amounts to any thing be- 
yond a fifth or a fourth, ought also to be in- 
cluded. For instance, the larger ship remains 
steadier in a rough sea; by which her guns are 
pointed with more effect, as, from the roomi- 
ness of her decks, they are worked with more 
ease. Her additional length necessarily places 
the men further apart ; thereby ^diminishing the 


havoc made by the enemy's shot. The men have 
another security, in the additional thickness of 
her sides, through which the shot have to pass; 
and the ship herself is, from the same cause, en- 
abled to withstand a longer and more furious 
cannonade. Then, the encreascd diameter of 
the masts, yards, and rigging, adds to the diffi- 
culty of destroying or disabling them; and the 
stability of a ship's masts, after those of her 
adversary have fallen, generally decides the 

The advantage of thick sides has not escaped 
the discernment of the Americans; and, the dis- 
cussion being confined to American ships, there 
could be no object in withholding it from the pub- 
lic, or in rendering it confused. Mr. Paul Hamil- 
ton, the American secretary of the navy, in his of- 
iicial letter, transmitting a " very valuable com- 
munication" from Captain Charles Stewart of the 
United States' navy, explicitly says: — " Besides, 
a 7f>" (a ship then proposed to be so rated) " is 
built of heavier timber, is intrinsically much 
Itrotlger, than a frigate in all her works; and 
ran sustain battering much longer, and with less 
injury. A shot which would sink a frigate, 
might 1><- received by a 76 with but little injury. 
It night pass between n ind and water through a 
frigate, when it would stick in the frame of 
a 7<>." — (N. Chron. vol. wix. p. 4<i0.) 

i bia argument requite! sonic explanation. If 


the accounts of the Americans are to be cre- 
dited, we have no ship in the British navy, not 
even the Caledonia and her class, " built of hea- 
vier timber" than the American 76s, or 74s, as 
they are now rated. Consequently, one of the 
latter may have been " built of heavier timber, 
and be intrinsically much stronger in all her 
works," than an American frigate ; as is notori- 
ously the case between a British 74 and a British 
frigate. The possession of the President, how- 
ever, has decidedly proved, that the difference, 
if any, in the size of scantling, between a British 
74 and an American frigate, is in favor of the 
latter. Yet, in answer to a charge in the British 
journals, that the large American frigates were 
74s in disguise, Mr. Clark declaims a great deal 
about a British 74-gun ship's superiority in 
" compactness and strength of sides." 

Between two British ships of war, the tonnage 
bears some proportion to the thickness of sides: 
and so it may between two American ships of 
war; but, between a British, and an American, 
ship of war, that rule generally fails. The fol- 
lowing table, the several items of which are 
the result of actual measurement, will suffici- 
ently illustrate this : 








Thickness of lopsides, including 
outside plank, timber, and in- 
side plunk, at 

nnd-sliip niam- 
dt-ck port-sill. 

foremost quart'* 
deck port-sill. 





( 60 
( 46 

President, — Am. 
San Domingo, ^ 
Hero, \£ 


Leander j pQ 

Curolas, ... .J 






Ft. in. 
1 8 

1 7 

1 5 
1 3 

Ft. in. 
1 5 

1 1 

1 oh 

— 11 

The San Domingo was Admiral Warren's flag- 
ship on the American station; and the Hero, 
recently built at Deptford, is esteemed one of 
the finest second-class 74s in the service. The 
Leander was constructed purposely to match the 
President, and her class; and the Eurotas con- 
sidered strong enough lo carry Congreve's 24-> 
pounders upon the main-deck. The tatter's 
top-sides will answer for those of British 46-gun 
frigate*, in general. 

It would appear, then, that British and Ame- 
rican builders differ in their ideas as to what 
is the duv proportion between the thickness of a 
ship of war's top-sides, and her length, breadth, 
and tonnage. Derrick says: — " In the \<ar 
1714 or 174.5, a general complaint was made of 
the ships in his majesty's navy, that their scant- 
lings were not so large and strong as they should 


be."* Mr. Sepping's solid plan of building 
rises no higher than the level of the gun-deck. 
It may save the ship from sinking, but it will 
afford no additional shelter to the men at the 
guns. — True, no ship's side can resist a well- 
directed 18 or 24-pound shot, fired from a short 
distance ; but may not a shot that is nearly spent, 
pass through a side fifteen inches thick, when 
it would lodge in a side twenty inches thick ? 

Some persons may imagine, that a stout, com- 
pact side would act as an impediment to sailing; 
a point so essential in a ship of war. On the 
contrary, the American ships are, proverbially, 
swift sailers ; and the President, with such un- 
common topsides, one of the swiftest among 
them. The quality of sailing depends chiefly 
upon the form of a ship's* bottom, aided by her 
length. The Americans had, according to Char- 
nock, discovered this, early in the war of 1776;| 
and they have now proved, clearly, that swift- 
sailing is not incompatible with the strongest 

A ship's masts and jards are generally in pro- 
portion to her size; but the lower-masts of Ame- 
rican ships, are invariably stouter in proportion 
to their length, than the lower-masts of British 
ships. A comparison of the main-masts of dif- 
ferent ships will explain this : 

* Derrick's Mom. of the R. Navy, p. 136. 
+ Charnock, M. Arch., vol. iii. p. 18. 
c 2 



Main masts. Br. C\ 


Ft. ill. 
Length, . 100 


\m. 41 Br. 4*5. Am. 36 

Ft. in. 

2 ft 

Ft. in. 
93 4 

Br. 3'.'. Am. 18 Br. 26 

Ft. in 
75 t) 

Ft. in. 

2 14 

Ft. in 

1 ?* 

Am. 14 

Ft. in. 

1 io: 

It is easy to conceive, that the smaller the 
mast, the less will be the difficulty of destroying 
it by shot; but there are few persons who can 
form an adequate idea of the state of a ship, 
with her masts all gone; engaged with another, 
whose masts are all standing. 

The masts, in their fall, crush men, and dis- 
able guns. If the wreck hangs over the side 
engaged, resistance is suspended ; or, if a few 
guns can still be used, the flash from them sets 
the wreck in flames, and adds to the confusion. 
Having no locomotive power, no sail to counter- 
act the motion of the sea, the ship becomes an 
ungovernable hulk, reeling from side to side, 
and dipping her guns at every roll. These, or 
a part of them, she may discharge at the enemy ; 
but, under such circumstances, how many shot 
will take effect? The other ship, benefiting by 
the pressure of the wind upon her sails, rides 
sl<;ul\ amidst the waves; and advances, turns, 
and retreats, at pleasure. Her guns, she tires 
with precision ; and either sinks her opponent, 
or compels her to surrender. 

* Present ratei. 


It remains to say a few words on the difference 
observable between British and American ton- 
nage. According to an official paper laid be- 
fore the American government, the President 
measured 1444 tons, — fractions not given;* 
whereas she measures, by our method, 1533- 
f*fthg of a ton. 

The President's " keel for tonnage," as it ap- 
pears in an American publication, is 145 feet; 
we make it 146 feet, 7-J- inches. — In both cases, 
it is a mere calculation, intended to allow for 
the rake or inclination of the ship's stem, and 

In casting the tonnage, the first multiplicator 
of the Americans, is the breadth across the 
frame, or moulded breadth; (by them usually 
called " breadth of beam ;") of the British, the 
same, encreased by the thickness of the plank 
at the ship's bottom, or the extreme breadth. 
The second multiplicator of each, is the respec- 
tive half-breadths. The American divisor is 
95 ; the British 94. Thus : 

Ft. in. F. in. Ft. in. Tons. 

Am. method. 145 X43 6=6308X21 9=1371999-5=1444 ifths. 
Brit, ditto .. 146 7|X44 4=6502x22 2=143044-94=1533 |Jths. 

The President's " moulded breadth," as here 
stated, is as the Americans have made it ; but, 
by actual measurement, it is two inches more. 
It is very common for ships, by falling out at the 

* Nav. Chron. vol. xxix. p. 458. 


sides, to exceed, by a trifle, the builder's esti- 

This difference in tonnage, from not being ge- 
nerally known, occasions mistakes, in pronounc- 
ing upon the relative size of British and Ameri- 
can vessels; and, in discussions of that nature, 
is, evidently, an advantage to the latter. All 
ships, therefore, American as well as British, 
whose tonnage may appear in the present work, 
will have been measured according to the 
British method. 

The application of the size hi ions, as part of 
a ship's force, cannot be reasonably objected to 
by the Americans ; because, as has appeared al- 
ready, British ships of greater tonnage than the 
American 44s. are exceeded by them, in thick- 
ness of topsides; and equalled, at least, in 
stoutness of spars. 

To convey a better idea of a ship's size, than 
the tonnage alone may afford, the length on 
deck, and extreme bread tli, of most, if not all, 
of the ships engaged, will be given; and, as the 
masts are such important auxiliaries in action, 
and the squareness of the yards may contribute 
to shew the size of the ship, the length and dia- 
meter of the main-mast and main-yard, will 
abu, when obtainable, be added. 

Having endeavoured to explain the nature of 
a ship's armament ; as well as to point out, that 
an accurate statement of a ship's force, ought to 


comprise, her broadside metal in pounds, both in 
long guns and carronades ; her complement of men 
and boys; and her size in tons — a clear view of 
the subject demands a few observations, upon the 
popular notion about the rate, the class or form, 
and the mode of rig, of armed vessels in general. 

Previous to the invention of carronades, a ship 
of war was designated, or rated, according to the 
number of guns she actually mounted. At first, 
carronades, by two or four at a time, were intro- 
duced on board the frigates and higher classes : 
to receive which carronades, additional ports 
were cut through the sides of the quarter-deck ; 
the ports for long guns not answering for carro- 
nades, without considerable alteration. These 
carronades became, then, an addition to the 
ship's armament, not expressed or understood by 
her rate. As new ships were added to the navy, 
carronade-ports were constructed by the builder, 
upon the forecastle, and all along the quarter- 
deck; except where the interference of the main- 
rigging required a long gun. Thus, a ship was 
made to mount as many as eight or ten pieces of 
cannon, more than were expressed as her actual 

This addition to a ship's rated armament 
might be illustrated by the re-equipment of 
most of his majesty's ships, built earlier than the 
year 1700. There was, however, in existence 
until very lately, a ship built as long ago as 


1757; which may best serve to establish the 
point. The Southampton frigate, in every list 
of the British navy from 1757 to 1792, is stated 
to have carried the following guns: twenty six 
12-pounders upon the main-deck ; four6-pound- 
ers upon the quarter-deck; and two 6-pounders 
upon the forecastle; total 32 guns: precisely 
what she rated, in every list up to that announc- 
ing her loss, by shipwreck, in November 1812. 
But, at that period, the Southampton mounted, 
upon the quarter-deck and forecastle, ten car- 
ronades, 24-pounders, a 12-pound boat-carro- 
nade, and four long 6s; making, with her twenty 
six long 12s upon the main-deck, 41, instead of 
32 guns, the number she rated. 

The first British-built frigate, of " 38 guns," 
was, according to Charnock's lists, the Minerva, 
of 940 tons, built in 1780; and, up to the year 
1792, the establishment of guns for that class 
was, — twenty eight 18-pounders upon the main- 
deck; eight 9-pounders upon the quarter-deck; 
and two 12-pounders upon the forecastle; total, 
38 guns. At present, the frigates of this class, 
encreased in size to 1080 tons, mount upon the 
quarter-deck and forecastle, fourteen carro- 
nades, 32-pounders, and two long 9s; making, 
with lluir main-deck battery, and boat-gun, 
47, instead of 38 nuns, the rated number. 

Previous to the Prince Regent's order in coun- 
cil, recently promulgated, it would have puzzled 


any one out of the naval department, to enume- 
rate the guns of a ship, from seeing her rate in the 
list. By people in general, the rate and actual 
armament, were considered as synonimous terms ; 
and, therefore, in proportion as the two terms 
differed, was the deception upon the public. 
We read in Steel: — " La Traave, 44,' taken by 
the Andromache, 38." The same list designates 
the former, as ^British ship, thus: " Traave, 36." 
And what did the Andromache mount? — Ac- 
cording to the present admiralty-lists, 46 guns. 
We read, also, of the capture of " La Re- 
nommee, 44;" but, when that ship, with an al- 
tered name, and three more guns placed upon 
her, is captured from us, Mr. Steel calls her 
44 Java, 38." The very same list contains the 
following statement: 4f La Furieuse, 50, taken 
July 6, by the Bonne Citoyenne, 18;" when a 
reference to Captain Mounsey's official letter* 
would have shewn the editor, that La Furieuse, 
although manned with a frigate's complement, 
and pierced for 48, mounted only 20 guns. 
The thing, in all its parts, was gallant enough, 
without the aid of exaggeration. 

It was not the least inconvenience attending 
the rating system, that it had a partial applica- 
tion, even in our own service. For instance, one 
of Steel's " 18-gun" sloops, if a brig, or a cor- 

* Nay. Chron. vol, xxii. p. 346. 


yette-sbip, mounted (without reckoning the 
boat-carronade) no more guns than her rate ex- 
pressed; but, if a deep-waisted ship, 26 or 28 

To what may we, in a great measure, impute 
the national surprise at the capture of a British 
frigate of ^49 guns/' by an American one of "44 
guas," but the delusion created by the repeated 
victories of a British frigate of "38 guns" over 
a French frigate of " 44 guns"? — Was the pub- 
lic to know, that the first British frigate was 
stated ftfcthe guns she mounted, the second at 
the guns s^ie raied ; and that the reverse of this 
occurred in the case of the American, and the 
French frigate; thus: British frigate, 49 guns, 
American frigate, 44 (instead of 5(3) guns; Bri- 
tish frigate, 38 (instead of 46) guns, French 
frigate, 44 guns? 

Foreigners, with almost pardonable acrimony, 
will often speak of this habit of contrasting the 
rate of our slijps with the mounting of theirs; 
and how can an Fnglishman reply ? \\ it li what 
face can we blame the Americans, for having 
acted in the same manner towards us? 

It is due to the gallantry of British seamen, 
and to the honorable character of British otli- 
cers. to slate, that most of the French ships of 
y 44 guns" were larger, and far more numerously 
manned, than the " ;js gun frigates" that cap- 
tured them ; and, partly on account of the dif- 


ference between French and English measures, 
usually mounted heavier metal; upon the main- 
deck, especially. Were an officer, in his public 
letter, to state how many guns his own ship 
mounted, it would be informing the lords of the 
admiralty, of what they are already supposed to 
know. He has only to describe the force of the 
enemy's ship ; being well aware that a reference 
to the navy-office books, will procure, for any 
one who may desire to publish an account of the 
action, the true force of his ship. Nor does a 
British officer, if properly applied to, ever re- 
fuse to give the fullest information on the sub- 
ject. It is the editors and publishers of such 
accounts, and not the British officers, who de- 
serve censure for imposing upon the public. 

The variation between the rate, and mount- 
ing, of the ships of the British navy, was, as we 
have seen, a gradual process ; attributable rather 
to accident than design . Was that the case with 
the ships in the American navy ? 

An act of congress, dated the 27th of March, 
1794, authorised the building of " four ships of 
44 guns, and two of 36 guns;" and, in 1813, 
the following appeared in a Philadelphia news- 
paper ; 


Extract from a Report of the secretary at war, 
April 1st, 1798. 
<k It appears that the first estimate rendered to 
congress, was for frigates of the common size and 
dimensions, rated at 36 and 44 guns; and that 
the first appropriations for the armament, were 
founded upon this estimate. It also appears 
that, when their size and dimensions came to be 
more maturely considered, due reference being 
had to the ships they might have to contend 
with, it was deemed proper, so to alter their di- 
mensions, without changing their rates, as to ex- 
tend their sphere of utility as much as possible. 

ie It was expected, from this alteration, that 
they would possess, in an eminent degree, the 
advantage of sailing ; that, separately, they would 
be superior to any single European frigate of the 
usual dimensions ; that, if assailed by n umbers, they 
would be always able to lead a-head; that they 
could never be obliged to go into action but on 
their own terms, except in a calm; and that, in 
heavy weather, they would be capable of engag- 
ing double-deck ships. 

k< These are the principal advantages contem- 
plated from the change made in their dimen- 
sions. Should they be realized, they will more 
than compensate for having materially swelled 
tin' body of expenditures." 

Here is an official document, pointing out the 


* ( advantages" of sending forth ships, of greater 
size and force than their rate implies; evidently, 
to operate as a cheat or delusion upon the rest 
of the world. There was no " European frigate 
of the usual dimensions/' but was known to be 
a third smaller, and a third weaker, than an 
American frigate " of 44 guns." But why to rate 
" of 44 guns" ? Because the largest " European 
frigates" then mounted that number; conse- 
quently, a frigate *' of 44 guns" was apparently 
equal to a frigate " of 44 guns." The diffe- 
rence between the rate and mounting was sup- 
posed to be a secret ; the above ' e Report of the 
secretary at war" not being suffered to see the 
light, till of late years, when some of the " ad- 
vantages" of the deception, had become, indeed, 
" realized" ! 

Happily, it was reserved for Britain to pluck 
the veil of deception from the rating system. 
Her gallant tars require not the aid of fiction, to 
give a colour to their claims. The order in 
council expresses, ff. that all the vessels in the 
navy shall in future be distinguished by the 
number of guns and carronades they actually 
mount, and not according to the erroneous de- 
nominations which had long since grown into 
use." — America, surely, will not now have the 
face to continue her rating system. In verifica- 
tion of the old proverb, she will find it her in- 


terestto be honest ; but it will not be forgotten — 
who set her the example. 

The rate, as we have seen, is an arbitrary dis- 
tinction, liable to continual fluctuation. There 
is, between ships of war, another distinction, 
general and permanent. Thus we have, the 
three-decker, or ship with three whole battery- 
decks ; the two-decker, or ship with two whole 
battery-decks ; the one-decker, or frigate, and 
its variety, the corvette or cutter, with one whole 

The corvette has simply one deck or battery, 
with sometimes two small spaces elevated from 
four to six feet above the level of the deck ; one 
situate aft, called the poop or round-house, the 
other forward, called the top-gallant-forecastle. 
Upon one or both of these short decks, two or 
three small guns are sometimes employed in 
action ; but, there being no ramparts to protect 
the men, the station is always a dangerous one, 
especially within the range of musketry. 

The top-gallant-forecastle, extended aft from 
the stem to the belfry, (a little abaft the fore- 
mast,) and the poop or round-house, from the 
stern to nearly the centre of the ship, become 
tin- forecastle and quarter-deck. These are 
joined by a narrow platform, or range of plunks, 
laid horizontally along llie upper pan of the 
chip's suit, allied the gangway; a \aeanev being- 
left in the middle, which opens to the tipper or 


main-deck, and forms the waist. Ships of this 
construction are called deep-waisted ; and, if 
armed for war, and with but one whole deck, 

Vessels not deep-waisted, whether corvettes, 
or such as have two whole decks reaching from 
the stem to the stern, with or without a poop 
and top-gallant-forecastle, have also a quarter- 
deck and forecastle, of the same extent as if 
separated in the middle by the waist. But a 
ship of war's upper-deck, when of this fabric, 
is usually called, the spar-deck. Of this des- 
cription, are the upper-decks of the Majestic, 
and Saturn, razees; of the Leander, Newcastle, 
and new Java ; and of the President, and the 
large American frigates of her class. None of 
these vessels are therefore deep-waisted, or fri- 
gate-built ships; although courtesy has gained 
for them the appellation of frigates. 

The frigate-class formerly descended very low. 
It was only in the year 1760, that deep-waisted 
ships, rating 18 guns and under, began to be 
classed as sloops ; and not until very lately, that 
ships ratiug 24 guns, were removed to the same 
station. Yet neither the French nor the Spaniards 
admit any intermediate class between a frigate- 
built ship, however small, and a single-decked 
flush-ship ; both calling the one a frigate, and 
the other a corvette. The Americans called the 
Cyane, rating 24 guns, a frigate ; and most of our 


frigate-built IS or 20-gun sloops, of the old rate, 
if they happened to fire a few shot at an Ame- 
rican privateer, were similarly designated. 

The quarter-deck and forecastle, with the 
deep- waist, are common to both regular two, and 
three-decked ships; and all the latter, and most 
of the former, have also a poop or round-house ; 
but which, unlike that upon corvettes, is con- 
structed with ramparts and ports, similar to the 

Without enquiring which ship's deck is the 
longer of the two, or has placed upon it the 
greater number and weight of guns, the world 
calls for proof, that ships of one denomination 
are not of equal force. Upon the same principle, 
persons imagine, that the ship of three decks, or 
batteries, must necessarily be superior in force 
to the ship of two ; and so, in succession, down 
to the corvette. 

W hether, on the contrary, a disparity, in some 
cases four-fold, may not exist between ships of 
war, having the same number of decks, a few 
examples will shew. 

The class of three-deckers is limited,, but even 
they are not equal in force. A comparison be- 
tween ships of this class is not necessary. 

For one of the two-deckers, let us take the 
Malta, with the force she mounted in 1812. To 
heighten the contrast, a two-decked "44" might 
be produced ; but, as that useless class is now 



dismissed the service, the two-decked 50, or pre- 
sent 58, gun ship (not much better) will be op- 
posed to the Malta. 


r . , f 2 carron. 68-pndrs.") 

Lower-deck ■{ \ 

L 30 long 32 • J 

Upper-deck -32 24 


Quarter-deck and I 2 carr. 

forecastle .... 

i 1 24 

L 1 18 


Total — . 94 guns. 

Old 50-gun ship. 

22 long 24pndrs, 

22 12 

6 9 

8 carr. 24 

1 JL2. 18 

59 guns. 

Comparative force of two two-deckers: 


Broadside-metal in pounds < 

Complement of men and boys 
Size in tons .... 

1. guns 1152 

Old 50-gun ship, 

carr. 178 







That a contest between two such ships, is not 
merely an ideal case, was proved on the 18th of 
August, 1798, when a British 50, the old Lean- 
der, under the command of the present Vice- 
admiral Sir Thomas Boulden Thompson, Bart, 
engaged, at close action, for six hours and a 
half, le Genereux, a ship very little inferior in 
weight of metal, and actually superior in num- 
ber of men, to the Malta. 

For the one-decked, or frigate-class, a ship as 
much a frigate as the new Leander, Newcastle, 
and new Java, will be produced. The Majestic, 




it is true, had been a 74 ; and the Anson and Inde- 
fatigable, 04s ; yet they all classed as frigates. If 
the Majestic had not been intended to represeut 
a frigate, why was her construction altered ? The 
Americans called the Cvane, when they captured 
her, a frigate ; and the same class of ship is often 
similarly designated by us. Most of these ships 
formerly mounted long guns upon the main- 
deck. One of the latter will be preferred; as 
the ship to which she is to be opposed, mounted on 
that deck long guns also. The Majestic, and the 
old 24-gun ship, respectively mounted as follows : 

Main-deck 28 long 32 pndrs. 

Old 24-gun ship. 
22 long 9 pndrs. 

Quarter-deck and t 1 brass 12 

forecastle \ 28 carr. 42 — — 

2 9 

8 carr. lb 

1 18 

1 1 2 

Total. i>8 guns. 

33 guns. 

Comparative: force of two frigates: 


I> i-i ... ml{\s S ,ins 4C() 
broadside-metal in pounds < 

I carr. 606 




Complement of men and boys 500 


Si/o in tons 1( 



Formidable as is the Majeslic's, for a frigate's, 
broadside, some oft he new American" 44s" mount 
two 32-pounders upon their main-decks, more 
than she does. There would be some propriety 
in rating such ships, as the Majestic was rated, 
at M 58 guns;" but, is it not a burlesque upon 
the rating-sy.sU'in to rate them at M 44 guns"? 


The American Commodore Macdonough, ab- 
solutely called two British armed sloops of 110, 
and 102 tons " sloops of war." (See App. No. 91.) 
Without contrasting vessels of the sloop-of-war 
class, it will be sufficient to shew the dimensions 
of an American corvette, as well as what arma- 
ment she was calculated to cany. The late 
Andromeda in our service, (now sold out,) was 
formerly the American ship Hannibal. Her di*. 
mensions were these: 86604:6 

Ft. In. 

Length on deck from rabbit to rabbit 129 7 ■> „. 

u ja «,-, L, £ Tons 812 

Breadth extreme r 37 5-f \ 

The Andromeda's masts and yards were those 
of a 42-gun frigate. She was pierced for 28 
guns; and, although she carried 32-pound car- 
ronades, might have been armed with twenty 
four 42s, and two long 18-pounders. She would 
then have thrown as heavy a broadside as a 
British 46-gun frigate, of the new rate. The 
Americans, during the late war, employed two 
corvettes, about the size of the Andromeda ; one 
named the Adams ; the other, the John Adams. 
They were both reduced from frigates; and the 
latter, it is believed, carried 42-pound carronades. 

It has already been shewn, how totally inade- 
quate the number of decks, as well as the rate, 
of a ship is, to determine her force and size. 
Difference in the mode of rigging vessels, con- 
stitutes a third distinction ; and is one that, as 


respects size particularly, may also lead to very 
erroneous conclusions. 

Most people imagine, that a ship must be 
larger than a brig; and a brig than a schooner. 
The American brigs Jones and Jefferson, on Lake 
Ontario, are each 530 tons; and the Mammoth, 
privateer-schooner, was 400 (370 Am.) tons. 
His majesty's ship-packets are 180 tons; the 
brig of war Hunter, on Lake Erie, was 74 tons ; 
and the schooner Chippeway, at the same place, 
32 tons. 

In action, a three-masted, has certainly an 
advantage over a two-masted vessel. If a brig's 
main-gaff is shot away, or her boom-main-sail 
otherwise rendered useless, she directly falls off 
from the wind, and exposes herself to a raking 
fire: whereas, if a similar accident befals a 
ship's spanker, the mizen-top-sail, or mizcn- 
stay-sail, keeps her broadside to the enemy. In 
the engagements between our brig-sloops and 
the American ship-sloops, presently to be de- 
tailed, the truth of this will be manifest. 

If, then, the reader wishes to understand 
thoroughly the merits of the several disputed 
cases, the elucidation of which is the sole object 
of the present work, he must not be biassed by 
ship's rates, number of decks, or other such 
equivocal distinctions, but must give his whole 
attention to each ship's broadside-uii^ht of nn- 
lul, complement of men and bnj/$, and size in tons. 



War of 1776 — H. M. S. Glasgow and an American 
squadron — Nimrod and an American armed 

• ship — Beaver and Oliver Cromwell — Yarmouth 
and Randolph — Cruel treatment of British pri- 
soners of war — Ariadne and Ceres with the Ra- 
leigh and Alfred — Levant and General Hancock 
— Diligent and Providence — Serapis and Scarbo- 
rough with squadron under Paul Jones — Savage 
and Congress — South Carolina American frig ate 
— Anecdote of Captain Manly — Atalante and 
Trepassy with the Alliance — Sybil and Alliance 
— Gross amount of British and American cap- 

X HE early pages of Mr. Clark's work, are de- 
voted to the naval operations of the " revolu- 
tionary war." Almost every action in which a 
British armed ship was a party, is detailed with 
some circumstances to her disadvantage. As far 
as respects private-armed ships, it is hardly pos- 
sible, at this day, to come at the truth ; but, the 
proceedings of our public-armed ships being 
on record, from the earliest periods, the de- 
tails of actions in which they have been con- 
cerned, will not be so difficult to procure. 


At page 26 of his first volume, Mr. Clark in- 
forms us, that an American fleet, consisting of, 
" the Alfred, of 30 guns and 300 men; Colum- 
bus, of 28 guns and 300 men ; Andrew Doria, of 
16 guns and 200 men ; Sebastian Cabot, of 14 
guns and 200 men; and Providence, of 12 guns 
and 150 men" on their return from a successful 
expedition against the island of New Provi- 
dence, fell in with H. M. S. Glasgow, of 20 
guns, Captain Tyringham Howe, in company 
™ith a tender. — " The Cabot," says Mr. Clark, 
" being foremost of the squadron, bore down 
upon her. After exchanging broadsides, the 
Cabot was so much damaged in her hull and 
rigging, by the superior weight of the enemy's 
metal, as to be obliged to abandon the contest, 
and refit. The Alfred came next alongside, and 
continued a close engagement for an hour and a 
half. During the action, the Alfred had her 
tiller and main-braces shot away. At day- 
break, the Glasgow, making all the sail she 
could crowd, stood in for Newport. The Cabot 
had four men killed, and seven wounded; the 
Alfred six killed, and six wounded ; the Colum- 
bus one wounded. After this engagement the 
American fleet got safe into port. The escape 
of the Glasgow excited much displeasure BgfBUnt 
the commodore." 

Captain Schombcrg* states this affair to ha\e 

* Schom berg's NaT. Chronol. vol. i. p. 427. 


happened on the 6th of April 1 776 ; and that, 
so far from the Glasgow effecting her escape, 
she compelled this mighty squadron of American 
ships to " sheer off." She was much crippled 
in her masts and rigging; and had one man 
killed, and three wounded. 

The Glasgow was 451 tons, and carried twenty 
long 9-pounders. The tender does not appear 
to have been armed. The Alfred and Columbus 
must have had either 9 or 12-pounders : the other 
three American vessels, 6-pounders. — What 
means Mr. Clark, then, by et the superior weight 
of the enemy's metal" ? — A candid writer would 
have said — i( the extraordinary precision of the 
enemy's fire." Some idea of what the Glasgow 
had to contend with, will appear by the num- 
bers on each side : British force, 20 guns, 150 
men; American force, 100 guns, 1150 men. 

At page 39 of the same volume, Mr. Clark 
says — H In the month of September (1776) Cap- 
tain Baird, commander of a Massachusetts 
armed ship, engaged the Nimrod, a British sloop 
of war, of 18 guns. After a severe action, the 
Nimrod struck her colours ;" — and refers, for his 
authority, to two American miscellanies, the 
Remembrancer, and Pennsylvania Packet. 

Passing over the circumstance of the armed 
ship's force being left to inference, it is sufficient 
to state, that neither this " severe action," nor 
the Nimrod 's capture, can be found in Schom- 


berg; — a work Mr. Clark admits of authority, 
by referring to it so often. But, in the navy- 
list for 1777, (the year succeeding the alleged 
capture,) the Nimrod's name appears, for the 
first time; and she is there stated to mount 14, 
instead of 18 guns. 

At p. 51, we read,—" On the 11th of May 
(1777) the British sloop of war Beaver, of 14 
guns and 125 men, fell in with an American 
privateer of superior force. After a smart action 
of three quarters of an hour, the privateer struck 
to the English vessel." — " Schombcrg's Naval 
Chronology, vol. i. p. 436." — The passage quoted 
runs thus: u On the 18th of May, the Beaver 
sloop of war, of 14 guns and 125 men, com- 
manded by Captain Jones, being on a cruize off 
St. Lucia, fell in with, and after a smart action 
of three quarters of an hour, captured the Oli- 
ver Cromwell, American privateer, of 24 guns, 
10 swivels, and 10 cohorns, and 150 men, com- 
manded by Captain llarman; 20 of whom were 
killed, and as many wounded. The Beaver had 
three men wounded. She was taken into the 
service, and named the Beaver's prize." 

At p. 78, Mr. Clark recounts the blowing up 
of the American 32-gun frigate, the Randolph, 
while engaging the Yarmouth 64, at night ; 
having mistaken her for a " large sloop with 
only a square-sail set." — " The British ship," 
hays the account, " was the Yarmouth of 04 


guns, commanded by Captain Vincent. She was 
very much disabled by the action. Her sails 
were all torn to pieces in a most surprising man- 
ner. She had five men killed, and twelve wounded. 
All the other vessels escaped from the Yarmouth; 
which continued a chase of several days after 
them." — For this, Schomberg is not cited, but an 
American miscellany of note, the " Porte-folio." 
Captain Schomberg relates the same disastrous 
event thus: — "On the 7th of March, Captain 
Vincent, in the Yarmouth, of 64 guns, being on 
a cruize off the island of Antigua, about five 
o'clock in the evening, discovered and chased 
six sail. At nine, Captain Vincent came up with 
the largest, which, upon being hailed, hoisted 
American colours, and fired her broadside into 
the Yarmouth: she continued to engage for 
about twenty minutes, when on a sudden she 
blew up. Being very near to the Yarmouth, a 
great part of the wreck fell on board her, which 
cut her rigging and sails to pieces, killed five 
men, and wounded twelve others. On the 12th, 
Captain Vincent being in chase, saw a large 
piece of a wreck with four men on it ; upon which 
he gave up the chase, and bore down to pick 
them up. They proved to be the only remain- 
ing part of the unfortunate crew of the ship 
which had blown up, while engaging the Yar- 
mouth. These poor wretches had subsisted on 


nothing but rain-water, which they had caught 
in a piece of an old blanket. Captain Vincent 
learnt from them, that the ship was the Ran- 
dolph, American privateer, of 36 guns, and 305 

The American account, in the very next para- 
graph to that stating the Yarmouth's loss in sails 
and men, " by the action," says — " There were 
315 persons on board the Randolph. When she 
blew up, it was fortunate for the Yarmouth that 
she was to- windward of her. Notwithstanding, 
she was covered with parts of the wreck. A 
large piece of timber, six feet long, fell on the 
poop. Another large piece struck her fore-top- 
gallant-sail. " But, strange to say, not a word 
is there of a single man on the Yarmouth's decks 
having been hurt by this shower of spars, " six 
feet long. 1 ' 

To commemorate the " glorious event," a 
splendid oil-painting is still exhibited, shewing 
the Yarmouth, in size a three-decker, engaging 
the Randolph. The latter's consorts, (although 
one of them, the Moultrie of 4 J0 guns, is admit- 
ted lo have been closely engaged,) may be seen 
far off in the back-ground ; the sails of the <»4 
are pierced with shot-holes; a top-gallant-yard 
is breaking in two; and atop-gallant-mast fall- 
ing upon the deck. In short, the Yarmouth ap- 
p< ;i)s to have, by far, the worst of the action. 


So much for representing that as having* pre- 
ceded, which actually followed, and was the 
consequence of, the Randolph's destruction. 

According to a paragraph respecting the fit- 
ting out of this Randolph, it would appear that 
"British sailors" were among the sufferers on this 
melancholy occasion. Mr. Clark says : — " The 
difficulty of procuring American seamen, when 
the frigate was fitting out, obliged Captain 
Biddle to comply with the request of a number 
of British sailors, then prisoners, to be allowed 
to enter on board his vessel. While bearing 
away for Charleston, the English sailors, in con- 
junction with others of the crew, formed the de- 
sign of taking the ship. When prepared, three 
cheers were given by them on the gun-deck. 
But, by the firm and determined conduct of the 
captain and his officers, the ringleaders were 
seized and punished. The rest submitted with- 
out opposition." 

This brings to recollection, a circumstance 
related by an American loyalist, who is now a 
commissioned officer in his majesty's land-ser- 
vice. He stated, that he was confined, as a pri- 
soner of war, in the jail of Philadelphia, during 
the first American war; and there frequently 
witnessed the taking by force of British pri- 
soners to man the l T . States' vessels, then lying 
in the Delaware. That, on one occasion, thirty 
or forty sailors, selected as the most effective, 


were dragged forth; and that, on their comrades 
within-side joining in their loud execrations 
against the authors of such cruelty, the soldiers 
appointed to guard the men, in their march to 
the ships, fired into the prison-windows! 

The fact of the " British sailors" on board 
the Randolph trying to regain their liberty, 
proves, pretty clearly, that, instead of their hav- 
ing "requested to enter," the American com- 
mander and his officers had, like the autho- 
rities on shore, employed coercive means. 

At p. 85, vol. I. of the « Naval History," we 
read that,—" on the 9th of March (1778) the 
Alfred of 20 guns, was captured by the British 
vessels, Ariadne of 20 guns, and Ceres of 14." 
— " Scliombetg^s Naval Chronology, vol. i. p. 
451." — Upon consulting the authority, the pas- 
sage is found to run thus: — ' : On the 9th of 
March, the Ariadne of 20 guns, and the Ceres 
sloop of war, of 14 guns, commanded by Cap- 
tains Pringle and Dacres, being on a cruize off 
Barbadoes, chased two American frigates. At 
noon they came up with one of them, which 
struck, after a short resistance. She proved to 
be the Alfred, of 20 guns, and ISO men. Her 
consort was the Raleigh, of 32 guns, which 

The ship that escaped was ftf lerwards captured 
by the Experiment, of /SO guns, and Unicorn, of 
20 v.uns ; and taken into the service as a 32-gun 


frigate. No wonder Mr. Clark preferred being 
guilty of a false quotation, to disgracing his 
pages with the fact of the Raleigh having de- 
serted her consort, when chased by two British 
ships ; the largest of which was barely equal in 
force to the smallest of the American ships. 

We next read (p. 87) of " the Levant, an 
English frigate, of 32 guns, commanded by Cap- 
tain John Martin," being, on the 19th of Sep- 
tember 1778, blown up in action with " the 
private-armed ship General Hancock, of Bos- 
ton." The latter's force not mentioned. This 
loss does not appear in Schomberg. On the con- 
trary, in his lists of the British navy, for 1777, 
1778, and 1779, may be seen — " Levant, 28 guns, 
Captain Hon. G. Murray ;" but the name c * John 
Martin" no where appears among the post-cap- 
tains, or commanders, in his majesty's navy. 
One of the last paragraphs in the American ar- 
ticle, states, that the boatswain and seventeen 
men were saved ; and that the crew " consisted 
of ninety seven seamen, exclusive of landsmen 
and boys." — The ship, therefore, was probably 
a British letter of marque ; but evidently not, as 
alleged by Mr. Clark, " an English frigate of 
32 guns." 

At p. 96 is the following: — " In the month of 
May (1779) as the U. States' sloop of war Provi- 
dence, of 10 guns, Captain Hoisted Hacker, was 
cruizing off Sandy Hook, she fell in with the 


British sloop of war Diligent, of 12 guns. A 
severe action ensued, and lasted an hour and a 
half, when the British vessel struck to the Ame- 
rican. The Providence had four men killed, 
and ten wounded." 

According to Schomberg's and Charnock's lists, 
the Diligent mounted 10 guns, 3-pounders, was 
allowed 45 men, and measured 89 tons. Mr. 
Clark, in another part of his book, states the 
force of the Providence at twelve 4-pounders, 
and 90 men; and captured American vessels of 
12 guns, at that time, were from 198 to 220 tons. 
This, therefore, was no capture of a superior 
British force, as the statement implies. 

At p. 105 is given a highly exaggerated ac- 
count of the loss of H. M. ships, the Serapis, of 
44, and Scarborough, of 20 guns. These two 
ships, with 294, and 135 men, were captured, 
according to the official accounts, after a san- 
guinary action of nearly four hours, by that no- 
torious renegado, Paul Jones, in Le Bon Homme 
Richard, of 40 guns, and 375 men; the Alliance, 
of 36 guns, and 300 men; le Pallas, of 32 guns, 
and 275 men; and the Vengeance brig, of 12 
guns, and 70 men : altogether, 120 guns, and 
1020 men, opposed to 64 guns, and 420 men. 

At p. 125 is the fol lowing: — M In September, 
the British sloop of war Savage, of 20 guns, and 
about 150 men, cruized along the southern coast 
of the United States. She had proceeded up the 


Potowmac, and plundered General Washing- 
ton's estate. On the 6th of September, she was 
met off Charleston, by the privateer Congress, 
of the same force with herself. The Congress 
was commanded by Captain Geddes. Major 
M'Lane, a very distinguished partizan-officer of 
the American army, had, with a part of his com- 
mand, volunteered to serve as marines on board 
her. As the crew of the Savage were all seamen, 
she had considerably the advantage of the Con- 
gress, the greater part of whose crew were lands- 
men. At half past ten, the Congress commenced 
firing her bow-chasers. At eleven, the action 
commenced with musketry; which, after much 
execution, was followed by a severe cannonade on 
both sides. The Savage, at the commencement 
of the engagement, had the advantage. She 
then lay on the Congress' bows, and raked her. 
But the latter succeeded in getting alongside 
the Savage, and soon disabled her so effectually 
that she could not manoeuvre. An hour after 
the commencement of the action, all the braces 
and bow-lines of the Savage were shot away. 
Not a rope was left to trim the sails with. Her 
decks were cleared by the musketry of the Ame- 
ricans. The Congress continued alongside until 
accident obliged her to drop a-stern. The Sa- 
vage was then almost a wreck ; her sails, rig- 
ging, and yards, were so much injured, that 
it was with the utmost difficulty she could 


change her position time enough to avoid being 
raked. The cannonading soon recommenced, 
with greater vigour than ever. The quarter- 
deck and forecastle of the Savage were, in a 
short time, again nearly cleared; almost every 
man stationed in these places being either killed 
or wounded. Three guns on the main-deck of 
the Savage were rendered useless. The lire 
from the guns of each ship, scorched the men 
opposed to them in the other. The mizen-mast 
of the Savage was shot away, and got entangled 
in the after-rigging of the Congress. The co- 
lours of both vessels were shot away, when the 
boatswain of the Savage appeared forward with 
his hat off, calling for quarters. As all the boats 
of the Congress had been destroyed by shot, it 
was half an hour before any of her crew could 
board the Savage. She was found to be a torn - 
plete wreck. Her decks were covered with blood, 
and killed and wounded men. The victory was, 
in a great measure, due to the exertion and acti- 
vity of Major M'Lane and his brave soldiers." 

This very circumstantial account, to make it 
complete, wanted only, what the Americans are 
generally unwilling to communicate — the force 
of their own ship. I'ortunately, that appears in 
Schomberg, vol. ii. p. 57. He there says, — M On 
the (3th of September, Captain Charles Sterling, 
in the Savage sloop of war, of It guns, and 125 
men, being on a cruize off Cliarlestown, fell in 


with, and was captured, after a furious and 
bloody conflict, by the Congress privateer, 
mounting 20 12-pounders, and four 6-pounders, 
with a complement of 215 men, commanded by 
Captain Geddes. Captain Sterling did not sur- 
render the king's ship, until his mizen-mast was 
shot away, the main-mast in imminent danger 
of falling overboard, sveral of the guns rendered 
useless, 8 men killed, and 26 wounded. Among 
the former was the master, and among the latter 
were Captain Sterling, Lieutenant Shields, and 
3 midshipmen." 

Although the Congress was more than doubly 
superior to the Savage ; (whose 14 guns were only 
6-pounders ;) yet, says the above candid histo- 
rian, "the British sloop of war was captured 
by an American ship of the same force with 

At p. 138, is stated the capture, in the month 
of December, 1782, of the American frigate South 
Carolina, of 40guns. Schomberg, the author cited, 
adds, " twenty-eight of which were 42-pound- 
ers on the main-deck, and twelve 12-pound- 
ers on the quarter-deck and forecastle, with a 
complement of 450 men, commanded by Cap- 
tain Joiner. This frigate was built in Holland 
for the Americans: her length of keel was 160 
feet." — His not then in modern times only, that 
the Americans have employed frigates exceed- 


ing in force and size, the frigates of any other 

To cap the climax of American heroism dur- 
ing the " revolutionary war," Mr. Clark, in the 
same page of his book, gives the following anec- 
dote: — " In the month of September, Captain 
Manly*, who in the commencement of the war 
commanded the Hancock frigate, was appointed 
to the command of the U. States' frigate Hague, 
before called the Deane. Cruizing in the West 
Indies, he was chased by an English 74, and 
grounded on a sand-bank near Guadaloupe. 
Three ships of the line having joined the 74, 
they came to anchor within point-blank shot of 
the Hague. With springs on their cables, they 
opened a most tremendous fire. The American 
frigate supported this cannonade for three days. 
On the fourth she was got off, when, hoisting 
continental colours at the main-top-gallant- 
mast, she fired 13 guns as a farewell defiance. 
She arrived safe in Boston." The reader will re- 
cover himself a little when he finds that, for this 
wonderful escape from three days' " tremendous 
cannonade," by four ships of the line, within 
" point-blank shot," an " American Biographi- 
cal Dictionary" is Mr. Clark's sole authority. 
The " Naval History" contains, also, the ac- 

* An Englishman, born in Torbay. Naval Chron. toI. 
ixxii. p. 27 J. 


counts of the capture of two of our sloops of 
war by the American frigate Alliance, " of 32 
guns," and of that ship's action with a British 
frigate of " equal force;" but as these actions 
are more circumstantially given in the u life of 
Commodore Barry," vol. ii. p. 1. of the Ameri- 
can Portefolio, the latter will be consulted in 

The European reader will find it difficult to 
comprehend, how Mr. Barry, admitted to have 
been " born in Ireland," could be "an Ame- 
rican hero ;" or how an acknowledged traitor to 
his country, could be " the first of patriots and 
best of men." In American language, these 
terms are synonimous; unless, indeed, a native 
of the United States becomes a traitor. In that 
case, the words revert to their original mean- 
ing, and no crime is so heinous. 

The Alliance, " of 36 guns," says the com- 
modore's biographist, " sailed from L'Orient 
early in 1781, on a cruize; and, having taken 
many valuable prizes, on the 29th of May an 
event occurred that deserves notice. On the 
preceding day two sail were discovered on the 
weather-bow standing for the Alliance. The 
strange sails were discovered to be a ship and a 
brig; the British flag was displayed, and having, 
by means of their sweeps, got within hailing 
distance, they respectively hailed, when it ap- 
e 2 


peared that the ship was his Britannic majesty's 
ship of war Atalante, Captain Edwards, carry- 
ing bcticccn 20 and 30 guns, and her consort, the 
b rig Trepasa, Captain Smith.*' — Then, the action 
is detailed; and that " at three P. M. they both 
struck their colours. " The time at which the 
firing- commenced is not stated ; but, " about two 
o'clock, the commodore (Barry) was wounded 
in the shoulder by a grape-shot." 

" Soon after the commodore was wounded 
and left the deck, one of his lieutenants went 
to him while in the cockpit, and, representing 
the shattered state of the sails and rigging, the 
number of killed and wounded, and the disad- 
vantages under which they laboured, from the 
want of wind, desired to know if the colours 
should be struck. ' No,* said he, ■ and if the 
ship can't be fought without, I will be carried 
on deck.' When the lieutenant made known to 
the crew the determination of their brave com- 
mander, fresh spirit was infused into them, and 
they, one and all, resolved to stick by him. 

" The Alliance had 11 killed and 21 wounded; 
among the latter, several of her officers; her 
rtgging and spars much shattered, and severely 
wounded iti her hull. The enemy had the same 
number killed, and ttO wounded. We have been 
led into the detail of this victory, as it was con- 
sidered at the time of its achievement, a most 


brilliant exploit, and as an unequivocal evi- 
dence of the unconquerable firmness and intre- 
pidity of the victor." 

Here, then, the u unconquerable intrepidity" 
of an Irishman prevented the colours of an 
American ship from being struck. What re- 
nown, it may be asked, did the Americans gain 
by this? Suppose, even, the American lieute- 
nant and his men had, without requiring to be 
stimulated by their Irish commander, effected 
the conquest, was the capture, or the defence, of 
these two sloops the most " brilliant exploit"? 
Schomberg records the event thus: — " On the 
28th of May, the Atalante sloop of war, of 14 
guns, and 125 men, commanded by Captain 
Edwards, and the Trepassey, of 14 guns, and 
80 men, Captain Smith, being on a cruize on 
the banks of Newfoundland, at noon on that 
day, were attacked by the Alliance, American 
frigate, of 40 guns, and 250 men. The sloops 
made a most determined and resolute defence; 
at one o'clock, Captain Smith, of the Trepas- 
sey, was killed. Lieutenant King, on whom the 
command devolved, continued the action with 
great gallantry for two hours longer. At this 
time, the Trepassey was a complete wreck, with 
5 men killed, and 10 wounded, and the ship 
ungovernable ; he was compelled to strike. Cap- 
tain Edwards, in the Atalante, still maintained 
the action with uncommon bravery; but his an- 


tagonist having no longer any other to contend 
with, compelled him also to surrender, with the 
loss of many men, and the ship dreadfully cut 
to pieces. Mr. Samuel Arden, her lieutenant, 
behaved with unexampled bravery, having lost 
his right arm in the action ; the instant it was 
dressed, he resumed his station upon deck, and 
animated the men to fight gallantly, where he 
continued till the ship struck."* 

Among the frigates captured from the Ameri- 
cans during the war of 1776, were two of 32 
guns each, carrying long 18s and 12s; and 
one, the Bricole, sunk at Charleston in 1780, 
was pierced for 60, and mounted 44 guns, 24 
and 18 pounders. The Alliance mounted 40 
guns; consisting, it is believed, of twenty-eight 
long 18-pounders upon the main-deck, and 
twelve long 12-pounders upon the quarter-deck 
and forecastle. The American frigate, Confede- 
racy, of 36 guns, and 300 men, captured in 1801, 
measured 959 tons; which may therefore be 
stated as the size of the Alliance. 

The Atalante mounted 16 guns, 6-pounders, 
and measured 300 tons; the Trepassey 14 guns, 
4-pounders, and measured 187 tons. The fol- 
lowing, then, will shew the relative force of the 
two captured sloops and the American frigate; 
and decide which party in this contest was en- 
titled to honors: 

* Schomb. N. Chronol. toI. ii. p. bO, 


Atalante and Trepassey. 
Broadside-metal in pounds (all long guns) __ 76 

Complement of men and boys 205 

Size in tons 487 


The next " brilliant exploit" of the same 
American frigate, is noted thus: — " The Alli- 
ance left L'Orient in February, 1782, from 
which time she continued cruizing with great 
success, till March of the following year; when, 
shortly after leaving Havannah, whither she had 
been ordered to bring to the United States a 
large quantity of specie, having in company the 
continental ship Luzerne, of 20 guns, Captain 
Green, three frigates were discovered right 
a-head, two leagues distant. The American 
vessels were hove about; the enemy gave chase. 
The Luzerne not sailing so fast as the Alliance, 
the commodore ordered the captain to throw her 
guns overboard. A sail was then discovered on 
her weather-bow, bearing down upon them. 
The Alliance hove out a signal, which was an- 
swered: she proved to be a French ship of 50 
guns. Relying upon her assistance, the com- 
modore concluded to bring the headmost of 
the enemy's ships to action; after inspiriting 
his crew by an address, and going from gun to 
gun, cautioning his men against too much haste, 
and not to fire till ordered, he prepared for ac- 
tion. The enemy's ship was of equal size with 

* Short of her proper complement by 70 men, at least. 


the Alliance: a severe engagement followed. It 
was very soon perceptible that the Alliance was 
gaining the advantage. Most of the enemy's 
guns were silenced; and after an action of fifty 
minutes, his ship was so severely damaged, that 
she hoisted a signal of distress, when her con- 
sorts joined her. The loss on board the Alliance 
Mas very trifling; 3 killed, and 11 wounded. 
The enemy's loss was severe; 37 killed, and 
50 wounded. The other English frigates were 
watching the movements of the French ship ; the 
captain of which, upon coming up with the 
Alliance, assigned as a reason for keeping aloof 
from the action, that he was apprehensive the 
Alliance had been taken, and that the engage- 
ment was only a decoy. Chase was made, but 
the French ship being unable to keep up with 
the American, it was given over. — A gentleman 
of distinguished naval reputation, when in the 
Mediterranean with the American squadron, was 
introduced to Captain James Vashou, esquire, 
now vice-admiral of the red, the commander of 
the British frigate engaged with the Alliance. 
In thecourse of conversation he made purtict :lar 
enquiry after Captain Barry, related the cir- 
cumstance of the action, and, with the frank- 
ness of a generous enemy, confessed that he had 
never seen a ship so ably fought a* the Alliance; 
that he had never before, to use his own words, 


' received such a drubbing/ and that he was in- 
debted to the assistance of his consorts."* 

Neither Sckomberg, nor any other British na- 
val historian, mentions this engagement. By a 
little industry, however, the following facts have 
been obtained; and may be relied on. The 
" three frigates" consisted of the Alarm of 
twenty-six long 12, and six long 6 pounders, 
commanded by the late Sir Charles Cotton; 
the Sybil of twenty-four long 9, and four long 
6 pounders, commanded by the present Admi- 
ral Vashon ; and the Tobago of sixteen long 
4-pounders, commanded by the present Vice- 
admiral Martin. It was to extricate the Lu- 
zerne, of twenty long 9-pounders, that the Alli- 
ance bore down upon, and engaged, the Sybil; 
which ship was, in a manner, detached from her 
consorts. The action was fought within half- 
musket shot distance; and continued about 
seventeen minutes, when the Alliance hauled on 
board her fore and main-tacks, and stood from 
her antagonist; whose great inferiority of sail- 
ing rendered pursuit useless. The Alarm and 
Tobago were still at a considerable distance; 
and, so far from the Sybil being " severely 
damaged," and losing " 37 killed and 50 
wounded," she received very little injury in 
hull, spars, or rigging, and lost but 2 men killed, 
and 7 or 8 wounded. If, therefore, Captain 

* American Portefolio, vol. ii. p. 7. 


Vashon made any signal, it must have been to 
acquaint his commanding officer, that the Sybil, 
alone, could manage the Alliance; thereby leav- 
ing the Alarm and Tobago at liberty to devote 
their attention to the French 50, and the Ame- 
rican 20, gun ship, the friend and consort of 
the fugitive American frigate. It is almost need- 
less to add, that the statement of this engage- 
ment, as given by Commodore Barry's bio- 
graphist, including the alleged conversation 
between " Captain James Vashon, esquire" and 
the American " gentleman of distinguished 
naval reputation," is an entire fabrication. 

To enable the reader fully to appreciate the 
gallant performance of the officers and crew of 
the Sybil, here follows the 

Comparative force of the two ships: 

Sybil. Alliance. 

Broadside-metal in pounds (all long guns) -.120 396 

Complement of men and boys.. 200 320 

Size in tons 594 959 

A superiority, in weight of metal, of more 
than three to one, and in complement, of more 
than three to two, failed to give success; yet 
the American statement of the Alliance's two 
actions, concludes thus: — "We wish it to be 
understood, that the gallantry of our seamen is 
not of recent date, but is coeval with our na- 
tional existence." 

It is not simply by partial and fabricated ac- 


counts of actions, that the Americans have 
reared from comparative insignificance, the 
<4 Naval History of the revolutionary war;" 
Mr. Clark devotes twenty pages of his book to 
a mere list of British captured vessels; while he 
compels the reader to wade through the whole, 
in search of the few captured American vessels, 
with the names of which his industry had sup- 
plied him. The writer's motives appear in the 
following comparative statement of the gross 
numbers of American and British armed vessels, 
captured or destroyed during the first American 
war; as extracted from Schomberg, vol. v. p. 11 
and 52 : 

American armed vessels. 1 British armed vessels. 
No. 85; guns, 1755. | No. 29; guns, 470. 



The United States and France — Constellation en- 
gages and captures I' 'Insurgent — A statement of 
the comparative force of the ships — Constellation 
engages la Vengeance — /* beaten off" — La Ven- 
geance refitted — Encounters the Seine — Is cap- 
tured — Statement of the comparative force of the 
ships — Americans claim a victory for Commo- 
dore Truxton — Description of his medal presented 
in consequence — French account of the engage- 
ment with the American frigate — Remarks 
thereon — Leopard and Chesapeake — American 
accounts of it — Statement of the comparative 

force of the vessels — Little Belt and President — 
Americans at Tripoli — British deserters. 

JL MR only naval occurrences that strictly come 
within the plan of the present work, are those 
that have taken place between the United States 
and Great Britain; but, as the Americans still 
attach considerable importance to the two " me- 
morable naval victories, " they pretend to have 
gained over the French, a cursory examination 
of the American accounts of those actions, may 
not be an unprofitable digression* It will then 
be seen, whether America has displayed mor* 


moderation in recording her victories over 
France, to whose treasure and fleets she owed 
her independence, than she has in triumphing 
over us; to whom, it is admitted, she owes no 
extraordinary obligations. 

The " Naval History" states that, on the 
9th of February, 1799, the U. States' frigate 
Constellation, " of 36 guns," fell in with " a 
large ship" under French colours; that an action 
ensued, which lasted " one hour and a quarter," 
when the enemy struck, and proved to be Fln- 
surgent, " of 40 guns, and 417 men." Another 
American account fixes her complement at 340; 
but neither account mentions the nature of her 

This u brilliant victory" was echoed from one 
end of the union to the other; and a late 
American newspaper-puff, headed " Record of 
glory," recalls it -to the public attention. It is 
of little consequence, whether the Constellation 
rated of " 36 guns;" or, as Mr. Clark has made 
her, in his list of the American navy for the very 
year of the action, " of 44 guns:" the ques- 
tion is — what was her real force, as well as that 
of the frigate she captured ? 

A lieutenant of the Constellation, while, dur- 
ing the late war, she was lying in Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia, blockaded by the British squadron, gave 
the following as her armament, at that period: — 
twenty-eight long 18-pounders upon the main- 


deck, twenty carronades, 32-pounders, and two 
(English) long 24-pounders, bored to carry a 
32-pound shot, upon the quarter-deck and fore- 
castle; total 50 guns: exclusive of boat-carro- 
nadc, and top-guns, if any. 

But a gentleman who was frequently on board 
the Constellation, while she Mas in the West 
Indies, in the years 1799 and 1780, declares, 
that her main-deck battery then consisted, not 
of 18, but of 24 pounders. In confirmation of 
this, a New-York paper, of the end of 1800, or 
beginning of 1801, (the precise date not recol- 
lected,) announced the arrival there from a 
southern port, of the U. States' frigate Constel- 
lation, for the purpose of " exchanging her 24s 
for 18s." Therefore, long subsequently to both 
her " victories," the Constellation mounted 
24-pounders upon the main-deck. It is believed, 
that the chief part of her spar-deck battery 
then consisted of long 12s, and that they were 
afterwards exchanged for carronades. To make 
allowance for that, ten of her twenty-two spar- 
deck guns will be considered as long 12s, and 
the remainder as 32-pound carronades. 

The complement of the Constellation was 440 
at least ; and her size is described as about equal 
to that of the Kndymion. At all events, she 
could not well have been less than 1250 tons. 

The nature of Tlnsurgent's guns no where ap- 
pears, lor some years subsequent to 1799, 


when a French frigate was captured, with 
18-pounders upon the main-deck, it was inva- 
riably so expressed in the official account. The 
generality of the French 40-gun frigates, carried 
12-pounders; and were from 850 to 950 tons. 
To give every advantage to the Americans, let us 
suppose that PInsurgent mounted twenty-six 
long 18-pounders upon the main-deck, and four- 
teen long 9-pounders upon the quarter-deck and 
forecastle ; total " 40 guns." The difference be- 
tween an English and a French 18-pound shot, 
in diameter, is as 5,040 to 5,277; (inches and 
decimal parts;) and, in weight, as 18 to 20^ 
pounds. So that, by adding one eighth to the 
nominal calibers of French guns, we have the 
weight of metal expressed in English pounds. 
The mean of the two American accounts of 
l'lnsurgent's complement is 379. Her tonnage 
may be stated at 950. 

Comparative force of the two ships: 

in pounds ._ 1 


Broadside-metal in pounds ._ ^ 

carr. 192 


Complement of men and boys.. 440 

Size in tons 1250 

1' Ins urgent. 




Had the Constellation captured, in one action, 
two such ships as 1'Insurgent, the Americans 
could not have boasted more than they did upon 
this occasion. A disclosure of the real strength 



of the parties, now shews, that the defence of 
the French frigate was highly creditable to her 
officers and crew. 

The merchants of London, misled by the 
American statements, most of which were copied 
into the British journals, viewed the capture of 
l'lnsurgent as a victory gained by an American, 
over a French frigate, greatly superior; and, 
acting with their accustomed liberality, sub- 
scribed for a piece of plate to be presented to 
Commodore Truxton. Had the rate of, and 
actual number of guns mounted by, a ship, 
meant the same thing, this " memorable vic- 
tory" would have passed off without notice. 

On the 1st of February, 1800, the Constella- 
tion fell in with, and engaged for upwards of 
three hours, the French frigate la Vengeance. 
Each party, as is usual in undecided cases, ac- 
cused the other of " sheering off." At all 
events, the Constellation had her main-mast shot 
away; and was otherwise so greatly injured as 
to be compelled to bear up for Jamaica, to un- 
dergo the necessary repairs. Her loss in killed 
and wounded amounted to 39. La Vengeance 
was also much shattered, and lost a great many 
men. She afterwards put into Curacoa, to get 
herself refitted. Commodore Ynixton's account 
of this engagement, being deemed a unique piece 
of composition, will be found in tiie Appendix. 
(>, os. land 2.) 


On the 20th of August following, H. M. S. 
Seine, Captain (now Rear-admiral Sir) David 
Milne, fell in with, and after a long and sangui- 
nary action, captured, this same la Vengeance; 
just from Curacoa, where she had been com- 
pletely refitted. The Seine was much cut up; 
and sustained a loss of 13 killed, and 29 wounded. 
La Vengeance was shattered almost to pieces ; 
and, when carried into Jamaica, was thought 
not worth repairing. Her loss in the action, 
though not exactly ascertained, was known to 
have been very severe. 

The Seine (captured from the French, June 
29, 1798) mounted 42 guns: twenty-eight long 
18-pounders upon the main-deck, and fourteen 
long 9-pounders upon the quarter-deck and 
forecastle. Her established complement con- 
sisted of 284 men and boys ; and she measured 
1146 tons. 

La Vengeance mounted 52 guns: twenty-eight 
long 18-pounders upon the main-deck; sixteen 
long 12-pounders, and eight carronades, 42- 
pounders, upon the quarter deck and forecastle. 
Her complement was believed to be 453; but, 
as 291 men only were found on board, 390 
will be an ample allowance. Captain Milne 
describes la Vengeance as " exactly of the di- 
mensions of the Fisgard," taken from the French 
in 1 7i>7 ; and that ship was 1182 tons. 


Comparative force of the two ships. 

Broadside-metal in pounds, \ 

7 tea 

Seine. La Vengeance, 

guns, 315 391 

carr. 00 189 

315 580 

Complement of men and boys, 284 390 

Size in tons, 1146 1182 

Here, evidently, a British frigate, of inferior 
force, captured a ship, which an American fri- 
gate, of at least equal force, was unable to cap- 
ture; demonstrating that British, was, in this 
instance, more potent than American " thunder." 
— •" Aye," say the Americans, " but la Ven- 
geance struck her flag to the Constellation, only 
our commodore did not happen to know it." — 
Accordingly, it was so voted ; and the honors of 
a conqueror, — a conqueror, too, over a " far su- 
perior force," — were conferred upon the asto- 
nished Commodore Truxton. Nay, to silence 
all doubts, and perpetuate the " memorable 
victory," a medal was struck ; of which an en- 
graving may be seen in the first volume of the 
American Portefolio. Two ships are there re- 
presented, dismasted and much cut up ; one, a 
complete two-decker, similar to the Majestic or 
Saturn, razees ; the other, a small frigate. The 
reader may conjecture which ship is intended 
for the American. 

As if to place this mock triumph in a still 
more ridiculous point of view, the French first 


lieutenant assured a distinguished British naval 
officer, that la Vengeance, when she encountered 
the Constellation, was laden with sugar, and 
had casks stowed between her main-deck guns ; 
a few only of which could be cleared for action 
in time ; that the American frigate kept hang- 
ing upon the quarter of la Vengeance, and 
never came fairly alongside ; that the latter 
lost all three masts; and, from having an in- 
experienced crew, was compelled to remain 
stationary for the best part of three days ; 
during which time the American frigate, with 
her fore and mizen-masts standing, lay in sight, 
to-windward, but made no attempt to renew the 

If such is the behaviour of the Americans to 
their friends the French, we cannot complain of 
being unjustly dealt with. In the utmost dis- 
play of their exaggerating talents, the Ameri- 
cans, perhaps, seek less to disparage others, than 
to exalt themselves ; and it ought to be some 
consolation to us, that "the language of truth is 
uniform and consistent;" and that "to depart 
from it safely, requires memory and discretion. " 

The editor of the " Naval History" cannot 
describe even the affair of the Leopard and 
Chesapeake, without his accustomed misrepre- 
sentation. After nearly a page of preliminary 
observations, he says: — " The Chesapeake was 
altogether in an unprepared state; her guns and 

f a 


decks were lumbered with sails, cables, &c. and 
her men were not at quarters till the commence- 
ment of the attack. No opposition was made. 
The British commander continued pouring his 
broadsides into the undefended ship for about 
thirty minutes; when the Chesapeake having 
received considerable damage in her hull, rig- 
ging, and spars, she struck. She had 3 men 
killed, and 18 wounded." 

Commodore Barron's letter is not noticed by 
Mr. Clark; although, on other occasions, Ame- 
rican official letters are deemed unquestionable 
authority. It bears date, June 23d, 1807; 
states the Chesapeake's departure from Hamp- 
ton roads; and then proceeds, as follows:— 
lf Some time afterwards, we observed one of the 
two line-of-baUle ships that lay off Cape Henry, 
to get under weigh, and stand to sea." — After 
mentioning the coming up of the Leopard, 
Ci one of the two linc-of-buttlc ships," and the 
interchange of correspondence, the commodore 
says: — "About this time 1 observed some ap- 
pearances of a hostile nature, and said to Cap- 
tain Gordon, that it was possible they were 
serious, and requested him to have his men sent, 
to their quarters." Then, after a few excuses 
about the lumbered state of his ship, he adds: 
" Consequently, our resistance was but feeble. 
In about twenty minutes, I ordered the colours, 
to be si tuck." 


Here, we see the reason why Mr. Clark 
rejected this letter. First, the men were sent 
to quarters before the commencement of the 
attack; secondly, resistance was made; and 
thirdly, the action did not continue " thirty 

Now for the veracity of the commodore him- 
self. Captain Humphreys of the Leopard, in 
his letter, says, — " At the expiration of ten mi- 
nutes from the first shot being fired," (between 
which and the second, there was an interval of 
two or three minutes,) " the pendant and ensign 
of the Chesapeake were lowered." In another 
part, he says, — " a few shot were returned, but 
none struck this ship f — and, by a letter from 
one of the Leopard's officers, it appears, — 
" three broadsides only were fired." 

These three broadsides, according to the 
items in the numerous " surveys" held upon 
the Chesapeake, lodged twenty two round shot 
in her hull ; irreparably injured the fore and 
main-masts; badly wounded the mizen-mast; 
cut away thirteen lower shrouds and stays; 
shattered the fore-sail, main-sail, main- top-sail, 
and fore-top-mast stay-sail; injured and ren- 
dered unfit for service a spare fore-top-mast, 
and another spare spar; and damaged two boats. 
— What a pity the Americans never gave such 
surveys during the late war!— In addition, as 
appears by her log-minutes, the Chesapeake 


had three feet and a half water in the hold.— > 
Three more such broadsides would have sunk 
her. And yet, the " Naval Monument" jeers 
us for having done so little injury to the ship. 

Although sixty years are now elapsed since 
British 50-gun ships have been excluded from 
the line of battle, Commodore Barron found it 
convenient to make a " line-of-battle ship" of 
the Leopard, as the French captain, Lejoielle, 
had a 74 of the Leander; which ship hap- 
pened (odd enough) to be the other "line-of-bat- 
tle ship" mentioned in the commodore's letter. 

The Leopard's armament, upon the lower 
and upper-decks, was precisely the same as 
mounted by other ships of her class; for which 
see p. 33. Upon her quarter-deck and fore- 
castle, she mounted six carronades, 24-pounders, 
an 18-pound launch-carronade, and two long 
9-pounders; total 53 guns: being six short of 
her established number. The Leopard had her 
full complement on board; consisting of 318 
men, and 25 boys: she had also on board, as 
passengers, 10 artillery-men, and 3 midshipmen 
belonging to some of the ships on the coast. 

The Chesapeake mounted, at this time, twenty 
eight long IS-pounders upon the main-deck, 
fourteen carronades, 32-pounders, (leaving a 
vacant port on each side,) upon the quarter- 
deck; two carronades, 32-pounders, and two 
long 12-pounders, (leaving three vacant ports on 


each side,) upon the forecastle; total 46 guns. 
This was her peace-establishment. Her books 
bore the names of 440; but, among those, were 
25 runnings and discharges : consequently, her 
actual complement consisted of 415; including 
10 boys or lads. There were also several pas- 
sengers on board, going to the Mediterranean. 
That the Chesapeake had, at least, five lieute- 
nants, appears by the signature of her " 5th 
lieutenant" to several of the official documents 
relating to the action. Nine men to every gun 
in the ship, would be considered as an extraor- 
dinary large complement, even in times of war. 

Comparative force of the two ships. 


r» j . . , , . , (1. guns, 405 
.broadside-metal in pounds, < 7 

* ' I carr. 90 





fmen, 331 
Complement, j ^ ^ 

■ 356 


Size in tons, 1044 


Many ships may meet at sea, and not be so 
equally matched as the Leopard and Chesa- 
peake ; although the latter was a " 36-gun fri- 
gate," and the former a " 50-gun ship :" which 
again shews the fallacy of the old rating system. 

About four years subsequent to this event, 
the Americans thought fit to retaliate upon us. 
If a " line-of-battle ship" could attack a fri- 


gate, why not a frigate attack a sloop of war?. 
The President therefore engaged the Little Belt; 
and the Little Belt en<>aoed the President; and 
manfully too: which, added to a real and a very 
great disparity of force, constitutes the distin- 
guishing feature between the action of the Litile 
Belt and President, and that of the Leopard 
and Chesapeake. 

A proof of the accuracy and fairness with 
which the Americans record transactions be- 
tween themselves and other nations, will be 
seen in the following extract from a Boston 
chronological work: — " October 11, 1811, offer, 
of reparation made by the British government, 
and accepted, respecting the affair between the 
Little Belt and President." 

The " Naval History" details, very fully, the 
operations before Tripoli, from 1801, to the 
peace concluded in June, ISO), between the 
bashaw and the president of liie United States. 
Great credit is due to the officers and seamen 
belonging to the American ships, for the gal- 
lantry displayed on se\ era I occasions. 

It is fresh in the recollection of many officers, 
of the British navy, how difficult it was, at this 
period, to keep the seamen from deserting to 
the Americans. The short peace of 1808 oi -ca- 
sioned many of our ships to be paid oil*; and the 
nature of the service upon which the Americans 
w ere engaged, held forth a strong inducement 


to the manly feelings of the British tar. It was 
not to raise his arm against his own country- 
men ; but against barbarians, whose foul deeds 
excited indignation in every generous breast. 

The Americans cannot deny, that the com- 
plements of their ships in the Tripolitan war, 
consisted chiefly of British seamen; supplied by 
a Scotch renegado at New York, and by nume- 
rous other crimps in the different sea-port towns 
of the United States : and that those complements 
were afterwards filled up, by similar means, at 
Cadiz and other ports of the Mediterranean. — 
Was not Commodore Preble, on account of 
being detected in some transaction of this 
sort, obliged to shorten his stay at Gibraltar, 
and to fix Syracuse, instead of Malta, for his 
next rendezvous? 

To such as know the facility with which, 
either in the ships, or on the shores, of the United 
States, a deserter, or an emigrant, can obtain 
his naturalization, the term " American" re- 
quires an epithet to render it intelligible. In 
recording the exploits of "•Americans," it is but 
to lop off the qualifying adjunct — iC adopted," 
and every native reader feels a hero's blood 
flowing in his veins. On the other hand, 
should disgrace be attached to the deed, Mr. 
Clark, and his brother-writers, anticipating the 
reader's wishes, seldom fail to state, that the 
parties were not America?!, but British sailors. 



United States of America declare war against 
Great Britain — Send a squadron in pursuit of 
the Jamaica -fleet — It falls in with, and chases, 
the Belvidtra — Engagement between that ship 
and the President — Belvidera escapes — Squa- 
dron resumes its course after the convoy — Fails 
in overtaking it, and returns to Boston — 
Surprise of the Whiting in Hampton roads — 
Constitution is chased, and escapes — Capture 
of the Nautilus — Emulous and Gossamer — 
Alert attacks the Essex — Is captured — Force of 
the two vessels — Tar and feathering of a British 
seaman — Reported challenge from Sir James 
Lucas Yeo to Captain Porter — Essex and a 
" British frigate^ — Essex and Shatinon. 

Oi\ the 18th of June, 1812, the United States 
of America declared war against Great Bri- 
tain; and orders were immediately dispatched 
from Washington, for the squadron that had 
been previously assembled at New York, to put 
to sea, for the capture or destruction of British 
vessels; and particularly, in search of a home- 
ward-bound Jamaica-fleet, of eighty five sail. 


then known to be weakly convoyed, and not far 
from the American coast. 

On the 21st, which was as early as an express 
could arrive with the orders, sailed this Ameri- 
can squadron ; consisting of the President, Com- 
modore Rodgers, United States, Commodore De- 
catur, Congress, Captain Smith, Essex, Captain 
Porter, Hornet, Lieutenant-commandant Law- 
rence, and Argus, Lieutenant-commandant Sin- 
clair; mounting, altogether, upwards of 250 
guns, and manned with 2000 choice seamen. 

The same American brig that gave Commo- 
dore Rodgers intelligence (App. No. 6) of the 
Jamaica-fleet's being so near, had just been 
boarded by the British frigate Belvidera; whose 
exact position, therefore, was also pointed out. 
Chase was instantly made, in full hopes to effect 
these two important objects ; and, on the morn- 
ing of the 23d, a " large sail" was seen in the 
N. E. standing to the S. W. This was H. M. S. 
Belvidera, of 947 tons, mounting 42 guns; 
namely, twenty six long 18s, fourteen carron- 
ades, 32s, and two long 9s ; and manned with 
230 men and boys; her established number 
then being 274- 

Captain Bjron, at first, stood towards the 
American squadron ; but, observing the ships 
suddenly to take in their studding-sails, and 
haul up in chase of him, frequently wetting 


their sails to profit by the lightness of the wind, 
a suspicion of their hostile intentions caused 
him to tack, and stand off. By way of assuring 
the stranger, that they were the ships of a friendly 
power, the Americans hoisted their colours; but 
their evident anxiety to close had betrayed 
them, and the Belvidera continued her course. 

As the leading ship of the squadron was fast 
approaching, Captain B; ron, to prevent any 
question about who fired the first shot, ordered 
the priming to be wiped from e\ery gun in the 
ship. Soon afterwards, the President fired those 
three well-directed shot, which occasioned the 
only loss the Belvidera sustained. (App. I\'o. 5.) 
The Belvidera's guns were reprimed in an in- 
stant; and the fire returned from her four sternr 
chasers, two long ISs, and two 3-2-pouud carron- 
ades; the only guns that would bear, or were 
fired at all: although the commodore's journal 
mentions, that the Belvidera tired her " four 
after main-deck guns on the starboard side." 
The full details of this interesting chase may be 
seen in the British and American accounts 
(Nos. 6. 6. and 7.) in llie Appendix. 

The fact of s * the long bolts, breeching-hooks, 
and breechings, of guns and carronades, fre- 
quently breaking" on board the Belvidera, 
proves that there was some delect in the mode 
of securing them. This was not the fault of the 


officers and men: they every time repaired the 
accident as quickly as possible. Had the whole 
of the broadside-guns come into use, a repetition 
of such an accident would have been a serious 
evil ; as it was, the Belvidera's captain got 
severely wounded. 

The guns of the Belvidera were mostly pointed 
by her officers ; with what precision appears in 
the commodore's account of the damages which 
the President sustained. Her loss, exclusive of 
the 22 by the bursting of the gun, was 6 killed 
and wounded ; making 28 in all. For three 
days, the ships were employed in repairing the 
President's damages; a delay that, no doubt, 
saved the Jamaica-fleet; the loss of which would 
have been a severe national blow. 

The Belvidera's officers insist, that the Presi- 
dent could have got alongside several times; but 
that, just as they were about to fire their broad- 
side, she yawed across their stern, and fired her 
broadside. This occasioned her to lose way, 
until she resumed her course; when she gra- 
dually advanced to the same spot, and then re- 
peated the same extraordinary manoeuvre. 

Comparing the force of the Belvidera, with 
that of the President, (for which see her name 
in the Index,) even alone, it is hard to conjec- 
ture which party Captain Hull intended to com- 
pliment, when, in his letter (App. No. 4.) trans- 
mitting the log-extract, he said: " I am confi- 


dent, could the commodore have got alongside 
the Belvidera, she would have been his in less 

After quitting the chase of the Belvidera, and 
repairing the damages sustained by her fire, the 
American squadron proceeded in search of the 
convoy. On the 1st of July, a little to the east- 
ward of Newfoundland-bank, the squadron fell 
in with a fleet of " cocoa-nut-shells, shaddock- 
rinds, orange-peels, &c." and the commodore 
and his officers promised themselves a West- 
India desert to their next day's dinner. They 
longed in vain ; and, after being thus tantalized 
from the 1st to the 13th, they steered for Ma- 
deira; thence for the Azores; and finally ar- 
rived at Boston on the 29th of August. What 
encreased the misfortune of the cruize, the 
scurvy broke out among the men ; and conferred 
additional value upon the limes that were known 
to be in such profusion on board the Jamaica 

To tl»e discretion and promptitude of Captain 
Byron, on his first falling in with the American 
squadron; to the skill of the Belvidera's officers 
and crew in pointing their guns, and working 
the ship ; and to their bravery and perseverance 
in defending her, during a long and arduous 
chase, while engaged with a force so greatly 
superior, is the nation indebted for the little 
mischief done to British commerce, by a fonni- 


.dable American squadron ; possessing the singu- 
lar advantage of its hostile intentions being 
wholly unknown. 

On the 8th of July, H. M. schooner Whiting, 
Lieutenant Maxey, from Plymouth, with dis- 
patches for the American government, arrived 
in Hampton roads, ignorant of the war. As 
Lieutenant Maxey was proceeding on shore in 
his boat, the Dash privateer, Captain Garroway, 
bound on a cruize, got possession of him ; and 
then ran alongside the Whiting; and, having 
upwards of 80 men in crew, captured her, 
without opposition. The dispatches had been 

The Whiting was only 75 tons, mounting four 
carronades, 12-pounders; with a complement of 
18 men and boys. Of these, a third were 
absent in the boat ; and those in the schooner 
had not the least suspicion of being in an 
enemy's waters. 

The Dash mounted one heavy long gun upon 
a pivot-carriage. This, and a suppression of 
the principal circumstances, enabled the Ame- 
rican editors to state, with some degree of ex- 
ultation: — " The British schooner mounts four 
guns, the Dash only one." — The Whiting was 
afterwards restored. 

On the 12th of July, the U. S. ship Consti- 
tution, Captain Isaac Hull, sailed from Chesa- 


peake-bay. On the 17th, in a calm, she 
fell in with H. M. ships, Africa 64, Shannon 
and Guerriere 40, Belvidera 42, and iEolus 38,* 
under the orders of Captain Broke, of the 
Shannon. Two of the frigates, (one the Belvi- 
dera,) assisted by the boats of the squadron, 
got, for a short time, within gun-shot ; but the 
Constitution, by kedging, and other skilful ma- 
noeuvres, effected her escape, after an anxious 
chase of sixty four hours. The Belvidera's 
situation, when chased, was far more critical ; 
owing to Captain Byron's ignorance of the war, 
and his having to sustain the tire of a ship of 
nearly double his own force. 

On the 16lh of July, the U. S. brig Nautilus, 
Lieutenant Crane, of 14 guns, and 106 men, 
was captured by H. INI. 8. Shannon, and others. 
She was afterwards fitted with sixteen •24-pound 
carronades, and commissioned as a cruizer. 

On the 30th of July, the American privateer- 
brig Gossamer, of 14 guns, and 100 men, sur- 
rendered to II. M. brig Emulous, Captain Mid- 
caster, without tiring a shot. This is introduced 
by way of illustrating the following remark of 
an American editor: — 'Instances of the bold 
and daring intrepidity of the crews of the pri- 
vate-armed vessels of the Inited States, are so 

* All according to the new rales; which will be obscrrcd 
throughout the work. 


numerous* that the recital of them would swell 
the Work, &c." 

On the 13th of August, 1812, H. M. S. Alert, 
Captain T. L. P. Laugharne, bore down upon 
the U. S. frigate Essex, Captain David Porter ; 
mistaking her for a vessel of less force. An ac- 
tion ensued, which continued, the American ac- 
count says, eight minutes; when the Alert, 
having seven feet water in the hold, and three 
men wounded, surrendered. Captain Porter 
says the Essex sustained no loss. The British 
official account not having been published, these 
facts rest wholly on the American statements. 

The Alert mounted, according to the Ameri- 
can papers announcing her capture, twenty car- 
ronades, 18-pounders; and, according to the 
number paroled out of her, had a complement 
of 86 men and boys. 

Mr. Clark first gives the Alert " 20 guns;" 
but, in a subsequent page, she appears as — 
iS ship Alert, guns mounted 26." And as to her 
complement, the " Naval Monument," and the 
V Sketches of the War," have both made it 130. 
Although Captain Porter could not find room 
in his letter, to give the force of his prize, either 
in guns or men, he could, to make the false 
assertion, that ** the Alert was out for the 
purpose of taking the Hornet." 

The Essex, when subsequently captured, 



mounted twenty four carronades, 32-pounders, 
and two long 12-pounders, upon the main-deck; 
sixteen carronades, 32-pounders, and four long 
12-pounders, upon the quarter-deck and fore- 
castle ; total 46 guns : a tolerable armament for 
a "32-gun frigate." 

Captain Porter, in his " Journal of a Cruize," 
says the Essex had, when lying in the Delaware, 
in October, 1812, a complement of 328 men; 
of whom eleven only rated as landsmen. 

The Alert was originally a collier, named the 
Oxford, purchased by government in 1804. 
Whether her original employment were not that 
for which she was best calculated, may appear 
from the following fact. The first time the 
*f U. S. ship of war Alert" was trusted at sea, 
was, after the peace; when, as a store ship, she 
accompanied the frigate United States to the 
Mediterranean. The American papers jocosely 
remarked, that the Alert required every stitch of 
canvass set, to enable her to keep way with the 
United States, under her three top-sails. During 
the war, she remained as a block-ship at INew 
York; yet Mr. Clark, to give importance to her 
capture, says: — " The Alert, upon her return to 
the United States/' from Newfoundland, whither 
she had been sent by Captain Porter, as a cartel, 
" was fitted out as a government-vessel." 

Along with the dimension* of the Alert and 



Essex, will be given the Southampton's, because 
Captam Porter's friends have contrived to con- 
nect her, in some degree, with the transactions 
of the Essex. 

Dimensions of the three ships. 

Length of lower-deck, \ 
from rabbit to rabbit, / 
Breadth, extreme, 



Ft. In. 

Ft. In. 


138 7 

29 4 

37 S£ 


Ft. In. 
124 4 

The Southampton's armament has been fully 
described at page 24. Her force, for the rea- 
sons just given, will appear in the same state- 
ment with that of the Essex and Alert. 

Comparative force of the three ships. 


Broadside-metal f 1. guns, 
in pounds, \ carr. 180 

Complement, i . ' 


Size in tons, 





— 676 




— 328 





— 300 



Here is seen the value of the exploit which 
Captain Porter did perform, as well as of that 
which he would have performed, had the Essex 
met, and captured, the Southampton. 

Shortly after the declaration of war, Captain 
Porter ill-used a British subject, for refusing to 
fight against his country. A New York paper, 


of June 27, 1812, gives the following account 
of the transaction : — 

" The deposition states, that John Erving 
was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England ; 
that he lias resided within the United States 
since 1800, and has never been naturalized; 
that on the 14th of October, 1811, he entered 
on board the Essex, and joined her at Norfolk; 
that Captain Porter, on the 25th of June, 1812, 
caused all hands to be piped on deck, to take 
the oath of allegiance to the United States, and 
gave them to understand, that any man who 
did not choose to do so should be discharged ; 
that when deponent heard his name called, he 
told the captain, that being a British subject 
he must refuse taking the oath ; on which the 
captain spoke to the petty officers, and told 
them they must pass sentence upon him ; that 
they then put him into the petty launch, which 
lay alongside the frigate, and there poured a 
bucket of tar over him, and then laid on a quan- 
tity of feathers, having first stripped him naked 
from the waist ; that they then rowed him 
ashore, stern foremost, and landed him. That 
he wandered about, from street to street, in this 
condition, until Mr. Eord took him into his 
shop, to save him from the crowd then begin- 
ing to gather; that he staid there until the po- 
lice-magistrate took him away, and put him in 
the city-prison for protection, w here he was 


cleansed and clothed. None of the citizens mo- 
lested or insulted him. He says he had a pro- 
tection, which he bought of a man in Salem, of 
the same name and description with himself, 
for four shillings and sixpence, which he got re- 
newed at the custom-house, Norfolk. He says 
he gave, as an additional reason to the captain, 
why he did not choose to fight against his coun- 
try, that, if he should be taken prisoner, he 
would certainly be hung." 

This, having been copied into other papers, 
met the eye of Sir James Lucas Yeo, command- 
ing the Southampton, then attached to the Ja- 
maica-station. Persons acquainted with that 
officer, can judge of his feelings upon reading 
an account of the ill-treatment of a British 
sailor. Some expressions, marking his abhor- 
rence of the act, and his contempt for the au- 
thor, did very likely escape Sir James ; and that, 
in the hearing of some of the American pri- 
soners then on board the Southampton. — 
Through this channel, which was none of the 
purest, the words probably became what they 
appeared in the " Democratic Press," (a Phila- 
delphia paper,) of the 18th of September, 1812. 
Thus:— " A passenger of the brig Lion, from 
Havannah to New York, captured by the fri- 
gate Southampton, Sir James Yeo, is requested 
to present his compliments to Captain Porter, 
commander of the American frigate Essex, 


would be glad to have a tite a tite, any where 
between the capes Delaware and the Havannah, 
where he would have the pleasure to break his 
own sword over his damned head, and put him 
down forward in irons." 

" Captain Porter, of the IT. S. frigate Essex, 
presents his compliments to Sir James Yeo, 
commanding his B. M. frigate Southampton, 
and accepts with pleasure his polite invitation. 
If agreeable to Sir James, Captain Porter would 
prefer meeting near the Delaware, where Cap- 
tain P. pledges his honor to Sir James, that no 
American vessel shall interrupt their tete a ttte. 
The Essex may be known by a flag, bearing the 
motto, '* Free trade and sailors' rights;" and 
when this is struck to the Southampton, Captain 
Porter will deserve the treatment promised by 
Sir James." 

Leaving Captain Porter's deserts out of the 
question, the whole of this farrago has been 
ascribed to some of the war-party, who wished 
to give the " gallant captain" an opportunity 
of publicly testifying his readiness to engage 
" an equal forte." Although no such message 
was sent by Sir James Yeo, he cruized, for se- 
veral weeks, along the southern coast of the 
United States, in hopes of falling in with the 
Essex, the nature of whose armament was fully 
known to him. The Southampton was well 
manned, and all that her officers and crew 


wanted, was the weather-gage, or an opportu- 
nity of getting on board the American, early in 
the action. 

Captain Porter being a great favorite at Wash- 
ington, Mr. Clark could do no less than give 
insertion to any little tale he might wish to see 
recorded in the " Naval History" of his country. 
One of them is as follows : — 

" On the 30th of August, the Essex being in 
lat. 36° N. long. 63° W. a British frigate was 
discovered standing towards her, under a press 
of sail.. Porter stood for her under easy sail, 
with his ship prepared for action ; and, appre- 
hensive that she might not find the Essex during 
the night, he hoisted a light. At 9, the British 
vessel made a signal : it consisted of two flashes, 
and a blue light. She was then, apparently, 
about four miles distant. Porter stood for the 
point where she was seen until midnight, when, 
perceiving nothing of her, he concluded it would 
be best to heave-to for her until morning, con- 
cluding she had done the same ; but, to his 
great surprise, and the mortification of his offi- 
cers and crew, she was no longer in sight. Cap- 
tain Porter thought it to be not unlikely that 
this vessel was the Acasta, of 50 guns, sent out, 
accompanied by the Ringdove, of 22, to cruize 
for the Essex." 

It did not, perhaps, occur to Mr. Clark, that 
ships usually carry log-books, in which are en- 


tered every day's proceedings, with the latitude, 
longitude, &c. ; and that these can, at any time, 
be referred to, in case the false assertions of any 
historian, or paragraph-writer, may be worth 
the trouble of disproving. 

Considering what a formidable man Captain 
Porter was, nothing less than the " Acasta, of 
50 guns," and " Kingdove, of 22," could be 
V' sent out to cruize for the Essex." Unfortu- 
nately for her commander's fame, on the 30th 
of August, 1812, the day mentioned, the Acasta 
was cruizing in lat. 43° N. long. 65° 16' W. ; 
and the Ringdove lying at single anchor in St. 
Thomas's. Was not the "British frigate," the 
Rattler, of 16 guns? 

The next occasion upon which Captain Porter 
was baulked of a battle, is recorded thus: — 

" On the 4th of September, the Essex being 
off the tail of St. George's bank, two ships of 
war were discovered to the southward, and a 
brig to the northward. The brig was in chase 
of an American merchant-ship. Porter imme- 
diately chased the brig, which attempted to 
pass, and join the rest of the squadron. This 
he prevented, and compelled her to stand to 
the northward, lie continued in chase of her, 
until a-breast of the American ship; when, the 
wind becoming light, she escaped by means of 
her sweeps. On shewing American colours, 
several signal- guns were lired by the ships to 


the southward. All sail was made by them in 
chase. At 4 P.M. they had gained the wake 
of the Essex, and were coming up with her 
very fast. Calculating on making his escape 
by some manoeuvre, during the night, he fired 
a gun to-windward. The two ships still conti- 
nued to gain on the Essex. The largest was 
considerably to-windward of the other, and 
about five miles a-stern of the Essex. Captain 
Porter determined to heave about, as soon as it 
grew dark ; and, in case he should not be able 
to pass her, he determined to fire a broadside 
into her, and lay her on board. Every prepa- 
ration was made for this purpose. The crew, 
as soon as the plan was proposed to them, gave 
three cheers, and were in high spirits. At 20 
minutes after 7, the Essex hove about, and 
stood S. E. byS. until 30 minutes after 8, when 
she bore away S.W. without seeing any thing 
more of them. This was the more extraordi- 
nary, as a pistol was fired on board the Essex 
•when nearest to them. The Essex arrived safe 
in the Delaware a few days afterwards." (Nav. 
Hist. vol. i. p. 180.) 

The same event finds a place in the " Sketches 
of the War." There the port, from which Cap- 
tain Porter was " cut off by the two large ships 
of war," is mentioned to have been New York. 
The intention to lay one of the British ships on 
board is deservedly noticed ; and, it is added, 


that the Essex effected her escape into the bay 
of Delaware, " without the loss of a man." 

One of the above " two ships of war" was 
the Shannon, Captain Broke ; the other the 
Planter, a re-captured West lndiaman, her 
prize, and by no means a vessel to be mistaken 
for a * ship of war." But the best way to ex- 
pose the Essex, and her gallant commander, 
will be, to detail the occurrence in the very 
words of one of the Shannon's officers. 

" At noon, on the 4th of September, 1812, in 
lat. 39° 11' N. long. 70° 22' W. the Shannon had 
in company the re-captured ship Planter, when 
we saw a warlike-looking ship to the eastward, 
and chased towards her under all sail before the 
wind; but it headed us flat a-back. Y\ e ob- 
served a merchant-ship close to the chase, as if 
in the act of speaking. The two ships then, 
having a fresh breeze aft, came down upon us, 
the merchantman close a-stern of the ship of 
war ; which, at 4. 30. P.M. then about 10 or 12 
miles distant, hauled up, and made private sig- 
nals ; too far to be comprehended, had she been 
a friend. The strange ship then made every 
exertion to escape, leaving her merchant-ship 
behind, as we did our's ; and having found, by 
keeping her wind some time, that she sailed 
nearly equal to us, she slanted oft' free, a point 
or two, so as to bring us into her wake, without 
allowing us to gain upon her in distance, or but 


very slightly. Her object appeared to be, to 
get in between us and the land. On our losing 
sight of her at dark, she was still above 10 
miles off. Being well aware that she would 
alter her course in the dark, and seeing her good 
sailing, there appeared no chance of getting 
hold of her ; and her merchant-ship being now 
near us, we tacked and seized her, intending to 
burn her directly, that the fugitive ship might 
see the flames ; but it became so dark and 
squally, that Captain Broke would not risk the 
boats in getting out her people ; consequently 
the ship was not burnt till next morning. She 
was a light American ship, from Cadiz, named 
the Minerva ; and her people informed us, that 
the ship we had been chasing was the U. S. fri- 
gate Essex, Captain Porter, whom they had 
spoken the same day. During the night the 
ships lay-to ; and, to prevent separation, each 
kept bright lights up, and several blue-lights 
were burnt." 

One of Mr. Clark's good-natured critics 
describes the object of such a work as his to be 
— " to commemorate the glories of the Ameri- 
can age and nation ; to place some of its most 
illustrious heroes out of the reach of oblivion ; 
and to consecrate their actions to imperishable 
fame." (N. Hist. vol. i. p. 1.) ! ! ! 



Inactive state of the British navy since the battle of 
Trafalgar — Its effects upon the officers and men 
— Polishing system reprobated — Scarcity of oak- 
timber and seamen — Contract-ships — Impressed 
crews — Foreigners and ineffective hands — Ame- 
rican navy considered — Their ships easily manned 
— Practical gunnery — American marines — Op- 
posite feelings of British and American officers 
towards each other — Guerriere falls in with, 
and engages the Constitution — Details of the 
action — Guerriere surrenders — Her damage — 
Final destruction — Loss of men — Constitut ion's 
damage — Loss — Force of each ship particular- 
ized — Statement of comparative force — He marks 
thereon — British and American frigates — Their 
comparative dimensions and force — The latter 
compared in force with other classes of British 
ships — French friga tcs — Con clu ding re m a rks. 

X 1 ROAI the battle of Trafalgar to the peace 
of 1815, three-fourths of tin- British navy, at 
sea, were constantly employed in blockading 
the fleets of their enemies. Of the remainder, 
such as escaped the dull business of convoying, 
cruized about ; but the only hostile ships that 


in general crossed their tracks, were disguised 
neutrals; from whom no hard knocks could be 
expected. Once a year or so, the capture of a 
French frigate by a British one, gave a momen- 
tary fillip to the service. 

A succession of insipid cruizes necessarily be- 
gat, among both officers and men, habits of 
inattention. The situation of gunner on board 
our ships, became almost a sinecure. A twenty 
years' war, of itself, was sufficient to wear out 
the strength of our seamen; but a laxity of 
discipline, in all the essentials of a man-of-war's- 
man, produced a much more sensible effect. 

Instead of the sturdy occupation of handling 
the ship's guns, now seldom used but on sa- 
lutes, the men were taught to polish the travers- 
ing-bars, elevating-screws, copper on the bits, 
&c. by way of ornament to the quarter-deck. 
Such of the crew as escaped this menial office, 
(from the unnecessary wear it occasions, lately 
forbidden by an order of the board of admi- 
ralty,) were set to reeving and un reeving the 
top-sails, against time, preparatory to a match 
with any other of his majesty's ships that might 
happen to fall in company. 

Many were the noble exceptions to this, and 
many were the commanders who, despising 
what was either finical or useless, and still hop- 
ing to signalize themselves by some gallant ex- 
ploit, spared no pains, consistent with their 


limited means, and the restraints of the service, 
to have their ships, at all times, as men of war 
should be, in boxing trim. 

As Napoleon extended his sway over the Eu- 
ropean continent, the British navy, that per- 
petual blight upon his hopes, required to be 
extended also. British oak, and British sea- 
men, alike scarce, contract-ships were hastily 
built up, with soft wood and light frames ; and 
then, manned with an impressed crew, chiefly 
of raw hands and small boys, sent forth to 
assert the rights, and maintain the character of 
Britons, upon the ocean. In June, 1812, when 
the war with America commenced, the British 
navy consisted of 746 ships, in commission. 
Had these been cleared of all the foreigners and 
ineffective hands, how many ships would the 
remainder have properly manned? 

To the long duration of the war, and the ra- 
pid encrease of the navy, may be added a third 
cause of the scarcity of seamen : the enormous 
encrease of the army. In December, 1812, we 
had, in regulars alone, 229,149 men. How 
many frigates could have been manned, and well 
manned too, by draughts from the light dra- 
goons, and the fight infantry regiments ? Nor is 
there a question, — so inviting were the boun- 
ties, — that prime seamen have enlisted in both. 

The crews of our ships experienced a fourth 
reduction in strength, by the establishment, 


about six years ago, of the battalion-marines: 
a corps embodied for the purpose of acting on 
shore, in conjunction with the seamen and 
marines of the ships. The battalion-marines, 
about 2000 in number, consisted of the pick of 
the royal marines; which accordingly became 
reduced to weak, under-sized men, and very 
young recruits. Marines ought to be among the 
stoutest men in the ship; because, until engaged 
in close action, their station is at the guns; 
where great physical strength is required. Ex- 
cept on a few occasions in Canada, and the 
Chesapeake, the battalion-marines, although as 
fine a body of men as any in the two services, 
have remained comparatively idle. 

The canker-worm that, in the shape of neg- 
lect, had so long been preying upon the vitals of 
the British navy, could not exist among the few- 
ships composing the navy of the United States. 
America's half a dozen frigates claimed the 
whole of her attention. These she had con- 
structed upon the most approved principles, both 
for sailing, and for war. Considering that the 
ramparts of a battery should have, for one ob- 
ject, the shelter of the men stationed at it, she 
had built up the sides of her ships in the most 
compact manner; and the utmost ingenuity had 
been exerted, and expense bestowed, in their 
final equipment. 

With respect to seamen, America had, for 


many \« ars previous to the war, been decoying 
tin men from our ships, by every artful strata- 
pern. The host of these were rated as petty- 
oflicers. Many British seamen had entered on 
board American merchant- vessels ; and the nu- 
merous non-intercourse and embargo bills, in 
existence at different periods, during the four 
ymn preceding the war, threw many mer- 
chant-sailors out of employment. So that 
the U. S. ships of war, in their preparations for 
active warfare, had to pick their complements 
from ■ numerous body of seamen. 

Highly to the credit of the naval administra- 
tion of the United States the men were taught 
the practical rules of gunnery; and ten shot, with 
the DOOtHirj powder, were allowed to be ex- 
pended in play, to make one hit in earnest. 

Very distinct from the American seamen, so 
tailed, are the American marines. They are 
chiHlv made up of natives of the country ; and 
a deserter from the British would here be no 
acquisition. In the United States, every man may 
hunt or shoot among the wild animals of the 
fofSSt. Thl young peasant, or bach-ii'oodnian, 
carries a i illed-harrel gun, the moment he can 
lifi ane to his shoulder j and woe to the duck or 
dear thai attemptl to pass him, within fair 
rmgt <>t" Ins piece. To collect these expert 
marksmen, when of a proper age, officers are 
SSVI into tin- western pans of the I'nion; and 


to embody and finish drilling them, a marine- 
barrack is established near the city of Washing- 
ton : from which depot, the ships are regularly 

No one act of the little navy of the United 
States, had been at all calculated to gain the 
respect of the British. First, was seen the 
Chesapeake allowing herself to be beaten, with 
impunity, by a British ship, only nominally su- 
perior to her. Then, the huge frigate President 
attacks, and fights for nearly three quarters of 
an hour, the British sloop Little Belt. And, 
even since the war, the same President, at the 
head of a squadron, makes a bungling business 
of chasing the Belvidera. 

While, therefore, a feeling towards America, 
bordering on contempt, had unhappily possessed 
the mind of the British naval officer, rendering 
him more than usually careless and opiniative, 
the American naval officer, having been taught 
to regard his new foe with a portion of dread, 
sailed forth to meet him, with the whole of 
his energies roused. A moment's reflection 
assured him, that his country's honour was 
now in his hands; and what, in the breast 
of man, could be a stronger incitement to ex- 
traordinary exertions ? 

Thus situated were the navies of the two 
countries, when H. M. S. Guerriere, with da- 
maged masts, a reduced complement, and in 


absolute 111 M (I of that thorough refit, for which 
she was tin n. alter a very long cruize, speeding 
to Halifax, encountered the U. S. ship Consti- 
tution, seventeen days only from port, manned 
with a full complement; and, in all respects, 
fitted for war. 

An action ensued, the full details of which 
are given in the different official papers to be 
found in the Appendix. (Nos. 8. 9. 10. 11. 
and 1-2.) Captain Dacres says, the Constitu- 
tion commenced returning his fire " at twenty 
minutes past four;" the American " Particu- 
lars'' say, " at twenty minutes past five;" and 
thai the Constitution from that time "conti- 
nued to lire occasionally, " until she closed the 
(iuerriere " at live minutes past six." Captain 
Hull sa\s: — kk At live minutes before six P. M. 
bfing alongside, within pistol-shot, we com- 
mon nl a he.i\ \ lire from all our guns;"— -and he 
has had art enough to compute the duration of 
the action from that time. Were his long 
24-pounders, * hich, during the preceding thirty 
I'm iniiiiilcs. he " continued to fire occasionally 
at t In* ( huh mic, " loaded with blank-cartridge R 
Why, if the American commander had no desire 
t> Is. vp at long shot until he had disabled his 
oppom t, did he not bear down sooner; he had 
ih»- tvettbeur-gage ' 

1 he earl\ tall of the ( iueri acre's inizeii-niast 
brought the ship up in the wind, and exposed 


her to a dreadful raking fire, as well as to the 
riflemen in the Constitution's tops, who levelled 
their pieces, with full effect, at the Guerriere's 
officers and men. — It may be necessary to ex- 
plain how the loss of the mizen-mast could 
bring the ship up in the wind. The wreck of 
the mast hung over the weather-side ; the top, 
from its position, acting as a complete back- 
water, so as to bring the ship's head up to the 
wind, in spite of every effort of the helmsman. 
By those acquainted with the peculiar construc- 
tion of French-built ships, about the fore-foot 
especially, this will be readily understood. 

Upon the Guerriere's bowsprit getting foul of 
the Constitution's larboard quarter, the Ameri- 
cans attempted to board, but were driven back ; 
and it was not till after the two ships had got 
clear, and some of the Guerriere's bow-guns 
were brought to bear, that the fore and main- 
masts fell over the side. Yet the " Particu- 
lars," rather than state what might shew, that 
the Constitution's men were afraid to board 
the Guerriere, say thus: — " We prepared to 
board, but immediately after, his fore and 
main-masts went by the board, and it was 
deemed unnecessary." The " Sketches of the 
War" explains this by stating, that the Ameri- 
can lieutenant of marines who headed the party, 
was killed by a musket- shot. Captain Hull is 
silent about the boarding; but, iu stating that 
H 2 


I lie ( '<>nsi it ut ion " ceased firing" upon the fall- 
ing <>1" the Guerriere's fore and main-masts, ta- 
citlv admits, that the two ships were, at that 
moment, clear of each other; and consequently, 
that the boarding-opportunity had already 
I ,!. The American crew, therefore, were 
not restrained from boarding', because, — owing 
to the felling of the Guerricre's fore and main- 
mast^. * ii was deemed unnecessary." — They 
made the attempt, and were repulsed, with the 
loss of their boarding- officer. 

S< \cral of the Guerriere's guns and carron- 
ades broke loose, owing to rotten breechings, 
as well as the rotten slate of the timbers, through 
Which tin' long-holts passed. The Guerriere 
had Buffered so much from bad weather, and 
cruized so long without renewing her stores, 
thai tbefS was no rope left, wherewith to repair 
the loss of breechings. Those of the guns and 
eai ronadts that escaped* breaking loose, \>cre 
Completely disabled by the fall of tin; fore and 
main-masts. Tin- Goerriere, now a complete 
irreOkj Was rolling her main-deck guns in the 
wat«a\ v, bi ii. M at ii. -J.">." by the Hritish account, 
ilu' jaicU uas fofWered from the stump of the 
mi/.m-masl j and, at SeVeri o'clock, the Constitu- 

ii"ii took ] obsiluion of her print. 

Taking the mean of the two accounts, as to 
ili«- tunc when the Gucrrierc commenced tiring, 
the duration of the action was two hours and 


twelve minutes. Yet Mr. Clark, putting his 
own construction upon the obscure paragraph 
in Captain Hull's letter, — " so that, in thirty 
minutes after we got fairly alongside the enemy, 
she surrendered," — informs his readers, that the 
Guerriere was captured " after a very short 

Among other passages in Captain's Hull's 
letter, which are not very clear, may be noticed 
the following: c; But, on our coming within 
gun-shot, she gave us a broadside, and filled 
away, and wore, giving us a broadside on the 
other tack, but without effect, her shot falling 
short." — This can only be explained by the cir- 
cumstance of the Guerriere's powder being much 
deteriorated by damp and long-keeping. Robins 
says the action of damp powder is diminished, 
" according to the degree of moisture with 
which it is impregnated;" and that powder, to 
produce its proper effect, must be " in good 
condition at the time of using." Some very late 
experiments have also shewn, that the powder 
used by our ships in general will not project a 
shot, by any means so far as powder taken out 
of Walker's patent-barrels. That the Constitu- 
tion's powder was of the very best sort, and in 
the most perfect state, the pains taken in her 
equipment, and her recent departure from a 
home-port, place beyond a doubt. Having also 
21-pounders opposed to 18s, " within gun-shot" 


to Ik t. iniulit liavc been a trifle " out of gun- 
shot" to the Guerriere. 

The Guerriore was greatly shattered in her 
hull ; so modi so, that, in spite of all the efforts 
of t lie \merieans, she, at day-light on the 
morning siuereding the action, was in a sinking* 
condition. The people were removed from her, 
:i- ipiickly as possible; and, at a quarter past 
ihree in the afternoon, the Guerriere blew up: 
an irrefragable proof, that Captain Dacres, his 
o!li( ( is and crew, had defended her to the last 

The Guerriere's fore-mast fell from the Con- 
stitution's shot; aided perhaps by the absence 
of most of the shrouds on one side. It was not, 
altogether, Captain Hull's " round and grape," 
that led to its fall; but a brass swivel, fired 
from one of the Constitution's forecastle guns. 
The inain-inast had been struck by lightning 
some mouths pr« vious to the action; and fell 
by the iim re weight of the fore-mast. It was 
rompuralively uninjured by shot; but, as seen 
\>\ tin erews o$ both ships, was perfectly rotten 
in the eentre. Y\ hen it is added, that the bow- 
ftfMrit had Long botn sprung, it will not be too 
mueh to sat, that the Gnerriere, at the time she 
OagOfed tin- ( onslimtion, was, if not crippled, 
d« l.< tm at hast, in her masts and rigging. 

I he Gnorriem'l loss in the action was severe. 
<>!„• lieutenant „,,i „f two, and M men, were 


killed; 17 men, dangerously, her commander, 
master, two mates, and 15 men, severely, and 
the first lieutenant, a midshipman, 15 men and 
one boy, slightly wounded; total, killed and 
wounded, 78. About six died of their wounds. 
Mr. Clark has made no scruple of placing op- 
posite to the Guerriere's name, " British loss, 
105;" including, perhaps, the " missing" at 
the end of Captain Hull's letter. As if to put 
the matter beyond a doubt, he has also taken 
care to have represented, in the brilliant view 
of the action forming the frontispiece to his 
work, several men struggling upon the Guer- 
riere's spars, as they float in the water; although 
not a man was on either of her masts, when they 
fell, or was lost in any other way than by the 
fire of the Constitution. 

Captain Hull mentions, in his letter, having 
sent a " report of the damages" sustained by 
the Constitution; but his government has not 
thought fit to publish it. The " Particulars" 
admit that the cabin had taken fire from the 
Cmerriere's shot; and the " Sketches of the 
War," that the Constitution " had some spars 
shot away." Captain Dacres states, that the 
Constitution^ stern was much shattered, and 
her lower-masts badly wounded. At all events, 
the moment the Guerriere blew up, Captain 
Hull, instead of continuing his cruize, bent his 


course for Boston j where the Constitution ar- 
ri\ed on the :30th of August. 

The Americans acknowledge a loss of only 
7 killed! and 7 wounded; yet several of the 
Guerriere's officers counted 13 wounded; of 
\\ bom 3 died after amputation. Captain Dacres 
computes the Constitution's killed and wounded 
at about 20. An equal number of killed and 
wounded, as expressed in Captain Hull's list, 
scarcely ever occurs; except in cases of ex- 
plosion. In our service, every wounded man, 
although merely scratched, reports himself to 
the surgeon, that he may get his smart-money, a 
p< Tuniary allowance so named. No such regu- 
lation exists in the American service; conse- 
quently, their returns of loss in action, are 
made subsei \ lent to the views of the commander 
and his government. 

The (iueniere's established armament con- 
sisted of twenty-eight long 18-pounders upon 
the main-deck ; sixteen carronades, 3'2-pounders, 
a 12-pound launch-carronade, and two long 
9-poanden, upon the quarter-deck and fore- 
east le, total 17 guns. I he Guerriere, like most 
In ikIi ships, sailed yiV y i m , c h by the head; 
and, to assist in giving her that trim, as well as 
to obviate the inconvenience of a round-house 
Which inlenened between the foremost and 
bridle ports <>u each side, ;,,ul prevented the, 


gnn stationed at the former port from being 
shifted to the latter, when required to be used 
in chase, two additional 18-pounders, as stand- 
ing-bow-chase guns, were taken on board at 
Halifax. These guns, not acting upon the 
broadside, will not be estimated as part of the 
broadside -fo rce ; nor will the launch-carronade, 
because, owing to its own defects, or the want 
of some of its appendages, no use whatever was 
made of it. When Captain Skene had the 
Guerriere, he had ports fitted upon her quarter- 
deck for two brass 12-pounders, given to him 
by the Duke of Manchester. Upon quitting 
the Guerriere, Captain Skene, of course, took 
with him his brass guns. The vacant ports led 
some of the Constitution's officers to suspect, 
that the Guerriere's people had, between the 
time of surrender and of taking possession, 
thrown two of her guns overboard. 

It is singular that Captain Hull's letter does 
not mention the force of the Guerriere. The 
" Particulars" state, plainly enough, — iC mount- 
ing 49 carriage-guns ;" — but that was not in 
the official letter. The people, therefore, had a 
right to indulge their imaginations on the sub- 
ject; bearing in mind, no doubt, that the com- 
mander of their frigate Constitution, whose size 
and force they well knew, had spoken of — " so 
fine a ship as the Guerriere." Had the citizens, 
in general, given the Guerriere 60 guns, little 


flurprise would have been created; but what 
shall we say to " the senate and house of repre- 
sentatives of the Cnited States of America, in 
congress assembled," passing a resolution, ex- 
pr« ndaf) that Ike Constitution of " 44 guns," 
had succeeded M in attacking, vanquishing, and 
capturing, the British frigate Guerriere, mount- 
ing 54 carriage-guns"? — The honorable mover of 
this (laming resolution prefaces it with, — '* Far, 
very far, be it from me to boast" ; — and then 
gravely assures the house, that " the facts stated 
in the resolution have been ascertained at the 
proper department, and the proofs are on the 

Of men and boys, the Guerriere had, origi- 
nal I v belonging to her, 302. Hie purser's stew- 
ard (whose business it is to serve out the rations 
of the ship) declares, that Lieutenant Pullman, 
a lieutenant of marines, three midshipmen, and 
M Manicn and marines, Mere absent from the 
*hip in prizes, that the Guerriere victualled, on 
the inornin- of the action, exclusive of four or 
tnc vtomen, and some prisoners, Q64; that seven 
of l Ins.- were Americans who had been in the 
ship some years; that Captain Dacres (highly 
to his credit) -avc orders that they should go 
I" low; that they all did so, except one, sta- 
tioned forward, who, not Inning heard the word 
pass, remained at his quarters; that 10 of the 
ecu pM Imms; most of them very young. 


This account allows the Guerriere to have had 
at quarters, 239 officers and men, and 19 boys; 
but, as Captain Dacres has stated the absent 
men at 24, and the number of men at quarters 
at 244, his account will be deemed the most 
correct. Captain Hull prefers the number on 
the " quarter-bill"; and the " Particulars," 
without any ceremony, state, — " manned with 
302 men." 

The Constitution's officers used every art to 
inveigle the Guerriere's men into their service. 
Sixteen or eighteen, Americans and other fo- 
reigners, and about eight British, who had 
been pressed in their way out to the United 
States, remained at Boston, when the cartel 
sailed. Most of the former, and two of the 
latter, had previously entered on board the Con- 
stitution. With the above exception, the Guer- 
riere's surviving crew, and a fine set of men they 
were, returned to Halifax N. S. Several of them 
passed into the Shannon ; where they found 
ample relief for their wounded pride, in the 
subsequent achievement of that ship. 

Captain Dacres, in his official letter, says: 
V I feel it my duty to state, that the conduct of 
Captain Hull and his officers to our men, has 
been that of a brave enemy ; the greatest care 
being taken to prevent our men losing the 
smallest trifle." — Unfortunately, Captain Dacres 
had made this declaration before he discovered 


the insidious attempt! of the American officers 
upon his men; or that, when the latter, on re- 
mo\ing from the Constitution, called for their 
h;ius. they were delivered up, nearly emptied of 
their conh n!>. 

The armament of the Constitution consisted 
of thirty long 24-pounders upon the main- 
deck, twenty four earronades, 32-pounders, and 
two long English 18s, bored to carry a 24-pound 
shot, (and therefore considered as 24s,) upon the 
qamirtor-deoki and forecastle; total 56 guns. 
Bscepl as to the improvement in the 18-pound- 
ers, this account of the Constitution's force is 
confirmed by the editor of the " Naval His- 
lon ," as will be seen presently. The Constitu- 
tion bad eight ports of a side upon her quarter- 
dec k, a gangway-port, fitted to receive a shift- 
in- Kong gun or carronade, and five ports of a 
aide upon her forecastle: Between the quarter- 
deck and forecastle, were breeching-rings and 
bolls, calculated for four guns of a side; if ne- 
6 awrj to mount them: which guns, by the ac- 
counts of her officers, she mounted, when em- 
ployed in the Mediterranean. 

Although the Constitution did not, like the 
President and I niled States, carry guns in her 
loj's, n deliberate contrivance for destruction 
v, :is resorti il to, of which many were the victims 
on board the Guerriere. Seren men were Sta- 
tioned fa eacll (op: six of whom were employed 


in loading for him that was the best marksman. 
Captain Dacres was wounded in the back by 
one of these riflemen ; and, had the ball passed 
half an inch more in front, he, too, would have 
been numbered among the dead. 

The employment of rifled-barrel pieces in 
naval warfare, is certainly a great improvement. 
We use them in the army, but not in the navy. 
Robins, speaking of rifles, says: — " The ex- 
actness to which those who are dexterous in the 
use of these pieces, attain, is indeed wonderful ; 
and that, at such distances, that if the bullets 
were fired from the common pieces, in which the 
customary aberration takes place, not one in 
twenty of them could ever be traced. 

The Constitution's complement, when she 
sailed from Boston on the 2d of August, was 
about 476. On the 17th, Captain Hull re-cap- 
tured, from the Avenger sloop of war, the Ame- 
rican brig Adeline ; on board of which he placed 
a prize-master, and, it is understood, seven men. 
This leaves 468 ; the number stated by her own 
purser's steward to have been victualled, exclu- 
sive of a few prisoners, on the morning of the 
action. Among them, scarcely one was to be 
seen that would rate as a boy in the British 
service; yet three boys will be allowed. A 
great many of the Constitution's crew were re- 
cognized by Captain Dacres as British seamen, 
principally Irishmen. The Guerriere's people 


found among them several old acquaintances 
and shipmates. One fellow, who, after the ac- 
tion, was sitting under the half-deck, busily 
employed in making buck-shot cartridges to 
mangle his honorable countrymen, had served 
under the first lieutenant. He now went by a 
new name ; but, on seeing his old commanding 
officer standing before him, a glow of shame 
over-spread his countenance. Were it possible 
that the Constitution's ship's company could, 
at this time, have been inspected by the officers 
of the British navy, generally, how many, be- 
sides the commissioned officers and the riflemen, 
would have proved to be native Americans } 

The (iuerriere was captured from the French 
on the 19th of .July, 1800, by the Blanche, Cap- 
tain l.a\ie. The following was the force of the 
two ships: — (iuerriere, twenty-eight long 18- 
pounders, and two <>S-pound carronades (in the 
bridle-ports, and therefore of no use in the 
l)i<>;i(Ui(|r.i np mi the main-deck, ten long im- 
pounders, and ten carronades, &2-pouiiders, 
upon l lie (juarter-deek and forecastle; total ">0 
guns. Broadside-weight of metal, (allowing 
for difl'erenee between French and English cali- 
ber,) 514 lbs. ; complement of men and boys, in 
a< tion,,'U7; size m ions, 1Q84. — Blanche, twen- 
ty -eight long is-pomnlers upon the main-deck, 
ten lonu «>- pounders, .nui eight carronades, 32- 
pound, is, upon the quarter-deck and forecastle: 


total, 46 guns. Broadside-w«ight of metal 
425 lbs. ; complement of men and boys, in ac- 
tion, 244 ; size in tons, 1036. — This is intro- 
duced, merely in answer to several statements of 
the Americans, to the effect, that the Guerriere, 
when captured from the French, was of much 
greater force than we admitted her to be, when 
she was captured by the Constitution. 

The Constitution was built at Boston, and 
launched on the 21st of October, 1797, She 
cost 302,718 dollars, 84 cents; or, 68,111/. 14s. 
sterling. Her full dimensions, in hull, spars, 
and sails, were found in a small M.S. mqmoran- 
dum-book, taken out of the Chesapeake frigate. 
In proof of its correctness, the dimensions of the 
President and Chesapeake, as there also given, 
agree exactly with the measurements since taken 
of those ships. The only apparent difference, 
except a trifle in the height of decks, between 
the dimensions of the Constitution, and of the 
President, appears in the " length of gun-deck ;" 
which, in the former, is stated at " 175 feet," 
in the latter " 174 feet, lOf inches/' a differ- 
ence, in fact, not worth noticing. Mr. Clarke 
states the "gun-deck" of the three " American 
44-gun ships," to be " about 176 feet ;" and, it 
is understood, they are all as nearly of one size, 
though differing somewhat in model, as their 
builders could make them. The Constitution 
having the same " keel for tonnage," and 


1 breadth of beam" as the President, (see p. 21,) 
her tonnage, both American and English, must 
be the same. 

Dnmnsions of the two ships. 


Ft. In. 

J. infill of lower-deck, from aft-part 1 
(,i rabbit <>f stem to fore part of 1 155 9 
rabbit of stern-post, J 

Breadth, extreme, 39 9 

x , • flen-th, 92 

Mam-mast, < . „ Ql 

1 V diameter, 2 3\ 

,, . , ( length, 81 6 

-Mam-Nard, < ,. e . „, 

' \ diameter, 1 1{ 


Ft. In. 

173 3 

44 4 

104 O 

3 5 


1 9 

The Gnefrfore's spars are taken from those 
■er re d out to the largest frigates of her class: 
i!i»- Constitution's, partly from the assertions of 
Imt own. and partly from the observations of 
ilritish ollieers. Her main-mast was 2 feet 10 
<»r II inches, in diameter, at the partners; but 
it had four quarter-fishes, each 3£ inches thick, 
reaching from a lit lie above the main-deck to 
the t(»j»: hooped on after the mast was made: 
ol* course, adding to its strength, as well as 
bulk. The nader, therefore, may well conceive 
what impression the Goerriere'a shot could make 

MpOII In r opponent's masts. 

Between Krench ships built in the Mediterra- 
nean^ and in the ports of the Channel, there is 

nearly at much difference as between our oak 


and fir-built ships. The Guerriere was built at 
POrient, upon a sudden emergency ; and there- 
fore hastily run up, with half-seasoned wood. 
Her timbers were, at last, in so decayed a state, 
that, had the Constitution succeeded in towing 
her into Boston, she would not have been worth 
the cost of repairing. 

By " a fine ship" is meant, a ship possessing 
some extraordinary qualification, either of size 
or force, or of both. et Fine" is not an abso- 
lute, but a relative term. How, then, are we 
to judge of the officer who, sitting in the cabin 
of, truly, so fine a ship as the Constitution, 
writes home to his government, that, with that 
ship under his command, he has captured — " so 
fine a ship as the Guerriere ?" — Had the Guer- 
riere captured the Constitution, then, indeed, 
the expression would have been correct ; nor 
could Captain Dacres well have said more. 

Comparative force of the two ships. 

Broadside-metal in pounds, < ' S uns > 

— 517 

/-. , f men, 244 

Complement, j^ , g 


Size in tons, 1084 



^-- 768 
— 468 

Three to two in weight of metal and size, and 
nearly double in men ! A reasonable man v, ould, 


at least, have di\ided his praises between the 
stronger parly, "Inch had conquered, and the 
weak, r pa. i>. which liad so bravely resisted. 
Not so the Americans ; yet, from the excuses 
lli. \ make, when lluir ships are captured, it is 
evident IW] do not deny the principle. 

" M Inn we say to an American, — " Our fri- 
gates and your's are not a match." — He, very 
property replies, — % S Vou did not think so once." 
lint what docs this amount to ? — Admitting we 
knew the force of the American 44-gun frigates, 
bufcw llie (iuerriere's action, (which was only 
partially the case,) and yet considered that our 
98-gua frigates were able to tight them, all that 
can be said is. — we are now convinced, that an 
American and a British ship, in relative force as 
I hnc to two, are not equally matched. The 
tacts are the same : it is the opinion only that 
has changed. Man the Constitution with 470 
Turkl, or Algerines ; and even then, she would 
hardly be pronounced, now that her force is 
known, a match for the Guerriere. The truth 
1^. ihc name frigate had imposed upon the pub- 
lic: and to that, and that only, must be al- 
ii iluited, the angry repinings of many of the 
British journalists, at the capture of the (iuer- 
ritm They, silting sale at their desks, would 
haw sent her. and every soul on board, to the 
bottom, frith colours Hying; because her anta- 
gonist was— M a frigate : whereas, had the Con- 


stitution been called M a 50-gun ship," a de- 
fence only half as honorable as the Guerriere's 
was, would have gained for her officers and 
crew universal applause. 

Captain Hull, and the officers and crew of 
the Constitution, deserve much credit for what 
they did do ; first, for attacking a British fri- 
gate at all ; and next, for conquering one, a 
third inferior in force. It was not for them to 
reject the reward presented by the *f senate and 
house of representatives," because it expressed 
to be, for capturing a ship, " mounting 54 
carriage-guns" ; when, in reality, she only 
mounted, at most, 49. They, no doubt, smiled 
at the credulity of the donors ; and, without 
disputing the terms, pocketted the dollars. But 
are we to sit still, and hear our gallant seamen 
libelled, because it may suit the Americans to 
invent any falsehoods, no matter how flagrant, 
to force a valiant character upon themselves ? — 
Let him, who thinks so, pack himself off to the 
United States, and there join in defaming his 

The editor of the " Naval History," who, 
seemingly, delights in mysterious language, says 
thus of the Guerriere's capture : — i( It has mani- 
fested the genuine worth of the American tar ; 
and that the vigorous co-operation of the coun- 
try is all he requires, to enable him to meet, 
even under disadvantageous circumstances, and 


to derive glory from the encounter with, the 
na\al heroes of a nation which hits so long ruled 
I he wa\es." In the midst of all this flummery, 
bow came Mr. Clark to stumble upon '* disad- 
vantageous circumstances"? On which side 
were they ? 

The Americans had reason, indeed, to exult 
at the capture of a British frigate. When, 
too, it is known that, at the time of the Little 
Belt's affair, that ship and the Guerriere be- 
longed to one station, and were actually seeking 
each other ; and that the Guerriere's officers, by 
language of defiance, and otherwise, subse- 
quently made themselves extremely obnoxious 
to the Americans, the reader will readily con- 
e<i\«. that no frigate in the navy could have 
been so desirable a trophy as the one they did 

There is no question, that our vanity re- 
e« i\e<l a wound in the loss of the Guerriere. 
Hut, poignant as were the national feelings, re- 
flecting men hailed the 19th of August, 1812, as 
the commencement of an sera of renovation to 

the na\\ of England. Through such a mass of 
ships, however, the progress of amendment 
Would necessarily DC slow. A real scarcity of 

si -aim ii retarded the operation ; and, unfortu- 

Itttelj , die class of ships, the hast interested in 
Pieparalioi to meet the Americans, had the 
lirst pick of the men. So that, e\en at the con- 


elusion of peace with the United States, not 
more than half our frigates had improved, in 
men, gunnery, or appointments ; and as to our 
18-gun brigs, it would have taken another three 
years' war, to render them as effective, as their 
implied force, the character of the officers, and 
the lives of the men, imperiously demanded. 

An author, whose book, says one of his cri- 
tics, " owes nothing to fiction, nothing to artful 
disposition of drapery, to affected attitude, or to 
gaudy, over-heightened colouring, but is all 
matter of authentic history," — has subjoined to 
his account of the Guerriere's action, a disser- 
tation upon the comparative force of the old 
British 38, (now 46,) and the American 44-gun 
ships. As it may be no less amusing than in- 
structive to learn, by what species of logic the 
Americans have persuaded themselves, and 
would persuade the world, that the force of 
" the American 44-gun frigates and of the Bri- 
tish 38s, is very nearly equal," Mr. Clark's 
highly-applauded arguments upon the subject 
are here given in his own words : 

" Much having been said on the disparity of 
force between the American 44-gun frigates and 
the British 38, the rates of the Constitution and 
Guerriere, it will, perhaps, not be out of place 
here, to give a comparative view of the force of 
each. Both the American 44-gun ships and the 
British 38-gun ships are constructed on the 


same principles, and their guns are placed in the 
same relative position, forming batteries of a 
similar nature. The guns in each ship are 
placed on the main or gun-deck, the quarter- 
deck, and the forecastle. The gun-deck, which 
may be considered as the line of defence, is 
about 176 feet long in the American 44-guu 
ships, and about 160 feet in the English 38-gun 
ships. The line of defence, therefore, in the 
American 44-gun ships, exceeds the English by 
about 16 feet. But, it is to be observed, that 
the length of the line of defence by no means 
implies strength. This essentially consists in 
the number of guns that can be placed in bat- 
ten, with advantage in a given line, and the 
strength of the ramparts and parapets, in which 
light the sides of the ship may be considered. 
A line of defence of 200 feet, mounting 30 guns 
in battery, Mould be about one-fourth weaker, 
and produce an effect one-fourth less, than a 
line of defence of 150 feet long, mounting the 
same number of guns, The American 44-gun 
ships mount thirty k 24-pounders on the gun 
deck, twenty four 3'2-poundcr carronades, and 
two Ift-pOUIldere, on their quarter-deck and fore- 
castle, or upper decks. The British 38-gun ships 
mount twenty eight Impounders on their guii*- 
deck, eighteen 32-pound carronades, and two 
18-pounders, on their quarter-deck and fore- 
castle, besides a 24 -pounder shifting gun. In 


an engagement between ship and ship, the effect 
produced is by the broadside, or the number of 
guns placed in battery on one side of the ship ; 
so that only half the number of guns in a ship 
can be considered as placed in battery, in its 
length or line of defence. The number of guns, 
therefore, of the American 44-gun ships, placed 
in battery in its line of defence, of 176 feet, 
will be 28. The number of guns in the English 
38-gun ships, placed in battery in its line of 
defence, of 160 feet, will be 24 ; but, as they 
carry a shifting gun, which may be placed in 
battery on either side, the number will actually 
be 25 ; so that the number of guns in battery 
in the American 44-gun ships, will exceed those 
in the English 38-gun ships only one-tenth. 
But the American line of defence is one-tenth 
longer, and consequently would be one-tenth 
weaker than the English, if it had only the same 
number of guns in battery; consequently, the 
force of each, when the line of defence, and 
number of guns placed in battery are consi- 
dered, is very nearly equal. 

w The American 44-gun ships carry 24- 
pounders on their gun-decks ; the English, 18- 
pounders. But, are not 18-pounders of sufficient 
weight of metal for the service of large frigates, 
and fully calculated to produce every effect that 
may be required in an engagement between fri- 
gates ? — It has, moreover, been asserted by the 


officers of the Constitution, that the shot of the 
Java's 18-pounders were only three pounds 
lighter than those of the American 24-pounders, 
after accurately weighing them both; so that, 
consequently, the difference in weight of metal 
was only one-eighth. 

" It has been asserted in the British news- 
papers, that the American frigates were 74s in 
disguise. It has also been asserted by an Eng- 
lish naval commander, in his official letter, that 
the American 44-gun ships were built with the 
scantling of a 74. If, by this assertion, he 
meant to insinuate that the American 44-gun 
ships were of the same nature with a 74, or 
ships of the line, he has manifested an extreme 
want of candor, or want of professional know- 
ledge. 74 -gun ships are all of the line; that is, 
they have guns mounted on two gun-decks, 
< \it -nding the whole length of the ship, or its 
line of defence, besides those on the quarter- 
deck and forecastle ; and, in addition to these, 
there an- guns on the poop. The length of the 
line of a 74 is about the same as that of the 
American 44-gun ship. A 74-gun ship mounts 
•bout ^* guns; consequently, the number of 
gum placed in battery in her line of defence, 
will be 44 guns; and, in the American frigate 
of 44 nuns, only 518 in the same line of defence; 
consequently, the sin ingth of the line of defence 
Of a 71, is not w rv far from double that of an 


American 44-gun ship, considered in respect of 
the number of guns, without taking into consi- 
deration the difference in weight of metal, and 
the compactness and strength of sides. 

" This, we believe, sufficiently demonstrates 
the illiberality and absurdity of comparing the 
American 44-gun frigates to British 74s, with a 
view to disparage the rising glory of the Ame- 
rican navy, and to depreciate the noble exploits 
of her gallant tars." 

Although this elaborate performance purports 
to have been drawn up by no less a man than 
the " United States' topographical engineer," 
it shall not escape such an examination, at least, 
as will serve to expose its most important fal- 

That " the American 44-gun ships, and the 
British 38-gun ships, are constructed on the 
same principles," is an assertion that might be 
easily disproved ; the latter having a wide waist, 
that leaves no room for the use of guns along 
the gangways ; and the former, an entire upper 
deck, reaching from stem to stern. (See plate 2.) 
But, as the British have built ships of a similar 
construction, and called them frigates ; and, as 
the reader has already been put on his guard, 
against drawing any conclusions as to relative 
force, merely because two ships are classed under 
one denomination, (see p. .36,) the above state- 
ment of Mr. Clark's may be allowed to pass. 
Mr. Clark's 44-gun frigate being " one tenth 


longer" than the 38-gun frigate, lias occasioned 
liim to say a great deal in depreciation of a long 
" line of defence." Among salt-water engineers, 
or navy-men, a long ship is considered to have 
an advantage over a short one, as well from the 
additional room upon her decks, as from her 
ability to bring one or more guns, at either ex- 
treme of her " line of defence," to bear diago- 
nally across her opponent. Of course, it is not 
meant to carry this principle ad infinitum, but 
to confine it to ships, or floating batteries in 
general. Agreeably to Mr. Clark's doctrine, our 
old first-rates, of 16-5 feet gun-deck, were pre- 
ferable siiips to our present first-rates, of '205 
t< < I uun-deck; and the old three-decked 80s, 
of 156 feet, to a two-decked 80, of 197 feet. 

In moderate weather, the ship with most 
decks, or " lines of defence," is certainly en- 
abled to throw her shot more in a mass; and 
therefore with more destructive effect. On the 
oilier hand, blowing weather and a heavy sea, 
ina\ < ompel her to shut her lower-deck ports; 
and ;it a time, too, when a large frigate, from 
tlie additional height of her ports, could fight 
e\rr\ gun she mounted. So that, taking all 
circumstances into consideration, the (juestion 
of comparative force still rcsohes itself into — 
the relative broadside. weight of metal. — Does 
the editor of the " Naval History" pretend to 
say, that \mcrican ships do not carry -shifting 


After Mr. Clark has proved that the force of 
the American 44 and the British 38, is " very 
nearly equal," he asks: — u Are not 18-pounders 
of sufficient weight of metal for the service of 
large frigates ; and fully calculated to produce 
every effect that may be required in an engage- 
ment between frigates ?" If, by " large fri- 
gates," Mr. Clark means the American 44s, the 
answer to the first question is — no; because the 
deck-beams, sides, and timbers, of the 44, are 
calculated to bear 24-pounders. If, by " large 
frigates," he means the present British 46s, 
(old 38s,) the answer is, — yes; because the deck- 
beams, sides, and timbers of the latter, are cal- 
culated to bear only 18-pounders. This will ap- 
pear clearer by stating, that, while the 30 long 
24-pounders, with their carriages complete, 
placed upon the 44's main-deck, weigh 88 tons, 
2 cwt, the 28 long 18-pounders, with their car- 
riages complete, placed upon the 38's or 46's 
main-deck, weigh but 67 tons, 18 cwt. 

As to the second question, that is already an- 
swered ; unless Mr. Clarke means to say, that 
the effect produced by an 18-pounder, is equal 
to the effect produced by a 24-pounder; or that 
the " effect required to be produced in an en- 
gagement between frigates" does not consist of 
destruction at all, but of something else; which 
something he has not ventured to explain. 

With respect to the Java's shot weighing more, 


or the Constitution's less, than the nominal 
weights, that has been fully answered in a pre- 
ceding page. (p. 10.) Whenever Mr. Clark 
can prove, that British 18, and American 24, 
pound shot, approach nearer, in diameter, than 
5.040 to 5.547, (inches and decimal parts,) his 
arguments will merit attention. A French 
16-pound shot weighs 20^ pounds, English; 
which is only a trifle beyond " three pounds 
lighter" than a shot weighing 24 pounds Eng- 
lish, and the Java, from which the shot in ques- 
tion was taken, had been a French ship, and 
then recently fitted out for the first time. Might 
not some of the French shot have been left on 
board? In that case, the reason for selecting, 
to be " accurately weighed," one of them, in 
preference to one of the English 18s, is obvious. 
As to the American shot selected to be placed 
in the opposite scale, who knows but that the 
American commanders order to be set apart, for 
this important service, one particular shot, — the 
smallest in the ship. 

Instead of proceeding to disprove Captain 
Carden's assertion that " the American 4 4-gun 
ships wvrv built with the scantling of a 74, " i\Ir. 
Clark shifts his ground to the " nature" of a 
74; and gives his readers a happy definition of 
■ ;i slji|> of the line." 

I lie force of I he American 14-gun frigates, 
Mill mm be 1'iiirU compared with thai of several 


classes of British ships; and, if to shame the 
Americans, be a hopeless task, it may yet be 
possible to convince the unprejudiced part of 
mankind, that our three frigates were captured 
by American ships, equal in force to British 64s, 

Because the Constitution carried lighter car- 
ronades than either the United States or Presi- 
dent, Mr. Clark has selected her as his standard 
of an American 44-gun frigate. But the Con- 
stitution is as able as they are, to carry 42-pound- 
ers; and the new American 44-gun frigates, 
Guerriere and Java, are stated to carry long 
3'2-pounders upon their main-decks. On the 
other hand, neither of our three captured fri- 
gates, the Guerriere in particular, was as effective 
as a well-manned, fully equipped frigate of their 
class. As a mean in force, of the five American 
44s, the United States will be preferred; and 
the full dimensions of an American 44-gun fri- 
gate can be given, with accuracy, by our fortu- 
nate possession of the President. 

The British 38-gun frigate, selected as the 
standard of size, will be the Macedonian ; first, 
because she was one of the finest in the British 
navy; and next, because she is now in the pos- 
session of the Americans : who will therefore 
have an opportunity of submitting the following 
statement of her dimensions, to the test of actual 



Comparative dimensions of the British 38, (or 
new-rated 46, ) and the American AA-gun frigate. 


Ft. In, 

[overall, being from forepart o(\ 

figure-head, to aft-part of fife-rail, J l eu J 

of spar deck, being from aft part of / 
apron to fore-part of stern-timber r 1(53 6 
at the middle line, J 

extreme, being from fore-part of stem "1 

tremc, being trom tore-part or stem 
at height of main-deck, to aft-part I 
e? J of stern-post, at height of wing- j 
^ transom, J 

of lower-deck, being from aft-part of ) 
rabbit of stem, to forepart of rab- >■ 
bit of stern-post, ^ 

of actual keel, being from forepart 
of fore-foot, 


j. r- •veralt, or to outside of main-wails, 
"S I extreme, or of frame, including the \ 
2 i plank at the bottom, J 

£2 (^ moulded, or of frame only, 

Depth in hold, being from under-side of") 
lower-deck plank to limber streak, r 

158 4 

154 6 

being from forepart^ 
to aft part of stern- \ 

of lower-deck, 

faft, 1 r 

< midships, V 6 5 < 

( forward, J [ 













f (|iiai -ler-deck, ) 
_ between main and ' gangways, j " ~ 

"bo C forecastle, (j (] 

^ j from underside of falie keel, to up-"\ 
* per pari ol "figure-head, J 34 4 

from ditto, to upper pari of life-rail, 

from upper side of 'midship main- ) 
deck pori-oill, to water 1 ! edge at • 

load-water mail.. ) 

f afore, 
[ abaft, 

Lo ul-diau-lit of wak 

39 8 

7 () 

17 | 

19 o 


Ft. In. 


182 9 

179 7 

173 3 

156 6 






















8 8 
19 4 




Main- deck beams, 

Ditto ports, 


Ft. Id 





















f broad, or sided, 
\ deep, or moulded, 

f width of, 

\ distance between, 
Topsides, thickness f main-deck port-sills, 
°f> at | quarter-deck do. 

C length, 
Mam-mast, (diameter, 

r length, 
Mam-yard, {diameter, 

Main- f Brit. frig. 7 pairs, ") each in ciro ft 
shrouds, ^ Am. do. 9 pairs, t cumference,| u ' 

In the diameter of the 44's main-mast, the 
quarter-fishes are included; inasmuch as they 
contribute to the security of the mast in action. 
The fore and main-masts of our ships have only a 
small fish, or paunch, in front, to admit the yard, 
in its descent, to pass clear of the mast-hoops. 

The difference between these ships in the 
quantity and stoutness of rigging, is an import- 
ant consideration. Were the American ship to 
lose from her shrouds, a quantity of cordage 
equal to the whole over the mast-heads of the 
British ship, she would still have enough left to 
support her masts. 

The relative stoutness of top-sides cannot 
be fully expressed by feet and inches; for, 
while the timbers of the American 44 are placed 
as close together as they well can be, there is a 

Including the quarter-fishes, see p. 112.. 


considerable space between each timber of the 
British 38. About three inches below the main- 
deck port-sills, the President's sides are twenty- 
two inches through. In fact, an American ship 
of war is almost a bed of timber. 

Plate 2 represents the plans, accurately taken, 
of the quarter-deck and forecastle of the Presi- 
dent frigate, and a frigate built from the same 
draught as the Macedonian ; and which conse- 
quently agrees in dimensions with the 38-gun 
frigate in the above comparative statement. 
The difference between a narrow path or gang- 
way, for the convenience of walking to and from 
the quarter-deck, and a broad space, calculated 
for carrying four guns, is readily seen: as may 
be, in fig. 2. the ring-bolts for the breechingsof 
those guns. The reason that rings are placed 
there, and not at the regular ports, is, that tin; 
breeching passes round each port-timber at the 
latter; while, at the former, there are no port- 
timbers, the hammock-staunchious forming the 
sides of the ports. There is, also, at the gang- 
way, or entrance on board the ship (a. fig. 2.) 
a regular port ; having an iron plate fitted to re- 
ceive the bolt of a carronade-carriage. At a 
tig. 1. is seen the quarter-deck chace-port, with 
tin forward inclination of its sides, and the want 
of room for the gnu to recoil, otherwise than in 
an oblique direction. No gnu is allowed for this 
port ; the foremost quarter deck gun (usually a 

Tig. j. 


Tig. 2. 

A 2_ 

Scale '■$■* of an Iruh to a Foe 


long gun) being intended to be shifted there, 
when necessary. The reason of the upper decks 
of the two ships differing so little in width, is, 
that fig. 1. is, what is called, wall-sided, while 
fig. 2.\s sides fall in as they rise. Upon the main- 
decks, the due breadth of each ship is preserved. 

The regular armament of a 38 or 46-gun fri>- 
gate, is that of the Java. The armaments of 
the Macedonian and Guerriere (except as to 
having a 12, instead of an 18-pound boat car- 
ronade) were the same as the Java's, till altered 
by their respective commanders. A 46-gun fri- 
gate's complement may be stated at 294 men, 
and 21 boys; total 315. 

The President's armament may be seen at a 
subsequent page ; also the number of men which 
she had on board, at the commencement of the 
action that placed her in our possession. 

Comparative force of the British 38> fold rate, J 
and the American 44. 

British, (old rate,) 38 

Broadside-metal Hong guns, 26 1 

in pounds, 1 carronades, 274 


r^ i C men, 294 

Complement, j^ ^ 

■ 315 

Size in tons, 1081 

American 44. 






What have the Americans to urge against 
this? Is it not clear, that the relative effi- 


ciency or force of a British (old rate) 38, and 
an American 44 s;iin frigate, instead of beings 
as Mr. Clark says, " very nearly equal," is in 
the proportion (taking no advantage of frac- 
tions) of two to three! 

When the Guerrierc was captured from the 
French, she was -pronounced, in reference to 
ships like the Blanche, "of the largest class of 
frigates." Take the Guerriere, as she then was, 
for a standard of the French u 44-gun frigate": 
her force was barely equal to that of the British 
frigate in the above comparative statement. 
What then becomes of the mass of groans and 
lamentations to be found in British newspapers, 
magazines, and registers, about the difference in 
the result of actions between British and French 
frigates, and British and American frigates? It 
now appears, clearly, that, in the one case, the 
ships were about equally matched; in the other, 
not so by a full third. 

The relative force of the American 44-gun 
frigatfl ami the higher classes of his majesty's 
whips, comes next to be considered. 

In the year in which the American 14s were 
built, (1707,) v>e had in commission, four or five 
tWQ-decked ships, rating also of " 14 guns"; 
which, if the rate were any criterion, would be 
about equal in force to the American 44-gun 
frigates. But they were much inferior to the 
old 50-gun ship; whose force, as we have 


seen, (p. 71?) did not equal even that of an 
American 36-gun frigate. 

The guns of the British 64, and the 74 and 
76, of the present ratesj are here given together. 



Lower-deck, 261ong24-prs. 
Upper-deck, 26 — 18 — 

Qr.-deckandC 2 — 9 — 
forecastle, \ 12 carr.32 — 

Poop, 5 — 18 — 

Total, 7 1 guns. 


28 long 32-prs. 
28 — 18 — 

8 — - 12 
12 carr.32 


28 long 32-prs. 
30 — 24 — 
r 6 — 12 — 
'< 2carr.68 — 
"U2 — 32 — 
7 — is — I 7 — 18 — 

S3 guns. |85 guns. 

If the " admiralty-office navy-list" is correct, 
such of his majesty's ships as mount guns upon 
the poop, are still under-rated. The force of the 
above 74 is precisely that of the San Domingo 
and Valiant, when on the American coast ; and 
the force of the 76 is that of the Bulwark, when 
on the same station. Deducting from the latter, 
the two 68-pound carronades, which were the 
captain's guns; and, from each ship one of 
the 18-pound carronades, as being a boat-gun, 
both the Valiant and Bulwark, to correspond 
with the order in council, should rate as 82s. 
The San Domingo, although built in 1810, is 
not in the list, having been broken up this 

In the spring of 1814, the new Leander, built 
of pitch-pine, and intended to match the large 
K 2 


American frigates, arrived on the Halifax sta- 
tion. She then mounted thirty long 24-pound- 
ers upon the main-deck; and twenty-four car- 
ronades, 42-pounders, and four long 24-pound- 
ers, upon the spar-deck; total 58 guns; besides 
an 18-pound boat-carrouade. There was here 
no disguise whatever: the ship had two complete 
batteries of a side, reaching from stem to stern. 
The Leander was not the sort of frigate to en- 
tice the American 44s within gun-shot. The 
Americans proclaimed both her and the New- 
castle to be two-deckers; and who could say other- 
wise? With the reduction of two of her 24s, 
and two of her 42s; and using the remaining 
two upper-deck 24s as shifting guns, one on the 
forecastle, the other through the gangway-port, 
the Leander might have been constructed as a 
regular 54-gun frigate; and yet fought the same 
number of guns upon the broadside, within one, 
that she does at present. The Leander still 
mounts no more than .38 guns, and a bout-car- 
ronude; yet* in Lin- - admiralty-office navy list" 
for March last, the Leander, {Newcastle, Java, and 
ships of thai class now building, rate of t>0 guns; 
while, in the same list, i lie Saturn, raza, of much 
greater physical force, rates two guns fewer. 

\\ h;tt oreated the greatest surprise at Halifax, 
when tin' leander firs! arrived there, was the ap- 
pearance of her ship's company. Tropic natu- 
rally expected to see a picked crew of British sea- 


men. Instead of which, they saw tall and short, 
old and young; and soon learnt that there were 
very few seamen in the ship. Nominally, the 
Leander was well manned, for her books con- 
tained the names of 485 ; but 44 of them ap- 
peared as — boys. During her first cruize, she 
captured the U. S. brig* Rattlesnake; whose of- 
ficers could not help smiling at the idea of such 
^i crew being sent out to oppose the Constitu- 
tion's; a sample of whose men, in the late crew 
of the Rattlesnake, 131 in number, was then on 
board the Leander. The Himsiness of that ship's 
topsides, and the smallness of her scantling, 
generally, also took the attention of the Ame- 
rican officers ; most of whom had served on board 
the Constitution. 

Thin sides, however, have their advocates. 
It is said that, when a ship is closely engaged, 
the thinner her sides, provided they can resist 
grape, the less destructive will be the shot in its 
passage through. The case of this very same 
Leander, when so gallantly engaged at Algiers, 
is brought forward. There, most of the shot 
that struck her, passed through both sides, 
without splintering; leaving a hole no larger 
than the shot itself. Rut, had the Leander 
come to action with one of the American 
44s; she having the weather-gage, and being 
determined to preserve, for the first half-hour 
at least, that distance, at which her skill in 


gunnery could best display itself, the latter's 
24-pound shot would have found their way 
through the Leander's sides, quite slow enough 
to splinter; while her 24-pound shot, or the 
greater part of them, would have lodged in the 
sides of the American ship. — Had the Algerines 
commenced firing when they ought, the Leander 
would have had splinters enough. 

Two other classes of newly-constructed fri- 
gates were also sent out upon the American sta- 
tion. The Severn, Liverpool, and Forth, dif- 
fered from the 38s, in carrying 24s upon the 
main-deck, and four additional 32-pound car- 
ronades upon the quarter-deck and forecastle. 
They had about 350 men and boys; and mea- 
sured a little under 1260 tons. It is difficult to 
say, for what description of American frigate, 
these ships were intended. For a comparative 
statement of their force, the Endymion's action 
may be consulted. The other class alluded to, 
consisted of the Majestic, Saturn, and Goliah, 
raxit*, or cut-down 74s. The force of the first- 
uamed of these newly-invented frigates has 
been already given. (See p. 34.) In broadside- 
weight of metal, they were far too formidable 
to he esteemed a match for any of the American 
frigates, except the new (iuerriere and Java. 
Their crews were tolerable: the Saturn's, in- 
deed, was a remarkably tine one. 



Comparative force of the American 44, with the 
British 60,— 64,— 74,— and 76. 















— 912 

— 801 

— 1012 

— 1176 









— 485 

— 491 

— 590 

— 640 





American 44 
Br. met. fl. guns, 408 
inpds. Icarr. 462 


Comple- 1 men, 472 
ment, 1 boys., 5 

— 477 
Size in tons, 1 533 

Upon the face of this statement, the Ameri- 
can 44-gun-ship is inferior in force to the 
British 60. Nor, had the former met and en* 
gaged the Leander, should we have been allowed 
to say one word upon the quality of the men, 
and the disproportion of boys, in the two com- 
plements, nor upon the difference in stoutness 
of scantling; of which the relative size in tons 
is here a most fallacious criterion. 

The President and the Africa were, at the 
first of the war, cruizing at no great distance 
apart. Had they met and engaged, here would 
have been a fair match. In broadside- weight of 
metal, the 64 is a trifle inferior; and, in bad 
weather, might, like the two-decked 44 or 50, 
be compelled to shut her lower-deck ports. In 
men, the 64 is also inferior, but has the advan- 
tage in boys. In size, no great disparity exists. 
It may therefore safely be affirmed that, except 


the new 60s, the only class of ship in the British 
navy, to which an American 44-gun frigate is 
equal in force, is the 64. 

The 74 in the above comparative statement, 
if the boys are dismissed from the two comple- 
ments, does not appear to be so decidedly supe- 
rior to the American 44-gun ship, as to warrant 
the author of the " Naval History" in exclaim- 
ing against the " illiberality and absurdity of 
comparing the American 44-gun frigates to 
British 74s." 

It is believed that the American government, 
in publishing Captain Stewart's paper, (see 
p. 16,) wherein he states, that a 74-gun ship is 
a match for " three large frigates," had for one 
object, to check the further progress of an opi- 
nion, then becoming prevalent throughout the 
United States, that an American 44-gun frigate 
was, in truth, not very unequal in force to a 
British 74. But Captain Stewart's 74 throws a 
broadside of 1612, instead of 1176 pounds, the 
force of the British 76, (with two 68-pound car- 
ronades added to her established armament,) 
and his " large frigate," 680, instead of 900 
pounds. So thftt the American estimate relates 
to ships differing widely in force from those, 
between which the present comparison is made. 

Il may serre to illustrate the remarks made at a 
preceding page (p. 17) npon Captain Stewart's 
argument about the difference in scantling be- 


tween 74s and frigates, to mention, that the top- 
sides of the Independence 74, at the lower-deck 
port-sills, are stated to be thirty one inches 
thick; while no British-built 74 measures, at 
that place, more than twenty six inches. 

To complete the exposure of the Americans, 
for having gasconaded so much at the capture of 
our 38, by their 44 gun frigates, it remains 
only to suppose a case, wherein an American 
44 is captured by a British ship, as much supe- 
rior in force to her, as she was to the 38. 

The set of figures that would give that pro- 
portion are — broadside-weight of metal, 1514; 
— complement, 722; — size in tons, 2173. As, 
however, no ship in the British navy, except the 
Caledonia or Nelson, throws a broadside equal 
to 1514 pounds, the above-mentioned 76 will, 
for argument's sake, be considered as possessing 
the required superiority in force. 

Chance might have brought the President 
and Bulwark within sight of each other. But, 
where is the credulity to be persuaded, that the 
former would have staid to fight ; much more, 
have fought on, till her masts were all shot 
away, her hull shattered to pieces, and a third 
of her crew killed and wounded ? — Rather than 
miss the comparison, probability must be vio- 
lated, and such a case be supposed to have 


To finish the comparison, we must also sup- 
pose, that the British, lost to all sense of shame, 
— bereft of reason, in fact,— do actually publish 
this capture of the American 44-gun ship by 
their 76, as a " glorious victory/' — knight the 
conqueror, — make him free of cities, — escort 
him on his journeys with a body of troops, — 
cheer him as he passes, — erect triumphal arcbes 
to him, — weigh down his sideboard with plate, — 
strike off medals, adorned with emblematical 
devices, — set sculptors, painters, and poets to 
work, to immortalize the " brilliant exploit ;* — 
and, finally, hang up, by way of sign, at every 
tenth public-house, a view of the action, re- 
versing the size of the ships. — What would the 
other nations of Europe say? — What would 
America say f 



Frolic leaves Jamaica for Honduras — Sails thence 
with convoy — Hears of the American war — 
Encounters, and is disabled by, a severe gale of 
wind — Falls in with the Wasp — Sends convoy 
a-head — Details of the action — Frolic surren- 
ders — Re-capture of her, and capture of the 
Wasp — Frolic's and Wasp's damages, loss, and 
force — Statement of comparative force — Remarks 
thereon — Macedonian sails from England — 
Farts company with her convoy — Falls in with 
the United States — Sustains an irreparable acci- 
dent at the onset — Details of the engagement— - 
Damage, loss, and force, of each ship — Their 
relative size considered — Commodore Chauncey's 
opinion of the frigate United States — Statement 
of comparative force — Remarks thereon — Mace- 
donian and French captured frigates. 

XX. M. brig Frolic arrived in the West Indies 
in 1807, and continued cruizing there till the 
middle of 1812 ; when she left Port Royal, Ja- 
maica, to collect the homeward-bound trade at 
Honduras, and convoy them to England. She 
was, at this time, very short of complement ; 


and the majority of her crew in a debilitated 
state, owing to the length of time they had been 
on the station. Upwards of 40 would have been 
invalided, had the war with America been 
known, or even suspected. 

The Frolic left the bay of Honduras on the 
12th of September, with about 14 sail under 
convoy; and, when off the Havannah, Captain 
AVhinyates was informed by a Guernsey ship, 
of the war with America, and the loss of the 
Guerriere. On the night of Friday, the 16th of 
October, the Frolic and her convoy encountered 
a violent gale of wind, in which they separated, 
and she had her main-} ard broken in two places, 
and her main-top-mast badly sprung ; besides 
much other damage. Her fore-top-mast also 
had been previously sprung. 

Six sail of the convoy had joined before dark 
the next evening; and, on the following morn- 
ing, at daylight, while the Frolic's men were at 
work upon the main-yard, a sail hove in sight, 
which, at first, was taken for one of the missing 
ronvoy. Upon her nearing the Frolic, and not 
answering the signals, the main-yard was got 
off the (asks, and lashed to the deck; and the 
Frolic hauled to the wind, under her close- 
reeved fore-top-sail, and boom-main-sail, to let 
thr cnmoy get sufficiently a-head, to be out of 

Captain Uhinyatcs, having, two days before, 


passed a Spanish convoy protected by a brig, 
hoisted Spanish colours, by way of decoy. As 
soon as the stranger, which proved to be the 
U. S. sloop of war Wasp, Captain Jones, disco- 
vered that the ships of the convoy were nine 
miles right to-leeward, under all sail before the 
wind, she bore down upon the Frolic. 

The Frolic fired the first broadside, and con- 
tinued to fire with such rapidity and precision, 
that, in about four minutes, the Wasp's fore-top- 
mast came down, and she received other consi- 
derable damage ; but, at that instant, the Fro- 
lic's gaff-head, braces being shot away, and 
having no sail upon the main-mast, she became 
unmanageable. The Wasp accordingly took a 
raking position, while the Frolic could not 
bring a gun to bear. After the Frolic had sus- 
tained considerable loss by the Wasp's fire, she 
fell on board the enemy ; who, for upwards of 
20 minutes, continued pouring in his unre- 
turned broadsides, and did still more execution 
by his musketry. When resistance was quite 
at an end, the Americans boarded, and struck 
the Frolic's colours. 

Mr. Clark gives a more circumstantial ac- 
count of the action, than is contained in either 
official letter. (App. Nos. 13 and 14.) He 
begins by stating, that the merchant-ships were 
well manned, and that four of them mounted 
from 16 to 18 guns each ; but that, " notvvith- 


standing, Captain Jones resolved to attack 
them. The convoy made their escape under a 
press of sail. About 11 o'clock, the Frolic 
shewed Spanish colours. The Wasp immediately 
displayed the American ensign and pendant. 
At 32 minutes past 11, the Wasp came down 
to-windward on the larboard side of the Frolic. 
When within about 60 yards she hailed. The 
Frolic then hauled down Spanish colours, hoisted 
the British ensign, and opened a fire of cannon 
and musketry. This was instantly returned by 
the Wasp; and, nearing the enemy, the action 
became close and spirited. About four or five 
minutes after the commencement of the action, 
the main-top-mast of the Wasp was shot away, 
and having fallen, with the inain-top-sail-\aru\ 
across the larboard fore and fore-top-sail braces, 
rendered her head-yards unmanageable during 
the remainder of the engagement. In two or 
three minutes more, her gaff and mizen-top- 
gallant-sail were shot away. She, however, 
kept up a close and constant fire. The sea was 
*o rough, that the muzzles of the Wasp's guns 
were frequently under water. The Americans 
fired as the side of their ship was going down ; 
their shot, of course, either struck the Frolic's 
iUvk, or below it. I 'he English fired as their 
vessel rose: their balls, consequently, only struck 
the rigging, or were ineffectual. The Wasp, 
hawng now shot a-head of the Frolic, poured a 


broadside into her, which completely raked her. 
She then took a position on the Frolic's lar- 
board-bow. A most spirited fire was now kept 
up from the Wasp : it produced great effect. 
The fire of the Frolic had slackened so much, 
that Captain Jones gave up his intention of 
boarding her, lest both vessels might be endan- 
gered by the roughness of the sea ; but, in the 
course of a few minutes more, not a brace of the 
Wasp was left : all had been shot away. Her 
rigging was so much torn to pieces, that Cap- 
tain Jones was afraid that her masts, being un- 
supported, would go by the board, and the Frolic 
thereby be enabled to escape ; he therefore re- 
solved to board, and at once decide the contest* 
With this intention he wore ship, and ran down 
upon the enemy ; the vessels struck each other; 
the Wasp's side rubbed along the Frolic's bow; 
the jib-boom of the latter entered between the 
main and mizen rigging of the Wasp, directly 
over the heads of Captain Jones and his first 
lieutenant, Biddle, who were then standing to- 
gether, near the capstan. The Frolic now lay 
in so good a position for being raked, that it 
was resolved not to board until another broad- 
side had been poured into her. So near were 
the two vessels, that while the men were load- 
ing the guns, the rammers of the Wasp were 
pushed against the Frolic's sides ; and two of 
her guns went through the bow-ports of the 


Frolic, and swept the whole length of her deck. 
About this time Jack Lang, a brave and intre- 
pid seaman of the Wasp, and who had once been 
.impressed by a British man-of-war, jumped on 
a gun with his cutlass, and was springing on 
board the Frolic, when Captain Jones, desiring 
to fire again before boarding, called him down ; 
but, probably, urged on by his impetuosity, he 
did not hear the command of his captain, and 
was immediately on the bowsprit of the Frolic. 
Lieutenant Biddle, perceiving the ardor and 
enthusiasm of the Wasp's crew, mounted on the 
hammock-cloth to board ; the crew immediatelj r 
followed; but the lieutenant's feet being entan- 
gled in the rigging of the Frolic's bowsprit, and 
.Midshipman Baker, in his ardor to board, lay- 
ing hold of his coat, he fell back on the \\ asp's 
deck ; he directly sprang up, and, as the next 
swell of the sea brought the Frolic nearer, he 
got on her bowsprit, where Lang and another 
M ainan were already. He passed them on the 
forecastle ; and was much surprised at not see- 
ing a single man alive upon the Frolic's deck, 
except the seaman at the wheel, and three otii- 
cers. The deck was slippery with blood, and 
strew* (1 with dead bodies. As he went forward, 
the captain of the Frolic, and two other officers, 
who were standing on the quarter-deck, threw 
down their swords, and made an inclination of 
their bodies as a sign of submission. The co- 


lours of the Frolic were still flying ; none of her 
seamen, probably, dared to go into the rigging 
to strike them, for fear of the musketry of the 
Wasp. Lieutenant Biddle, himself, immedi- 
ately jumped into the rigging, and hauled down 
the British ensign. Possession was taken of the 
Frolic 43 minutes after the commencement of 
the action. She presented a most shocking 
spectacle : her berth-deck was crowded with 
dead, wounded, and dying. Not above 20 of 
her crew escaped unhurt." 

It was very good of Mr. Clark to suggest, that 
Captain Jones resolved to attack the " four well- 
manned ships, armed with 16 or 18 guns each." 
Captain Jones had no such intention ; or he 
would not have waited till they were hull-down 
to-leeward, before he closed upon the Frolic. 
The mercantile knowledge of an American com- 
mander was sufficient to inform him, that those 
ships would have forfeited their insurances, had 
they not obeyed the Frolic's signal to make the 
best of their way. There can be little doubt 
that a disabled American sloop of war would 
have called them to her protection, instead of 
engaging single-handed, under circumstances 
so disadvantageous. 

The argument about the two methods of firing 
is ingenious; but the disabled state of the Fro- 
lic before a shot was fired, and her totally 
unmanageable state almost immediately after- 



wards, accounts for the little execution she did. 
Previous to the loss of her boom-main-sail, her 
fire was very far from being " ineffectual :" it 
m;is such as, could it have been continued, 
would have captured the Wasp, in a quarter of 
an hour more. Owing- to the Frolic's very light 
state, (she having scarcely any stores on board,) 
and her inability to carry sail, the heavy sea 
going, caused her motion to be much more quick 
and violent than that of the Wasp. Under such 
circumstances, it was difficult to point the guns 
with precision ; but, highly to the credit of her 
officers, the Frolic's men had been exercised. 

Mr. Biddle's family resides in Philadelphia, 
within a door or two of Mr. Clark's publisher; 
who therefore could do no less than insert his 
neighbour's account of the action. But, in 
justice to a gallant young man, it is but fair to 
state, that Lieutenant Hodgers, of the Wasp, 
was the first American officer on board the 

Neither Captain Jones nor Lieutenant Biddle 
mentions a word about the crippled state of the 
Frolic, previous to the engagement. That, 
among honorable men, it is customary, in offi- 
cial accounts, to do justice to an enemy, the 
Americans themselves ha\e had an instance, in 
Captain llillyar's letter, detailing the capture 
of the Kssex. He there particularly notices 
v< the very discouraging circumstance of her 


having lost her main-top-mast." (App. No. 71.) 
And Captain Tobin, of the Andromache, in his 
letter, detailing the capture of la Traave, mag- 
nanimously excuses her feeble resistance thus: — 
" Indeed, such was the disabled state of her 
masts previously to our meeting, that any fur- 
ther opposition would have been the extreme of 
rashness." (Nav. Chron. vol. xxx. p. 443.) 

The Frolic was much shattered in her hull ; 
and both her masts fell over the side, in a few 
minutes after she surrendered. She lost 15 men 
killed ; her first lieutenant and master, mor- 
tally, and her commander and second lieute- 
nant, severely, wounded; also 43 of her men 
wounded severely and slightly : some of whom 
died afterwards. Not above 20 men remained 
on the Frolic's deck, unhurt: the remainder 
were below, attending the wounded, and per- 
forming other duties there. The only officer 
not badly wounded was the purser. It was the 
musketry of the Americans that so augmented 
the loss, particularly among the wounded. The 
second lieutenant, Frederick B. Wintle, had two 
balls in him, besides being wounded by three 

The Wasp had a few shot in her hull, and 
one passed near the magazine ; yet, according 
to Mr. Clark, or Lieutenant Biddle rather, the 
Frolic fired too high. The Wasp's main-top- 
mast was shot away, and her three lower-masts 
l 2 


were wounded ; but, owing to the goodness of 
the sticks, they remained standing. Captain 
Jones say?, he had " five killed and five 
wounded ;" (App. No. 14 ;) but some time after 
the Wasp and Frolic had been taken possession 
of by the Poictiers 74, two men were found 
dead in the Wasp's mizen-top, and one in the 
main-top-mast-stay-sail netting. When ques- 
tioned as to their loss, the Americans gave diffe- 
rent accounts ; and it is not likely that Captain 
Jones could speak positively on the subject, 
considering that both his own vessel and his 
prize were taken from him, in less than two 
hours after the action terminated. 

It is fortunate, that Captain Jones and Lieu- 
tenant liiddle did not apprize each other, how 
tiny meant to arm the Frolic, in their letters 
home; as the essential difference in their state- 
ments made even Americans waver. The real 
force of the Frolic was sixteen carronades, 32- 
pounders, two long 6-pounders, and a l*2-pound 
boat-carronade, mounted upon the top-gallanl- 
forecastle ; total 19 guns. Her people had, 
somewhere in the M est Indies, weighed up, out 
of shoal water, a 12-pound carronade ; which, 
doling Ine action, remained lashed to the deck, 
under the, top-gallant forecastle. Captain Jones 
converted the Frolic's two 6s, and this dis- 
mounted carronade, into M four 12-pounders 
upon the main-deck," and the single carronade 


upon the top-gallant forecastle, into " two 12- 
pounders, carronades ;" making the Frolic's 
total force amount to " 22 guns." Lieutenant 
Biddle correctly enumerated the whole of the 
guns, but made " two long 9s" of the 6s ; and, 
what must have been a wilful mistake, repre- 
sented the mounted and dismounted 12-pound 
carronades, as "32-pound carronades," by giv- 
ing the Frolic 18, instead of 16, of the latter. 

The Frolic's complement, on going into ac- 
tion, consisted of 91 men, and 18 hoys ; (most of 
them very young;) together with one passenger, 
an invalided soldier ; total 110. Captain Jones 
knew his interest too well, to touch upon the 
Frolic's complement. Her men, as stated be- 
fore, had been for some years in a West India 
climate ; and upwards of 40 of them ought to 
have been invalided : none, in short, were in 
robust health. They, however, behaved ex- 
tremely well; and continued cheering during 
the whole of the action. One of them, when 
desired by Lieutenant Biddle to strike the Fro- 
lic's colours, then lashed to the main-rigging, 
very properly replied, — " As you have posses- 
sion of the brig, you may do it yourself." 

The Wasp mounted sixteen carronades, 32- 
pounders, and two brass long 12-pounders. She 
had also on board, two brass 4 or 6-pounders, 
which she usually carried in her tops; but which 
had been brought on deck in the gale of the 

150 NAVAL OCCURRENCES BETWEEN They were mounted on small carriages; 
but not, it is believed, used in the action. Al- 
though (a tain Jones could enumerate more 
guns'than were any where to be found in the 
Frolic, he takes care that his own number shall 
not include these 4 or 6-pounders, by stating, 
that the Frolic, with her " 22 guns/' was supe- 
rior to the Wasp by " four 12-pounders." 

The muster-book of the Wasp contained 148 
names j but only 130 prisoners were received by 
the agent at Bermuda. Captain Jones mentions 
the loss of two men, along with the jib-boom, 
on the 15th ; and "Mies' prize-list" mentions a 
re-captured brig, as sent into Boston by the 
Wasp. The date of the re-capture does not 
appear; but, it is probable, it occurred on the 
\\ asp's passage from France, whence she arrived 
in the Delaware some time in July. There 
could not have been more than eight men sent 
in the re-captured brig ; which men, we will 
suppose, had not joined their ship previous to 
her Bailing in October. Thus, fixing the num- 
ber killed at eight, we have 138 for the com- 
piemen! of the W asp on going into action. The 
pause of truth would have benefitted greatly, 
had the \ineri< an commanders taken halt as 
much pains to fix the complements of Bri- 
tish ships. NeNerwas a liner crew seen, than 
frmi on b6ard the \\ asp. She had four lieute- 
nants ; and, #hik the Frolic had only one mid- 


shipman, and he a boy, the Wasp had 12 or 13 
midshipmen, chiefly masters and mates of mer- 
chantmen: stout able men, each of whom could 
take charge of a ship. Their chief employment 
in the action, was as captains of the guns. 
Among the crew, was one lad of 18 ; the re- 
mainder were from 20 to 35 years of age : all 
stout, athletic fellows, in full health and vigor. 
A great proportion of them were Irishmen ; and 
several, deserters from British ships. 

It is now that the reader can appreciate Mr. 
Biddle's vivid description, of " the ardor and 
enthusiasm of the Wasp's crew" in boarding 
the Frolic ; whose originally debilitated crew 
had then become reduced in number to scarcely 
a third of the assailants, and were without an 
officer in a situation to head them. Captain 
Jones's statement, that " no loss was sustained 
on either side after boarding," was calculated 
to cast a slur upon the British. A view of the 
relative numbers at the boarding moment, is all 
that is required to dispel any such impression. 
If wounding an already wounded man is to be 
accounted a " loss," Captain Jones is incorrect 
in saying, " no loss was sustained on either 
side," for Mr. Riddle's friend, Jack Lang, on 
his mounting the Frolic's forecastle, actually 
lodged a musket-ball in Lieutenant Wintle's 
right thigh ; and this, while he was preventing 
one of the Frolic's men from tiring at Lieutenant 



Rodgers. Some one else of the boarding-party, 
at the same moment, fired at and wounded Cap- 
tain Whinyates ; who, like his brave second 
lieutenant, could scarcely keep the deck, from 
the severity of the wounds he had previously 

The Frolic was built in 1806; the Wasp in 
1801. The principal dimensions of the two 
vessels here follow : — 

Frolic, brig. 

Length on deck, from rabbit to rabbit, 100 
Breadth, extreme, 30 

Wasp, ship. 

Ft. In. 

105 10* 

SO 10 

The Wasp's scantling was as stout as a British 
28-gun frigate's ; especially at her top-sides. 
She was taken into the service; but, unfortu- 
nately, foundered at sea, as is supposed, in the 
spring of 1814. 

Comparative force of the two vessels. 


Broadside-metal in pounds, ] ' &" m > J 
r ' I carr. 20 

I'omplt mrnt, 
Si7t> in tons, 

j men, 
\ boys, 









— 1.19 


W ith Captain Jones' official letter before it, 
the American court of inquiry (App. No. 16) 
could not sav less than — " the brilliant and 


successful action with his Britannic M. S. 
Frolic, of superior force to the Wasp ; and even 
the most moderate American, while he may be 
brought to doubt the equality of force in some 
of the naval actions, will exultingly remind 
you that, " in the action of the Wasp and 
Frolic, 5 ' — using the words of Mr. Clark, — *f the 
superiority of force, certainly, was on the side of 
the British." 

Truly, there does appear to have been, in 
broadside-weight of metal, a " superiority" of — 
one forty -sixth part. — But have we not seen that, 
while the British brig went into action crippled 
by a gale, the American ship had her masts and 
yards all perfect; that, while the former began 
the attack with 92 men, and 18 boys, chiefly de- 
bilitated by sickness, the latter had 137 men, 
and one nominal boy, all lusty and healthful ? 
— Let, then, the reader form his own judgment 
of the comparative force of the Frolic and Wasp. 

However disagreeable to the Americans, it is 
but fair to mention, that, not many months pre- 
vious to the capture of the Frolic by the Wasp, 
the Alacrity, a sister-brig to the former, and 
mounting the same number and description of 
guns, but without having been crippled by a 
gale, was captured off Bastia, in the island of 
Corsica, after a close action of half an hour, by 
the French brig of war Abeille, of 20 guns ; as- 
serted by the French (and not denied by the 


British) account to have been 24-pound carron- 
ades: complement not mentioned. The Ala,- 
trit\ s loss is stated to have been 15 killed, and 
20 wounded; the Abeille's, 7 killed, and 12 
wounded. In the Naval Chron. vol. xxxi. p. 48@, 
will be found the sentence of* the court-martial 
upon the Alacrity's surviving officers and crew. 
They were all acquitted; as, it need hardly be 
added, were those of the Frolic, with deserved 
encomiums upon the bravery displayed in her 

H. M. S. Macedonian sailed from England on 
or about the 29th of September, with an India- 
man under convoy to a certain distance. Hav- 
ing parted with her, and while proceeding to 
the North American station, the Macedonian, 
on the 25th of October, fell in with the l T . S. 
ship Inited States, seven days from Boston; 
which port she had left along with the squadron 
under Commodore Rodgers. An action ensued; 
of which the British and American details are 
given in the official letters to be found in the 
Appendix. (Nos. 18. and 19.) 

In bearing down to attack the American ship, 
the whole of the Macedonian's canonades on the 
enga^iiiLC side, had their chocks, which, in this 
frigate, were fitted outside, cut away by the rak- 
ing lire of the I nihil States. Thus was disabled 
the nil i re upper-deck bat tery of the Macedonian, 
before she had well begun the action. Subse- 


quently, all the other carronades but two, were 
disabled by the same means. The " Sentence 
of the court- martial" does not fail to notice 
that, " previous to the commencement of the 
action, from an over-anxiety to keep the wea- 
ther-gage, an opportunity was lost of closing 
with the enemy; and that, owing to this cir- 
cumstance, the Macedonian was unable to bring 
the United States to close action, until she had 
received material damage;" but very justly ac- 
quits Captain Garden, his officers and crew, of 
" the most distant wish to keep back from the 

Commodore Decatur's assertion, that the Ma- 
cedonian was "at no time within the complete 
effect of his musketry and grape," is untrue: 
for, long before the action ended, Mr. O'Brien, 
the Macedonian's surgeon, extracted from the 
right arm- pit of a midshipman, an iron shot, 
weighing twelve ounces; which was either a 
canister or "grape," beyond dispute. Although, 
" for the first half-hour," the United States ' ' did 
not use her carronades," the disabled state of 
the Macedonian, before that half-hour had 
elapsed, proves that she was within fair range 
of the American 24s; and it is at long shot, 
chiefly, that the " obvious superiority of gun- 
nery" shews itself. At such a safe distance, 
the " steady conduct" of the United States' 


crew, might, as the commander says, well 
" equal the precision of their fire." 

Admitting that Captain Garden erred in the 
distance at which he chose to engage the United 
States, and the way in which he approached 
her,* the disabled masts, shattered hull, and 
slaughtered crew, of the Macedonian, afford 
ample proofs that she was not surrendered, till 
all hopes were at an end. Captain Carden states 
the action to have lasted " two hours and ten 
minutes;" Commodore Decatur, " an hour and 
a half." Captain Hull has taught us how to 
explain this. Commodore Decatur dated the 
commencement of the action from the time his 
opponent was within carronade-range : so that, 
by adding to his account, " the first half-hour," 
in which, as he says, he did not use his carron- 
nades, we have two hours as the duration of the 
action; only ten minutes short of the time 
stated by Captain Carden. 

The damages of the Macedonian are very 
fully detailed in the British official account. 
For rendering her sea-worthy, and for after- 
wards conducting her home in safety, much 
credit is due to the American officers and 
crew. It is singular, no doubt, that the two 
ships, during a six week's passage across a wide 

• See Clerk's " Essay on Naval Tactics," p. 24. 


extent of sea, should not have met one out of 
the many British cruizers a-fioat. 

The Macedonian lost in the action, 1 master's 
mate, the schoolmaster, boatswain, 31 petty- 
officers, seamen and marines, and 2 boys, killed; 
2 seamen mortally, 5 petty-officers and seamen 
dangerously, her first lieutenant, 1 midshipman, 
23 petty-officers, seamen and marines, and 4 
boys, severely; and her third lieutenant, 1 mas- 
ter's mate, and 30 petty-officers, seamen and 
marines, slightly wounded: total, killed 36; 
wounded 68. 

The two accounts differ greatly as to the da- 
mage sustained by the United States. While 
Captain Carden says: " The enemy has suffered 
much in masts, rigging, and hull, both above 
and below water;" Commodore Decatur says: 
" The damage sustained by this ship was not 
such as to render her return into port neces- 
sary." The manner in which the action was 
fought, and the Macedonian's disabled state at 
the early part of it, afford no reasonable ground 
for supposing, that the damages of the United 
States were very important. — One of the officers 
writes as follows: — " It is remarkable that, dur- 
ing an action of one hour and a half, and a fire 
which I believe was never equalled by any single 
deck, not an accident occurred, nor a rope-yarn 
of our gun-tackle strained. — All the guns on 
the quarter-deck and forecastle of the Mace- 


donian were dismounted, or rendered unser- 

The loss of the United States is stated by 
Commodore Decatur at no more than 5 killed, 
and 7 wounded. Among the latter is included, 
" Lieutenant Funk, who died four hours after 
the action." Mr. Clark, also, notices one of tire 
seamen as having been mortally wounded; which 
coincides with Captain Carden's statement, that 
a lieutenant and six men had been thrown over- 
board. According to the proportions between 
the killed and wounded, the American slightly 
wounded cannot have been enumerated; a cir- 
cumstance that receives confirmation from the 
fact, that the American officers, when questioned 
on the subject of their loss, told each a different 

The Macedonian's established armament was 
the same as the Guerriere's; but, owing to 
some alterations made at the instance of her 
commander, she also mounted 49 guns: twenty 
Bight long lK-pounders upon the main-deck, 
eighteen (instead of the customary sixteen) car- 
ronades, .TJ-poundcrs, a 12-pound launch-car- 
ronade, and two French brass 9-pounders, upon 
the quarter-deck and forecastle. The launch- 
carronade, being usually mounted upon an ele- 
rsting carriage to lire over all, becomes part of 
the broadside-force. 

So long as an enemy lias a right to enumerate 


the guns of his adversary as a part of her force, 
it becomes of national importance that com- 
manders should be restrained from mounting on 
board their ships, any more guns than the 
establishment allows ; without, at least, furnish- 
ing and maintaining, at their own expense, the 
requisite number of additional hands. 

The Macedonian victualled, on the morn- 
ing of the action, 300 souls ; consisting of 
270 men, 22 boys, and a band of eight fo- 
reigners, then lately received out of the prison- 
ship at Lisbon. The latter refused to fight; 
and were therefore jjut in the hold during the 
action. Of course, they will be excluded from 
the estimate. No complement is given to the 
Macedonian, in Commodore Decatur's letter. 

The band, as may be supposed, instantly de- 
serted to the enemy: whcse triumph now be- 
came a fit subject for the display of their mu- 
sical talents. Some of the Macedonian's fo- 
reigners, not of the band, also entered the 
American service. Nor is it surprising, that 
many of the British deserted ; considering what 
powerful inducements were held out to them. 
They were given sums of money; promised 
grants of land; and kept continually drunk, 
until carried into the country, bejond the con- 
troul of their officers. The law of honor is 
binding between nations, as well as individuals; 
and, surely, there cannot be a grosser infraction 


of it, than insidious attempts to withdraw from 
their allegiance the subjects of an honorable 

The United States mounted thirty long 24- 
pounders, described as English ship-guns, upon 
the main-deck ; sixteen carronades, 42-pound- 
ers, upon the quarter-deck; a 12 or 18-pound 
carronade at her gangway-port on either side ; 
(see plate 2. fig. 2, a.) six carronades, 42-pound- 
ers, and two long 24-pounders, upon the fore- 
castle; making, with three howitzers, 6-pound- 
ers, one in each top, 58 guns. It is probable, 
owing to the commodore's complaint, that he 
could not reach the iMacedonian with his car- 
ronades, that one of the forecastle 24s, instead 
of the shifting carronade, was fought through 
the gangway-port, and the latter placed upon 
an elevating carriage, so as to fire over all, in 
the usual manner; thus presenting a broadside 
of 32 guns. The force of the United States 
has been so estimated at a preceding page; 
(p. 129;) but, as the British officers, when 
brought on board, found both the 24s stationed 
upon the forecastle, (a reference to the plate, 
will shew the facility of transporting them from 
MM tud of the deck to the oilier,) the number 
of broadsuh i.guns will, in the present instance, 
not be eucrcast-d beyond 31. 

The top-guns, being considered as a masked or 
concealed battery, and the shifting carronade as 


a " boat-gun," are necessarily excluded front 
the American accounts. With those excep- 
tions, a New York paper of May, 1813, men- 
tions the recent reduction of the frigate United 
States' armament " from 54, to 48 guns:" which 
confirms Captain Carden's statement, as to the 
number of his opponent's guns; and as to their 
caliber, the correspondence, and other proceed- 
ings, relative to the New-London challenge, have 
since placed that beyond a doubt. 

The complement of the United States was, as 
admitted by her officers, 478. Only four boys 
were seen in the ship ; and the Macedonian's 
officers, it will be recollected, were upwards of 
six weeks on board. 

The crew consisted of picked seamen, all 
young and vigorous. A great proportion were 
known to be British sailors: which accounted 
for many of the guns being named after British 
ships, and some of our celebrated naval victories. 
The Macedonian's men recognized several old 
shipmates; and an officer's servant, a young lad 
from London, named William Hearne, actually 
found among the hostile crew — his own brother! 
— This hardened traitor, after reviling the 
British, and applauding the American, service, 
used the influence of seniority, in trying to per- 
suade his brother to enter the latter. The ho- 
norable youth, with tears in his eyes, replied :— 



" It' you are a d — d rascal, that's no reason I 
should be one." 

The Macedonian was built at Woolwich in 
1810. Her full dimensions have appeared al- 
ready. The United States was built at Phila- 
delphia; and launched on the 10th of May, 
1797. She cost -299,33b dollars, or 67,3,50/. 14s. Id. 
sterling. Her dimensions are similar to those 
of the President and Constitution; although her 
model may be somewhat different. 

Two statements of the comparative size of 
the Macedonian and United States, have ap- 
peared in the American prints. Both make 
the Macedonian's "length on deck, 166 feet;" 
that of the United States " 176 feet." One 
statement makes the Macedonian's "breadth of 
beam 42 feet 8 inches;" and that of the United 
States " 4*2 feet:" the other statement makes 
the " Macedonian's " breadth of beam 48 feet 
8 inches, tonnage 132.);* that of the United 
States "48 feet, tonnage 1405." Admitting 
the "48" to be a typographical error, there are 
few Americans who will not still insist, that the 
two ships do not differ in length by more than 
10 feet ; and that their extreme breadth is about 
the same. One could almost imagine, that the 
Macedonian had suddenly acquired thestrctc/iinn: 
qualities of her new masters. 

* The Macedonian's trnc American tonnage is J031. 


If, dining- her stay at New York, that was the 
case, she had, when subsequently seen at New- 
London, shrunk to her original size. In Octo- 
ber, 1813, the Macedonian, United States, and 
Hornet, each painted black, were, by an Eng- 
lisman, seen at anchor about live miles above 
New London. Owing to the three ships lying 
close together, and their being painted alike, 
a spectator, standing on the banks of the ri- 
ver, was enabled to form a tolerable idea of 
their relative size. It required, truly, no very 
steady gaze to discover, which was the late 
British, which the American frigate. Upon 
the same person afterwards seeing H. M. ships 
Nymph and Newcastle, also painted alike, an- 
chored, head and stern, in Halifax harbour, 
he was forcibly struck with the same appearance 
of disparity, in hull, spars, and rigging. 

How are we to understand Commodore De- 
catur, when he says: " She (the Macedonian) 
is a frigate of the largest class"? — Suppose the 
Newcastle, a frigate about the same size as 
the United States, had captured the Congress, a 
frigate about 50 tons larger than the Macedo- 
nian. Would Lord Stuart, in his official letter, 
have said : — " She (the Congress) is a frigate of 
the largest class"? — Perhaps Commodore Deca- 
tur had some scruples about considering his ship 
as a frigate; and meant only to compare the 
Macedonian with some of the old British 38-gun, 
M 2 


class; such as the Arethusa, Sea-horse, and se- 
veral others. He certainly has not, in any part 
of his letter, styled the United States a " fri- 
gate"; as Captains Hull, Bainbridge, and Stew- 
art, in all their's, have not failed to style the 

As a proof how much the Americans, in ex- 
pressing their opinions, are governed by circum- 
stances, Commodore Chauncey, in a conversa- 
tion respecting the capture of the President, 
held with some British naval officers, since the 
peace, declared, that he would much rather 
light a battle in the frigate United States, be- 
cause her sides were stouter than the President's, 
and she would, he thought, stand a longer 
battering. Captain Carden therefore deserves 
credit for his moderation, when speaking of his 
opponent's scantling ; and the attempts of the 
Americans to equalize the two ships, in size, can 
now be better understood. 

Cunijnnut'wi force of the two ships. 


Ikoadsulcnctal in, \ l ***' * 
1 t can. MX) 


Size in tons, 1081 

U. States. 




— 478 

Here, another case of " very nearly equal 


force," turns out to be a superiority on the 
American side, of full one third. — Nay, a spe- 
cial committee determined, that the Macedo- 
nian was quite equal to the United States ; and, 
an act of congress of the 28th of June, 1798, 
having provided that, — " if a vessel of superior, 
or equal force, shall be captured by a public- 
armed vessel of the United States, the forfeiture 
shall accrue wholly to the captors," — the amount 
of the Macedonian's valuation, 200,000 dollars, 
was paid over to Commodore Decatur, his offi- 
cers, and crew. 

The disparity in execution was, in this ac- 
tion, about the same as in the Guerriere's. 
Where ships are equal in force and gunnery, an 
accidental shot may disable one ship ; so that 
she cannot manoeuvre, nor bring more than a 
{ew guns to bear; while her fortunate adver- 
sary plays round her; sweeping her decks at 
every broadside. The relative execution, after 
that period, depends not more on the prowess of 
one party, than on the fortitude of the other. 
Should the disabled ship have been, from the 
first, instead of equally matched, the weaker of 
the two, her loss, both previous, and subsequent, 
to her disability, will be proportionably greater. 
If, not in force only, but in gunnery and equip- 
ment for war, she is decidedly inferior, is it ex- 
traordinary that, after a two hour's contest, the 
disparity in execution should be as great, as it 


certainly Mas, in both this and the preceding 

The Americans have admitted, that "all the 
guns on the quarter-deck and forecastle of the 
Macedonian, were dismounted," while " not an 
accident occurred" on board the United States. 
This forms the prominent feature of this action; 
and is of itself sufficient to account for the 
inequality of loss. 

The " Naval Monument," upon the authority 
of one of the officers of the frigate United 
States, says of the Macedonian, — " She is just 
such a ship as the English have achieved all 
their single-ship victories in. It was in such a 
ship that Sir Robert Barlow took the Africaine, 
that Sir Michael Seymour took the Brune, and 
afterwards the Niemen, that Captain Milne 
took the Vengeance, Captain Cooke the la Forte, 
Captain Lavie the Guerriere, Captain Rowley 
tin- Venus; and Cod knows how many others. 
She is in tonnage, men, and guns, just such a 
ship as the English prefer to all others; and 
have, till the Gueiriere\s loss, always thought a 
match for any single-decked ship afloat," (Nav. 
Moil. p. 24.) 

The fact is, none of the ships here named, 
carried 24-pntmdcr.s upon the main-deck; nor, 
except the lirune, Forte, and Guerriere, mounted 
more than 44 guns. If we deduct the "troops 
and artificers" from TAtVicaine, and the " las* 


cars" from la Forte, none of the ships had a 
greater complement than 320. In point of size, 
none, except la Vengeance (see p. 65} and la 
Venus, exceeded the Chesapeake; and that by a 
trifle only. 

Had not the Americans, (and they were' the 
only nation,) in dread of "just such a ship, in 
tonnage, men, and guns," as the Macedo- 
nian, constructed a class of ships, which they 
called frigates, each, by their own account, " su- 
perior to any European frigate of the usual di- 
mensions," — " just such a ship" as the Macedo- 
nian would still be " a match for any single- 
decked ship afloat." — Let the Americans, for 
the future, send to sea, frigates no larger and 
heavier than the strongest we ever, " in single- 
ship victories," took from the French, or from 
any other power; and we pledge ourselves, in 
case of war, to serve those frigates, twice out of 
three times, as we did the Africaine, Brune, 
Niemen, Vengeance, Forte, Guerriere, Venus, 
and " God knows how many others," not for- 
getting the U. S. frigate Chesapeake. 




Java commissi one fl, and fitted for an East India 
Voyage — Departs from Spithcad — Captures an 
American merchant-man — Falls in with the Coil" 
stitution and Hornet — Chases and engages the 
former — Full details of the action — American 
dismantling shot — Java's damages and loss — 
Final destruction — Constitution's damages and 
loss — Force of the Java in guns, men, and size 
— Recapture of the Java's prize by the Hornet — 
American subterfuge exposed — Force of the Con- 
stitution in <j;uns, men, anel size — Dimensions of 
the two ships — Steitemcnt of comparative force 
— Remarks thereon — Amelia and I'Arethuse 
French frigate. 

ABOUT the middle of August, the French 
pri£to->frig&te, la Renommee, lying in Ports- 
month harbour, was commissioned as H. M. S. 
.lava; and Hie command of her given to Captain 
Henry Lambert, a distinguished officer. The 
.lava was lilted for the Fast Indies; and sailed 
from Spiihead for that destination on the 12th 
of November; Inning on board a great quan- 
tity of naval stores, together with the following 
pMtengers: Lieutenant-general Ilyslop, as go- 
vernor of Bombay, two military officers of his 


staff, seven persons (including servants) in civil 
situations; also one master and commander, 
two lieutenants, one marine-officer, four mid- 
shipmen, one clergyman, one assistant surgeon, 
and 76 petty-officers and seamen, chiefly marine- 
society boys, for ships on the East India sta- 
tion. Two outward-bound Indiamen took ad- 
vantage of her convoy. 

On the 12th of December, the Java cap- 
tured the American ship William ; and a mas- 
ter's mate and 19 men were placed on board, 
with directions to keep company. On the 24th, 
being in want of water, Captain Lambert stood 
in for St. Salvador; and the two Indiamen, ra- 
ther than go so far out of their way, proceeded 
alone on their passage. 

On the 29th of December, when about ten 
leagues from the Brazil-coast, the Java, having 
her prize in tow, fell in with the U. S. ships 
Constitution, Commodore Bainbridge, and Hor- 
net, Captain Lawrence; the latter having just 
left St. Salvador in search of the Constitution, 
which was away in the offing. Having cast off 
the prize, and ordered her to proceed to St. Sal- 
vador, the Java went in chase of the large ship 
to-leeward. The details of the action cannot be 
so well given, as in the very words of the Java's 
late first-lieutenant, when addressing the court- 
martial upon his trial for her loss. Lieutenant 
Chads' journal, was verified on oath by every 


witness examined upon the occasion. He pro- 
ceeds, as follows : 

" My public letter is before this honorable* 
court; (App. No. 22. ;) but, being written im- 
mediately after the action, and on board the 
enemy, it does not, nor indeed could the com- 
pass of a letter, contain the whole detail of so 
long an action ; and which detail, therefore, I 
now submit to this honorable court. 

" At 8 A. M. close in with the land, with 
wind at N. E. discovered a sail to the S. S. W . 
and another oft' the entrance of St. Salvador, 
cast otf the prize in tow, and made all sail in 
chase of the vessel to leeward. At 10 made the 
private signal, which was not answered. At 11 
hauled up, bringing the wind on our larboard 
quarter, took in all studding-sails, prepared for 
action, the stranger standing towards us under 
easy sail, and apparently a large frigate. At a 
little after noon, when about four miles distant, 
slu made a signal, which was kept Hying about 
ten minutes, when she tacked, and made sail 
from us, under all plain sail, running just good 
full; hauled up the same as the chase, but the 
breeze freshening, could not carry our royals; 
\\< were going at least ten knots, and gaining 
w\\ fast on the chase. At 1. 30. she hoisted 
American colours. At 1. ;30. having closed with 
tin enenn to about two miles, he shortened sail 
to Ins top-gallant sails, jib, and spanker, and 


luffed up to the wind; hoisted our colours, and 
put ourselves under the same sail, and bore 
down on him, he being at this time about three 
points on our lee-bow. At 2. 10. when half a 
mile distant, he opened his fire from the lar- 
board-side, and gave us about two broadsides 
before we returned it, which was not done till 
within pistol-shot, on his weather-bow, with 
our starboard guns. On the smoke clearing 
away, found him under all sail before the wind ; 
made sail after him. At 2. 25. engaged him 
with our larboard guns, received his starboard ; 
at 2.35. wore, and raked him close under his 
stern, giving him the weather-gage, which he 
did not take advantage of, but made sail free 
on the larboard tack; luffed up, and gave him, 
our starboard guns, raking, but rather distant ; 
made sail after him. At 2. 40. enemy shortened 
sail; did the same, and engaged him close to- 
windward. At 2. 50. he wore in the smoke, 
and was not perceived till nearly round, having 
just lost the head of our bowsprit, jib-boom, 
&c; hove in stays, in the hopes of getting 
round quick and preventing our being raked, 
but the ship hung a long time, and we received 
a heavy raking broadside into our stern at about 
two cables' length distant ; gave him our lar- 
board guns on falling off; the enemy wore im- 
mediately ; did the same. 

" At 2. 55. brought him to close action within 


pistol-shot, (at this time the master was wounded, 
and carried below,) till 3. 5. ; when, finding the 
day evidently gone, from all our rigging being 
cut to pieces, with our fore and main-masts 
badly wounded, Captain Lambert determined 
on boarding, as our only hope ; bore up, and 
should have succeeded in laying him a-breast 
of his main-chains, but from the unfortunate 
fall of our foremast, the remains of our bow- 
sprit passing over his stern, and catching his 
mizen-rigging, which was a great misfortune, 
as it brought us up to the wind, and prevented 
our raking him. Whilst under the enemy's 
stern, attempting to board, there was not a soul 
to be seen on his decks ; from which circum- 
stance, I am induced to believe there was a good 
prospect of success. This mancpuvre failing, 
we were left at the mercy of the enemy ; which 
he availed himself of, wearing across our bows, 
raking us, when our main-top-mast went, and 
wearing again, at 3. 2. under our stern. At 
3. 30. our gallant captain was mortally wounded, 
and carried below. From this time, till our 
luizeu-mnst went, at 4. 15. he laid on our star- 
board-quartfcr, pouring in a tremendous galling 
fin- ; whilst, on our side, we could never get 
more than two or three guns to bear, and fre- 
quently none at all. After this we fell oil", and 
the enemy shot a-head, which again gave us the 
chance of rnu'wing the action, which was done 


with good spirits, broadside and broadside, Java 
very frequently on fire from firing through the 
wreck, which lay on the side engaged, till 4. 35. 
when the Constitution made sail, and got out 
of gun-shot, leaving us a perfect wreck, with 
our main-mast only standing, and main-yard 
gone in the slings ; cleared the wreck, and en- 
deavoured to get before the wind, by setting a 
sail from the stump of the fore-mast and bow- 
sprit ; got the main- tack forward, the weather 
yard-arm remaining aloft ; cleared away the 
booms, and got a top- gallant-mast out, and 
commenced rigging it for a jury fore-mast, and 
a lower-steering-sail as a fore-sail ; but, before 
we could get this accomplished, we were obliged 
to cut away the main-mast, to prevent its fall- 
ing in-board, from the heavy rolling of the ship. 
The enemy bore up to renew the action ; made 
every preparation to receive him ; re-loaded the 
guns with round and grape ; mustered at quar- 
ters, and found 110 men missing, six quarter- 
deck guns, four forecastle, disabled, and many 
of the main-deckers, with the wreck lying over 
them, the hull knocked to pieces ; and the fore- 
mast, in falling, had passed through the fore- 
castle and main-decks ; all our masts and bow- 
sprit gone, the ship making water, with one 
pump shot away, consulted now with lieute- 
nants Nerringham and Buchanan, when it was 
determined to engage him again, should he give 


us an opportunity of so doing with a probabi- 
lity of disabling him, which was now our sole 
object ; but that it would be wasting lives re- 
sisting longer, should he resume a raking posi- 
tion, which unfortunately was the case; and 
when close to us, and getting his broadside to 
bear, I struck, and hailed him, to say we had 
done so, at 5. 50. At 6, she took possession 
of us, and proved to be the American frigate 
Constitution. The next day I found our loss 
Was 22 killed, and 102 wounded: two of whom 
are since dead. The Americans allowed they 
had 10 killed ; but differed very much about 
their wounded, which 1 found to be 44 severely, 
and four mortally ; the slight wounds I could 
not ascertain. 

" Having in the detail stated the number of 
killed and wounded on both sides, and as my 
account differs from the one in the public pa- 
pers, and said to be the official report of Com- 
modore Bainbridge, 1 beg leave to state to the 
court the manner in which 1 obtained this know- 
ledge. Being, of course, anxious to discover 
l lie loss sustained by the enemy, 1 directed 
Mr. (apponi, assistant-surgeon, to lend his as- 
sistance in dressing their wounded ; this he did. 
and reported to me the statement I have made. 
It having also been stated in the papers, that 
the Constitution was in a short time in a condi- 
tion to commence a second action, I must beg 


to observe, that I do not think such a statement 
could have been authorised by Commodore 
Bainbridge, for her rigging was much cut, and 
her masts severely wounded; so much so, as to 
oblige her to return to America, which she cer- 
tainly otherwise would not have done, for she 
was waiting only to be joined by the Essex on 
the coast of Brazil, when the further destination 
of this squadron, I was given to understand, 
was India. 

fl I will trouble the court with but one more 
remark. When the prisoners were removed from 
the Java, she was set fire to, although but 12 
leagues distant from St. Salvador, with mode- 
rate weather ; the cause of which was, her shat- 
tered state, and not from any fear of taking her 
to a neutral port, as stated in Commodore Bain- 
bridge's letter ; for he repaired to the same port 
with his own ship, carrying in a valuable prize, 
the Eleanor schooner, from London." 

Plate 1, displays a variety of the American 
" round and grape." (App. No. 25.) We all re- 
collect what imprecations were hurled against us 
by the American journalists, when they received 
an account, that " combustible materials had. 
been thrown from the Shannon upon the Chesa- 
peake's decks." Upon that occasion, a celebrated 
paper, the ik United States Gazette," used the fol- 
lowing language : — "Against such modes of as- 
sault, no skill, no courage, no foresight, can be 


found to avail ; and it is no more dishonor thus to 
be overpowered, than it is to be beaten down by 
a thunderbolt. We speak n ith entire conridenee 
and certainty on this point, that, if the Bonne 
Citoyenne had accepted the challenge of Cap- 
tain Lawrence, and he had obtained a victory 
by the use of such means, we should have sick- 
ened at the sight of his laurels." — And yet, at 
the very time of uttering this rhapsody, the 
Americans, by the aid of their star, chain, and 
bar shot, had crippled, and captured, three Bri- 
tish frigates, and two sloops of war ; — nay, the 
very ship whose capture they were thus trying 
to excuse, had on board, and actually used, the 
very shot represented in the plate. — Confronting 
a man with his own words, is an admirable me- 
thod ; for, if he is not past blushing, it shames, 
as well as convicts him. 

When ships engage at a short distance, less 
depends on the precision, than on the rapidity 
of tiring ; therefore, the ship, whose men are 
practised in gunnery, finds it to her interest to 
keep at long shot. ^ et, as continually yawing 
away in the smoke, ami avoiding close action, 
in the stronger ship especially, does not look 
well on paper, the commodore did right to com- 
plain of kt the enemy keeping at a much greater 
distance than be wished." — So far, however, 
iroin thalha\ing been I In- ease, all the witnesses 
examined at the court-martial concur in stating, 


that the Constitution avoided close action, till 
the Java was disabled : then she approached ; 
and, by successive raking fires, and the riflemen 
in her tops, committed nearly all the slaughter 
that occurred. (App. No. 22. and 26.) 

If any could have saved the Java, it was 
boarding ; and that was frustrated by the bow- 
sprit getting foul of the enemy's mizen rigging; 
and by the immediate fall of the fore-mast. The 
men were ready : so was the heroic boatswain, 
with his one arm mutilated, the other bearing 
his pipe, to cheer up his gallant comrades, that 
they might ''make a clean spring" upon the 
enemy's decks. 

In the falling of the Java's fore-mast upon 
the main-deck, and disabling the guns there, 
we see, at once, the advantage possessed by a 
ship having a sufficient space along the gang- 
way, to cover the men stationed at the main- 
deck guns, over a ship having a waist, or large 
open space, extending nearly from side to side. 
(See PI. 2.) 

Both the British and American accounts agree, 
exactly, as to the time when the action com- 
menced ; but Commodore Bainbridge fixes its 
termination at the moment when the Constitu- 
tion hauled out of gun-shot to repair damages : 
who else would not have fixed it, at the striking 
of the Java's colours ? — The whole continuance 
of the action was three hours and 40 minutes. 


The damage done to the Java has been fully 
detailed in Lieutenant Chads' address to the 
court. Her loss in (he action, amounting to 22 
killed ; 2 mortally, 5 dangerously, 52 severely, 
and 4.3 slightly, wounded, appears at the end of 
the official letter. (App. No. 22.) 

Captain Lambert fell by a rifle-ball fired from 
the Constitution's main-top. The bullet en- 
tered his left side, and lodged in the spine. He 
languished till the night of the 4th of January ; 
and, on the next day, was buried at St. Salva- 
dor, with military honors. A midshipman, 
named Edward Keele, only 16 years of age, who 
was badly wounded, and had his leg amputated, 
enquired, soon after the action was over, if the 
ship had struck ; and, seeing a ship's colour 
spread over him, grew uneasy, until he was con- 
vinced it was an English Hag. This gallant youth 
died on the following day. The circumstance 
of the boatswain, with a tournaquct on his arm, 
(which he knew must be amputated, as soon as 
the surgeon was ready,) returning to his quar- 
ters, as if nothing had happened, is a strong 
trait of heroism and devotion. 

Commodore Hainhridgc, in his letter, says:-— 
11 The enemy had (JO killed, and 101 wounded, 
certainly; but, by the enclosed letter, written 
on board this ship, (by one of the officers of the 
Java,) ami accidentally found, it is evident that 
thv enemy's wounded must have been much 


greater tlian as above stated, and who must have 
died of their wounds previously to their being 
removed. The letter states 60 killed, and 170 

The surviving officers of the Java consider 
this letter, as the forgery of some one belonging 
to the Constitution. Let us submit its merits 
to the test of probability. It bears date on 
board the Constitution ; and therefore was writ- 
ten after the prisoners had been removed. Is it 
likely, then, that the writer would have included 
among the « wounded," the men who had 

*' died previously to their being removed"' ? 

would he not have included those among the 
" killed" ?— Commodore Bainbridge's number 
of the Java's wounded, agrees exactly with the 
British return of wounded, signed by the Java's 
surviving commanding-officer, and surgeon; 
why not then have relied upon the veracity of 
those officers, as to the number killed ? Were 
there no persons among the Java's crew, not 
even those that entered on board the Constitu- 
tion, to whom the commodore could refer as 
corroborating this extraordinary letter ?— Ad- 
mitting, for a moment, a British return of loss 
in action to be a fictitious instrument, it would, 
surely, in a case where it was necessary to shew 
that the ship had been defended to the last ex- 
tremity, be an over, not an underestimate. But 
a British return of killed and wounded, cannot 
N 2 


be otherwise than correct ; the wounded, and 
the widows of the killed, having no other evi- 
dence to appeal to, in support of their title 
to relief. 

Commodore Bainbridge's letter contains not 
one word about any damage sustained by the 
Constitution ; not even that the sails and rig- 
ging were cut ; as usually inserted, if only to 
jeer us for bad firing. There can be no doubt 
that the American government has suppressed 
the entire paragraph relating to the Constitu- 
tion's injuries by the Java's shot: and that, 
perhaps, because the commodore was obliged 
to assign those injuries as an excuse (and, of 
course, he would describe them all) for break- 
ing up his intended cruize to the South Seas; 
which, at that time, it was not expedient to 
make public. All the glory reaped from the 
Java's capture, was, in the opinion of the Con- 
sul ution's officers, a poor compensation for the 
rich harvest they had long been anticipating 
from their intended cruize. Reluctantly, they 
<|intted St. Salvador, on the 6th of January, 
upon their ret urn to Boston ; where, immediately 
upon her arrival, the Constitution underwent 
a thorough repair. Then the citizens, and se- 
veral I'.ngli.shinen also, saw clearly what she had 
mlli -red in the Ja\a\s action. Lieutenant Chads 
mentions the damage done to her spars and rig- 
ging; and, in direct proof of the advantage of 

&reat Britain and America. 181 

stout masts, the Java's 18-pound shot had passed 
through two of the Constitution's lower-masts ; 
yet they were deemed sufficiently secure, with- 
out being fished. 

Commodore Bainbridge states the loss of the 
Constitution to have been " 9 killed, and 25 
wounded." That this is incorrect, appears as 
well from what Lieutenant Chads has stated, as 
from the following extract of a letter from Mr. 
Thomas Cooke Jones^ late surgeon of the Java : — 

il The Americans seemed very desirous not to 
allow any of our officers to witness the nature 
of their wounded, or compute their number. 1 
ordered one of my assistants, Mr. Capponi, to 
attend when their assistant went round ; and he 
enumerated 46, who were unable to stir from 
their cots, independent of the men who had re- 
ceived, what they called, "slight hurts." Com- 
modore Bainbridge was severely wounded in 
the right thigh ; and four of their amputations 
perished under my own inspection. I have no- 
ticed these facts, that your readers may be con- 
vinced of the falsity of their official dispatches ; 
and to authorise their being received with some 
degree of scepticism." (Naval Chron. vol. xxix. 
p. 415.) 

The American newspapers informed us that 
Lieutenant Aylwin, of the Constitution, died of 
his wounds on the 28th of January; and it was 
reported in Philadelphia, that two or three of 


the men had also died in the passage home. It 
cannot escape the reader, that it is as much the 
interest of the Americans, in actions in which 
they have been successful, to under-rate their 
own, as to over- rate the British loss. This it 
was that suggested to Mr. Clark the propriety 
of shewing, in appropriate columns, the u com- 
parative loss in killed and wounded." Thus 
we have, in the Java's action : — " American 
loss, .34,"—" British loss, 171 ;"-— when, if truth 
had been consulted, we should have had, (ex- 
cluding the British " slightly wounded," be- 
cause the Americans, with " slight hurts," 
cannot be enumerated,) — " American loss, 55 ;" 
— " British loss, 81 ;" a proportion about equal, 
as will be presently seen, to the comparative 
force of the two vessels. But the Java's second 
lieutenant says, that the greatest loss was sus- 
tained, " not in the early part of the action," 
but " after the ship became unmanageable, and 
the Constitution took a raking position ;" (App. 
No. 26;) and the "Journal" admits, that the 
Constitution's wheel " was shot entirely away," 
within 20 minutes from the commencement of 
the action ; when, also, as appears by the evi- 
dence of Lieutenant Saunders, four out of the 
nine Men were killed. It is clear, therefore, 
that, had I he Java not been so soon, and so com- 
pletely disabled, there would have been a much 
less disparity in point of execution, than, under 


all the Java's disadvantages, did really exist 
between the two ships : and, when it is known 
that the men, owing to their awkwardness, 
inexperience, or some other cause, allowed 
two or three raking opportunities to pass, with- 
out firing more than half a dozen shot at the 
Constitution, the only surprise will be, that there 
was not a still greater disparity in the slaughter 
on board the two ships. 

When the Java was fitted, she received on 
board, twenty-eight long 18-pounders upon the 
main-deck; sixteen carronades, 32-pounders, 
one launch-carronade, 18-pounder, and two 
long 9-pounders, upon the quarter-deck and 
forecastle ; total, 47 guns. Not another gun of 
any description had the Java, when captured ; 
and the launch-carronade, owing to some acci- 
dent, was not even used. For that reason, pro- 
bably, it was omitted in the statement of force, 
subjoined to Lieutenant Chads 5 letter. Deter- 
mined not to be out-done by Captain Hull, 
Commodore Bainbridge made hjs prize-frigate 
of u 49 guns" also; and the editors of the " Naval 
History," " Naval Monument," and " Sketches 
of the War," have not scrupled to particularize 
those " 49 guns." The two first agree in adding 
two to the sixteen 32-pound carronades, and in 
substituting " one shifting gun, a 24-pounder," 
for the launch-carronade ; but the two 9s, Mr. 
Clark (see p. 118) makes " two 18-pounders," 


Mr. Bowen "two large 12s." So little, however 
is consistency studied by American historians, 
that Mr. Clark, in another page of his work, says, 
— " Java, guns mounted, 48." — But the most ex- 
traordinary statement of the Java's force, ap- 
pears in the " Sketches of the War." — " The 
Java carried twenty eight 24-pounders on her 
gun-deck." — And this, too, in a third edition ! — 
Was there no American honest enough to set the 
editor right? 

The Java's complement, on leaving Spithead, 
was 277 officers, seamen and marines, and 23 
boys ; making, witli the 97 passengers, a total 
of 397. The mate and 19 men, placed on board 
the William, reduced this number to 377 ; which 
agrees exactly with Lieutenant Chads' account 
of " ship's company and supernumeraries" pre- 
sent in the action. 

The whole number of prisoners received out 
of the Java amounted to 356; subsequently re- 
duced, by the death of the captain, one mid- 
shipman, Keele, (who, having died previous to 
the date of the surgeon's return, was included 
among the " killed,") and one able seaman, to 
353. Y< I Commodore Uainbridge, after having 
•' liberated and given up to the governor of St. 
Salvador, nine Portuguese seamen," and allowed 
•to land, without any restraint, three passen- 
gers, private characters," actually paroled "38 
officers, and 323 petty-officers, seamen, marines. 


and boys ;" total 361, instead of 341, the num- 
ber of prisoners left, after deducting the 12 not 
paroled. How is this ? 

Commodore Bainbridge, apparently, was here 
guilty of as gross a fraud as any to be found upon 
the records of the admiralty-courts, wherein his 
countrymen, during a ]ongre\gnof neutrality, had 
so often shocked honest men by their hardihood. 
The only difference is, that the national officer 
expects as much to be implied from his honor, 
as the merchant-captain or supercargo did from 
his oath. 

Now for the fact. The William prize-ship 
was re-captured by the Hornet, on the afternoon 
of the action ; arrived at St. Salvador on the 
same day that the Java did ; and the prize-crew 
were landed from the Hornet, at the same time 
that the prisoners out of the Java were landed 
from the Constitution. The reader sees, then, 
how it was. The Java's mate and 19 men were 
added to the above-mentioned 341 ; and the 
knowing commodore paroled, as he said, 361 of 
the Java's crew. Not a word is there, in his 
letter, of any prisoners arriving from the Hornet, 
.or of the Java's prize having been re-captured 
at all; although the William, at the date of the 
commodore's letter, was lying at anchor in St. 
Salvador, in company with the Constitution and 
Hornet. Aware that Captain Lawrence, in his 
official letter announcing the capture of the 


Peacock, would mention the re-capture of an 
American ship of 600 tons, and therefore expose 
the trick, it was contrived that his letter should 
comprise, only what occurred subsequently to 
the 6th of January, the day on which, as stated 
before, the Constitution left St. Salvador for the 
I "nited States. (App. No. 29.) So that, after 
the commodore had, by his " 60 killed," his 
361 paroled, and 12 not paroled, proved that the 
Java had 433 men, his forbearing to state, in the 
official letter, that she had more than " upwards 
of 400." added to his scrupulous exception of 
the " three passengers, private characters," es- 
tablished, beyond power of contradiction, the 
modesty of the American officer ! 

But, in truth, who were these " three passen- 
gers, private characters," so generously ex- 
empted from parole ? — No other, it would ap- 
pear, than three of the Java's seamen, who had 
been fools enough to enter the American ser- 
vice. To have deducted them from the amount 
of prisoners received, would be making the 
Java's complement appear three men short of 
what it could, otherwise, be proved to have been. 
To have confessed the fact, would never do. 
Therefore, all the Java's passengers, naval, mi- 
litary, and civil, were paroled as " officers, 
petty-officers, seamen, marines and boys," and 
the hiatus made by the three traitors, was cle- 
verly HI led up three nominal " passengers, pri- 


vate-characters, whom the commodore" (ge- 
nerous man !) C( did not consider prisoners of 
war, and permitted to land without any re- 
straint ;" and of whom, of course, no further 
account was taken. 

Without searching the Java's crew for Danes, 
Swedes, Italians, Spaniards, or any other fo- 
reigners ; or even regarding the %\ nine Portu- 
guese seamen" so politically " given up to the 
governor at St. Salvador," it is still fair not to 
include, as part of the Java's complement on 
going into action, the seven passengers in civil 
situations. That will reduce the number to 
370 ; comprising 280 of her proper crew, the 
three military officers, and all the supernume- 
rary naval officers and seamen on board. 

To shew that the estimate is correct, the fol- 
lowing recapitulation may be necessary : — 

Java's proper crew, including boys, 300 

Deduct men sent on board prize, 20 


Add passengers of every description, 97 

Total number on board, during action, 377 

Deduct killed, (see p. 284,) 24 

Total number landed from Java, 353 

Add prize-crew, 20 

Total No. alive of the 397 originally on board, 373 
Deduct the " 9 Portugeuse and 3 private persons," 12 

Total No. paroled by Commodore Bainbridge, 36 1 


The manner in which the Java's men were 
treated by the American officers, reflects upon 
the latter the highest disgrace. The moment 
the poor fellows were brought on board the Con- 
stitution, they were hand-cufFed, (a thing un- 
known in our service, except upon urgent ne- 
cessity,) and pillaged of almost every thing. 
True, Lieutenant-general Hyslop got back his 
valuable service of plate, and the other officers 
were treated civilly. Who would not rather 
that the governor's plate was, at this very 
time, spread out upon Commodore Bainbridge's 
sideboard, than that British seamen, fighting 
bravely in their country's cause, should be put 
in fetters, and robbed of their little all? — What 
is all this mighty generosity but a political jug- 
gle, — a tub thrown to the whale? — Mr. Madison 
says to his officers: "Never mind making an 
ostentatious display of your generosity, where 
you know it will be proclaimed to the world. 
If you lose any thing by it, I'll take care con- 
gress shall recompense you, two-fold. Such con- 
duct on the pari of an American officer of rank, 
will greatly tend to discredit the British state- 
men tfl as to any other acts of your's not so pro- 
per to be made public ; and will serve, besides. 
il ;m imperishable record of the national mag- 
nanimity and honor." — One object the Consti- 
tution's officers missed by their cnieltv. Three 

on ft of the Java's men would enter with them : the 


remainder treated with contempt their re-iterated 
promises of high pay, rich land, and liberty. 

Courage is an inherent principle in Britons ; 
but courage alone will not make a seaman. If 
to know the duties of one, for the mere purpose 
of navigating a ship, requires some experience, 
how much more is required when a ship has an 
enemy to contend with. That she may ma- 
noeuvre with success, (a most important opera- 
tion,) the sails must be trimmed with the utmost 
nicety ; and not a moment lost in looking for a 
rope, or considering what to do. Great judg- 
ment and presence of mind is often necessary, 
to repair a temporary damage by shot, or delay 
the fall of a tottering mast. A proficiency in all 
this constitutes the able seaman. Others of the 
crew are required at the guns. There stand men 
who, every one knowing exactly what he has to 
do, load and fire their gun with quickness and 
precision. Here stand men who, except a few, 
mere novices at the business, are looking upon 
each other for instruction ; and, when they have 
succeeded in loading their gun, nine times out 
of ten, discharge it at random. 

About forty or fifty of the Java's men had 
seen service j and, no doubt, were tolerable sea- 
men. At the head of these, was the gallant- 
boatswain; and among them, were many who 
cheered, while having their wounds dressed in 
the cockpit. But the remainder consisted of 


ne wly- pressed landsmen, or of ill-disposed, 
weakly hands; the refuse of other ships. As to 
her supernumeraries, they, as stated before, were 
chiefly marine-society lads; rather an incum- 
brance, than a use, on board a ship of war. Du- 
ring the few weeks that intervened between the 
manning, and the capture, of the Java, disciplin- 
ing the crew at the guns was, in a manner, pre- 
vented, by the lumbered state of the ship. 

The marines of the Java were not much em- 
ployed at the early part of the action, owing to 
the distance maintained by her opponent; and 
towards the last, the ship's dismasted state con- 
lined them to her decks. Of the 34 marines there 
stationed, <w 18," says the officer commanding 
them, " were very young recruits; the rest had 
been to sea before." Of what use are marines, 
acting as such, unless good marksmen? A 
musket-bullet will not perforate a ship's side. 
To reach the enemy, (from the level of the deck, 
at least,) it must catcli him at the fleeting mo- 
ment of exposure ; as he hastily ascends the rig- 
ging, or incautiously shews his head above the 
bulwarks. — Can " very young recruits" hope to 
succeed at this? 

The .liusi's gallant commander, previous to his 
leaving Spit head, made several applications for 
a more effective and better disposed crew; fore- 
seeing, as lie did, the probability of falling in 
with one of the large American frigates. He 


was reminded of the difficulty of procuring men ; 
and told, that an East India voyage would make 
seamen ! 

The Java, thus manned, left England on the 
12th of November ; and the official account of 
the Guerriere's capture had reached the admi- 
ralty since early in October. Let him who may 
think there was, at this time, in the British navy, 
a scarcity of frigates of the Java's class, turn to 
the list for November, 1812; where he will per- 
haps be surprised to see, among the ships in or- 
dinary, the fine 24-pounder frigate Endymion ; 
a ship as nearly equal in force to the American 
frigate Constitution, as any Briton could wish. 
True, the Endymion, according to the papers 
laid before parliament, in February, 1815, was 
ordered to be fitted in "July, 1812 ;" but she 
was not got ready till the " 18th of May, 1813." 

Doubtless, a voyage to the East Indies and 
back, with occasional drilling at the guns, 
would have greatly altered the character of the 
Java's men; and, had the Constitution then met 
that ship, even without her ninety seven passen- 
gers, the disparity in force would not have been 
so great. 

With the change of the Constitution's com- 
mander, a slight change occurred in her arma- 
ment; a single shifting 18-pound carronade 
having been substituted for two of her 32s. This 
shifting carronade she fought on either side, 


through the gangway-port, the same as the 
United States. (See p. 160.) As a proof that the 
American commanders had the privilege of al- 
tering, in some degree, the armaments of their 
respective ships, the " Report of a committee" 
on the American naval establishment, dated in 
January, 1814, contains the following, as one of 
the " causes of the abuses complained of:" — 
" The great latitude allowed commanders, in 
altering, repairing, and furnishing their ships." 
W ith the exception of the 18-pound carronade, 
considered probably as a boat-gun, the u Sketches 
of the War" gives a similar account of the Con- 
stitution^ force to that contained in Captain 
(Chads' statement. But, most unaccountably, 
accuses that officer of " largely overrating" the 
Constitution's force. " He reported," says the 
editor, " her force to be — forty two long 24- 
pounders, sixteen carronades, 32-pounders, and 
one carronade, 18-pounder; being in all 59 
guns." — Whence did the editor extract this ac- 
count? Not an American newspaper that co- 
pied the letter, but gives the lie to his assertion. 
The Constitution, having none of her men 
absent in prizes, had on board her full comple- 
ment ; which, according to the statement of her 
first lieutenant, consisted of 485. Admitting 
the regular establishment of the American 44- 
gUO frigates lobe no more than 475, " the great 
latitude allowed the commanders in furnishing 


their ships," enabled them to take on board 
supernumeraries ; and the Guerriere's cap- 
ture, and Commodore Bainbridge's interest 
at Boston, gave the Constitution, among the 
seamen, a decided preference. Only one boy 
was seen on board of her, and he was 17 
years old ; older, no doubt, than half the 
Java's marines. However, to avoid as much as 
possible an over-estimate, the Constitution's 
complement, on commencing action with the 
Java, will be considered as 477 men, and 3 boys. 
Some of the former had belonged to the Iphi- 
genia ; others to the Guerriere ; and 40 or 50 were 
recognised as English. It need hardly be added, 
that the men, generally, were prime seamen ; and 
the crew, altogether, a remarkably fine one. 

The Java, as stated before, was originally a 
French ship. She measured as follows:— 

Ft. In. 
Length of lower-deck, from rabbit to rabbit, 152 of 
Breadth, extreme, SO 11 1 

So trifling is the difference in size, between 
the Java and the other two captured frigates, 
that a reference to what has already appeared 
on the subject of comparative dimensions, will 
fally suffice. The circumstance related about 
the slight effect produced upon the Constitu- 
tion's masts by the Java's shot, can be better 
understood, now that the relative stoutness of 
the two main-masts has been shewn. (See p. 112.) 


Comparative force of the two ships. 



Broadside-metal to pounds, ] '. ° ' g 7 . 




Complement, {«£ 3 ^ 


— 370 

— 480 

Size in tons, 1073 


The onlv material difference obserrable be- 

tvveen the comparative force in this action, 
and the Constitution and Guerriere's, is, in the 
complement; but, when we consider that the 
Guerriere's was an old, the Java's a new ship's 
company, with a much greater proportion of 
boys than appears in the above statement, that 
difference becomes merely nominal. 

Taking into view the loss and damage sus- 
tained by the Constitution, and the obstinate 
defence of the Java, against so superior a force, 
such as may have been disappointed at the 
result of the other two frigate-actions with the 
Americans, will not deny, surely, that, in this 
of the Java and Constitution, the honor of the 
British flag was nobly maintained. 

Before quitting the Java entirely, it will tend 
to illustrate the subject, to bestow a few obser- 
vations upon the action between II. M. S. Amelia, 
Captain lrbv, and theFreneh frigate l'Arethuse. 

'I 'his action was fought on the night of the 
7th of February, lb 13, off Vhlcs dc Los, on the 


African coast. Captain Bouvet's official account 
has been received in England, and a translation 
of it has appeared in print. (Nav. Chron. 
vol. xxix. p. 293.) The British and French ac- 
counts agree as to the time when the action com- 
menced, but differ a trifle as to the period of 
its duration : the mean of the two accounts fixes 
this at 3 hours and 26 minutes; very little short 
of the Java's. As to the manner in which the 
action terminated, the two commanders differ 
materially. Captain Irby says : — " She (l'Are- 
thuse) bore up, having the advantage of being 
able to do so, leaving us in an ungovernable 
state." — Captain Bouvet says: — " We were no 
longer in good condition, and the enemy, croud- 
ing all sail, abandoned the field of battle to 
us." — It may be considered, then, as a drawn 
battle. Whichever ship had lost her masts, 
must have struck her flag. The Amelia's killed 
amounted to 51 ; her wounded to 95. The two 
cartels having on board the surviving officers 
and crew of the Java, fell in with PArethuse, 
after her action with the Amelia. Lieutenant 
Chads, having, while a prisoner at the isle of 
France, known Captain Bouvet, who then com- 
manded there, and bore a very high character, 
went on board l'Arethuse ; and was shewn a 
list of 31 killed, and 74 wounded, in her action 
with the Amelia. It is probable, that most of 
the slightly wounded had, by this time, reco- 
vered ; and were therefore not noticed. 


It is due to the veracity of a British officer to 
state, that " Captain Irby, in his dispatch to the 
admiralty/' does not mention PArethuse's con- 
sort, le Kubis, " as being in sight just before 
the commencement of the action." (Naval 
Chron. vol. xxix. p. 383.) On the contrary, after 
detailing the proceedings of the 6th, he says : — 
" And the next morning, one of the frigates (I 
believe l'Arethuse) was just visible from the 

The Amelia's armament was the same as the 
Java's. The British officers who were onboard 
l'Arethuse, state that her main-deck guns were 
Trench 18s, not " 24-pounders," as Captain 
Irby had been informed. The caliber of her 
carronades was not known. The carronades of 
la Traave, a fine44-gun frigate, captured in Oc- 
tober, 1813, consisted of sixteen 18-pounders. — 
Admit l'Arethuse to have had the same; and, 
adding one-eighth for the difference between 
French and English caliber, herbroadside-weight 
of metal would amount to 445 pounds ; but, as 
l'Arethuse's carronades may have been 24s or 
32s, it is fair to consider the two ships as equal 
in guns, or broadside-weight of metal. 

The Amelia, like the Java, had a number of 
supernumeraries on board ; but, owing to the 
genera] sickness of the men, Captain Irby says: 
— " We had barely our complement fit for duty, 
ami they much enervated." A sickly old, and 
u healthy new ship's company, are about equal 


in effectiveness. Captain Bouvet admits that 
he had in the action, an officer and boat's crew 
of le Rubis : say, in all, 340 men. Three days 
after the action, he took out of a Portuguese 
prize, in which the captain and crew of le Rubis 
had embarked after she became wrecked on the 
i3th, half that ship's complement ; and the offi- 
cers of the Java have stated, that l'Arethuse 
had, when they fell in with her, about 400 
as fine seamen as ever sailed out of France. 
L'Arethuse, therefore, was not filled with con- 
scripts and raw hands, in number crowding each 
other ; but had a fair complement of experienced 
seamen, and good artillerists. Captain Bouvet 
particularly designates one of her officers as — 
<f corporal of marine-artillery." 

Referring to the relative numbers of killed on 
board the Amelia, and even the Macedonian 
instead of the Java ; and taking into considera- 
tion the decided superiority of the Macedonian's 
antagonist, and the equality in force between the 
Amelia and l'Arethuse, we cannot but see how 
greatly the French crew excelled the American, 
in the " precision of their fire." (App. No. 19.) 
Nor did Captain Irby's men perform badly; as 
the killed of l'Arethuse sufficiently testify. 

The Amelia, like the Java, had been a French 
ship, (la Proserpine,) and measured within a 
few tons of the Java ; and, as if still to continue 
the similitude, Captain Bouvet stated l'Arethuse 


lo be a sister-ship to la llenommee, taken in 
1811 ; which ship, unknown to him, was the 
identical Java. 

It is clear that the French captain, when he 
engaged the Amelia, had heard nothing of the 
Java's, loss. Previous to his leaving France, he 
very probably- had of the Guerriere's. Without 
considering these things, the British journals 
were declaiming, at a tine rate, about the new 
spirit infused into the French marine, by the 
success of the Americans. 

The action of the Amelia and l'Arethuse 
should have taught the Americans, not to over- 
rate their abilities ; not to deal so much in the 
bombastic, when recounting their " brilliant 
exploits upon the water." They might have 
seen that, had Captain Bouvet kept off at first, 
anil tried to fall his adversary's masts ; or even 
been provided with some of those curious shot 
that fell out of the Java's foremast, the Amelia 
would, in all probability, have been his. But 
l'Arethuse approached boldly, within pistol- 
shot ; slaughtered more, but disabled less, than 
the Constitution. There was no manoeuvring 
1<> avoid close action; no yawing away in the 
smoke; no unusual shot employed; no riflemen 
picking off the British officers : — " all," says 
C.-iptain Irby, "fell by fair righting/' 



British official account of the Peacock and Hor- 
net's action not published. — American details of 
it — Captain Lawrence's time corrected — Peacock 
sinks — I'Espeigle not in sight — American print 
of the action — Peacock's loss — Hornet's damages 
and loss — Peacock's force in guns and men — ■ 
Hornet's force in guns — Complement fixed — 
Relative size of the Peacock and Hornet fully 
considered — Statement of comparative force — 
Hornet's challenge to the Bonne Citoyenne — 
Captain Greene's reply — Unhandsome behaviour 
of the commanders of the Constitution and 
Harriet upon the occasion. 

OF the action between H. M. late briar Pea- 
cock, and the U. S. ship Hornet, no British 
official account has been published. Fortu- 
nately, a gross misstatement which appeared 
on the subject, in the New York " Commercial 
Advertiser," of the 16th of April, 1813, called 
forth a reply, in the same public manner, from 
the Peacock's late first lieutenant. (A pp. No. 30. 
This counter-statement must serve, in lieu of a 
British official account, to contrast with the 


official letter of Captain Lawrence. (App, 

No. 29.) 

The action was fought on the 24th of Febru- 
ary, 1813, close to the entrance of the Demarara 
river; and continued, according to Captain 
Lawrence, " less than 15 minutes;" but, " by 
Peacock's time, for 25 minutes ;" when the Bri- 
tish vessel, being totally cut to pieces, and in 
danger of sinking, hoisted a signal of distress at 
her fore-rigging. Shortly afterwards, the brig's 
main-mast went by the board. 

As a proof that the Peacock could do no 
more, however well disposed her officers and 
crew may have been, she sank, in a few minutes 
after the action; carrying down, according to 
Captain Lawrence, thirteen of her own, and 
three of the Hornet's crew; but, of the former, 
four were afterwards saved by the enemy's boats. 
Another four of the Peacock's crew took to her 
stern-boat, just as the action ended; and arrived 
in safety at Demarara. 

Captain Lawrence states that II. M. brig 
PEspicgle Mas " about six miles in shore of him; 
and could plainly see the w hole of the action." 
But Lieutenant V\ right's letter is equally posi- 
tive, ''that H. 15. M. brig llispeigle was not 
visible from the look-outs stationed at the Pea- 
cocks mast-heads, for some lime previous to the 
action. " (App, No. 3Q.) A court-martial has 
since been liuldcu upon Captain John Taylor, 


of l'Espeigle, at the instance of the admiralty ; 
and one of the charges was, for " failing in his 
duty, when in pursuit of the Hornet American 
sloop, after the capture of the Peacock." Of 
this charge he was acquitted. 

In the engraving of this action, given in the 
" Naval Monument," l'Espeigle appears scarcely 
two miles from the spot ; and, although the Pea- 
cock is represented with part of her hull under 
water, the remainder shews as many ports as she 
had upon her whole side ! 

Captain Peake, the gallant commander of the 
Peacock, was killed at the early, not te the 
latter part" of the action. She lost, also, four 
seamen killed; her master, a midshipman, the 
carpenter, and captain's clerk, and 29 seamen 
and marines, wounded; of whom three died, 
soon after being removed to the Hornet ; total 38. 

The damages of the Hornet are represented as 
trifling. One shot went through the fore-mast, 
and the bowsprit was slightly injured; but her 
hull suffered little or no injury. The Americans 
acknowledge a loss of only two men killed, and 
three wounded. 

The Peacock was originally armed with 32- 
pound carronades ; but Captain Peake, consider- 
ing her scantling as too slight to bear them, 
got 24s in exchange. She had two long sixes 
instead of " nines"; and, admitting she had 
" a J 2-pound carronadeon her top-gallant-fore- 


castle," and a swivel or two, it is denied that 
she had " one four or six-pounder." 

The Peacock had long been the. admiration 
of her numerous visitors, for the tasteful ar- 
rangement of her deck; and had obtained, in 
consequence, the name of the yacht. The 
breechings of the carronades were lined with 
white canvass; the shot-lockers shifted from 
their usual places; and nothing could exceed, 
in brilliancy, the polish upon the traversing- 
bars and elevating screws. If carronades, in 
general, as mounted in the British service, T are 
liable to turn in-board or upset, what must have 
been the state of the Peacock's carronades after 
the first broadside?— The captain of l'Espeigle, 
attached to the same station, was, at his court- 
martial, found guilty of " neglecting to exer- 
cise the ship's company at the great guns." — A 
single discharge from the Peacock's carronades, 
in exercise, would have betrayed the very defec- 
ts e state of their fastenings; and our feelings 
might then have found some relief in the skill, 
as well as gallantry, evinced in her defence. 

Captain Lawrence says: — " I find, by her 
<juaiicr-l>ill, that her crew consisted of 134 
nun, four of whom were absent in a prize. '' The 
l\;icoi k's Officer* declare that she had, "at the 
time she engaged the Hornet, a complement of 
1-2-2 men and boys;" whiph, without the four men *erC absent, wa$ one above her established 


number. Of these, seventeen were boys. When 
we consider that the Peacock had been long on a 
West India station, it cannot be surprising, that 
the chief part of the crew were convalescents ; 
although it is so, that she should have had her 
full complement on board. 

According to the British lieutenant's letter, 
the Hornet mounted eighteen carronades, 32- 
pounders, and two long 9-pounders; but several 
American papers have stated her long guns as 

In fixing the Hornet's complement of men in 
the action, there will not be much difficulty, 
lieutenant Wright saj^s she had 170 men; and 
that is now known to have been the establish- 
ment, exclusive of supernumeraries, of United 
States' vessels rating, like the Hornet, of " 18 
guns/' Captain Lawrence states, that his master 
and seven men were absent in a prize ; and that 
he mustered, on the day after the action, " 270 
souls, including the crew of the American brig 
Hunter, of Portland, taken a few days before by 
the Peacock." 

It was very kind of Captain Lawrence to 
give the number of souls mustered. Relying 
upon that, the following statement will shew, 
clearly, that the Hornet must have had, in her 
action with the Peacock, 165 men ; making, 
with the eight absent, a complement of 173; 
supernumeraries included. 



Peacock's complement ofmen and boys, 

Killed in action, and died after removing, 8 

Drowned, 9 

Escaped in the boat, 4 



Peacock's surviving crew, 
Brig Hunter's ship's company, exclusive ^ 
of master and mate, S 

Hornet's original complement, 173 

Absent iu a prize, 8 


Present in action, 
Killed and died of wounds,, 


— 5 

Hornet's surviving crew, 


Number of souls mustered, <270 

The Hornet had three lieutenants, a lieute- 
nant of marines, and a great shew of midship- 
men. Her crew were all picked men; many of 
whom had belonged to her from the time she was 
commissioned. No boys were seen on board, 
yet two will be allowed. The exclusion of all 
men " on the sick list," in both crews, would 
be much more in favour of the Peacock than the 

I lie Peacock was built in 1807; upon the 
same model as the Frolic, and all the other 


British 18-gun brigs. Captain Lawrence, sen- 
sible that the Peacock would not rise up from 
the deep to confront him, says: — "I should 
judge her to be about the tonnage of the Hornet. 
Her beam was greater by five inches, but her 
extreme length not so great by four feet." 

The first question that arises is ; — if the Pea- 
cock sank so soon after the action, that several 
men were drowned in her, what time had the 
Hornets people to measure her length and 
breadth / — The dimensions which the Peacock's 
carpenter, if asked for them, could have fur- 
nished the Hornet's commander, would have 
been precisely the same as those which will 
be presently given. 

By dint of a little scrutiny into American 
statements, the dimensions of the Hornet can be 
obtained with tolerable accuracy. Captain Bid- 
die, who commanded her when, at a subsequent 
day, she captured the Penguin, the Peacock's 
sister-brig, stated his prize to be '* two feet 
shorter upon deck," and to have " greater 
breadth," than the Hornet. Fortunately, the 
American officers, anxious to shew what an ex- 
traordinary large brig they had captured, pub- 
lished in a New York paper, the Penguin's 
" length on deck," and "breadth of beam;" 
making the former " 110 feet," the latter " 31 
feet 6 inches." — The absurdity of this will be 
shewn, when we arrive at the Penguin's action: 


at present, the figures are all we want. — The 
Hornet's iC length on deck," then, is admitted 
to be 112 feet. Let us take Captain Lawrence's 
" five inches" as the difference between the Hor- 
net's breadth, and the " 31 feet 6 inches," stated 
to have been the Penguin's breadth ; although 
the expression " greater breadth" would almost 
imply, that the excess was so trifling, as to be 
not worth computing. This would give for the 
Hornet's breadth, 31 feet 1 inch; only 3 inches 
more than that of the Wasp; a ship six, instead 
of u two, feet shorter upon deck than the Hornet/' 
These dimensions will make the Hornet 450 
tons only; whereas, one of the lieutenants of 
the late U. S. ship Frolic, who had served in 
the same capacity on board the Hornet, de- 
scribed her as very little inferior in size to the 
Frolic ; and she is 539 tons. 

Dimensions of the two vessels 
Peacock, brig. 

Ft. In. 

Length of tlcck, from rabbit to rabbit, 100 3 
Breadth, extreme, JO 7 


Fr. In. 


31 1 

Some opinion may be formed of the stoutness 
of the Hornet's scantling by that of the Wasp ; 
(tftfl |>. 15'2;) and the former's masts and yards 
an: described as verv little inferior in si/e to 
those of the late American ship Frolic; now the 
Florida in our sen ice. 


Comparative force of the two vessels. 




I j long guns, 
1 can onades, 



in pounds, 




■ 297 


f men, 
I boys, 






Size in tons, 



The Americans, now, for the first time de- 
clared, " that 24-pounders were as good as 
32s"; and that, therefore, the two sloops, (al- 
though in relative broadside-metal, exactly as 
3 to 2,) were " equally matched." Improving 
upon this, the editor of the " Naval Monu- 
ment" says, plumply, " the Hornet shivered her 
superior antagonist to atoms." 

Previous to his action with the Peacock, 
Captain Lawrence took advantage of another 
fortunate event that occurred to the Hornet. 
H. M. S. Bonne Citoyenne, Captain Pitt B. 
Greene, with half a million sterling on board, 
which she had brought from Rio de la Plata, was 
lying in St. Salvador, at the time the U. S. ships 
Constitution and Hornet were cruizing off the 
port. A king's packet, bound to England, was 
also detained there, by the presence of those 

The Constitution and Hornet anchored in the 
harbour; and their respective commanders were 
frequently at the house of Mr. Hill, the Ameri- 


can consul ; a man of notorious Anti-britisli 
feelings. The nature of the Bonne Citoyenne's 
cargo was well understood by all the merchants 
(of which the consul was one) at St. Salvador; 
and both Commodore Bainbridge and Captain 
Lawrence, as professional men, knew that the 
British commander dared not engage in a difre- 
rent service, from that upon which he had been 

The consul, and the two American command- 
ers, laid their heads together, to contrive some- 
thing that, without any personal risk to either, 
should contribute to the renown of their com- 
mon country. What so likely as a challenge to 
Captain Greene? — It could not be accepted; 
and then the refusal would be as good as a vic- 
tory to Captain Lawrence. Accordingly, a chal- 
lenge for the Hornet to meet the Bonne Citoy- 
enne, was offered by Captain Lawrence, through 
the American to the British consul, Mr. Frede- 
rick Landeman. (App. Nos. 32. and 33.) 

Without making the unpleasant avowal, that 
his government had, upon this occasion, re- 
duced the vessel he commanded from a king's 
cruizer to a merchant-ship, Captain Green trans- 
mitted, through the consular channel, an ani- 
mated reply; refusing a meeting " upon terms 
so manifestly disadvantageous as those proposed 
by Commodore Bainbridge. " (App. Nos. 34. 
and 35.) Indeed, it would appear, as if the 


Commodore had purposely inserted the words, 
" or not interfering," lest Captain Greene 
should, contrary to expectation, have accepted 
the challenge. For, had the two ships met by 
agreement, engaged, the Constitution looked 
on " without interfering," and the British ship 
been the conqueror, the pledge of " honor" on 
the part of both American commanders, would 
have been fulfilled: and can any one, for a 
moment imagine, that Commodore Bainbridge 
would have seen the Bonne Citoyenne carry off 
a United States ship of war, without attempting 
her rescue?-— It was more than his head Was 
worth. — Where Was the guarantee against re- 
capture, which always accompanies serious pro- 
posals of this sort, when a stronger force, belong- 
ing to either party, is to preserve a temporary 
neutrality? — Let the commander of the Monta- 
gue 74, have made the same proposal to the 
Hornet, pledging his " honor not to interfere;" 
and see how deservedly he would have been ridi- 
culed, not by Americans only, but by the whole 
of his countrymen. 

Commodore Bainbridge^ in his public letter, 
says: " The Bonne Citoyenne is a larger vessel, 
and of greater force in guns and men than the 
Hornet." — She is, certainly, a trifle larger ; but, 
it is believed, mounted the same number and 
description of guns, with the addition of a 
boat carronade. Her complement was twenty - 


five men less than the Hornet's ; but her crew had 
been exercised at the guns, were well disposed, 
and commanded by a gallant officer. 

Captain Lawrence's boast of his having block* 
aded the Bonne Citoyenne, and a packet, until 
the Montague chased the Hornet off, was well 
calculated to exalt him in the opinion of his 
friends ; but what assurance had Captain Greene, 
that Commodore Bainbridge, as well apprized 
of the Bonne Citoyenne's destination, as of the 
nature of her cargo, was not cruizing in the 
offing. The British ship would have been a rich 
prize, indeed; and her commander most justly 
laughed at, had he become the dupe of so shallow 
an artifice. The blockade of the Bonne Citoy- 
enne and packet by the Hornet, was a fine sub- 
ject for the painter. Accordingly, the " Naval 
Monument" contains a clumsy wood-cut, repre- 
senting the transaction in all its brilliancy. 

That the American consul at St. Salvador 
should have been ungenerous enough to reduce 
a British officer to the necessity of refusing, 
under any circumstances, to meet a ship of his 
own class, creates no surprise whatever. But 
who could expect that two national officers, 
aware of the delicate situation in which a bro- 
ther-officer, though apolitical enemy, was placed, 
would have urged the unhandsome request; 
much more, have triumphed over the answer, 
which they knew it was his duty to give? 



Shannon and Tenedos reconnoitre Boston — Chesa- 
peake gets in unperceived — President and Con- 
gress avoid the blockading ships, and escape to 
sea — Captain Broke detaches the Tenedos — Re- 
ceives on board twenty two Irish labourers — Chal- 
lenges the Chesapeake, and stands close in to 
Boston light-house — Chesapeake sails out, with' 
out receiving the challenge — The two ships en- 
gage — Details of the action' — American specta- 
tors — Lieutenant Budd's official letter — Shan* 
non's damages and loss — Chesapeake's also — 
Shannon's force, in guns and men — American 
method of computing a ship's complement — Che- 
sapeake's force in guns — Names of her guns — » 
Dismantling shot — Effects of her langridge on 
the Shannon's wounded — Cask of lime — a curi- 
ous case on the subject — Chesapeake's comple- 
ment — Difficulty of ascertaining it — The number 
fixed — Quality of the crew — American remarks 
thereon — Dimensions of the two ships, in hull 
and spars — Statement of comparative force — 
Remarks thereon. 

Ol\ the 2d of April, 1813, H. M. S. Shannon, 
46, Captain Broke, accompanied by the Tene- 
dos, 46, Captain Parker, reconnoitered the har- 



bour of Boston, and discovered lying there, the 
IT. S. frigate Congress ready for sea, President 
nearly so, and Constitution under repair. 

On the 13th, the U. S. frigate Chesapeake, 
Captain Evans, got into Boston, through the 
eastern passage, unperceived by either of the 
British frigates; and, on the 1st of May, foggy 
weather, and a sudden favourable shift of wind, 
enabled the President, Commodore Rodgers, and 
Congress, Captain Smith, to avoid the Shannon 
and Tenedos, and escape to sea. The American 
accounts say, with a very grave air, that the 
British frigates sailed from the coast, purposely 
to avoid the commodore. 

Having ascertained that the Chesapeake would 
soon be ready for sea again, Captain Broke, on 
the 25th of May, took a supply of provisions 
and water from the Tenedos ; and detached her, 
with orders to Captain Parker, not to rejoin him 
before the 14th of June; the earliest date, at 
which, it was considered, the Constitution could 
be got ready to accompany the Chesapeake, 
should the latter wait in port for that purpose. 

On the 26th of May, the Shannon recaptured 
the brig Lucy, and on the 29th, the brig >Vil- 
liam; both belonging to Halifax. A meeting 
witli the Chesapeake being now Captain Broke's 
sole purpose; nothing but the circumstance of 
those resieb belonging to the port of Halifax, 
could induce him to weaken the Shannon's crew, 


by sending them in. The master of the Lucy, 
and five recaptured men-of-war's-men, took her 
in charge; and a midshipman and four of the 
Shannon's men, the William. 

On the afternoon of the 30th, the Shannon 
fell in with the British privateer-brig, Sir John 
Sherbrooke. This vessel had on board fifty two 
Irish labourers, taken three days previous out 
of the captured American privateer, Governor 
Plumer; which vessel had captured the ship 
Duck, from Waterford to Burin, Newfoundland ; 
having on board these men as passengers. The 
commander of the Sir John Sherbrooke had per- 
suaded thirty of the latter to join his vessel; 
and the remaining twenty-two were now pressed 
into the Shannon. 

Early on Monday morning, Captain Broke 
addressed to the commanding-officer of the 
Chesapeake, a letter of challenge; which, for 
candour, spirit, and gentlemanly style, has 
rarely been equalled. (App. No. 36.) This let- 
ter was confided to a Captain Slocum, a dis- 
charged prisoner; who immediately departed 
in his boat for Marblehead, a port a few 
miles north of Boston. At the same time, the 
Shannon, with colours flying, stood in close to 
the light-house; and there lay-to. She had 
been as near to Boston during several of the 
preceding days; but thick rainy weather had 
obstructed the view of the harbour. The Chesa- 


peake was now seen at anchor in President 
Roads, with royal yards across; and apparently 
ready for sea. She presently loosed her fore-top- 
sail; and, shortly afterwards, all her top-sails, 
and sheeted them home. But, from the wind 
being perfectly fair, and the ship not getting 
under way, the Shannon's people began to 
fear that she was not inclined to come out. 

Between twelve and one, while the men were 
at dinner, Captain Broke went himself to the 
mast-head ; and there observed the Chesapeake 
fire a gun, and loose and set top-gallant-sails. 
She was soon under way; and made more 
sail as she came down ; having a light breeze in 
her favor. While aloft, Captain Broke saw that 
Captain Slocum's boat had not reached the 
shore in time for the delivery of his letter of 
challenge to the commander of the Chesapeake. 

The Shannon now filled, and stood out from 
the land under easy sail, till 4 o'clock ; when, 
the Chesapeake having hauled up, and fired a 
gnn, as if in defiance, the Shannon hauled up 
also, and reeved top-sails. Both ships, now 
about seven miles distant, again bore away* the 
Shannon with her fore-sail brailed up, and her 
main-top-sail braced flat, and shivering, that 
the Chesapeake might overtake her. At a few 
minutes past 5, Boston light-house bearing 
u<M. distant about six leagues, the Shannon 
again hauled up, with her head to the south- 


ward and eastward ; and lay-to, under top-sails, 
top-gallant-sails, jib, and spanker; having barely 

The Chesapeake came down upon the Shan- 
non's starboard-quarter, with three ensigns fly- 
ing : one at the mizen-roj al-mast-head, one at 
the peak, and one in the starboard-main-rigging. 
She had, also, flying at the fore, a large white 
flag, inscribed with the words: — <s Free trade 
and sailors* rights ;" — upon a supposition, 
perhaps, that that favorite American motto 
would paralize the efforts, or damp the energy, 
of the Shannon's men. — The Shannon had only 
an old rusty blue ensign at the peak ; nor was 
her outside appearance at all calculated to in- 
spire a belief, of the order and discipline that 
reigned within. Captain Broke thought, at one 
time, that the Chesapeake would pass under his 
stern, and engage him upon the larboard-side; 
he therefore ordered his men, as she passed, 
to lay down flat, so as to avoid, in some degree, 
the raking fire. But Captain Lawrence, either 
overlooking or waving this advantage, at 30 
minutes past 5, gallantly luffed up, within 
half-pistol-shot, upon the Shannon's starboard 

The Shannon's men had received orders, to 
fire as their guns would bear; and to aim prin- 
cipally at the enemy's ports. The first and 
second shot were discharged from the aftermost 


main-deck gun, and quarter-deck carronade; just 
as the Chesapeake, while rounding-to, brought 
her fore-mast in a line with the Shannon's mizen- 
mast. These two shot were distinctly heard 
before the Chesapeake commenced firing; and, 
by the American account, both shot took effect; 
killing and wounding several officers and men. 
The Chesapeake discharged her whole broad- 
side in return ; which was replied to by the 
Shannon's guns, as fast as the men could level 
them with precision. 

In about seven minutes from the commence- 
ment of the action, the Chesapeake, having her 
jib-sheet and fore-top-sail-tie shot away, fell on 
board the Shannon ; the fluke of the latter's 
waist anchor, (which, to assist in trimming the 
ship, had been stowed in the main-chains,) en- 
tering the former's quarter-gallery window. 
The shot from the Shannon's aftermost guns, 
now had a fair range along the Chesapeake's 
decks ; beating in the stern-ports, and sweeping 
the nun from their quarters. The shot from 
the foremost guns, at the same time entering 
the ports from the main-mast aft, did considera- 
ble execution. 

When about 10 minutes had elapsed, an open 
rask of musket-cartridges, standing upon the 
( "hesapeake's cabin-sk} -light tor the use of the 
marines, caught tire and blew up; but did no 
injury whatever. Even the spanker-boom, di- 


rectly in the way of the explosion, was barely 
singed. The Chesapeake's head had, by this 
time, fallen off; so that she lay close along- 
side the Shannon ; the latter's main-mast being 
nearly in a line with her opponent's taffrail. 

Captain Broke now saw that the Chesapeake's 
quarter-deck division were deserting their guns. 
He instantly called out — " Board !" and, ac- 
companied by the first lieutenant and 20 men, 
sprang upon the Chesapeake's quarter-deck. 
Here not an officer or man was to be seen. 
Upon her gangways, about 20 Americans made 
a slight resistance. These were instantly driven 
towards the forecastle ; where a few endeavoured 
to get down the fore-hatchway, but in their 
eagerness prevented each other ; a few fled over 
the bows, and reached the main-deck through 
the bridle-ports ; and the remainder laid down 
their arms, and submitted. 

Between 30 and 40 of the Shannon's marines 
quickly followed the first boarding party. 
These kept down the men who were ascending 
the main-hatchway ; and answered a spirited 
fire, still continued from the main and mizen 
tops. The Chesapeake's fore-top was, in the 
mean time, stormed by Midshipman Smith and 
his top-men, about five in number ; who either 
destroyed or drove on deck, all the Americans 
there stationed. This gallant young man had 
deliberately passed along the Shannon's fore- 


yard, which was braced up, to the Chesapeake's, 
also braced up ; and thence into her top. 

After those upon the forecastle had submitted, 
Captain Broke ordered one of his men to stand 
sentry over them ; and sent most of the others aft, 
where the conflict was still going on. He was 
in the act of giving them orders to answer the 
fire from the Chesapeake's main-top, when the 
sentry called lustily out to him. On turning 
round, the captain found himself opposed by 
three of the Americans ; who, seeing they were 
superior to the British then near them, had 
armed themselves a-fresh. Captain Broke par* 
ried the middle fellow's pike, and wounded him 
in the face ; but instantly received from the 
man on the pikeman's right, a blow with the 
butt-end of a musket, which bared his scull, 
and nearly stunned him. Determined to finish 
the British commander, the third man cut him 
down with his broad-sword ; and, at that very 
instant, was himself cut down by one of the 
Shannon's seamen. Captain Broke and his 
treacherous foe now lay side by side; each, al- 
though nearly powerless, struggling to regain 
his sword ; when a marine dispatched the Ame- 
rican with his bayonet. Captain Broke was not 
tin only sufferer upon this occasion; one of his 
nun was killed, and two or three were wounded, 
(an it be wondered, if all that were concerned 
in this breach of faith, fell victims to the indig- 


nation of the Shannon's men ? It was as much 
as their commander could do, to save from their 
fury a young midshipman, who, having slid 
down a rope from the Chesapeake's fare-top, 
begged his protection. Mr. Smith, who had 
also descended from the fore-top, and a seaman, 
were at this time helping the captain on his 
legs. The seaman, while tying a handkerchief 
round his commander's head, called out, (point- 
ing aft,); — " There, sir, there goes up the old 
ensign over the Yankee colours." The captain 
saw it hoisting ; and was instantly led to the 
quarter-deck ; where he seated himself upon 
one of the carronade-slides. 

The gallant first lieutenant of the Shannon 
was struck on the head with a grape-shot from 
one of that ship's fore-mast guns, while in the 
act of hoisting the British colours over the Ame- 
rican. Another gun was discharged, unfortu- 
nately, before the officer commanding that di- 
vision, knew of the Chesapeake's surrender ; 
and three or four of the Shannon's men shared 
the lamented fate of Mr. Watt, besides several 
being wounded. 

Even after the British colours were flying on 
board the Chesapeake, some of her men kept 
firing up the main-hatchway, and killed a Bri- 
tish marine. It was then, and not till then, that 
Lieutenant Falkiner, who was sitting on the 
booms, very properly directed three or four 


muskets that were ready, to be fired down. 
Captain Broke, from his seat upon the carro- 
nade-slide, told him to summon them to sur- 
render, if they desired quarter. He did so : 
they replied — " We surrender ;" and all hostility 
ceased. Soon after this, Captain Broke's senses 
failed him from loss of blood ; and, the Shan* 
non's jolly-boat arriving with a supply of men, 
(the two ships having separated, owing to the 
Chesapeake's quarter-gallery giving way,) he 
was carried on board his own ship. 

Between the discharge of the first gun, and 
the period of Captain Broke's boarding, 11 mi- 
nutes only elapsed ; and, in 4 minutes more, 
the Chesapeake was completely his. Hundreds 
of spectators from Boston, and the surrounding 
neighbourhood, holding their watches in their 
hands, were astonished at the speedy termina- 
tion of the firing; and the fact of the Shannon's 
first lieutenant having been killed by a cannon- 
shot, as he was hoisting the colours on board the 
Chesapeake, clearly proves, that the firing did 
not cease till the very moment of victory. 

What a happy circumstance it was that, 
dming the whole of this doubly-auspicious day, 
no British cruizer, public or private, came in 
sight. If we except a very numerous assem- 
blage of Anieiican pleasure-yachts, and a few 
gunboats, the two frigates had the otfing to 
themselves. At about 8 o'clock in the evening, 


the prisoners being divided, and properly se- 
cured, the British ship, and her fine prize, bent 
their course for Halifax ; where they arrived in 
perfect safety on the Sunday following ; being 
the fifth day after the action. 

The " Report of the court of inquiry on the 
loss of the Chesapeake" (App. No. 40) grounds 
a string of suppositions upon " the cautious 
manner in which the enemy came on board." — 
Had the court tried to invest its proceedings 
with an air of ridicule, could it possibly have 
succeeded better, than by making such an as- 
sertion ? 

Let us see how the editor of the " Naval 
History" describes the boarding-attempt. He 
says : — " Thebugleman, who should have called 
the boarders, as ordered by Captain Lawrence, 
did not do his duty. The Shannon had sus- 
tained so much injury, that her commander, 
Commodore Brooke, was preparing to repel any 
attempt of boarding from the Chesapeake ; but, 
at this moment, Brooke, perceiving the havoc his 
fire had occasioned oil the deck of the Chesa- 
peake, jumped on board her with about 20 
men. They would soon have been driven back, 
but all the officers on deck were either killed or 
wounded. The second lieutenant, Budd, who 
commanded the first division below, led up the 
boarders ; but only 15 or 20 men followed him. 
With these he defended the ship until disabled 


by a wound. Lieutenant Ludlow, though 
wounded, hurried on deck, where he soon re- 
ceived a mortal sabre-wound ; 60 additional 
men being thrown on board from the Shannon, 
the crew of the Chesapeake, who had no officer 
to direct and rally them, were overpowered. 
The Chesapeake, however, was not surrendered 
by an act of submission, but was taken posses- 
ion of by a force that overwhelmed all opposi- 
tion." (N. Hist. vol. i. p. 205.) 

" Jumped on board her with about 20 
men." — This is a specimen of the " cautious 
manner" in which the British boarded. After 
confessing that " the crew of the Chesapeake," 
then consisting of, at least, 340 men, quite un- 
hurt, " were overpowered" by 80 British, Mr. 
Clarke gravely adds : — " The Chesapeake, how- 
ever, was not surrendered by an act of submis- 
sion, but was taken possession of by a force 
that overwhelmed all opposition" ! 

Aware of this inconsistency in Mr. Clarke's 
statement, the " Sketches of the War" makes 
the 80 British " 200." The same work assures 
its readers, that Captain Broke boarded, because 
he was " apprehensive of the Shannon's sink- 
ing" ; and ascribes the Chesapeake's not captur- 
ing tier " superior enemy" to the blowing up of 
the arm. chest. 

Mr. Budd, the Chesapeake's second lieutenant, 
has made his official letter nearly as short as 


the action. (App. No. 39.). He gives both 
" A. Ms. and " P. Ms. before the combat 
began ; but, afterwards, finds it his interest to 
be less precise. His assertion that the arm- 
chest " was blown up by a band-grenade thrown 
from the enemy's ship/' is utterly false. No 
hand-grenade whatever was thrown from the 
Shannon; although she had on board about a 
dozen in all. Mr. Budd wrote his letter fifteen 
days after the action; and must have made the 
assertion, knowing it to be false. It is proba- 
ble, he took the hint from the paragraphs about 
the <■' infernal machine/' &c. contained in the 
Boston papers describing the action; which pa- 
pers had reached Halifax about two days before 
the date of his letter. 

The " court of inquiry" makes a fine story 
of the firing down the hatchway. Not a word 
is there of the " magnanimous conquered foe" 
having fired from below, in the first instance, 
and killed a British marine. Captain Broke 
will long have cause to remember the treatment 
he experienced from this " magnanimous con- 
quered foe." So far, indeed, from the conduct 
of the British being *f a most unwarrantable 
abuse of power after success," Lieutenant Cox 
of the Chesapeake, in the hearing of several 
English gentlemen, has since admitted, that he 
owed his life to the forbearance of one of the 
Shannon's marines. When the American officers 


arrived on board the Shannon, and some of them 
were finding out reasons for being " taken so 
unaccountably," their first lieutenant, Ludlow, 
a gallant officer, and who fought hard in repel- 
ling the boarders, readily acknowledged, that 
the Shannon had beaten thein heartily and fairly. 

Five shot passed through the Shannon; one 
only below the main-deck: several struck, and 
most of them lodged in the starboard side, ranged 
in a line just above the copper. A long iron 
bar was seen sticking out of her copper. Until 
her shot-holes were stopped, the Shannon made 
a good deal of water, upon the larboard tack ; 
but, upon the other, not more than usual. The 
" Report" actually states, that the Shannon 
" was reduced almost to a sinking condition." 

The Shannon's fore and main-masts were 
slightly injured by shot; her bowsprit, previ- 
ously sprung, and mizen-mast were badly wound- 
ed. No other spar was damaged. The Shan- 
non carried a pole mizen top-mast; which, from 
its shortness, may have given rise to the assertion, 
among the boat-spectators, that her " mizen- 
royal-mast was shot away." The Shannon's 
rigging was very slightly injured. Notwith- 
standing these facts, the " Report" states the 
Shannon to have been " much cut in her spars 
and rigging." 

The Shannon, besides her first lieutenant, lost 
the purser, captain's clerk, 20 seamen, marines, 


and supernumeraries, and 1 boy, killed; her 
commander, boatswain, a midshipman, and 56 
seamen, marines, and supernumeraries, wounded ; 
of whom 24, including- the captain and boat- 
swain, (the latter since dead,) were severely 
wounded ; total killed and wounded 83. Three 
of the Irish supernumeraries fell in the action. 
To say that these rough sons of Erin, amidst the 
new and awful scene they were exposed to, be- 
haved gallantly, would be superfluous, consi- 
dering the land they came from. Perhaps their 
native valor received a slight stimulus, from the 
harsh treatment they had experienced, while on 
board the American privateer. 

The Chesapeake was severely battered in her 
hull, on the starboard quarter particularly. A 
shot passed through one of her transoms; (equal 
in stoutness to a 64-gun ship's;) and several shot 
entered the stern-windows. She had two main- 
deck guns, and one carronade, entirely disabled. 
One 32-pound carronade was dismounted; and 
several carriages and slides were broken. Yet, 
says the " Report," — " the Chesapeake was com- 
paratively uninjured." 

Her three lower-masts, especially the main 
and mizen-masts, were badly wounded. The 
bowsprit received no injury; nor was a spar of 
any kind shot away. Her lower-rigging and 
stays were a good deal cut; but neither masts 
nor rigging were so damaged, that they could 


not have been repaired, if necessary, without 
going into port. 

Dreadful was the slaughter on board the 
Chesapeake. She lost her master, a lieutenant 
of marines, 3 midshipmen, and at least 56 pettv- 
otticers, seamen, and marines, killed ; her gallant 
commander and first lieutenant, also her second, 
third, and fourth lieutenants, 4 midshipmen, and 
106 petty-officers, seamen and marines, wounded : 
of whom, Captain Lawrence, Lieutenants Lud- 
low and Brome, one or two midshipmen, and 
several of the men, died of their wounds: total 
killed 61 ; wounded, (some of them very slightly,) 
115; which comprises every one that reported 
himself to the Shannon's surgeon, three days 
after the action. This makes the gross number of 
killed and wounded amount to 176. The Che- 
sapeake's surgeon, without, of course, noticing 
the very slightly wounded, writes from Hali- 
fax: " The whole number killed and wounded 
is estimated at about 160 to 170." Lieutenant 
Budd (without, it would appear, having any 
muster-roll in his possession,) gives the names of 
47 killed, and 99 wounded. As the Americans 
talked much of an "explosion," the Shannon's 
surgeon was directed to examine their wounded : 
when he could find only one man at all burnt; 
and that was by the bursting of one of their 
powder-horns at a forecastle gun ; — far enough 
from the explosion upon the quarter-deck. 


After Mr. Clarke has told us of the Shannon's 
" destructive broadsides," and of three men be- 
ing successively shot from the Chesapeake's 
wheel, he adds:—" The Chesapeake had evi- 
dently the advantage. — The greater part of the 
Americans were killed and wounded by the 
British boarders. The loss of the Shannon was 
principally occasioned by the cannon of the 
Chesapeake." — And the " court of inquiry" 
has decreed, " that the fire of the Chesapeake 
was much superior to that of the Shannon" ! 

The Shannon mounted twenty eight long Im- 
pounders upon the main-deck ; upon the quar- 
ter-deck, twelve carronades, 32-pounders, two 
long 9-pounders, a 12-pound launch carronade 
through the fore-most starboard port, and a 
long brass 6-pounder through the opposite one; 
also two additional 12-pound carronades through 
the stern -ports; and, upon the forecastle, four 
carronades, 32-pounders, and two long 9-pound- 
ers; total, as the fc Report" says, — "52 carriage 
guns:" besides a small swivel in the fore, and 
another in the main-top. The two stern-chase 
carronades had been frequently placed in the 
hold ; where, as they were utterly useless in the 
broadside, and yet encreased the ship's nominal 
force, they had much better have remained. The 
Shannon, although she had, in all, 52 guns, (and 
those of five different calibers,) mounted, there- 


fore, no more than 25 guns upon her broadside, 
including her boat-gun. 

Captain Broke, in his letter of challenge, says, 
" The Shannon mounts twenty-four guns upon 
her broadside, and one light boat-gun; 18-pound- 
ers on her main -deck, and 32-pounder carron- 
ades on her quarter-deck and forecastle." If 
there is here any variation from the fact, it is 
that, instead of having, without her boat-gun, 
an upper broadside-battery of all " 32-pound- 
ers," as the statement implies, the Shannon had, 
among them, two 9-pounders. Vet the editor of 
the American " Portefolio," has had the assur- 
ance to complain of Captain Broke, for having 
" under-rated his ship's force." 

The Shannon went into action with 276 offi- 
cers, seamen and marines, of her proper com- 
plement, 8 recaptured seamen, 22 Irish labour- 
ers, who had been but forty eight hours in the 
ship, and 24 boys ; of whom about 13 were un- 
der twelve years of age. The Irish supernume- 
raries had never been at sea, till they took pas- 
sage in the Duck; and only four of them could 
speak English. \N e must, however, add them to 
the Shannon's complement ; which they there- 
fore twilled up to .:.';<>. 

The Shannon's complement having been ori- 
ginally made up oi draughts from different ships, 
the men were, at first, very quarrelsome among 


themselves; but Captain Brake's judicious plan 
of discipline, aided by liis fatherly conduct, soon 
reconciled all parties, and made them, what in 
truth they were, a fine ship's company. 

The first Halifax account of the action esti- 
mated the Shannon's full complement at 335; 
including, by mistake, the midshipman and four 
men sent away in the brig- William ; and who had 
re-joined their ship, upon her arrival in Hali- 
fax. Now that fact is explained, we have another 
instance of correctness in Captain Brake's letter 
of challenge. He stated the Shannon's comple- 
ment to consist of tl 330 men and boys:" — yet, 
say the Americans, " he under-rated his ship's 

Lieutenant Budd, in his letter, says: — "The 
Shannon had, in addition to her full complement, 
an officer and sixteen men belonging to the Belle 
Poule, and a part of the crew belonging to the 
Tenedos." (App. No. 39.) — It appears that Mr. 
Budd, while on board the Shannon, observed 
three or four of the seamen's hats with " Tene- 
dos" written in front. This is easily accounted 
for, when it is known, that the two ships had 
been cruizing together for three months ; and 
had, of course, kept up a constant intercourse by 
boats. Suppose the U. S. frigate Congress, of the 
same force as the Chesapeake, had, at a subse- 
quent day, sailed out from Portsmouth, N. 
Hampshire, to fight the Tenedos, (which ship, 


singly, blockaded her for some weeks,) such 
another acute observer as Mr. Budd would, upon 
seeing some of the Shannon's hats on the sea- 
men's heads, have declared that the Tenedos 
had, " in addition to her full complement, a 
part of the crew belonging to the Shannon." — 
Admitting, also, that seven, not " sixteen," of 
the Shannon's men, originally came from the 
Belle-Poule, what had that to do with the Shan- 
non's complement in an action fought seven 
years afterwards? So that, all the draughted 
men a ship may receive on board, when manning 
for sea, are — " in addition to her full comple- 
ment." — The Americans have another curious 
way of computing the complements of British 
ships ; best illustrated by an anecdote. An 
American prisoner on parole near Halifax N. S. 
had the following conversation with an English- 
man of the neighbourhood: — " Pray, what may 
be that frigate's complement?" pointing to one 
that had just anchored. — " About 302." — 
n What number of officers has she?" — " In all, 
about 63."— " Marines?"—-" About 50." The 
American, then, after a short pause, turning to 
one of his countrymen present, says, — " They 
tell us the British don't half-man their ships, but 
1 iiiuss, our government would not think of giv- 
ing to a ship like that, a greater complement 
than 415." — May not some calculation of this 
6ort have been submitted to the H court of in- 


quiry on the loss of the Chesapeake"? — The 
addition of the "63 officers," without the " ma- 
rines," to the Shannon's " 330 men and boys," 
amounts to very little short of "396;" the num- 
ber appearing in the " Report," as the Shannon's 

After a writer in a Boston newspaper has in- 
sisted, that the " native Americans" on board 
the Chesapeake fought like heroes, and that the 
British part of the crew behaved treacherously, 
he very naturally asks — " Can any of your cor- 
respondents inform us, whether any Americans 
were on board the Shannon ?" — Yes ; there were 
some, — in her hold; though not so many, by 
several scores, as were in the Chesapeake's hold, 
in a very few seconds after the Shannon's 20 
boarders sprang upon her quarter-deck. 

The Chesapeake mounted twenty-eight long 
18-pounders upon the main-deck; sixteen car- 
ronades, 32-pounders, upon the quarter-deck ; 
four carronades, 32-pounders, and a long 18- 
pounder, shifting gun, upon the forecastle. 
Such an upper battery is possessed by no 18- 
pounder frigate in the British navy. The Chesa- 
peake had, also, a 12-pound carronade ; but it 
is doubtful whether or not it was mounted in the 
action. A very simple, and well contrived ele- 
vating carriage, and another for boat-service, 
belonged c to it; but the carronade itself, quite 


perfect, was found dismounted; and will not be 
estimated. The Chesapeake's proper armament, 
therefore, consisted of 50 guns; although, in the 
action, she had only 49 mounted. Of these, she 
fought 25 upon the broadside; the same as the 
Shannon. The Chesapeake had a spare port on 
each side of her forecastle, between the bow-port, 
and that through which she fought her shifting 

The Chesapeake's guns had all names, en- 
graven on small squares of copper-plate. To 
give some idea of American taste in these mat- 
ters, here follow the names of her guns upon one 
broadside: — Main-deck; "Brother Jonathan, 
True Blue, Yankee Protection , Putnam, Raging 
Eagle, Viper, General Warren, Mad Anthony, 
America, Washington, Liberty for Ever, Dread' 
nought, Defiance, Liberty or Death." — Forecastle ; 
lt United Teirs," shifting 18-pounder, " Jump- 
ing Billy, Ratlcr," carronades. Quarter-deck; 
M Bull-dog, Spitfire, Nancy Dawson, Revenge, 
Bunkers Hill, Pocohantas, Towser, Wilful Mur- 
der" carronades; total 25. 

An immense quantity of the dismantling 
shot represented in the plate; as well of single 
iron bolts, crow-bars, broken marline-spikes, 
old iron, &c. were taken out of the Chesapeake. 
The whole mass, weighing nearly half a ton, 
\\;is sold at auction in Halifax; and the greater 


part has long since been converted into horse- 
shoes, plough-shares, and other articles of inno- 
cent utility. 

A desire to torment, as well as to destroy, 
must have influenced the Americans ; or why 
were the Chesapeake's canister-shot made up 
with angular and jagged pieces of iron, broken 
gun-locks, copper nails, &c. ? Many of the 
Shannon's men suffered extremely by being so 
wounded ; especially, during the tedious opera- 
tion of extracting such abominable stuff from 
different parts of their bodies. Among the 
Chesapeake's small-arms, were found several 
rifle-guns ; an additional proof that the Ameri- 
cans use them in their sea-fights. 

A large cask of lime, with the head open, 
had been standing upon the Chesapeake's fore- 
castle, but was knocked to pieces by one of the 
Shannon's shot. A bag of the same was found 
in the fore-top. Long after the Chesapeake ar- 
rived in Halifax, the remains of the lime were 
to be seen about the forecastle. For what pre- 
cise use this lime was intended, has never been 
fully explained. The following relation of a 
circumstance, which took place before the use 
of gunpowder was known, may perhaps assist 
the reader in his conjectures. 

' c The French having invaded England, 
(Henry 3d, 1217,) Hubert de Burgh, governor of 
Dover Castle, discovering a fleet of 80 stout 


ships standing over to the coast of Kent, put to 
sea with 40 ships, and having gained the wind 
of them, ran down several of the smaller ships, 
and closing with the others, threw onboard a quan- 
tity °f quick-lime ; which s blowing in their faces^ 
blinded them so effectually », that they found them- 
selves obliged to bear away ; but, being instantly 
boarded by the English, they were all either 
taken or sunk." — (Scomberg's Nav. Chronol. 
vol. i. p. 9.) That the Chesapeake's men made 
no such wicked use of the lime, is true ; because 
that on the forecastle, being scattered by the 
shot, could not well injure any others than those 
standing round it; and Midshipman Smith, 
and his gallant followers, came too unexpect- 
edly into the fore-top, to admit of the lime 
there placed, being used at all. 

Now for the most difficult part in the esti- 
mate of an American ship's force : her comple- 
ment of men on going into action. 

Lieutenant George Budd, the surviving com- 
manding officer of the Chesapeake, deposed, on 
the 19th of June, at the admiralty-office in 
Halifax, as follows : — " He does not know the 
number of hands on board at the time of cap- 
ture, but will procure a copy of the muster-roll. 
He supposes there might have been about 340 
hands on board at the time of capture." 

This gentleman's official letter bears date four 
days previous to his deposition. In that letter, 


he gives the names of " 47 killed ;" and this, 
before, as it would appear above, he had " pro- 
cured a copy of the muster-roll." How hap- 
pened Mr. Budd not to know, that the " number 
of hands" late belonging to the Chesapeake, 
mustered after the action, amounted to 333 ? 
Even the number upon the books of the agent 
for prisoners, at Halifax, after most of the mor- 
tally wounded had died, amounted to 326. To 
suppose him acquainted with these facts, at the 
time that he made his deposition, would be ac- 
cusing him of, at least, a wilful absurdity ; for, 
his " 47 killed,"" added to the 333 prisoners, 
would make 380, instead of " about 340." It 
is thought that, by " hands," Mr. Budd meant, 
" exclusive of officers ;" which amounted to 70, 
at least. In that case, we should have 410 for 
the Chesapeake's complement, on going into 
action. Two muster-rolls were found : one 
contained, after deducting the runnings and 
discharges, the names of 389 ; the other, 
written up to the morning of the action, 
of 391. Some of the discharges bore date on 
the very day before the action. There can be no 
doubt, therefore, that on the morning of the 
action, the Chesapeake had a complement of 

It was currently reported at Boston, that se- 
veral volunteers joined the Chesapeake, as she 
was getting under way. Some of the petty- 


officers, after their arrival at Melville-island 
prison, confessed that 30 or 40 hands, princi- 
pally from the Constitution, came on board ; 
but whose names, in the hurry and confusion, 
were not entered in the purser's books. 

In corroboration of several men having joined 
the ship, a very short time before the action, a 
•number of bags and hammocks were found 1 ying 
in the boats, stowed over the booms ; and, in 
direct proof that some of the Constitution's men 
were on board the Chesapeake, three or four of 
the Guerriere's Americans, who, after that ship's 
capture, enlisted onboard the Constitution, (see 
p. 107,) were among the prisoners taken out of 
the Chesapeake ; and were immediately recog- 
nised by their former shipmates, now, as stated 
before, serving on board the Shannon. 

Even 440, the number given as the comple- 
ment of the Chesapeake in Captain Broke's let- 
ter, was not founded on mere surmise. That 
number was known to have been her comple- 
ment on a former occasion ; (see p. 71 ;) and, 
after the Chesapeake had been several weeks in 
Halifax, a letter was found in one of her lockers, 
dated in 1811, from Robert Smith, Esq. the 
secretary of state at that time, to Captain Sa- 
muel Evans, at Boston ; directing him to open 
houses of rendezvous for manning the Chesa- 
peake ; and enumerating the different classes, 
to the amount of 443. This, too, was in times 


of profound peace ; when no Shannon was cruiz- 
ing, in defiance, off the harbour. 

Again, the Congress, of the same force as the 
Chesapeake, arrived at Portsmouth, N. Hamp- 
shire, with (according to a published letter from 
one of her officers) 410 men of her crew on 
board ; besides having lost four by death, and 
manned a prize with some others. 

At the time the Chesapeake sailed out, the 
Constitution was lying in Boston, fully manned. 
So were several gun-boats, and one or two large 
privateers ; and seamen were swarming in the 
town. Can it then, for a moment, be believed, 
that Captain Lawrence, knowing an enemy's 
frigate was waiting outside. for him, would not 
take advantage of all this, and place on board 
his own ship an ample and effective crew ? 
However, let the real number of the Chesa- 
peake's crew have been what it may, the num- 
ber upon the last-found muster-roll, is all that 
can, with propriety, appear in the statement of 
comparative force ; and which number is thus 
accounted for : — 

Killed in the action, 61 

Died in the passage. 4 

— 65 
Prisoners received by the agent, 326 

Number upon the last-found muster-roll, 39 i 
Among the prisoners, there were but ten dis- 


tinguished by the American officers as boys ; 
and only three that would come under that de- 
nomination on board a British ship of war. 
Seven, however, will be allowed. 

The Chesapeake's gunner, Matthew Rogers, 
was an Irishman ; the carpenter, George Miller, 
a native of Nova Scotia ; and there were 34 
others of the crew, recognized as British 
subjects. One man was hanged at Spithead ; 
and several were pardoned. By some misma- 
nagement, the first-named notorious traitor, 
Matthew Rogers, instead of being sent home for 
trial, was allowed to return, laughing in his 
sleeve, to his adopted country. A Boston jour- 
nal, among other excuses for the Chesapeake's 
loss, contains some very amusing remarks about 
4< the cowardice of some of the crew who were 
not Americans." — " There are no better sailors 
in the world," says the American editor, " than 
our own ; and it seems hard that the war should 
be carried on for nothing but British sailors' 
rights, (! !) and that those same sailors should 
desert us in the moment of conflict. Cowardice 
is a species of treason. If renegado English- 
men are permitted to fight under our flag, it 
becomes prudent not to mix our own people 
With them to be destroyed ; — for, at the critical 
moment when the boarders were called for, the 
foreigner! all ran below, while not a native 
American shrank from the conflict." Vet the 


name of the poor panic-struck bugleman, " Wil- 
liam Brown," does not appear in the agent's 
" list of British subjects, late belonging to the 
Chesapeake." As, then, William Brown, unless 
he had misnamed himself, was certainly not a 
Portuguese, Dane, or Swede, the inference is 
pretty clear, that he was a " native American." 

Another Boston editor attributes the success 
of the boarding-assault to " the bugleman's 
being killed early in the action:" when, a full 
twelvemonth aftewards, a court-martial, held at 
New London, " on certain persons, officers on 
board the U. S. frigate Chesapeake, at the time of 
her capture by the Shannon," finds — " William 
Brown, bugleman, guilty of cowardice ; and 
sentences him to receive 300 lashes." (Nav. 
Chron. vol. xxxiii. p. 70.) 

The Chesapeake's crew were remarkably 
stout, healthy young men ; especially when con- 
trasted with the Shannon's ; most of whom were 
rather below the middle stature, and a great 
proportion old or elderly men. As one proof 
of stoutness in the Chesapeake's men, the hand- 
cuffs that had been placed upon her deck, ready 
to secure the British crew, as soon as the Shan- 
non was captured, caused, when applied to the 
wrists of the Americans, many of them to wince 
with pain. 

It requires a stout heart as well as a stout 
body, to bear the brunt of a boarding-assault. 


IMeu may, as the " Report" says, " behave well 
at their quarters, and fire on the enemy with 
great rapidity and precision ;" but it is the per- 
sonal conflict, the glittering broadsword, bran- 
dished aloft, that tries a seaman's valor. 

The effect this had upon the Chesapeake's 
crew, is made one of the " causes of complaint" 
in the said " Report." Thus : " Against the 
crew generally ; that they deserted their quar- 
ters, and ran below, after the ships Mere foul, 
and the enemy boarded." Mr. Clarke, feeling 
it to be his province to rebut this serious charge, 
says : — " Her (the Chesapeake's) commander 
was but very slightly acquainted with his crew; 
the greater part of whom were new recruits." 
" She, as has been already observed, was but an 
indifferent vessel, and at the moment the Shan- 
non appeared, was not in complete order for an 
engagement. But Lawrence had himself chal- 
lenged a British vessel ; the sight of one riding 
in defiance before him, was too much for his 
pride to bear. He, in consequence, put to sea 
on the 1st of June, having hoisted a white flag 
with 'Free trade and sai/ors' rights.' — He (Cap- 
tain Lawrence) addressed his men in a short 
discourse, but it was received with no marks of 
approbation. Discontent was apparent among 
a part of the crew, and complaints were mut- 
tered of not having received their prize-money. 
The boatswain, a Portuguese, was the principal 


instigator of this dissatisfaction. Lawrence, 
unacquainted with his crew, resolved to remove 
the cause of their complaint. He ordered the 
purser to give prize-checks to those who had 
received none." (Nav. Hist. vol. i. p. 205.) 

It is evident, that Mr. Clarke attributes Cap- 
tain Lawrence's " being but very slightly ac- 
quainted with his crew," to the greater part of 
them being i( new recruits." — In the American 
naval service, men enlist for two years, and sign 
articles, the same as in the merchant-service. 
We have seen that, in 1811, the Chesapeake re- 
cruited for, and no doubt obtained, a comple- 
ment of 443. The men's terms of service would 
have about expired in April, 1813, when the 
Chesapeake arrived from a cruize. An intelli- 
gent English gentleman was at that time a resi- 
dent of Boston ; and the nature of his pursuits 
gave him a full opportunity of witnessing the 
manning and equipment of the United States' 
vessels then in port. He declares that the greater 
part of the Chesapeake's crew, as was very cus- 
tomary in the service, re-entered ; that, to fill 
up her complement, four houses of rendezvous 
were opened ; that the moment a man declared 
himself a candidate, he received a dollar, and 
accompanied an officer to the ship ; where he 
was examined as to his knowledge of seaman- 
ship, age, muscular strength, &c. by a board of 
officers, consisting of the master, surgeon, and 



others ; that, it* approved, he signed the arti- 
cles, and remained where he was ; if rejected, 
returned home with a dollar in his pocket ; that 
frequently, out of five boat-loads of men that 
would go off to the ship, in the course of the 
day, three would come back, not eligible. So 
much for Mr. Clarke's " new recruits." — The 
features of the American war would have borne 
a very different aspect, could British ships have 
been manned in a similar way. 

During her last cruize the Chesapeake sent in 
one prize, the Volunteer, " said to be worth 
150,000/. sterling." — It could, therefore, be only 
among the men who belonged to her in that for- 
tunate cruize, that lt complaints were muttered 
of not having received their prize-money." 
And how could Captain Lawrence better " re- 
move the cause of their complaint," than by 
ordering " the purser to give prize-checks to 
those who had received none" ? All tins clearly 
shews, that the majority of the Chesapeake's 
erew were the same she had been manned witli 
since 1811 : and, from the fastidiousness of her 
officers in filling up the deficiencies, and the 
fine appearance of the captured men, it is highly 
probable that the Chesapeake, under Captain 
Lawrence, had full as good a erew as she ever 
sailed with. 

\ot a word is there in the " Report" about 
•' neu recruits;" but the same object is at- 


tempted by a statement, that " most of the offi- 
cers had recently joined the ship, some only a 
few days preceding the engagement." — Captain 
Lawrence arrived in the Hornet, from a cruize, 
on the 29th of March ; and Mr. Clarke says he 
was, ' c shortly after his arrival at New York, 
appointed to the Chesapeake." That ship, we 
have seen, arrived at Boston about a fortnight 
afterwards ; and, therefore, Captain Lawrence 
must have taken the command of her, within a 
day or two of that period. He probably brought 
with him some favorite officers. The Chesa- 
peake's regular first lieutenant, Mr. Page, was 
left on shore sick ; but still she had one lieu- 
tenant more than the Shannon ; and where was 
there a braver man, or better officer, than her 
first lieutenant in the action, Ludlow? He, 
poor fellow, died a few days after he was brought 
to Halifax : previous to which it was hoped that 
his valuable life would be saved. 

Has Mr. Clarke the effrontery to call the 
boatswain a Portuguese ? — The Chesapeake's 
boatswain was brought in, mortally wounded ; 
and his name in the agent's book, is, " Peter 
Adams." He was boatswain of the Constitu- 
tion, when she took the Guerriere ; and so far 
from being a " Portuguese," or even a British 
subject, was a native American. 

Mr. Clarke says the Chesapeake u was but an 
indifferent vessel." — Would his government, had 
r 2 


that been the case, have expended 150,000 dollars, 
only a few months before she was captured, in 
thoroughly repairing her? — Captain Evans, in 
a letter to the secretary of the navy, gave the 
Chesapeake a very high character ; and the cap- 
ture of the Volunteer, was considered to have 
wiped off the " unlucky" from her name. Her 
men, therefore, would naturally be stimulated 
to make more " prize-money ;" and (what glee 
they must all have been in !) the very object of 
their wishes, " the finest ship of her rate in the 
British navy," was beckoning to them to come 
and take her. 

According to Lieutenant Budd's letter, the 
Chesapeake M proceeded on a cruize, a ship of 
war in sight, believed to be the British frigate 
Shannon." — Is Mr. Clarke aware of the re- 
sponsibility he attaches to Commodore Bain- 
bridge, the naval commanding-officer at Boston, 
by declaring, that the Chesapeake " was not in 
complete order for an engagement" ? — Fortu- 
nately for the commodore, it is too well known 
that, however different may be the case with 
British, American ships of war never " proceed 
on a cruize," in ordinary cases even, till per- 
fectly read). It is known, also, that their men 
are drilled at the guns, in harbour as well as at sea : 
consequently, they cannot be out of practice. 

The Shannon was built at Chatham in 1806. 
Two Shannons had previously been lost. One. 



a 32-gun frigate, was built in 1796 ; and lost by 
shipwreck, in 1800. The other, of 36 guns, 
was built in 1803 ; and, in the same year, struck 
the ground in a gale, and was wrecked under 
the batteries of Cape la Hogue. The seamen, 
in consequence, applied the term " unlucky" to 
the present Shannon ; and she was not manned 
without the greatest difficulty ; and then only, 
by draughts from other ships. The fact of the 
Chesapeake, also, having been denominated " an 
unlucky ship," is a strange coincidence. 

The Chesapeake was built in Norfolk, Virgi- 
nia, in 1797; and cost 220,677 dollars, 80 cents, 
or 61,299/. 8s. sterling. The American papers, 
announcing her launch, highly commended her 
model, strength, and workmanship. 

Dimensions of the two ships. 

rabbit to rabbit, 
Breadth, extreme, 
Depth in hold, 

Main-deck beams, 





Ft. In. 

:k, from") 






40 11 



13 9 

| broad, or sided, 1 
1 deep, or moulded, 


1 3* 

1 of 


\ diameter, 



93 4 
2 6 

5 length, 
X diameter, 




58 10 
1 5i 

S length, 
1 diameter, 





84 9 
1 Ik 





63 8 

1 U 


It appears, therefore, that whatever difference 
existed between the two ships, in point of size, 
was in favor of the Chesapeake; yet the Ameri- 
cans would have had us believe, that the Shan- 
non was by far the larger ship. The Shannon 
is constructed somewhat differently from the 
Macedonian and her class, in having seven, in- 
stead of eight ports of a-side upon the quarter- 
deck ; which occasioned Captain Broke to fit up 
the two gangways as ports, for the reception of 
his boat-guns. The Chesapeake has eight ports 
of a-side upon the quarter-deck, the same as 
the President ; and a much larger forecastle, 
with an additional port on each side ; which 
gives her, in all, the same number of broadside- 
ports as the President. This may account for 
the Chesapeake's having formerly rated of 44 

Previous to her capture, the Chesapeake had 
undergone a very complete repair: since which 
she has returned from a long cruize off the Gape 
of Good Hope; and although, as Mr. Clarke 
says, " the worst ship in the navy of the United 
States," is now considered as one of the finest 
frigates of her class in the navy of Great Bri- 
tain. Mr. Low, the editor of the " History of 
the War, 1 ' was loo well versed iti figurative lan- 
guage, not to be ready with the very best ant'i- 
thesis to his friend's description of the Chesa- 
peake. He therefore < alls the Shannon — " the 
best frigate in the British navy." 


Comparative force of the two ships. 


Broadside- metal in pounds, ] ,' & ' g^o 


r, , (men, 30G 

Complement, j ^ ^ 


Size in tons, 10G6 



— 391 

Yet, says the " Report," — " the capture of 
the U. S. frigate Chesapeake, by the superior 
force of the British frigate Shannon" ! — But is 
not this language quite consistent with that 
used at the capture of our three frigates ? If 
the Shannon and Chesapeake were admitted, 
by Americans, to have been equally matched, 
it would be giving the lie to all their former 
assertions; and hurling a host of " heroes" from 
the very pinnacle of fame, down to the level of 
ordinary men. 

It was beneath the dignity of Americans, 
after having captured so many British vessels 
of n superior force," to attribute their defeat, 
in the present instance, to a " superiority of 
force". Therefore, the Shannon's " superiority" 
appears rather as a collateral circumstance ; 
while the causes of the Chesapeake's capture are 
asserted to have been, " the almost unexampled 
early fall of Captain Lawrence, and all the prin- 
cipal officers; the bugleman's desertion of his 
quarters, and inability to sound his horn." 


That " all the principal officers" fell early, is 
false. The first lieutenant received the wound 
that disabled him, while making an effort to 
repel the boarders ; and neither the second, nor 
third lieutenant, was wounded, till the board- 
ing took place. True, the Chesapeake's com- 
mander was mortally wounded. In how many 
of our naval combats with the Americans, has 
that happened to us ? In using the word ' c unex- 
ampled," perhaps the court confined its view to 
what generally occurred on board American 
vessels : then, indeed, no one can dispute the 
correctness of the expression. The excuse about 
" the bugleman's desertion of his quarters, and 
inability to sound his horn/' was a proper topic 
for Mr. Clarke and Mr. Low to expatiate upon, 
but cuts a very ridiculous figure in the solemn 
decree of a " court of inquiry , M 

The court first duly arranges some ifs, proba- 
bly*, and might haves, and then designates the 
whole an u almost unexampled concurrence of 
disastrous circumstances." Were any of the 
Chesapeake's masts shot away ? Did either of 
our three frigates surrender with their masts 
standing? — But, says the "Report," — " if the 
Chesapeake had not accidentally fallen on board 
the Shannon, and the Shannon's anchor got foul 
in the after quarter-port of the Chesapeake, the 
Shannon must have very soon surrendered or 
sunk." Tailing on board is then a *• disastrous 


circumstance"? It may be so, in the opinion of 
Americans; but Britons always consider the 
event that enables them to grapple and man- 
fully oppose their enemy, as a fortunate, not a 
" disastrous" circumstance. Nor, had the ships 
kept clear, would the Shannon " have very soon 
surrendered or sunk/' — It was in practical gun- 
nery, wherein the Shannon's men so greatly ex- 
celled the common run of British crews. In 
bravery, all are alike. Had the Chesapeake 
hauled up sooner, and kept at long shot, she 
would also have found her match. Masts might 
have fallen; encreased slaughter ensued; and 
the action been protracted to the length of the 
Java's, still a succession of firing, such as the 
Shannon's was, must have given her the victory. 
Had the two ships been dismasted, the con- 
queror might have been compelled to leave his 
trophy behind ; nay, his own safety would have 
been hazarded. The action took place within 
easy signal-distance of Boston-light-house; and 
there were lying in Boston, besides the Consti- 
tution, several gun-boats, a brig, and some 
schooner privateers. The wind was fair. Even 
the Constitution, half rigged as she was, could 
have come out to the Chesapeake's rescue ; and 
the gun-boats, already in the bay, might, with 
their long 32s and 24s, (the wind being light,) 
have considerably injured the Shannon, from the 
moment she became disabled. Or, suppose that, 


during the action, the wind had chopped round, 
and blown a gale from the seaward; one ship 
would have been in the very mouth of her own 
harbour; which, without a stick standing, she 
might have reached in safety: the other, em- 
bayed, and close on board an enemy's coast ; 
upon which she could scarcely avoid being- 
stranded. Even had the gale commenced after 
possession, the only difference is, that both ships 
must have shared the same fate. 

These were, doubtless, some of the " favorable 
circumstances," which Mr. Clarke says, in addi- 
tion to a " superiority of force," attended the 
Shannon; and the facility with which the Chesa- 
peake could have procured the aid of her friends, 
was, upon the same principle, among the " parti- 
cular disadvantages," under which she labored. 

In most of our unsuccessful actions, the nume- 
rical superiority of the Americans has amounted, 
by the time the flag was struck, to two, three, 
four, and, in one instance, seven to one ; and, in 
naval actions generally, the conquerors oul num- 
ber their prisoners. But, if we take the whole 
that were alive on each side, the reverse was the 
fact, when the Chesapeake surrendered to the 
Shannon; the former having 333, the latter but 
307, hands on board, including a large propor- 
tion ot* boys. The truth is. the destructive lire 
of the Shannon came wholly unexpected. It 

appalled tin- majority of the Chesapeake's crew , 


caused the men, as the ''Report" says, "almost 
universally to desert their quarters ;" and then 
the sudden appearance of Captain Broke and the 
boarders, made the Chesapeake an easy conquest. 

Although the Chesapeake's first lieutenant, at 
Halifax, two days before the appearance of un- 
favourable symptoms, when his wounds were 
perfectly easy, and he had no apprehension of 
danger, said, in the presence of several gentle- 
men : — if When 1 thought myself supported by at 
least twenty of the Chesapeake's crew, to resist 
the Shannon's boarders, 1 found they had all 
run below ;" — although the " Report" has stated 
that even a midshipman c ' left his quarters;" 
and has charged " the crew generally, that they 
deserted their quarters ;"— yet the court — " can- 
not perceive, that the national flag has suffered 
any dishonor from the capture of the U. S. 
frigate Chesapeake" ! 

Whatever " superiority of force" existed, was 
clearly on the side of the Chesapeake. As Bri- 
tons, that we scorn to estimate ; and even the 
American star and chain-shot, and hogshead of 
lime, shall not be allowed to disturb the equality 
and fairness of the action. But Captain Broke 
did something more than capture a frigate of 
equal force : he sought and commenced the at- 
tack, close to an enemy's port, filled with armed 
vessels; and then, beat his ship in eleven, and 
captured her in Jif teen minutes. 



Commodore Rodgers's account of his chase off the 
North Cape — The chasing ships identified as the 
Alexandria and Spitfire — Beneficial effects of 
Captain Cathcart's gallantry — Dominica falls in 
with and engages the Decatur — No British offi- 
cial account of the action — Enemy's details of 
it — Loss and force of each vessel — Statement of 
comparative force — Boxer encounters the Enter- 
prize — Details of the action — No British official 
account — Damage and loss of each vessel — Their 
relative force y in guns, men, and size — American 
accounts — Statement of comparative force — 
Remarks thereon. 

A HE U. S. frigates President and Congress, 
left Boston upon a cruize on the 1st of May. 
The Congress parted company; and the Presi- 
dent, towards the latter end of June, put into 
Bergen, in Norway; whence she departed on 
the 2d of July. Commodore llodgers, having 
gained information, that thirty sail of whalers, 
under the protection of two brigs of war, would 
be at Archangel in the middle of July, bent his 
course for the North Cape, in the hopes of inter- 


cepting them. The commodore cruized about, 
till the 19th of July; when, just as he expected 
to fall in with the fleet, the President was chased 
from her cruizing ground by — " a line-of-battle 
ship and a frigate." — Here are the commodore's 
own words, extracted from his official letter, 
dated " Newport, September 27, ISIS." 

" In this object the enemy had the good for- 
tune to disappoint me, by a line-of-battle ship 
and a frigate making their appearance off North 
Cape, on the 19th of July, just as I was in mo- 
mentary expectation of meeting the enemy's 
convoy. On first discovering the enemy's two 
ships of war, not being able, owing to the hazi- 
ness of the weather, to ascertain their character 
with precision, I stood towards them, until mak- 
ing out what they were, I hauled by the wind on 
the opposite tack to avoid them; but, owing to 
faint, variable winds, calms, and entire day- 
light, (the sun in that latitude, at that season, 
appearing at midnight several degrees above the 
horizon,) they were enabled to continue the 
chase upwards of 80 hours; during which time, 
owing to different changes of the wind in their 
favor, they were brought quite as near as was 
desirable. At the time of meeting with the ene- 
my's two ships, the privateer Scourge, of New 
York, which I had fallen in w ith the day before, 
was in company; but their attention was so 
much engrossed by the President, that they per- 



mitted the Scourge to escape, without appearing 
to take any notice of her."' 

The above " line-of-battle ship and frigate" 
were no other than the Alexandria, an old fir 
frigate, of the same armament and size as the 
Southampton, (see p. 83,) and the Spitfire sloop, 
(formerly a fire-ship,) armed chiefly with 24- 
pound carronades. 

It may, perhaps, aftbrd some satisfaction to 
those of the President's officers, who differed in 
opinion from the commodore, as to the character 
of the two chasing ships, to see an extract from 
the Alexandria's log-book, commencing at noon, 
and ending at midnight, on the 19th of July. 



1, 3 


« 3 

3 3 

4' 2 

5 'l 

6 '2 


7 4 


8 e 


9 i 


10' 1 


nj i 


j i i 





S. by E. 

W. '. N. 


71° 4fy 




Bearings, &c. at noon. 


Do. weather. At 2. saw a tail 
to windward; obser>ed her to be h 
frigate, and a large schoonrr in 

At 5. 40. wore. 
6. tacked. 

9. ull sail in chase. 

J?, iloop in company. 

Among the prisoners on board the President, 
at the time of the chase, were the master and 
mate of the snow Daphne, of \\ hitby. Accord- 
ing to the Journal oi these men, published in 


the newspapers, they, as well as many of the 
President's officers and men, were convinced that 
the chasing ships were a small frigate and a sloop 
of war. They describe, in a ludicrous manner, 
the preparations on board the President, to resist 
the attack of this formidable squadron. During 
each of the three days, a treble allowance of 
grog was served out to the crew; and an im- 
mense quantity of star, chain, and other kinds 
of dismantling shot, got upon deck in readiness 
for the action. It appears, also, that when the 
Eliza Swan, whaler, hove in sight, a few days 
afterwards, she was supposed to be a large ship 
of war; and the ceremony with the grog and 
dismantling shot was repeated. After a very 
cautious approach, the commodore most gladly 
discovered the chase to be a clump of a mer- 
chantman, and made prize of her accordingly. 
It was then, indeed, the Alexandria and Spit- 
tire, and not a line-of-battle ship and frigate," 
that, for 80 hours, chased the U. S. ship Presi- 
dent, Commodore Rodgers; and which were, at 
one time, " quite as near as was desirable" ! The 
promptitude and gallantry of Captain Cathcart, 
saved a fleet of 30 ships; but, considering that 
the force of the Alexandria and Spitfire, united, 
scarcely amounted to half the force of the Pre- 
sident, without reckoning the Scourge, with 
10 guns, and at least 120 men, it must be pro- 
nounced a very fortunate circumstance, that the 


glasses on board the President possessed such 
extraordinary magnifying- powers. 

On the 5th of August, H. M. schooner Domi- 
nica, ha\ing under convoy the Princess Char- 
lotte packet, from St. Thomas's, fell in with the 
privateer-schooner Decatur, off the southern 
coast of the United States. After a contest of 
three quarters of an hour, during which the 
boarders were twice repulsed, the Decatur's 
" whole crew" succeeded in getting upon the 
Dominica's deck. Here a desperate struggle 
ensued, and continued for several minutes : at 
last, the British crew were overpowered by 
double their number. No official account has 
appeared in the Gazette. The following details 
are extracted from a Charleston paper. 

" A third attempt was made by the captain 
of the Decatur to board. The jib-boom of the 
Decatur was run into the main-sail of the enemy. 
The fire from the artillery and musketry was 
terrible, and well supported on both sides. The 
Dominica, not being able to disengage herself, 
dropped along-side; and it was in this position 
that Captain Diron ordered his whole crew to 
board, armed with pistols, sabres, &c. which 
order was executed with the promptness of light- 
ning. Mr. Vincent Safith, first prize-master, and 
quarter-master T. A\ asborn, were the two first 
on board the enemy: in doing which the prize- 


master received three wounds. The crew of the 
enemy fought with as much courage and bravery, 
as that of the Decatur did, with valor and intre- 
pidity. Fire-arms now became useless, and the 
crews were fighting hand to hand with cutlasses, 
and throwing cold shot; when, the captain of 
the enemy and the principal officers being killed, 
the deck covered with dead and wounded, the 
English colours were hauled down by the con- 
querors. In consequence of the orders given by 
the captain of the Decatur, the vessels were then 
separated; the rigging and sails being in the 
worst state possible. 

" During the combat, which lasted an hour, 
the king's packet, Princess Charlotte, remained 
a silent spectator of the scene ; and, as soon as 
the vessels were disengaged from each other, 
she tacked, and stood to the southward. 

iC Killed and wounded on board the Decatur: 
killed 3; wounded 16; one of whom (the car- 
penter) since dead. On board the Dominica: 
killed 13; wounded 47; of whom 5 are since 
dead of their wounds : total, killed and wounded, 
60. Ameng the killed are, G. W. Barrett^, com- 
mander; Mr. I. Sacker, master; Mr. D. Brown, 
purser; Mr. Archer and Mr. Parrey, midship- 
men. Wounded, Mr. I. Nichols, midshipman. 
The surgeon and one midshipman were the only 
officers on board who were not killed or wounded. 
The lieutenant was left on shore sick. 


" From theabove statement," says the Charles- 
ton editor, " it would appear, that this engage- 
ment has been the most bloody, and the loss in 
killed and wounded on the part of the enemy, 
in proportion to the number engaged, perhaps 
the greatest, of any action to be found in the re- 
cords of naval warfare. The surviving officers 
of the Dominica attribute the loss of their vessel 
to the superior skill of the Decatur's crew in the 
use of musketry, and the masterly manceuvering 
of that vessel, by which their carriage-guns were 
rendered nearly useless. Captain Barrette was 
a young man of not more than twenty five years 
of age. He had been wounded early in the ac- 
tion by two musket-balls in the left arm; but he 
fought till the last moment, refusing to surren- 
der his vessel, although he was urged by the few 
survivors of his crew to do .so; declaring his 
determination not to survive her loss. One of 
the lieutenants of the Decatur received a severe 
sabre-wound in the hand from Captain Barrett^, 
a few moments before he fell. Captain Diron 
is a Frenchman, and most of the officers and 
crew of his vessel are his countrymen. They 
have done themselves immortal honour by the 
humanity and attention displayed towards their 
prisoners after the victory; which is spoken of 
in high terms of approbation, by the surviving 
otliccrs of the enemy's vessel. " 

" The crew of the Dominica, with the excep- 


tion of eight or ten boys, were fine-looking 
young men ; but, to see them in the mangled 
state in which they arrived, was enough to freeze 
the blood of one not accustomed to such sights, 
with horror. Among her crew is a small boy, 
not eleven years old, who was twice wounded, 
while contending for victory upon her deck." 

Poor child ! it would have suited thee better 

to be throwing dumps than " cold shot/' — to be 
gamboling in the nursery, than H contending 
for victory" upon a ship's deck. 

The armament of the Dominica was, by th© 
American account, twelve carronades, 12-pound- 
ers, two long 6-pounders, and a 32-pound car- 
ronade on a pivot; total 15 guns; together with 
a brass swivel. Her crew consisted of 67 men, 
and 10 boys. The Charleston paper gives 83 as 
her complement ; but the sentence of the court- 
martial expressly states, that " there remained 
only 15 of the Dominica's crew that were not 
either killed or wounded"; which number, with 
the unwounded purser and midshipman, and 
the enemy's amount of killed and wounded, 
makes 77. 

The Decatur mounted, according to the 
Charleston paper, six carronades, 12-pounders, 
and one long 18-pounder, on a pivot; "with 
103 men." The sentence of the court-martial, 
relying upon the evidence adduced, declares she 
had on board " 140 men." The Americans are 


in the habit of excluding the officers^ when com- 
puting the complements of their own vessels. 
Admitting the same plan to have been adopted 
in this case, the different prize-masters and other 
officers of the Decatur, might easily amount to 
37. But, to be below, rather than above the es- 
timate, the mean of the two numbers will be 
taken. Boys are seldom admitted on board 
privateers; and in this vessel, in particular, the 
crew consisted chiefly of desperate characters, 
who had been enured to their business, on board 
French West-India pickaroons. Two boys will 
be an ample allowance. 

Both these schooners were captured by British 
cruizers, before the war terminated; and the 
Dominica was again taken into the service. The 
size of each vessel, therefore, is accurately ob- 

Comparative force of the two schooners. 



Broadside-metal S long guns, 6 

in pounds, \ carronadt-.s, 104 


****"*> {S* % 


Size in tons, 217 







Here, in weight of metal, the British vessel 
was doubly superior; but the Decatur's long 
18-pounderhad caused considerable destruction, 
before the Dominica's shot could reach ; and. 


subsequently, the latter's guns were rendered 
nearly useless, by the privateer's excellent 
manoeuvres. Boarding immediately followed. 
Against such odds every human effort was una- 
vailable: still the enemy, with difficulty, cut 
his way through the little band, to the colours 
lashed in the schooner's rigging. 

The gallantry evinced on this occasion elicited 
praises from the enemy ; but that enemy was a 
Frenchman, So careful is the American naval 
historian not to indulge in this weakness, that 
he has substituted, — c< The resistance of the 
English was desperate," for all the commenda- 
tory expressions used in the French details. Mr. 
Clarke has also left out of his account, that the 
Dominica had boys in her crew, as well as that 
Captain Diron and most of his crew were French- 
men. Indeed, so fearful is the editor, lest his 
readers should discover the first-published ac- 
count to have been a translation, that he has 
substituted " cannon" for " artillery," and made 
other alterations, to place it beyond a doubt, 
that an American commander and crew effected 
the Dominica's capture. 

But the editor of the ' c Sketches of the War" has 
proved himself the most able historian of any. 
He calls the action of the Dominica and Deca- 
tur—" a brilliant attack made by a privateer 
upon a — large sloop of war"! — " No event," says 
he, (p. 203,) " probably, in the naval annals, 


furnishes evidence of a more brilliant and 
decisive victory, gained by a vessel, so infe- 
rior in size, strength, and armament, to her 

Captain Diron, to flatter the vanity of the 
Americans, and suit his own convenience, named 
his vessel the Decatur, and commissioned her 
at the port of Charleston. It is for the latter 
reason only, that the action appears in these 

On the morning of the 5th of September, 
while H. M. brig Boxer, was lying at anchor 
near Penguin Point, a few miles to the eastward 
of Portland, in the United States, the Ameri- 
can brig Enterprise made her appearance. Cap- 
tain Blyth immediately got under weigh to 
engage her; leaving his surgeon, two midship- 
men, and an army-officer, a passenger, on 
shore at a place called Manhegan, " shooting 

The action commenced about a quarter past 
3 P. M. and in the very first broadside, an 18- 
pounder shot passed through Captain Blyth's 
body, and shattered his left arm. The same 
broadside killed a marine and a seaman; and 
wounded several others of the Boxer's crew. 
Almost immediately after the loss of her gallant 
commander, the Boxer's main-top-mast was shot 
away. This enabled the Enterprise to take a 


raking position, and to maintain it till the con- 
test ended. No British official account of this 
action has been published. 

The Boxer was much cut up in hull and 
spars; and lost, besides her commander, 3 men 
killed, and 17 men wounded, 4 of them mor- 
laljy; total killed and wounded 21. 

The Enterprise suffered but little injury in 
her hull and spars. Her rigging and sails were 
a good deal cut. She lost 1 man killed, her 
commander, a midshipman, and 11 men wound- 
ed, the 2 first, and 1 man, mortally ; total 
killed and wounded 14. The American official 
letter describes no il slightly wounded." They 
may have amounted to a few more. 

The Boxer arrived on the North American 
station, with the usual armament of her class ; 
but her commander obtained, at Halifax, two 
additional carronades ; making her force, in the 
action, twelve carronades, 18-pounders, and two 
long 6-pounders. Gun-brigs are not allowed 
boat-carronades ; consequently, fourteen were 
all the guns the Boxer mounted. The American 
official account gives her no more ; but Mr. 
Clarke, depending more upon M Niles' Weekly 
Register," quotes from that: — " His Majesty's 
fine brig of war Boxer, of IS guns ;"' and again 
savs: — "Boxer, guns mounted 18." 

The Boxer had, on leaving St. John, N. Bruns- 
wick, a few days before the action, 71 men, @ 


boys, and a passenger ; total 78. Of these, 8 
seamen were absent in a prize ; and the passen- 
ger, surgeon, and 2 midshipmen, as stated be- 
fore, on shore at Manhegan ; leaving a residue 
of 60 men, and 6 boys. 

The prisoners received from the Boxer, ac- 
cording to the American papers, amounted, 
including the mortally wounded, to 62; making, 
with the 4 killed in the action, 66. To put this 
beyond a doubt, some American gentlemen 
sought for the party that had been left at Man- 
hegan. An Eastern paper gives the following 
as the substance of their information: — " They 
(the party on shore) gave precisely the same ac- 
count of the force of the Boxer as the other 
officers, and without communication with them. 
The crew of the Boxer, at the time of the en- 
gagement, according to their statement, con- 
sisted only of 66." \ 

The " Particulars of the action," furnished a 
newspaper-editor by one of the Enterprise's 
officers, stated that, out of " 115 picked men" 
the Boxer had, " when the action commenced, 
104." The official letter declared, that she had 
" between 20 and 25 killed." (App. No. 45.) 
Captain Hull, next, wrote Commodore Bain- 
bridge, that he, having cc counted upwards of 
00 hammocks," (two are generally allowed for 
each man,) had no doubt she " had 100 men 
on board ;" but found it " impossible to get at 


the number killed." To convince the bulk of 
the Americans, that the Boxer had but 66 men 
and boys, was therefore a vain task. The few 
moderate men who attempted it, were scouted 
as traitors or tones ; and even Mr. Clarke, the 
historian, takes the safe side. Although he 
would not acknowledge Lieutenant M c CalPs 
letter, as any authority for the number of guns 
mounted by the Boxer, he considers it unques- 
tionable, as to the number of her killed. 

The Enterprise mounted fourteen carronades, 
18-pounders, and two long- 9-pounders. One 
American journal, besides giving that as her 
force, states the guns, complement, and tonnage 
of the Boxer, with the utmost correctness. The 
complement of the Enterprise cannot be fixed 
with the same certainty as her guns. The com- 
mander of the British schooner Fly, captured by 
the Enterprise about 'the 26th of August, and 
carried into Portsmouth, N. Hampshire, says 
the latter sailed from that port in quest of the 
Boxer, Captain Burrows having received intel- 
ligence of her being on the coast, with part of 
her crew absent ; that she (the Enterprise) then 
added several volunteers to her original comple- 
ment, which consisted of 113 men, and 3 boys. 
Some American papers stated the Enterprise's 
complement as high as 125 ; others as low as 
102. The latter probably meant, exclusive of 
officers. The U. S. brig Viper, of only 12 guns, 


had 93 men ; Nautilus, of 14 guns, 106 men ; 
Vixen, of the same force, 130 men ; Rattlesnake 
and Syren, of 16 guns each, 131 and 137 men. 
The two last-named brigs had each 2 lieute- 
nants, besides her commander ; and so had the 
Enterprise. To avoid over-rating the latter's 
complement, let it be fixed at, including volun- 
teers, 120 men, and 3 boys. 

The Enterprise was originally a schooner; and 
her full dimensions, in hull, spars, and sails, as 
a schooner, appear in the M.S. memorandum- 
book, before referred to. (See p. Ill) Soon 
after the late war commenced, the Enterprise 
was cut in two, lengthened, (so as to have one 
more port of a-side,) and altered to a brig, at 
Washington. The Nautilus, captured by the 
Shannon, was also originally a schooner ; and 
was altered to a brig without being lengthened. 
By adding, therefore, to the Enterprise's origi- 
nal length, the distance between the fore-side 
of one of the Nautilus's ports, to the aft side of 
the next port, which is 8 feet 6 inches, we have 
the present length of the Enterprise. This 
makes her 245 tons; but several British officers 
who have seen the Enterprise, state that she is 
about 260 tons. The Nautilus's top-sides are 
nearly as stout as those of our first-class brigs : 
while the Boxer had only one timber between 
each port ; which made her top-sides pervious to 
every grape-shot that was fired. The spars of tho 



Enterprise will be considered as no larger, than 
those which the Nautilus had, when captured. 

Dimensions of the two brigs, 



Ft. In. 

Length on deck,from rabbit to rabbit, 



97 1 

Breadth, extreme, 



23 8 

Main-mast, jjjMj; 

L diameter, 




1 lOf 

Main-yard, {' en § th > 
r L diameter, 






This is the proper place to give an extract 
from the American " Particulars i" — " At 3 P.M. 
tacked, and bore up for the enemy, taking him 
to be one of his majesty's brigs of the largest 

None of the praises lavished upon the "fine 
brig of war Boxer," could gain her a place 
among the national vessels of the United States. 
She was put up to auction, and sold as a mer- 
chant-brig ; for which service only, (and that 
in peaceable times,) she was ever calculated. 

Comparative force of the two brigs. 


Broadside-metal in pounds,! 1, guns ' , ® 
r ' L carr. 108 

Size in tons, 

f men, 
i boys, 



— 66 



— 135 

— 123 


The superiority in weight of metal is trifling ; 
that in number of men, two-fold. Gun-brigs 
are allowed but one lieutenant, one master's- 
mate, and two midshipmen. The absence of 
the two midshipmen, the shameful defection of 
the acting master's-mate, and three seamen, 
(App. No. 46.) and the fall of her brave com- 
mander by the first broadside, rendered the 
Boxer's situation, at the very onset of the en- 
gagement, peculiarly unfortunate. On the 
other hand, the Enterprise, after her commander 
was wounded, had still two lieutenants, and four 
Or five midshipmen, left, to carry on the action. 
These circumstances considered, the disparity 
between the two crews, was even greater than 
the numerical difference, already so great. 

None but a novice in American history, will 
be surprised at the following paragraph in Mr. 
Low's book : — " The President of the United 
States, having considered the Boxer as equal in 
force to the Enterprise, has ordered her to be 
delivered up for the benefit of the captors." 



Pelican arrives at } and suddenly departs from Cork, 
in quest of the Argus — Discovers, engages, and 
captures her — Damage and loss of each vessel— 
Pelican's force in guns and men — American ac- 
counts of both — Argus's force in guns — Disman- 
tling and other curious shot — Argus compared 
in equipment with British gun-brigs and brig- 
sloops — Complement of Argus — Depositions of 
her officers — Size of each vessel considered — 
Argus's tonnage, by her officers' account — Cor- 
rected in their favor — Statement of comparative 
force — Remarks thereon. 

AT about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 12th 
of August, H. M. brig Pelican arrived at Cork 
from a cruize. Before the sails were furled, 
Captain Maples received orders to put to sea 
again, in quest of an American sloop of war, 
which had been committing serious depreda- 
tions in St. George's channel. By half-past 8, 
the Pelican was beating out of the harbour, 
against a very strong breeze, blowing right in ; 
accompanied by a heavy sea : a proof of the 
earnestness of her officers and crew. 

Fortunately, a fire of her own making disco- 


vered the U. S. brig Argus, at 4 o'clock on the 
morning of the 14th. in lat. 52° W N. long. 
5° 50' W. She made no attempt to escape ; her 
commander being confident, as it afterwards 
appeared, of taking any British brig of war, in 
" ten minutes." 

At 6 A.M. the Argus fired her broadside ; 
which, with three cheers, was promptly returned 
by the Pelican ; and the action commenced, 
within range of musketry. (App. Nos. 42 and 
43.) The firing continued with great spirit, for 
45 minutes ; (the mean of the two statements ;) 
when the Argus was boarded on the starboard- 
bow, and instantly carried, without even a shew 
of resistance ; although the master's mate of the 
Pelican, who led the party, received his death 
from the fore-top, just as he stepped upon the 
enemy's gunwale. Of this no advantage was 
taken ; but the colours of the American sloop 
of war were immediately hauled down, by 
the few of her own crew that had not run 

After having read the M Report of the court 
of inquiry on the loss of the Chesapeake,'' 
(App. No. 40,) the reader may naturally expect, 
that the sentence upon the loss of the Argus, 
contains a severe animadversion upon the pal- 
pable misbehaviour of her crew: instead of wliieh 
we are told, (App. No. 44,) that "every otticer 
and man of the Argus, (with the exception of 


one man, and one boy,) made use of every prac- 
tical exertion to capture the British sloop of war 
Pelican"; and that "every officer and man, 
with the exception before mentioned, displayed 
throughout the engagement, a zeal, activity, and 
spirit, in defence of the vessel and flag commit- 
ted to their protection". 

The American official account is remarkable 
for its precision. We have, — " 6. — 6. 4. — 6. 8. — 
6. 12.— 6. 14.— 6. 18.— 6. 25.-6. 30.— 6. 38.— 
and 6. 47 ; and each of these trifling intervals is 
so crowded with circumstances, that the reader, 
unless he takes the trouble to sum up the figures, 
rises with a conviction that this " gallant de- 
fence against superior size and metal," lasted 
two hours, instead of 47 minutes. 

The writer's precision did not extend to the 
manner of the Argus's surrender; nor to her 
force; nor to the Pelican's loss, or number of 
men, in the action; but the letter contains an 
excuse for the capture, as novel as it is ridicu- 
lous; no other than "the fatigue which the 
crew of the Argus underwent, from a very rapid 
succession of captures." — This " rapid" work 
consisted of twenty captures; all made on the 
same cruizing-ground, during a period of thirty- 
eight days. Nor was the labour of burning, an 
unprofitable one ; for the American govern- 
ment allowed a compensation for every vessel 
destroyed. — The " court of inquiry," in its over 


anxiety to save the national honor, has made a 
sad blunder. Not satisfied with * fatigue" only, 
it must needs add, " exposure'' ; which was cer- 
tainly very great, in the month of August. It 
was March when the court sat ; which may be 
regarded as some apology. 

Lieutenant Watson particularly dwells on the* 
unmanageable state of the Argus, in consequence 
of her " having lost the use of her after-sails.'' 
The reader, if he has not already done it, is re- 
quested to apply this part of the American offi- 
cial account of the Argus's capture, to the case 
of the Frolic, at the commencement of her en- 
gagement with the Wasp ; marking well the dif- 
ference, between what was carried away by shot 
during the action, and what had been carried 
away by a gale two days previous. (See p. 141.) 

On board the Pelican, two shot passed through 
the boatswain's and the carpenter's cabins. Her 
sides were filled with grape-shot; and her rig- 
ging and sails injured much. Her fore-mast, 
and main-top-mast, were slightly wounded, and 
so were her royals; but no spar was seriously 
hurt. Two of her carronades were dismounted. 
She lost one seaman killed, besides the master's 
mate, Mr. Young; and 5 seamen, slightly wound- 
ed; total 7: chiefly by the Argus's musketry and 
langridge; the latter to the torture of the 
wounded. Captain Maples had a narrow es- 
cape; a spent canister-shot striking, with 6ome 


degree of force, one of his waistcoat-buttons, 
and then falling on the deck. 

The Argus was tolerably cut up in her hull. 
Both her lower-masts were wounded, although 
not badly; and her fore-shrouds on one side 
nearly all destroyed: but, like the Chesapeake, 
the Argus had no spar shot away. Of her car- 
ronades, several were disabled. She lost in the 
action, 6 seamen, killed; her commander, two 
midshipmen, the carpenter, and 3 seamen, mor- 
taMy, her first lieutenant, and 5 seamen, severely, 
and 8 others, slightly wounded; total 24 : chiefly, 
if not wholly, by the cannon-shot of the Pelican. 

Like all the other brigs of her class, the Peli- 
can originally mounted 19 guns : sixteen car- 
ronades, 32-pounders, two long 6-pounders, 
and a 12-pound launch-carronade ; but, when 
at Jamaica, Captain Maples procured two brass 
6s, as standing chace-guns. In the action, these 
were pointed through the bow-ports; and there- 
fore could not be used upon the broadside. 

Although that " faithful record of events," 
the American ' c History of the War," was pub- 
lished three months after Lieutenant Watson's 
letter, giving the exact force of the Pelicau in 
guns, had gone the round of the American jour- 
nals; and although the title-page of the work 
assures its readers, that the contents have been 
" carefully compiled from official documents/' 
Mr. Low states the Pelican's guns at — tc twenty 



two 6-2-pound carronades, two long 9s, and two 
swivels." — Mr. Clarke had previously made the 
Pelican's " shot in pounds 660;" but he had 
seen nothing American to contradict it. 

The Pelican returned from Jamaica, in the 
spring of 1813, with 116 men and boys in 
complement. On the 20th of June, she received 
from the Salvador del Mundo, at Plymouth, a 
draught of twelve men and boys; but, depart- 
ing suddenly the next day, left behind eight of 
her best men, absent on leave. In the course 
of July, while watering, and occasionally an- 
choring, on the north-coast of Ireland, she lost 
six more of her men by desertion; and the se- 
cond lieutenant, who had gone on shore, had the 
misfortune to be absent, when the Pelican 
sailed from the coast. Her arrival at, and sud- 
den departure from Cork, upon the service 
which, in less than 48 hours afterwards, she so 
gallantly performed, has already been mentioned. 
It was no proof of that '* newly-acquired" cau- 
tion on our part, which the Americans, at this 
time, fancied was due to their prowess, that 
Captain Maples, with a complement of lol 
men, (including only 1 lieutenant,) and 12 boys, 
sailed out to engage an American sloop of war, 
whose number of men, as reported in all the 
public prints, was 150; and those picked sea- 
men. On the day of leaving port, the Pelican 
pressed 2 men out of a brig; and at a quarter 


past 2 on the morning of the action, which was 
about four hours before the Argus was in her 
possession, she pressed a third man, from another 
brig. The Pelican, therefore, commenced action 
with 104 men, and 12 boys: the former of no 
extraordinary quality, and of rather diminutive 
size ; and most of the latter under 13 years of age. 

Mr. Low, determined to man the Pelican equal 
to the armament he had given her, states that 
she had " 179 men, eleven of them volunteers 
for the occasion, from ships at Cork.'- — We here 
trace some confused account, of the draught 
which the Pelican received from the guard-ship 
at Plymouth. 

The Argus mounted 20 guns: eighteen car- 
ronades, 24-pounders, and two long 12-pound- 
ers. This is confirmed by the depositions of the 
two lieutenants and master of the Argus, taken 
before the proper officer at Plymouth. Yet Mr. 
Low says: — "Argus, sixteen 24-pound carron- 
ades, and two long 9s;" and the editor of the 
" Naval History" calls " her shot in pounds 
402"; which amounts to the same thing. Al- 
though, in the action of the Peacock and Hornet, 
the Americans advanced an opinion, that the 
facility with which 24-pound carronades could 
be worked and tired, rendered them about equal 
to 32s; yet the official letter adverts to the i( su- 
perior metal" of the Pelican, and the " court 
of inquiry," finds, among other " facts," that, 
t 2 


" in the number and caliber of her guns, the 
Pelican was decidedly superior to the Argus." 

When taken possession of, the usual descrip- 
tion of American shot was found among the 
Argus's stores; even bayonets lashed together 
with rope-yarn, to be discharged at the enemy! 
— The quantity of old iron (about 3 cwt.) and 
copper nails, shewed, at once, what had caused 
so much irritation in the wounds of the few 
British that suffered. 

After the editor of the u Sketches of the 
War," could call the Dominica schooner a 
" large sloop of war," he may be allowed to 
contrast the " American gun-brig Argus," with 
the *' British sloop of war Pelican." This inge- 
nious plan has suggested the idea of extracting 
from the " Naval Pocket Gunner," a work sanc- 
tioned by the office of ordnance, the proportions 
of some articles of gunner's stores served out to 
British gun-brigs, and brig-sloops of the Peli- 
can's class, for " foreign service," in the way of 
comparison with the gunner's stores found on 
board the Argus, and sold at public auction. 





















Strong pikes 

and ) 




Ufter a steady action of three quarters of an 


hour, the Argus had more powder left, than, by 
the above little work, was originally served out 
to the Pelican ; and the former's round, grape, 
and canister, exclusive of bars of iron, old iron, 
&c. weighed, at the sale, 22 cwt. 

The Argus's books contain the names, exclu- 
sive of runnings and discharges, of 157 persons; 
comprising 149 in *' complement," and 8 " su- 
pernumeraries," 7 of them described as having 
entered, in April, from the U. S. frigate Chesa- 
peake; the other a " deserter," at l'Orient. 
The Argus had carried thither from New York, 
(which port she left on the 21st of June,) Mr. 
Crawford, the minister to France, and his suite; 
but, as they all victualled themselves, their names 
do not appear on the brig's books. Besides the 
above 157 names, are those of 15 prisoners, taken 
out of a. brig the day previous to the action. The 
Argus had captured twenty vessels; of which 
Captain Allen destroyed all but five. He gave 
up two to the prisoners; and manned in 3; of 
which tvio were recaptured, and the third got 
safe into France. The two lieutenants and mas- 
ter of the Argus agree in deposing, that, at the 
time of her " capture," she had on board " 125 
officers and mariners." The standing interroga- 
tories of the court of admiralty, should be varied 
a little, to apply to cases of capture after action. 
Taking the officer's depositions in a literal sense, 
the Argus commenced action with 131 men; 


which admits 26 to have been distributed on 
board the three vessels (two brigs and a schooner) 
sent in, without reckoning the men stated by the 
British merchant-masters to have entered from 
their vessels; and which, after the unsuccessful 
issue of the action, would most likely be found, 
not among the crew, but among the prisoners. 
However, the number sworn to by the American 
officers, shall be considered as referring to the 
number on board at the commencement of the 

Keeping pace with his other assertions on the 
relative force of the Argus and Pelican, Mr. 
Low describes the complement of the former 
thus: Ci 94 men fit for duty, 5 sick, the rest ab- 
sent in prizes.*' — It must have been upon some 
estimate of this sort, that the "court of in- 
quiry" declared, " that the Pelican was de- 
r idedly superior to the Argus in the number of 
her crew." — No men were found " sick" in the 
Argus; but the whole 125 were at quarters in 
the action; and a finer set of men never was 
seen. Very few were less than six feet high ; and 
not a boy, in our way of rating them, was on 
board; but 3 will be allowed. About 10 or 12 
were belirvrd to be British subjects: the Ameri- 
ran officers, in theif depositions, swore the crew 
Contained none, to their knowledge. This may 
be one reASOn of the tenderness evinecd by the 
court of inquiry, as to the behaviour of the men 



at the moment of boarding. When the Argus's 
men were brought on board the Pelican, then 
was seen the contrast between the bodily strength 
and appearance of the two crews ; to which party 
humiliating may be easily conceived. 

After the prisoners had been divided, and a 
full third of the Pelicans crew placed on board 
the Argus, a strong breeze, and the unsupported 
state of the latter's fore-mast, induced the prize- 
master to bear up for Plymouth; while the Peli- 
can proceeded to report her proceedings to the 
admiral at Cork. In her way thither, she fortu- 
nately fell in with the Leonidas 46; which ship 
relieved Captain Maples of about 30 of his 
sturdy prisoners. 

The Pelican was built in 1812 ; the Argus, at 
Boston, in 1802 or 3, expressly for a government- 
vessel. The dimensions of the two brigs here 

Length on deck, from rabbit \ 

to rabbit, 
Breadth extreme, 


X length, 
X diameter, 
f length, 
\ diameter, 

Main-top-sail-yard, I S&JL 

\ diameter, 

\ diameter, 

Ft. In. 

30 9 

68 3 

1 10 

54 7 


38 11 



Ft. In. 

95 6 







« 8 




39 2 




So much for Lieutenant Watson's account of 
the '• superior size" of the Argus. It is true, she 
was a trifle shorter, and full two feet narrower, 
than the Pelican; but the tauntness of her 
masts, and squareness of her 3 aids, would make 
In r appear on the water, if any thing, the 
larger vessel. As her tiller did not traverse on 
deck, as on board our brigs, she carried her ports 
further aft than the Pelican; which enabled her 
to light, through them, one more gun of a side. 
The age of the Argus, and the number of vessels 
of her class in the service, prevented her being 
purchased by government ; although her qualifi- 
cations as a cruizer, called forth the following 
exordium from the editor of the " National In- 
telligencer" : — " She is admitted to be one of 
the finest vessels in the service of her class ; and 
the model of such a vessel, is certainly inesti- 
mable. " — But this was previous to her capture. 

After Messrs. Clarke and Low have shewn the 
Argus to have been but 298 tons, (her American 
measurement,) one makes the Pelican ¥ 485 
tons," the other " 584 tons." Mr. Lowe has 
certainly improved upon Captain Lcjoillt. 
(A pp. No. 3.) He thought of his opponent's 
guns only : the former has exerted his ingenuity 
upon guns, men, and size ; and not of one ves- 
m 1. but of both ; gaining as well by under-rating 
*>n one side, as by over-rating on the other. 


Captain Maples states the Argus at 360 tons. 
So he must have been informed by some one 
belonging to her ; for, what is remarkable, her 
two lieutenants and master all swore, that she 
was " about 350 tons." Of this, no advantage 
shall be taken, whatever surprise it may create 
in America; but the actual tonnage of the Argus, 
as measured by the dock-yard surveyors, be com- 
pared with the Pelican's. 

To every efficient purpose, the Argus was 
equal in size to the Pelican, and her top- 
sides were a trifle stouter ; but the great addi- 
tional breadth of the latter, swells her tonnage 
far beyond the Argus's. The reader must take- 
this into his consideration, when he comes to 
the relative size in tons. 

Comparative force of the two brigs. 


Broadside-metal in pounds, 1 ' &U1 s ' ofio 
l_cair. zoo 


Co m ple„,e„, (jj 5* 


Size in tons, 385 






Upon the face of this statement, the Argus, 
in broadside-weight of metal, was inferior to 
the Pelican by one sixth ; but, in complement, 
had rather the advantage : an advantage that 
would be greatly encreased, could we estimate 


by weight, instead of number. How, then, an. 
we to account for losing- only one man killed, 
during a close and furious cannonade of three 
quarters of an hour? The compliment paid to 
the Argus's commander by Commodore Decatur, 
is a proof it could not have been for want of 
disciplining the crew. (App. No. 19.) It would 
appear, then, that the Americans perform best in 
gunnery, when they have high odds on their side. 
How consolitary it is, to compare the con- 
dition of the least damaged of our captured 
sloops, with that of the U. S. sloop Argus. — 
She had, to the last, every spar standing; 
and, if we subtract the loss in killed and 
wounded, and the boys, from each side, there 
were, at the very moment when the Argus's 
colours were struck to the Pelican, 98 young, 
athletic Americans, opposed to 99 Britons, 
of various age and size. Nor was there, in 
this case, any frightened " bugleman" to make 
a scape-goat of; nor " British subjects" to ac- 
cuse of treachery ; nor could a deficiency of 
muskets, pistols, swords, or boarding-pikes, be 
alleged. Really, it would gratify us to be in- 
formed, in what consists that " moral and phy- 
sical superiority" of the American, over the 
British sailor; the panegyrics upon which, for 
nearly these lour years past, have so occupied 
tin- time, and so puzzled the brains, of the trans- 
atlantic philosophers. 



Description of Lake Erie — Captain Barclay ap- 
pointed to the command — List of his vessels — - 
Bui'lding of the ship Detroit — Difficulty and 
expense of equipping British vessels on the lakes 
— Captain Barclay receives a small draught of 
seamen — Ls forced to engage the American 
squadron — Details of the action — Lawrence sur- 
renders — The American commander shifts his 
flag — Lawrence re-hoists her colours — British 
squadron surrenders — Damage and loss on each 
side — Force in gmis, men, and size — Statement 
of comparative force — Effrontery of the Boston 
citizens and American editors — Commodore 
Perry\ and the engravers — Description of Lake 
Ontario — Sir James Yeo and Commodore Chaun- 
cey — Force of their respective squadrons — Sir 

f James captures the Growler and Julia — Ameri- 
can officer's account of that event — Statement of 
comparative force during each engagement — 
Commodore Chauncey convinced of his mistake. 

JLiAKE Erie is a lake of North America, situ- 
ated between 40° 50' and 43° N. lat. and be- 
tween 78° 50' to 84° W. long. It is about 260 
miles long from E. to W. and 40 to 60 miles 
broad. Its waters enter Lake Ontario by the 



river Niagara ; but the immense cataract of that 
name completely obstructs the navigation. The 
boundary line between the Canadas and the 
States of America, runs through the centre of 
the lake. 

In May, 1813, Captain Robert Heriot Barclay 
was appointed to the command of the British 
flotilla on this lake; an appointment which had 
been declined by Captain Mulcaster, on account 
of the exceedingly bad equipment of the ves- 
sels. With a lieutenant, and 19 rejected seamen 
of the Ontario squadron, Captain Barclay joined 
his command, towards the end of June; up to 
which date, the Lake Erie force consisted of the 
following vessels : — 

Queen Charlotte, 
Lady Prevost, 
General Hunter, 
Little In It, 


This was the state of his majesty's squadron 
on Lake Erie, twelve months after the declara- 
tion of war: not a seaman among them; and, 
if we except the soldiers and provincial officers, 

* Not afterward? heard of. 






Total j 



11 oi 280 





71 j 120 



20 ig 

39 74 





15 oo 




1 J :>4 





13 32 


108 160 

>208J 615 


(the latter included among the Canadians,) not 
one on board that could speak English ! A 
single sloop of war of the Americans would have 
captured the whole. 

All the before-mentioned vessels had been 
constructed to carry cargoes; one was now built 
solely for wan She was named the Detroit, 
pierced for 18 guns, and measured 305 tons. 
Although ship-rigged, as was also the Queen 
Charlotte, she was many tons smaller than some 
American privateer-schooners. (See p. 36.) 

The next difficulty was, to get guns for the 
new ship. For this, a neighbouring fort (Am- 
hertsburg) was stripped ; and 19, of four different 
calibers, obtained. It will convey some idea of 
the difficulty and expense of hastily fitting ves- 
sels at this distance from home, to mention, that 
every round shot cost one shilling a pound for 
the carriage from Quebec to Lake Erie ; that 
powder was ten times as dear as at home ; and 
that, for anchors, their weight in silver would be 
scarcely an over-estimate. 

But, were the Americans on this lake any 
better off? — In five days an express reaches 
Washington. It would, under the most favor- 
able circumstances as to weather and dispatch 
in office, take as many months to get an article 
ordered from England, or even permission to 
stir a peg out of the common routine of service. 
The American vessels were therefore completely 


at home ; while the British vessels were upwards 
of :J,.500 miles from home; penned up in a lake 
on the enemy's borders, inaccessible by water; 
and to which the land-carriage for heavy arti- 
cles, ordnance and naval stores especially, was 
most difficult and tedious. 

Early in September, Captain Barclay received 
a draught of seamen from the Dover troop-ship ; 
and many of these would have scarcely rated as 
ordinaries on board our regular ships of war. 
He had now 50 British seamen to distribute 
among two ships, two schooners, a brig, and a 
sloop ; armed, altogether, with 63 carriage- 
guns. It must have been the incredibility of 
this, that induced some of the British journals, 
in their accounts of the proceedings on this 
lake, to state " 150," instead of 50 seamen. It 
is asserted, on the express authority of Cap- 
tain Barclay himself, that no more than 50 
seamen were at any time on board the Lake Erie 
Hot i 11a ; the complements having been made up 
by Canadian peasants and soldiers, — without 
disparagement to either, — sorry substitutes for 
British seamen. 

The ships of the Americans, as their news- 
papers informed us, were equipped in the most 
mmplcat manner; and, through the same chan- 
nel, we learnt, that large draughts oi. seamen had 
repeatedly marched to Lake Erie from the sea- 
board. The best of rillemeu were to be ob- 


tained on the spot. What else was required, 
to render the American ships in these waters 
quite as effective as the best appointed ships 
on the ocean ? 

On the 9th of September, Captain Barclay 
was lying, with his little squadron, in the port 
of Amherstburg, anxiously waiting the arrival 
of a promised supply of seamen. Almost sur- 
rounded by hostile shores ; his people on half- 
allowance of food ; not another day's flour in 
store ; a large body of Indians, (whose friend- 
ship would cease, with the least abridgement in 
their accustomed supply,) close in his rear;— 
alike hopeless of succour and retreat, — what 
was Captain Barclay to do ? Impelled by dread 
of famine, and, not improbable, of Indian trea- 
chery too, he sailed out in the evening, to risk 
a battle with an enemy's fleet, whose force he 
knew was nearly double his own. 

At day-light next morning, the enemy was 
discovered to-leeward. The British commander 
bore up for him. The wind almost instantly 
changed, and brought the enemy to- wind ward. 
Thus had the American schooners, by a choice 
of distance, the lull effect of their heavy long- 
guns ; while the British carronades dropped 
their high-priced shot uselessly in the water. 

The Detroit, Captain Barclay's ship, was 
closely engaged, for two hours, with the Law- 
rence, Commodore Perry's flag-ship, supported 


by the schooners Ariel and Scorpion. The Law- 
rence then struck her colours ; and the Detroit 
ceased tiring; but, having only one boat, and 
that cut to pieces, she could not take possession. 

A short time before the Lawrence surrendered, 
Commodore Perry abandoned her, and repaired 
on board the Niagara ; which brig, from keep- 
ing out of range of the Queen Charlotte's car- 
ronades, had sustained but little damage. As 
soon as the Niagara advanced towards the De- 
troit, the Lawrence, which had now drifted out 
of reach of the latter's guns, re-hoisted her co- 
lours. Commodore Perry, in his letter, attempts 
to gloss this over ; but his countrymen are the 
only persons who do not consider it as a shame- 
ful proceeding. 

The Detroit, Queen Charlotte, and Lawrence, 
all suffered greatly, in hulls, masts, and rigging. 
The other vessels of the two squadrons were not 
materially injured. 

Our loss was severe. " Every officer com- 
manding vessels, and their seconds/' says Cap- 
tain Barclay, ' l were either killed, or wounded 
so severely, as to be unable to keep the deck." 
Captain Barclay had his remaining arm dread- 
fully shattered ; and was otherwise severely 
wounded. The British loss in killed and 
wounded, amounted to 135. 

Commodore Perry escaped without a scratch ; 
and the only officers he lost, were a lieutenant 


of marines and a midshipman. His total loss 
amounted to 123. (App. No. 55.) 

The guns of every vessel in the two fleets, are 
fully specified in the statement annexed to the 
British official account. It will there be seen, 
that we had 63 guns; of which 34, including 
those on pivots, were fought upon the broadside. 

The Detroit and Hunter had each guns of four 
different calibers. These guns were to be supplied 
with proper shot, and levelled at the enemy, by 
Canadians and soldiers, " totally unacquainted 
with such service ;" the few seamen dispersed 
among the vessels, having enough to do to attend 
to the navigation of them. 

The complements of the six British vessels 
consisted of 50 seamen, (including officers and 
boys,) 85 Canadians of all sorts and sizes, and 
210 soldiers of the Newfoundland and 41st regi- 
ments; total 345. How sensibly the loss of sea- 
men was felt, will appear by a reference to the 
evidence of the officers examined at the court- 
martial. (App. No. 61.) There it also appears, 
that the matches and tubes supplied to the ships, 
were so defective, " that pistols were obliged to 
be fired at the guns to set them off." — Never before, 
surely, did any squadron go into action, so 
wretchedly fitted out as Captain Barclay's ! 

Commodore Perry, in his letter to General 
Harrison, says : — " From the best information, 
we have more prisoners than we have men 


on board our vessels." (App. No. 57.) If this 
" best information" had not turned out wholly 
false, why, in a letter written two days after- 
wards, and commencing:, M 1 have caused the 
prisoners taken on the 10th instant to be landed 
at Sandusky," has he omitted to specify the 
number? — Not a word appears beyond the ex- 
torted admission, that there was " a number 
of Canadians among the prisoners, many of 
whom had families." (App. No. 59.) 

The American vessels mounted 54 guns ; of 
which 34, including those on pivots, were fought 
upon the broadside. The description of these 
guns, as given in Captain Barclay's statement, 
agrees with the American accounts published 
a iaw days previous to the action. Commo- 
dore Perry knew the advantage he should 
derive from merely enumerating the guns of 
the two squadrons ; and, in his " statement 
of force," (App. No. 59.) failed not to specify, 
that three of our guns were on pivot-carriages ; 
forgetting, apparently, that no fewer than four- 
teen of his own were similarly fitted. He had 
tried the relative weight of metal, and found 
it was two to one against hiin. The commo- 
dore, with his skill in figures, no doubt, can de- 
monstrate that, although an /American schooner, 
armed with twelve long /wo-pounders, would 
be, in number of guns, five times superior to 
a French schooner, armed, like the Porcupine, 


with one long 32-pounder and one 24-pound 
carronade, each on a pivot-carriage, the French 
vessel would, in reality, bedouble the force of the 
American. What have the British done, that a 
case of theirs, in principle the same, should be 
made an exception ? 

Commodore Perry, in his second letter to 
General Harrison, thanks him for the " timely 
re-inforcement" of the men he sent on board 
the squadron ; and assures him that, " without 
those men, the victory could not have been 
achieved." (App. No. 60.) As the number of 
these men cannot be obtained, the complements 
of the American vessels must be estimated with- 
out them. The Lawrence and Niagara were 
each armed the same as the sloop of war Hor- 
net ; and still rate the same in the navy-lists. 
Allow each brig to have had 20 men fewer than 
the Hornet ; and their respective complements 
would be 150. The Growler and Julia schooners, 
of two guns, taken from the Americans on Lake 
Ontario, had 40 men each. Allow the Caledonia 
brig, and the remaining six schooners of Com. 
Perry's fleet, to have had no more than 40 men 
each ; and we have, for the united complements 
of the nine American vessels, without reckon- 
ing General Harrison's "timely reinforcement," 
580 men, chiefly picked sailors and riflemen. 

The size of each of the British vessels has 
already appeared. Some opinion may be formed 


of the size of American brigs of war, by Com- 
modore Chauncey's letter respecting those built 
under his orders on Lake Ontario. (A pp. 
No. 65.) Y\ hen the Lawrence and Niagara were 
launched, the American papers stated them to 
be of the same size as the Hornet. Allow them 
to have been a few tons smaller, and call them 
450 each. Of two American Lake Erie 
schooners, subsequently captured by us, one 
measured 96, the other 86 tons. An average of 
90 tons, for the Caledonia brig, and six schooners, 
will be a very moderate allowance. 

The Detroit engaged her three opponents, the 
Lawrence, Ariel, and Scorpion, within pistol- 
shot distance ; so that the brig's heavy carro- 
nades produced their full effect. 13v way of 
excuse for that fine vessel, supported as she was, 
surrendering to a force so inferior, the American 
commander says : — " Finding their tire very de- 
structive, owing to their long guns, and its 
being mostly directed at the Lawrence, &c." 
(App. No. 58.) Who could infer from this, that 
one ship only had engaged i lie Lawrence; or 
that all the " long guns" in the British fleet, 
except two 12s, and a few of smaller caliber, 
were mounted on board that single ship? 

It is not a little singular that, had the Soiners 
made a fourth against the Detroit, and the Nia- 
gara, Caledonia, Porcupine, Tigress, and Trippe, 
been lying quietly at anchor in Put-in-bay, the 


broadside-weight of metal of the Lawrence, and 
her three assistants, would have equalled that 
of the whole of Captain Barclay's fleet; and, 
had the Lawrence and Niagara been the only 
American vessels on the lake, a superiority, in 
broadside-weight of metal, of nearly one third, 
would still have been on the American side. 

Comparative force of the two squadrons. 



in pounds, i carr. 264 

Broadside-metal H. guns, ]Q5 

Is, 1 carr. 


(" officers, seamen & boys 50 
Complements, j Canadians & soldiers, 2 y^ 


Size in tons, 865 


— 928 


Unabashed by this immense disparity, the 
hectoring of the Americans exceeded all bounds. 
Several years' experience had taught us, that 
Americans were not over-scrupulous in the way 
of commerce ; that is, that, while they were, 
ostensibly, fair neutrals, the cargo they were 
carrying would be enemy's property, their real 
destination a prohibited one, and all their pa- 
pers forgeries. But it was thought that a state 
of open war would improve their morals ; that 
honor, or common honesty at least, would break 
out by starts among them ; and that this work 
of reformation would begin with the eastern 
people ; as they were notoriously of a grave and 


pious habit. That two years of war had pro- 
duced not the slighest effect upon the " Boston 
citizens," they themselves took care to an- 
nounce, by presenting to Commodore Perry, a 
" massy service of plate," engraven with the 
following words :— " A very superior British 
force, on Lake Eric, was entirely subdued by Com- 
modore O. H. Perry."!! 

After this, nothing said by the southern peo- 
ple, the government-editors, naval historians, 
&c. can create any surprise. The " Naval Mo- 
nument" says t — '* The victory of Commodore 
Perry was the result of skill, courage and enter- 
prise, against superior force. Both the quality 
and amount of the force he had to contend with, 
ought to have given a triumph to the other 
side."— (Naval Mon. p. 89.) The M Preface" 
out-americans even this. It tells us of u the bold 
Nelsonian measure of breaking through the 
line ;" and insists, that neither Caesar in his 
famed letter, nor Nelson in his (by us thought) 
famed victories, are at all to be compared with 
the American Nelson, or the Nelson of all Nel- 
sons, — Commodore Perry ! 

It would be an injustice to the " History of 
the war," not to give equal publicity to Mr. 
Low's eloquence on this same interesting occa- 
sion. He says, at p. 119, — " Hitherto we have 
seen the enemy beaten ship to ship, but now we 
were to witness them fleet to fleet ; and a more 


decisive or splendid victory was never achieved. 
Compared with this all former naval victories 
lose their splendour; even the great Nelson, 
were he alive, must rank below Perry. — Nelson 
never captured an entire fleet ; Perry has, and 
that with a fleet inferior in size, weight of metal, 
and number of men."— Does the facetious Mr. 
Low want a precedent for the capture of " an 
entire fleet" ? — Let him turn to his friend Gul- 
liver. Not one of his Lilliputian fleet escaped. 
But Commodore Perry himself; how has he 
behaved in this business ? He calls his vic- 
tory a " signal" one. (App. No. 56.) Perhaps 
that word, similar to " clever," and some others, 
has a different meaning in the United States 
from what it has in England. Let that pass. 
Pass over also the concealment and equivocal 
tion observable in the commodore's details of 
the action. (App. No. 58.) We come, next, to 
his letter to " Messrs. Murray, Draper, Fair- 
inan, and Webster." (App. No. 64.) These 
engravers shewed him two views of the engage- 
ment, wherein the British, are represented 
much larger, and more fully armed, than the 
American vessels ; yet he, Commodore Oliver 
Hazard Perry, of the United States' navy, — the 
man whose " modesty" has been as extrava- 
gantly praised as his \\ valor," — has " no hesita- 
tion in pronouncing them a correct representa- 
tion of the engagement." He does this, too, in 
a common newspaper-puff! ! 


Lake Ontario is also a lake of North America ; 
about 600 miles in circumference. On its south 
side, it receives the waters of Lake Erie, by 
means of the river Niagara; the navigation of 
which is interrupted, as already stated. Near 
the S.K. it receives the river Oswego; and, on 
the N.E. its waters enter the river Iroquois: 
which river, at Montreal, takes the name of St. 
Lawrence, and flows into the gulf of that name. 
The navigation of this river is effectually inter- 
rupted by rapids and shoals, situate a few miles 
above Quebec. Our principal port on this lake 
is Kingston ; that of the Americans Sacketts Har- 
bour. The statements in Commodore Chauncey's 
long letters, respecting the operations on this 
lake, (App. Nos. 50. and 52.) have given rise, 
among the Americans, to very erroneous opi- 
nions as to the relative merits of that officer 
and Sir James Lucas Yeo, sent out to command 
against him, in the spring of 1813. Among 
Britons, Frenchmen, Spaniards, and Portuguese, 
gallantry and Sir James Lucas Yeo have long 
been associated terms. The fears of his friends 
were, not that he would decline fighting, but, 
lest his restrictive orders should not have been 
peremptory enough, to hinder him from altaek- 
Ing a force double his own. His ardor, like 
the gallant Barclay's, required to be checked, 
not stimulated. 

The first enterprise in which Sir Jamesengagcd, 
is fully detailed in his letter to Mr. Croker. 



(App. No. 48.) At this time, Commodore 
Chauncey, with a superior force, was lying in 
Sackett's-harbour ; waiting the equipment of 
the new ship General Pike. Towards the end 
of July, that fine ship being added to his squa- 
dron, the commodore left Sackett's-harbour ; 
and, on the 8th of August, Sir James discovered 
him, at anchor off Niagara. The occurrences 
that attended this meeting, will be better un- 
derstood, when the force of each squadron is 

British squadron on Lake Ontario; from the &th 
of August to the end of 1813. 


Roval George, 
Melville, B 

Moira, Sc. 

Sidney Smith, Sc. 
Beresford, Sc. 

Long guns. 



Guns. Compr- 








32s 24s 






































48 12 






Commodore Chauncey's letter informs us what 
vessels he had with him. Their force in guns, 
complements, and size, will be taken, partly from 
the American accounts, and partly from the in- 
formation of officers serving on the lakes, 
at the period of these operations. Sir James Yeo 
describes the enemy's squadron as " consisting 
of 13," he should have said " 14 sail." 

* On pivot-carriages. f One on ditto. 



American squadron on Lake Ontario, on the 8th 
of August, 1813. 

Long guns. 


























General Pike, 
Oneida, B. 
Hamilton, Sc.y 
Scourge, Sc.J 
9 other schooners, 















The Pike is described as a remarkably fine 
ship: the Americans themselves spoke of her, 
when she was launched, as equal in size to a 
British 36- gun frigate. She carried one of her 
24s on the top-gallant forecastle, the other on 
the poop; both mounted upon circular carriages. 
One of the Madison's 18s was similarly mounted. 

An attentive perusal of Commodore Chauu- 
cey's letter, (App. i\o. 50.) coupled with what 
Sir James says in his, (No. 49,) will shew 
which party was the most disposed to " avoid 
an action." At all events, Sir James's " long 
and cowardly manoeuvring," as an American 
historian calls it, enabled him to capture two 
schooners; having previously compelled two 
others to founder, in their over-strained efforts 
to avoid his tire. 

• On pivot.carriagcs. + One on ditto. § Two on ditto. 


The " United States' Gazette" of September 
6, 1813, gave a letter from one of the Ge- 
neral Pike's officers. The writer, having pre- 
viously stated the American force at two ships, 
one brig, and eleven schooners, says : — " On the 
10th, at midnight, we came within gun-shot, every 
one in high spirits. The schooners commenced 
the action with their long guns, which did great 
execution. At half past 12, the commodore 
fired his broadside, and gave three cheers, which 
was returned from the other ships, — the enemy 
closing fast. We lay by for our opponent, the 
orders having been given, not to fire until she 
came within pistol-shot, though the enemy kept 
up a constant fire. Every gun was pointed, 
every match ready in hand, and the red British 
ensign plainly to be descried by the light of the 
moon; when, to our utter astonishment, the 
commodore wore, and stood S. E. leaving Sir 
James Lucas Yeo to exult in the capture of two 
schooners, and in our retreat; which was cer- 
tainly a very fortunate one for him." 

No wonder, an order soon afterwards issued 
from Washington, that no officer should write, 
with the intention of publication, accounts of 
the operations of the fleet and army. Sir James 
could not have had his assertions more ably 
supported, than they were by the Pike's officer. 
The latter was mistaken, however, as to any 
" execution" having been done by the American 


squadron. The Growler andJulia each mounted 
a long 32 and 12-pounder, on pivot-carriages, 
with a complement of 40 men; which was under- 
stood to be that of each of the other schooners ; 
except the two which had upset. The captured 
schooners of course made no resistance ; although 
the American editors trumped up a story about 
their desperate defence; how they tore and 
ripped up the enemy, &c. 

The Pike's officer has described two other 
chases; differing chiefly from the last, in no loss 
having been suffered, or even shot rired. He 
says: — " We proceeded directly for Sackelt's 
Harbour; where we victualled; and put to sea, 
the next day after our arrival, August 14. — On 
the 16th, we discovered the enemy again; again 
hurried to quarters; again got clear of the tmnn/y 
by dint of carrying sail ; and returned to Sackett's 
harbour. — On the 18th we again fell in with the 
enemy steering for Kingston ; and we readied the 
harbour on the 19th. This is the result of two 
cruizes; the first of which, by proper guidance, 
might have decided in our favor, the superiority 
on the lake, and consequently in Canada/' 

This is what many of the American editors 
called, — "chasing the British commander, all 
round the lake/' — Commodore Chauncey, al- 
though he had lost four of his fourteen vessels, 
appeared in September with eleven sail; having 
brought out with him, the schooner Elizabeth, 


of about Ihe same force as the Growler or Julia, 
and the new schooner Sylph; mounting, at that 
time, four long 32s upon pivot-carriages, and 
four long 6s. This schooner was described by 
the Americans as upwards of 400 tons. She was 
afterwards converted into a brig. 

The details of the action of the 11th of Sep- 
tember, will be found in Sir James's and Com- 
modore Chauncey's letters. (App. Nos. 51 
and 52.) The latter says: " I got several broad- 
sides from this ship upon the enemy, which must 
have done him considerable injury, as many of 
the shot were seen to strike him, and people 
were observed over the sides plugging shot- 
holes." — The only shot received by the British 
fleet that wanted a plug, struck the Melville ; 
and that so far under water, that Captain Spils- 
bury had to run his guns in on one side, and 
out on the other, to enable him to stop it. 

Another engagement took place on the 28th 
of September. Commodore Chauncey, having 
the weather-gage, kept his favourite distance ; 
and one of his shot carried away the Wolfe's 
main-top-mast; which, in its fall, brought down 
the mizen-top-mast and cross-jack-yard. It was 
this, and not, as Mr. Clarke says, " a manoeu- 
vre of the commodore's,'' that " threw the 
British in confusion." Even with this great 
advantage, Commodore Chauncey would not 
venture within carronade range. Mr. Clarke, in 


describing this action, speaks of the M British 
frigate Wolfe"; upon which he had previously 
mounted " 36 guns." — Only two shot from the 
Americans did any material damage ; the one 
already mentioned, and another that struck the 
Royal George's fore-top-mast ; which fell, upon 
her anchoring. Mr. Clarke says : " Prudence 
forbad any further pursuit on the part of the 
Americans ;" and the editor of the " History of 
the War" adds: " The commodore was obliged 
to give up the chase; his ship was making water 
so fast, that it required all his pumps to keep 
her clear; and others of his vessels were much 
damaged. The General Pike suffered a consi- 
derable loss of men; among whom were 22 
killed or wounded, by the bursting of a gun.*' 
Other American accounts stated the commo- 
dore's loss in men, at upwards of 60 killed and 

It was therefore the damages and loss sustained 
by the American squadron ; and not the " British 
batteries on Burlington heights," — upon which 
not a musket was mounted, — that " obliged the 
commodore to give up the chase.'* The effect 
produced by Sir James's few long guns, gave a 
specimen of what his carronades would have 
done, had his opponent allowed them to be used. 

As Commodore Chauneey has asserted, that 
Sir James ll was so much superior in point of 
force, both in guns and men, and heaves a 


greater weight of shot," the reader may desire 
to see a statement of the comparative force of 
the two squadrons, in each of the actions. The 
Growler and Julia had been converted into trans- 
ports; (and were afterwards re-captured as such ;) 
and their guns mounted upon Fort Henry at 
Kingston : they, therefore, became no accession 
to Sir James's force upon the lake. The Sylph 
and Elizabeth, in Commodore Chauncey's squa- 
dron, replaced the Growler, Julia, Hamilton, 
and Scourge. The force in guns of the two 
first-named vessels has already appeared: the 
Sylph's complement may be stated at 70; the 
Elizabeth's at the number found in each of 
the captured schooners. 

Comparative force of the two squadrons. 




1st action. 

1st, 2d, and 3d 

2d and 3d 

Broadside metal f 1. guns, 91 7 
in pounds, \carr. 712 







— 1596 





Size in tons, 




This is " heaving a greater weight of shot" 
with a vengeance! — The immense disparity in 
long guns, accounts for Sir James's endeavouring 
to get the weather-gage; without which, his 
wary opponent would have hammered the British 
squadron to pieces ; and remained himself com- 
paratively uninjured. 


An event that occurred long subsequent to 
these transactions, leaves it doubtful, whether it 
was Commodore Chauncey's wilful exaggeration, 
or the highly-magnifying powers of the American 
glasses, that occasioned him so far to over-rate 
the size and force of the vessels composing the 
British squadron. — As soon as the proclamation 
of peace reached Sackett's Harbour, the com- 
modore, accompanied by some of his otiieers, 
went to Kingston on a visit to Sir James. The 
latter was ill in bed; but his first lieutenant, at 
the request of Commodore Chauncey, took him 
on board the several vessels of the squadron. 
When he came to the Montreal, and was assured 
that she was his old opponent the \\ olfe, he and 
his officers testified their surprise, and appeared 
almost to doubt the lieutenant's word; the com- 
modore himself declaring, that he took her for 
a vessel of twice the size and force. The Ameri- 
cans were next, to their equal surprise, shewn 
the brigs Melville and Moira; then named the 
Star and Charwell. Some one present, speaking 
of the events of 1813, observed, that the Pike 
alone, with the weather-gage, was a match for 
the whole of the British squadron : — it could not 
be denied. 



Phcebe leaves England-— -Is joined at Rio Janeiro 
by the sloops Cherub and Racoon — 'The ships 
arrive at Juan Fernandez — Captain Hillyar 
there hears of Captain Porter s depredations — 
Sends the Racoon to the river Columbia; and, 
with the Cherub, proceeds in search of the Essex 
and squadron — Phcebe and Cherub arrive at 
Valparaiso ; where they discover, and blockade, 
the Essex and Essex Junior— Both American 
ships make a feint of attacking the Phcebe, ichen 
alone — Phcebe chases them to the anchorage- 
Essex sails out — Is attacked and captured — 
Details of the action — Damages and loss on both 
sides — Force of the respective vessels in guns, 
men, and size — Statement of comparative force— - 
Remarks on Captain Porter s letter — His treat- 
ment of Captain Hillyar — Proceedings of the 
Cherub — Phabe and Essex arrive at Plymouth 
— Captain Porters prizes. 


IN March, 1813, H. M. Ship Phcebe 42> ac- 
companied by the Isaac Todd, letter of marque, 
left England, upon secret service ; which service 
afterwards proved to be, — to destroy the United 
States' fur-establishment upon the river Colum- 


bia, N. W. coast of America. Towards the 
latter end of June, the two ships arrived at Rio 
Janeiro: whence, each taking on board six 
month's provisions, they sailed on the 9th of 
July , in company with the sloops of war, Cherub 
and Racoon ; which had arrived there from Eng« 
land since February, and were now bound round 
Cape Horn, to protect the Southern whale-fish- 
ery. The Isaac Todd parted company before 
reaching the Falkland islands; and the three 
remaining ships arrived, in the middle of Sep- 
tember, at the island of Juan Fernandez. It 
was here that Captain Hillyar first heard of the 
depredations of the Essex ; as well as of Captain 
Porter's having armed three of the whale-ships, 
his prizes. This augmentation of force deter- 
mined Captain Hillyar, not to allow the Cherub 
and Racoon to seek the Essex, as they had already 
been doing at the island of St. Catharine's: he 
therefore provisioned and stored the Racoon, for 
the service upon which the Phoebe had been or- 
dered ; and, with her and the Cherub, set sail from 
Juan Fernandez, about the 291 h of September, in 
quest of the Essex and her three companions. 

On the 2d of October, a short distance to- 
windward of Charles' Island, (one of the Gali- 
pagos,) the Racoon parted company for Co- 
lumbia; and the Phoebe and Cherub, after ex- 
ploring the gulph of (iuyaquel, arrived at Lima 
for refreshments, in the middle of December. 


It was not until the 7th of February, 1814, 
that Captain Hillyar was so fortunate as to gain 
a sight of the Essex. He found her, in company 
with the Essex Junior, of 20 guns and 60 men, 
and three of her prizes, at anchor in the port 
of Valparaiso, South America. Captain Porter 
arrived there, for the first time, in March, 1813; 
the very month in which the Phoebe left Eng- 
land: — a most satisfactory proof, that the latter 
was not "sent into the Pacific for the express 
purpose of seeking the Essex." (App. No. 73.) 

At Valparaiso, Captain Hillyar took on board 
a supply of water and provisions; and com- 
menced the blockade of the American ships. 
After he had lain off the port about a month ; 
and at a time when the Cherub was between 
three and four miles to-leeward, the Essex, and 
Essex Junior, sailed out of the harbour together, 
and bore down upon the Phoebe's weather-quar- 
ter; the Essex firing at her. Captain Hillyar, 
resolving to engage the two ships, instantly stood 
for them; when they both put about, and ran 
for the anchorage: whither they were pursued 
by the Phoebe. This is an answer to all Captain 
Porter's hectoring about his having " endea- 
voured to provoke a challenge" ; and explains 
why the American officers forfeited the good 
opinion of the inhabitants of Valparaiso; many 
of whom witnessed the whole transaction. There 
are documents in existence; proving, on the, oath 
x 2 


of many respectable residents of the place, that, 
when the Essex did so fire on the Phoebe, she 
was nearer the port than when she was captured. 

On the 28th of March, the two American 
ships having appointed a rendesvouz at the 
Marqueses, and arranged every thing for escap- 
ing to sea the first opportunity, a fresh breeze 
from the southward drove the Essex out of the 
harbour. To the surprise of the British com- 
manders, whose ships were both under close- 
reeved top-sails, the Essex approached with top- 
gallant-sails set, over single-reeved top-sails. 
On rounding the outer-point of the bay, she 
braced close up, in hopes to weather the British 
ships, and escape; but, in the attempt, carried 
away her main-top-mast. Captain Porter now 
tried to regain the limits of the port: failing in 
that also, he dropped anchor, so near the shore, 
as to preclude the possibility of any ship pass- 
ing a-head of him. 

The wind blowing strongly from the direction 
in which the Essex lay, the British ships, instead 
of" having the choice of position," were obliged, 
the moment they paused her stern, to wear, to 
avoid gring on shore. About this time, a shot 
from the Essex, passed through soeral folds of 
the Phoebe's main -sail, as it was hauling up; 
Which rendered it unlit to set, with the strong 
wind then blowing. The main-stay was also 
cut through by shot, and the jib-boom wounded. 


The Phoebe, having encreased her distance, by 
wearing, and lost the use of her jib and main- 
sail, did little or no injury to the Essex until 
she closed her at 35 minutes past 5. Then the 
action commenced, in earnest; and continued, 
without intermission, until 20 minutes past 6; 
when the Essex surrendered. 

The Cherub, when the action commenced, was 
abaft the Phoebe's weather-beam; and after- 
wards used every exertion against the baffling- 
winds and occasional calms, which followed the 
heavy firing, to close near the Essex: without 
which, her battery, consisting, except one six, 
of all carronades, could produce no effect. 

As respects the duration of the action, Cap- 
tain Hillyar, with true nobleness of mind, read 
to Captain Porter, nearly the whole of his official 
letter; referring him to the minutes taken by 
his clerk, with a watch in his hand, while the 
engagement was pending. Captain Porter, ra- 
ther than avow this trait in his enemy, mentions 
the fact as a discovery of his own, thus : " Com- 
modore Hillyar, as / am informed, has thought 
proper to state to his government, that the action 
lasted only 45 minutes; should he have done 
so, &c." 

The assertion that the British fired for H about 
ten minutes" after the colours were struck, is the 
basest of all Capt. Porter's numerous falsehoods. 
The moment the flag of the Essex was seen moving 


from the mast-head, the Cherub ceased firing ; 
and Captain Hillyar ordered the Phoebe's fire to 
cease j and ran to the main-deck to see his order 
enforced. Towards the head of the ship, where 
the captain's order, owing to the confusion of 
battle, and the deafning effect of continued 
firing, was not immediately heard, three or four 
guns might have been discharged. This hap- 
pens in almost all actions; and Captain Porter, 
converting ten seconds into " ten minutes," has 
made it the foundation of his libellous attack. 

The Phcebe's injuries were trifling. She had 
a few shot-holes between wind and water; which 
were got at without lightening. Her main and 
inizen-masts, and her sails and rigging, were ra- 
ther seriously injured. Her first lieutenant aud 
3 seamen killed ; 4 seamen and marines, severely, 
and 3, slightly wounded, comprised the whole 
of her loss. The Cherubs larboard fore-top- 
sail sheet was shot away, and replaced in five 
minutes; several of her lower shrouds were cut 
through, also the main-top-mast stay, and most 
of* the running rigging; and three or four shot 
struck her hull No other damage did she sus- 
tain: although, in the engraving of the action, 
to be found both in Captain Porter's "Journal," 
and the " Naval Monument," the Cherub ap- 
pears with her fore-yard fa llivg on deck!! — One 
marine killed ; her commander, severely, and *2 
marines, slightly wounded; is all the loss which 


that ship sustained : making a total loss, upon 
the British side, of 5 killed, and 10 wounded. 

When the Essex was boarded by the British 
officers, buckets of spirits were found in all parts 
of the main-deck; and most of the prisoners 
were in a state of intoxication. This second 
proof (see p. 255) that " American sailors want 
no grog," accounts for the Phcebe and Cherub 
having sustained their principal injury during 
the three first broadsides. Afterwards, the firing 
of the Essex became very irregular ; and nearly 
all her shot went over the British ships. 

The upper works, masts and rigging of the 
Essex were much damaged ; but Captain Hillyar 
considered, that she might perform a voyage to 
Europe, far distant as it was, with perfect safety. 
" My ship," says Captain Porter, iC was cut up 
in a manner which was perhaps never before 
witnessed. The shattered state of the Essex 
will, I believe, prevent her ever reaching Eng- 
land." Yet his government was actually ashamecj 
to publish, c ' the boatswain and carpenter's re- 
port of damages," which accompanied the letter. 

The loss of the Essex, by Captain Porter's ac- 
count, consisted of 58 killed and mortally 
wounded ; 39 severely, and 27 slightly wounded ; 
and 31 missing: total 154. When the Essex 
was taken possession of, only 23 killed, and 42 
wounded, were found on her decks ; a loss per- 
fectly reconcileable with the injury her hull had 


sustained in the action, according to Captain 
Hillyar's, not Captain Porter's, description. 

The Phoebe mounted twenty six long 18- 
pounders upon the main-deck; twelve earron- 
ades, 32-pounders, an 18 and a 12-pound launch- 
carronade, (one on each side,) upon the quarter- 
deck ; and two carronades, 32-pounders, and 
four long 9-pounders, upon the forecastle; total 
46 guns. She had, also, one 3-pounder in the 
fore-top, two 3-pounders, (one on each side,) in 
the main, and one 2-pounderin the mizen-top. 

The complement of the Phoebe, on leaving Eng- 
land, consisted of 295 men and boys. So far from 
these being " picked men," the Phoebe, after her 
severe losses in the action off Madagascar in 1811, 
and by the climate at the reduction of Java, was 
completed, principally, with landsmen. In- 
cluding the volunteers from the Emily and Good 
Friends, lying at Valparaiso, the complement of 
the Phoebe, in the action with the Essex, consisted 
of 278 men, and 22 boys; making exactly 300. 

The armament of the Cherub consisted of 
eighteen carronades, 32-pounders, upon the 
main-deck; six carronades, 18-pounders, and a 
12-pound launch carronade, upon the quarter- 
deck; and two long 6-pounders upon the fore- 
castle; total 27 guns. She had, on the imj of 
the action, 102 men, and 19 boys; which was 
her full complement. Captain Porter has given 
her a complement of 180 " picked men." 


The Essex's armament has already appeared : 
(see p. 82 :) it only remains to state, that a quan- 
tity of bar and chain-shot, and several rifles, 
were found on board of her. Her complement, 
as it was just previous to her leaving the Dela- 
ware in October, 1812, has also appeared. Ac* 
cording to Captain Porter's " Journal," he left 
behind, 9 men sick ; which reduced his crew to 
319. Upon her arrival in the Pacific, the Essex 
re-captured the crews of some American whale- 
ships; and, during six months, captured ten 
other whalers, under the British flag; but partly 
owned, and chiefly manned, by Americans. The 
united crews of these Anglo-american ships, 
amounted to "302"; many of whom, as the 
" Journal" states, entered on board the Essex. 

As soon as the near approach of the Phoebe 
was bringing the engagement to a conclusion, 
and " Lieutenant-commandant Downes" had 
taken away, in his boat, all the wounded British 
subjects of the crew, Captain Porter " directed 
those who could swim, to jump overboard, and 
endeavor to gain the shore :" the distance of 
which did not exceed three-quarters of a mile. 
He gave this precipitate order, because ie the 
flames were bursting up each hatchway :" when 
not a trace of fire could be discovered by the 
captors; except some slight marks about the 
main-deck, supposed to have originated from 
the " explosion," not of " a large quantity of 


powder," but of some loose cartridges ; the 
natural consequence of a drunken ships com- 

Captain Porter describes the fate of those 
that endeavoured to gain the shore, thus: — 
" Some reached it; some were taken; and some 
perished in the attempt ; but most preferred 
sharing with me the fate of the ship." The 
number " taken," must mean the 16 saved by 
the Phoebe's people ; those that " perished in 
the attempt," the " 31 missing." The only dif- 
ficulty is, about those that " reached the shore. " 
Captain Hillyar believed that they amounted to 
20 or 30; but, if the Essex's crew, in general, 
felt as great a dislike to fall into the hands of 
the British, as the crew of the Hornet, when she 
was in danger of being captured by the Corn- 
wallis 74, there can be little doubt, that the 
majority of the unbounded men that remained 
in the Essex, were such as either could no! 
swim, or were incapacitated by liquor. 

Captain Porter, in his letter, written three 
months after the action, fixes the Essex's com- 
plement at 255; but he informed Captain 
Hillyar, withiu two days after his capture, 
that he had upwards of 260 victualled ; aud, 
at a subsequent day, that he went into action 
with 265. His clerk furnished a list of 261 
names ; but one of the Essex's officers observed 
to Captain Hillyar, that there were several men 


of the same name on board ; yet, in the above 
list, none such appeared. 

In that part of Captain Porter's letter, where 
he is describing his loss " after the colours were 
struck/' he commits himself completely. He 
says : " Seventy-Jive men, including officers, were 
all that remained of my whole crew, after the 
action, capable of doing duty; and many of 
them severely wounded, some of whom have 
since died. The enemy still continued his fire, 
and my brave, though unfortunate companions, 
were still falling about me. I directed an op- 
posite gun to be fired, to shew them we intended 
no further resistance ; but they did not desist : 
four men were killed by my side, and others in 
different parts of the ship." 

Without the means of enumerating those 
" still falling," or the " others killed in different 
parts of the ship," this account leaves 71, and 
<c many of them severely wounded," as the num- 
ber of " men, including officers," remaining in 
the ship, when possession was taken. But, 
what were the number of prisoners received ? — 
Leaving out the 16, saved from drowning, and 
the 49, found on board wounded, 103 men, with- 
out a scratch about them, were taken from Cap- 
tain Porter's ship ! 

It is of little consequence, whether the crew 
of the Essex consisted of 20 men more or less ; 
but, as some number must be stated, her com- 



plement will be fixed at 265 ; including 3 boys, 
properly so called. 

According to the representation of the three 
ships, in Captain Porter's drawing of the en- 
gagement, the Essex is about 400 tous less than 
the Phoebe, and about equal in size to the Che- 
rub. Fortunately, having the Essex in our pos- 
session, we have something better to trust to, 
than the disinterested pencil, or pen, of Captain 
David Porter. 

The dimensions of the Essex have appeared 
already. (See p. 83.) Those of the Phoebe and 

Cherub are here given : — 



Ft. In. 

Length of lower-deck, from rabbit") n 

to rabbit, | 142 9 

Breadth, extreme, 38 8 

Tons. Ft. In. 

108 4 

424 29 7| 

The Phoebe having been pronounced, in Ame- 
rica, "of superior force to the Essex," her force, 
singly, will be shewn ; as well as that of herself 
and the Cherub, jointly. 

Comparative force of the ships. 



Broadside-metal j 1. guns, 26S 
in pounds, \ carr. 242 

Con.plcn.en, {«£ »« 


Size in tons, 926 

Phoebe and 
















(not necessary.) 


During the action, the Essex Junior lay at 
anchor, about four miles to-windward ; in view 
of the whole. Had she ventured out, in the 
hopes to escape, and the Cherub been detached 
in pursuit, a second British and American fri- 
gate, tolerably matched, (the one with carro- 
nades having the weather-gage,) would have 
been left to themselves. 

Captain Porter says : — <( I must, in justifica- 
tion to myself, observe, that with our six 12- 
pounders only, we fought this action ; our carron- 
ades being almost useless." And this, although 
he had previously told us, that he " ran down 
on both ships, with the intention of laying the 
Phoebe on board ;" and was te enabled, for a short 
time, to close with the enemy." — He then again 
forgets himself, by stating, that the Cherub 
" kept up a distant firing, with her long guns;" 
when, by his own description of the Cherub's 
force, she had only one long gun in broadside. 

In short, the American official account of this 
action is become the scoff of all reasonable men. 
Yet, Captain Porter's ends appear to have been 
fully answered. When he landed at New York, 
he " was welcomed by the cheering huzzas of 
the populace, and conveyed to his lodgings, in 
a coach drawn by his fellow-citizens ;" and Mr. 
Madison, in his speech to congress, dated 20th 
September, 1814, utters the following rhapsody 
in his favour :— 


" On the ocean, the pride of our naval arms 
has been amply supported. A second frigate 
has indeed fallen into the hands of the enemy ; 
but the loss is hidden in the blaze of heroism 
with which she was defended. Captain Porter, 
who commanded her, and whose previous career 
had been distinguished by daring enterprise, 
and by fertility of genius, maintained a sangui- 
nary contest against two ships, one of them supe- 
rior to his, and oilier severe disadvantages; 
till humanity tore down the colours, which valor 
had nailed to the mast. This officer and his 
comrades have added much to the rising glory 
of the American flag ; and have merited all the 
effusions of gratitude, which their country is 
ever ready to bestow, on the champions of its 
rights, and of its safety." 

Every honest man must regret that this 
<e champion of rights" did not meet a British 
officer who knew him, rather than the mild and 
gentlemanly Captain Hillyar. The latter be- 
lieved, that an American naval officer was go- 
verned, like himself, by principles of honor ; 
and therefore became, in most of the transactions 
that succeeded the capture, the duj>e of the 
finished hypocrite, his prisoner. 

The Cherub sailed from Valparaiso on the 
10th of April, bound to the Callipai^os and 
Sandwich islands, in search of three of Captain 
Porter's prizes. To- windward of Owhvhee, 


(one of the Sandwich islands,) Captain Tucker 
retook the Sir Andrew Hammond ; on board of 
which he found Lieutenant gamble, of the 
United States marines, a midshipman, and six 
American seamen ; also upwards of 100 natives 
of the islands of Wooho. After landing the 
latter, Captain Tucker cruized for American 
whalers ; and, on the 20th of June, captured the 
Charon, a north-west trader. In the beginning 
of September, 1814, the Cherub again arrived 
at Valparaiso ; and, on the 16th of October, was 
joined by the Racoon; which had completely 
destroyed the American fur-establishment upon 
the Columbia. On the 30th of November, the 
Cherub, with her two prizes, arrived at Rio 
Janeiro ; and, on the 6th of May, 1815, at 

The Phcebe and Essex arrived at Rio early in 
September, and at Plymouth, on the 13th of 
November. The Essex proved a faster sailer 
than the Phoebe, especially in a strong breeze 
and heavy sea ; and, in spite of Captain Porter's 
predictions, both ships performed the passage 
home, through much bad weather, without the 
slightest accident. 

Let us now endeavor to trace what became of 
the 12 whale-ships captured by the Essex. On 
the 25th of July, 1813, Captain Porter dis- 
patched home the Georgiana, armed with 16 
guns ; manned with a lieutenant and about 40 


men ; and laden with " a full cargo of sperma- 
ceti oil, which would be worth, in the Lnited 
States, about 100,000 dollars/' She was cap- 
tured in the West Indies, by the Barrosa 42. 
The Policy, laden also with a full cargo of oil, 
was retaken by the Loire; and the ISew Zea- 
lander, having on board " all the oil of the other 
prizes," by ihe Belvidera. The Rose and Charl- 
ton were given up to the prisoners. The Mon- 
tezuma, it is believed, was sold at Valparaiso. 
The Hector and Catharine, with their cargoes, 
were burnt at sea. The Atlantic, afterwards 
called the Essex Junior, was disarmed by the 
orders of Captain Hillyar, and sent to America 
as a cartel. The Sir Andrew Hammond, was re- 
taken by the Cherub ; the Greenwich burnt by 
the orders of the American officer in charge of 
her ; and the Seringapatam taken possession of 
by her American crew. The mutineers carried 
her to New South Wales; whence she was 
brought to England, and delivered up to her 
owners, on payment of salvage. 

Thus have we the end of all the " prizes 
taken by the Essex, in the Pacific, valued at 
2,500,000 dollars ;" and, as another item on the 
debit side of Captain Porter's account, the Essex 
herself now rates as a 42- gun frigate in the Bri- 
tish navy. 



Gross libel upon the officers and crew of the Plan- 
taganet — President and Loire — United States, 
Macedonian, and Hornet, chased into New- 
London by the Valiant and Acasta — The port 
blockaded — Challenge from the United States 
and Macedonian to the Endymion and Statira — 
Accepted as to the Macedonian and Statira-~ 
American finesse on the occasion — Boston ac- 
count of the affair — Challenge between the Hor- 
net and Loup Cervier — Ballahou captured by 
the Perry- — Harlequin schooner — U. S. sloop 
Frolic falls in with the Orpheus and She Iburne — 
Surrenders without firing a shot — Shameful con- 
duct of the Americans after surrender — Court 
of enquiry on the officers and crew of the Frolic — 
Americans blamed for excess of bravery — Their 
opinion of the French and Spaniards — Three 
cases quoted, where French sloops have acted 
differently from the U. S. sloop Frolic. 

J. HE President sailed upon her third cruize, 
from Providence, Rhode island, on the 5th of 
December, 1813 ; and arrived at Sandy-hook, on 
the evening of the 18th of February: a period 
of- 75 days. Commodore Rodgers dates his 



official letter on the 19th, anc\ the following is 
its concluding paragraph : — " From the Dela- 
ware I saw nothing, until I made Sandy-hook, 
when 1 again fell in with another of the enemy's 
squadron ; and, by some unaccountable cause, 
was permitted to enter the bay, although in the 
presence of a decidedly superior force, after 
having been obliged to remain outside, seven 
hours and a half, waiting for the tide." 

This " unaccountable" story required some- 
thing to back it. Accordingly, the following 
more circumstantial account appeared in the 
" Naval Monument" : — 

" A private letter from an officer on board 
the President states : — " Situations in which we 
have been placed this cruize, will add lustre to 
the well-established character of Commodore 
Rodgers." — " After passing the light saw several 
sail, one large sail to-windward ; backed our 
main-top-sail, and cleared ship for action. The 
strange sail came down within gun-shot, and 
hauled her wind on the starboard-tack. We 
continued with our main-top-sail to the mast 
three hours ; and, seeing no probability of the 
74-gun ship's bearing down to engage the Pre- 
sident, gave her a shot to-windward, and hoisted 
our colours ; when she bore up for us, reluct- 
antly. When within half gun-shot, backed his 
main-top-sail. At this moment, all hands were 
called to muster aft ; and the commodore said a 


few, but impressive words, though it was unne- 
cessary; for, what other stimulant could true 
Americans want, than fighting gloriously in the 
sight of their native shore, where hundreds were 
assembled to witness the engagement. Wore 
ship to engage ; but, at this moment, the cutter 
being discovered coming back, backed again to 
take in the pilot ; and the British 74 (strange as 
it must appear) making sail to the southward 
and eastward. Orders were given to haul 
a-board the fore and main tacks, to run in; 
there being then in sight, from our deck, a fri- 
gate and gun-brig. The commander of the 74 
had it in his power, for five hours, to bring us, 
at any moment, to an engagement ; our main- 
top-sail to the mast during that time." 

" It was," says the editor of the Naval Mo- 
nument, " afterwards ascertained, that the ship 
which declined the battle with the President, 
was the Plantaganet 74, Captain Lloyd. The 
reason given by Captain Lloyd for avoiding an 
engagement, was, that his crew were in a state 
of mutiny." (Nav. Mon. p. 232.) 

This is a most atrocious libel upon the officers 
and crew of H. M. S. Plantaganet ; which ship 
had left Sandy-hook about a fortnight previous 
to the arrival of Commodore Rodgers. Scarcely 
a ship in the service was so well manned as the 
Plantaganet. In proof of this, Captain Lloyd 
had a boat's crew, of 27 men, taken in the Chesa- 
y 2 


peake ; and neither promises, threats, nor ill- 
usa<*e, could induce one of them to desert. So 
sensible were the lords of the admiralty of the 
good behavior of these men, that they had all 
special leave granted ; and the coxswain was pro- 
moted. This is the crew that the editor of the 
* f Naval Monument" says, " were in a state of 
mutiny." — Nay, the editor of the " Sketches of 
the War" clinches the whole, by stating, that 
44 Captain Lloyd, after returning to England, 
accounted for his counduct, by alleging a mu- 
tiny in his ship ; and had several of his sailors 
tried and executed upon that charge" ! ! 
. Although the world at large, and the reflect- 
ing part of the American people, treat the thing 
as a gasconading puff, it still stands recorded 
among the archives at Washington, that a Bri- 
tish 74-gun ship declined engaging an American 
frigate. What, then, was the British ship which 
was cruizing off the Hook, when the President 
arrived there ? — The Loire, of 46 guns, Captain 
Brown. This ship chased the President, till 
she got close in ; when Captain Brown, having 
an eye to the batteries at Sandy-hook, and the 
gun-boats which, he knew, were stationed within- 
side, hove-to. The Loire's crew, at this time, 
being reduced by manning prizes, to 130 men, 
and 20 boys, — 40 of the former unable, from 
sickness, to attend their <|iinrters,-r-none but a 
madman would have thought of fighting such a 


ship as the President. Fortunately for the Loire, 
Commodore Rodgers, with all his boasting, was 
less anxious to give battle, than to reach New 
York in safety. 

On the 31st of May, 1813, the U. S. ships 
United States, Commodore Decatur, Macedo- 
nian, Captain Jones, and Hornet, Captain Bid- 
die, all provisioned and stored for a cruize in 
the East Indies, left New York through Long- 
Island Sound ; the Sandy-hook passage being 
blockaded by a British force. 

On the 1st of June, just as the three ships 
were clearing the sound, H. M. S. Valiant and 
Acasta hove in sight, and chased them back to 
New London: a little town situate on the river 
Thames, about three miles from the Sound, and 
containing from 5 to 6000 inhabitants. It had, 
at this time, one fort, and an excellent site for 
another; but, no means of successfully opposing 
the British 74 and frigate, could they have run 
in with safety. The United States and Hornet 
were compelled to start their water, and throw 
over-board a part of their provisions, to lighten 
them. A few shot were exchanged between the 
Acasta and United States. The British ships had 
no pilots on board, acquainted with the sound. 
Owing to this, they chased with much less effect ; 
and were compelled to cast anchor oft' Gardner's 
island, 12 miles from New London. 


For several weeks previous to this event, the 
New York and Boston papers had been filled with 
panegyrics on their " naval heroes ;" whose va- 
lor, they had depicted as impetuous, amounting 
almost to rashness. Some of the papers, as if a 
little ashamed of what they had said, added •■ a 
razee" to the two British ships : and gave that 
as a reason why the commodore suffered his 
squadron to be chased into New London. But 
a letter, published in one American paper, and 
dated " Hartford, June 2," says : — >" An express 
arrived this morning to the governor, stating, 
that Commodore Decatur, in the United States, 
with the Macedonian and Hornet, were yester- 
day chased into New London, by a British 74 
and frigate." 

After having blockaded the American squa- 
dron upwards of six months, the Valiant and 
Acasta were relieved by the Ramillies 74, En- 
dymion 50, and Statira 46, under the command 
of Sir Thomas M. Hardy. 

Tired out at length with his confinement, and 
the force now before New London happily ex- 
cusing him, in the opinion of all, from venturing 
to cut his way out, Commodore Decatur resolved 
to put in practice a literary stratagem; one thai, 
even in its failure, should redound to his advun- 
tag< ; by wiping off the impression of luke- 
warmness, which so many months of forbearance 
had, in some degree, attached to his character. 


An excuse soon offered, for sending a " pro- 
position for a contest" to the British command- 
ing officer. (App. No. 67.) That it was beneath 
both Commodore Pecatur's and Captain Jones's 
dignity, to challenge an equal force, is made to 
appear upon the face of the " proposition" itself. 
This " bold measure," in all its " rashness," was 
hawked about the Union for months afterwards ; 
nor did it escape the American public, how 
scrupulous the commodore was, to notice his 
own " boat-gun," while he did not, seemingly, 
(although he did, in truth,) compute the " boat- 
gun" of the Endymion. 

Persons, desirous to draw a parallel between 
the challenge which Captain Broke transmitted 
to Captain Lawrence, and that sent six months 
afterwards, by Commodore Decatur to Captain 
Hope, will ask: — " Where is the clear statement 
of broadside-force in guns, which is given in the 
former? — and why did Captain Broke enu- 
merate, and Commodore Decatur wholly omit, 
the complement of his ship?" — The answer is 
obvious. Because it would then have appeared, 
that the United States was, in guns and men, 
nearly one-fourth superior to the Endymion ; 
and no credit be gained by the challenging 

Anxious as Captain Hope was to meet the 
United States, Sir Thomas Hardy would not 
consent to it ; but had no hesitation whatever 


in permitting the Statira to meet the Macedo- 
nian ; as they were sister-ships, carrying the 
same number of guns, and weight of metal. — 
(Api>. No. 68.) 

Captain Stackpoole's letter is written in the 
true spirit of a British sailor. He corrects the 
commodores mistake about the Statira mount- 
ing 50 guns ; and adds : " In number of men, 1 
am aware of having a superiority to oppose : all 
J request is, that both ships may quickly meet.'' 
(App. No. 67.) 

The second paragraph of Commodore Deca- 
tur's reply to Sir Thomas Hardy, is as artfully, 
as it is ambiguously, expressed. (App. No. 69.) 
Why include the " Statira* and "Macedonian" 
as a part of " the proposition for a contest de- 
clined" by Sir Thomas? — And "declined in 
consequence of,'* — not " the decided inferiority 
of the Endymion," but, " your entertaining a dif- 
ferent opinion on this subject from my own.'* — 
Thus virtually saving : " 1 do not credit your 
statement of the Kndymion's force; nor is that 
you have given of mj ship's iorce, at all cor- 

It is amusing to see, how warily the commo- 
dore proceeds in his letter. He had, he says, 
conscntedlhat the complements of the Endymion 
and Statira should be made up from the Ramil- 
licsand Borer; and kl was induced to accord this 
indulgence, from a supposition that their crews 


might have been reduced by manning prizes, 
and a hope that, as the selected men would be 
divided between the two ships, the advantage 
would not be overwhelming." — What " indul- 
gence" was there, in allowing the two British 
ships to have their " complements made up" ? 
Were not the complements of the United States 
and Macedonian " made up" ? — The Endymion's 
full complement, in men and boys, was 350 ; 
that of the Statira, 315 ; including 45 or 50 boys 
between them. The United States had a crew 
of 480 ; and the Macedonian 440, at least ; in- 
cluding not 10 boys between them. Here then 
were 665 British, and 920 Americans ; and yet 
Commodore Decatur only hoped " the advantage 
would not be overwhelming." 

His excuse about the Statira, alone, availing 
herself of his " concession," can best be answered 
by the following question. — Was not the Con- 
stitution, with 475 men on board, lying in Bos- 
ton, when Captain Broke challenged Captain 
Lawrence ; and did the former make any stipu- 
lation to prevent the latter, if he chose, from 
taking on board the Chesapeake, in addition to 
her regular complement, the whole crew of the 
Constitution ? 

Commodore Decatur then cuts the matter 
short, by objecting to the guarantee ; although 
two British officers had pledged their honors in 
support of it. _ (A pp. Nos. 67 and 70.) Perhaps 


the commodore wanted the Endymion to be sent 
into New London as a hostage. At all events, 
he flatly declined permitting the Macedonian 
to meet the Statira. 

Thus ended this vaporing affair. It afforded 
materials for many swaggering paragraphs. 
Captain Jones, it is asserted, actually ha- 
rangued his men upon the occasion ; pretending 
to lament the loss of so fine a ship ; which, he 
assured them, would have been their prize in a 
very short time. He had likewise the hardihood 
to tell them, that it was all owing to the refusal 
of the British, who were afraid to contend with 
Americans upon equal terms/ 

This was previous to the appearance in print 
of the whole correspondence. As soon as, by 
the contrivance of the British officers, (who were 
disgusted with the gross mistatements of the 
Americans,) the letters were published in a Bos- 
ton paper, the New London " heroes" bit their 
lips with vexation. Notwithstanding the publi- 
cation of the letters, however, a Boston work, 
entitled " The Massachuset's Manual ; or, Po- 
litical and Historical Register, for the Political 
Year from June, 1814, to June, 1815," contains, 
under the head of U Tablet of memory," the 
following account of this challenge: — 

" January 17, 1814. The British frigates 
Statira and Endymion, off New London, were 
challenged by Commodore Decatur to tight the 


United States and Macedonian American fri- 
gates, but declined accepting it." 

From the established gallantry of Captain 
Stackpoole, the high discipline of the Statira's 
men, and their exemplary behaviour at that ship's 
loss, on a subsequent day, there can be little 
doubt that, had she and the Macedonian met 
in single combat, that fine frigate would not 
now wear at her peak the stripes of America. 

After this business was broken off, a verbal 
challenge passed between the commanders of the 
Hornet and Loup Cervier, late American Wasp. 
The latter vessel soon afterwards foundered at 
sea, and every soul on board perished : nothing- 
respecting this challenge has therefore been 
made public on our side. The American " Porte- 
folio," for November, 1815, in which the " Life 
of Captain James Biddle" is given, contains some 
account of it. It is there stated, that " Captain 
Mends, of the Loup Cervier, said, that, if Cap- 
tain Biddle would inform him of the number of 
souls he commanded, Captain Mends pledged 
his honor to limit his number to the same ;" but 
that <£ Commodore Decatur would not permit 
Captain Biddle to acquaint Captain Mends with 
the number of his crew, and meet him on the 
terms stated ; because, it was understood that, 
in that case, the Loup Cervier would have a 
picked crew from the British squadron." What 
do we gather from this? — Why, that the Ame- 


ricans, with all " picked men" on their side, 
were afraid to meet an equal number of British, 
because they might have " picked men" on their's. 

Commodore Decatur's amended proposition 
was: "That the Hornet shall meet the Loup 
Cervier, under a mutual and satisfactory pledge, 
that neither ship shall receive any additional 
officers or men; but shall go into action with 
their original crews respectively." Was this 
fair, or not? — The Hornet's "original crew" 
was 170, including about 3 boys; the Loup 
Cervier's " original crew," 121 men, including 
18 boys. — So that, deducting the boys, the num- 
bers would stand : — Americans 167 ; British 103 ; 
— an " overwhelming" superiority in earnest! 

To shew the world how little disposed Ameri- 
cans were, when contending with an enemy, to 
have a superior force, Captain Biddle ottered to 
take away 9 of the Hornet's guns, to make her's 
equal in uumber to the Loup Cervier's. Captain 
Mends considered the 2 guns as an " advantage" 
not worth his notice: it was the immense supe- 
riority in men, that he wished to have reduced. 
The American account concludes with express- 
ing a surprise that, after such " fair terms" had 
been ottered, the British vessel should quit the 
station without fighting. 

II. M. schooner Ballahou, Lieutenant Norfolk 
King, in the early part of 1814, fell in with the 


American privateer schooner Perry; and, the 
American account says, " after a chase of 60 
minutes, 10 of which they closely engaged/' was 
captured. No British official account of this 
action has appeared ; nor is it known what loss 
was sustained on either side. The prize was 
carried into Wilmington, N. Carolina. 

The Ballahou's original armament consisted 
of six carronades, 12-pounders ; but, according 
to the American papers, only two of these were 
mounted; the remainder having been placed 
in the hold on account of bad weather. In a 
subsequent American prize-list, however, the 
Ballahou appears with " 10 guns." Her com- 
plement consisted of 20 men and boys. The 
Perry mounted 5 guns, one, a long 18 or 24- 
pounder upon a pivot ; and had a complement, 
as it is stated, of 80 men. The Ballahou was 
only 74 tons: the Perry said to be 180, Ameri- 
can measurement. 

\\ hat formidable vessels the Americans send 
to sea, rigged as schooners, may be seen from 
the force and dimensions of a schooner carried 
into Halifax N. S. towards the end of the war. 

The Harlequin privateer-schooner, just after 
leaving Portsmouth N. Hampshire, upon her 
first cruize, mistook the Bulwark 74 for a mer- 
chant-man ; and got too close to effect her es- 
cape. She mounted ten long 12-pounders, with 
Rouble sights to every gun ; and had a comple- 


ment of 115 men. She was pierced for 18 guns; 
and had bulwarks a trifle stouter, and 4 inches 
higher, than those of our first-class brigs. 

Had the Harlequin been purchased into our 
service, and commissioned as a king's schooner, 
every one of her ports (except the bow-ports) 
would have been filled with guns; and her com- 
plement reduced from 115 men, to 65 or 70 men 
and boys. This forms the most essential diffe- 
rence in the regulations of the two navies. 

Dimensions of the Harlequin, Am. schooner. 

Ft. In. 

Length on deck, from\ 10 _ ~ 

rabbit to rabbit, J 

Breadth, extreme, 26 10 f 3 

Depth in hold, 12 1 If 

xi • * f length, 84 

Main-mast, { ,• ° ' Z ~ 

9 \ diameter, 2 

Fore-yard, length, 64 


There were, during the war, several American 
privateer-schooners, larger, and of greater force 
in men, than the Harlequin. Considering the 
facility with which a schooner can gain the wind 
of a sqnare-rigged vessel, what gun-brig of the 
Boxer's class, could have hoped to capture such 
a vessel as the Harlequin; admitting that the 
latter had been enterprising enough to engage? 

The U. S. ship Frolic, Captain Joseph l'ain- 
bridge, sailed from Portsmouth, IS'. Hampshire* 


on a cruize, early in February 1814. The fol- 
lowing extract from the journal of an officer of 
H. M. schooner Shelburne, gives a detailed ac- 
count of her capture. 

" H. M. ship Orpheus and schooner Shel- 
burne in company, in latitude 24° 12' N. longi- 
tude 81° 25 / W. — At day-light on the morning 
of the 20th of April, 1814, being close-hauled 
on the larboard-tack, with a moderate breeze 
from the eastward, observed a strange sail on the 
weather-bow, standing towards us. The cut of 
her sails soon shewed her to be a man of war ; 
and their whiteness, that she was American. 
Both vessels made all sail in chase. At 6. 45. 
the chase took in her studding-sails ; and hauled 
to the wind on the starboard-tack; she shortly 
afterwards tacked, crossed royal yards, and 
made signals, with which we were unacquainted. 
We immediately hoisted an American ensign and 
pendant ; as did the chase, a short time after- 
wards. At 9. 30. saw the N. E. part of the 
island of Cuba, bearing about S. E. The chase 
continued standing by the wind, with the hope 
(as we afterwards understood) of gaining Ma- 
tanzaBay; but, finding she was to-leeward of 
her port, the Orpheus well on her lee-quarter, 
and the Shelburne on the weather, at 12. 20. the 
chase again tacked; passing to-windward of the 
Orpheus, on opposite tacks, at a little more than 
gun-shot distance; as appeared by the latter, 


when the chase was on her weather-beam, firing 
two shot; neither of which quite reached her. 
As soon as the chase had tacked as above, the 
wind considerably freshened ; and she now threw 
overboard her larboard guns ; to enable her to 
carry more sail. After the chase had passed the 
Orpheus on the contrary tack, the Shelburne, 
having a decided advantage in sailing, kept 
away to cut her off; which the chase, discover- 
ing, kept away across the Orpheus's bows, and 
set studding-sails; hoping, by that means, to 
reach the Havannah before the chasing vessels 
could come up with her. But, rinding that we 
had a much greater advantage free than by the 
wind, and the chase having considerably closed 
the Orpheus, she, at 1. 45. P. M. hauled down 
her colours, without firing a shot." 

The prize proved to be the U. S. ship Frolic, 
commanded by Master- commandant, Joseph 
Bainlnidge. (App. No. 75.) She mounted, 
when the two shots were fired at her by the Or- 
pheus, twenty carronades, 32-pounders, and two 
long 18s; but afterwards threw overboard ten 
carronades, and one long gun. She had a com- 
plement of 171 men; young, hale, and athletic. 
She had three lieutenants, and a lieutenant of 
marines; and is a sister-ship to the American 
Peacock, Wasp (2), Argus, (burnt at Washing- 
ton,) Ontario, and Brie. Her full dimensions 
will be given at a subsequent page. 


This gentle surrender was, according to the 
report of the British officers, attended with a 
circumstance fully as disgraceful to the Frolic's 
officers and crew. The locks of the great guns 
were broken, muskets, pistols, pikes, swords, bar 
and chain shot, &c. were thrown overboard; to- 
gether with the pendant that was struck! A 
Nassau paper, of the 25th of April, adds: " The 
purser's store-room was next sacked; then the 
men got into the gun-room and the captain's 
cabin, and pillaged them. In short, the ship, 
we are told, bore the semblance of a town 
given up to the pillage of soldiery." 

Perhaps these gentlemen were determined 
that, as their ship had not behaved like a man 
of war, they would destroy all appearance of her 
having been one. Certainly, such a surrender 
of a public vessel is unparalleled in the history 
of nations. 

The American " Naval Monument" ascribes 
the Frolic's not firing, to " her armament hav- 
ing been thrown overboard in the chase ;" and 
adds: — " By this event, we have lost a fine ves- 
sel, and a gallant crew, but we have lost no ho- 
nor." (Nav. Mon. p. 238.)— Of the same way 
of thinking, appeared the court of inquiry that 
sat upon the Frolic's loss ; as her officers and 
crew were " honorably acquitted." — " Bravery 
of enterprise," says the above American work, 
(p. 9,) " certainly belongs, in common, to all 


our captains; the oldest at their head, who 
bearded the lion in his den. They have even 
been blamed for excess in this particular." ! 

A reference to the innumerable instances in 
our own naval records, where a much greater 
disparity of force than existed between the 
American ship Frolic and her captors, has not 
deterred a British commander and crew from 
doing their utmost to capture or cripple the 
enemy, might be deemed ostentatious. Suffice 
it, that no solitary instance can be found, where 
a British ship of war has behaved like the 
American ship of war Frolic. 

In the height of their zeal to praise them- 
selves, the Americans have treated, in a manner 
bordering on ridicule, the naval character of 
the French and Spaniards; thereby wishing to 
have inferred, that our victories at sea over the 
two latter powers, were, at all times, cheaply 
obtained. Captain Schombtrg's work contains 
many proofs to the contrary; and even, of 
French national vessels having resisted bravely, 
against double their force. As many as three 
cases, all, in some respects, similar to the pre- 
sent, will here be quoted: 

1st case. l t)n the '20th (August, 1797,) Cap- 
tain Thomas YYoolley, in the Arethnsa, of 38 
(mounting 44) guns, on his passage from the 
"West Indies, fell in with, and after an action of 
half an hour, captured la Gaiete, French cor-< 


tette, of 20 guns, and 186 men ; commanded by 
M. Guiene, enseigne de vaisseau. A French 
armed brig, l'Espoir of 14 guns, was in com- 
pany with laGaiete, but kept to-windward dur- 
ing the action ; when, seeing the fate of her 
companion, she made off. The enemy had 2 
men killed, and 8 wounded. The Arethusa, 1 
seaman killed, and 3 wounded." (Schomberg's 
Nav. Chronol. vol. iii. p. 39.) 

2d case. " On the 23d (January, 1798,) Cap- 
tain Graham Moore, in the Melampus of 36 
(mounting 42) guns, being on a cruize to the 
westward, fell in with, and after a short, but 
close action, captured la Volage, French cor- 
vette, fitted out by the merchants of Nantz, 
mounting twenty 9-pounders, two 18-pounders, 
and 195 men; commanded by M. Desageneaux, 
captain of a frigate. She had 4 men killed, 
and 8 wounded. The Melampus, 2 mortally 
wounded, and 2 more, dangerously." [Schom- 
berg, same vol. p. 96.) 

3d case. " On the 5th of March, the Phcebe, 
of 36 (then of 42) guns, Captain Robert Bar- 
low, being on a cruize off the coast of Ireland, 
observed, in the morning, a ship bearing down 
upon him ; which, on her arriving within musket- 
shot, discovered her error, (having mistaken the 
Phcebe for an East-Indiaman,*) and hauled her 

* As the Frolic did the Orpheus for a West-indiaman. 
z 2 


wind ; opening at the same time a well-directed 
and spirited fire, in hopes to disable the Phoebe 
in her rigging, and by that means effect her 
escape. The enemy was, however, soon com- 
pelled to strike; paying dear for his temerity, 
having 18 men killed, and 25 wounded. She 
was the Heureux, mounted with twenty-two 
brass 12-pounders, and 220 men. The Phoebe 
had 1 man killed, and 5 wounded ; 2 of them 
mortally." (Sclwmbcrg, same vol. p. 361.) 

The last edition of the " Naval History" was 
out too early, to enable Mr. Clarke to handle 
the subject of the Frolic's capture; or, he would, 
no doubt, have made it appear, that the ma- 
jority of her ship's company were British 
sailors, who had entered by choice, and yet felt 
disinclined to right; and that the native Ameri- 
cans, with all their gallantry, were too few in 
number to manage the guns. Happily, no 
British sailor was discovered on board the 
Frolic. Her crew consisted of native Americans; 
and, in appearance, a finer set of men, than 
even the ships of war of the United States 
usually sail with. The editor of the *' Sketches 
of the War" has shewn his wisdom, in taking 
no notice whatever of the Frolics capture. We 
have, in the bloodless surrender of this line 
American ship, another proof of the " moral 
and physical superiority of the American, over 
the British tar" ! ! 



Epervier captures the Alfred — Mutinous state of 
her crew represented — Is ordered to the West 
Indies — Upon her return, falls in with and en- 
gages the Peacock — No British official account 
of the action — Epervier's carronades break loose 
— Her crew refuse to board — She surrenders-^ 
Her loss of men — Peacock's damage and loss—* 
Epervier* s force in guns — Her sorry ship's com- 
pany described — Peacock's force in guns and 
men — Statement of comparative force— Full di- 
mensions of Epervier and Peacock — Action of 
the Reindeer and Wasp — >No British official 
account of it — Desperate resistance of the Rein- 
deer's officers and men — She surrenders — Is de- 
stroyed — Her loss — Wasps damages and loss — 
Force of each vessel in guns and men — State* 
ment of comparative force — Landrail and Sy- 
ren — Wasp encoiuiters, and sinks the Avon — 
Damage, loss, and force, of each vessel — State- 
ment of comparative force — Plymouth account 
of the action. 

XT.IS majesty's brig Epervier, Captain Wales, 
on the 23d of February, captured, without op- 
position, the American privateer-brig Alfred, of 
16 guns, and 11.0 men: the Junon frigate in 


sight, about ten miles to-leeward. (See p. 80.) 
On the Epervier's arriving soon afterwards at 
Halifax, N. S. to which station she belonged, 
Captain Wales represented to the commanding 
officer there, the insufficiency of her crew for any 
service; as well as his doubts of the loyalty of 
part, owing to the discovery of a plan, con- 
certed between them and the Alfred's late crew, 
to rise upon the British officers. On the very 
next morning, without a man of her crew being 
changed, the Epervier was ordered to the West 

The Epervier was returning from Jamaica, 
with a quantity of specie on board; when, on 
the 29th of April, in lat 27° 47' N. long. 80° 9' W. 
she fell in with the U. S. ship Peacock, Captain 
Lewis Warrington. An action ensued ; of which 
no British official account has been published. 

The American official account (App. No. 76) 
details the action; and very fully describes the 
injuries which the Epervier sustained by the 
Peacock's fire: enough to shew, that the British 
vessel could not have floated much longer. But 
there were some important facts attending this 
action, which it was the interest of Captain 
Warrington and his officers to conceal. It 
must strike the reader as singular thai, with 
so much damage done to the l\p< r\ i»r's hull, 
not a gun appears to have been disabled. An 
omission in Captain Warrington, it could not 


well have been ; because of his accuracy in par- 
ticularizing every rope that was injured, as well 
as in counting the shot-holes; distinguishing 
how many were " within a foot of the water- 
line." If, indeed, it had been an omission, his 
second letter would have noticed it: on the con- 
trary, the Peacock's commander wrote five let- 
ters upon this action ; and yet, in none of them 
is there a single word about the state of the 
Epervier's guns. 

In the very first broadside which the Epervier 
fired, her three after-carronades were unshipped, 
and thrown nearly out of the ports. While 
tacking, they were replaced; and the larboard 
carronades brought to bear. These, the moment 
they got warm, drew out the breeching-bolts ; 
and, in exchange for the Peacock's last broad- 
side, the Epervier had actually but one carron- 
ade to fire. Captain Wales now endeavoured to 
get the brig round, to present a fresh broadside 
to the enemy ; but her disabled state rendered 
that wholly impracticable. As a last resource, 
and one which British seamen are generally 
prompt to execute, Captain Wales called the 
crew aft, to follow him in boarding. These 
dastardly wretches replied, — " She is too heavy 
for us." — There was no alternative, but to strike 
the colours, to save the lives of the very few 
remaining good men in the vessel. 
t The sentence of the court-martial upon Cap- 


tain Wales and his officers, attributes the loss of 
the Epervier M to the very great superiority of 
the enemy, the insufficiency of the crew, and the 
drawing of the breeching-bolts" — Of the fact, 
then, there can be no question ; and the reader 
now sees, what were Captain Warrington's rea- 
sons for concealing the state of the Eperviers 
guns. Had he told the truth, it would have 
appeared, that he had been engaging an almost 
defenceless vessel ; a vessel whose guns, for any 
use they were, might as well have been made of 
wood, as of iron. 

If the Epervier's had been the best, instead of 
the worst ship's company in the service, their 
utterly defenceless state towards the end of the 
action, would almost have excused them for 
abandoning their treacherous guns. Had the 
Epervier's carronades been previously fired, in 
exercise, for any length of time together, the 
defect in the clinching of her breeching-bolts, 
would have been discovered ; and perhaps re- 

The Epervier lost 8 killed and mortally 
wounded ; and 15 severely and slightly wounded. 
Among the former, her gallant first lieutenant, 
about the middle of the action. He had his 
left arm shattered, (since amputated.) and a 
severe splinter-wound in the hip; but he would 
hardly sutler himself to be carried below. 

Considering the state of the Epervier's guns, 


it is by no means surprising that her opponent 
should escape with, the disabling of her forew 
yard, a few top-mast and top-gallant backstays 
cut away, and a few shot through the sails. 
Her fore-yard was disabled, Captain Warring- 
ton says, from the Epervier's " first broadside"; 
which clearly points to the period at which the 
latter's guns produced their best effect. Tne 
Peacock's loss, as might be expected, was — only 
two men slightly wounded. 

The Epervier was originally armed the same 
as the Frolic brig, and others of that class ; but, 
when at Halifax, Captain Wales procured, in 
exchange for her two 6s and launch-carronade, 
two 18-pound carronades: so that the Epervier 
mounted, when captured, sixteen 32, and two 
18, pound carronades; total 18 guns. Captain 
Warrington was so much engaged in counting 
the shot-holes, that he did not discover the dif- 
ference between an 18, and a 32, pound carron- 
ade; although one weighs 10, the other 17 cwt. 
He therefore describes the Epervier as " rating, 
and mounting, eighteen 32-pound carronades." 
Lieutenant Nicholson, the prize-master, not 
wishing, in a public letter, to contradict what 
his superior officer had, no doubt, told him he 
should state, gives the Epervier the same force. 
But neither the captain, nor his lieutenant, 
knew how to reckon, according to the editor of 
the " Naval Monument"; for he makes the 


Epcrvier's guns, in number "22:" that is, he 
does so at the top of a page; (p. 131 ;) but, at 
the bottom, betrayed by a bad memory, — that 
potent friend to truth ! — he unwittingly says : 
■" She (the Epervier) mounts 18 guns." 

The Epervier was commissioned towards the 
end of 1812; and her crew received on board at 
the Nore. By far the greater proportion con- 
sisted of landmen, and the waisters, after-guard, 
and other refuse, of the line.of-hatile ships 
and frigates, sent on board the guard-ship for 
disposal. Of what quality those men were, may 
be easily conceived. The few seamen with « hich 
the Epervier left England, had deserted, previ- 
ous to January, 1814. \> hile the Epervier was 
at Halifax, repairing the damages sustained in 
the gale of the preceding November, so destruc- 
tive to the shipping in that harbour, Captain 
Wales (then victualling 86 men, and 16 boys) 
received a draught of 14 men from one of his 
maj< sty's brigs, about proceeding to England; 
part of them landmen, and part rated A. B. or 
able. \\ hy men should be rated as, and not be, 
able-bodied seamen, is thus explained. A cap- 
tain receives an order to draught out of his crew 
into another ship, so many A. Bs. so many ordi- 
naries, and so many landmen. Satisfied that his 
complement is already as economically fixed, 
as it well cnn be; and knotting that, if, in his 
way across the Atlantic, he should chance to 


meet his match, the quality of his men is to be 
his chief dependence, he directs the purser 
to rate so many ordinaries as A. Bs. and so 
many landmen as ordinaries; and probably, to 
complete the draught, a few of the oldest boys 
are, by the purser's magick power, converted 
into men. This is, literally, robbing Peter to 
pay Paul; but who can blame the captain? 

The Epervier, at the time she engaged the 
Peacock, had but three men in a watch, exclu- 
sive of petty-officers, able to take helm or lead ; 
and two of her men were each 70 years of age! 
She had some blacks, several other foreigners, 
lots of disaffected, and few even of ordinary sta- 
ture : in short, a crew that was a disgrace to the 
deck of a British man of war. Her full number 
amounted, including one passenger from Ja- 
maica, to 101 men, and 16 boys; although Cap- 
tain Warrington, thinking the Epervier had not 
enough of such riff-raff on board, gives her 
" 128 men." 

Had the Epervier been manned with a crew 
of choice seamen, equal in personal appearance 
to those received out of the Chesapeake, and the 
Argus, after they had been respectively earned 
by boarding, we might have some faith in Cap- 
tain Porter's assertion, — that British seamen 
were not so brave, as they had been represented. 
— But, shall we take the Eperviei's ciew as a 
sample of British seamen? As well might we 


judge of the moral character of a nation by the 
inmates of her jails; or take the first deformed 
object we meet, as the standard of the size and 
shape of her people. 

The Peacock mounted twenty carronades, 32- 
pounders, and two long 18-pounders; total 22 
guns. Of this there is no denial on the part of 
the Americans: indeed, one American paper 
stated that the Peacock mounted 24 guns ; which 
was not the case. The Peacock had abundance 
of star and chain-shot on board ; and employed 
them successfully against the Epervier's spars 
and rigging. 

The conduct of the Frolic's men in throwing 
overboard her muskets, pistols, pikes, shot, &c. 
(see p. 337,) prevents us from giving, what would 
have been highly interesting, the quantity of 
gunner's stores served out to American ships of 
the Peacock's class. 

The complement of the Peacock, including 
supernumeraries, amounted to 185; all picked 
seamen, without a boy among them; although 
two will be allowed. Several of her men were 
recognized as British seamen, and others as hav* 
ing served in the British navy. The Peacock's 
proper complement was, probably, no more than 
171 ; the rest being supernumeraries. The em. 
ployment of the latter, to a great extent, on 
board American ships, was proved by the miis- 
ter-book of the Argus. (See p. 277.) The Pea- 


cock had 3 lieutenants, a lieutenant of marines, 
10 midshipmen, and other officers in propor- 
tion ; and was, in every respect, a well-equipped 

The Epervier was built in 1812, by contract, 
as are nearly all the other vessels of her class: 
the Peacock, at New York in 1813. The full 
dimensions of both, in hull and spars, will 
appear presently. 

Comparative force of the two vessels. 

in pounds, 


, brig. 

Peacock, ship 

j long guns, 
1 carronades, 






f men, 
1 boys, 










Size in tons, 

This is one of the actions, in which, as Mr, 
Madison boasts, an American vessel captured a 
British vessel " of the same class." As an action, 
therefore, between " equal force," the 55,000 
dollars, for which the Epervier sold, as well as 
the 118,000 found on board of her, became due 
to the fortunate captors, agreeably to the act of 
congress; (see p. 165 ;) and Captain Warrington 
and his officers, for their " most brilliant achieve- 
ment," rank among the " naval heroes" of their 
country. No one will deny, that this is an easy 
way of acquiring a martial name! 

As, by the capture of the President, we gained 


a knowledge of the American " 44-gun frigates, 1 
so the capture of the corvette Frolic, has ac- 
quainted us, thoroughly, with the American 
" 18-gun sloops." The American papers, at the 
time they announced the launching of the " U. S. 
ship Peacock, of 509 tons, pierced for 24 guns," 
stated that the Wasp and Frolic were precisely 
of the same dimensions. Since which, have 
been built, from the same model, the Erie and 
Ontario, at Baltimore, and the Argus (afterwards 
burnt) at Washington. 

The Wasp, a sister- vessel to the Peacock and 
Frolic, having captured, successively, two brigs, 
similar to the Epenier, a statement, shewing 
the comparative dimensions of these British 
and American vessels, " of the same class," will 
at once discover, whether the implied equality of 
size is real or nominal. 

Comparative dimensions. 

over a//, being from fore part of head, \ 
to alt-part ol life-rail, J 



fxlrrni' , being from fore- part of stem 
at height of maineleek, to alt- 
part ol skin, at height of wing- 

101 8 

from aft-part of ) 
.1 item, to fore part of rah- \ 

of main-tlcch. belli 

rfbbil oi item 

bit ol stern post 

if actual keel, beiog from fore part ) 
ol" stern- V 

of lore-loot, to all part 


Ft. In. 
]3'Z 2 

121 6 

119 5{ 



Ft. In. 

over-all, or to outside of main-wails, 
extreme, or of frame, including 

plank at bottom, 
moulded, or of frame only, 

Depth in hold, from under-side of main- 
deck plank to limber streak, 



J length, 
1 diameter, 

f length, 
Main-yard, ( diameter> 

68 3 
1 10 

54 7 











Fig. 1, plate 3, is a profile- view of the late 
U. S. ship Frolic, (now the Florida in our ser- 
vice,) as is fig. 2, of a British 18-gun brig. The 
only variation between the latter, and any other 
of the largest class of brigs in the navy, except 
the Primrose, which is eight feet longer, is in 
the form of the head ; that usually correspond- 
ing with the vessel's name. It is believed, that 
no variation whatever exists between fig. 1, and 
the American Peacock and her sister-ships. 
That the reader's attention may not be diverted 
from the main object of the representation, 
nothing but the naked bull of each vessel is 

All the first-class 18-gun brigs in the British 
navy, except the Primrose before- named, were 
intended to be of the Epervier's dimensions. 
Some individual brigs are as much as three 
inches broader, owing to an accidental falling 
out of their sides; but the builder is not paid 
for a single ton beyond what is specified in the 


contract. A patriotic writer from Savannah, 
into which port the Epervier had been carried 
by the Peacock, furnished a newspaper-editor 
with her " dimensions." He makes her " length 
107 feet," without stating what length. Upon 
applying the compasses to fig. 2, the reader will 
at once perceive, that this officious 'long-shore 
gentleman (for he could not have been a sea- 
man) ran his line from the upper and aft part 
of the Epervier's main-stein to the aft-part of 
the fife-rail ; which measures just " 107 feet." 
This he compares with the " length on deck' 1 of 
the Peacock. He next proceeds to measure the 
Epervier's " breadth of beam ;" and, in making 
that " 32 feet," must have extended his line to 
nearly the outside of each main-chain. The 
brig's " depth of hold, 14 feet,'* he probably 
guessed at ; as there was no possibility of mea- 
suring that, while the hold was full. Having 
thus prepared a set of figures, the tyro-surveyor 
sets about computing the tonnage. He takes 
up his old school-book, ' c Walsh's Mercantile 
Arithmetic ;" and, from the directions there 
given, soon produces e( 467 75-95ths," as the 
Epervier's tonnage. This he immediately con- 
trasts with the Peacock's tonnage, which, about 
a year before, was published in the newspapers 
as 509. Bat, had this subtle arithmetician 
been ignorant of the Peacock's tonnage, and 
applied to her dimensions, as he had stated 


them, the same rule, by which he had computed 
the Epervier's tonnage, he would have made the 
Peacock measure 537 63-95ths of a ton; or, 
had he exaggerated the Peacock's " length" and 
*' breadth of beam," as much as he had the 
Epervier's, and then made the calculation, he 
would have augmented the Peacock's tonnage 
to 631 88-95ths; which bears to 467 75-95ths, 
about the same proportion as 535 to 382, and 
not so great as 509 to 321 3-95ths ; which 
was each vessel's true American tonnage, as 
Captain Warrington's carpenter could have in- 
formed him. 

However, a correspondent who could demon* 
strate to ?l fraction, that, between the size of the 
two vessels, there existed only the trifling diffe- 
rence of about 40 tons, obtained a ready inser- 
tion for his paragraph ; and soon had the addi- 
tional satisfaction of seeing it spread, like 
wildfire, through every newspaper from Georgia 
to Maine. Even the " Naval Monument" has 
honored the writer, by finding room in its va- 
luable pages for the flattering article. 

Unfortunately, for at least 150 poor souls, the 
Epervier foundered at sea, ere she had completed 
her first cruize in the service of the United 
States. Any rational American, therefore, who 
may doubt that the Epervier's tonnage so greatly 
exceeded that of all other British brigs of the 
same class, has now lost the opportunity of 


ascertaining the fact; unless he has interest 
enough at Washington, to procure a sight of the 
original report of the builder, who valued her 
for the government. 

No British official account of the action be- 
tween H. M. brig Heindeer and the U. S. ship 
Wasp, having been published, the details are 
given, partly from the newspapers, but princi- 
pally from Captain Blakeley's letter to his go- 
vernment, and his minutes of the action. (App. 
Nos. 78 and 79.) 

The action was fought on the 28th of June, 
1814, in the chops of the channel ; and the ves- 
sels lay close alongside each other the whole 
time, except for a few minutes at the first, while 
the Reindeer was approaching her adversary. 
Several attempts were made to board the Wasp, 
but failed, owing to the riHemen in her tops, 
and the superior numbers upon her deck. In 
one of these efforts, Captain Manners fell, having 
received, according to a London newspaper, " 14 
wounds." The calves of his legs were shot 
away early in the action ; yet did he keep the 
deck, encouraging his crew, and animating, by 
his example, the few officers remaining on 
board. A shot then parted through both his 
thighs, lie fell on his knees; but quickly 
sprung tip; mid, though bleeding profusely, re- 
solutely refused to quit the deck. Perceiving 


the dreadful slaughter which the musketry in 
the enemy's tops was causing, he called out to 
his men, "Follow me, my boys, we must board 
them." — While climbing into the rigging, two 
balls from the tops penetrated his skull j and 
came out beneath his chin. Placing one hand 
on his forehead, the other convulsively bran- 
dishing his sword, he exclaimed — u O God !" 
and dropped lifeless on his own deck ! 

One of the Reindeer's men was wounded in 
the head by a ramrod ; which before it could be 
extracted, required to be sawed off close to the 
skull. The man, notwithstanding, recovered. Af- 
ter receiving this desperate wound, he, like his 
gallant chief, refused to go below ; saying to those 
who begged him to leave his gun, — " If all the 
wounded of the Reindeer were as well able to 
fight as I am, we should soon make the Ameri- 
can strike." 

The loss on board the Reindeer, in officers, 
was very severe, owing chiefly to the close po- 
sition of the vessels, which enabled the numerous 
riflemen in the Wasp's tops, to pick them otf in 
every direction. Mr. Barton, the purser, fell 
early ; and among the badly wounded, were the 
only lieutenant, the master, a master's-mate, a 
midshipman, and the boatswain. The total of 
killed and wounded was 67 ; and that out of 
118. It is stated, that the Reindeer was surren- 
dered by the captain's clerk, no higher officer 


being in a condition to execute the melancholy 
task. The shattered condition of the Reindeer's 
hull caused the enemy to set fire to her, on the 
afternoon of the day succeeding the capture. 

The injuries which the Wasp sustained in the 
hull, sent her to l'Orient; where she remained, 
repairing, and making up her complement, from 
the 8th of July, until the 27th of August. Her 
loss is given at the end of Captain Blakeley 's letter. 
To judge by the proportion between the killed 
and mortally wounded, 11, and the severely and 
slightly wounded, 15, all the latter have not 
been enumerated. 

The Reindeer originally carried 32-pound 
carronades; but her great age as a fir-built ves- 
sel, and general weakness, in consequence, in- 
duced Captain Manners, rather than be put out 
of commission, to apply fur 24s: which, with 
two 6s, and a boat-carronade, she mounted in 
the action. Captain Blakeley's letter stands a 
solitary instance of American correctness in this 

The Reindeer's complement had previously 
consisted of 123 men and boys ; but, her second 
lieutenant, a midshipman, and 5 seamen, being 
absent, she had, in the action, only 98 men, and 
20 boys. Here, again, the American commander, 
deserves credit for his singularity. He states 
his opponent's complement at " 118 men." 

The Reindeer's crew had long served toge-, 


ther ; and were, at this time, under the com- 
mand of an officer, who was i( the idol and 
delight of his ship's company/' Captain Blake- 
ley says, " they were said to be the pride of 
Plymouth :" — no doubt, they were ; and the 
few survivors of them still are, and ever will 
be, the pride of Britain. 

The Wasp mounted the same as the Peacock. 
In Captain Blakeley's account of the Avon's 
action, he mentions a 12-pound carronade, as 
fitted upon the Wasp's top-gallant-forecastle. 
But this carronade not appearing in the British 
newspaper-account of the Wasp's force, when 
engaged with the Reindeer, it may have been 
subsequently added ; or, perhaps, was the very 
12-pound carronade, which, from the Reindeer's 
top-gallant-forecastle, was so frequently fired at 
the Wasp in the early part of the action. (App. 
No. 79.) The usual kinds of extraordinary shot, 
in great abundance, were discharged from the 
Wasp's guns, and contributed greatly towards 
disabling the brig. 

The complement of the Wasp was stated to 
consist of 175 men. The Frolic, we have seen, 
had 171, all men ; and the Peacock, 183 men, 
and 2 boys. In confirmation of the Wasp's 
complement being 175, at least, one of her offi- 
cers, subsequently to the Avon's action, Writes 
home that she has, even then, a " complement 
of 173 men." (Nav. Mon. p. 141.) Captain 


Blakeley extols the * firmness" with which his 
men repelled the boarding-attempts of the Rein- 
deer's crew. Considering the vast disparity in 
numbers, towards the end of the action espe- 
cially, he should have transferred his praise to 
the gallantry of the assailants. Such acts of 
justice are seldom omitted in the official letters 
of British naval officers. 

The Reindeer was built of fir, in 1804. The 
Wasp was built at Portsmouth, N. Hampshire, 
in 1813 : and one of the late U. S. ship Frolic's 
officers declared, that it would puzzle any one 
to discover the slightest difference between her 
and the Wasp. The same dimensions as those 
given of the Epervier and Peacock, will suffice in 
this case ; and the advantage possessed by the 
Wasp's riflemen, while firing from her tops, upon 
the enemy's decks, secure from being dislodged 
by boarders, on account of the Reindeer's tops 
being so many feet lower, will also be made 
evident by the relative length of the two main- 
masts. (See p. 351.) 

Comparative force of the two vessels. 

Wasp, ship. 





5 59 



nroadside-mctal in 



* \carr. 




f men, 
\ bovs, 



Size in tMBj 



Here is a disparity of force ! and the weaker 
party was the assailant. Still the British com- 
mander cannot be accused of rashness; because 
both vessels were — " sloops of war." The force 
employed by the Wasp, stationed upon a float- 
ing body, varying a trifle in construction, would 
have entitled the Reindeer to seek her safety in 
flight. But, had she run from the Wasp, Mr. 
Madison would have exulted as much in an- 
nouncing, that a British ship had been chased, 
as captured, by an American ship " of the same 
class;" and even Britons would have consi- 
dered the act, as a stigma upon the national 

When the Americans " promptly" boarded, 
and " all resistance ceased," the relative num- 
bers of the unwounded, belonging to each vessel, 
were 149 and 51 ; including, among the latter, 
16 or 17 boys. What the numbers were at the 
commencement, appears by the comparative 

Yet, it is immediately after giving a summary 
of this action, that the " New Annual Regis- 
ter for 1814" exclaims : — " It would seem, 
too, that when we were victorious over the Ame- 
ricans by sea, we were generally indebted for 
our success, to a greater superiority than even 
they had when they were successful." — Could 
an American editor, or Mr. Cobbett, have ut- 
tered a more unblushing falsehood, than is con- 


tained in this effusion of spleen ? And that, 
too, from so respectable a work as the " Annual 
Register ?" — a work, that is to hand down to 
posterity, a true account of historical events : — 
a work that will be considered as the highest 
nuthoritv, long after these pages are forgotten. 
The American historian will gladly catch at the 
passage ; nay, it is perhaps already transcribed, 
to be cast in our teeth ; and, 50 years hence, 
who shall gainsay or deny it ? — Never was there 
a braver crew than the Reindeer's ; — never a 
ship more ably fought, or more determinedly 
defended ; — never an officer that better deserved 
a monument in Westminster-abbey, than the 
gallant, the heroic Manners ! 

On the 12th of July, H. M. cutter Landrail, 
Lieutenant Lancaster, in her way across the 
British channel, with despatches, was chased by 
the Syren American privateer; with which she 
maintained a running fight of an hour and 10 
minutes, and a close action, within pitol-shot, 
of 40 minutes; in all, two hours. 

The cutter lost, in this hard-fought action, 
7 men wounded, but none killed. Her sails, 
when she arrived in Halifax, N. S. were riddled 
with shot-holes. The Syren lost 3 men killed, 
and 16 wounded, including some of her princi- 
pal officers; total 18. 

The Landrail mounted four 12-pound carro- 


nades; and had not even room for another gun. 
Still the American editors, in the first instance, 
gave her " 10 guns;" and afterwards, by way 
of amending their statement, *f 8 guns ;" at 
which the Landrail now stands in their prize- 
lists. Her complement consisted of 19 men 
and boys. 

The Landrail was re-captured on her way to 
the United States, and carried into Halifax, 
N. S. The Syren's officer, who had been placed 
on board as prize-master, stated, that the 
schooner mounted one long 12 (believed to have 
been 18) pounder, upon a traversing-carriage, 
four long 6-pounders, and two carronades, 18- 
pounders: total 7 guns; that her complement 
was 75 men ; and that she measured 180 tons, 
American ; which is about 193, English. 

Comparative force of the two vessels. 


Broadside-metal in pounds, < Ajff"" 3 ' 04 


Complement of men and boys, J 9 

Size in tons, 78 





This action decidedly proves how much exe- 
cution may be done, by only two 12 -pound car- 
ronades, if well-pointed ; and reflects great 
honor upon Lieutenant Lancaster, and his little 



The U. S. ship Wasp, after remaining 18 days 
at l'Orient, sailed from that port, thoroughly 
refitted and manned, on the 27th of August ; 
and, at about half-past 8, on the night of the 
1st of September, she fell in with H. M. brig 
Avon, Captain the Hon. J. Arbuthnot. 

An action ensued ; which continued, according 
to our newspaper-accounts, (the only British 
statement that has appeared,) two hours and 20 
minutes; and, according to Captain Blakeley's 
letter, and minutes of the action, (App. I\os. 37 
and 38,) 43 minutes only : w hen the Avon, hav- 
ing lost her main-mast, and being actually in a 
sinking state, from the Wasps fire, surrendered. 

At this moment, the Castilian brig, of the 
same force as the Avon, hove in sight, and pre- 
vented the W asp from taking possession. Cap- 
tain Bremer passed within hail of the Avon, and 
stood for the American ship, then running be- 
fore the wind. Just as the Castilian had got 
up, and fired a broadside into her, signals of 
distress were made from the Avon. Captain 
Bremer instantly hauled up for his sinking com- 
panion. He barely arrived in time to rescue 
the surviving crew from a watery grave; the 
Avon going down, just as the last boat readied 
the Castilian. Chase was again given by the 
Castilian, and continued, through the night, in 
the supposed direction of the Wasp; but she 


Captain Blakeley, although he admits that he 
heard the enemy say, " he was sinking," places 
his own construction upon the Castilian's hasty 
return to the Avon. That the latter did sink, 
and that her crew would have perished, but for 
Captain Bremer's timely aid, are the best answers 
to so illiberal a charge. 

• The Wasp fought more warily in this action, 
than in the Reindeer's. She would not come 
fairly alongside, so as to give the Avon an op- 
portunity of boarding. Her long 18s assisted 
her greatly ; and, by her star and chain shot, 
she effected the complete destruction of the 
brig's rigging ; the loss of which contributed 
to the fall of the main-mast at an early part of 
the action. Four of the Avon's carronades were 
disabled; chiefly by the usual defects in their 

The Avon lost her first lieutenant and 9 men, 
killed and mortally wounded; her commander, 
second lieutenant, a midshipman, and 29 sea- 
men and marines, severely and slightly wounded ; 
(principally the latter;) total 42. 

According to Captain Blakeley, the Wasp re- 
ceived only four round shot in her hull; and 
had but two men killed, and one wounded. 
Some allowance is due, no doubt, for the usual 
concealment of part of the wounded. 

The Avon mounted 18 guns: sixteen carron- 
ades, 32-pounders, and two long 6-pounders. 


Her complement, at the commencement of the 
action, consisted of 104 men, and 13 boys; 
total 117. 

The Wasp on this occasion mounted an addi- 
tional 12-pound carronade upon the top-gallant- 
forecastle; as appears by Captain Blakeley's 
letter and minutes of the action. Adding her 
2 killed to the 173 men, stated, by one of her 
officers, to have been her complement, a few 
days after this action, we have that fixed beyond 

The length of the Avon is exactly the same 
as that of all the other 18-gun brigs, with the 
exception already noticed ; (see p. 331 ;) but, 
being accidentally one inch broader, she mea- 
sures 9 tons more, than the Epervier. Captain 
Blakeley speaks of her " great length"; and 
one of his officers saw so indistinctly through 
the moonlight, as to represent the Avon, as 
" longer and more lofty than the Wasp," and 
as having " eleven ports upon her side." The 
comparative " length" of the two vessels has 
been shewn already. (See p. 350, and Plate 3.) 
Like every other brig of her class in the service, 
the Avon has no more than 9 ports, and a bow 
or chase-port, of a side. Some commanders 
think it adds to the appearance of their vessel, 
to represent, by black paint, an additional port 
in the midst of the spare between the aftermost 
port and the stern. Others again, have set the 


carpenter to fixing a wooden gun-muzzle there. 
(Jaseur in 1815.) To put the best construction 
upon the American officer's statement, we may 
suppose the Avon to have been similarly orna- 

Captain Blakeley is the first American com- 
mander who has officially announced, that, on 
board the U. S. vessels, British and American 
shot are carefully weighed, and the difference, 
if any, noted down. The alleged trifling dimi- 
nution in weight of the American 32-pound shot, 
requires no additional observations. (See p. 10.) 

Comparative force of the two vessels. 

Avon, brig. 

Wasp, ship. 


1 carr. 



in pounds, 



— 262 



S men, 
X boys, 




— 175 

Size in tons, 



A Plymouth paper concludes its account of 
the Avon's capture, with : " This action will for 
ever rank among the most brilliant achievements 
recorded in the naval annals of this eventful 
war." — This isjust the language of the " Boston 
Gazette," or " New-England Palladium," when 
recounting one of their naval victories. — Had 
the Plymouth editor already forgotten the Rein- 
deer's action? — Did not that brig, with 24- 


pounders only, do five times as much execution 
as the Avon, with her 32-pounders? — The edi- 
tor was fully justified in commending the 
bravery of the Avon's officers and crew ; although 
their action with the \\ asp was far from being, 
•i one of the most brilliant achievements of the 

The gunnery exhibited by the Wasp was ad- 
mirable. On the other hand, the Castilian gave 
no proofs, that her men at all excelled the 
Avon's, in that, with us, much neglected branch 
of naval tactics. 

Although the American account makes out 
that three sail were in sight, when the W asp 
abandoned the Avon, the British officers assert, 
positively, that no other vessel than the Casti- 
lian was in sight, or near the scene of action. 

The same American officer who counted 11 
ports upon the Avon's side, assured his friend, 
that, " with her present commander and crew, 
the Wasp could beat a 28-gun frigate." The 
writer might have reserved his boast, till the 
Wasp had beaten a ship of acknowledged 



Gallant boat-attack at the mouth of the Rappa- 
hannock — Capture of four armed Schooners — ■ 
Actual force engaged — American accounts of 
the affair — The Martin grounds on a shoal in 
the Delaware — Is attacked by a squadron of 
American gun-boats — Captures one of them 
— American accounts — Destruction of Com- 
modore Barney's flotilla — Battle of Bla- 
densburg — Americans retreat through Wash- 
ington — British enter the capital of the 
United States — Destruction caused there- 
British squadron ascends the Potowmac— 
Defeats the batteries — -Compels Alexandria to 
capitulate— Shameful behaviour of an American 
naval commander to a British midshipman— r- 
Squadron descends the Potowmac with 21 prizes — 
Engages arid defeats the newly-erected batteries 
— Demonstration upon Baltimore — Attack and 
capture of the gun-boats at lake Ponichar train, 

ON the 3d of April, 1813, a detachment of 
boats, under the command of Lieutenant (now 
Captain) James Polkingthorne of the San Do- 
mingo, after rowing 1.5 miles, attacked four 
armed schooners drawn up in line, at the mouth 
of the Rappahannock river, in the Chesapeake 


bay. In his letter to Admiral Warren, Lieute- 
nant Polkingthorne describes the issue of the 
enterprise, as follows: — " Arab, of 7 guns, and 
45 men, run on shore and boarded by two boats 
of the Marlborough, under Lieutenants Lrmston 
and Scott/' — " Lynx, of # 6 guns, and 40 men, 
hauled her colours down on my going alongside 
in the San Domingo's pinnace." — u Racer, of 
6 guns, and 36 men, boarded and carried, after 
a sharp resistance by the San Domingo's pin- 
nace." — " Dolphin, of 12 guns, and 98 men. 
The guns of the Racer were turned upon her, 
and then gallantly boarded by Lieutenant Bi- 
shop, in the Statira's large cutter, and Lieute- 
nant Liddon, in the Maidstone's launch." 

The following is an accurate statement of the 
British force employed : 


San Dominjo's pinnace, 7 } , lrt _ DOUndcar . 

including '2 officers, J ~° f J^de 

Maidstone's launch, do. <2 1 J C ' 

aim i » S ban?c, j , oj 

Marlborough s < .. j . A 

° ( cutter, do. 10. 

Statira's cutter, do. '21 

Total, 105 men. 

Thus were four American schooners, mount- 
ing together 31 guns, manned with 219 men; 
and whose united size exceeded 1000 tons ; cap- 
tured by live British boats, armed with two 
12-pound carronades, and manned with only 


105 men, officers included. Our loss was, 2 
killed, and 11 wounded; the enemy's believed 
to be, 6 killed, and 10 wounded. — Mr. Clarke, 
with his usual address, leaves out the Arab, 
Lynx, and Racer schooners; and even conceals 
the force of the Dolphin. Thus: — " The priva- 
teer Dolphin of Baltimore, was captured after a 
long and gallant resistance, by a number of 
barges and launches, belonging to the blockad- 
ing squadron. The British finally succeeded in 
capturing her, by boarding and overpowering 
her crew by superior numbers." 

The editor of the " Sketches of the War" 
seems determined that his zeal shall not be 
questioned. He states the British barges at 
" 17," containing " upwards of 40 men each"; 
or 680 in the whole. To make the enemy's loss 
proportionate, he states that at " nearly 50 in 
killed and wounded"! 

In July, H. M. ships Junon and Martin, the 
former a 46-gun frigate, the latter mounting 
sixteen 24-pound carronades, and two long 9s, 
with 135 men and boys, were cruizing in Dela- 
ware-bay. On the 29th, about 8 in the morn- 
ing, the Martin grounded on the outer ridge of 
Crow's shoal, within 2 \ miles from the beach ; 
and, it being a falling tide, could not be floated 
again, before the return of flood. The water 
ran so shoal, that it became necessary to shore 

B B 


the ship up; and the same cause prevented the 
Junon from afterwards anchoring nearer than 
1 4 mile from the Martin. This afforded to the 
squadron of American gun-boats and block-ves- 
sels then in the Delaware, a fine opportunity to 
destroy the British sloop of war. They accord- 
ingly, ten in number, advanced, and deliberately 
took up their anchorage, about 1 £ mile distant, 
directly on her beam, on the opposite side to 
the Junon, and so as to bring that ship in a 
line with the Martin. Thus, by anchoring at 
the distance of 3 miles from the frigate, which, it 
was well known, could not approach nearer on 
account of the shoals, the American gun-boats 
had no force but the Martin's to contend with. 
All this while, crowds of citizens, on foot, on 
horseback, and in carriages, were hastening to 
the beach, in the hopes to see verified, in the 
speedy destruction of the Martin, the wonderful 
accounts they had heard of American prowess 
on the ocean. Captain Senhouse had got his 
top-gallant-masts struck, and his sails furled; 
and, although he despaired of saving his ship 
from so formidable a force, determined to defend 
her to the last extremity. The gun-boats com- 
menced the fire; and the Martin returned it, at 
first with her carronades; but, finding they 
could not reach, Captain Senhouse had the two 
9-pounders transported from their ports, one to 
the top-gallant-forecastle, the other to the poop. 


With these two guns, and all the guns of the 
flotilla, was the fire kept up for nearly two 
hours, without the slightest injury to the Martin. 

About 2 o'clock, the sternmost gun-boat in 
the line having separated a little from the rest, 
the Junon made a signal for the boats manned 
and armed. Accordingly, three boats were dis- 
patched from the Martin, containing 40 officers 
and men, and four from the Junon, containing 
100 officers and men, the whole under the or- 
ders of the Junon's gallant first-lieutenant West- 
phall. On the approach of the boats, the gun- 
vessels turned their fire from the Martin against 
them, but at too great a distance to be effec- 
tive. The gun-boat which was the object of 
attack, kept up a spirited fire, but was quickly 
boarded and overpowered. The British boats 
lost, in this affair, 3 killed and mortally 
wounded, and 4 slightly wounded ; the gun-boat 
7 wounded. The last discharge from the gun 
mounted on board, broke its carriage. That pre- 
vented the British from returning the fire of the 
remaining gun-boats, which had dropped down 
in line, hoping to retake the prize ; but which the 
captors towed off in triumph. As the gun-boats 
passed the Martin's bow, to attempt to save their 
companion, the Martin fired upon them with 
effect; and the Junon opened her fire, but her 
shot scarcely fell beyond the Martin. 

Some of the gun-boats having grounded, the 
B b 2 


remainder anchored for their mutual protection. 
The tide had drifted the ships' boats, and the 
captured vessel, to a considerable distance. 
The gun-boats that had grounded, got off, and 
the whole anchored, — as if to renew the attack 
upon the change of tide, — within 2 \ miles of 
the Martin, now weakened by the absence of 
40 of her best hands. However, at 5 o'clock, to 
the surprise of the Martin's officers and crew ; 
and, as it afterwards appeared, to the extreme 
mortification of the spectators on shore, this for- 
midable flotilla weighed and beat up, between 
the Martin and the shore, without molesting her 
any further; and arrived, in safety, soon after- 
wards, at their station in the mouth of the river. 
The force that attacked the Martin, consisted 
of 8 gun-boats, and two block-vessels ; sloops 
of 100 tons each, which had been coasters. 
Their sides had been raised ; heavy beams laid 
across; and the whole planked in, on the top, 
on each side, and at the ends; leaving only loop- 
holes for musketry, (through which pikes might 
be used in repelling boarders,) and three port* 
of a side. Here were mounted, six long 18- 
pounders. The covering extended the whole 
length of the vessel, and was large enough to 
contain 60 men ; which was staled as the com- 
plement of oach. The gun-boats were sloop- 
rigged; averaging about 80 tons; mounting 
•ach a long 32-poundcr, and a 4-pounder, on 


traversing-carriages ; and manned with 35 men 
each, as found on board the one captured. Each 
gun-boat was commanded by an experienced 
merchant-master ; and the whole by " Master- 
commandant" Samuel Angus, of the United 
States'navy. — Here, then, was a force of 24 guns 
(one-third of them long 32s) and 400 men, op- 
posed, for two hours, without success, to two 
guns, 9-pounders, and 135 men ! 

There could not have been a fairer account of 
the action, than was given by the eye-witnesses 
of it, upon their arrival in Philadelphia. They 
expressed their indignation at, what they 
termed, the cowardly behaviour of the gun- 
boats ; and the government-editors, failing in 
their attempts to gloss the thing over, tried to 
hush it up. This accounts for Mr. Clarke's si- 
lence upon the subject. At the end of two 
years, however, the oral accounts of the specta- 
tors were forgotten, while the official account 
of the commanding-officer still shone in its 
pristine brilliancy. This determined the editor 
of the " Sketches of the War" to give it inser- 
tion, with such embellishments as he could col- 
lect. The account is far too long to be inserted 
at length : a brief extract will shew the spirit of it. 

The attacking force is admitted to have been 
" eight gun-boats, and two block-ships." — " Be- 
tween both the enemy's vessels, mounting in all 
69 guns, and the gun-boat squadron, a cannon- 


ade followed, and continued about one hour 
and 45 minutes ; in all winch time, scarcely a 
shot struck either of the gun-boats, whilst at 
almost every fire, the latter told upon the hulls 
of the sloop and frigate. (! !) This difference of 
effect in the firing being discovered by the Bri- 
tish, they manned their launches, barges, and 
cutters, ten in number, &c. &c." — " In this as- 
sault, (capture of gun-boat No. 121,) the British 
lost 7 killed, and 12 wounded.'* 

But even this daring feat of the American 
gun-boats, was exceeded by one recorded in the 
same page ; where the gallant Captain Angus, 
with " nine gun-boats, and two armed sloops, 
convoying three sloops laden with timber, en- 
gaged the British frigates Statira and Spartan, 
and compelled them to move from their anchor- 
age to a situation out of reach of annoyance." 
In another page, the editor describes an action 
in the Chesapeake, between 1.5 gun-boats and 
three frigates, mounting *' 150 guns and up- 
wards ;" in which he makes one of the frigates 
to have been " so much shattered, that the vessels 
which came to her assistance, were obliged to 
employ all their hands to repair her. " 

These are the tales that contribute to swell 
out a work, whose publisher} by way of account- 
ing to his readers for the early appearance of 
his third edition, informs them, " that all the 
copies of the second were engaged, long before 


they had escaped from the press." — How vitiated 
must be the taste of that public, whom such 
balderdash can please ! 

On the 22d of August, Rear-admiral Cock- 
burn, with a detachment of boats, in which was 
a party of marines, under Captain Robyns, 
proceeded up the Patuxent river, at nearly the 
head of the Chesapeake-bay, in search of Com- 
modore Barney's flotilla. (App. No. 81.) On 
opening the reach above Pig-point, the Rear- 
admiral discovered Commodore Barney's broad 
pendant in the headmost vessel, a large sloop, 
and the remainder of the flotilla extending in a 
long line a-stern of her. The boats now ad- 
vanced towards them as rapidly as possible; 
but, on nearing them, the sloop bearing the 
broad pendant was observed to be on fire, and 
soon afterwards blew up ; as did 15 out of the 
16 remaining gun-boats. The one in which the 
fire had not taken, was captured. The Commo- 
dore's sloop was a large vessel, armed, as ap- 
pears by the American papers, with S guns; 
the others were gun-boats, having, says the 
Rear-admiral, " a long gun in the bow, and a 
carronade in the stern. The caliber of the 
guns, and number of the crew of each, differed 
in proportion to the size of the boat, varying 
from 32-pounders, and 60 men, to 18-pounders, 
and 40 men." 


A Boston paper of August .30, stated that 
" Commodore Barney's flotilla at Benedict, con- 
sisted of about 3<> gun-boats; besides 10 or 15 
barges." It seldom happens that the Americaus 
over-rate their force; and it is probable, that 
this " formidable and so much vaunted flotilla, N 
when it left Baltimore, in the preceding May, 
did consist of " 36 gun-boats." Two, we know, 
were found by the boats of the Severn and 
Loire, drawn up and scuttled on the shores of 
the Patuxent; and others may have shared the 
same fate, during the many chases and narrow 
escapes which the flotilla had undergone, since 
the 1st of June, when two British boats, dis- 
patched by Captain Barrie, burnt an American 
schooner in the very face of it. Rear Admiral 
Cockburn found 13 merchant-schooners, which 
had been under Commodore Barney's protection. 
Of these, such as were not worth bringing away, 
were destroyed ; the remainder, moved to Pig- 
point, to receive on board the tobacco there 

The destruction of this flotilla secured the 
right flank of the army under Major-general 
Koss, which had landed at Benedict on the 
19th, and since advanced to Upper Marlbo- 
rough : whither the Rear-admiral proceeded, 
over land, on the morning of the 23d ; and, after 
a short conference, it was determined to make 
;ui immediate attempt upon the city of Washing- 


ton; distant from Upper Marlborough about 
16 miles. (App. No. 82.) In the afternoon of 
the 23d, the major-general, having left the ma- 
rines of the ships under Captain Robyns, in pos- 
session of Upper Marlborough, and directed the 
marine-artillery and seamen to follow, moved on 
with the army, and bivouacked before dark 
about rive miles nearer Washington. 

At day-light on the morning of the 24th, the 
marine-artillery and seamen having joined in the 
night, the army was moved towards Bladens- 
burg: on reaching which place, with the ad- 
vanced brigade, the enemy was observed drawn 
up in force on a rising ground beyond the town, 
and well protected by artillery. Only a small 
proportion of the army had yet got up, and the 
men were almost exhausted with fatigue, and 
the sultriness of the weather. Without hesita- 
tion, however, they were led to the attack by 
their gallant general ; and, in spite of the galling 
fire of the enemy, our troops advanced steadily 
on both his flanks, and in front. The moment 
they arrived on even ground with him, he fled 
in every direction, leaving behind him ten 18, 
12, and 6 pounders, a quantity of ammunition, 
and 220 stand of arms, and a great number of 
killed and wounded ; among the latter, Com- 
modore Barney, and several other officers. 

Many of the American papers stated their 
own force, on this occasion, to have been 8000 


men: and these were stationed on ground highly 
advantageous ; while the division of the British 
army that defeated them so quickly, amounted, 
says the Kear-admiral, to no more " than 1500 
men ;" and they fatigued with their long march. 
Our loss in this decisive affair, amounted to 64 
killed, and 195 wounded. (App. No. 8-2.) Mr. 
Madison, the secretary of war, and the secreta- 
ries of state and of the navy, are said to have 
been present, at the commencement, at least, of 
the Bladensburg action. The American troops 
were commanded by General Winder. The vil- 
lage of Bladensburg is situated on the left bank 
of the eastern branch of the Potowmack, about 
five miles from Washington. 

Immediately after the action, the remains of 
the American army retreated through Wash- 
ington, and across the Potowmac, into Virginia; 
and the British army advanced upon Washing- 
ton ; which they reached about 8 o'clock at 
night. A fire was opened upon them from some 
of the houses at the entrance. These were 
stormed, and burnt ; and immediate possession 
was taken of the capital of the United States. 

The Americans, on their retreat through the 
town, had set fire to the dock-yard and arsenal, 
and the fort protecting them, to the frigate 
Essex the second, (a sister-ship to the Guerriere 
and Java,) just ready to be launched, the Argus 
corvette, (sister-vessel to the Wasp, Frolic, &c.) 


which had been launched since the 29th of Ja- 
nuary, and was then ready for sea, the old fri- 
gates, New York, rated a 36, and Boston, a 32 ; 
and also the entire frame, in pieces, of a 74-gun 
ship. They also had destroyed the two bridges 
leading from Washington, over the eastern 
branch of the Potowmac, and nearly 2000 stand 
of arms. The troops, on taking possession, set 
fire to the capital, including the senate-house, 
and house of representatives, the president's pa- 
lace, the treasury, the war-office, and the great 
bridge across the Potowmac. A large quantity 
of ammunition and ordnance stores in the arse- 
nal, were likewise destroyed ; as were 194 pieces 
of cannon, (App. No. 83.) more than half of 
them long 32, 24, and 18 pounders; and two 
extensive rope-walks, filled with tar-rope, &c. 
situate at a distance from the yard. In short, 
public stores, to the amount, as the Americans 
have admitted, of upwards of seven millions of 
dollars, were destroyed at and near Washington. 
At 9 o'clock on the night of the 25th, the 
British left Washington on their return. On 
the 26th, in the evening, they again reached 
Upper Marlborough, without a musket being 
fired ; and, on the morning of the 27th, Not- 
tingham ; where they remained till the next 
day. Here Rear-admiral Cockburn found H JVI. 
brig Manly, the tenders, and the boats. He 
hoisted his flag on board the former ; and pro- 


ceeded with the flotilla, to join Admiral Coch- 
rane. On the evening of the 29th the troops 
reached Benedict ; and re-embarked on the fol- 
lowing day. 

Much has been said, both in England and 
upon the European continent, about our " le- 
velling with the dust the splendid palaces and 
sumptuous edifices, by which the city of Wash- 
ington was so liberally embellished." — Passing 
over this ludicrous description of the American 
capital, it is only necessary to ask — whether the 
destruction of Washington was more than half 
a retaliation for the destruction of the British 
villages of Newark, Queenstown, and St. Da- 
vid's, in Canada? — 4C Splendid palaces and 
sumptuous edifices," there were none, in either 
of those villages. They consisted of lowly cot- 
tages, the poor inmates of which had no country- 
houses to retire to, after their humble dwellings 
had been " levelled with the dust." They had 
to quit their homes, not in a warm August even- 
ing, but in a bleak December night ; exposed 
to a degree of cold, far exceeding that felt, at 
any period, by the inhabitants of Washington. 
Mr. Madison and his friends packed oil" their 
valuables, and themselves, before the enemy ar- 
rived. The poor inoffensive inhabitants of 
Newark had barely time to fly from the devour- 
ing flames, with the clothes upon their backs. 
\\ hat had the people of the Canadas done to 


provoke the ire of the American government ? — 
Refused to listen to General Smythe's procla- 
mation, and become traitors to their country.— 
After General M'Clure's candid confession, that 
the " proper" act he had committed " was by 
order of the secretary of war," (Hist, of the 
War, p. 156,) the " disavowal on the part of 
the American government" could have been in- 
tended only to amuse us. 

Of the many expeditions up the bays and 
rivers of the United States, during the late war, 
none equalled in brilliancy of execution that 
up the Potowmac to Alexandria. This service 
was entrusted to that distinguished officer, Cap- 
tain Sir James Alexander Gordon, of the Seahorse 
46 ; taking with him, the Euryalus 42, Captain 
Charles Napier, Devastation, iEtna, and Meteor, 
bombs, Erebus, rocket-ship, and a small tender, 
or despatch-boat ; and being afterwards joined 
by the Fairy brig, of 18 guns, Captain Henry 
L. Baker. (See A pp. No. 84.) 

The squadron proceeded into the river on the 
17th of August ; but contrary winds, an intricate 
navigation, and the want of pilots, prevented 
the ships from reaching Fort Washington; the 
destruction of which was the main object of 
the expedition, till the 27th. After a slight 
bombardment, the principal fort, (the garrison 
of which had retreated after the bursting of 


the first shell,) and three minor batteries, 
mounting altogether 27 guns, were taken pos- 
session of. The guns had already been spiked; 
and their complete destruction, with their car- 
riages, was effected by the seamen and marines 
of the squadron. These forts were intended 
for the defence of Alexandria; now compelled 
to surrender. 

One hardly knows which to admire most, the 
prudence of Captain Gordon, in postponing 
giving an answer to the common council of 
Alexandria, till, says he, " I was enabled to 
place the shipping in such a position as would 
ensure assent to the terms I had decided to en- 
force," or the peremptory and humiliating con- 
ditions which he did enforce. It was in vain 
that they had sunk their vessels; they must get 
them up again; and put them in the state they 
were, when the squadron passed the Kettle 
Bottoms; — owners of vessels must send on board 
their furniture without delay ; merchandize re- 
moved, must be brought back; and the mer- 
chants load their own vessels, which will be 
towed oflfby the captors ! ( App. Nos. 85. and 86.) 
The last article of the capitulation provides, 
that British officers are to see the terms '* strictly 
complied with." — One officer sent on this ser- 
vice was a midshipman of the Euryalus, a mere 
stripling. Having strayed alone to some dis- 
tance from his boat, two American naval officers 


rode at, as if to run over' him: one, a very 
powerful man, caught the youth by the shirt- 
collar and dragged him, almost suffocating, 
across the pummel of the saddle ; galloping off 
with him. Fortunately, the shirt-collar gave 
way, and the lad fell to the ground. He was 
quickly upon his legs again, and ran towards a 
landing-place, where his boat was waiting ; the 
American pursuing him. The boat and the men 
in it were hid under a steep bank or wall; and, 
on that account, could not level their carronade 
at the honorable gentleman, as he approached. 
The instant he saw the boat's crew, he turned 
pale with fright ; and rode off in a contrary di- 
rection, as fast as his horse could carry him. 
The American editors thought this a good joke; 
and very readily informed us, that one of these 
worthies was the famed Captain David Porter, 
the other, and he that committed the atrocious 
and dastardly assault, " Master-commandant 
I. Orde Creighton." The first of these Ameri- 
can officers had, for his " brilliant deeds" at 
Valparaiso, been appointed to the new frigate at 
Washington ; whose name, to commemorate the 
exploits of Captain Porter's favorite ship, had 
been changed from the Columbia to the Essex; 
and his gallant brother-horseman had been ap- 
pointed to the new corvette Argus: both of 
which ships were burnt, and their intended com- 
manders, thrown out of employment, by the 


entry of the British into Washington, a few 
days previous. This is what infuriated the two 
" heroes," and determined them to sacrifice the 
first straggling Briton they could find. At the 
time this outrage was committed, a flag of truce 
was flying before Alexandria; whose inhabitants, 
in a body, disavowed the act, reprobating it as 
became them. Such conduct on their part, alone 
prevented Captain Gordon from enforcing the 
last article of the treaty. 

After the British had retired from Washing- 
ton, the Americans recovered a little from their 
panic ; and took strong measures to oppose Cap- 
tain Gordon's return down the Potowmac. 
Commodore Rodgers, with a chosen body of sea- 
men from the Guerriere at Philadelphia, Cap- 
tains Perry, Porter, and other " distinguished 
officers/' a party of officers and men from the 
Constellation at Norfolk, the men that had be- 
longed to Barney's flotilla, regular troops, rifle- 
men, artillerists, and militia, all flocked to the 
shores of the Potowmac, to " punish the base 

Captain Gordon, with his little squadron, and 
21 sail of prizes, left Alexandria on the 31st to 
run the gauntlet through this host of enraged 
tors. The Devastation which had grounded, 
was first attacked by sonic tire-vessels and row- 
boats under Commodore Hodgers. But a party 
of British boats quickly made the commodore 


fece about ; and fly, under as much alarm, to- 
wards, as he had once done from, an Alexandria. 
(See p. 253.) 

The full details of the retreat of the squadron 
down the river, the opposition it experienced 
from, and the complete dressing it gave to, the 
various newly-erected batteries on the shore, 
one of which had constructed a furnace for 
heating shot, will be found in Captain Gordon's 
interesting letter. (App. No. 84.) The toil 
and fatigue undergone by the officers and men, 
and the deprivations they so chearfully submit- 
ted to, were equalled only by their gallantry in 
defeating the batteries on shore, and their skill 
and perseverance in surmounting the difficulties 
of a most intricate and dangerous navigation. 
Happily, the loss in this daring enterprise, did 
not exceed, on board all the vessels, 7 killed, 
and 35 wounded. 

The American newspaper-editors, for some 
days, feasted their readers with the anticipated 
destruction of the British squadron. "It is 
impossible the ships can pass such formidable 
batteries, commanded by our naval heroes, and 
manned by our invincible seamen." — " We'll 
teach them how to draw up terms of capitula- 
tion." — When news arrived that the ships had 
passed in safety, chagrin and disappointment 
were marked in every countenance. It was 
highly amusing to read the official letters of 

£■ C 


Commodores Rodgers, Porter, and Perry. — 
After an admission that they " did not succeed 
in the destruction of any of the enemy's vessels," 
they boldly recommend all their officers to the 
notice of the secretary, if not for what they had 
done, at least for w hat they would have done ; 
and the three commodores omit not the usual 
compliments to one another, such as: — " my 
gallant friend," — " that excellent officer," — Sec. 

It being determined to make a demonstration 
upon the city of Baltimore, which might be con- 
verted into a real attack, should circumstances 
appear to justify it, the British squadron an- 
chored oft' the mouth of the Petapsco, on the 
11th of September; and, at day-light on the 
12th, the troops under Major-general Ross were 
landed, near North Point. The water-approach 
to Baltimore was threatened by a squadron of 
frigates and sloops, under Captain Nourse of 
the Severn. (App. No. 97.) Rear-admiral Cock- 
burn, giving his usual preference to the post of 
danger, accompanied the major-general and the 
army. In the first skirmish, the gallant major- 
general was picked off by an American riile- 
man, and breathed his last on his way to the 
Water-side for re-embarkation. 

Alter the death of their brave general, the 
troops, accompanied by <KX) seamen under Cap- 
tain Edward Crofton, besides the marines of the 


squadron, and the 2d battalion of marines, 
pushed on with impetuosity; and obtained a 
victory over the Americans, 6 or 7000 strong, 
stationed on their own ground, and protected 
by field-pieces. They fled in every direction, 
leaving on the field of battle a considerable 
number of killed and wounded, and two pieces 
of cannon. The further particulars of this gal- 
lant affair will be found in Rear-admiral Cock- 
burn's letter. il The brigade of sailors from his 
majesty's ships" are highly spoken of by Colonel 
Brooke. (App, No. 98.) Fortunately, the loss 
in the naval and marine departments, did not 
exceed 7 killed, 48 wounded, and 1 missing. 
The loss of the Americans was very great, but 
could not be correctly ascertained. 

The troops and naval brigade remained on 
the field of battle all night ; and, on the morning 
of the 13th moved on towards Baltimore; which 
was discovered to be defended by extremely 
strong works on every side, and immediately in 
front by an extensive hill, on which was an en- 
trenched camp, and great quantities of artil- 
lery : it was supposed, also, that the Americans 
had from 15 to 20,000 men within their works. 
Vice-admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane did not 
consider it prudent to attack the city ; and, on 
the morning of the 15th, the British arrived at 
their place of re-embarkation, " without," says 
the rear-admiral, " suffering the slightest mo- 
c c 2 


lestation from the enemy ; who, in spite of his 
superiority of number, did not even venture to 
look at us, during this slow and deliberate re- 
treat." — The result of the demonstration was, 
the destruction by the Americans, of a quantity 
of shipping-, the burning of an extensive rope- 
,walk, and other public erections. It is to be 
regretted, however, that the water-attack could 
not have been persevered in, till, at least, the 
new frigate Java, and the sloops of war Erie and 
Ontario, had shared the fate of their sister- 
vessels at Washington. As the British did re- 
tire, one cannot blame the Americans for claim- 
ing the victory. Nor was it at all extraordU 
nary, that they should diminish their own, and 
augment our force, till they made that victory 
as brilliant as they could wish. 

On the 13th of December, a most gallant at- 
tack was made, by a detachment of boats, under 
the orders of Captain Lockyer, upon a flolilla 
of American gun-boats, moored in line, with 
boarding-nettings triced up, and in every respect 
fully prepared for an obstinate resistance. — 
(App. Mo. 1)9.) The strength of the current, 
and the great distance the men had to row, oc- 
casioned a part of the boats to reach the enemy 
iirst ; but nothing could withstand the attack of 
the British. Our loss was not so severe as might 
have been expected. A reference to Captain 
Lockver's letter will fully shew, what a tormid- 
able American force he compelled to surrender. 



Lake Erie — British capture the Somers and Ohio — 
Also Scorpion and Tigress — Launching of British 
and American ships on Lake Ontario — British 
storm and cany Fort Oswego — Fail at Sandy 
Creek — Sir James blockades SackeWs harbour — 
Returns into port for provisions — Commodore 
Chauncey sails out — Comparative force of the 
two squadrons — St. Lawrence launched, — Ame- 
ricans retire to Sackctfs Harbour — An Ameri- 
can editor s ludicrous charge against Sir James 
Yeo — Operations on Lake Champ lain — Equip- 
ment of the Confiancc — State on going into action 
— Promised co-operation not given — Action be- 
tween the fleets — Captain Downie"s extraordinary 
death — British fleet surrenders — Declaration 
of the American commander — Damage and loss 
on each side — Force of the respective squadrons — 
American painting of the action — Statement of 
comparative force — Remarks thereon — Charges 
against Sir George Prevost — His death before 

A HE possession of Captain Barclay's fleet, had 
not only given to the Americans, the entire com- 
mand of Lake Erie, and the large lakes, Huron 
and Superior, leading from it, but restored to 


them the immense territory of Michigan* and 
gained over on their side, five nations of In- 
dians, — our late allies. Had the spirit of the 
Americans, indeed, kept pace with the apathy 
and neglect, so conspicuous in another quarter, 
the province of Upper Canada could not have 
held out as it did. 

On the 12th of August, the three U. S. schoon- 
ers, Somers, Ohio, and Porcupine, being stationed 
close to Fort Erie, then in the possession of the 
Americans, for the purpose of flanking the 
British army in their approach against it, Cap- 
tain Dobbs, with a detachment of about 70 sea- 
men and marines from the Lake Ontario squad- 
ron, succeeded in getting his gig and five bat- 
teaux (magnified by the editor of the " Sketches 
of the War" into " 9 large boats") across by 
land from the Niagara river, a distance of eight 
miles. Two of the schooners, the Somers and 
Ohio, were presently carried, sword in hand; 
*' and the third," says Captain Dobbs, " would 
certainly have fallen, had the cables not been 
cut; which made us drift to-leeward of her 
among the rapids." It is almost impossible, 
without having been on the spot, to form an 
adequate idea of the rapidity, and of course 
danger, of the Niagara-stream, as it approaches 
the cataract. 

The British loss was Lieutenant Radcliflfe of 
the Netley, (late Beresford,) and one seaman, 


killed; and 4 seamen wounded. The enemy's 
loss was one seaman killed ; 3 officers and 4 
seamen wounded. The Somers mounted two 
long 12-pounders ; the Ohio one long 12, all on 
pivots. Each schooner was commanded by a 
lieutenant; and had a complement of 35 men. 
The Somers had altered her armament, since 
the action of the last year; and, although the 
Ohio was not present in that action, her name 
appears in an American list of the preceding 

When we consider that, with the Porcupine, 
the Americans had a force of 92 pounds weight 
of metal, and 105 men, to oppose against not 
more than 75 men, without any artillery what- 
ever, the exploit of Captain Dobbs and his brave 
followers, deserves every commendation. It 
proved that British seamen could find expedi- 
ents, to capture two out of three fine American 
armed schooners, in waters, where the "gig and 
five batteaux" of the conquerors, were the only 
British vessels afloat. 

Some time in August, the Americans dis- 
patched the schooners Tigress and Scorpion, 
with troops, to attack Fort Mackinaw on Lake 
Huron. It is believed the schooner Ariel also 
accompanied the expedition ; as she is mentioned 
to have foundered in some of the dangerous 


passages between those lakes. In their main 
object the Americans failed ; but they compelled 
the British to destroy the small provincial 
schooner Nancy, of two 4s or 6s, and the trad- 
ing schooner Mink, laden with furs. Lieute- 
nant Worsely who had commanded the former, 
escaped w ith his few hands ; and soon set about 
repairing his loss at the enemy's expense. 

The Tigress had stationed herself at the De- 
tour near St. Joseph's, for the purpose of cutting 
off all supplies from the garrison at Mackinaw. 
On the night of the 3d of September, Lieute- 
nant Worsely, with a petty-officer and 17 sea- 
men, and a detachment of* the Royal Newfound- 
land regiment, amounting with their officers, 
and some Indian chiefs in company, to 70 men, 
embarked in four boats; and afterwards at- 
tacked, and carried, by boarding, the schooner 
Tigress. A body of Indians which had set out 
with the expedition from Mackinaw, was left 
three miles in the rear. Lieutenant Worsely 
sent the prisoners, under a guard, back to 
Mackinaw ; manned the Tigress with part of 
the men lie had remaining; and made sail in 
pursuit of the Scorpion. On the morning of 
the 5th, the latter returned from a cruize off 
French river. At day-dawn the next morning, 
she was attacked by the Tigress; and, after one 
broadside, also carried by boarding. 


The British loss was, 2 seamen killed, Lieute- 
nant Bulger, (the commanding officer of the de- 
tachment,) and 7 soldiers slightly wounded. The 
American loss was 3 seamen killed; all the offi- 
cers of the Tigress, and 3 seamen, severely 

The Scorpion mounted one long 24, and one 
long 12 pounder, both on pivots ; and was com- 
manded by Lieutenant Turner ; with a comple- 
ment of 34 men. The Tigress mounted one 
long 24-pounder, on a pivot; and was com- 
manded by Sailing-master Champlin; with a 
complement of 28 men. They were both very 
fine vessels ; the former measuring 68 ^, the 
latter 601 * feet on deck. 

The " result of the court of inquiry" which 
sat upon the loss of these schooners, nearly fills 
a column of an American newspaper. It is there 
stated, that the Tigress' crew " was composed 
of men of the most ordinary class." This is a 
candid confession, and was very probably the 
case ; yet we are never allowed to make the same 
excuse. The court of inquiry magnifies the 
British force that captured these schooners, into 
" about 300 sailors, soldiers, and Indians, con- 
veyed in rive large boats, armed with a 6 and 
3 pounder, and 19 canoes" ; and states that the 
British, besides mounting upon the Tigress their 
two guns, placed on board, a complement of 
*' from 70 to 100 picked men.'' 


On the loth of April, 1814, were launched at 
Kingston, Lake Ontario, the British frigates 
Prince Regent and Princess Charlotte; the for- 
mer of 1310, the latter of 815 tons. The ar- 
mament oi each ship here follows: 

Prince Regeut. 

Main-deck, 28 long 24 pndrs. 

f 4 24 

Spar-deck, < 4 carrs. 68 

(. 22 32 

Total, 58 guns. 
Complement, 485. 

Princess Charlotte. 
'24 long 24 pndrs. 

2 carrs. 68 

14 32 

42 guns. 
Complement, 3 1 5. 

The 68-pound carronades are the same that 
were mounted last year on board the Wolfe and 
Royal George. (See p. 297.) The latter, now 
named the Niagara, had replaced the two 68s 
with two long 18-pounders; the former, now the 
Montreal, her four, with the same number of 
32-pound carronades. The schooners Moiraand 
Sidney Smith were altered into brigs, and their 
names changed to the Charwell and Magnet; as 
were the names of the Melville and Beresford to 
the Star and Netley; but, it is believed, no 
alterations, beyond those already mentioned, 
were made in the armaments of any of the British 

Before the end of March, Commodore Chaun- 
cey had succeeded in equipping two large brig- 
sloops, the Jones and Jefferson, of 530 (500 


American, App. No. 65.) tons each. It lias been 
stated, that they carried 42-pound carronades, 
and mounted 24 guns each; but they will be 
considered as having mounted the same as the 
U. S. ships Frolic and Peacock, (see p. 336 and 
348,) with the addition of a long 24-pounder 
upon a traversing carriage. The Sylph, now a 
brig, (seep. 301,) mounted, in lieu of her former 
armament, fourteen carronades, 24-pounders, 
and two long 12s. On the 1st of May, was 
launched at Sackett's Harbour, the Superior, of 
about 1580 tons, pierced for 64 guns; (App. 
No. 65.) and, on the 11th of June, the Mohawk, 
of about 1220 tons. The following is stated as 
the armaments of these two ships : 


Main-deck, 30 long (Cols.*) 32 pndrs. 

' 2 24 

30 carrs. 42 

Spar-deck, •/ , 

Total, 62 guns. 
Complement, 550. 


28 long 24-pndrs. 

2 24 

1 8 carrs. 42 

48 guns. 
Complement, 460. 

At the close of the operations of the last year, 
Commodore Chauncey had eight schooners, be- 
sides the Sylph. (See p. 303.) He appears, this 
year, with only seven schooners; making, with 
his two frigates, a total of thirteen sail. The 
deficient schooner will be considered to have 

* See p. 5. 


had the same armament as the Growler or Julia; 
whose force as well as that of all the other ves- 
sels of the last year's squadrons, both British 
and American, will be found at p. 297 and 298. 
Intelligence having been received that, at 
Oswego, on this lake, the Americans had, by 
river-navigation, collected from the interior, 
several heavy guns, naval stores for their ships, 
and large depots of provisions for their army, an 
attack upon the fort and town was determined 
upon; although the position was a very for- 
midable one. On the 5th of May, the British 
fleet, consisting of seven sail, (the Netley, late 
Beresford, being absent,) appeared oft the port; 
but, just as the men were on the point of land- 
ing, a heavy gale from the N.W. obliged the 
ships to gain an offing: in which attempt, some 
boats were necessarily cut adrift. The Ameri- 
can editors, making a proper use of this, as- 
serted, that the " shore-battery compelled the 
British to retire to their shipping." Early the 
next morning, every thing being ready, 140 
troops, 200 seamen, armed with pikes, under 
Captain Mulcaster, and 400 marines, were put 
into the boats; and, under cover of the ships, 
the landing was effected ; in spite of a heavy fire 
of round, grape, and musketry from the shore. 
The men, having to ascend a very steep and long 
hill, were greatly exposed, but their gallantry 
overcame every obstacle. They threw them* 


selves into the foss6, and gained the ramparts ; 
and Lieutenant John Hewitt, of the marines, 
climbed the flag-staff, under a heavy fire, and 
struck the American colours, which had been 
nailed to the mast. — The British lost in this 
affair 22 killed, and 73 wounded. The Ameri- 
cans acknowledge a loss of 69 in killed, 
wounded, and missing. Mr. Low declares our 
loss to have been been 235 ; and that we landed 
u 2000 men." The editor of the 4 « Sketches of 
the War" says, " 3000 men;" and speaks of the 
British vessels, thus: — "Their principal ship, 
and the other frigates •" &c. 

The British carried away with them, seven 
long guns, 32s and 24s, a great quantity of ord- 
nance stores, and large rope, 2400 barrels of 
provisions, and three schooners. They destroyed 
three long 24-pounder guns, one long 12, and 
two long 6s, a schooner, the barracks, and all 
the other public buildings. One of the schooners 
was the Growler, late Hamilton. Besides the 
above, a quantity of cordage, and other naval 
stores, and three long 32-pounders, were sunk 
in the river by the Americans themselves. Mr. 
Low, the war-historian, comprises all this loss 
in, — " Eight pieces of cannon, and some stores, 
worth about 100 dollars" ! 

The guns and stores for the new ship Supe- 
rior, had, unknown to the British, been removed 


from Oswego, previous to the attack ; and 
reached Sackett's-harbour, chiefly by land-con- 
veyance. After departing from Oswego, Sir 
James anchored off Sackett's-harbour ; which 
port he blockaded, till the early part of July I 
when it became necessary to return to Kingston 
for provisions. The American ship Superior 
had certainly been ready for several days ; and 
the Mohawk was equipping with great expe- 

On the 30th of May, the daring spirit of the 
British officers and seamen, and their total 
unacquaintance with ambuscades, led to an unfor- 
tunate failure. Captains Popham and Spils- 
bury, with a detachment of seamen and marines, 
amounting to 181, pursued into Sandy-creek, 
(about 16 miles from Sackett's-harbour,) a flo- 
tilla of 18 boats, carrying a number of cannon, 
and other stores, for the new vessels. The Bri- 
tish landed ; and were unexpectedly assailed by 
150 riflemen, 4 field-pieces, nearly 200 Indians, 
and a numerous body of militia and cavalry. 
The resistance of the British was noble. The 
winding of the creek, and the thickness of the 
wood on its borders, gave the enemy great ad- 
vantages. After a loss of 18 killed, and 50 
dangerously wounded, Captain Popham and hiy 
party surrendered. 

On the 1st of August, the American com- 


mander, having his second frigate, the Mohawk, 
ready for the lake, again ventured out of port. 
Here the British were once more accused of un- 
willingness to fight " on equal terms." How 
far that was the case, at any time previous to 
the launching of the St. Lawrence, the following 
statement will shew : — 

Comparative force of the two squadrons. 



_ A 

Broadside f 1. guns, 942 

metal m\ 

pounds, ' carr. 1810 


Complements, 1517 
Size in tons, 3510 

No. 1. 





No. 2. 




No. 3. 





The British column, compared with No. 1, 
shews the relative force of the parties at the 
sacking of Oswego ; with No. 2, the same, for 
some days before Sir James gave up the blockade 
of SackettVharbour ; with No. 3, until the St. 
Lawrence appeared on the lake. 

Admitting it was prudent not to be provoked 
by the roaring of Sir James's cannon at Oswego, 
(where he had one vessel short of the number 
comprised in the statement,) what reasonable 
excuse had Commodore Chauncey, for submit- 
ing to the indignity of being blockaded ; and 
that, too, by an officer, whom he had boasted of 


having so often " chased round the lake"?— 
Was he determined not to risk a battle, unless 
he had three to two in his favor? 

About the middle of October, when the season 
for cruizing on the lake was almost over, the 
British succeeded in getting ready their large 
ship St. Lawrence, of 2305 tons ; and intended 
to mount 112 guns. A il peep into Kingston'* 
by one of Commodore Chauncey's small vessels, 
gave him timely notice of this ; and he retired 
to Sackett's-harbour, to stir out no more. All 
agreed in the propriety of this ; but still the 
preponderance of force was not so great, on Sir 
James's side, as it had hitherto been (except at 
the Oswego-attack) on the side of Commodore 

The Americans, however, declared the supe- 
riority would be " overwhelming ;" and com- 
menced building two 74s, (so to be rated,) each 
of whose broadsides would have about equalled 
that of the St. Lawrence. To meet tins, on our 
part, a 74 was commenced upon ; and a frigate, 
like the Princess Charlotte, constructed : but, 
before the lakes were open in the ensuing spring, 
peace came; otherwise, there is no saying whe- 
ther the building mania would not have conti- 
nued, while room remained on the lake for 
working the ships. 

The editor of the (: Naval Monument," justly 
apprehending greater difficulty in composing a 


Preface, than he had experienced in compiling 
his choice collection of newspaper-scraps, hired 
a scribbling zealot, or a " literary gentleman/' 
as he styles hitn, of Boston, to do it for him. 
Sixteen close pages, where two would have suf- 
ficed, render it probable, that the writer engaged 
by the quantity, rather than the quality, ot the 
matter he was to furnish ; or, perhaps, he re- 
ceived so much a score for the hard names he 
could heap upon the British, tie has honored 
Sir James Lucas Yeo, by referring to him in the 
following question : — " What perseverance was 
ever more indefatigable than Chauncey's in pur- 
suit ; — unless, indeed, that of his adversary in 
patience ? — an adversarj, not only beaten, but 
impossible to be made to fight ; and he the sole 
British commander, on his return from the 
lakes, able to say even that.'- — It would be an 
affront to the reader, not to allow him to make 
his own comments upon this most ludicrous 
charge against Sir James Lucas Yeo ! 

Lake Champlain is a lake of North America ; 
dividing the N.E. part of the state of New York 
from that of Vermont. It is 80 miles long, 18 
where broadest, and the mean width about 6. 
This lake receives the waters of Lake George from 
the S. by South river ; and sends its own waters a 
N. course, through Sorrel river, into the St. Law- 
rence ; to which, however, there is no navigation. 

D D 


As early as the year 1776, two formidable 
British aiid American flotillas appeared on this 
lake. Between them, they mounted upwards of 
180 heavy guns ; and we could then afford, " from 
the king's ships at Quebec, and transports, 8 
officers, 19 petty-officers, and 670 men." — 
{Schombcrg's Nav. Chronol. vol. iv. p. 324.) 

The first naval event of the late war, upon 
this lake, occurred on the 3d of June, 1813. 
Two American sloops appeared in sight of the 
British garrison at Isle au Noix. Three gun- 
boats immediately got under weigh to attack 
them ; and the crews of two batteaux and two 
row-boats, were landed, to annoy the enemy in 
the rear; the channel being very narrow. After 
a contest of three hours and a half, the two 
sloops surrendered. They proved to be the 
Growler and Eagle, mounting 11 guns, and 
having a complement of 50 men, each ; both 
under the command of Lieutenant Sidney Smith, 
of the United States' navy. We lost 3 men 
wounded : the Americans, 1 man killed ; 8 se- 
verely wounded ; and, including the latter, 99 
prisoners. No British naval officer was present. 
The feat was performed by detachments of the 
100th regiment, and royal artillery, under the 
direction of Major Taylor, of the former. 

On the 1st of August, some officers and sea- 
men having arrived from Quebec, Captain 
Everard, (late of the Wasp brig,) with the two 


prize-sloops, three gun-boats, and several bat- 
teaux, entered Plattsburgh ; where he destroyed 
all the enemy's arsenals, block-houses, barracks, 
and stores of every description ; together with 
the extensive barracks at Saranac. 

Captain Everard, in his letter, says : — " Hav- 
ing captured and destroyed four vessels, without 
any attempt on the part of the enemy's armed 
vessels to prevent it ; and seeing no prospect of 
inducing him to quit his position, where it was 
impossible for me to attack him, I am now re- 
turning to execute my original order." 

This enterprising officer proceeded afterwards 
off Burlington and Shelburne ; where he seized 
and destroyed several sloops laden with provi- 
sions ; and did other considerable injury. At 
this time, according to Mr. Low, " the United 
States troops at Burlington, under command of 
Major-general Hampton, consisted of about 
4000 men ;" and Mr. Clarke informs us, that, on 
the 20th of August, " the American naval force 
on Lake Champlain consisted of — » 


The President, 

J 2 

Commodore Preble, 






Two gun-boats, one 1 8-pounder, each, 


Six scows, one 12-pouuder, each, 



48 ? 



But, lest the American reader should enquire, 
why Commodore Macdonough, with such a 
force, did not attempt to capture or drive off 
the British " marauding party," Mr. Clarke de- 
scribes the prize-sloops Growler aud Eagle 
(without naming them) as " two large sloops 
of war" ! (N. Hist. vol. i. p. 23-2.) 

During the summer of 1814, each party strove 
to out-build the other, in time to commence 
operations on the lake before the season closed. 
The Americans, being quite at home, got a for- 
midable force equipped, long before the prin- 
cipal vessel of the British was even off the 
stocks. This ship, named the Con fiance, was 
launched on the 25th of August. On the 3d of 
September, Captain Downie arrived from Lake 
Ontario, accompanied by his late first-lieutenant 
in the Montreal, to take the command of the 
vessels upon this lake ; consisting, besides the 
Confiance, of a brig, the two cutters or sloops 
before-named, and 10 gun-boats. 

Between the 25th of August, and the 10th of 
September, a crew was got together for the Con- 
fiance ; which vessel they had to mast and rig ; 
and equip with guns and ordnance-stores. Cap- 
tain Pring, in his official letter, says this crew 
was made up of draughts from different ships. 
That this was really the fact, will appear from 
the following list, comprising the names of the 
ships out of which they were draughted, &c. 


Officers, including midshipmen, 


Seamen, originally on the lake, 


from H.M.S. Leopard, 
















Royal Sovereign, 




transports, (ent. for a limited time,) 25 

Impressed men, 




Taken out of prison, 


Marines, from battalion, and different ships, 


Royal artillery, 




39th regiment of foot, 


Total of Confiance's complement, 270 

If this is not a motley collection, there surely 
never was one ! Among the number, there were 
19 foreigners, and 6 boys. The seamen were 
men of inferior quality and character ; and who, 
as it is termed, volwiteered, or rather, were 
forced from their respective ships ; where they 
had been in disgrace. Some of them, indeed, 
had been liberated from irons, for the very pur- 
pose of proceeding to the lakes ! None of the 
marines joined earlier than the 9th of Septem- 


ber ; and a part of the seamen, only the night 
before the action. Of course, time did not ad- 
mit of the men becoming acquainted with their 
officers, or with each other. Captain Downie 
himself was acquainted with no officer on board 
his ship but his first-lieutenant ; and the latter 
with none of the other officers ! 

On the 10th of September, his Excellency Sir 
George Prevost, the commander in chief, called 
for the instant co-operation of the naval force, 
in a meditated attack upon the American fleet 
and works at Plattsburg. It was solemnly 
agreed, that the attack by land and water should 
be simultaneous ; and proposed, that Cap- 
tain Downie, should give notice to the army of 
his approach towards the enemy, by scaling the 
guns of the Confiance. 

Captain Downie's situation was one of pecu- 
liar delicacy. While he was fully aware of 
the unprepared state of his own ship, he knew 
that a powerful British army was anxiously 
waiting to co-operate ; and that the season for 
active warfare was rapidly closing. The slight- 
est backwardness on his part might injure the 
reputation of himself and those placed under 
his command ; and, — had he not the most posi- 
tive assurance, that the enemy's works should be 
stormed by the troops, at the very moment he 
was seen advancing to attack their fleet ? 

When the American people, in the summer of 


1814, were blaming Commodore Chauncey for 
not leaving Sackett's harbour, in the new ships 
Superior and Mohawk, after the latter had been 
launched nearly two, and the former upwards 
of three months, that cautious commander, 
under date of the 10th of August, writes to the 
secretary of the American navy, thus : — " I need 
not suggest to one of your experience, that a 
man of war may appear to the eye of a lands- 
man, perfectly ready for sea, when she is defi- 
cient in many of the most essential points of 
her armament ; nor how unworthy I should have 
proved myself of the high trust reposed in me, 
had I ventured to sea in the face of an enemy 
of equal force, without being able to meet him 
in one hour after my anchor was weighed." — 
How admirably this fits the case of the Con- 
fiance ! And what Briton does not regret, that 
a very small portion of Commodore Chauncey's 
prudence, was not bestowed upon the framers 
of the expedition to Plattsburg ? 

On the morning of the 11th, with the car- 
penters still working at her, and half-fitted as 
she was, the Confiance, accompanied by the 
other British vessels, stood into the enemy's bay. 
Captain Dovvnie then acquainted the crews of 
the different vessels, with the promised co- 
operation ; and, just before the action com- 
menced, Lieutenant Robertson went himself 
round the Confiance'* quarters, and explained 


particularly to the crew, the nature of the co- 
operation, as he had understood it from Captain 
Downie. The guns of the Confiance were 
scaled several times, as was agreed upon ; but 
the signal was not answered from the army. To 
the honor of the soldiers, and the officers in 
general, they all panted to rush forward ; nay, 
they had advanced to the very picquets of the 
enemy ; when it was thought advisable to check 
their glorious career. Two hours more would 
have given a victory to both army and navy, 
instead of a flight to one, and a defeat to the 
Other ! 

Captain Downie now discovered, too late, the 
mistake his confidence had led him into. His 
squadron was already in the enemy's bay ; where 
were lying, moored in line, a ship, brig, schooner, 
sloop, six row-gallies, and four gun-boats, anx- 
iously awaiting the attack. (App. No. 90.) Se- 
veral British officers who, since the conclusion 
of the war, have surveyed the Plattsburg bay 
and works, are fully of opinion that both squa- 
drons were within reach of the American bat- 
teries on shore. 

Unfortunately, as the British squadron ad- 
vanced to the attack, a very light air, amount- 
ing almost to a calm, gave the American row- 
gallies and gun-boats an opportunity of com- 
mencing upon the ( ontiance, which was the 
Jcading ship, a heavy and galling fire. Having 


two anchors shot away from her bow, she was 
obliged to anchor, not so advantageously as had 
been intended. The Linnet brig, and Chubb 
cutter, took their allotted stations ; but the lat- 
ter presently had her main-boom shot away ; 
and, drifting within the enemy's line, was com- 
pelled to surrender. The Finch had the misfor- 
tune, while proceeding to her station, to strike 
on a reef of rocks off Crabb-island ; where there 
was an American battery of two guns, which 
fired at the Finch, and wounded two of her men ; 
the only loss she sustained. Not a word of this 
appears in the American official account. 

All the gun-boats, except the Murray, Beres- 
ford, and another, " abandoned the object as- 
signed them ;" ( App. No. 90 ;) that is, ran away, 
almost as soon as the action commenced ! — All 
surprise at this will cease, when it is known, 
that not one of the gun-boats had more than 
three seamen on board ; their crews, with the 
exception of a few marines in some of them, 
being composed of a small detachment of the 
39th regiment, and of Canadian militia, who 
spoke the French language only. 

The American commander, Macdonough, 
aware that the British official account would 
forcibly dwell upon the hurried, half-finished 
state of the Confiance, and upon the accidental 
absence and defection of a part of the squadron, 
takes care to be before-hand, by stating thus : — 


fi For several days, the enemy were on their war 
to Plattsburg by land and water. In this situa- 
tion, the whole force on both sides became en- 
gaged." (App. No. 92.) 

Within 15 minutes after the commencement 
of the action, fell the British commanding offi- 
cer, the brave, the lamented Captain Downie. 
The way in which he met his death, is of too 
extraordinary a nature to be passed over. A 
shot from the enemy struck one of the Confi- 
ance's 24-pounders, and threw it completely off 
the carriage, against Captain Downie, who was 
standing close in the rear of it. He received 
the blow upon his right groin ; and, although 
signs of life remained for a few minutes, 
never spoke afterwards. No part of his skin was 
broken : a black mark, about the circumference 
of a small plate, was the only visible injury. 
His watch was found flattened, with the hands 
pointing to the hour, minute, and second, at 
which the fatal blow was given ! 

The circumstance of the Confiance not being 
able, owing to the loss and damage she had sus- 
tained, to bring a fresli broadside to bear, as the 
Saratoga had succeeded in doing, was fatal to 
the former. She had every gun on the star- 
board side loaded with two . shot, besides 
canister; also 17 of her guns disabled; and 
many of the others encumbered by wreck. The 
marines were of no use, as the action was fought 


out of the range of musketry. In this situa- 
tion, Lieutenant Robertson, the Conflance's sur- 
viving commanding officer, very properly made 
the signal of submission. 

The Linnet brig fought most gallantly ; and 
actually drove her very superior antagonist, the 
Eagle, for shelter, between the Saratoga and 
Ticonderoga. Commodore Macdonough assigns 
a different reason for the Eagle's shifting her 
station, — her «' not being able to bring her guns 
to bear." (App. No. 92.) It was not till 15. 
minutes after the surrender of the Confiance* 
and, when left alone in the combat, that the 
brave little Linnet hauled down her colours. 
The Americans admit that the action lasted, 
without intermission, two hours and 20 minutes. 

Commodore Macdonough, taking Lieutenant 
Robertson, when presenting his sword, for the 
British commanding officer, spoke to him as fol* 
lows : — " " You owe it, sir, to the shameful con- 
duct of your gun-boats and cutters, that you are 
performing this office to me ; for, had they done 
their duty, you must have perceived, from the si' 
tuation of the Saratoga, that I could hold out no 
longer : and indeed, nothing induced me to keep 
up her colours, but seeing, from the united fire of 
all the rest of my squadron on the Confiance, and 
her unsupported situation, that she must ultimately 
surrender" — Here is an acknowledgment, can- 
did and honorable in the extreme. — Can this 


be the " T. Macdonough" whose signature ap- 
pears to the two American official accounts of 
the action ? 

The state of the two squadrons after the 
action, appears in the letters of Captain Pring, 
and Commodore Macdonough. And Captain 
Henley, of the Eagle, so long engaged with the 
Linnet, states that his vessel had thirty nine 
round shot in her hull, and four in her lower- 
masts. None of the British gun-boats were 
sunk, or even injured. Commodore Macdonough, 
discovering, with his glass, 10 gun-boats only, 
when he had been informed there were 13, wrote 
down at once: — " Three of their gallies are said 
to be sunk." 

The Confiance's loss, as appears by Captain 
Pring's letter, could not at the time be accu- 
rately obtained. That ship had 83, instead of 
40 wounded. This makes the total loss on the 
British side, 54 killed, and 116 wounded. The 
Chubb's loss amounted to half her complement. 
The gun-boats sustained no loss whatever. 

The loss on the American side appears not to 
have been fully given. The " list of killed and 
wounded troops of the line, acting marines on 
board the squadron, " forwarded by Captain 
Youngs of the M loth Infantry ," (App. No. 93,) 
has been kept back. Besides, it is clear that 
" 52 killed," and only M 58 wounded" are out 
of all proportion. W ith nearly the same num. 


ber of killed, our wounded were just double the 
American wounded. Consequent!} r , exclusive 
of the ' ; killed and wounded troops of the line," 
the slightly wounded, on board the American 
squadron have not been enumerated. 

Commodore Macdonough sajs: — " The ene- 
my's shot passed principally just over our heads." 
— The Saratoga's loss in the action proves, that 
either the Confiance's guns were fired low 
enough, or that 27 at least, of the Saratoga's 
men, were of an extraordinary height. Let it be 
recollected, that no musketry was employed on 
either side. — One tenth of the drilling which, 
as the commodore says, First-lieutenant Perry 
gave to the Saratoga's men, would perhaps 
have saved the Confiance's newly arrived ship's 
company from this intended reproach. 

By admitting Commodore jYJacdonough's 
statement of the guns of the American, (App. 
No. 92.) we may be allowed to introduce Cap- 
tain Pring's statement of the guns of the British 
squadron; (App. No. 90;) although the latter 
should differ, in some points, from that which 
the commodore has given to the public. 

The Con fiance mounted twenty-six long 24- 
pounders upon the main or flush-deck; also two 
carronades, 32-pounders, out of the bridle or 
bow ports, and the same out of the stern-ports. 
Upon the poop were mounted four carronades, 
24-pounders; and upon the top-gallant-fore- 


castle, two carronades, 24-pounders, together 
with a long 24-pounder, upon a traversing car- 
riage. But, in consequence of there being 
only a ridge-rope or rail round either the poop 
or top-gallant-forecastle, the guns, there sta- 
tioned, were disabled after the first discharge. 
They will, however, be estimated as part of the 
ship's force ; but not the carronades out of the 
bridle and stern ports, because they could not 
be used in the broadside. Therefore, although 
the Confiance mounted, altogether, 37 guns, she 
fought 17 only upon the broadside. There were 
also in the hold, as part of the ballast, two long 
18-pounders. These, Commodore Macdonough 
has shifted to the " berth-deck," and actually, 
in his statement of force, carried out, as part of 
the Confiance's " 39 guns" ! 

Captain Downie, having no gun-locks on 
board, (they being in the Junon frigate, which 
had not arrived at Quebec in time,) attempted 
to substitute carronade-locks ; which he con- 
trived to fasten to the guns by means of cop- 
per hoops. But the plan was not found to an- 
swer; and matches were resorted to. Deter- 
mined that we should derive no advantage from 
publishing this fact, an American paper subjoins 
to an exaggerated account of the Con fiance's 
force in guns, — H with locks." Any thing of this 
sort travels all through the Tnited States, as fast 
as the mail can carry it. 


Commodore Macdonough, in a second official 
letter, says, — " The Saratoga was twice set on 
fire by hot shot fired from the enemy's ship." — 
The latter part of this assertion is as gross a 
falsehood as ever was uttered ; and, from the 
notorious fact, that neither the Confiance, nor 
any other of the British vessels, had a furnace 
on board, the writer must (shame to say!) have 
known it to be a falsehood. Had such a disco- 
very been made, there would have been para- 
graph after paragraph, and column after co- 
lumn, of well-merited abuse ! Lieutenant (now 
Captain) Robertson, of the Confiance, has de- 
clared, that the Saratoga certainly received some 
hot shot in the action, but that it must have 
been from the American batteries : — much more 
likely places to find furnaces for heating shot, 
than on board the just-launched, half-equipped 

The Linnet mounted sixteen long 12-pound- 
ers. Although Commodore Macdonough gives 
her no more, Sir George Prevost, in his official 
despatch, says : — tc Linnet, 18 guns." The cutter 
Chubb mounted ten carronades, 18-pounders, 
and one long 6-pounder ; the cutter Finch, six 
carronades, 18-pounders, and four long 6-pound- 
ers: the American account adds, '* one colum- 
biad 18-pounder ;" which must be a mistake. 
These two cutters are named, in Sir George's 
letter, Broke and Shannon. 


There were but ten gun-boats, instead of 
twelve, as stated by Sir George Prevost in his 
official despatch, and thirteen, as stated by Com- 
modore Macdonough. Of the ten gun-boats, 
two mounted a long 24, and a 32 pound carron- 
ade, each ; one a long 18, and a 32 pound carron- 
ade; four a long 18, each; and the remaining 
three, a 32-pound carronade, each; total 13 
guns. Commodore JVlacdonough's statement 
differs much less from this than might be ex- 
pected; considering that none of the gun -boats 
came into his possession. 

The li Burlington Centinel," an American 
newspaper, says : '• Bv the official accounts of 
the Champlain action, it appears, 37 officers, 
and 340 seamen, were taken prisoners." The 
" Naval Monument," instead of this list, has 
inserted one, containing the names of the paroled 
British officers, as low down as the carpenter ; 
amounting in all to 26: therefore the newspaper- 
account of the number of officers, must be in- 
correct. The "Sketches of the \\ ar," states 
thus: — " The enemy's loss was, 84 men killed, 
110 wounded, and 8.5(3 prisoners; who alone 
amounted to a greater number than those by 
whom they were taken." Typographical errors 
arc much more frequent among tigures than 
words; and no two uritfm (inures are so often 
confounded as the 3 and 8. Considering that 
the Americans estimated the total of the crews 


of the captured British vessels at no more than 
500, it will be but charitable to suppose, that 
the typographical error of substituting an 8 for 
a 3, existed in the newspaper, pamphlet, or 
whatever it was, from which the paragraph had 
been copied. In that case, 356 would be the num- 
ber of prisoners; not so many by 10, as the list 
of paroled officers, added to the "340 seamen" 
from the " Burlington Centinel," would give. 

Perhaps, the best way to establish the point, 
will be to deduct from the actual complements 
of the captured vessels, the British return of 
killed; and then see what remains. 

Actual complement. 
Confiance, 270 

Linnet, 80 

Chubb, 40 

Finch, SO 

Deduct killed in action, 54 

No. of prisoners, in all, 366 

After this exposition, it is surely unnecessary 
to suppose a doubt can exist, as to the number 
of men and boys composing the united comple- 
ments of the captured British vessels. 

Two of the British gun-boats had 35 men and 
boys each ; one 33 ; four, 29 each ; and the re- 
maining three, 25 each; total 294 men and 
boys: while the Americans gave the " 13 gun- 
boats," 350 men. 

E E 


The Linnet, and the two cutters, had their 
complements chiefly made up of detachments of 
the 39th regiment, and of Canadian militia who 
could speak little or no English ; and the gun- 
boats, as stated before, had only three seamen to 
each. The number of boys is not exactly 
known ; therefore, they will not be enumerated 
in the estimate of comparative force. 

The armament of the American vessels appears 
in the statement subjoined to Commodore Mac- 
donough's official letter. All the guns on board 
the row-galliesand gun-boats, the same as on the 
British side, will be brought into the broadside. 

The following list comprizes the number of 
men, which the American officers assured Captain 
Pring, was the regular complement of each of 


Saratoga, 250 

Eagle, 142 

Ticonderoga, 1 1 5 

Preble, 45 

Six lateen-rigged gun-boats, or row- \ g ^j 
gallies, 41 men each, J 

Four lugger-rigged ditto, 25 each, 100 

Total, 898 

But the detachments of the 6th, loth, and 
33d U. S. infantry, " acting marines on board 
the squadron," are not included in the above 
statement. Admitting the draughts from the 
three regiments, to have amounted to no more 


than a company, or captain's command, the 
united complements of the American vessels 
would be, at least, 950; which, therefore, will 
be the number fixed. 

The American newspapers, of dates many 
weeks anterior to the action, announced that 
their squadron on Lake Champlain, was com- 
pletely manned by seamen, drafted from the 
different ships on the sea-board. The gun-boats 
had on board most excellent artillerists; such 
as, fc&w their station between the large vessels 
and the batteries, contrived to strike the British, 
between wind and water, almost every shot. 

The public has heard much of the " frigate" 
Confiance. She is no more a frigate than the 
American ships General Pike and Madison on 
Lake Ontario. Is extraordinary size to consti- 
tute a f} frigate"? The American corvettes, 
Adams and John Adams, were each larger than 
the Confiance ; and yet not called frigates. H. M. 
late ship Andromeda (formerly the American 
Hannibal) was broader, though a trifle shorter, 
than the Confiance; and yet she was not called 
a frigate. The peculiar construction of a fri- 
gate has been already defined ; and, without 
Commodore Macdonough can give the Confi- 
ance a regular quarter-deck and forecastle, fitted 
with ramparts and ports, neither his assertions, 
nor the wishes of the American people, can make 
that ship a *' frigate." 

e e 2 



Having magnified the Confiance into a ft fri- 
gate," Commodore Macdonough could do no 
less than make " sloops of war" of the cutters 
Chubb and Finch. We have captured from the 
Americans, many gun-boats; none under 70, 
and one exceeding 112 tons; being two tons 
more than the largest of the commodore's " two 
sloops of war." Would not Commodore Mac- 
donougli himself be one of the first to ridicule 
us, had we announced, in a public despatch, 
the capture of the " U. S. sloop of war No. 
23"? — Really, such artifices to gain public ap- 
plause, are pitiful in the extreme. 

To shew that we have something beyond de- 
clamation to support us, when speaking of the 
size of the British vessels on Lake Champlain, 
here follow the principal dimensions of — as 
the American newspapers denominated them — 
" lour of the enemy's largest ships :" 


Linnet, B. 

Chubb, Cut. 

Finch, Cut. 

So thai the gross tonnage of these '* four large 
ships'' scarcely exceeds the tonnage of a single 
American " 36-gun frigate." (See p. 02.) — 
This will be the proper place to introduce, from 




ni water 



Actual keel. 

II. In. 

Ft. In. 

I't. In. 

Ft. In. 

i Mi .; 


36 lj 

7 H) 


82 0\ 


26 (>i 

7 6 





(i 6 



54 6 

iy s 




the " Burlington Centinel," an American pa- 
per published on the borders of Lake Cham- 
plain, the following- paragraph : 

?' The British large ship taken by Commo- 
dore Macdonough is repaired and painted. She 
is undoubtedly one of the finest ships of her 
class in the British navy, mounting twenty eight 
long double fortified 24s, with locks, and carry- 
ing in the whole, 39 guns: she is 460 feet in 
length, 40 feet in breadth; presenting a most 
formidable battery, and which, if it had been 
managed with the skill of a Macdonough, was 
sufficient of itself, to have captured or destroyed 
the whole of our fleet/'- — Here, the reader dis- 
covers a typographical error; making the Con- 
fiance more than double the length of the largest 
ship that ever was built I — This is from the same 
paper, that over-rated the number of British 
officers. The Americans are very happy in their 
mistakes of this sort; seldom erring on the 
wrong side. 

The British gun^boats were very inferior ves- 
sels of the kind; not two-thirds the size of the 
American ones, nor half so well equipped. An 
average of 45 tons, will be an over-estimate of 
their measurement. 

The size of the American vessels comes, next, 
under consideration. As far as the British 
officers could judge, the Saratoga Mas of the 
same length and breadth as the Confiance ; but 


her draught of water, 12 feet and upwards, in- 
stead of 7 feet 10 inches. The principal differ- 
ence was, that the Saratoga had top-sides con- 
siderably stouter than those of the Confiance, 
and no useless poop or top-gallant forecastle. 
Admitting a trifling superiority of size in the 
Confiance, 800 tons will be a fair estimate for 
the Saratoga. We may judge through what a 
false medium the Americans have viewed the 
Confiance, by the following extorted confession 
of a Boston reviewer, while remarking upon 
Mr. Corney's painting of this " memorable 
contest:" — M The artist has made use of a stra- 
tagem to flatter the public, in representing the 
Engiish /Wgrtte, which was commanded by Com- 
modore Downie, of disproportionate size, parti- 
cularly in the second painting." 

The brig Eagle is about similar in size to the 
Lawrence or Niagara on Lake Erie, say 450 
tons. As to the schooner Ticonderoga, the 
American papers, at the time of her launch, an- 
nounced her as a fine vessel of about 400 tons; 
and the gallies or gun-boats, particularly the 
six new ones, were described as very superior 
vessels. These must have been, at least 85 tons 
each ; while 70 tons may serve for the average of 
the remaining four. The Preble is stated to be 
a similar vessel to the Chubb and Finch. 

I he cutter Finch-, having, while proceeding to 
her station, got fast aground; and then become 



engaged with the American battery oh Crab 
island, no more took part in the action with 
Commodore Macdonough's squadron, than tire 
American sloops Montgomery and President, of 
10 guns each, described by an American paper^ 
the "Watchman" as having also formed part of his 
force on that lake. As to the British gun-boats, 
only three out of the ten, engaged at all ; and 
they, being unsupported, were soon compelled 
to retreat. Although the American batteries on 
shore, it is believed, did not fire, except at the 
Finch, (and yet, whence came the hot shot that 
struck the Saratoga?) they could completely 
cover the American gun-boats, in case any at- 
tempt had been made to carry them by board- 
ing; and Mr. Corney's celebrated painting, ac-' 
cording to the cc Key" of it, represents, besides 
" Commodore Downie's big ship Confiance," — 
" American militia ready to assist," in case 
any of the British vessels had got on shore. In 
this very painting, is also seen, the American 
sloops Montgomery and President, at anchor, 
close to the scene of action. Under all these 
circumstances, neither the cutter Finch, nor 
more than half the united force of the British 
gun-boats will be considered as having had any 
share in the action. At the same time, no notice 
will be taken of the American sloops Montgo- 
mery and President, the batteries on shore, or 
the " militia ready to assist." 


Comparative force of the two squadrons. 



Broadside-metal | long guns, 507 
in pounds, 1 canonades, 258 





Complements of men and boys, 537 


Size in tons, 1426 


Here, then, are the "fearful odds" to which, 
say the Americans, — " our squadron was op- 
posed/' — Had not the British the better reason 
to exclaim against et fearful odds"? — and this, 
without computing the unfitted state of the 
Confiance, or the motley crews with which she 
and the other British vessels were manned? 

Having seen a whole year's adulation be- 
stowed upon one ' c illustrious hero," for making 
free with Nelson's language, Commodore Mac- 
donough resolved to begin his official letter in 
the same strain. He knew that nothing would 
stamp a falsehood with currency, equal to a pious 
expression. — He, too, must proclaim hit tleet- 
victory "a signal" one. Then, the Confiance, 
he calls a" frigate," and the two cutters, "sloops 
of war"; his falsehoods equalling, in number, 
the lines of his letter ! 

H After the battle ceased," says an American 
paper, " some citizens went on board, to com- 
pliment the commodore, who very seriously re- 
plied, that no praise was due to him, but to the 
Almighty, who had decided the contest, contrary 


to his expectation, and — all human probability." 
What consummate hypocrisy! 

The sentence of the court-martial upon Cap- 
tain Pring and his officers, while it honorably 
acquits them, points, clearly, to the source whence 
the disaster originated. ( App. Nos. 94. and 95.) 
Charges were preferred by Sir James Lucas Yeo 
against his late excellency, Sir George Prevost; 
but the latterdeparted this lifeprevious totheday 
of trial. The following is a list of the charges: 

" 1. — For having, on or about the 11th of 
September, 1814, by holding out the expecta- 
tion of a co-operation of the army under his 
command, induced Captain Downie, late of his 
majesty's ship Confiance, to attack the Ameri- 
can squadron on Lake Champlain, when it was 
highly imprudent to make such attack without 
the co-operation of the land forces, and for not 
having afforded that co-operation.'* 

" 2. — For not having stormed the American 
work on shore, at nearly the same time that the 
said naval action commenced, as he had given 
Captain Downie reason to expect." 

" 3. — For having disregarded the signal for co- 
operation, which had been previously agreed 

" 4 — For not having attacked the enemy on 
shore, either during the said naval action, or after 
it was ended ; whereby his majesty's naval squad- 
ron, under the command of Captain Downie, 
might have been saved." 



President, accompanied by a store-ship, leaves New 
York for the bay of Bengal — Strikes on a mud- 
bank — Gets off, and pursues her course — Falls 
in with a British squadron — Is engaged by the 
Endymion, singly — Cuts away the latter y s sails, 
and tries to escape — Endymion bends fresh sails, 
and resumes the chase — Pomonc and Tcncdos 
come np with the President — Pomone fires — 
President shews a light, and surrenders without 
• returning the fire — Tenedos takes possession — 
American accounts of the affair — Endymion s 
damages — Fore-sail stripped from the yard by a 
chain-shot — Endymion's loss — Prcsidcjit's da- 
mages and loss— No one hurt by the Pomone'' s 
fire — Endymion's force in guns and men — Pre- 
sident's also — Commodore Dccatnr and the edi- 
tor of the Bermuda Gazette — Dimensions of the 
two vessels — Statement of comparative force — 
Remarks thereon. 

ON the afternoon of the 14th of January, 
1815, the V. S. frigate President, Commodore 
Decatur, left NeW York upon a cruize in the bay 
of Bengal ; the Peacock and Hornet to join her 
at the island of Tristran d'Acunha. The Pre- 


sident was accompanied by the armed brig Ma- 
cedonian, laden with naval stores and supplies. 
On going out, the President struck on a mud- 
bank ; and, whatever the commodore, or the 
court of inquiry, (App. Nos. 103 and 105,) may 
have found it convenient to say, got off without 
any material damage. The two vessels pursued 
their course ; and, about an hour before day- 
light on the morning of the 15th, were disco- 
vered by the British squadron that was cruizing 
off New York. 

Fortunately, an extract from the Endymion's 
log-book has appeared in print. This docu- 
ment contains a circumstantial account of the 
day's proceedings ; and bears upon the face of it 
the clearest evidence of authenticity. 

" At day-light in the morning," says the ex- 
tract, " all sail set in chase of a strange ship 
and brig in the east; wind N.W. and by N. 
Majestic, Tenedos, and Pomone, in company. 
Passed a-head of our squadron fast. At 1 P.M. 
all hands at quarters, gaining fast on the chase, 
and leaving the squadron. At 1. IS. observed 
the chase to throw over-board spars, casks, &c. 

" At 2. the chase commenced tiring from her 
stern-guns. At 2. 30. returned the enemy's fire 
from our bow-guns. At 2. 39. a shot from the 
enemy came through the head of the larboard 
fore-lower-studding-sail, foot of the main-sail, 
through the stern of the barge on the booms. 


and going through the quarter-deck, lodged on 
the main, without doing any other damage. 
The chase keeping up a quick fire from her 
stern-guns, returned it as our bow-guns could 
be brought to bear. 

" At 4. 10. shot away the enemy's jib-halyards. 
At 4. 20. shot away the enemy's fore-top-gallant- 
sheet ; the enemy luffing occasionally, to bring 
his stern-guns to bear. Gaining fast on the 
chase ; observed that our shot did considerable 
execution, the enemy's shot passing over us. At 
5. 10. gained the enemy's starboard-quarter, and 
preserved the position ; evidently galling him 

<c At 5. 30. the enemy brailed up his spanker 
and bore away, shewing a disposition to cross 
our bow and rake us. Put the helm hard a-wea- 
ther, to meet this manoeuvre ; and brought the 
enemy to close action in a parallel line of sail- 
ing. At 6. 4. the enemy commenced firing 
musketry from his tops; returned it with the 
marine-party. Hauled up occasionally, to close 
the enemy, without losing the bearing of our 
broadside ; enemy now distant half musket- 
shot. Our sails and rigging much cut ; the ene- 
my's fire slackening considerably. 

" At 6. 40. the enemy hauled up, apparently 
to avoid our fire. Succeeded in giving him tvt o 
raking broadsides, and then hauled up also; 
again placing ourselves on his slaiboard-quaiter. 


At 7. 15. the enemy shot away our boat from 
the larboard-quarter, and lower, and main-top- 
gallant, studding-sails. 

" At 7. 18. the enemy not returning our fire. 
At 7. 25. the enemy kept more away, and re- 
commenced firing. At 7. 30. the enemy shot 
away the larboard main-top-mast-studding-sail, 
and main-brace. At 7. 32. the enemy hauled 
suddenly to the wind. Trimmed sails, and 
again obtained the advantage of giving him a 
raking fire ; which he returned with one shot 
from his stern-gun. The enemy much shattered. 
At 7. 40. the enemy kept more away, firing at 

" At 7. 58. the enemy ceased firing. Ob- 
served him to shew a light ; called all hands to 
bend new sails, &c. Conceiving that the enemy 
had struck, ceased firing. At 8. 10. observed 
two of our squadron coming up. At 8. 52. new 
courses, main-top-sail, jib, fore-top-mast-stay- 
sail, and spanker, bent, and sails trimmed, 
ranging up with the chase. 

" At 9. 5. observed one of our squadron run 
up on the larboard-beam of the enemy, and fire 
into her ; which was not returned, but the light 
hoisted higher in the rigging. The ship of our 
squadron ceased firing, and shot a-head. At 
9. 45. hailed by the Tenedos ; acquainted her 
of our not having a boat that could be hoisted 
out. Tenedos took possession of the chase." 


The motionless state of the Endymion, while 
bending six new sails, reeving fresh rigging, &c. 
enabled the Pomone and Tenedos to pass a-head 
of her: the latter within hail. When these 
ships approached the President, she was stand- 
ing to the eastward under a press of sail. The 
Pomone fired a broadside ; which hurt no one, 
and was not returned. The President shortened 
sail, and luffed close up, shewing a light in her 
mizen-rigging ; at the same time, hailing to say, 
she had surrendered. The Pomone, not hearing 
this, and mistaking the object of the light, fired 
a second broadside ; which, similar to the first, 
neither hurt any one, nor was returned. The 
President, after again hailing, that she had sur- 
rendered, hauled down the light ; and the Po- 
mone did not fire again. The Tenedos had a 
fine raking position a-stern of the President ; 
but Captain Parker, believing she had struck 
to the Endymion, did not fire a shot : he merely 
sent a boat to take possession ; and his officer 
was the first on board. 

This was at 11 o'clock at night. At three- 
quarters past 12, the Fndymion, nearly as fresh 
as when she began the combat, got up to the 
President ; but the Majestic, although the ships 
were laying-to for her, did not join until 3 in 
the morning. 

The first American account of the President's 
loss, published, was an extract of a letter from 


Commodore Decatur to his wife. After detail- 
ing his action with the Endymion, he says : — ■ 
" In three hours the Pomone and Tenedos were 
alongside, and the Majestic and Endymion close 
to us. All that was now left for me to do was, 
to receive the fire of the nearest ships, and sur- 
render ; for it was in vain to contend with the 
whole squadron." — Commodore Decatur had, 
no doubt, the same reason for using the word 
" ships" instead of " ship," that Commodore 
Perry had, for substituting ie their" for " her ;" 
when, in his letter, he was describing the effect 
of the Detroit's fire, upon the Lawrence. (See 
p. 292.) 

Another published letter is from " an officer, 
whose situation on board the President, gave 
him an opportunity of witnessing every event 
that occurred during the action." He, alone, has 
had the hardihood to say, — " when, after receiv-, 
ing and returning a broadside, our flag was 
struck." Another officer says, " after receiving 
four or Jive broadsides from the Pomone, &c." 

At last, comes Commodore Decatur's official 
letter, which is to clear up all disputed points, 
(App. No. 103.) — " We (the President and En- 
dymion) continued engaged," says the commo- 
dore, " steering south, two hours and a half, 
when we completely succeeded in dismantling 
her. Previously to her dropping entirely out of 
the action, there were intervals of minutes, when 


the ships were broadside, in which she did nof 
fire a gun." — V\ e have here an admission, 
that the President and Endymion engaged for 
if two hours and a half." — " Dismantling" a 
ship, is far too extensive a term, for destroying 
a few sails ; and which were all renewed in less 
than an hour. When finding fault with the 
Endymion's slow firing, had the commodore 
seen the reports of the President's carpenter and 
surgeon ? — Where was his boasted " head of in- 
telligence," at the moment he penned this para- 
graph ? 

He next tells us, that he was compelled to 
" abandon" the Endymion. And Captain Le- 
joille told us, that he was prevented, at the bat- 
tle of the Nile, from taking possession of 
the Bellerophon. (App. i\o. 3.) \\ hich is the 
most impudent assertion ? — The commodore 
then says: — " In resuming our former course 
for the purpose of avoiding the squadron, we 
were compelled to present our stern to our an- 
tagonist ; but such was his state, though we 
were thus exposed, and within range of his guns, 
for half an hour, that he did not avail himself 
of this favorable opportunity of raking us." 

" Here is a charge against the British ship! 
Although tin- Endyiiiiou, by her loss of sails, 
was fixed to one spot tor marly an hour; during 
which time the President, with every stitch or 
canvass set, and a line breeze, had " resumed 


her course," and was running away, still the 
latter was within range of the former's guns for 
** half an hour." Preposterous as this asser- 
tion is, it forms one of the " proofs," upon 
which the American court of inquiry has decreed, 
that iC the Endymion was subdued/' (App. 
No. 105.) The reason why the Endymion did 
not fire at the President, at the moment the 
latter's stern was first presented to her, appears 
in the log-extract, thus : — " At 7. 58. the enemy 
ceased firing. Observed him to shew a light ; 
called all hands to bend new sails, &c. Con- 
ceiving that the enemy had struck, ceaseclfirhig." 
We shall see presently, that the Cyane shewed 
a light, as a signal of surrender to the Consti- 
tution. The same has been done by other Bri- 
tish ships. (Nav. Chron. vol. xxv. p. 163.) — 
According to the testimony of Mr. Bowie, the 
President's late school-master, taken upon oath 
before the surrogate at Bermuda, Commodore 
Decatur himself hoisted a light, as a signal of 
surrender. " When the two ships were coming 
up," says Mr. Bowie, " a light was hoisted in 
the inizen-rigging of the President, as this de- 
ponent conceived, at the time, as an ensign or 
flag ; but, as he afterwards had reason to believe, 
as a sign that they had surrendered; for this 
deponent observed to the commodore, that, as 
long as that light was hoisted, the ships would 
(ire ; upon which Commodore Decatur ordered 

F F 


it to be taken down." — The account of the Pre- 
sident's capture, published by the Pomone's 
" gun-room officers," states : " A few minutes 
previous to our closing her, she hoisted a light 
a-baft; which, in night-actions, substitutes the 
ensign." It can only be said, then, that, by the 
Pomone's officers and the President's school- 
master, a light was considered as the substitute 
of an ensign, and by Captain Hope and Com- 
modore Decatur, as a signal of submission. 
That a light icas shewn to the Endymion, has 
not been denied. For, although Commodore 
Decatur, full seven weeks after the action, pub- 
lished a supplementary letter, (App. No. 104,) 
wherein he refers to some immaterial statements 
contained in the " Bermuda Gazetle," he passes 
over, in silence, the editor's assertion, that " at 
8 o'clock the President ceased firing, and shewed 
a light:' 

The strongest evidence of the President's not 
having struck to the Endymion, appears in Mr. 
Bowie's deposition : — M The President, he did not 
consider as having surrendered exclusively to 
the Endymion, for from her they might have 
escaped ; and with her, had she been alone, they 
should have engaged again." 

Admitting, therefore, that the Endymion 
dropped a-stern, on account of her principal 
sails beiug cut away ; and that the President, 
having her sails entire, took that opportunity to 


quit her opponent ; to what ship or ships, did 
the President surrender ? The Pomone's gun- 
room officers say thus : " At 11, being within 
gun-shot of the President, who was still steering 
to the eastward under a press of sail, with royal, 
top-gallant, top-mast, and lower studding-sails 
set; finding how much we outsailed her, our 
studding-sails were taken in ; and, immediately 
afterwards, we luffed-to port, and fired our star- 
board-broadside. The enemy, then, also luffed 
to-port, bringing his larboard-broadside to bear, 
which was momentarily expected, as a few mi- 
nutes previous to our closing her, she hoisted a 
light a-baft ; which, in night actions, substitutes 
the ensign. Our second broadside was fired, 
and the President still luffing up as if intent to 
lay us on board, we hauled close to-port, bracing 
the yards up, and setting the main-sail. The 
broadside was again ready to fire into his bows, 
raking, when she hauled down the light; and 
we hailed, demanding, if she had surrendered. 
The reply was in the affirmative ; and the firing 
instantly ceased." ■ 

This is confirmed by the President's school- 
master. He says: — " When the Endymion 
dropped a- stern, we were confident of escaping. 
Shortly after, discovered two ships coming up, 
Pomone and Tenedos ; when Commodore De- 
catur ordered all hands below to take care of 
their bags. One of the ships commenced firing ; 
f f 2 


and Commodore Decatur called out, * We have 
surrendered ,•' and gave this deponent the trum- 
pet to hail, and say, they had surrendered. The 
Pomone's tire did damage to the rigging; but 
neither killed nor wounded any person. The Pre- 
sident did not return the Pomone's fire ; but 
hoisted a flag in the mizen-rigging, as a sign of 

The Pomone's account states, that " the Te- 
nedos, who was not more than three miles off, 
soon afterwards came up, and assisted the Po- 
mone in securing the prize, and removing the pri- 
soners." But the American officer, who transmit- 
ted the Pomone's hand-bill to the United States, 
says: " When the President struck, the Tenedos 
was on our stern, and the Pomone on our bow, 
both within musket-shot. The ship was first 
boardedby the boats of the Tenedos.'' — " With these 
exceptions," — the American officer adds, — "the 
Pomone's account is essentially correct." 

Commodore Decatur, in his deposition, says : 
" 1 fought the Endymion 2-j hours. After which 
she dropped a-stern, and I surrendered only to 
the Tenedos and Pomone." And, in another 
part of the same deposition, he says: " Resist- 
ance was made against the J-.ndymion for 2J- 
hours, after which the Kndymion dropped out 
of the tight. The next ships coming up, 2{- 
hours after the action with the Endymion, were 
the Pomone and Tenedos; and to those two 


ships the President was surrendered. The Po- 
mone had commenced her fire within musket- 
shot. The Tenedos did not fire at the time of 
such surrender. The Majestic was in sight also; 
the Endymion was then out of sight. No other 
ships besides those named, were then seen from 
the President." 

Lieutenant John Gallagher, of the President, 
swears, that " the President surrendered to Ma- 
jestic, Pomone, Tenedos, and Endymion. It 
was only because Commodore Decatur supposed 
the Pomone to be the Majestic, that he surren- 
dered, when he did/' — And Lieutenant Levi 
Twiggs, in his deposition, says : " We fought 
the Endymion from 3^ to 4^ hours ; and sur- 
rendered to Pomone, supposing her Majestic." 

Commodore Decatur, in the letter to his wife, 
places the Majestic and Endymion, at the mo- 
ment of his surrender, close to him. In his 
official letter, he describes the former as within, 
and the latter as out of, gun-shot. In his de- 
position before the surrogate, he removes the 
Endymion tC out of sight ;" and speaks of the 
Majestic, as merely " in sight." And, while he 
here swears, that iC no other ships" than the 
Pomone, Tenedos, and Majestic, " were then 
seen from the President," he, in his official letter, 
includes the H Despatch brig," as part of the 
44 squadron" to which he surrendered. Here is 
vaccillation ! 


The Majestic's distance from the President, 
when the latter surrendered, may be conceived, 
from the fact (asserted in the Pomone's " hand- 
bill account, " and confirmed by the American 
officer who enclosed it to his friend) of her not 
joining the squadron till " three in the morn- 
ing ;" and this, although the other ships were 
waiting for her to come up. Commodore De- 
catur himself truly presaged a " dark night;" 
of which the Endymion's being "out of sight" 
was the natural consequence. According to the 
before-mentioned confirmed account, that ship's 
absence from the squadron was not delayed be- 
yond " three-quarters past 12 ;" although the 
commodore has extended it to " three hours 
after the surrender of the President" ; which 
would be 2 in the morning. And the sentence 
of the court of inquiry, even assumes as a fact, 
"that the Endymion did not join the squadron, 
till many hours after the President had beeu 
surrounded by the four other ships, aud had sur- 
rendered to them" 

After all that has been said about the Presi- 
dent's capture, it is confirmed, that the only 
two ships, between which any firing was ex- 
changed, were the Endvinion and President. 
Every captured merchant-ship, over whom a 
shot is fired to bring her to, — even the U. S. ship 
Frolic, captured by the Orpheus, — has a right 
to call her surrender — "a conflict," — "contest," 


— " engagement," — if Commodore Decatur, and 
his court, are correct in calling so, — the two 
harmless, unreturned broadsides fired at him by 
the Pomone. It is indifferent, whether or not 
the President struck, in the first instance, to the 
Endymion. It is not denied, that the two 
ships, uninterrupted by any others, fought, 
" broadside to broadside," for two hours and a 
half; and the plain tale of Mr. Bowie, the Pre- 
sident's school-master, proves clearly, that, when 
the American ship hauled up from the Endy- 
mion, at 8 o'clock, her men — to use a familiar 
phrase — had had enough; and that the com- 
modore was determined to surrender, without 
further resistance, to the first ship of the squa- 
dron that should come within gun-shot. 

In the commodore's waiting to deliver his 
sword to " the senior officer of the squadron," 
we recognize an old trick, frequently prac- 
tised, when a second British cruizer has come 
up, after the enemy had received as hearty a 
drubbing as the President got from the En- 
dymion. The commodore's subsequent con- 
duct, in trying to rob Captain Hope of the 
merit of his gallant performance, proves, that 
his sword's being " with politeness returned," 
only adds another to the many instances of mis- 
application of British magnanimity. 

Is not the commodore sufficiently well ac- 
quainted with the British prize-act, to know, 


that every one of his majesty's ships, in sight at 
the commencement of the chase, or the final 
surrender, of a prize, is, whether she co-operates 
or not, entitled to share i } For that reason, and 
not to prove that the President fought more than 
one ship, the word c * squadron" was inserted 
in that insignificant " document/'' the commo- 
dore's " parole." 

The Endymion's damages in the action were 
contined to the destruction of the only two boats 
she had on board, and considerable injury to 
her spars, sails, and rigging. An American 
chain-shot cut away twelve or fourteen cloths 
of her fore-sail; stripping it almost from the 
yard. The commodore's first letter, although 
written on board the Endymion, mentions no- 
thing of that ship's damages from his tire, be- 
yond his having " dismantled" her. Mis se- 
cond, or supplementary letter, states only that, 
after the nation, " she bent new sails, rove new 
rigging, and tished her spars.' Vet the sentence 
of the court of inquiry tells us of the " shat- 
tered condition" of the Kndymion. — Surelv, 
'Mattered'' must have been the Avoid used, but 
miscopied hj the printer. 

The Endymion lost 11 seamen and maiiites 
killed, and II stamen and marines wounded ; 
total 25. Nq officer was hurt. Mow easy it 
was for Commodore Decatur, when desirous to 
mention the Endymion's loss, to say: " Mer 


officers assert, that she lost eleven killed, and four- 
teen wounded" ; — and then, if he discredited the 
statement, — " but 1 think her loss was greater." 
Instead of which, he set his countrymen to cal- 
culating, how many dead men could be thrown 
overboard in the course of " 36 hours;" how 
many cubic feet there were in the space " be- 
tween the cabin-bulk-head and the main-mast" 
of a large frigate; and how many 4C badly 
wounded" could be there stowed. Captain 
Hope, much to his honor, chose to give his late 
gallant shipmates, Christian burial; and the 
season of the year justified him in deferring the 
ceremony, till the crew were at leisure. 

The damages which the President sustained 
in her hull, are fully set forth in No. 107. in the 
Appendix. This is what the court of inquiry calls 
" little injury." A ship, riddled as the Presi- 
dent was, both above and below water, might 
well have had " six feet water in the hold." 
Five or six of her guns were completely disabled ; 
and, although her spars were all standing, her 
lower-masts were badly crippled. — These the 
President lost, on the 17th, in a violent gale of 
wind from the eastward. Several of her guns 
were then thrown overboard; and, considering- 
the battered state of her hull, it was a mercy she 
did not founder. The Endymion suffered by 
the same gale, losing her fore and main-masts, and 
bowsprit ; the two former, owing chiefly to the 


rigging, where it had been knotted after the 
action, giving way. She also threw several of 
her guns overboard. 

The President's loss in the action, by the 
acknowledgement of her officers when at Ber- 
muda, consisted of 3 lieutenants, and 32 seamen 
and marines, killed; her commander, (very 
slightly,) master, 2 midshipmen, and 66 seamen 
and marines, wounded; total 10.5. — Commodore 
Decatur, writing his official letter on board the 
Endymion, was unable, as he states, (A pp. 
No. 103,) to give a correct return of his loss. 

In his first letter, there is not a word of a 
single man having been hurt by the Pomone's 
fire. But, when the commodore returns to New 
York, and meets with rather a cooler reception 
than he experienced on his arrival there, about 
two years previous, with the Macedonian, 
British frigate, he finds it necessary, to give the 
thing, if possible, a tinge of the brilliant. He 
recollects that Mr. Henry Robinson, the Presi- 
dent's chaplain, and a M volunteer" on her 
quarter-deck, deposed before the surrogate at 
Bermuda, that " the Pomone's tire, which con- 
tinued about jifitai minutes, did kill smite men.'' 
The commodore therefore commences his supple- 
mentary letter with, — " In my official letter of 
the 18th of January, I omitted to state, that a 
considerable imviber of my killed and wounded 
was from the fire of the Pontone.*' 


Let us endeavour to investigate this after- 
thought of the commodore's. That a " chap- 
lain" should swear, or even speak, falsely, is 
difficult of belief ; but that the chaplain of an 
American ship of war is not quite so sacred a 
character as he ought to be, was made evident 
in the case of the chaplain of the Essex frigate. 
(Quarterly Review, vol. xiii. p. 358.) And was 
it not the President's chaplain, who wrote to his 
friends, that that ship returned the broadside 
fired at her just before she surrendered? — So it 
was stated in the American prints. On the 
other hand, in flat contradiction to the chaplain, 
the schoolmaster swears, that the Pomone's fire 
^ neither killed nor wounded any person, nor 
was returned by the President." Mr. Bowie, 
too, was on the quarter-deck, as well as the 
" volunteer." The fact of only one shot having 
entered the President's larboard side, (A pp. 
No. 107.) which was that opposed to the Pomone, 
corroborates Mr. Bowie's statement, of no man 
having been hurt. But, it may be asked, — 
where is the " correct return" of the President's 
loss, which was to be made out by Commodore 
Decatur upon his arrival in port? — And why 
is the term " considerable" preferred, to the 
actual number of men, if any, killed and 
wounded by the Pomone ? — The interval between 
8 and 11 o'clock, was too long for any difficulty 
or confusion to arise, in separating the loss that 


had been sustained by the Endymion's, from 
that said to have been sustained by the Po- 
mone's fire ; and that Commodore Decatur, be- 
fore he wrote his official letter, had received his 
surgeon's return, whether correct or not, is evi- 
dent, from his noticing the return, in that very 
letter. Under all these circumstances, the Pre- 
sident's severe loss in killed and wounded, will 
be considered as having been wholly effected by 
the Endymion's fire. 

The Endymion mounted twenty six long 24- 
pounders upon the main-deck; twenty two car- 
ronades, 32-pounders, one 12-pound boat-car- 
ronade, and a long brass 18-pounder, upon 
the quarter-deck and forecastle; total, 50 guns. 
The boat-carronade was mounted upon an ele- 
vating carriage; and could therefore be fought 
upon the broadside. Not so the long 18. That 
was run out at either of the bow-ports, as a 
chase-gun; for which purpose only, it could be 
used, the ship haying no vacant broadside-port. 

On the 21st of September, a few days before 
she left Halifax N. S. the Kiidymion victualled 
239 of ship's company, (officers included,) 60 
marines, and 27 boys. She had men absent in 
a prize, and one man sick at the hospital; mak- 
ing, when they joined a complement of 333; 
about 17 short of her establishment. The num- 
ber killed in action with the Prince of ISeuf- 
chatel American-privateer, in October, and the 


wounded afterwards sent on board the Saturn, 
amounted to 60; and those lent by the Saturn, 
in return, (being one lieutenant, 4 midshipmen, 
3 able seamen, 25 ordinary seamen and land- 
men, and 5 marines,) to 58. Consequently, to 
make the Endymion's complement what her 
officers state it to have been, when she com- 
menced action with the President, Captain 
Hope must have pressed 15 men. She then 
would have 319 men, and 27 boys; total 346. 

Commodore Decatur was on board the Endy- 
mion upwards of a fortnight; and, in his inter- 
course with her officers, must have heard of the 
affair with the privateer, and the severe loss it 
occasioned, as well as of the Endymion's wounded 
having been sent away in the Saturn, and of 
that ship having sent a draught of men in lieu 
of them. But, determined to act consistently, he 
conceals all his information, except that respect- 
ing the Saturn's men; and then, in his supple- 
mentary letter, tells the public, that " the En- 
dymion had on board, in addition to her own 
crew, one lieutenant, one master's mate, and 50 
men, belonging to the Saturn/' 

The President mounted thirty long24-pound- 
ers upon the main-deck, fourteen carronades, 
42-pounders, one long 24 -pounder, as a shifting 
gun, and a brass 8-incii howitzer, fitted on a 
traversing carriage, upon the quarter-deck; and 
six carronades, 42 pounders, and one long 24- 


pounder, shifting gun, upon the forecastle; two 
brass 4-pounders in her fore, the same in her 
main, and one in her tnizen, top, all on pivots: 
making a total of 58 guns; of which 33 were 
fought upon the broadside. 

Lieutenant Gallagher of the President, swore 
that she mounted " 52 guns"; and Commodore 
Decatur, the same, " besides a boat-gun." — A 
pretty " boat-gun" truly! — The same, no doubt, 
the commodore would have called the great 
Turkish bomb in St. James's Park, had it been 
on board the President. — Howitzers and mortars 
are not described by the weight of the shot they 
can throw, but by their diameters in inches. 
(See p. 5.) The bore of a 68-pound carronade 
is 8 inches in diameter, so was the bore of the Pre- 
sident's howitzer. And, if an iron round shot, 
weighing 68 pounds, were deemed more destruc- 
tive than a shell, filled with combustibles, weigh- 
ing 49 pounds, the former would be discharged 
from an 8-inch howitzer. That it is the diame- 
ter, rather than the weight of a shot, that ought 
to guide us in appreciating its effects, has al- 
ready been shewn. (See p. 11.) The President's 
8-inch howitzer, therefore, will be estimated as 
a 68-pounder. The American officers appear to 
exclude from the armament of their own ship, 
not only tin' " boat-gun," but the guns stationed 
in the lops. Why so? — Arc cannon less de- 
structive, pointed directly upon the enemy's 


deck from that eminence, than if fought through 
ports in the usual way ? In every case, British 
as well as American, where a ship's top-guns 
exceed, in caliber, a swivel, or half-pounder, 
they will be estimated as part of her broadside- 

The prisoners received from the President by 
the agent at Bermuda, amounted to 434; in- 
cluding 3 or 4 boys. Some of the badly wounded 
had died in the passage, and others were not fit 
to be removed. It was reported, that a midship- 
man had poisoned himself; and that 12 seamen 
had jumped overboard; in both cases, on ac- 
count of their being British subjects, probably 
deserters. Without computing them at all ; 
but, taking the 35 killed in action, 8 for such 
as had died since, or were not removable, and 
the 434 prisoners received, we have 477 for the 
President's complement. This corresponds ex- 
actly with the only paper found on board the 
President, her C( Watch-bill ;" which contains the 
names of 477 persons, as doing the duty of the 
ship. The " New York Evening Post," of 
January 26, 1815, speaking of the President's 
loss, says: u She had a picked crew of 500 men." 
It is seldom that American editors over-rate the 
crews of their ships. 

Commodore Decatur and Lieutenant Gallagher 
both deposed, that the President % had 450 men" ; 
and the former affected to be surprised at the 


number of prisoners in the hands of Mr. Miller, 
the agent. Feeling how much it needed an ex- 
planation, the commodore made some excuse 
about persons having come on board, without 
his knowledge, as passengers ; although he had 
just done swearing, that " there were no passen- 
gers on board the President." — As to Lieutenant 
Gallagher, an error of 30 or 40 units does not 
appear to trouble him. He, in the same depo- 
sition, swore the President was 1400 tons; al- 
though Commodore Decatur had sworn to her 
being 1440; and she really was 1444, American. 
The President's men were very tall and stout; 
and, in the opinion of several British officers 
whose ships were lying in Bermuda, there were 
among them many British seamen. Mistakes, 
however, may happen ; and it is better for the 
guilty to escape, than the innocent to sutler. 
Besides, it was then known at Bermuda that 
peace had been signed; which prevented that 
scrutiny among the President's men, that other- 
wise would have taken place. Commodore 
Decatur, in his deposition, certainly swore, that 
there were " no British subjects" on board the 
President, when captured. I\o more there would 
have been, had her whole crew consisted of 
British deserters, provided each man could have 
produced a %% > protection." He is then yleped 
"citizen of the I niicd Suites of America"; and 
no American will refuse to swear, that such a 


man, although notoriously born in Great Britain, 
is not a British subject. As applied to the Ame- 
ricans, the registrar, or person putting the stand- 
ing interrogatory, should have substituted " na- 
tives of the United Kingdom" for «« British sub- 
jects"; and then, if at all scrupulous about an 
oath, the American officer would seldom an- 
swer by an unqualified negative. 

Commodore Decatur, in his supplementary 
letter, after dwelling upon the expression in his 
« parole," as a proof that he " was captured by 
the squadron," alludes to a statement in the 
Bermuda Gazette. — " The fact" was, indeed, 
( ' stated differently" in that paper; which gave 
a similar account, in substance, to that contained 
in the extract from the Endymion's log; nor was 
the editor, either " compelled," or even asked, 
" to retract'' what he had stated. But here was 
the galling " fact/' The Bermuda Gazette, of the 
1st of February, had asserted that " 6S men were 
discovered stowed away" on board the President. 
Commodore Decatur gave his honor it was not 
so ; and Mr. Ward was induced to apologize. 

The Bermuda Gazette of the 16th of March, 
however, declared that the original statement 
was correct; and that the act had been author- 
ised by Commodore Decatur himself. Upon 
this, the governor of the island desired the editor 
to retract what he had said in confirmation of 
his first assertion. But, relying more upon the 


word of a British lieutenant*, than the honor of 
an American commodore, Mr. Ward flatly re- 
fused ; and was, in consequence, dismissed from 
his office of king's printer. — Upon receiving the 
American paper, containing Commodore Deca- 
tur's supplementary letter, the editor of the Ga- 
zette made the following observations: 

" As to his reference to ourselves, we should 
treat it with the contempt it deserves, did he not, 
by uttering as base a falsehood as ever was im- 
posed upon the world, endeavour to induce a 
belief, that our original statement of the capture 
of the President was incorrect.— It was in conse- 
quence of some observations we had made, occa- 
sioned by the concealment of sixty eight men, and 
which contained some severe reflections upon the 
officers of the President, that we were requested 
to smooth it over ; nor can Commodore Deca- 
tur be so unpardonably ignorant, as to suppose, 
that a British editor could be compelled to re- 
tract a statement founded on truth. — We are con- 
vinced it was *iever expected, that what was in- 
tended as a mere palliative for the irritated feel- 
ings of men who were prisoners, would have been 
produced as an argument in an official letter; 
and, if a misapplied delicacy of sentiment, im- 
pelled Captain Hope to urge the step we took, 
Commodore Decatur should have jusly apprecU 
ated the noble principle upon which he acted, 

* Now Copt, the Hon. G. I. Pcrceral. 


and should have considered our compliance, as 
a well-meant endeavour to render his situation 
as comfortable as we could. But it appears to 
have been his misfortune, that he could not feel 
the delicate attentions which were paid him. — 
As for ourselves, we never possessed, and we now 
disclaim, the least degree of private animosity 
against Commodore Decatur, or his officers. In 
the discharge of our public duty, we obtained 
the best information relative to their capture; 
and if, in telling a {ew plain truths, we hurt 
their feelings, " why let the stricken deer go weep." 
The Endymion was built in 1797; and has 
always been a remarkably fine sailer. She is 
distinguished from all other frigates of her class, 
(except one or two 64-razees,) by having, upon 
the main-deck, 26 gun-ports only. She measures 
as follows : 

Ft. In. 
Length of lower-deck, from rabbit to rabbit, 159 of 
Breadth, extreme, 42 7i 

The President was built at New York in 1797-8 ; 
and cost, says Mr. Clarke, " 220,910 dollars, 
8 cents," or 61,363/. 18s. sterling. She is finished 
in a very superior style, with diagonal knees, &c. 
has stouter scantling than a British 74-gun ship; 
(see p. 18;) and, if we except the American 
Guerriere and Java, may be considered, in spite 
of the " hogged and twisted appearance," given 
her by the sentence of the court of inquiry, a* 

G G 2 


one of the finest frigates in the world. Her 
full dimensions have already appeared. (See 
p. 126.) 

Comparative force of the two ships. 

Endymion. President. 

Broadside-metal in pounds, j ' ° ' g g. 


r* i /"men, 319 

Complement, | bo ^ 2? 


Size in tons, 1277 






The condition of the two ships after the ac- 
tion, has already exposed Commodore Decatur's 
assertion of " having beaten" the Endymion. 
A statement of the relative force of the two 
ships, now shews, whether or not the force of 
the Endymion was ¥ equal" to that of the Presi- 
dent. Nor has the commodore the excuse of 
ignorance to otter, because he was on board the 
Endymion for several days. His character for 
veracity might be pronounced upon this alone, 
had he left us no other proofs of his effrontery. 

Seeing how superior the President was to the 
Endymion, in guns, men, and size; knowing, 
also, that the former was commanded by an ex- 
perienced officer; manned with a choice, well- 
trained crew; and lavishly supplied with every 
requisite appointment, it is not to be supposed, 
that the Endymion's loss would have been so 


trifling, had she and the President met singly. 
In that case, the latter would have had no other 
object to divert her attention, or confine her 
manoeuvres; nor would the spirits of her men 
have been damped by the conviction, that, if 
they did not escape, they must be captured. — 
That the Endymion, however, would, even then, 
have ultimately conquered; the dreadful pre- 
cision of her fire, her quickness in working, and 
evident superiority in sailing, added to the 
established bravery of her officers and crew, are 
strong grounds of belief. 

It is worthy of remark, that Commodore De- 
catur's letter, announcing the President's cap- 
ture, was written on board the very ship, which 
he once expressed himself so anxious to meet, in 
the frigate United States; and it bears date pre- 
cisely a year and a day after his it very rash" 
letter of challenge. (See p. 327.) To complete 
this, as it may be termed, retributive act, the 
identical ships' companies which were parties to 
that challenge, met, and fought, upon the present 
occasion. No wonder, then, that the action of 
the Endymion and President, should have caused 
among the sticklers for " superior prowess" in 
the United States, emotions so powerful; es- 
pecially, after it became known, beyond dispute, 
that the British, was inferior in force to the 
American vessel, by nearly a fourth. 

The action between the Endymion and Presi* 


dent has thrown some light upon the actions 
between the sister-ships of the latter, and our 
38, or present 46 gun frigates. The superiority 
of 24, over 18 pounders is made evident. But 
the Endymion, besides that advantage over the 
Guerriere, Macedonian, and Java, possessed an 
important one in the precision of her fire. Cap- 
tain Hope, aware of the excellence of the Broke- 
system, had long trained his men to the use of 
both great guns and small-arms; and many had 
been the anxious look-out on board the Endy- 
mion, for one of the American 44-gun frigates. 

It would be an injustice to Captain Hope, not 
to notice the peculiar modesty of his official 
letter. He speaks of the cool and determined 
bravery of his officers and ship's company on 
the " fortunate occasion"; says, truly, that, 
" where every individual has so conspicuously 
done his duty, it would be injustice to particu- 
larize;" and, in proof of his men's exertions and 
abilities, appeals to " the loss and damage sus- 
tained by the enemy's frigate." Captain Hayes, 
in his letter, does ample justice to the Endymion ; 
corroborates every statement in her log-extract; 
and emphatically adds: " When the effect pro- 
duced by her well directed fire upon the Presi- 
dent is witnessed, it cannot be doubted, but 
that Captain Hope would have succeeded either 
in capturing or sinking her, had none of the 
squadron been in sight." 


Yet, that repository of American " hcnor- 
ables," — " heroes," — ''heroics," — " heroisms," — 
"lustres," — "stars," and " glories," — the "re- 
sult of the court of inquiry on the capture of 
the frigate President," commences with alleging, 
that " there has been a diversity of opinions 
prevailing among the British commanders con- 
cerned in her capture"! (App. Nos. 105. and 
106.) — We cannot dismiss this tragi-comico* 
farcical performance, without almost laughing 
at the gravity with which it utters the exordium 
upon Commodore Decatur and his " heroic 
officers and crew," for their design of " board- 
ing the Endymion :" the execution of which, it 
says, was frustrated, in the first instance, by her 
" shunning the approach" of the President ; and 
afterwards, by her " disabled state." — This is 
Captain Lejoille all over! — Supposing, for a 
moment, that Commodore Decatur had intended 
to board, and that the President's men were 
willing to make the attempt; — was success so 
certain? — He must, indeed, judge meanly of a 
well-manned and well-disciplined British ship of 
war, who would not pronounce such an at- 
tempt, as the likeliest of any to have gained 
for the Endymion's tars, those laurels, of which 
the commodore, and his friends, have laboured 
so hard to deprive them. 

Before quitting the subject of this interesting 
action, it may be fair to ask, — Has Commodore 


DecAtur evinced " the most determined resolu- 
tion and heroic courage"? Has he made a 
'* brave defence of the ship and the flag of the 
United States"? — In short, was he justified, 
(admitting that he had not struck to the Endy- 
mion,) in surrendering to the Pomone and Te* 
nedos, without firing a shot? 

Prudence will say that, having lost " one- 
fifth of his crew, his ship being crippled," and 
his escape very problematical, the commodore 
was right, by surrendering as he did, to stop the 
further effusion of blood. Boldness, on the 
other hand, will say that, as the commodore had 
men enough left, to work and fight his ship, a 
well-directed broadside might have crippled the 
Pomone ; then, with her " royal, top-gallant, 
top-mast, and lower studding-sails set," and the 
advantage of a very dark night, the President 
might have led off the Tenedos ; and, with a 
force so superior to her's, would soon have 
" thrown her out of the combat;" and, most 
probably, effected her escape. But that, did 
her first fire fail in crippling the Pomone, the 
President should have engaged the two frigates, 
till the fall of her masts, and the loss of some- 
thing more than a " fifth" of her crew, had 
made her defence as gallant, as her surrender 
would then have been honorable. 



Levant and Cyane sail from Gibraltar — Fall in 
with the Constitution — Determine to engage her — 
No British official account of the action — Details 
of the action — Levant bears up to repair da- 
mages— Cyane surrenders — Levant, singly, re- 
commences the action — Tries to escape — Surren- 
ders — Gross misstatement in the American official 
account — Levant and Cyane's damages and loss 
— Constitution's also — Force of the British ships 
in guns and men — Shameful treatment of the 
British prisoners — Constitution's force in guns — 
Extraordinary piece consisting of seven musket- 
barrels — Dismantling shot — Furnace for heating 
shot— Constitution's force in men — Dimensions 
of the ships — Remarks on their relative tonnage 
— Statement of comparative force — Remarks 
thereon — Constitution and her prizes arrive at 
St. Jago — Discovered and chased out by the 
Leander, Newcastle, and Acasta — Escape of the 
Cyane — Recapture of the Levant. — Escape of 
the Constitution — Meeting between the Constitu- 
tion and Pique — American falsehood detected — 
Exemplary behaviour of the Pique's ships com* 

ON the 20th of February, 1815, H. M. ships 
Levant and Cyane were proceeding in company, 


a few days out from Gibraltar, bound to the 
"Western islands. About 1 o'clock in the after- 
noon, a strange sail was seen by the Cyane, 
upon her weather-bow; her consort, the Levant, 
Captain Douglas, then hull-down to-leeward. 
The Cyane stood on until about 4 o'clock ; when, 
having ascertained the character of the stranger, 
Captain Falcon bore up to speak the commo- 
dore. At about a quarter past 5, the two ships 
passed within hail of each other. Captain 
Douglas, the senior officer, resolved to engage 
the enemy's frigate; in the hopes, by disabling 
her, to prevent her intercepting two valuable 
convoys, that sailed from Gibraltar about the 
same time as the Levant and Cyane. Both 
commanders, at this time, fully believed that 
she was the American frigate Constitution ; 
having received intelligence, before leaving port, 
of her being in their intended track. 

The two ships now tried for the weather- 
gage ; but, finding they could not obtain it, 
they bore up, in hopes to prolong the engage- 
ment until night ; when, by manoeuvring in the 
dark, they might effect their object. The supe- 
rior sailing of the Constitution, however, de- 
feated that plan also ; and, at 4o minutes past 
5, the Levant and Cyane hauled to the wind on 
the starboard-tack. No British official account 
of this action has been published ; therefore the 
details are taken, partly from the American ac- 


counts, and partly from the information of the 
British officers engaged. 

The Constitution had previously fired her 
bow-chasers at the Cyane, without effect, her 
shot falling short ; and now, having the two 
British ships " under the command" of her 
main-deck battery, (they being at a distance 
from her of full three-quarters of a mile,) she 
commenced firing her broadsides. Both ships 
returned her fire ; but, having only carronades, 
their shot all fell short, while the Constitution's 
24-pound shot, were cutting to pieces their sails 
and rigging. As the British became gradually 
disabled, the Constitution shortened her dis- 
tance ; and, by her superiority in sailing and 
working, frequently raked both her opponents. 

It is stated in the American li Minutes of the 
action," that, when the firing commenced, the 
contending ships were " about 300 yards dis- 
tant." According to the positive testimony of 
the British officers, examined at the court-mar- 
tial, the distance was, as stated before, nearly 
three-quarters of a mile. The object in framing 
this assertion is evident. It is to shew, that the 
British had the use of their carronades from the 
first; and that the Constitution did not keep out 
of range, until she had crippled both ships. 

At about 35 minutes past 6, the Cyane was 
without a brace or bow-line, except the larboard 
fore-brace. Yet, seeing her consort exposed to 


a heavy raking fire, owing to the Constitution 
having filled across her, she gallantly stood in 
between them, and received the broadside. The 
firing continued at intervals for a few minutes 
longer ; when the Cyane turned the hands up to 
refit the rigging. Before that could be accom- 
plished, the Constitution had taken a position 
on her larboard-quarter, within hail. Being 
now totally unmanageable ; with most of her 
standing and running rigging gone ; main and 
mizen masts tottering, and other principal spars, 
wounded; several shot in the hull, nine or ten 
of which were between wind and water ; five 
carronades disabled, chiefly by the drawing of 
the bolts and starting of the chocks ; and the Le- 
vant, having bore up to repair damages, since 
6. 40. and being now two miles to-leeward, still 
bearing away ; the Cyane fired a lee-gun, and 
hoisted a light, as a signal of submission ; (see 
p. 433;) and, soon after 7, was taken possession 
of by the Constitution. 

At 8. 15. which was as soon as the levant had 
rove new braces, the gallant little ship again 
hauled her wind, to ascertain the fate of her 
companion, as well as to renew the desperate 
contest. On approaching the two ships, Captain 
Douglas, with a boldness bordering on rashness, 
ranged close alongside the Constitution, to-lee- 
ward, bting unable to weather her; and the two 
ships, on opposite tacks, exchanged broadsides. 


This, by the American account, was at half-past 
8. The Constitution immediately wore under 
the Levant's stern, and raked her with a second 
broadside. At 9. 30. Captain Douglas, finding 
that the Cyane had undoubtedly struck her 
colours, put again before the wind : in doing 
which, the Levant received several raking broad- 
sides, had her wheel shot away, and her lower- 
masts badly wounded. To fire her stern-chase 
guns, and steer at the same time, was impossible, 
owing to a sad mistake in the construction of 
this new class of vessels ! Seeing the Constitution 
ranging up on the larboard-quarter, the Levant, 
at 10 P.M. by the American, and at 10. 40. 
by the British account, struck her colours to 
this u gigantic enemy." * 

One could almost cry out, shame ! shame ! at 
the Constitution firing successive broadsides 
into such a ship as the Levant. It is surprising, 
that she did not sink her. Had the Levant, on 
first bearing away, continued her course, she 
might have escaped ; but that would have ap- 
peared like deserting her consort ; and personal 
consideration in battle, was never the charac- 
teristic of a Douglas. 

The reader has, no doubt, already discovered 
the important variation between Capt. Stewart's 
official letter, (App. No. 10S,) and the " Minutes 

* Captain Stewart's own words, in his reply to the address 
of the common, couucil of New York. 


of the action," (No. 109,) by some unaccount- 
able blunder of the Americans, published along 
with it. According to the latter, the two ships 
were captured at successive periods, three hours 
and ten minutes apart, and the action, from first 
to last, continued three hours and fifty- five mi- 
nutes; yet, says the former, " both of which, 
after a spirited action of forty minutes, surren- 
dered to the ship under my command" ! ! — After 
this, a compliment to British gallantry could 
not be expected ; yet the advance of the Levant, 
at half-past 8, and her ranging close up, and 
exchanging broadsides, with such an adversary, 
would have elicited admiration from the breast 
of a Turk! 

The Levant lost 6 seamen and marines, killed, 
and an officer, and 14 seamen and marines, 
wounded. The Cyane had 6 killed, and 13 
wounded ; total, 12 killed, and 29 wounded. 
Captain Stewart, to make the complements of 
the ships appear greater than they were, states 
23 as the killed of the former ship, and 12, the 
latter. This is now become a stale trick ; and 
scarcely deserves notice. The smallness of the 
British loss in this action, shews clearly, that 
the Americans had already began to relax in 
their discipline. The Constitution's fire, consi- 
dering the disparity of force, falls far beneath 
the very worst of ours. 

'* Old Ironsides," as, from her strength and 


compactness, she is very properly called in the 
United States, was too successful in keeping out 
of carronade-range, to allow many shot to reach 
her. Some, however, lodged in her sides ; and 
a few others, it may be presumed, found their 
way through ; or we should not hear of 6 men, 
killed and mortally wounded, and 6 others 
wounded, severely and slightly. That both 
British commanders had drilled their men at 
the guns, is proved by the precision of their fire, 
during the short period that their carronades 
would reach. 

The Levant mounted 21 guns : eighteen 
carronades, 32-pounders, two long 9-pounders, 
and a 12-pound launch-carronade. Her esta- 
blished complement was 135 men and boys; but 
she had in the action 115 men, and 16 boys ; total 
131. Her marines were young raw recruits, that 
scarcely knew how to handle their muskets ; 
and, although considered as men, would all have 
rated as boys in the American service. 

The Cyane was a deep-waisted or frigate- 
built ship ; and mounted 33 guns : twenty 
two carronades, 32-pounders, upon the main- 
deck, eight carronades, 18-pounders, an 18- 
pound launch-carronade, and two long 9- 
pounders, upon the quarter-deck and forecastle* 
Not another gun did she mount ; yet Captain 
Stewart has given her an additional 18-pound 
carronade, and two long 12s in lieu of 9s ; 


and, in the " Sketches of the War," ail her 
" thirty four guns" are described as "32-pouud 
carronades" ! 

The established complement of the Cyane 
was 161 men, and 24 (including 10 super- 
numerary) boys; total 18.5. But, on the 
morning of the action, she was deticient, in 
petty-officers and able seamen, 16, and had a 
surplus of 2 boys ; making her complement, in 
action, 145 men, and 26 boys; total 171. Of 
this number, 4 men were sick, and not at quar- 
ters. In computing his prisoners, Captain 
Stewart has committed a mistake; which, added 
to that respecting the killed of the two British 
ships, makes their united complements appear 
greater than they were by 34 men. 

Three of the Cyane's men deserted to the 
Americans; but, generally, the two crews re- 
sisted the repeated otters made to them to enlist 
with the enemy. It was stated by the British 
officers, at the court-martial, that the crews of 
the two ships were, for three weeks, kept con- 
stantly in the Constitution's hold, with both 
hands and legs in irons; and there allowed but 
three pints of water during the 24 hours. — This, 
too, in a tropical climate! — It was further proved 
that, after the expiration of the three weeks, 
upon the application of Captain Douglas, one 
third of the men were allowed to be on deck, 
four hours out of the 24; but had not the means 


of walking, being still in irons; that, on mus- 
tering the crews when they were landed at 
Maranham, five of the Levant's boys were miss- 
in ; that, upon application and search for them, 
two were found locked up in the American cap- 
tain of marine's cabin; that a black man at 
Maranham was employed as a crimp, and enticed 
one of the Levant's boys to enter the American 
service. Upon these facts, let the reader em- 
ploy his own thoughts: if he possesses a British 
heart, he will need no prompter. 

With the second change of her commander, 
the Constitution appeared with two carronades 
fewer than she mouoied in the Java's action; 
but one of her long 24s, as a shifting gun, was 
made to supply the place of those carronades. 
Two additional long 24-pounders, and some 
carronades, were seen in her hold. A similar 
discovery on board a British ship of war, would 
have been made a proper use of. No such ad- 
vantage shall be taken. Upon her capstan, the 
Constitution mounted a piece, resembling seven 
musket-barrels, fixed together with iron bands. 
It was discharged by a lock ; and each barrel 
threw 25 balls, within a few seconds of each 
other; making 145 shot from the piece within 
two minutes. The American officers said it was 
intended to act against boarders. Every species 
of dismantling shot was, this time, seen, in great 
abundance, on board the American 'ship: a con- 

H H 


urination of her having employed such artillery 
in her former actions. But, above all, the Con- 
stitution now had on board, 'A furnace for heating 
shot! — The American officers said it would heat 
balls to a white heat in 15 minutes; but that 
hot shot were " not to be used in action, unless 
the ship was assailed by a superior force." — What 
an American officer would call " superior force", 
may be partly imagined by the numerous Ame- 
rican descriptions of H equal force" to be found 
in these pages. Nay, as the Levant and Cyane 
were pronounced, by Captain Stewart himself, 
to have possessed a ' f superiority in weight and 
number of guns," (App. No. 108,) what, but 
the certainty of capturing them, and the loss 
that would be sustained by their destruction, 
prevented the full employment of the hot shot? 
On the morning of the action, the Constitution 
victualled, in crew, according to the report of 
her officers, 469 men, and 3 boys. An officer, 
and 7 or 8 men, were absent in a prize, which 
afterwards arrived at New York : the Constitu- 
tion's original complement, therefore, was 480 
at least. Her men were provided with leather 
caps, for boarding; fitted with narrow plates of 
iron, crossing at the top, and bending upward 
from the lower edge of the cap, to prevent a 
blow from striking the shoulder, after having 
u, lanced on the head. 
- The Levant was built of fir, in 1813: the 


Cyane, of oak, in 1804. Upon the latter's ar- 
rival at New York, the rottenness of her timbers 
was visible at every shot-hole. Indeed, it was 
that which occasioned her breeching-bolts to 
draw. The Cyane formerly mounted long guns 
upon the main-deck. (Seep. 34.) When her 
ports were altered for the reception of carron- 
ades, fresh bolts were fitted, without the removal 
of the old ones; which, subsequently, were taken 
out, and shifted to a sounder part of the timber; 
but, in the action, such was the general rotten- 
ness of the timbers, all four breeching-bolts 

The dimensions of the Constitution have been 
given already. (See p. 111.) After her action 
with the Java, she was in a manner rebuilt; and 
constructed with three quarter-deck stern-chase 
ports ; for which, her two additional long 24s, 
along with the aftermost shifting one, were in- 
tended: giving her a force, from her stern, of 
five long 24-pounders. The dimensions of the 
two British ships here follow : 


Tons. Ft. In. 

Length of main-deck, ^ 1 1 fi o 

from rabbit to rabbit, J 
Breadth, extreme, 462 29 10f 


Tons. Ft. [In. 
539 S2 Of 

The " Boston Gazette" contains the following 
paragraph, respecting the size and force of these 
two vessels : — " The Cyane is frigate-built ; and 
h h 2 


is of the same tonnage, and capable of the same 
armament, as the late U. S. frigate Essex. The 
Levant is exactly equal in tonnage, and arma- 
ment to the late" (meaning the new, now lost) 
" U. S. ship Wasp ; both (independently of the 
advantage which two ships have over one) being 
decidedly superior to the Constitution." 

The impudence of this federal puff is beyond 
anything. The Cyane's American tonnage is 
520; that of the Essex, according to her very 
builder's statement, 850. The only material 
difference, as to dimensions, between the " late 
U. S. ship Wasp" and the Cyane is, that the lat- 
ter was built up, so as to carry a quarter-deck 
and forecastle : reduce them, and the two ships 
would measure exactly the same. It is true, the 
Levant, and about a dozen of her sister-vessels, 
all run up in the same year, ought to have been 
»' equal in tonnage and armament to the late 
L T . S. ship Wasp." But, although mounting 21 
instead of 19 guns, they are far inferior vessels 
to the brigs; whose capture by the American 
sloops, they were constructed to avenge. 

It havingbeen shewn, that the two British ships 
mounted, in broadside, all carronades, except 
two 9s, and that the Constitution mounted, in 
broadside, seventeen long 24s, exclusive of her 
carronades, the reader will see the propriety 
of our deviating a little, from the usuul way of 
exhibiting the comparative force in guns. 


The united tonnage of the Levant and Cyane, 
would affect the superficial extent, not the thick- 
ness, of their sides: consequently, were the size 
in tons to be introduced at all, it should be the 
mean or average tonnage of the two British 
vessels, 500; which bears to 1533, a much 
smaller proportion, than existed, in point of 
strength and compactness, between the top- 
sides of the stoutest of the two British ships, 
and those of the Constitution. We have there- 
fore thought it best, to exclude from the esti- 
mate, altogether, the size in tons. 

Comparative force of the ships. 

Levant and Cjane. Constitution. 
I : • ■; ,; .! i a; • ,< ■ 
Broadside-metal Hong guns, IS 

in pounds, (. carronades^ M 742 

Comment, f** «* . *M 

[ 302 

' ' I ! 

The "corporation of the city of New York" 
declared, that the victory over the Levant 
and Cyane, ought to be classed " among the 
most brilliant feats recorded in naval history" ! — 
On anchoring at Boston, " this glorious yankee 
vessel," says a Boston paper, "was welcomed by 
federal salutes. Captain Stewart landed under a 
salute; and was escorted to the Exchange coffee- 
house, by troops, amidst the repeated cheers 
of citizens of both sexes, who filled the streets, 
wharves, and vessels, and occupied the houses. 




A band of music played national airs/' &c. &c. It 
appears, also, by the same paper, that the manager 
of the play-house knew his interest too well, not 
to crave leave to announce, that " the gallant 
Captain Stewart, and the officers of the Consti- 
tution" (all, of course, " in full regimentals") 
would honor the theatre with their presence. — 
To recount all the extravagances which this 
event gave rise to, in different parts of the Union, 
among the federalists, especially, would exceed 
the limits of this work. Yet they had official 
authority, in some degree, to warrant their re- 
joicings. Does not Captain Stewart assert, that 
the enemy had a " superiority in the weight and 
number of guns," besides the "advantages de- 
rived from a divided and more active force"? 

The same motive that induced Commodore 
Perry to reject the weight of metal, in the Lake 
Erie action, (see p. 290,) induced Captain Stew- 
art to adopt it, in the action with the Levant 
and Cyane. How " active" the British ships 
were, maybe judged from the well-known fact, 
that, out of a Meet which the Cyane convoyed to 
Newfoundland, every vessel, but one, ran by her 
with ease; and her officers declare, that the 
Levant could but just outsail her. 

Respecting the advantages to be derived from 
a •• divided force," Captain Stewart, upon ano- 
ther occasion, expressed quite a different opi- 
nion from that contained in his letter. A 


"Report," signed by this gentleman, and ap- 
proved by Captains Hull and Morris, has al- 
ready been noticed. (See p. 16.) An estimate 
is there given, of the comparative force of Ame- 
rican " ships of the line, say 74s, and large 
frigates." ff Ships of the line," says Captain 
Stewart, " are much stronger in scantling, 
thicker in the sides and bottom, less penetrable 
to shot; and, consequently, less liable to be 
torn or battered to pieces, or sunk. I am aware 
that some are of opinion, that a more divided 
force is better calculated for action, from the 
advantageous position that would be given to a 
part. Suppose three frigates, of 50 guns*' (the 
4 * round of shot" of each, previously stated at 
** 1360 pounds") " were to undertake to batter 
a 74-gun ship ; (round of shot, " 3224 pounds" ;) 
" and that two of them were to occupy the quar- 
ter and stern of the 74, (this is placing them in 
the most favorable position,) the other frigate 
engaged a-breast ; every thing would then de- 
pend on the time the frigate a-breast could main- 
tain that position, to enable the other two to 
act, with effect, on the stern and quarter. But, 
it must appear evident to all acquainted with 
the two classes of ships, that the frigate a-breast 
could not withstand the fire of so heavy and 
compact a body, many minutes; and, in all 
probability, would be dismasted or sunk, the 
first or second broadside. This would decide 


the fate of the other two." (Nav. Chron. vol. 
xxix, p. 460.) 

From this we are to understand that, although 
M some are of opinion that a more divided force 
is better calculated for action," Captain Stew- 
art, at the time he framed that " valuable com- 
munication," considered, that " three large fri- 
gates," placed " in the most favorable posi- 
tion," would be compelled to yield toa " 74- 
gun ship ;" owing to the latter being " stronger 
in scantling, ano thicker in sides." 

Why, then, should there be an exception, be- 
cause two, instead of three ships, are engaged ? 
The Constitution has " stronger scantling and 
thicker sides" than a British 74; (see p. 127;) 
and what were the vessels opposed to her? — Two 
ships, averaging 500 tons! — If Captain Stewart, 
in his supposititious case, can excuse three ships, 
having a superiority "in point of metal," of a 
thirteenth, for yielding to one ; why will he not, 
in his real case, excuse two ships, having a supe- 
riority in point of metal, (admitting, for argu- 
ment sake, the equality of long guns and carron- 
ades,) of only a twenty fourth, for yielding to one? 
Digressing for a moment; suppose the U. S. 
ships Peacock and Hornet, soon after leaving 
New York together, had fallen in with the Endy- 
mion, close to-windward of them ; and (the only 
improbable part of the supposition) had staid 
to engage her till finally captured. 


How would the American citizens have be- 
haved on this occasion ? — ■ Why, they would have 
received Captains Warrington and Biddle, pre- 
cisely as they did Captain Stewart; — published 
accounts in every paper of the " heroic defence 
against decidedly superior force:" not failing to 
point out, as they did in the Essex's action, the 
great disparity between carronades and long 
guns, when the latter have the choice of dis- 
tance. Mr. Madison, too, in his next speech to 
congress, would have declared, that the two 
little sloops continued the unequal contest, till 
(as he said of the Essex) " humanity tore down 
the colours which valor had nailed to the mast." 

How would Captain Hojje have behaved ? He 
would have told a plain tale of his good-fortune, 
applauding the American commanders, for hav- 
ing so long maintained a contest; in which, from 
the nature of their armament, and from their 
leeward position, they could not hope to succeed. 

It need scarcely be added, that the surviving 
officers and ship's companies of the Levant and 
Cyane, were, at their several courts-martial, 
most honorably acquitted for the surrender of 
their ships, and justly applauded for the gallant 
defence they made, against an enemy's ship, so 
decidedly superior. 

The Constitution carried the Levant and 
Cyane into Port Praya, in the island of St. 
Jago ; where they all arrived on the 7th of 


March. In his way thither, Captain Stewart 
planned a sort of deceptio visits upon his country- 
men at New York, by painting the Cyane so as 
to make her resemble a 36-gun frigate. That 
corresponds with his behaviour all through this 

On the 8th of March, in a thick fog, H. M. 
ships Leander, Newcastle, and Acasta, arrived 
off the harbour, in quest of the U. S. ships Pre- 
sident, Constitution, and Congress ; the master 
of an American captured vessel having informed 
Sir George Collier, the British commanding 
officer, that those three ships had left port in 
company. The Constitution, and her two 
prizes, cut their cables, and stood to sea. In a 
little while, Captain Stewart made a signal for 
the Cyane to tack. She did so ; and — no ship 
followed her. In two hours afterwards, the same 
signal was made to the Levant. She tacked 
also; and, in seven minutes afterwards, *' the 
whole enemy's squadron," says the Constitu- 
tion's log-extract, (App. No. 110,) " tacked in 
pursuit of the Levant, and gave up the pursuit 
of this ship." — The Cyane and Constitution 
were thus left to themselves; and the Levant, 
with so many ships in pursuit of her, was of 
course recaptured. 

The feelings of the British officers on board 
the Constitution, at the moment the three ships 
tacked after the Levant, may be better con* 


ceived than described, Nor were the American 
officers slow in expressing their joyful surprise, 
not unmingled with contempt, at the seeming 
forbearance of the British frigates. When the 
force of those ships, (each of two of which 
threw a heavier broadside than the Constitu- 
tion,) and the distinguished character of the 
officers commanding them, come under consi- 
deration, it absolves the British from any thing 
like an unwillingness to fight : at the same 
time, we must all regret, that it should have 
been deemed expedient to withhold from the 
public eye, those " untoward circumstances" 
which led to the Constitution's, — as it now ap- 
pears, — most unaccountable escape. 

According to the " Sketches of the War," 
Captain Stewart had, on a previous cruize in 
the Constitution, done more than capture the 
41 frigate Cyane" and her consort; more than 
effect his escape from a formidable British squad- 
ron ; more, in short, than anj r French, Spanish, 
or American commander of a frigate, could 
boast of having done: — compelled a British 
frigate to fly before him ! — Here are the words 
of the American editor, extracted from p. 240, 
of his book : — " During her cruize, she captured 
the British public schooner Pictou ; and fell in 
with the frigate la Pique, Captain Maitland, who 
fled on the approach of the Constitution. ]\o 



effort was left untried by Captain Stewart, to 
overtake and bring her to action ; but she es- 
caped in the night, after a long chase; and 
Captain Maitland, on his arrival in England, 
was complimented by the admiralty, for his 
strict observance of his instructions, in flying 
from an American frigate." 

The latter assertion may accompany that al- 
leging the trial and execution of the Plantaga- 
net's men for mutiny: (see p. 324.) our atten- 
tion is better bestowed upon the merits of this 
extraordinary chase. — We shall first present the 
reader with an extract from the Pique's log-book : 

Remaiks, &c. H. M. S. Pique. Feb. 2.3, 







At noon observed jpvernl strangTS 

one apparently a man ol war in clm-e. 





Bearings at noon. 


142 M. 

18.1. N 

67- 22. 

\l..naIslds.N.73\V. 19 in. 

11 S 


P. M. Licld airs— braced the yards 

2 2 



by, to allow the chase t.» COM* up. — Al 
4. light airs. — Al 4. 30. observed chase 

3] J 


lake in her iMin sia)-sail. — Al 4. M). 

4 I ship's head 


observed her lake in royal, lop-gallant. 

lower, and topmasi, studdui^-sads. — 
Hauled lo ilie wind on larboard-tack. 

C) J N. 

and iii.kIc all sud to close ber ; boisted 


N. W. 


mi ensign. Strange r shortened sad, in 




1st reef lop-sails, boistad American co- 

lours, .Hid baiiled her wind on oppo- 




N. { E. 

site tack: appeared to be a large Iri- 



gaic, having 1 6 poris ot a-side. Cleared 



for action ; stranger S. E. by S. 3 miles. 


— At A Island of Zachee N. by E. l*or 

J 2 


N. { W. 

13 iinl. ■«;— 8 cloudy, lost sight ot stran- 
ger : — 10 in first reels : — 12 squally. 


The first symptom of the Pique's M flying," 
was her bracing the yards by, " to allow the 
chase to come up ;" the second, her hauling to 
the wind, and making all sail " to close her." 
On the other hand, the Constitution evinced a 
strong disposition " to overtake and bring her 
to action," when she took in all her sail, and 
hauled to the wind, at a distance from the Pique 
of full three miles. Had the Pique, in her 
efforts to close, hauled upon the same tack as 
the Constitution, the latter would have been 
upon her weather-bow ; and, by putting her 
helm up, might have raked the Pique effectu- 
ally, without a possibility of her bringing more 
than three guns to bear. The Constitution 
would have luffed-to again ; and might have 
repeated this manoeuvre* till she had completely 
crippled her adversary ; only that the narrow- 
ness of the passage would have compelled her 
to tack, before she had stood on mueh further. 
About 1 o'clock in the morning, the Pique 
gained the wind of the Constitution, crossing her 
bow at about lj mile distance. The editor of 
the " Sketches of the War," no doubt, took his 
account of this affair from Captain Stewart's 
official letter. The latter could not be con- 
tented with exculpating himself; but, the odium 
he had such an easy way of getting rid of, must 
endeavour to cast upon the officers and crew of 
a British frigate. 


A British merchant-master, who was a pri- 
soner on board the Constitution when she fell 
in with the Pique, was as much surprised as 
any of us, when he afterwards read in the 
newspapers, that the Constitution had chased 
that ship, and could not bring her to action. 
He says, that the first-lieutenant saw, from the 
number of her main-deck ports, that the Pique 
was only a 42, or, as then rated, 36 gun frigate, 
and was desirous to bring her to action ; but that 
the captain seemed averse to it. In the night, 
the Constitution bore up ; rounded the Square- 
handkerchief shoal ; and, in 48 hours afterwards, 
was off Charlestown ; far enough from the Pique. 

It is true, that Captain Maitland had received 
secret orders, not to engage one of the large 
class of American frigates. This was afterwards 
complained of in the house of commons ; but, 
certainly, without the slightest grounds. Before 
the end of 1813, the American frigate Guerriere, 
carrying long, or oolumbiad 32-pouiulers, upon 
the main-deck, was fitting; and, but for the 
Majestic's appearance in the Delaware, would 
have got to sea. The Guerriere shews the same 
number of ports of a-side as the Constitution; 
and a reference to the Majestic's force, as given 
at p. 34, and to (he Phoebe's, at p. 316, will 
shew, what Mould have been the disparity of 
force between the Guerriere and a frigate of the 
Pique's class. As soon as the American fri- 


gate appeared in sight, and discovered her " 16 
ports of a-side," Captain Maitland could do 
no less than read to his crew, the instructions 
he had received. — Ignorant how to set about 
" flying," — the orders to do which, the Pique's 
men would have most reluctantly executed, — 
Captain Maitland hauled his wind, hoisted an 
ensign, and cleared for action. This order 
needed no repetition. At about half-past 4, the 
ship's company, as usual, were piped to supper; 
but, to a man, refused their grog, saying, they 
wanted none, while an enemy's frigate was in, 
sight : they could do their duty without ! When 
we reflect upon the relative numbers on board 
the two frigates, this admirable trait in the 
Pique's men, was certainly a very strong proof, 
how much British seamen had been cowed, by 
the naval successes of the Americans ! 



St. Lawrence schooner, bearing despatches relating 
to the peace, is attacked and captured by the Chas- 
seur brig — No British official account of the action 
— Damages and loss of each vessel — Their respec- 
tive force in guns, men, and size — Statemejit of 
comparative force — American accounts of actions 
between their privateers and British ships of war 
— Penguin falls in with, and engages, the Hor- 
net — No British official account of the action, 
published — Full details of it — Penguin surren- 
ders — Her damages, destruction, and loss — 
Hornets damages and loss — Force of each vessel 
in guns, men, and size — American method of 
measurements— Statement of comparative force — 
Remarks thereon — Peacock falls in with the 
E. I. C. brig Nautilus — Captain Warrington, 
after a knowledge of peace, wantonly attacks and 
captures her — Lieutenant Boyce J s gallant beha- 
viour, and dreadful icounds — Other loss sustained 
— Force of the two vessels — The transaction fully 

HlS Majesty's schooner St. Lawrence, Lieu- 
tenant Gordon, on the 26th of February, 1815, 
while proceeding with despatches from Rear- 
admiral Cockburn, relating to the peace between 


Great Britain and the United States, fell in with 
the American privateer-brig Chasseur. 

The latter attacked the schooner, and an en- 
gagement ensued; which, the Americans state, 
lasted, at close quarters, only 15 minutes, when 
the St. Lawrence was carried by boarding. No 
British official account has been published ; but 
unofficial accounts state, that the action conti- 
nued much longer. Owing to the nature of the 
despatches, it is probable they were not sunk. 
At all events, a great many private letters from 
officers to their friends fell into the enemy's 
hands ; and, shameful to say, were afterwards 
published in the American newspapers. 

The St. Lawrence was a good deal cut up; 
and, according to a New Providence paper, lost 
6 men killed, and 18 wounded. The Americans 
made the killed, as they generally do, much 
greater. The Chasseur was also injured in her 
hull and spars; and lost, by the American re- 
turns, 5 men killed, and 8 wounded. 

The St. Lawrence mounted twelve carronades, 
12-pounders, and one long 9-pounder. The 
Americans gave her two more carronades. Her 
complement, on going into action, was 42 officers 
and men, and 9 boys. She had also a few pas- 
sengers. The Americans stated her complement 
to be 15, exclusive of passengers; but 51 com- 
prised the number of her crew. 

The American accounts differ as to the arma- 
i i 


ment of the Chasseur. As far as can be col- 
lected from them, she mounted six long 9 pound- 
ers, and eight carronades, 18-pounders, total 14 
guns ; but had formerly mounted sixteen much 
heavier guns. The New Providence paper states 
her complement to have been 117 men. The 
American accounts do not admit so many. 

The St. Lawrence was formerly the American 
letter of marque Atlas, of 240 tons, and mount- 
ing 10 guns ; taken at Ocracock bar, on the 24th 
of July, 1813. She was comparatively a mere 
shell ; with scarcely any bulwarks. The Chas- 
seur was pronounced one of the finest privateers 
out of America ; and in point of sailing, had no 
competitor. She was pierced for 18 guns; had 
regular bulwarks, stouter than those of our first- 
°lass brigs ; and measured 275 tons, American, 
or 287, English. 


Comparative force of the two vessels. 

St. Lawrence schooner. 

Broadside-metal J long guns, [) 

in pounds, (. carronades, 72 


r, , /men, 42 

Complement, | boy ^ g 


Size in tons, 240 

Chasseur bri^. 






The principal disparity in this action, was in 
number of men. The vessels bring close to each 
other, so that musketry could be used, that su- 
periority was greatly augmented ; and the enemy, 


at last, boarded, with an overwhelming force. 
Men are not in the best trim for righting, just 
upon receiving the news of peace. Sailors are 
then dwelling upon their discharge from servi- 
tude, the sight of long absent friends, and all 
the ties of their homes and families. Even that, 
though it perhaps contributed to weaken the 
efforts, could not impair the courage, of the 
crew of the St. Lawrence: they defended her, till 
nearly half their number were killed or wounded. 
The Americans boasted, that the Chasseur, 
upon a former cruize, " fought" two sloops of 
war. According to an extract from her log, 
published in a New York paper, it appears, 
she did " exchange a few shots" with one of 
our brigs; and, on another occasion, was " fired 
at" by a brig; but, each time, — took to her 
heels. How many American privateers, besides 
the Chasseur, have " fought" British ships in a 
similar manner ! 

While on this subject, it may be as well to 
exhibit to the reader, without any order of date, 
a few instances of the " bold and daring intre- 
pidity of the crews of the private-armed vessels 
of the United States." 

The Warrior, according to the American ac- 
counts, was an extraordinary large brig, of be- 
tween 4 and 500 tons, mounting 22 heavy guns, 
and having a complement of 150 men. She was 
i i 2 


therefore a match for any of our 18-gun sloops. 
" An extract from the Warrior's log-book," 
(alluding to a ship in chase) says: — " Thinking 
her to be a sloop of war, got all ready and clear 
for action." — " At 3. 30. luffed- to to let the 
enemy come up; when they took in all their 
light sails, and luffed-to also; then discovered 
her to be a frigate: — made all sail, &c." — Here 
appeared an intention to fight " a sloop of 
war;" but, upon another vessel heaving in sight, 
we read: " Shortly after, discovered her to be a 
man of war brig, which gave chase to us ; out- 
sailed her with ease." — And again : *' Was chased 
by a sloop of war."' — Not another word about 
" getting clear for action," and " luffing-to to 
let the enemy come up." — What is to be inferred 
from all this, but that these hectoring para- 
graphs were invented, either by the captain of 
the privateer, to get him and his vessel a brilli- 
ant name, or by the newspaper editor, to make 
a column of dry detail go down <w ith l;i r ader . 
Another editor gi es an extract from the log- 
book of the " private-armed m Roger* of 
14 guns and 736 men," in which appears the fol- 
lowing entry: M April 1 2th, lat. 07. long. 66. fell 
in with, and chased, a man of war brig" ! 

liut "Captain Gtij 11. Cliamplin, of the pri- 
vate-armed schooner General Armstrong, of 
Mew York," performed a still greater exploit. 
In a Letter, dated "Charleston, April 5, 1813," 


he states that, on the 11th of March, tC about 
5 leagues N. E. of Surinam/ 5 he engaged a 
" British frigate, mounting 28 guns on her gun- 
deck, 6 or 8 on her quarter-deck, and 4 on the 
forecastle." — He admits that the General Arm- 
strong (mounting 18 guns) was severely cut up 
in hull; lost 7 men killed, and 16 (including 
himself) wounded ; and with difficulty escaped. 
The loss of the " frigate" he describes thus: 
■ ' We saw them throw over many of their killed." 
■— " The Sketches of the War" gives much the 
same account, only preferring " a heavy frigate" 
to the particulars of the frigate's force, as stated 
in the captain's letter. — The reader will scarcely 
believe that this " heavy frigate" was no other 
than the Coquette, (now broken up,) a sister- 
vessel to the Cherub; whose force in guns, men, 
and size, has already appeared. (See p. 312.) 
A lie is seldom so well told, but some ineonsis- 
tency betrays it. Where is there a British frigate 
■' mounting 28 guns on her gun-deck," that 
mounts no more than "6 or 8 on her quarter- 
deck"?— Six is the precise number mounted by 
the Coquette and her class. — A reference to the 
Coquette's log-book, shews that she lost in the 
action, 4 men wounded, but none killed. It is 
true, 2 died of their wounds; but their bodies 
were not committed to the deep till late in the 
evening; when the privateer had been some 


hours out of sight: yet, say the Americans, " we 
saw them throw over many of their killed"! 

The editor of the " Sketches of the Mar" has, 
however, left Captain Champlin, and all other 
American officers, far behind him. Mr. John 
Lewis Thomson was determined to have the 
course to himself. " The Charybdis," says he, 
at p. 94, " fell in with the privateer Blockade, 
of New York, of 8 guns; and, after an obsti- 
nate engagement of 1 hour and 20 minutes, in 
which the Charybdis lost 28 of her officers and 
men killed and wounded, and the Blockade 8 
men only, the latter was carried, and taken into 
port"; — when, in truth, the Blockade was cap- 
tured by H. M. brig Charybdis, without a shot 
being fired, beyond, probably, one to bring her 
to: she had actually thrown overboard 9 out of 
her 10 guns, in her efforts to escape ! A reference 
to Captain Clephan's official letter, (Nav. Chron. 
vol. xxix. p. 80,) is all that is required to sub- 
stantiate the fact. 

On the 23d of March, 1815, H. M. brig Pen- 
guin, Captain James Dickinson, fell in with the 
II. S. ship Hornet, Captain Biddle ; and an ac- 
tion ensued. It maybe proper to mention that, 
although the ratification of the peace had been 
signed by Mr. Madison since February, the se- 
cond article rendered captures made at the 


greatest distance, legal till June. The American 
officer heard of the peace, on the 20th, from a 
neutral vessel; but the man of war in sight, on 
the 23d, was evidently a brig; whose force, there- 
fore, was known to be inferior to the Hornet's. 

]No British official account of this action has 
been published ; but a copy of the letter of the 
Penguin's surviving senior-officer, will be found 
in the Appendix. (No. 111.) The two accounts 
agree, within 5 minutes, as to the time when the 
action commenced ; but, while the British ac- 
count fixes the period of surrender at 2. 25. 
(40 minutes from the commencement,) the Ame- 
rican account, without giving the date of sur- 
render, declares that, " from the firing of the 
first gun to the last time the enemy cried out he 
had surrendered, was exactly 22 minutes by the 
watch." — In confirmation of the Penguin's time 
being the most correct, an old man, a Dane, 
who, along with three or four other men, lives on 
the island of Tristran d'Acunha, and is called 
the governor of it, held his watcli in his hand 
during the action; (which was fought in full 
view of him ;) and declared to the officers of both 
vessels, that, between the first and last cannon- 
shot, 41 minutes and some seconds elapsed. 

With respect to Captain Biddle's assertion, 
that, when the Penguin got foul of the Hornet, 
and lost her bowsprit and fore-mast, her first 
lieutenant hailed " that they had surrendered," 


the American commander certainly mistook 
Lieutenant M'Donald's words. They were, ac- 
cording to the testimony of the Penguin's late 
second lieutenant, " What ship is that?'' — This 
is material ; because Captain Biddle charges 
the Penguins people with tiring at him after 
surrender. •* An officer of the I . S. sloop of 
war Peacock," in a letter, published in the 
•-' New England Palladium," has not scrupled to 
apply the term " ruffians" to two of the Pen- 
guin's marines, who then fired ; and one of whom 
hit Captain Biddle in the chin or neck; but the 
writer exultingly adds: " They were observed by 
two of Biddle's marines, who levelled, and laid 
them dead upon the deck, at the instant." 

The same orlicer states, that, in a conversa- 
tion which Captain Biddle had with Lieutenant 
M 'Donald, the latter ascribed the failure of the 
boarding-attempt to the backwardness of his 
men. This is considered as the invention of 
some of the American officers. The Penguin's 
crew were chiefly landmen and boys; unskilled 
in gunnery; and, except a very small portion, 
had never before been in action; but there were, 
among them, many with British hearts; and 
who, when the boarders were called, were only 
prevented from springing on the Hornet's deck, 
by the fall of the Penguin's bowsprit and fore- 
mast, and the immediate hauling oft* of the 
American vessel. Captain Biddle, referring to 


the circumstance of his being wounded after the 
first hail, adds: " It was with difficulty I could 
restrain my crew from firing into him again" ; 
and yet the Peacock's officer has divulged to us, 
that the " two fellows" who fired, were both 
shot dead. 

The Penguin was much shattered in her hull; 
and, besides the loss of fore-mast and bowsprit, 
her main-mast was completely crippled. Her 
after-carronades on the side engaged, were " ren- 
dered useless by the drawing of the breeching- 
bolts" (App. No. 111.) Previous to which, in- 
deed, the carronades had frequently, in their 
recoil, turned half round; and much labour and 
loss of time ensued, before they could be re- 
placed. No accident of this sort occurred on 
board the Hornet, owing to the superior manner 
in which American carronades are fitted. Such 
of the carronades upon the Penguin's larboard- 
side as remained fixed to the ports, were covered 
by the wreck of the fore-mast; and the want of 
masts and sails, rendered it impossible to bring 
the other broadside to bear. The Penguin was 
therefore perfectly defenceless ; and further re- 
sistance would have been a waste of lives. Her 
shattered state alone, led to her final destruction 
early on the morning of the 25th. 

Captain Dickinson was first lieutenant of the 
Ainphion, in the action ofx* Lissa ; and was es- 
teemed a very gallant officer. Besides her com- 


raander, the Penguin lost her boatswain, and 4 
seamen and marines, killed ; 4 others mortally 
wounded; and her second lieutenant, (very se- 
verely,) purser's clerk, 2 midshipmen, (each of 
whom lost a leg,) and 24 seamen and marines, 
wounded; most of them slightly; total 38. One 
of the wounded midshipmen died on his passage 
to St. Salvador, in the U. S. brigantine Tom 
Bowline. — Captain Biddle says: " They acknow- 
ledge a loss of 14 killed." The Penguin's first 
and second lieutenants, and master, all agree in 
stating, that except the midshipman, (whose 
death was not known to Lieutenant M'Donald 
at the date of his letter,) no more than 10 men 
were killed, or mortally wounded. 

It is a very unpleasant task to be compelled 
to contradict statement after statement in the 
official correspondence of a national officer. 
Yet Captain Biddle's name is familiar to the 
reader, as the man who, though himself the 
prize-master, wrote home, on a former occasion, 
a false account of a British man of war's arma- 
ment. (See p. 149.) He now ventures to say, 
that the Hornet " did not receive a single 
round shot in her hull." Why, several shot-holes 
along the Hornet's quarter, stared the Penguin's 
officers and men in the face as they stepped 
from the boat up her sides. Her round-house 
was completely shot away, and she received one 
shot under water, that kept the men constantly 


at the pumps. All this was known to every 
man belonging to the Penguin. How, indeed, 
could it be kept secret ? Yet, says Mr. Biddle, 
" this ship did not receive a single round-shot 
in her hull" ! 

After such a statement, we cannot be sur- 
prised that the Hornet's loss should be made so 
trifling as 1 killed, and 11 wounded ; of whom 
one died. Lieutenant M 'Donald says, that the 
the Penguin was not taken possession of, till 35 
minutes after she surrendered. Even some time 
then elapsed before the prisoners were removed. 
Just as Mr. Kirk, one of the Penguin's midship- 
men, and the very first prisoner that reached 
the Hornet, was stepping upon her deck, the 
crew were in the act of throwing a man over- 
board ; but a struggle, or convulsive twitch in 
the body, occasioned his being hauled in again. 
The poor wretch's lower jaw had been nearly all 
shot away ; yet he lived, and was walking about 
the deck in the course of a few days. This 
shews in what a hurry the American officers 
were, to get their killed out of the way before 
the arrival of the prisoners ; and the time ne- 
cessary to remove every appearance of blood 
and carnage, contributed to the delay in send- 
ing for them. Even when the British did come 
on board, buckets of water were dashing about, 
and brooms at work, on all parts of the deck. 
The Penguin's second lieutenant, counted 16 of 


the Hornet's men lying in their cots ; and seve- 
ral of her men told some of their former ship- 
mates, whom they discovered among the Pen- 
guin's crew, that the Hornet had 10 men killed 
by the first and second broadsides ; and that 
several of the dangerously wounded were thrown 
overboard, because their surgeon was afraid to 
amputate, owing to his want of experience ! 
(See p. 181.) 

The Penguin mounted the usual armament of 
her class; sixteen carronades, 32-pounders, two 
long 6-pounders, and a 12-pound boat-carronade. 
She had one swivel only; and that was mounted 
upon the capstan, and shot away, the first broad- 
side. Captain liiddle places " swivels in her 
tops ;" and has converted her long 6s into 
'* 12s." To give these double effect, he adds : 
'* She had a spare port forward, so as to fight 
both her long guns of a side." How happened 
it not to occur to Captain Biddle, that she 
might have fought one of her " swivels" through 
the hawse-hole ? r J lie fact is, the American cap- 
tain was sick in his cabin, with the creak in his 
neck ; and saw little or nothing of the Penguin, 
after she struck. But, had he only read that 
part of his letter to " Mr. Mayo, who had been 
in charge of the prize," that gentleman would 
have told him, that the Penguin's lung guns 
were not stationed forward, but in two 'midsip- 
ports ; whose carronades had been shifted to 


the foremost ones. Here was a blunder ! Even 
had the Penguin's long guns been in their usual 
places, does so experienced a naval officer as 
Captain Biddle, venture to assert, that either of 
those guns could be used out of the bow-port, 
but as a chase-gun, pointed forwards. (See 
plate 3. fig. 2.) The Peacock's officer, in his 
letter in the " Palladium," says thus : " On 
examining her (the Penguin's) guns after the 
action, a 32-lb. carronade on the side engaged, 
was found, with its tompion, as nicely puttyed 
and stopped in, as it was the day she left Spit- 
head." — The Penguins late second lieutenant, 
Mr. Elwin, (who commanded the fore-mast 
guns,) and her late master, Mr. Atkinson, both 
declare, most solemnly, that the above para- 
graph is, in all its parts, a gross falsehood ; and 
that the Penguin had not even a sham or wooden 
gun-muzzle, (see p. 365,) as a pretext for the 

The Penguin was commissioned, for the first 
time, in November, 1613 ; and waited at Sheer- 
ness, for men, till June, 1S14. Her complement 
was then made up ; and consisted, with a full 
allowance of boys, of very young and very old 
men ; the former, pressed men ; the latter, dis- 
charged ineifectives. Of her 121 men and boys, 
12 only had ever been in action. The Penguin 
was, in the September following, ordered to the 
Cape of Good Hope. There she lost a great 


many of her men by sickness ; and, previous to 
her sailing on the cruize in which she was cap- 
tured, received a loan of 12 supernumerary ma- 
rines from the Medway 74. Her purser was 
left sick at the Cape. On going' into action 
with the Hornet, she had, of her proper crew, 
93 men, and 17 boys; making, with the 12 su- 
pernumerary marines, 105 men, and 17 boys ; 
total 122. Captain Biddle says: " The enemy 
acknowledge a complement of 132." This gen- 
tleman has enough to answer for ; let us, there- 
fore, consider the error to have been the prin- 
ter's, in the substitution of a 3 for a 2. Cut, there 
is still a mistake in the number of prisoners re- 
ceived. These amounted to 116, — instead of 
" 118, including the 4 that died of their 
wounds," — which, with the 6 killed in action, 
makes 122 ; the total of the Penguin's comple- 
ment. The New York account of this " bril- 
liant victory," published on the 4th of July, 
(the best day in the year for embellishments of 
this sort,) gave the Penguin " a crew of 158 

The Hornet, this time, mounted eighteen 32- 
pound carronades, and two long 18, instead of 
9 pounders; which 18s, owing to their additional 
length and weight, were fought through two 
'midship ports, similar to the Penguin's 6s. 
The Hornet mounted, in her tops, swivels or 
musquetoons, each throwing 50 buck-shot at a 


discharge; and, upon her starboard-quarter, 
two large swivels, fitted on chocks. Chain and 
bar shot, old nails, &c. in abundance, were fired 
from her guns : the former contributed chiefly 
to the fall of the Penguin's fore-mast and bow- 
sprit; the latter afflicted the wounded, in the 
usual manner. Captain Biddle says, that he 
was " 8 men short of complement." In this so- 
litary instance he appears to have been correct ; 
for the British officers state, that the Hornet 
commenced action with 165 men ; making, with 
the 8 absent, 173 ; the number proved as that 
ship's complement when she engaged the Pea- 
cock. (See p. 204.) Lieutenant M'Donald 
says, " not a boy was amongst them;" but 
Lieutenant Elwin saw one, so called, a servant 
in the officer's mess-room ; and he was between 
16 and 17 years old. — That some of the Hornet's 
men were natives of the United Kingdom, was 
well known to several of the Penguin's ship's 
company ; and, if a still greater number were 
not of that description, how are we to account 
for the unmanly and frantic consternation, so 
general on board the Hornet, when that ship 
afterwards expected to be captured by the Corn- 
wallis 74? — " Many of our men," says an ex- 
tract from a private journal of one of the Hor- 
net's officers, " had been impressed and impri- 
soned for years in that horrible service, and 


hated them and their nation with the most 
deadly animosity; while the rest of the crew, 
horror-struck by the relation of the sufferings 
of their shipmates, who had been in the power 
of the English, and now equally flushed with 
rage, joined heartily in execrating the present 
authors of our misfortune. Captain Biddle mus- 
tered the crew, and told them, he was pleased 
with their conduct during the chase, and hoped 
still to perceive the propriety of conduct which 
had always marked their character, and that of 
the American tar generally ; that we might soon 
expect to be captured, &c. Not a dry eye was 
to be seen at the mention of capture." (Nav. 
Chron. vol. xxxiv. p. 379.) In another place, 
we are termed " a cruel and vindictive enemy." 
Mr. Biddle calls all this " propriety of con- 
duct" ! — Of whatever nation the Hornet's men 
were, they, in the first instance, were picked 
seamen ; and, by constant drilling at the guns, 
during five or six years, might well acquire that 
skill in gunnery, which they evinced in their 
actions with the Peacock and the Penguin. 

So much has appeared about ihe size of the 
British 18-gun brigs, that, to notice any thing 
more of what the Americans have said upon the 
subject, may be deemed superfluous. To set 
the question quite at rest, it will only be neces- 
sary to place opposite to the Penguin's actual 



dimensions, as taken by her builder, the dimen- 
sions given to her by Captain Biddle, and since 
published in a New York paper. 

Dimensions of H.M. late brig Penguin. 

When built. 

Length of deck, from rabbit ) 
to rabbit $ 

Breadth over both wails, 

Ditto extreme, or for mea- ) 

surement, $ 

Ditto moulded, or across the? 

frame, ) 

Thickness of top-sides, at ) 

'midship port-sill, > 

Do. do. at upper port-timber, 
Height from water's edge to) 

top of hammocks a-mid-> 

ships, when stowed, ) 

Distance bet weencarronade- ) 
slides, J 

Ditto from centre-line or) 
axis of one carronade, lof* 
centre-line or axis of the^ 
next, J 

When caphtred. 
Length on deck, 110 ft.' 

Breadth of beam, Sl| ft. 

Thicknessof bulwarks, 12 in. 

Ditto at top of port, lOJin. 
Height of bulwarks ) 
where hammocks are> 13 ft. 
stowed, ) 

Distance between guns, 10 f(. 

In the Times newspaper, of September 3, 
1815, is the following paragraph : — " A Swiss 
paper observes, that there are in Switzerland, 
no fewer than eleven different foot-measures, and 
50 different kinds of weight.'' — Who knows but 
this may be, in some degree, the case in the 
United States ? — Either the foot-measure em- 
ployed upon the Penguin, by Captain Biddle's 
officers, differs materially from the English foot- 
measure, or some error exists in the wording of 
the items. For instance, fig. 3. pi. 3. will shew. 

K K 


that, according to English foot-measure, the 
Penguin was " 110 feet" round the bottom and 
inside of her bulwarks, and not " on deck." 
The Hornet's " length on deck," measured in 
the same place, and by the same rule, would be 
at least 123, instead of 112 feet. — It is doubt- 
ful, whether the "3l| feet" may not have been 
intended for 31 feet lj, the breadth over 
both wails. Any difference in the remainder 
of the items is immaterial. The dimensions of 
the Hornet have already been compared with 
those of the brig Peacock ; a vessel of the same 
size as the Penguin. (See p. 206.) 

Comparative force of the two vessels. 

Penguin, brig. 

Broadside-metal in pounds, i ' b 




r* , fmen, 105 

Complement, (^ J? 

, | OQ 

Size in tons, 387 







As Britons, we should be ashamed to offer 
this trifling disparity of force, as an excuse for 
the Penguin's capture. The chief cause is to be 
sought in that which cannot be made apparent 
in figures, — the immense disparity between the 
two vessels in the fitting of their guns, and the 
effectiveness of their crews. 

A ship's gun, cast adrift, not only becomes 


utterly useless as a weapon of offence or de- 
fence, but, in the very act of breaking loose, 
maims and disables the men stationed at it ; 
and, if the sea is rough, (as Captain Biddle 
says it was in the present instance,) continues 
to cause destruction among the crew, generally, 
till again lashed to the ship's side. How much 
is the evil encreased, if, as in the Penguin's case, 
instead of one gun, several guns break loose. 
In the midst of all this delay and self-destruc- 
tion, the enemy, uninterrupted in his opera- 
tions, and animated by the feeble resistance he 
meets, quickens his fire ; and, conquering at 
last, fails not to ascribe, solely to his skill and 
valor, that victory, which accident had partly 
grained for him. 

On the 27th of April, the U. S. ships Peacock 
and Hornet were so closely pursued by the 
Cornwallis 74, that the first-named ship parted 
from her consort, and afterwards proceeded 
alone to the Indian seas ; the intended cruizing- 
ground of the American squadron, when joined 
by the President. (See p. 426.) 

On the 30th of June, the Peacock, being off 
Anjier, in the Straits of Sunda, fell in with the 
honorable East India company's cruiser Nauti- 
lus, commanded by Lieutenant Charles Boyce. 
The British and American accounts of this ren- 
contre, differ, materially, as to one fact ; — the 
k k3 


knowledge of Captain Warrington, at the time 
lie approached the Nautilus with a hostile inten- 
tion, that peace had been signed between Great 
Britain and the United States. We will, in the 
first instance, suppose the American officer to 
have been unacquainted with the circumstance, 
till, as he admits, (App. No. 118,) he was hailed, 
and asked if he knew of it, by the Nautilus's com- 
mander. After that, would not a humane man, — 
w ould not a brave officer, have deferred firing, 
till he had ascertained the fact ? — But Captain 
Warrington says: " I considered the assertion, 
coupled with his arrangements for action, a 
finesse on his part, to amuse us, till he could 
place himself under the protection of the fort." 
It was, then, an " assertion," as Lieutenant Boyce 
states; — happy inconsistency ! — and a most im- 
portant assertion too, concluding with, " I have 
Mr. Madison's proclamation on board." — Had 
not the Nautilus " shortened sail," and ff hove- 
to" ? — Did that appear as if her commander 
wished to " place himself under the protection 
of the fort"? And that fort, instead of being 
at " a short distance," was live miles off. — Mai 
it not time for Lieutenant Boyce to make tk ar- 
rangements lor action," when he saw a ship like 
the Peaoook bearing down upon him, with ports 
ready-opened ? — It never occurred to that officer, 
that his vessel's being " in an unprepared stale," 
(xee p. 67,) would serve for an excuse. Let nw 


suppose, for a moment, that, just as the Ameri- 
can commander was listening to the hail from 
the Nautilus, she became suddenly transformed 
into H. M. ship Volage, a sister-vessel to the 
Cyane, (see p. 467,) and at that time cruizing 
in the East Indies : — Captain Warrington would 
then have promptly hailed in turn, with the 
best speaking-trumpet in the ship ; thanked 
Captain Drury for his politeness ; and been the 
first to urge the folly, not to say wickedness, of 
wounding and killing each other, while any 
doubt existed about peace having been signed. 
But it was a vessel he could almost hoist on 
board the Peacock ; he therefore called out : 
*' Haul down your colours instantly. " — This 
u reasonable demand," (App. No. 117,) Lieute- 
nant Boyce considered, very properly, as an im- 
perious and insulting mandate ; and, fully alive 
to the dignity of the British flag, and to the 
honor of the service of which he was so distin- 
guished an ornament, prepared to cope with a 
ship, whose immense superiority, as she over- 
shadowed his little bark, gave him nothing to 
expect short of a speedy annihilation. — Then, 
says Captain Warrington, (App. No. 118,) "one 
of the forward guns was fired at her, which was 
immediately returned by a broadside from the 
brig: our broadside was then discharged, and 
his colours were struck, after having six lascars 
killed, and seven or eight wounded." — TheNau- 


tilus's master, Mr. Joseph Bartlett, was on board 
the Peacock, during the action, (App. No. 114,) 
and swears positively, that " two or three broad- 
sides were fired ;" and that the American conti- 
nued his fire, even after the flag, and, as it ap- 
pears, until the pendant, of the Nautilus was 
hauled down. Nineteen of the crew have de- 
posed to the same effect. Captain Warrington's 
object in framing this falsehood, was evidently 
to shew, what execution had been done by his 
one broadside. 

From the first gun fired, two of the Nautilus's 
men were killed ; and Lieutenant Boyce was 
dangerously wounded : a grape-shot, measuring 
two inches and one-third, in diameter, entering 
at the outside of his hip, and passing out 
close under the back-bone. This severe wound 
did not, however, disable him. In a few mi- 
nutes, a 32-pound shot struck obliquely on his 
right knee, shattering the joint, splintering 
the leg-bone downwards, and the thigh-bone a 
great way upwards ! — This, as may be supposed, 
laid him prostrate on the deck. The first, and 
only lieutenant, received a mortal wound : the 
master, who would have been the next officer, 
Mas on board the Peacock. It was then, and 
not till then, that the gallant Boyce, lying 
bleeding on the deck, ordered the Nautilus's 
colours to be struck. 

Of the " six lascars killed, ' two were Euro- 


ropean invalids, and one a seaman : of the 
" seven or eight (lascars) wounded," two were sea- 
men ; — and was Lieutenant Mayston a " lascar"? 
— was Lieutenant Boyce a " lascar" ? — That 
Captain Warrington well knew he was uttering 
a falsehood, is clear ; because the Peacock's 
surgeon had, at Lieutenant Boyce's request, at- 
tended the Nautilus's wounded ; and his official 
return would certainly have noticed a distinc- 
tion so evident, as that of native and European. 
Those who know in what low estimation per- 
sons of colour are held by the government and 
people of the United States, can readily under- 
stand, why Captain Warrington used the word 
" lascars." What is killing half a dozen " las- 
cars," and depriving another of an arm, and 
two others of a leg each? — It was not so, 
when John Pierce, an " American citizen," was 
killed, or said to have been killed, by an acci- 
dental shot from the Leander. Captain Whitby 
was proclaimed as a murderer ; and the Ameri- 
can government was not satisfied till our's had 
tried him for the crime. (See Nav. Chron. 
vol. xxviii. p. 270.) 

The Nautilus's first lieutenant, Mr. Mayston, 
languished till the 3d of December, — a period 
of five months! — when a mortification of his 
wound carried him off". About a fortnight after 
the action, Lieutenant Boyce suffered amputa- 
tion, very near his hip, on account of the length 


and complication of the fracture. The pain and 
danger of the operation was augmented by the 
proximity of the grape-shot wound. His life 
was subsequently despaired of; but, after a 
long course of hopes and fears to his numerous 
friends, this brave and amiable young man (or 
what Captain Warrington has left of him) still 

The damage and loss of the Peacock, as stated 
in Lieutenant Boyce's letter, was as much as, 
from the shortness of the action, and the immense 
disparity between the two vessels, could rea- 
sonably be expected. 

Of course, the American captain, who had 
himself escaped unhurt, the moment be was in- 
formed of the casualties on board his prize, 
either visited, or sent a condoling message 
to, her so dreadfully mangled commander? — 
Reader! he did neither. — Captain Warrington, — 
in the words of the poor sufferer, in his memo- 
rial to the court of directors, — " proved himself 
totally destitute of fellow-feeling and commise- 
ration ; for, during the time he retained posses- 
sion of the Nautilus," (which was till 2 o'clock 
the next afternoon,) " he was not once moved to 
make a common-place inquiry after the memo- 
rialist, in his then deplorable condition." — In an 
American officer, we had perhaps no right to 
look for the politeness of a gentleman; but we 
did expect the feelings of a man. 


The armament of the Nautilus consisted of ten 
carronades, 18-pounders, and four long 9-pound- 
ers; total 14 guns. Her complement, composed 
of European invalid- soldiers, natives of India, 
British seamen, and boys, amounted to about 
100 : equal, perhaps, to a regular man of war's 
complement of 60 or 70. She measured about 
180 tons. Lieutenant Boyce's account (App. 
No. 118.) of the Peacock's force in guns, agrees 
with that given at a preceding page : (p. 348 :) 
that her complement was now larger than there 
stated, is not improbable. Perhaps, it was to 
strike terror into the minds of the lascars on 
board the Nautilus, as the Peacock lay along- 
side, that Captain Warrington made his men 
wear their boarding-helmets or scull-caps; (see 
p. 466;) but it produced no such effect. 

The reader is referred to the Boxer's force, as 
stated at p. 267, and to the Peacock's, at p. 249, 
as the best means of judging of the comparative 
force, in broadside-weight of metal, complement, 
and size in tons, between the Nautilus and Pea- 
cock. The disparity there shewn, and the gal- 
lantry so conspicuous in the officers and crew of 
the British vessel, will remind him of the Little 
Belt and President; (see p. 72;) nor will he fail 
to contrast Lieutenant Boyce's surrender of the 
Nautilus, with Master-commandant Joseph Bain- 
bridge's surrender of the Frolic, the Peacock's 
sister-ship. (See p. 338.) We know not where 


to refer the reader, for a parallel to the behaviour 
of Captain Warrington! 

It now becomes necessary to consider the facts 
attending this action, or more particularly the 
commencement of it by Captain Warrington, as 
they arise out of the statements of the British 
officers, who had gone on board the Peacock, 
and remained in her during, and long after, the 
engagement. Captain Warrington admits, that 
the master-attendant, an Anjier, came on baord, 
" a few minutes before coining in contact with 
the brig." (App. No. 118.) Mr. Macgregor, 
upon his oath, says : " Rather more than a quar- 
ter of an hour." — The portion of credit due to 
any assertion of Captain Warrington, may be 
measured by the concealment and falsehood, so 
conspicuous in his account of the Epervier's ac- 
tion. (See p. 342, 345.) He was guilty of 
falsehood fully as gross and illiberal, when he 
subsequently charged the Epervier's officers, 
with assisting the crew in embezzling the specie 
that was on board; but the brig's first lieute- 
nant, as soon as he recovered from his desperate 
wounds, compelled Captain Warrington to re- 
call his words. — Nothing appears in Captain 
Warrington's letters, about the arrival on board 
the Peacock of the Nautilus's master, INIr. 
Bartlett; and who was the M officer of the 
army" that came in the second boat? — Cornet 
White, a passenger on board the Nautilus, who 


requested to accompany Mr. Bartlett, in the 
gig, to obtain information. Captain Warring- 
ton had his reasons, no doubt, for concealing, 
in his official despatch, that he had any of the 
Nautilus's officers or crew on board his vessel. — 
Scarcely had Mr. Bartlett stepped upon the 
deck, than, without being allowed to ask a ques- 
tion, he was hurried below. Happily, Mr. 
Macgregor met with rather better success. The 
instant he arrived on board, he communicated 
to the Peacock's first lieutenant, the most au- 
thentic information of peace having been con- 
cluded between Great Britain and America, 
grounded on no less authority than Mr. Madi- 
son's proclamation; which Mr. Macgregor had 
himself received from an American ship, passing 
the Straits on her way to China. What effect 
had this communication ? — Captain Warrington, 
whom the single word Ci Peace!" ought to have 
made pause, before he proceeded to spill the 
blood of his fellow-creatures, ordered Mr. Mac- 
gregor " to be taken below." — Had the master- 
attendant no opportunit}' of communicating his 
important intelligence to any other of the Pea- 
cock's officers? — In his way below, Mr. Mac- 
gregor met the purser, who was in superintend- 
ance of the magazine, and repeated to him what 
he had told his first lieutenant. The purser 
jocosely said: — " I do not know how we can avoid 
a little brusli^ Almost immediately afterwards, 


Mr. Macgregor (according to Lieutenant 
Boyce's memorial) heard orders given, to return 
the ammunition into the magazine ; which 
shewed an evident relinquishment of the inten- 
tion to attack the Nautilus. But, while the or- 
ders were executing, they were countermanded; 
and all hostile preparations resumed. It was 
then that Mr. Macgregor was desired to retire 
into one of the side cabins; and, very soon af- 
terwards, the firing commenced. — Captain W ar- 
rington, in his letter, to Mr. Macgregor, says: 
" In consequence of the information received 
from you, and the several different sources from 
which I have heard that a peace had been con- 
cluded, &c." — Here it would appear, as if Cap- 
tain Warrington had received information of the 
peace, from other parties than those in the two 
boats, which, he admits, came on board just pre- 
vious to the action. But the official letter says: 
iC The next day, after receiving such intelligence 
as they" (the " master-attendant" and " officer 
of the army") " had to communicate on the 
subject, (part of which was official,) I gave up 
the vessel, &c." This proves, that the source of 
all Captain Warrington's information on the 
subject, arose out of the communication of those 
very persons, who, as he sa\s, "were, with their 
men, passed below;" and that part of such com- 
munication consisted of a copy of Mr. Madi- 
son's proclamation, is pretty evident, from the 


words, " part of which was official." — But, 
says Captain Warrington, the master-attendant 
and " officer of the army," if very improperly, 
omitted mentioning that peace existed." In ad- 
dition to the positive oath of Mr. Macgregor, as 
to his previous conversation with the Peacock's 
first lieutenant and purser, it may surely be asked, 
— Would two officers, who had voluntarily en- 
tered on board the ship of a nation, with whom 
they knew a peace had just been concluded, have 
acted so " very improperly" as to suffer them- 
selves to be made prisoners, without some such 
words as — " Peace is signed" — bursting from 
their lips ? Even the ceremony of gagging, how- 
ever quickly performed, could not have stopped 
an exclamation, which their personal liberty, 
and every thing that was dear to them as men, 
would prompt them to utter. The same motives 
would have operated upon the two boats' crews ; 
and there cannot be a doubt, that they all 
gave some sort of intimation, that peace had 
been signed. But Captain Warrington, as the 
purser said, wanted to have a Utile brush with 
the British brig. He saw, at once, what a di- 
minutive vessel she was ; and, accordingly, or- 
ordered his men to fire into her. They did so; 
and how much in earnest, has already appeared. 
Fearful that these facts would come to light, 
Captain Warrington Lad additional reasons for 
endeavouring to lessen the enormity of his of- 


fence, in stating that " lascars" were the only 
sufferers. — Poor wretches! and were they to be 
butchered with impunity, because their com- 
plexion and the American captain's were of 
different hues? — Whose heart was the blackest, 
the transaction in which they lost their lives, has 
already shewn to the world. — Had it been the 
Volage, as we said before, that was in sight to- 
leeward, every man in the Peacock, in less than 
three minutes after the master-attendant and 
the other officers came on board, would have 
been informed of the peace. Captain >\ arring- 
ton would have approached the stranger, if he 
approached at all, without opening his ports, or 
displaying his helmets. In short, he that hec- 
tored so much in one case, would have fawned 
as much in the other; and the commander of the 
U. S. sloop Peacock would have run no risk of 
being, by his government, "blamed for ceasing" 
— or rather, for not commencing — ' w hostilities, 
without more authentic evidence, that peace had 
been concluded." (App. I\o. 118.) 

The governor- general of India, the lieutenant- 
governors of Balavia, and of Java, and the dif- 
ferent heads of departments throughout the 
British dominions in the east, also the king's 
navy, and the king's army, serving there, have 
all been unanimous in bestowing the tribute of 
praise upon the noble behaviour of Lieutenant 
Boyce. Nor has less unanimity prevailed, as to 


the opinion entertained of Captain Warrington. 
The governor-general of India, sitting in coun- 
cil, says: ' c He contemplates Captain Warring- 
ton's proceeding, as destitude of any possible 
extenuation." — Captain John Hayes, master-at- 
tendant at Calcutta, in his public letter, de- 
scribes Captain Warrington as " the ruffian who 
has alike dishonoured himself, and disgraced the 
Columbian eagle." — It was, indeed, a dastardly 
act; an act, in all its circumstances, surpassing 
the generality of those, which, when committed 
by an Algerine pirate, — an acknowledged bar- 
barian, — have so often made our blood boil with 
indignation. The name of Warrington will 
be held in execration by every man, no matter 
of what country, upon whom the calls of huma- 
nity have been allowed to operate. — But the 
people of the United States boast of their civi- 
lization; and, as to their navy in particular, 
see what a celebrated Massachusetts orator, and 
a federalist too, Mr. Cyrus King, — whether in 
earnest or burlesque it is difficult to deter- 
mine, — has said of it : — " A navy identified with 
glory itself; the heroes of which, if I may be 
permitted the allusion, have fixed the stars of 
our flag in the heavens, as a new and brilliant 
constellation in this western hemisphere; a sign 
in which we conquer; our heavenly guide to 
victory." — Truly, Captain Warrington himself, 
(as the frontispiece to the M Naval Monument" 


shews,) is one of these fustian " heroes;" his 
{»laughter of the Nautilus's crew, arose, no doubt, 
from a " heavenly" impulse; and his attack 
and capture of the little vessel, — his behaviour 
to his wounded prisoner, — his lies, — meanness, 
and proceedings altogether, have added consi- 
derable " glory" to the American navy 1 ! ! 

To view the affair in a national light, let us 
reverse the case. A British, attacks and cap- 
tures an American cruizer, under circumstances, 
as to force and otherwise, precisely similar to 
those already related: — that it can be only a 
supposititious case, is a Briton's consolation. 
The moment the news reaches America, the 
whole eighteen United States are up in arms; 
the lives of the British residents are put in jeo- 
pardy; the vocabulary of abuse is exhausted 
upon the British nation ; and a demand of repa- 
ration, accompanied by a threat, is instantly for- 
warded to the British government. That govern- 
ment, with its known magnanimity, and more 
upon principle than policy, disavows the act ; 
punishes its officer; and, as in the Chesapeake's 
case, offers to pension the wounded, and the 
families of the killed. What either govern- 
ment will do, in the case of Lieutenant Boyce 
and Captain Warrington, is difficult to say : — 
what both governments ought to do, rises upper- 
most in the breast of every honorable man ac- 
quainted with the transaction. 



American list of the naval triumphs and captures 
on each side — Gross errors in their prize- lists 
detected — No account given by Americans of 
their own captured privateers and merchantmen 
— True account of British and American ves- 
sels, of all sorts, captured or destroyed — Our 
loss in national vessels much exaggerated — Ame- 
rican loss in the same grossly deficient — True 
account stated. — American and British triumphs 
submitted to arithmetical calculation — Remarks 
thereon — Reason given for our triumphs having 
been so few — Majestic and new Guerriere — 
Nymphe and Constitution — Tenedos and Con- 
gress — Captain Brokers system of discipline — 
Practised on board many of the frigates and 
other vessels on the North American station — 
Concluding remarks. 

X HE editor of the iC American cc Sketches of 
the War," winds up his account of the naval 
transactions between the two countries, in the 
following words : — " Thus terminated a war of 
two years and eight months, in which the naval 
arms of the United States were fifteen, and those 
of Great Britain, four times, triumphant; and 

L L 



during which, the former lost 3 frigates, 7 
sloops, and 5 smaller vessels, of war ; whilst 
the latter lost 5 frigates, 19 sloops of war, (one 
of which was blown up by a land-battery,) 
several gun-brigs and schooners, 2 brigs cut out 
from under the guns of a fort ; and upwards of 
1500 merchantmen, captured by private-armed 
vessels."— We thank Mr. Thomson for furnish- 
ing so good a text for the present chapter ; and 
shall make use of it accordingly. 

Inverting his order, let us commence with 
the " 1500 merchantmen." Mr. Clarke, whose 
work was published on the 3d of January, 
1814, gave, occupying 43 pages, a list of cap- 
tured British vessels, amounting to 7'29 ; " ex- 
tracted from Niles's Weekly Register." — As this 
miscellany was held in high esteem by the Ame- 
ricans, Mr. Thomson, most probably, took from 
it his number; which agrees with Mr. Clarke's, 
when we consider, that the one comprized the 
captures made during the whole, the other, 
during about half, of the V two years and eight 
months." — The general correctness of " Niles's 
Weekly Register," as a prize-list, may be tolera- 
bly appreciated by the following extracts, which 
a very slight glance has discovered : — 

"266. Brig Union, from Guern- 
sey for Grenada, sent into Old 
Town" (close to New York) "by 
the General Armstrong, prita- 
tcer, &c." 

"270. Brig Union, from Guern- 
sey for St. Christopher's, sent into 
New York, by the General Arm* 


"295, Packet Townsend, from 
Falmouth for Barbadoes, heavily 
armed, captured by the Tom of 
Baltimore, &c." 

" 673. Schooner Fame, of Bar- 
badoes, laden with Madeira wine, 
captured by the Saratoga, &c." 

335. " TheBritish king's packet 
Townsend, 9 guns, and 28 men, 
taken by the Tom of Baltimore, 

715. "Schooner Fame, from 
Barbadoes for Berbice, &c. cap- 
tured by the Saratoga." 

There are several items which agree in every 
thing but' a slight difference in the name, as: 
" Brig Two Friends ;" — " Brig Friends ;" — 
" Packet Ann ;" — " Brig Ann ;" — no doubt re- 
ferring to the same vessel. Even American ves- 
sels are included in Mr. Niles'slist, thus: " 698. 
An American schooner from one of the eastern 
ports, &c. for Halifax."— We read also: " 116. 
Brig General Blake, under Spanish colours, &c." 
None of the captured British ships of war are 
left out; not even, "630. His Britannic ma- 
jesty's gun-vessel burnt on Lake Ontario." Of 
what description some of the merchant-prizes 
are, will appear by this : — " 704, 705, 706, 707, 
708, 709, 710. Seven small-craft captured on 
the St. Lawrence, &c." — As some allowance, 
therefore, for the double entries, and the vessels 
not British, we may safely deduct, from Mr. 
Thomson's list of " 1500," one-fifth ; which will 
reduce it to 1200 ; and that including, not only 
<c merchantmen," but every description of vessel, 
from the frigate Guerriere down to " a Nova- 
Scotia shallop." Mr. Thomson has not thought 
it worth his while, to state how many American 
l l 2 


•' merchantmen" were captured by the British, 
during the M two years and eight months." — 
According to a list laid before parliament, in 
February, 1815, previous to the returns from Ire- 
land, the East Indies, and the Cape of Good 
Hope being received, and not including captures 
by privateers, there were, detained in ports of 
the United Kingdom, and captured or de- 
stroyed, 1407 American merchant-vessels. If 
to this we add, " 228 American privateers;" 
and, as appears by list No. 120 in the Appen- 
dix, 64 American national cruizers ; and con- 
sider the incompleteness of the parliamentary 
list, for want of the full returns, as sufficient to 
cover any inaccuracies to be found in it, we are 
thus enabled to shew, the relative numbers of 
British and American vessels, of every descrip- 
tion, captured or destroyed during the late war : 

American vessels oH - 
every description,/ 

British vessels oH 
every description,/ 

Let those who consider the numbers as less 
unequal than they ought to be, retlect that, 
while the Americans had scarcely any unarmed 
merchant-ships afloat, we had them darkening 
every sea; and that, although the force of the 
Americans in national cruizers, was compara- 
tively insignificant, their prnatccrs amounted, 
in number, to a third of our navy in commission* 

Now for the separate consideration of the 


national cruizers, captured or destroyed, during 
the " two years and eight months." — Our " 5 
frigates" include, of course, the Confiance and 
Cyane; but the remainder of Mr. Thomson's 
list is quite unintelligible. The whole number 
of British sloops and u gun-brigs" captured or 
destroyed by the Americans, as well on the 
lakes, as on the ocean, amounts, excluding the 
two " frigates" Confiance and Cyane, and in- 
cluding the two recaptured sloops Frolic and 
Levant, to 16. By adding Commodore Mac- 
donough's " two sloops of war," (see p. 420,) 
and Mr. Thomson's " large sloop of war," (see 
p. 264,) we have certainly his number, — " 19 
sloops of war." But how has he scraped toge- 
ther his " several gun-brigs" ? The *' two brigs, 
cut out from under the guns of a fort," must 
mean, the provincial vessel, Detroit, captured 
from the Americans, when General Hull surren- 
dered, and the Caledonia, a trading-vessel be- 
longing to the north-west company; magnified 
into a cruizer by the American editors. 

Mr. Thomson says, his countrymen lost but 
"3 frigates" during the late war; and yet, ac- 
cording to his own book, besides the President, 
Chesapeake, and Essex, " a new first-rate fri- 
gate at Washington," and the " l\ S. frigate 
Adams, at Penobscot," were among the number. 
It is singular, too, that, in his description of the 
loss at Washington, he mentions not a word 



about the frame of the 74-gun-ship, or the two 
old frigates, New York and Boston. His " 7 
sloops" should have been 9 ; and his " 5 smaller 
vessels," 48. (See App. No. 120.) With such 
lists before them, no wonder the people of the 
United States firmly believe, that they have had 
the best of the war. Here follow the aggregate 
numbers, in guns, men, and tons, of national 
cruizers, captured or destroyed on each side ; 
according to the lists Nos. 119 and 120 in the 





Gunsl Men. 
530 2751 





(Juns! Men. 



This differs a trifle from Mr. Thomson's 
statement. A full fourth of the loss on our side, 
consists of the fleets on Lakes Erie and Champ- 
lain. Had prudent, or promised arrangements, 
been adopted by the commander-in-chief in the 
Canadas, both fleets would have gained victo- 
ries ; and the proportion between the respective 
guns, men, and tons, in the above statement, would 
then have been, like that between the number of 
vessels, fully as two to one. \\ hat other advan- 
tages we should have gained by the undisturbed 
possession, during the war, of Lakes Lrie and 
C 'haiuplain, it is painful to contemplate. 

r l he capture of the gale-crippled Frolic, at 
the first of the war, gave the Americans full in- 



formation of the force, in every particular, of 
the largest of our brig-rigged sloops. The 
masts of a vessel are the first part distinguish- 
able ; and it is notorious that, during the " two 
years and eight months," no American sloop of 
war ventured to attack a British ship-rigged 
sloop of war ; although the latter, as may be 
seen by the Cherub's force, (p. 312, 316,) was 
far inferior, in complement and size, and, in 
broadside-weight of metal, superior, by a trifle 
only, to the Peacock and the other American 
corvettes. This affords a tolerable proof, that 
a difference of rig alone, in one class of our 
cruizers, would have caused a sensible reduction 
in the list of American " triumphs." 

Owing to the gallant defences made by our 
ships, the Americans, out of 15 captured (ex- 
clusive of 1 sunk, and 2 re-captured) British 
cruizers, at sea, carried only 9 into port. If we 
except the Vixen, which was shipwrecked, the 
whole of the 23 captured American cruizers, at 
sea, were got safe into port by the British. (See 
App. No. 121.) The following statement shews 
the aggregate number, so carried in by each 
party :— 


No. I Guns, 

cruizers, f 
at sea, { 
got in, J 






cruizers, / 
at sea, f 
got in, J 





"When we reflect upon the immense losses 
which our navy annually sustains, by ship- 
wreck, and by that most destructive enemy, the 
dry-rot, the loss of British national cruizers to 
the Americans, sinks into comparative insignifi- 
cance. It is the question, — Which party was 
most " triumphant"? — that a Briton requires to 
have answered. Mr. Thomson boasts, that the 
" naval arms of the United States, were fifteen 
times triumphant." — He must here include all 
our unsuccessful actions with American national 
vessels, and, no doubt, that in which "a large 
sloop of war" was captured by an American 
privateer; (see p. 261 ;) but, as the conquerors, 
in the latter instance, were Frenchmen, Ameri- 
cans can have no triumph to claim. How came 
Mr. Thomson to omit the cases of the Landrail 
and Syren, and St. Lawrence and Chasseur? — 
Those actions were not less t; triumphant to the 
naval arms of the United States," than any of 
the fourteen he has recorded. Let us, now, sub- 
mit each of these boasted M triumphs," to a 
simple arithmetical calculation. One action, 
however, — the Levant and C vane's with the 
Constitution, — cannot well be tried by that 
test; because, there, carronades were opposed 
to long guns, together with the w< allier-gage. 
Taking from ihe comparative statement of force 
in each of the remaining fifteen actions, the 
6um-total of the broadside-metal in pounds and 


complement, (size in tons omitted, because not 
so generally applicable,) on each side, and com- 
paring them together, we obtain — giving up all 
fractions to the Americans —the following results : 

Americans " triumphant" over the British, 

once, f 18. 



three times, 


five times, 




y when superior in force, as 19 to X 



I 5. 

These are the " victories," — these the " un- 
paralleled exploits," that have turned the brains 
of the American people, and made "heroes" 
(prostituted word!) more plentiful in the United 
States, than in the oldest nation of Europe; and 
these are the " victories," too, which form the 
basis of that extraordinary discovery, — " the 
moral and physical superiority of the Ameri- 
can, over the British tar" ! ! 

It is admitted by the American editor, that 
the " naval arms of Great Britain have been 
four times triumphant." One of the instances 
alluded to, — that of the Endymion and Presi- 
dent. — shall be excepted ; because, although the 
action was fought exclusively between those 
ships, the final surrender was made to a squadron. 


Had the Americans on board the corvette Frolic, 
felt the same regard for the honor of the flag, as 
the British in the Reindeer, of similar inferi- 
ority of force, we might still have been " four 
times triumphant." As it is, we must be con- 
tented; and, pursuing the same method of ex- 
tracting the relative force, as done in the Ameri- 
can " triumphs," here follow the results of our 
three successful actions. 

British " triumphant" over the Americans, 

once » J. w hen superior in force as 19 to -J . 
once, when inferior in force as 17 to 19» 

As respects arithmetical proportion, two of 
these cases are allied to some of the American 
"triumphs;" but, in the first, the British had 
an inferiority in complement; which was never 
the case on the part of the Americans. The two 
first cases in their list, approach nearest in point 
of proportion, to the first case in our's; but, 
when we reflect upon the brig Frolic's previous 
disabled state, — the Penguin's inefficient crew,— - 
the gallant defences made by both vessels, — the 
numerical superiority of the Argus's crew, — her 
easy capture, and w hole-masted state, — we have 
nothing to regret, but that these important cir- 
cumstances cannot be expressed in figures. 

The second case of proportions, in the British, 
has four numerical parallels in the American 


list ; yet it was the capture of the Essex which 
the editorof the " New Annual Register" brought 
forward, to support his humiliating position, 
" that, when we were victorious over the Ame- 
ricans by sea, we were generally indebted for 
our success, to a greater superiority than even 
they had when they were successful." (See 
p. 359.) 

The last case in the British list, — and that 
which, to the encreased shame of what has just 
been quoted, was the first in point of date, — ranks 
by itself. — Does any one believe, that the Ameri- 
can government, than the whole fifteen tri- 
umphs, would not rather have had to record, one 
such triumph as the Shannon's over the Chesa- 
peake? — Then, might Americans have boasted, 
with reason, of " the moral and physical supe- 
riority" of their seamen ; and invented, if possible, 
new forms of language, to express the ecstacy of 
their feelings. So completely, however, has the 
American public been deluded, by the letters of 
theofficers, the speeches of the public orators, and 
the stories of the naval-history and newspaper 
editors, that it is a question if any alteration in 
their list of " triumphs," except encrease of num. 
ber, could give to the American people, a higher 
opinion of themselves than they now entertain. 

Considering what a number of British ships, 
after the first six or eight months of the war, 
were sent upon the American coast, it is not 


unreasonable to ask, — How happened it, that we 
have so few victorious actions to record ? — did 
we ever allow the Americans an opportunity of 
meeting us at sea, in fair single combat? — In 
answering this, we will omit some {ew cases that 
occurred (p. 207,331) between the smaller classes 
of cruizers, and pass to the frigates, of each nation . 
One case, in which there was an equality of 
force, and another, in which a decided inequa- 
lity was against us, have been already detailed. 
(See p. 327, 255.) After Commodore Rodgers's 
boast of his having sought an engagement with 
a 74, (see p. 322,) those who could not persuade 
themselves, that he had previously run from a 
32-gun frigate and sloop, were much surprised 
when, in 1 he line new frigate Guerriere, all ready 
for sea, he was prevented from leaving the Dela- 
ware, by the presence of the Majestic, razee; car- 
rying the same weight of metal, though, per- 
haps, not so great a number of men. 

After Captain Broke left Boston Bay, with 
the Chesapeake, for Halifax, the Nymphe, Cap- 
tain Rp worth; took his station, and cruized 
there alone, for several weeks; the Tenedos, 
which was to have joined the Shannon on the 
14th of June, having proceeded to watch the 
harbour of Portsmouth N. Hampshire. The 
\ymphe was armed like any other 4(vgun frigate, 
except as to having two long ISs, instead ot'Os, 
upon the forecastle, and a shifting (58-pouud 


carronade upon the quarter-deck. While the 
Nymphe was thus blockading Boston, the Con- 
stitution frigate, Captain Stewart, lay in Presi- 
dent Roads, with royal yards across, ready for 
sea. The Boston papers all noticed the pre- 
sence of the Nymphe; one of them adding: — 
" She intends, if opportunity offers, to meet the 
Constitution, as soon as she leaves port ; in which 
case, the Nymphe will have a decided and im- 
portant advantage, as the Shannon had over the 
Chesapeake." — If the disparity of force, in this 
case, made success improbable, more decidedly 
gallant was the Nymphe's behaviour. 

For six weeks, during the autumn of 1 813, did 
Captain Hyde Parker, in the Tenedos 46, exert 
his utmost to entice out of Portsmouth, the U. S. 
frigate Congress, Captain Smith, then lying 
there, perfectly ready for sea; but some "de- 
cided and important advantage" possessed by 
the former, kept the latter ship at her anchors; 
and the citizens of New Hampshire were not 
doomed to be spectators of a similar scene, to 
that so recently viewed from the hills of Massa- 
chusetts. — Lest the reader's confidence, as to the 
performances of a British frigate, should not yet 
have quite recovered from the shock it received 
at the first of the war, it may be right to inform 
him, that a British 46-gun frigate of 1813, was 
half as effective again as a British 46-gun frigate 
©f 1812. Not that the whole of the latter had 


neglected discipline, or were poorly manned : 
there were several exceptions; and among- them 
the Shannon. Captain Broke, when the Shan- 
non was first fitted, in 1806, had her guns laid, 
(a most important operation,) under his own 
directions. He, next, had proper sights fitted to 
them: in short, as Captain S. G. Pechell, in his 
very useful little pamphlet, says, — (C nothing 
seems to have escaped Captain Broke in render- 
ing his guns effective." — By constant training, 
the men were taught to manage them properly ; 
and were frequently practised in firing at marks. 
The guns, with the rammers, sponges, &c. placed 
in readiness, were considered as the brightest or- 
naments of the Shannon's decks; and there, 
also, might be seen, shot and powder enough for 
several broadsides. That the officer's comforts 
were, by this, somewhat abridged, Captain 
Broke's cabin gave the strongest proof. The 
Statira, Tenedos, Nymphe, JYlcnelaus, Lacede- 
monian, JNiemen, Armide, Seahorse, and several 
other 46-gun frigates on the North American sta- 
tion, would each have shewn, had an opportunity 
offered, how well she could support the charac- 
ter of a British frigate. Many of the 42-gun 
class, on the same station, were behind the 
former in nothing but physical force. Foremost 
of the 74s, in gimiKTv, stood the St. Domingo, 
Captain S.G. Pechell. Highly disciplined, also, 
were the Ramilies, llogue, Dragon, Superb, and 


Bulwark. Each longed for a meeting with the 
Independence; but either of the three last- 
named only, was able to cope with her. 

The chief credit due to the Americans in 
the naval conduct of the late war, is for the 
high state of preparation in which their few 
ships were, at its commencement; especially, 
when compared with the generality of our own, 
at the same period. Considering the opinion 
which the Americans then entertained of a 
British frigate, Captain Hull deserved credit for 
bearing down upon the Guerriere: so would 
Captain Jones for attacking the Frolic, as the 
first sloop, had the latter not been visibly dis- 
abled. But, upon the whole, there does not 
appear to be one American triumph detailed in 
these pages, in which the Americans would not 
have been chargeable with cowardice, had they 
declined to engage. 

In which of those triumphs, were the British 
not the assailants? — in how many of them, had 
the}', from the moment they could distinguish 
the force of their opponent, any reasonable hopes 
of success ? — To attack, then, is the mark of true 
intrepidity. — Next, come the boarding-assault, 
and the repulse of boarders : when did Ameri- 
cans attempt the former, till, by repeated vollies 
of great guns and musketry, the number of 
their enemies had dwindled to a mere handful ? 
How American seamen shine in repelling board- 


ers, the respective surrenders of the Chesapeake 
and Argus, stand as lasting monuments. — How 
British seamen behave, as well in boarding, as in 
repelling boarders, let the fate of the two last- 
named vessels, and the blood-stained decks of 
the Reindeer and Dominica, tell : there, indeed, 
was bottom. — In proof of which party holds 
most sacred the honor of the flag, take the sur- 
render of the American ship Frolic, as a pro- 
minent (though not the only) example, on one 
side; on the other, — the seven killed, and four 
wounded commanders, — the slaughtered crews, 
and the shattered hulls, of our captured ships. 

To conclude: the naval actions between 
Great Britain and the United States, being now 
freed from American dross, and brought fairly 
to the light of day, no events recorded in the 
naval annals of our country, reflect a brighter 
lustre upon the character of British seamen : 
and, though our losses may have been severe, we 
have this consolation, — that no American ship 
of war has, after all, captured a British ship of 
war, of the same force; but that the reverse has 
occurred, and might have occurred, again, and 
again, — had Americans been as willing to light, 
as they still are to boast. 



No. 1. 

From Commodore Truxton to the American secretary of the 


U. S. Ship Constellation, at sea, Feb. 3, 1800. 

V the SOth ult. I left St. Christopher's with the Constella- 
tion in excellent trim, and stood to-windward, in order to gain 
the station for myself before the road of Guadaloupe; and 
at half past seven A.M. of the day following, I discovered a 
sail to the S.E. to which I gave chase; and for the further 
particulars of that chase, and for the action after it, I must 
beg to refer to the extracts from my journal, herewith ; as 
being the best mode of exhibiting a just and candid account of 
all our transactions in the late business, which has ended in 
the almost entire dismantlement of the Constellation ; though, 

1 trust, to the high reputation of the American flag. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Benjamin Stoddart, Esq. secretary of the navy. 

No. 2. 

Occurrences on board the United Stales' 1 ship Constellation, of 
38 guns, under my command, February 1st. 
Throughout these twenty-four hours, very unsettled wea- 
ther: kept on our tacks, beating up under Guadaloupe ; and 
at half-past seven A.M. the road of Basseterre bearing E. fiv« 


leagues distance, saw a sail in the S.E. standing to the S.W. 
which from her situation I at first took for a large ship from 
Martinique, and hoisted English colours on giving chase, by 
way of inducement for her to come down and speak me; 
which would have saved us a long chase to-lecward of my in- 
tended cruising-ground ; but, finding she did not attempt to 
alter her course, I examined her more minutely as we ap- 
proached her, and discovered that she was a heavy French 
frigate, mounting at least 54 guns. I immediately gave orders 
for the yards, Sec. to be slung with chains, top-sail-shects, &c. 
stoppered, and the ship cleared, and every thing prepared for 
action, and hauled down the English colours. At noon the 
wind became light, and I observed the chase, that we had be- 
fore been gaining fast on, held way with us ; but I was deter- 
mined to continue the pursuit, though the running to leeward 
1 was convinced would be attended with many serious disad- 
vantages ; especially if the objects of my wishes were not 

Passed two schooners standing to the northward : one of 
them shewed American colours, and was a merchant-vessel, 
and the other I supposed to be of the same description. 

Feb. 2, at one P.M. the wind being somewhat fresher than 
at the noon preceding, and appearance of its continuance, our 
prospect of bringing the enemy to action began again to 
brighten, as I perceived wc Mere coming np with the chase 
fast, and every inch of canvass being set that could be of ser- 
vice, except the bag-reefs, which 1 kept in the top-sails, in case 
the chase finding an escape from our thunder impracticable, 
should haul on a Mind, and give us fair battle ; but this did 
not prove to be her commander's intention. I however got 
within hail of him at right V.M. hoisted our ensign, and had 
the candles in the battle-lanterns all lighted, and the large 
trumpet in the lee-gangway re:idy to speak him, and to demand 
the surrender of his ship to the United Slates of Americ.i ; 
but he, at that instant, commenced a fire from his .stem and 
quarter guns, directed at our rigging and spars. No parley 


then being necessary, I sent my principal aid-de-camp, Mr. 
Vandyke, to the different officers commanding divisions on the 
main battery, to repeat strictly my orders, before given, not 
to throw away a single charge of powder, but to take good 
aim, and fire directly into the hull of the enemy; and load 
principally with two round shot, and now and then with a 
round shot and a stand of grape, &c. ; to encourage the men 
at their quarters ; to cause or suffer no noise or confusion 
whatever ; but to load and fire as fast as possible, when it 
could be done with certain effect. These orders being given, 
in a few moments I gained a position on his weather quarter, 
that enabled us to return effectually his salute; and thus a 
close and as sh.irp an action as ever was fought between two 
frigates commenced, and continued until within a few minutes 
of one A.M. when the enemy's fire was completely silenced, 
and he was again sheering off. 

It was at this moment that I considered him as my prize, 
and was trimming in the best manner I could, my much shat- 
tered sails; when I found my main-mast was totally unsup- 
ported by rigging, every shroud being shot away, and some of 
them in several places, that even stoppers were useless, and 
could not be supplied with effect. I then gave orders to the 
officers to send the men up from the gun-deck to endeavour to 
secure it, in order that we might go along-side of the enemy 
again as soon as possible ; but every effort was in vain, for the 
main-mast went over the side in a few minutes after, and car- 
ried with it the top-men, among whom was an amiable young 
gentleman, who commanded the main-top, Mr. James Jervis, 
son of James Jervis, Esq. of New York. It seems this young 
gentleman was apprised of the mast going, in a few minutes, 
by an old seaman ; but he had already so much of the princi- 
ple of an officer ingrafted on his mind, not to leave his quarters 
on any account, that, he told the man, if the mast went they 
must go with it, which was the case, and only one of them was 

I regret much his loss, as a promising young officer, and 


amiable young man, as well as on account of a long intimacy 
that has subsisted between his father and myself, but have great 
satisfaction in finding tiiat 1 have lost no other, and only two 
or three slightly wounded, out of 39 killed and wounded: 14 
of the former, and C M> of the latter. 

As soon as'the maid-mast went, every effort was made to 
clear the wreck from the ship, as soon as possible ; which was 
effected in about an hour. It being impossible to pursue the 
enemy, and as her security was then the great object, I imme- 
diately bore away for Jamaica, for repairs, &c. finding it 
impossible to reach a friendly port in any of the islands 

I should be wanting in common justice, was I to omit to 
journalize the steady attention to order, and tlic great exertion 
and bravery of all my officers, seamen, and marines, in this 
action ; many of Avhom I had sufficiently tried before on a 
similar occasion, and all their names are recorded in the muster- 
roll I sent to the secretary of the navy, dated the 19th of 
December last, signed by myself. 

All hands are employed in repairing the damages sustained 

in the action, so far as to get the ship into Jamaica as soon a* 



No. 3. 

The French captain's Idler. 

Corfu, September 8, 1798. 
I have the pleasure to announce to you my arrival at Corfu. 
I have been here for some days past, having brought in tint 
English ship Lcander of 74 guns, which I met near the isles of 
Qon and Candia, about a league from the shore. This ship 
had been sent to carry despatches from Bequiers * Road, 
where the English had attacked us on the 1st of August. \Y« 

* Aboukir. 


were at anchor, but in a position certainly not very secure for 
our squadron \ of this had situation they took advantage, and 
having placed us between two fires, a most dreadful slaughter 
took place, the ships not being at a greater distance than 
pistol shot, and at anchor. From the circumstance of the 
■wind, with relation to the English ships, we should have been 
superior in the contest, if l'Oricnt, our admiral's ship, had 
not blown up in the air, which threw us all into disorder ; as, 
to avoid the flames that had already reached le Tonnant, 
every vessel was obliged to shift its station. Having, however, 
placed my ship in a situation favourable to the direction of its 
cannon, I fought her until three in the morning of the follow, 
ing day to that in which, at ten in the evening, l'Oricnt 
blew up. 

By a singular accident, I missed having a broadside at 
Captain Darby, who sailed with us in the last war from the 
Cape of Good Hope to Cadiz. His ship, the Bellerophon, of 
74 guns, sailed past me about half-past ten in the evening, 
having lost her main-mast and mizen-mast. I fired three of 
our shots at her, which carried away the mast she was hoist, 
ing, and struck away one of the lanterns off the poop. 

I immediately ordered one of my officers to go in pursuit 
of, and to bring on board of my ship the captain of this ship ; 
but in half an hour afterwards, when I was about to send my 
boat on board her, the fire from several English ships bein^ 
directed against me, compelled me rather to think of answer- 
ing their guns, than of taking possession of the other ship ; 
and the slow manner in which the officer whom I had des- 
patched, proceeded to execute my orders, was the cause of my 
failing to take possession of this other ship. 

As to the Lcander, I was obliged to fight with her for 
nearly four hours and three-quarters. She carries 74 guns, 
24 and 30-poundcrs on her lower deck, and 12-pounders on 
her upper. J should have made myself master of her in less 
than an hour, had we been at close fighting ; during the en- 


gagement we boarded her, and I should have succeeded in 

making prize of her by boarding, if I had a more active 



No. 4. 

From Captain Hull to the American secretary cf the navy. 

U. S. Frigate Constitution, August 2S, 1812. 

The enclosed account of the affair between the President, 
Commodore Rodgers, and the British frigate Belvidcra, was 
taken by an officer on board the Delvidera, and fell into my 
hinds by accident. It clearly proves that she only escaped 
the commodore by superior sailing, after having lightened 
her, and the President being very deep. 

As much has been said on this subject, if Commodore 
Rodgers has not arrived, to give you his statement of the 
a Hair, if it meet your approbation I should be pleased to have 
this account published to prevent people from making up their 
minds hastily, as I find them willing to do. 

I am confident, could the commodore have got alongside tho 
Delvidera, she would have been his in less than one hour. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 


The Hon. Paul Hamilton, Sec. 

No. 5. 

An account of the proceedings of his majesty $ ship Ticlci- 
(I rit, RicHard Hjjron, Esq. captain, 23d day of J une, 1812. 

A.M. at I, 10, Nantucket shoal, saw several sail bearing 
S.W.; made sail towards them j at G, 30, they bore S.W . by S. ; 


made them out to be three frigates, one sloop, and one brig 
of war, standing to the S.E. under a press of sail. Observed 
them to make signals, and haul up in chase of us, hauling 
down their steering. sails, in a confused and irregular manner. 
Tacked ship, and made the private signal, which was not 
answered ; made all sail possible, N.E. by E. At 8, moderate 
and fine weather, the headmost ship of the chase, S.S.W. £ W. 
apparently gaining ground on us at times, and leaving her con- 
sorts. At 11, 30, hoisted our colours and pendant ; the 
chase hoisted American colours ; two of them hoisted com- 
modore's broad pendants. At noon the commodore and the 
second headmost ship of the chase S.W.f W. about 2| of a 
mile, Nantucket shoal N. 4° E. 48 miles, moderate and fine 
weather ; cleared ship for action, commodore of chase gaining, 
the other ships dropping ; observed the chase pointing her 
guns at us. At 3, 40, the commodore fired three shot, one of 
which struck the rudder-coat, and came into the after-gun- 
room ; the other two came into the upper or captain's cabin, 
one of which struck the muzzle of the larboard chase-gun, 
the other went through the beam under the skylight, killed 
William Gould, (seaman,) wounded John Hill, (armourer,) 
mortally, Joseph Lee, (seaman,) severely, George Maclcn, 
(ship's carpenter,) badly, Lieutenant Bruce, James Kelly, 
and James Larmont, (seamen,) slightly. At 3, 45, com- 
menced firing with our stern-guns ; shot away her larboard 
lower steering-sail ; keeping our ship a steady course 
N.E. and by E. At 4, the chase bore up, and fired her lar- 
board broadside, which cut our rigging and sails much, the 
long bolts, breeching-hooks, aud brccchings, of guns and car- 
ronades, frequently breaking ; (by one of which Captain Byron 
was severely wounded in the left thigh;) all of which was 
instantly replaced. Kept up a constant fire, which was re- 
turned by our opponent with bow-chase-guns, and at times 
by her broadsides; which, by her superiority of sailing, she 
was eftiablcd to do, till 6, 45, when we cut away our spara 


sheet, and small bower anchors, barge, yawl, ami jolly-boats, 
and started 14 tons of water. We then gained on him, when 
lie bore up, and fired three broadside?, part of -which fell 
short of us. At 7, opponent ceased firing, and the second 
frigate commenced, but finding her shot fall short, ceased also. 
Emplo, id fLhing our cross-jack-yard, and main-top-mast, 
(both badly -\vounded,) knotting and splicing our rigging, 
whic'i was much cut and damaged. At 11, altered our course 
to E. by S. \ S. and lost sight of our opponents. 

No. 6. 

Extract from the journal of Commodore Rodger s. 

June 23d — Pleasant breezes from N.W. to W.X.W. ; at 
3A.M. spoke an American brig from Madeira, bound to New 
York, the master of which informed me, that four days be- 
fore, in lat. 36°, long. 67°, he passed a lleet of British mer- 
chantmen, under convoy of a frigate and a brig, steering to 
the eastward. I now perceived that this was the convoy of 
which I had received intelligence, prior to leaving New York, 
and shaped our course cast in pursuit of them. At 6 A.M. 
Nantucket shoal, bearing N.K. distant 35 miles, saw a large 
sail in N.E. standing to S.W. which was soon discovered to 
be a frigate. The signal was made for a general chase, when 
the several vessels of the squadron took in their studding 
sails, and made all sail by (he wind, on the starboard tack, in 
pursuit. At a quarter before 7, (he chase (aeked, made all 
sail, and stood from us, by the wind on l lie same tack. At 
ha' f- past ,8, he made signals, when, pereeiviug wc were coming 
up with him, he edged away a point or thereabouts, and set 
his top-gallant studding-sails. At 11, cleared ibip for action, 
in the expectation that wc would soon be up with the chase; 
the breeze about this time, however, began to incline more to 
the westward, and became lighter, which I soon discovered 


was comparatively an advantage to our opponent. At a 
quarter past 1 P.M. the chase hoisted English colours. At 2, 
the wind veered to the W.S.W. and became lighter. At 20 
minutes past 4, having got within gun-shot of the enemy, 
when, perceiving that he was training his chase-guns, and in 
the act, as I supposed, of firing, that the breeze was decreas- 
ing, and we now sailed so nearly alike, that to afford him an 
opportunity of doing the first injury to our spars and rigging, 
would be to enable him to effect his escape, I gave orders to 
commence a fire with the bow-chase guns at his spars and 
rigging, in the hope of crippling one or the other, so far as to 
enable us to get alongside. The fire from our bow-chase guns 
lie instantly returned, with those of his stern, which was now 
kept up by both ships without intermission, until 80 minutes 
past 4 P.M. when one of the President's chase guns burst, 
and killed and wounded 16 persons, among the latter myself. 
This was not, however, the most serious injury; as, by the 
bursting of the gun, and the explosion of the passing-box, 
from which it was served with powder, both the main and fore- 
castle decks, near the gun, were so much shattered, as to pre- 
vent the use of the chase gun, on that side, for some time. 
Our main-deck guns being single shotted, I now gave orders 
to put our helm to starboard, and fire the starboard broad- 
side, in the expectation of disabling some of her spars, but 
did not succeed, although I could discover that his rigging had 
sustained considerable damage, and that he had received some 
injury in the stern. 

I now endeavoured, by altering course half a point to port, 
and wetting our sails, to gain a more effectual position on his 
starboard quarter, but soon found myself losing ground. 
After this, a similar attempt was made at his larboard quarter, 
but without any better success, as the wind, at this time, being 
very light, and both sailing so nearly alike, that, by making 
an angle of only half a point from the course he steered, ena- 
bled him to augment his distance. No hope was now left of 


bringing him to close action, except that derived from being 
to-windward, and the expectation the breeze might favour us 
first. I accordingly gave orders to steer directly after him, 
and to keep our bow-chase guns playing on his spars and rig- 
ging, until our broadside would more effectually reach him. 
At 3, finding from the advantage his stern guns gave him, that 
he had done considerable injury to our sails and rigging, and 
being within point-blank shot, I gave orders to put the helm 
to starboard, and fire our main-deck guns. This broad-ide 
did some farther damage to his rigging, and I could perceive 
that his fore-top-sail-yard was wounded, but the sea was so 
very smooth, and the wind so light, that the injury done was 
not such as materially to affect his sailing. After this broad- 
side, our course was instantly renewed in his wake, under a 
galling fire from his stern-chase guns, directed at our spars and 
rigging, and continued until half-past 6 ; at which time, being 
within reach of his grape, and finding our sails, rigging, and 
several spars, particularly the main-yard, which had little to 
support it except the lifts and braces, much disabled, I again 
gave orders to luff across his stern, and give him a couple of 

The enemy, at this time, finding himself so hardly pressed, 
and seeing, while in the act of firing, our head -sails to lift, 
and supposing the ship had, in a measure, lost the effect of 
her helm, gave a broad yaw, with the intention of bringing 
his broadside to bear ; finding the President, however, an- 
swered her helm too quick for his purpose, he immediately 
resumed his course, and precipitately fired his four after 
main-deck guns, on the starboard side, although they did not 
bear upon us at the time by 25 or 30 degrees, and he now 
commenced lightening his ship, by throwing overboard all hi* 
boats, waste-anchors, &c. and by this means was rnablod, by 
a quarter before 7, to get so far a-head, as to prevent our bow- 
cbue uiins doing rxecution, and I now perceived, with mora 
mortification than words can express, that there \\ab little or 


no chance left of getting within gun-shot of the enemy again. 
Under every disadvantage of disabled spars, sails, and rigging, 
I, however, continued the chase with all the sail wc could 
set, until half-past 11 P.M. when perceiving he had gained 
upwards of three miles, and not the slightest prospect left of 
coming up with him, I gave up the pursuit, and made the 
signal to the other ships as they came up to do the same. 

During the first of the chase, while the breeze was fresh, 
and sailing by the wind, I thought the whole of the squadron 
gained upon the enemy. It was soon discoverable, however, 
the advantage he acquired by sailing large, and this, I con- 
ceived, he must have derived in so great a degree by starting 
his water, as I could perceive, upwards of an hour before we 
came within gun-shot, water running out of his scuppers. 

While in chase it was difficult to determine whether our 
own situation, or that of the other vessels of the squadron, 
was the most unpleasant. The superior sailing of the Presi- 
dent was not such, off the wind, as to enable us to get upon, 
the broadside of the enemy. The situation of the others was 
not less irksome, as not even the headmost, which was the 
Congress, was able, at any time, to get within less than two 
gun-shots' distant, and even at that but for a very little 

No. 7. 

From Captain Porter to the American secretary of the navy. 

At sea, August 17, 1812. 


I have the honor to inform you, that on the 13th his Bri- 
tannic majesty's sloop of war Alert, Captain T. L. P. Laug- 
harne, ran down on our weather quarter, gave three cheers, 
and commenced an action, (if so trilling a skirmish deserves 
the name,) aud after eight minutes firing struck her colours, 


with seven feet water in the hold, much cut to pieces, and 
three men wounded. 

1 need not inform you that the officers and crew of the 
Essex behaved as I trust all Americans will in such cases, and 
it is only to be regretted, that so much zeal and activity could 
not have been displayed on an occasion that would have done 
them more honor. The Essex has not received the slightest 

The Alert was out for the purpose of taking the Hornet! 
I have the honor to be, &c. 

Hon. Paul Hamilton, secretary of the navy. 

No. 8. 

From Captain Dacres to Vice-admiral Saxycr. 

Boston, September 7, 1812. 
I am sorry to inform you of the capture of H. M. late ship 
Guerriere, by the American frigate Constitution, after a severe 
action, on the 19th of August, in latitude -40° '20' N. and Ion. 
giludc 55° W. At 2 P.M. being by the wind on the starboard 
tack, \\c saw a sail on our weather beam, bearing down on 
us. At 3, made her out to be a man of war; beat to quarters, 
and prepared for action. At J, she closing fast, wore to pre- 
vent her raking us. At 10 minutes past 4, hoisted our co- 
lours and hied .several shot at her : at 20 minutes past 4, she 
hoisted her colours, and returned our lire; wore several times 
to avoid being ruked, exchanging broadsides. At 5, she 
closed on our starboard beam, both keeping up a heavy lire, 
and steering free, his intention being evidently io cross our 
bow. At 20 minutes past 5, our mizen-mast went over the 
starboard quarter, and brought the ship up in the wind ; th« 

APPENDIX. xii i 

enemy then placed himself on our larboard bow, raking us, a 
few only of our bow-guns bearing, and his grape and riile- 
men sweeping our deck. At 40 minutes past 5, the ship not 
answering her helm, he attempted to lay us on board ; at this 
time Mr. Grant, who commanded the forecastle, was carried 
below, badly wounded. I immediately ordered the marines 
and boarders from the main-deck ; the master was at this time 
shot through the knee, and I received a severe wound in the 
back. Lieutenant Kent was leading on the boarders, when 
the ship coming to, we brought some of our bow-guns to 
bear on her, and had got clear of our opponent • when, at 
20 minutes past 6, our fore and main-masts went over tho 
side, leaving the ship a perfect unmanageable wreck. The 
frigate shooting a-head, I was in hopes to clear the wreck, and 
get the ship under command to renew the action ; but just as 
we had cleared the wreck, our spritsail-yard went, and the 
enemy having rove new braces, &c. wore round within pistol- 
shot, to rake us, the ship laying in the trough of the sea, and 
rolling her main-deck guns under water, and all attempts to' 
get her before the wind being fruitless : when, calling my few 
remaining officers together, they were all of opinion that any 
further resistance would only be a needless waste of lives, I 
ordered, though reluctantly, the colours to be struck. 

The loss of the ship is to be ascribed to the early fall of the 
mizen-mast, which enabled our opponent to choose his position. 
I am sorry to say we suffered severely in killed and wounded ; 
and mostly whilst she lay on our bow, from her grape and 
musketry; in all, 15 killed, and 63 wounded, many of them 
severely. None of the wounded officers quitted the deck till 
the Tiring ceased. 

The frigate proved to be the United States' ship Constitution, 
of 30 24-pounders on her main-deck, and 24 32-pounders 
and two 18-pounders on her upper deck, and 476 men. Her 
loss in comparison with our's is trifling, about 20 ; the first 
lieutenant of marines and 8 killed, and first lieutenant, and 


master of the ship, and 11 men wounded; her lower masts 
badly wounded, and stern much shattered ; and very much 
cut up about her rigging. 

The Guerricrc was so cut up, that all attempts to get her in 
would have been useless. As soon as the wounded were got 
out of her, they set her on fire ; and I feel it my duty to 
state, that the conduct of Captain Hull and his officers to our 
men, has been that of a brave enemy ; the greatest caro being 
taken to prevent our men losing the smallest trifle, and the 
greatest attention being paid to the wounded ; who, through 
the attention and skill of Mr. Irvine, surgeon, 1 hope will 
do well. 

I hope, though success has not crowned our efforts, you 
will not think it presumptuous in me to say, the greatest 
credit is due to the officers and ship's company for their exer- 
tions, particularly when exposed to the heavy raking fire of 
the enemy. I feel particularly obliged for the exertions of 
Lieutenant Kent, who, though wounded early by a splinter, 
continued to assist mc. In the second lieutenant, the service 
has suffered a severe loss. Mr. Scott, the master, though 
wounded, was particularly attentive, and used every exertion 
in clearing the wreck, as did the warrant-officers. Lieu tenant 
NichoII, of the royal marines, and his party, supported the 
honorable character of their corps, and they suffered seven U. 
I must recommend Mr. Snow, master's mate, \\ ho commanded 
the foremost main-deck guns, in (he absence of Lieutenant 
Pullman, (and the whole after the fall of Lieutenant Ready,) 
to your protection, he having received a .severe contusion from 
asplinter. I must point out Mr. (Parley, acting purser, toyonr 
notice, who volunteered his services on deck, and commanded 
the after quarter-deck guns, and was particularly aci'u e. M 
well as Mr. Bannister, midshipman. 

I hope, in considering the circumstances, you will think the 
.ship entrusted to my charge, properly defended. The unfor- 
tunate loss (if our mast- ; the absence of the third lieutenant, 


second lieutenant of marines, three midshipmen, and 24 men, 
considerably weakened our crew ; and we only mustered at 
quarters 244 men and 19 boys, on coming into action ; the 
enemy had such an advantage from his marines and riflemen, 
when close, and his superior sailing enabled him to choose his 

I enclose herewith a list of killed and wounded on board the 
Guerriere ; and have the honour to be, &c. 

Vice-admiral Sawyer. JAS. R. DACRES. 

List of officers, seamen, and marines, killed and wounded 
on board II. M. S. Guerriere, %c. (of which the names are 
given, comprising,) 

Killed — The second lieutenant, 7 petty-officers and able sea- 
men, 3 ordinary seamen, 1 landman, 1 Serjeant and 2 privates 
of marines : — total 15. 

Wounded dangerously — 7 petty-officers and able seamen, 5 
ordinary seamen, and 5 private marines : — total 17. 

Wounded severely — The captain, master, 2 master's mates, 5 
petty-officers and able seamen, 4 ordinary seamen, 1 landman, 
and 5 private marines : — total 19. 

Wounded slightly — The first lieutenant, 1 midshipman, 9 
petty-officers and able seamen, 3 landmen, 1 boy, and 3 pri- 
vate marines : — total, 18. 

15 killed, 63 wounded :— total 78. 


JOHN IRVINE, surgeon of the navy. 

No. 9. 

From Commodore Hull, to the American secretary of the navy. 

United States' frigate Constitution, off 

Sir, Boston Light-, Aug. 30, 1812. 

I have the honour to inform you, that, on the nineteenth 

instant, at two P. M. being in latitude 41° 42', and longitude 


55° 48', with the Constitution under my command, a sail \va» 
discovered from the mast-head, bearing E. by S. or E.S. E. but 
at such a distance we could not tell what she was. All sail was 
instantly made in chase ; and soon found we came up with her. 
At 3 P.M. could plainly see that she was a ship on the star- 
board-tack, under an easy sail, close on a wind; at half-past 
3 P.M. made her out to be a frigate: continued the chase un- 
til we were within about three miles, when I ordered the light 
sails to be taken in, the courses hauled up, and the ship cleared 
for action. At this time the chase had backed his main-top- 
sail, waiting for us to comedown. As soon as the Constitution 
was ready for action, I bore down with an intention to bring 
him to close action immediately ; but on our coming within 
gun-shot, she gave us a broadside and filled away, and wore, 
giving us a broadside on the other tack, but without cJl'ect— 
her shot falling short. She continued wearing and raanccuver- 
ing for about three quarters of an hour, to get a raking posi- 
tion ; but finding she could not, she bore up, and run under 
her top-sails and jib, with the wind on the quarter. I immedi- 
ately made sail to bring the ship up with her ; and 5 minutes 
before 6 P.M. being alongside within half pistol-shot, wc com- 
menced a heavy fire from all our guns, double-shotted with 
round and grape, and so well directed were they, and so warmly 
kept up, that in 15 minutes his mizen-mast went by the 
board, and his main-yard in the slings, and the hull, rigging, 
and sails, very much torn to pieces. The lire was kept up 
with equal warmth for 15 minutes longer, when his main-mast 
and forc-mast went, taking with them every spar excepting the 
bowsprit. On seeing this, we ceased firing ; so that in 30 mi- 
nutes after wc got fairly alongside the enemy she surrendered, 
and had not a spar standing ; and her hull, both below and 
above water, so shattered, that a few more broad:.ides must 
have carried her down. 

After informing you that so fine AfhtpU the ti um Kir, com- 
manded by au able and experienced ollicer, had been totally dis- 


masted, and otherwise cut to pieces, so as to make her not worth 
towing into port, in the short space of 30 minutes, you can 
have no doubt of the gallantry and good conduct of the offi- 
cers and ship's company I have the honour to command. It 
only remains, therefore, for me to assure you, that they all 
fought with great bravery ; and it gives me great pleasure to 
say, that, from the smallest boy in the ship to the oldest 
seaman, not a look of fear was seen. They all went into 
action giving three cheers, and requesting to be laid close 
alongside the enemy. 

Enclosed, I have the honor to send you a list of killed 
and wounded on board the Constitution, and a report of the 
damages she has sustained ; also a list of killed and wounded on 
board the enemy, with his quarter bill, &c. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 
The Hon. Paul Hamilton, Esq. &c. ISAAC HULL. 

Return of killed and wounded on board the U. S. frigate 
Constitution, Isaac Hull, Esq. captain. 
Killed—! lieutenant of marines, and G seamen : — total, 7. 
Wounded— 2 officers, 4 seamen, and 1 marine;— total, 7. 
Total killed and wounded, 14. 

List of killed and wounded on board the Guerriere. (Same as 
given in Captain Dawes* letter.) 

Missing — Lieutenant John Pullman, Mr. Gaston, and 22 
seamen and marines. 

(Report of Constitution's li damages," and Guerrierc's 
u quarter-bill," not published.) 

No. 10. 

c ' Particulars of the late action between (he U S. frigate 
Constitution, and the British frigate G-uerriere; communi- 
cated by an officer on board the Constitution." Am. paper. 


Lat. 41° 42' N. long. 55° U3' \V. Thursday, August 20, 
(nautical time,) fresh breeze from N."W. ami cloudy j at 2 
P.M. discovered a vessel to the southward, made all sail in 
chase; at 3, perceived the chase to be a ship on the starboard 
tack, close hauled to the wind ; hauled S.S.W. At half-past 
3, made out the chase to be a frigate; at 4, coming up with 
the chase very fast ; at a quarter before 5, the chase laid her 
main-top-sail to the mast; took in our top-gallant-sails, stay- 
sails, and flying-jib ; took a second reef in the top-sails ; 
hauled the courses up; sent the royal-yards down, and got all 
clear for action ; beat to quarters, on which the crew gave 
three cheers. At 5, the chase hoisted three English ensigns j 
at 5 minutes past 5, the enemy commenced firing ; at 29 
minutes past 5, set our colours, one at each mast-head, and. 
one at the mizen-peak, and began firing on the enemy, and 
continued to fire occasionally, he wearing very often, and we 
manoeuvring to close with him, and avoid being raked. At 6, 
set the main-top-gallant-sail, the enemy having bore up ; at 
five minutes past 6, brought the enemy to close action, stand- 
ing before the wind ; at fifteen minutes past 6, the enemy's 
mizen-mast fell over on the starboard-side ; at twenty minutes 
past 6, finding we were drawing a-head of the enemy, luffed 
short round his bows to rake him ; at twenty-five minutes past 
6 the enemy fell on board of us, his bowsprit foul of our 
miMn-rigging. We prepared to board, but immediately after 
his fore and main-maid wont by the board, and it was deemed 
unnecessary. Our cabin had taken lire from his guns ; but 
was soon extinguished without material injury. At half-past 
C shot B-head of the enenj , when the tiryig ceased on both 
sides; he making the signal of submission by firing again to 
leeward. Set fore-sail and main-sail, and hauled to the cast- 
ward to repair damages ; all our braces, and much of our 
standing ami running ftggipg, and some of our spars, being 
shot away. At 7, wore ship, and stood under the lee of tlio 
prize; sent our boat on board, which returned at S, with Cap- 


tain Dacres, late of his Britannic majesty's ship Guerriere, 
mounting 49 carriage-guns, and manned with 302 men. Got 
our boats out, and kept them employed in removing the 
prisoners and baggage from the prize to our ship. Sent a sur- 
geon's-mate to assist in attending the wounded; wearing ship 
occasionally to keep in the best position to receive the boats. 
At 20 minutes before 2 A.M. discovered a sail off the lar- 
board beam, standing to the S. ; saw all clear for another ac- 
tion; at 3, the sail stood off again. At day-light was hailed 
by the lieutenant on board the prize, who informed he had four 
feet of water in the hold, and that she was in a sinking condi- 
tion. All hands employed in removing the prisoners, and re- 
pairing our own damage, through the remainder of the day. 
Friday, the 21st, (nautical time as before,) commenced with 
light breezes from the northward, and pleasant; our boats and 
crew still employed as before. At 3, made the signal of re- 
call for our boats, (having received all the prisoners,) they im- 
mediately left her on fire, and at past 3 she blew up. \Here 
follows the loss on each side, as given already.'] 

No. 11. 

Captain Dacres'' address to the court on his trial. 

Mr. president, and gentlemen of the court, 
By my letter to Admiral Sawyer, and the narrative of the 
principal officers, I trust that you will be satisfied that every 
exertion was used in defending the ship, as long as there was the 
smallest prospect of resistance being of any use. In my letter, 
where I mention the boarders being called, it wasmv intention, 
after having driven back the enemy, to have boarded in return ; 
and in consequence, I ordered down the first lieutenant on the 
main-deck, to send every body up from the guns; but finding 
his deck filled with men, and every preparation made to re- 
ceive us, it would have been almost impossible to succeed. I 


ordered the men down to their quarters, and desired Mr. Kent 
to direct part of his attention to the main-deck, the lieutenant 
being killed. The main-mast fell without being struck by a 
single shot— the heart ef the mast being decayed, and it was 
carried away solely by the weight of the fore-mast ; and, though 
every thing was done, we could not succeed in getting the ship 
under command ; and on the enemy woaring round to rake us, 
without our being able to make any resistance, and after having 
used every exertion to the best of my abilities, I found myself 
obliged to order the colours to be struck , which, nothing but 
the unmanageable state of the ship, (>he lying a perfect wreck,) 
could ever have induced mc to do; conceiving it was my duty 
not to sacrifice uselessly the lives of the men, without any pros- 
pect of success, or of benefit to their country. 

On the larboard side, about thirty shot had taken effect, 
about five sheets of copper down; and the mizen-mast had 
knocked a large hole under her starboard counter ; and she 
was so completely shattered, that the enemy found it impossible 
to refit her sufficiently to attempt carrying her into port, and 
they set fire to her as soon as they got the wounded out. What 
considerably weakened my quarters was, permitting the Ame- 
ricans belonging to the ship to quit their quarters, on the enemy 
hoisting the colours of that nation ; which, though it deprived 
mc of the men, I thought was my duty. 

I felt much shocked, when on board the Constitution, to 
find a large proportion of that ship's company British seamen ; 
and many of whom 1 recognized as having been foremost in 
the attempt to board. 

Notwithstanding the unlucky issue of (his affair, such confi- 
dence have L in the exertions of the officers and men who be- 
longed to the Guerriere; and lam so well aware that the suc- 
cess of my opponent was owing to fortune, that it is my earnest 
wish, and would be the happiest period of my life, to be Qm(» 
more opposed to the Const.tntion, with (1 em u.uler my com- 
mand, in a friga c of similar force to the Gmrricrc. 


I cannot help noticing, that the attachment of the ship's com- 
pany, in general, to the service of their king and country, re- 
flects on them the highest credit ; for, although every art was 
used to encourage them to desert, and to inveigle them into the 
American service, by high bounties and great promises, by the 
American officers, in direct contradiction to the declaration to 
me that they did not wish such a thing, only eight Englishmen 
have remained behind, two only of which number have volun- 
teered for their service. 

Leaving the characters of my officers and ship's company, as 
well as my own, to the decision of this honorable court, the 
justice of whose sentence no person can presume to question, I 
close my narrative, craving indulgence for having taken up 
so much of their time. 

No. 12. 

Having attended to the whole of the evidence, and also to 
the defence of Captain Dacres, the court agreed, — that the 
surrender of the Guerriere was proper, in order to preserve the 
lives of her valuable remaining crew ; and that her being in that 
lamentable situation was from the accident of her masts going, 
which was occasioned more by their defective state than from 
the lire of the enemy, though so greatly superior in guns and 
men. The court do, therefore, unanimously and honorably 
acquit the said Captain Dacres, the officers and crew, of his 
majesty's late ship the Guerriere, and they arc hereby honorably- 
acquitted according. The court, at the same time, feel them- 
selves called upon to express the high sense they entertain of the 
conduct of the ship's company in general, when prisoners, but 
more particularly of those who withstood the attempts made to 
shake their loyalty, by offering them high bribes to enter into 
the land and sea service of the enemy, and they will represent 
their merit to the commander in chief. 


No. 13. 

From Captain Whimjates to Admiral Warren. 

H.M.S. Poictiers, at sea, 
Sir, Oct. 23, 1813. 

It is with the most bitter sorrow and distress I have to report 
to your excellency the capture of II. M. brig Frolic, by 
the ship Wasp, belonging to the United States of America, on 
the 18th instant. 

Having under convoy the homeward-bound trade from the 
bay of Honduras, and being in latitude 36' N. and 64' W. 
on the night of the 17th, wc were overtaken by a most violent 
gale of wind, in which the Frolic carried away her main- 
yard, lost her top-sails, and sprung the main-top-mast. On the 
morning of the 18th, as wc were repairing the damages sus- 
tained in the storm, and re-assembling the scattered ships, a 
suspicious ship came in sight, and gave chase to the convoy. 

The merchant ships continued their voyage before the wind 
under all sail ; the Frolic dropped astern, and hoisted Spanish 
colours, in order to decoy the stranger under her guns, and 
to give time for the couvoy to escape. About 10 o'clock, 
both vessels being within hail, we hauled to the wind, and the 
battle began. The superior fire of our guns gave every 
reason to expect its speedy termination in our favor ; but the 
gaff-head-braces being shot away, and there being no sail on 
the main-mast, the brig became unmanageable, and the enemy 
succeeded in taking a position to rake her, while she Mas 
unable to bring a gun to bear. 

After lying some time exposed to a most destructive fire, 
she fell with her bowsprit betwixt the enemy's main and mizen 
rigging, still unable to return his fire. 

At length the enemy boarded, and made himself master of 
the brig, every individual officer being wounded, and the 

APPENDIX. xxiii 

greater part of the men either killed or wounded, there not 
being 20 persons remaining unhurt. 

Although I shall ever deplore the unhappy issue of this 
contest, it would be great injustice to the merits of the offi- 
cers and crew, if I failed to report that their bravery and cool- 
ness are deserving of every praise ; and I am convinced, if 
the Frolic had not been crippled in (lie gale, I should have 
had to make a very different report to your excellency. The 
Wasp was taken, and the Frolic re-captured the same after- 
noon, by H. M. S. the Poictiers. Being separated from them, 
I cannot transmit, at present, a list of killed and wounded. 
Mr. Charles M'Kay, the first lieutenant, and Mr. Stephens, 
the master, have died of their wounds. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


No. 14. 

From Captain Jones to the American secretary of the navy. 


I here avail myself of the first opportunity of informing 
you of the occurrences of our cruize, which terminated in 
the capture of the Wasp on the 18th of October, by the 
Poictiers, of 74 guns, while a wreck, from damages received 
in an engagement with the British sloop of war Frolic, of 22 
guns, 16 of them 321b. carronades, and four 12-pounders on 
the main deck, and two 12-pounders, carronades, on the top- 
gallant-forecastle, making her superior in force to us by four 
12-pounders. The Frolic had struck to us, and was taken 
possession of about two hours before our surrendering to the 

We had left the Delaware on the 13th; the 15th, had a 


heavy gale, in which we lost our jib-boom aiul two men. 
Half-past 11, on the night of the 17th, in latitude 37° N. and 
longitude Go" \V. we saw several sail, two of them apparently 
very large ; wc stood from them some time, then shortened 
sail, and steered the remainder of the night the course wc had 
perceived them on. At day-light on Sunday the 18th, we saw 
them a-head ; gave chase, and soon discovered them to be a 
convoy of six sail, under the protection of a sloop of war ; 
four of them large ships, mounting from 16 to 18 guns. At 
32 minutes past 11 A.M. we engaged the sloop of war, having 
first received her fire, at the distance of 50 or 60 yards, which 
space we gradually lessened, until we laid her on board, after 
a well supported fire of 43 minutes; and although so near 
while loading the last broadside, that our rammers were shoved 
against the sides of the enemy, our men exhibited the same 
alacrity which they had done during the whole of the action. 
They immediately surrendered upon our gaining their fore- 
castle, so that no loss was sustained on cither side after 

Our main-top-mast was shot away between four and five 
minutes from the commencement of the firing, and falling to- 
gether with thcmain-top-s.iil-yard, across the larboard fore and 
forc-top-sail-bracos, rendered our head-)ards unmanageable 
the remainder of the action. At 8 minutes the gaft and 
mizen-top-gallant-mast came down, and at 20 minutes from 
the beginning of the action, every brace, and most of the 
rigging was shot away. A few minutes after separating from 
the Frolic, both her masts fell upon deck ; the main-mast going 
close by the deck, and the fore-mast 12 or lo feet above it 

The courage and exertions of the officers and crew fully 
answered my expectations and wishes. 1-ieutenant lVuldle's 
active conduct contributed much to our success, by the exact 
attention paid to every department during the engagement, 
and the animating example, he afforded the crew by his intrepi- 
dity. Lieutenants llodgers. Booth, and Mr. Happ, shewed, 


by the incessant fire from their divisions, that they were not 
to be surpassed in resolution or skill. Mr. Knight, and every 
other officer, acted with a courage and promptitude highly 
honorable, and I trust have given assurance that they may be 
relied on whenever their services may be required. 

I could not ascertain the exact loss of the enemy, as many 
of the dead lay buried under the masts and spars that had 
fallen upon deck, which two hours exertion had not suffici- 
ently removed. Mr. Biddle, who had charge of the Frolic, 
Btates, that from what he saw, and from information from the 
officers, the number of killed must have been about 30, and 
that of the wounded about 40 or 50. Of her killed is her 
first lieutenant, and sailing-master ; of the wounded, Captain 
Whinyates, and the second lieutenant. 

We had five killed and five wounded, as per list : the 
wounded are recovering. Lieutenant Claxton, who was con- 
fined by sickness, left his bed a little previous to the engage- 
ment ; and though too indisposed to be at his division, re- 
mained upon deck, and showed, by his composed manner of 
noticing its incidents, that we had lost by his illness the ser- 

Tices of a brave officer. 

I am respectfully your's, 


Hon. Paul Hamilton, secretary of the navy. 

No. 15. 

From Lieutenant J. Biddle, late of the Wasp. 

II. B. M. ship Poictiers, 74, at sea, Oct. 21, 1812. 
My dear father, 
The fortune of war has placed us in the hands of the enemy. 
We have been captured by this ship, after having ourselves 
captured his Britannic majesty's brig Frolic. 

The Frolic was superior in force to us j she mounted 18 


32lb. carronadcs, and two long nines. The Wasp, you know, 
lias only 16 carronades. The action lasted 43 minutes; wc 
had 5 killed, and the slaughter on board the Frolic was dread, 
ful. We are bound into Bermuda. I am quite unhurt. 


No. 16. 

Sentence of court of inquiry on the commander of the 

The court having heard the statement and evidence in this 
case, and having maturely considered the circumstances at- 
tending the surrender of the U. S. ship of war the Wasp, to 
his Britannic majesty's ship of the line the Poictiers, of 74 
guns ; particularly the crippled and disabled state of the Wasp 
from the brilliant and successful action with his Britannic 
majesty's ship the Frolic, of superior force to the Wasp, 
about two hours before the Poictiers hove in sight, and the 
force and condition of the Poictiers, which made it useless for 
them to contend, and rendered them unable to escape, are 
unanimously of opinion, that there was no impropriety of 
conduct on the part of the officers and crew of the said ship 
Wasp, during the chase by the Poictiers, or in the BO r render ; 
but that the conduct of the officers and crew of the Wasp on 
said occasion was eminently distinguished for firmness and 
gallantry, in making every preparation and exertion, of which 
their situation would admit. 

No. 17. 

Vote of congress. 

Congress voted 25,000 dollars, and their thanks, to Captain 
Jacob Jones, officers, and crew of the Wasp ; also a gold 


medal to Captain Jones, and silver medals to each of the 
officers, in testimony of their high sense of the gallantry dis- 
played by them in the capture of the British sloop Frolic. 

No. 18. 

From Captain Garden to Mr. Croker. 

U. S. ship United States, at sea, Oct. 28, 1812. 

It is with the deepest regret I have to acquaint you, for the 
information of my lords commissioners of the admiralty, 
that H. M. late ship Macedonian was captured on the 25th 
instant, by the U. S. ship United States, Commodore Decatur, 
commander. The detail is as follows : — 

A short time after day-light, steering N.W. by W. with the 
wind from the southward, in latitude 29° N. and longitude 
29° 30' YV. in the execution of their lordships' orders, a sail 
was seen on the lee-beam, which I immediately stood for, and 
made her out to be a large frigate, under American colours. 
At 9 o'clock I closed with her, and she commenced the action, 
which we returned ; but, from the enemy keeping two points 
off the wind, I was not enabled to get as close to her as I 
could have wished. After an hour's action the enemy backed, 
and came to the wind, and I was then enabled to bring her to 
close battle. In this situation I soon found the enemy's force 
too superior to expect success, unless some very fortunate 
chance occurred in our favor, and with this hope I continued 
the battle to two hours and ten minutes; when, having the 
mizcn-mast shot away by the board, top-masts shot away by the 
caps, main-yard shot in pieces, lower-masts badly wounded, 
lower-rigging all cut to pieces, a small proportion only of the 
fore-sail left to the fore-yard, all the guns on the quarter-deck 
and forecastle disabled but two, and filled with wreck, two also 
on the main-deck disabled, and several shot between wind and 

xxviii APPENDIX. 

water, a very great proportion of the crew killed and wound- 
ed, and the enemy comparatively in good order, who had now- 
shot a-head, and was about to place himself in a raking posi- 
tion, without our being enabled to return the fire, being a 
perfect wreck, and unmanageable log, I deemed it prudent, 
though a painful extremity, to surrender his majesty's ship ; 
nor was this dreadful alternative resorted to till every hope of 
success was removed, even beyond the reach of chance, nor 
till, I trust their lordships will be aware, every effort had been 
made against the enemy by myself, my brave officers, and 
men ; nor should she have been surrendered whilst a man lived 
on board, had she been manageable. 1 am sorry to say our 
loss is very severe ; I find, by this day's muster, 30 killed, 
three of whom lingered a short time after the battle ; 36 
severely wounded, many of whom cannot recover ; and 32 
slightly wounded, who may all do well : — total 104. 

The truly noble and animating conduct of my officers, and 
the steady bravery of my crew to the last moment of the bat- 
tle, must ever render them dear to their country. 

My first licuienant, David Hope, was severely wounded in 
the head, towards the close of the battle, and taken below, 
but was soon again on deck, displaying that greatness of mind 
and exertion, which, though it may be equalled, can never bo 
excelled. The third lieutenant, John Bulfoid, was also 
wounded, but not obliged to quit his quarters ; second lieu- 
tenant, Samuel Mottlcy, and he, deserve my highest acknow- 
ledgments. The cool and steady conduct of Mr. Walker, the 
master, was very great during the battle; as also that of Lieu- 
tenants Wilson and liagillj of the marines. 

On being taken on board the enemy's ship, I ceased to 
wonder at the result of the battle. The United States is built 
with the scantling of a 74-gun ship, mounting 30 long 
21-pouiulcis (English ship-guns) on her main-deck, and M 
4 l 2-ponndcr carronadts, with two long 21-pouudcis, on her 
quarter-deck and forecastle, howitzer.guus iu her tops, and a 


travelling carronade on her upper-deck, with a complement of 
478 picked men. 

The enemy has suffered much in masts, rigging, and hull, 
above and below water ; her loss in killed and wounded I am 
not aware of, but I know a lieutenant and six men have been 
thrown overboard. 

Enclosed you will be pleased to receive the names of the 
killed and wounded on board the Macedonian; and 

I have the honor to be, &c. 
John W. Croker, Esq. J. S. CARDEN. 

List of officers and men killed and wounded on board H. M.S. 
Macedonian, Sfc. (of which the names are given, compris- 

Killed — 1 master's-mate, the schoolmaster, boatswain, 23 
petty-officers and seamen, 2 boys, 1 serjeant and 7 privates of 
marines : — total, 36. 

Wounded dangerously — 7 petty-officers and seamen ; (2 
since dead;) severely — 1 lieutenant, 1 midshipman, 18 petty- 
officers and seamen, 4 boys, and 5 private marines: — total, 
dangerously and severely, 36. 

Wounded slightly — 1 lieutenant, 1 master's-mate, 26 petty- 
officers and seamen, and 4 private marines :— total, 32. 

J. S. CARDEN, captain. 

No. 19. 

Commodore Decatur to the American secretary of the navy. 

U. S. ship United States, at sea, Oct. 30, 1812. 
I have the honor to inform you, that on the 25th instant, 
being in latitude 29° N. longitude 25° 30' W. we fell in with, 
and after an action of an hour and a half, captured H. B. M.'s- 
ship Macedonian, commanded by Captain Carden, and mount- 
ing 49 carriage-guns. (The odd gun shifting.) She is a frigate 


of the largest class, two years old, four months out of dock, 
and reputed one of the best sailers in the British service. The 
enemy, being to-windward, had the advantage of engaging us 
at his own distance, which was so great, that for the first half 
hour we did not use our carronades, and at no time was he 
within the compleat effect of our musketry and grape; to this 
circumstance, and a heavy swell, which was on at the time, I 
ascribe the unusual length of the action. 

The enthusiasm of every officer, seaman, and marine, on 
board this ship, on discovering the enemy, their steady conduct 
in battle, and precision of their Are, could not be surpassed. 
Where all met my fullest expectations, it would be unjust in 
me to discriminate. Permit me, however, to recommend to 
your particular notice my first lieutenant, William H. Allen. 
He has served with me upwards of five years, and to his unre- 
mitted exertions in disciplining the crew, is to be imputed the 
obvious superiority our gunnery exhibited in the result of this 

Subjoined is a list of the killed and wounded on both sides. 
Our loss, compared with that of the enemy, will appear small. 
Amongst our wounded, you will observe the name of Licu-- 
tenant Funk, who died a few hours after the action : he was 
an officer of great gallantry and promisa, and the service has' 
sustained a severe loss in his death. 

The Macedonian lost her mizcn-masl, fore and main-top- 
masts, and main-yard, and was much cut up in her hull. The 
damage sustained by this ship was not such as to render her 
return into port neccssar } | and, had 1 not deemed it im- 
portant that we should see our prize in, should have continued 
our cruize. 

With the highest consitlera<ion and respect, 
1 am, Sir, your's, &C, 
Hon. Paul Hamilton. STEPHEN DECATUR. 

[//ere follow tht names of five killed, and scun m 
vn board the United States.') 


No. 20. 

Vote of congress. 

The national legislature voted their thanks to Commodore 
Decatur, officers, and crew, of the frigate United States ; also 
a gold medal to Commodore Decatur, and silver medals to 
each of the officers, in honor of the brilliant victory gained by 
the frigate United States over the British frigate Macedonian. 

No. 21 

Extract from the sentence of the court-martial upon Captain 
Carden, his officers and crew. 

Having most strictly investigated every circumstance, and 
examined the different officers and ship's company ; and having 
very' deliberately and maturely -weighed and considered the 
whole and every part thereof, the court is of opinion ;— that 
previous to the commencement of the action, from an over- 
anxiety to keep the weather-gage, an opportunity was lost of 
closing with the enemy; and that owing to this circumstance 
the Macedonian was unable to bring the United States to close 
action until she had received material damage; but as it docs 
not appear that this omission originated in the most distant 
wish to keep back from the engagement, the court is of opi- 
nion, that Captain J. S. Carden, his officers, and ship's com- 
pany, in every instauce throughout the action, behaved with 
the firmest and most determined courage, resolution, and 
coolness ; and that the colours of the Macedonian were not 
struck, until she was unable to make further resistance. The 
court does therefore most honorably acquit Captain J. S. Car- 
den, the officers, and company of H. M. late ship Macedonian, 
and Captain Carden, his officers, and company, are hereby 
aiost .honorably acquitted accordingly. 

xxxi i APPENDIX. 

The court cannot dismiss Captain Carden, without express- 
ing their admiration of the uniform testimony which has been 
bourne to his gallantry and good conduct throughout the action, 
nor Lieutenant David Hope, the senior lieutenant, the other 
officers and company, without expressing the highest approba- 
tion of the support given by him and them to the captain, and 
of their courage and steadiness during the contest with an 
enemy of very superior force; a circumstance that, whilst it 
reflects high honor on them, does no less credit and honor to 
the discipline of his majesty's late ship Macedonia. 

The court also feels it a gratifying duty to express its ad- 
miration of the fidelity to their allegiance, and attachment to 
their king and country, which the remaining crew appear to 
have manifested, in resisting the various insidious and repeated 
temptations which the enemy held out to them, to seduce them 
from their duty; and which cannot fail to be duly ap- 

No. 22. 
From Lieutenant Chads, to Mr. Croker. 

United Stales frigate Constitution, off 
SlRj St. Salvador, Dec. 31, 1812. 

It is with deep regret that I write you, for the information 
of the lords commissioners of the Admiralty, that H.M.S, 
Java is no more, after sustaining an action on the 29th inst. 
for several hours, with the American frigate Constitution, 
which resulted in the capture and ultimate destruction of 
H.M.S. Captain Lambert being dangerously wounded in 
the height of the action, the melancholy task of writing the 
detail devolves on me. On the morning of the tftth instant, 
at« A.M. off St. Salvador, (roast of Hrazil,) the wind at 
N E. we perceived a strange sail ; made all sail in chase, and 
soon made her out to bo a large frigate At noon, prepared 

APPENDIX. xxxiu 

for action, the chase not answering our private signals, and 
tacking towards us under easy sail : when about four miles 
distant she made a signal, and immediately tacked and made 
all sail away upon the wind. We soon found we had the 
advantage of her in sailing, and came up with her fast, when 
she hoisted American colours; she then bore about three points 
on our lee-bow, at 50 minutes past 1 P.M. the enemy shorten- 
ed sail, upon Avhich we bore down upon her; at 10 minutes 
past 2, when about half a mile distant, she opened her fire, 
giving us her larboard broadside, which was not returned till 
we were close on her weather -bow. Both ships now 
manoeuvred to obtain advantageous positions, our opponent 
evidently avoiding close action, and firing high to disable our 
masts ; in which he succeeded too well, having shot away the 
head of our bowsprit, with the jib-boom, and our running 
rigging so much cut as to prevent our preserving the weather- 

At 5 minutes past 3, finding the enemy's raking fire extremely- 
heavy, Captain Lambert ordered the ship to be laid on board, 
in which we should have succeeded, had not our fore-mast 
been shot away at this moment, the remains of our bowsprit 
passing over his taffrail ; shortly after this the main-top-mast 
went, leaving the ship totally unmanageable, with most of our 
starboard guns rendered useless from the wreck lying over 

At half-past 3, our gallant captain received a dangerous 
wound in the breast, and was carried below ; from' this time 
we could not fire more than two or three guns until a quarter 
past 4, when our mizen-mast was shot away. The ship then 
fell off a little, and brought many of our starboard guns to 
bea,r : the enemy's rigging was so much cut that he could 
not avoid shooting a-head, which brought us fairly broadside 
and broadside. Our main-yard now went in the slings; both 
ships continued engaged in this manner till 35 minutes past 4, 
we frequently on fire in consequence of the wreck lying on the 

xxxir APPENDIX. 

side engaged. Our opponent now made sail a-head out of 
gun-shot, where he remained an hour repairing his damages, 
leaving us an unmanageable wreck, with only the main-mast 
left, and that tottering. Every exertion was made by us during 
this interval to place the ship in a state to renew the action. 
We succeeded in clearing the wreck of our masts from our 
guns ; a sail was set on the stumps of the foremast and bow- 
sprit; the weather-half of the main-yard remaining aloft, the 
main-tack was got forward in the hope of getting the ship 
before the wind, our helm being still perfect; the efFort unfor- 
tunately proved ineffectual, from the main-mast falling over 
the side, and from the heavy rolling of the ship, which nearly 
covered the whole of our starboard guns. AV T e still waited tho 
attack of the enemy, he now standing towards us for that 
purpose. On his coming nearly within hail of us, and from 
his manoeuvres perceiving he intended a position a-head, where 
he could rake us without a possibility of our returning a shot; 
I then consulted the officers, who agreed with myself, that our 
having a great part of our crew killed and wounded, our bow- 
sprit and three masts goue, several guns useless, wc should 
not be justified in wasting the lives of more of those remaining ; 
who, I hope their lordships and the country will think, have 
bravely defended his majesty's ship. Under these circumstan- 
ces, however reluctantly, at 50 minutes past. 5, our colour! 
were lowered from the stump of the mizen-mast, and wo wero 
taken possession of a little after 6, by the American frigate 
Constitution, commanded by Commodore Haiti bridge, who, 
immediately after ascertaining the state of the ship, rwtlral 
on burning her, which we had the satisfaction of seeing dotiu 
as soon as the wounded men were removed. Annexed 1 send 
you a return of the killed and wounded ; and it is with pain I 
perceive it is numerous ; also a statement of the comparative 
force of the two ships, when I hope their lordships will not 
think the British Hag tarnished, although success has not at- 
tended us. It would be presumption in M to speak of Cap- 


tain Lambert's merits ; who, though still in danger from his 
wound, we still entertain the greatest hopes of his being 
restored to the service and his country. 

It is most gratifying to my feelings, to notice the gallantry 
of every officer, seaman and marine on board. In justice to 
the officers, I beg leave to mention them individually. I can 
never speak too highly of the able exertions of Lieutenants 
Herringham and Buchanan, and also Mr. Robinson, master, 
who was severely wounded, and Lieutenants Mercer and 
Davis, of the royal marines, the latter of whom also was 
severely wounded. To Captain John Marshall, R. N. who 
was a passenger, I am particularly obliged, for his exertions 
and advice throughout the action. To Lieutenant Alpin, who 
was on the main-deck, and Lieutenant Saunders, who com- 
manded the forecastle, I also return my thanks. I cannot 
but notice the good conduct of the mates and midshipmen, 
many of whom are hilled, and the greater part wounded. To 
Mr. T. C. Jones, surgeon, and his assistants, every praise is 
due for their unwearied assiduity in the care of the wounded. 
Lieutenant-General Hislop, Major Walker, and Captain 
Wood, of his staff, the latter of whom was wounded, were 
solicitous to assist and remain on the quarter-deck. 

I cannot conclude this letter, without expressing my grate- 
ful acknowledgments thus publicly, for the generous treat- 
ment Captain Lambert and his officers have experienced from 
our gallant enemy, Commodore Bainbridge and his officers. 
1 have the honor to be, &c. 

P.S. The Constitution has also suffered severely, both in 
her rigging and men ; having her fore and mizen-masts, main- 
top-masts, both main-top-sail-yards, spanker-boom, gaff, and 
trysail-mast, badly shot; and the greatest part of <hc standing 
rigging very much damaged; with ten men killed, the com. 
mander, fifth lieutenant, and 46 men wounded, 4 of whom arc 
since dead. 


xxxvi APPENDIX. 

Force of the tzco Ships 


28 long 18-poundcrs 
10 carronadcs, 32-poundcrs 
2 long 9-pounders 


32 long 24-pounders 
22 carronades, 32-ponndcrs 
1 carronade, 18-pounder 

46 guns 55 guns 

Ship's company and supernu- Crew, 4S0. 

merarics, 377. 

A list of killed and icounded of II. M.S. Java, in action, $c. 
(of which the names are given, comprising,) 

Killed— 3 mates, 2 midshipmen, 1 supernumerary clerk, 
7 petty officers and able seamen, 3 landmen, 4 marines, and 2 
supernumeraries : — total, 22. 

Wounded dangerously— Captain Lambert, (since dead,) the 
boatswain, 4 petty officers and able seamen, (1 since dead,) 
and 1 ordinary seamen : — total 7. 

Wounded severely- I master, 1 second lieutenant of marines, 
3 midshipmen, 10 petty officers and able seamen, 8 ordinary 
seamen, 6 landmen, 1 boy, 1 serjeant of marines, 2 corporals 
of ditto, 12 privates of ditto, I passenger, (Captain Wood,) 
1 supernumerary mate, and 5 ditto seamen .— total, 52. 

Wounded slightly— Lieutenant Chads, 1 midshipman, 10 

petty officers and able seamen, 8 ordinary seamen, H landmen, 

g |>„ys, 1 serjeant and 5 private marines, I suj ernumei.iry 

commander, 1 ditto lieutenant, and 4 ditto seamen :— total 43. 

T. C. JONES, surgeon. 

U January. H. D. CHADS, 1st lieut. 

No. 23. 

Extract of Mother letter from Lieutenant Chads. 

St. Salvador, B»sU, Jan. 4, 181". 
I am sorry to Bod the American* did not behave with th« 

APPENDIX. xxxvii 

same liberality towards the crew that the officers experienced ; 
on the contrary, they were pillaged of almost every thing, and 
kept in irons. 

J. W. Croker, Esq. &c. &c. 

No. 24. 

From Commodore Bainbridge to the American secretary of 
the navy. 

U. S. frigate Constitution, St. Salvador, 
Sir, Jan. 3, 1813. 

I have the honor to inform you, that on the 29th ultimo, at 
2 P. M. in S. latitude 13° 6', and W. longitude 30°, and about 
10 leagues distance from the coast of Brazil, I fell in with 
and captured II. B. M.'s frigate Java, of 49 guns, and up- 
wards of 400 men, commanded by Captain Lambert, a very 
distinguished officer. The action lasted one hour and 55 mi- 
nutes, in which time the enemy was completely dismasted, not 
having a spar of any kind standing. The loss on board the 
Constitution was nine killed and 25 wounded, as per enclosed 
list. The enemy had 60 killed, and 101 wounded, certainly ; 
(among the latter, Captain Lambert mortally;) but by the 
enclosed letter, written on board this ship, (by one of the 
officers of the Java,) and accidentally found, it is evident 
that the enemy's wounded must have been much greater than 
as above stated, and who must have died of their wounds pre 
viously to their being removed. The letter states 60 killed, 
and 170 wounded. 

For further details of the action, I beg leave to refer you 
to the enclosed extracts from my journal. The Java had, in 
addition to her own crew, upwards of 100 supernumerary 
officers and seamen, to join the British ships of war in the 
East Indies; also Lieutenant-general Uislop, appointed to the 
command of Bombay, INfajor Walker, and Captain Wood, of 

xxxviii APPENDIX. 

his staff, and Captain Marshall, master and commander in the 
British navy, going to the East Indies, to take command of a 
6loop of war there. 

Should I attempt to do justice, by representation, to the 
brave and good conduct of all my officers and crew during the 
action, I should fail in the attempt; therefore, suffice it to 
say, that the whole of their conduct was such as to merit my 
highest encomiums. I beg leave to recommend the officers, 
particularly, to the notice of government ; as also the unfor- 
tunate seamen who were wounded, and the families of those 
brave men who fell in the action. 

The great distance from our own coast, and the perfect 
wreck we made the enemy's frigate, forbade every idea of 
taking her to the United States ; 1 had therefore no alternative 
but burning her, which I did on the 31st ultimo, after re- 
ceiving all the prisoners and their baggage; which was very 
hard work, only having one boat left, out of eight, and not 
one left on board the Java. 

On blowing op the frigate Java I proceeded to this place, 
where I h.'vc l.uided all the prisoners on their parole, to return 
to England, and there remain until regularly exchanged ; and 
not to serve in their professional capacities, in any place, or 
in any manner whatsoever, against the United States of Ame- 
rica, until their exchange shall be elii^ied. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

To the secretary of the navy, &c. 

No. 25. 

Ei tract from Commodore Baiitbridgc's journal, 

Tuesday, December 29, 1812. — At 9 A.M. discovered two 
strange sails on the weather bow ; at 10 discovered the strange 
sails to be ships : one of them stood in for the land, and the 

APPENDIX. xxxix 

other stood off shore, in a direction towards us ; at 11 A.M. 
tacked to the southward and eastward, and took in the royals; 
at 30 minutes past 11 made the private signal for the day, 
which was not answered, and then set the main-sail and royals, 
to draw the strange sail off from the neutral coast, and sepa- 
rate her from the sail in company. 

Wednesday, Dec. 30, (nautical time,) lat. 13" 6', S. long. 
31° W. 10 leagues from the coast of Brazil, commenced with 
clear weather, and moderate breezes from the E.N.E. ; hoisted 
our ensign and pendant. At 15 minutes past meridian, the 
ship hoisted her colours, an English ensign, having a signal 
flying at the main. 

At 26 minutes past 1 P.M. being sufficiently from the land, 
and finding the ship to be an English frigate, took in the main- 
sail and royals, tacked ship, and stcod for the enemy. At 
50 minutes past 1 P.M. the enemy bore down with an inten- 
tion of raking us, which we avoided by wearing. At 2 P.M. 
the enemy being within half a mile of us, and to-windward, 
and having hauled down his colours, except the union-jack at 
the mizen-mast-head, induced me to give orders to the officer 
of the third division to fire a gun a-head of the enemy, to 
make him shew his colours ; which being done, brought on a 
fire from us of the whole broadside, on which the enemy 
hoisted his colours, and immediately returned our fire. A 
general action, with round and grape, then commenced, the 
enemy keeping at a much greater distance than I wished, but 
could not bring him to a closer action without exposing our- 
selves to several rakes. Considerable manoeuvres were made 
by both vessels to rake, and avoid being raked. The follow- 
ing minutes were taken during the action :— 

At 10 minutes past 2 P.M. commenced the action within 
good grape and canister distance, the enemy to-windward ; 
but much further than 1 wished. At 30 minutes past 2, our 
wheel was shot entirely away. At 40 minutes past 2 deter- 
mined to close with the enemy, notwithstanding his raking. 


Set the fore and main-sails, and luffed up close to him. At 50 
minutes past 2, the enemy's jib-boom got foul of our mizen- 
rigging. At 3, the head of the enemy's bowsprit and jib- 
boom shot away by us. At 5 minutes past 3, shot away the 
enemy's fore-mast by the board. At 15 minutes past 3. shot 
away his main-top-mast just above the cap. At 40 minutes 
past 3, shot away the gaft and ppanker-boom. At 55 minutes 
past 3, shot away his mizen-mast nearly by the board. At 5 
minutes past 4, having silenced the fire of the enemy com- 
pletely, and his colours in the main-ringing being down, we 
supposed he had struck ; we then hauled down courses, and 
shot ahead to repair our rigging, which was extremely cut, 
leaving the enemy a complete wreck. Soon after discovered 
that the enemy's flag was still fl) ing ; hove to, to repair some 
of our damage. At '20 minutes past 4, the enemy's main-mast 
went nearly by the board. At 50 minutes past 4, wore ship 
and stood for the enemy. At 25 minutes past 5. .,ot very 
close to the enemy, in a very effectual raking position, athwart 
his bows, and was at the very instant of raking him, when he 
most prudently struck his flag; for had he suffered the broad- 
side to have raked him, his additional loss must have been 
extremely great, as he laid as an unmanageable wreck upon 
the water. 

No. 26. 

E it rati s from minutes of a court ■martial assembled on board 
11. M.S. Gladiator, at Purl^nauth, 2J</ -//■/•//, 1S13, to 
try the surviving officers und crcic of the Java. fcc. 
Lieutenant W. Allen Ilcrringham, second lieutenant, sworn. 
Q. Did you suffer much from the musketry of the Aniem.ins? 
A. I beliPVO there were a numb, r of mni-sliot wounds. 

Captain Lambert was killed by I musket. shot. 

(.}. At what part of the action did you sustain the greatest 



A. Not in the early part of the action. After the ship 
became unmanageable, and the Constitution took a raking 
position, our loss became considerable. 

William Batty Robinson, the master, sworn. 

Q. Do you remember if they annoyed you much by mus- 
ketry, whilst you were on deck ? 
A. A good deal from the tops. 

Lieutenant James launders, R. N. a passenger, sworn. 

Q. Did you suffer much in the forecastle from the enemy's 
musketry ? 

A. Very much indeed. 

Q. Were you stationed there ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. At what period of the action did you suffer most? 

A. When the bowsprit went. 

Q. Did the Americans appear to avoid close action at the 
first part of it ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. Did you understand that the American lost her wheel ? 

A. I afterwards found that she lost her wheel by the first 
broadside from the Java, and that four men were killed. 

James Humble, boatswain, sworn. 

Q. How long had the action lasted when you were wounded ? 

A. Better than an hour, I believe. 

Q. Did you sutler much from the musketry on the forecastle ? 

A. Yes: and likewise from the round and grape. 

Q. Did you come up again, after going below ? 

A. Yes: I was down about an hour, when I got my arm 
put a little to rights by a tournaquct being put on it — nothing 
else ; my hand was carried away, and my arm wounded about 
the elbow. I put my arm into the bosom of my shirt, and 
went up again, when I saw the enemy a-head of us, repairing 
his damages. I had my orders from Lieutenant Chads, bci'oi a 


the action began, to cheer up the boarders with my pipe, 
that they might make a clean spring in boarding. 

Q. Did the Java receive much damage from the enemy, 
before the Java returned any fire at all ? 

A. Yes: we received, besides what I have stated, much 
damage in the rigging. 

James Macdonald, boatswain's-matc, sworn. 

Q. Did the Americans appear to you to avoid close action, 
or not, in the early part of the action ? 

A. They kept at long balls: they kept edging away until 
the Java was disabled. 

Q. Did you hear Captain Lambert order the Java to he 
laid on board the American ? 

A. Yes. 

Q. What distance were you then from the enemy's stern ? 

A. Not quite a cable's length, upon our lee-beam ; the 
helm was put a-weather. 

Q. Do you remember the bowsprit touching the mizen- 
rigging ? 

A. Yes : it took the mizen. rigging, which appeared to mc 
to prevent our boarding at the time. 

Q. Were the men all ready ? 

A. Yes: they had all been called, and were all ready for 
jumping on board at the forecastle, marines and all. 

Q. Did you see any of the enemy's men ready to rccii\? 
the boarders ? 

A. No : I did not see any of them at the time. 

Q. Did you hang some time by the mizen. rigging ? 

A. Not long. 

Q. Did they get their chasers out, and rake you ? 

A. Yes. 
Christopher Speedy, captain of the forecastle, sworn. 

Q. Did they annoy you much on the forecastle by musketry ? 

A. .Moie by round and grape, and double-headed ; 1 picked 


up five bar-shot which fell out of the fore-mast in rolling : I 
put three of them in our guns, and fired them back again. 

Q. Did the Americans appear to avoid close action ? 

A. He did always avoid close action — he kept away; when- 
ever the smoke cleared away, we always found him yawing 
from us. 

Q. Do you remember when the Java endeavoured to board 

A. Yes : it was just as the fore-mast fell. 

Q. Were you all ready for boarding ? 

A. They were called on the gangway and forecastle, and 
were all ready, boarders and marines. 

Q. Did you see many of the enemy ready to oppose the 
boarders ? 

A. Not many on deck : I saw some men there, but there 
were a great many in the tops. 

Lieutenant Robert Mercer, royal marines, sworn. 

Q. Had you any of your men at small-arms ? 

A. I believe 34 : upwards of 20 on the quarter-deck, and 
10 on the forecastle. 

Q. Did the enemy make use of their small-arms much ? 

A. Yes, from the decks, and from the tops. 

Q. Were your decks exposed to their tops ? 

A. Yes, very much : they could see us to take aim. 

Q. Do you remember when the Java attempted to lay the 
enemy on board ? 

A. Yes: Captain Lambert spoke to me about it; he said 
it was his intention to board, and desired me to prepare the 
marines on that occasion, which was done. 

Q. Did the Americans appear to avoid close action ? 

A. Yes, they evidently did : they continually kept away. 

Q. What sort of men were the marines? 

A. Eighteen of them were very young recruits : the rest 
have been to sea before. 


No. 27. 
Sentence of the court-martial. 
The court agreed, that the capture of his majesty's late 
ship Java was caused by her being totally dismasted in a very 
spirited action with the U. S. ship Constitution, of considera- 
bly superior force ; in which the zeal, ability, and bravery of 
the late Captain Lambert, her commander, was highly con- 
spicuous and honorable, being constantly the assailant, until 
the moment of his much-lamented fall; and that, subsequently 
thereto, the action was continued with equal zeal, ability, and 
bravery, by Lieutenant Henry Ducic Chads, the first lieute- 
nant, and the other surviving officers and ship's company, and 
other officers and persons who were passengers on board her, 
until she became a perfect wreck, and the continuance of the 
action would have been a useless sacrifice of lives ; and did 
adjudge the said Lieutenant Henry Ducie Chads, and the 
other surviving officers and ship's company, to be most ho- 
norably acquitted. Kcar-admiral Graham Moore, president; 
who, in returning Lieutenant Chads his sword, addressed him 
nearly as follows : — " I have much satisfaction in returning 
you your sword ; had you been an officer who had served in 
comparative obscurity all your life, and never before heard of, 
your conduct on the present occasion has been sufficient to 
establish your character as a brave, skiful, and attentive 

No. 28. 
J 'ote of Congress. 
The congress of the I'nited States voted 50,000 dollars, 
and their thanks, to Commodore Mainbridge, officers and 
crew ; also a gold medal to Commodore Hainbridgr, and 
silver medals to each of the officers of the Constitution, with 
suitable devices. 


No. 29. 

From Captain Lawrence to the American secretary of the 

U. S. ship Hornet, Holmes' Hole, 
Sib, March 29, 1813. 

I have the honor to inform you of the arrival, at this port, 
of the U. S. ship Hornet, under my command, from a cruize 
of. 145 days, and to state to you, that after Commodore 
Bainbridge left the coast of Brazils, (January 6,) I continued 
off the harbour of St. Salvador, blockading the Bonne Citoy- 
enne, until the 24th. when the Montague, 74, hove in sight, 
and chased me into the harbour; but night coming on, I 
wore, and stood out to the southward. Knowing that she 
had left Rio Janeiro for the express purpose of relieving the 
Bonne Citoyenne, and the packet, (which I had also block- 
aded for 14 days, and obliged her to send her mail to Rio 
in a Portuguese smack,) I judged it most prudent to shift 
my crusing ground, and hauled by the wind to the westward, 
with the view of cruizing off Pernambuco ; and, on the 14th 
of February, captured the English brig Resolution, of 10 
guns, from Rio Janeiro, bound to Maranham, with coffee, &c. 
and about 23,000 dollars in specie. I took out the money, 
and set her on fire. I then ran down the coast for Maran- 
ham, and cruized there a short time ; from thence run off Su- 
rinam. After cruizing off that coast, from the 15th until the 
22d of February, without meeting a vessel, I stood for De- 
marara, with an intention, should I not be fortunate on that 
station, to run through the West Indies on my way to the 
United States ; but on the 24th, in the morning, I discovered 
a brig to-leeward, to which I gave chase, run into a quarter- 
less four, and, not having a pilot, was obliged to haul off; 
the fort at the entrance of Demarara river at this time bearing 
S. W. distant 1\ leagues. Previous to giving up the chase, I 


discovered a vessel at anchor, without the bar, with English 
colours flying, apparently a brig of war. In beating round 
Caroband bank, in order to get at her, at half-past 3 P.M. 
I discovered another sail on my weather-quarter, edging down 
for us. At 4. 20. she hoisted English colours, at which time 
we discovered ner to be a large man-of-war-brig ; boat to 
quarters, and cleared ship for action, and kept close by the 
wind, in order, if possible, to get the weather gage. At 
5. 10. finding I could weather the enemy, I hoisted American 
colours, and tacked. At 5. 25. in passing each other, ex- 
changed broadsides, within half pistol-shot. Observing the 
enemy in the act of wearing, I bore up, and received his 
starboard broadside, run him close on board on the starboard 
-quarter, and kept up such a heavy and well-directed fire, that, 
in less than 15 minutes she surrendered, (biing totally cut to 
pieces,) and hoisted an ensign, union down, from his fore- 
rigging, as a signal of distress. Shortly after, her main-mast 
went by the board. Despatched Lieutenant Shubrick on 
board, who soon returned with her first lieutenant, who re- 
ported her to be II. B. M. late brig Peacock, commanded by 
Captain William Peake, who fell in the latter part of the 
action ; that a number of her crew were killed and wounded ; 
and that she was sinking fast, i-lic having then six feet water 
in her hold. Despatched the boats immediately for tho 
wounded, and brought both vessels to anchor. Such .shot- 
holes as could be got at were then plugged, guns thrown 
overboard, and every possible exertion used to keep her 
afloat, until the prisoners could be removed, by pumping and 
baling, but without effect, as she unfortunately sunk in 5} 
fathoms water, carrying down 13 of her crew, and three of 
my brave fellows. Lieutenant Connor, and Midshipman 
Cooper, and the remainder of my men employed in removing 
tho prisoners, with difficulty saved themselves, by jumping into 
a boat that was lying on the booms, as she went down. Four 
men of the 13 mentioned, were so fortunate as to gain th« 

APPENDIX. xlvit 

fore-top, and were afterwards taken off by our boats. Pre- 
vious to her going down, four of her men took to her stern- 
boat, that had been much damaged during the action, who, I 
sincerely hope, reached the shore. I have not been able to 
ascertain from her officers the exact number of killed. Captain 
Peake, and four men, were found dead on board. The mas- 
ter, one midshipman, carpenter, and captain's clerk, and 29 
men wounded, most of them very severely, three of which 
died of their wounds after being removed, and nine drowned. 
Our loss was trifling in comparison : J. Place, killed ; S. 
Coulson, and J. Dalrymple, slightly wounded ; G. Coffin, 
and L. Todd, severely burnt by the explosion of a cartridge. 
Todd survived only a few days. Our rigging and sails were 
much cut. One shot through the fore-mast, and the bowsprit 
slightly injured. Our hull received little or no damage. 

At the time I brought the Peacock to action, the Espiegle, 
(the brig mentioned as being at anchor,) mounting 16 32-pound 
carronandes, and two long nines, lay about six miles in-shore 
of me, and could plainly see the whole of the action. Ap- 
prehensive she would beat out to the assistance of her con- 
sort, such exertions were used by ray officers and crew, in 
repairing damages, &c. that by 9 o'clock our boats were 
stowed, a new set of sails bent, and the ship completely ready 
for action. At 2 A.M. got under weigh, and stood by the 
wind to the northward and westward, under easy sail. On 
mustering next morning, found we had 270 souls on board, 
including the crew of the American brig Hunter, of Portland, 
taken a few days before by the Peacock. 

The Peacock was deservedly styled one of the finest vessels 
of her class in the British navy. I should judge her to be 
about the tonnage of the Hornet; her beam was greater by 
five inches, but her extreme length not so great by four 
feet. She mounted 16 21-pound carronades, two long nines, 
one 12-pound carronade on her top-gallant-forecastle, as a 
shifting gun, and one 4 or 6-pouuder, and 2 swivels, mounted 

xlviii APPENDIX. 

aft. I find, by her quarter-bill, that her crew consisted of 
134 men, four of whom were absent in a prize. 

The cool and determined conduct of my officers and crew 
during the action, and their almost unexampled exertions 
afterwards, entitle them to my warmest acknowledgments ; 
and I beg leave most earnestly to recommend them to the 
notice of govcrnment- 


P. S. At the commencement of the action my sailing-master 
and seven men were absent in a prize, and Lieutenant Stewart 
and six men on the sick-list. 

Hon. William Jones, secretary of the navy. 

No. .30. 

From Lieutenant f Fright to the editor of the '• Commercial 
Advertiser. u 

I wish you to communicate, for the information of G. C. K. 
and those who may have read his paper, published in your 
last night's journal, that the force of II. B. M.'s late brig 
Peacock, at the time she engaged the U. S. sloop Hornet, was 
Hi 24 pounder carronades, and two long 8-ponnders, with a 
complement of 122 men and boys ; and that the Hornet car- 
ried IS 92-pouncrer carronades, and two long 9-pounder guns, 
and 170 men. That the action continued, by Peacock's 
time, for 25 minutes ; and that II. P. M.'s brig PBtpiegle VU 
not visible from the look-outs, stationed at the Peacock's 
mast-headlj for some time previous to the action. 

F. A. WRIGHT, senior lieutenant of 
II. V. M.'s late sloop Peacock. 

New York, April 17, 1813. 


No. 31. 

Vote of congress. 

The congress of the United States passed a resolution, that 
the president be requested to present to the nearest male 
relative of Captain James Lawrence, a gold medal, and a 
silver medal to each of the commissioned officers who served 
him in the sloop of war Hornet, in her conflict with the Bri- 
tish sloop of war Peacock, in testimony of the high sense 
entertained by congress of the gallantry and good conduct of 
the officers and crew in the capture of that vessel, &c. 

No. 32. 

From Captain Lawrence to the American consul at St. SaU 

vudor, Brazils. 


"When I last saw you, I stated to you my wish to meet the 

Bonne Citoyonne, and authorized you to make my wishes 

known to Captain Greene. I now request you to state to 

him, that I will meet him whenever he may be pleased to come 

out, and pledge my honor that neither the Constitution, nor 

any other American vessel, shall interfere. 

No. 33. 

From the American, to the British Consul. 
Commodore Bainbridge, of the Constitution frigate, con- 
firms to me the request of Captain Lawrence, in these words : — 
" If Captain Geeene wishes to try equal force, I pledge my 
honor to give him an opportunity, by being out of the way, 
or not interfering." 



No. 34. 

From t'ne British, to the American consul. 


I transmitted your letter to mc of yesterday, to Captain 
P. 13. Greene, to whom the substance is directed ; and, having 
received his reply, I herewith insert it verbatim. 
I am, &c. 

Hill, Esq. &c. frc. 

No. 35. 

From Captain Greene to the Dritiih consul. 

\ hasten to acknowledge the favor of your communication, 
made to me this morning from Mr. Hill, consul of the United 
States of America, on the subject of a challenge, stated to 
have been offered through Mr. Hill, by Captain Lawrence, of 
the U. S. sloop of war the Hornet, to myself, as commander 
of H. B. M.'s ship the Bonne Citoyenne, anchored in this 
port, pledging his honor, as well as that of Commodore Bain- 
bride, that no advantage shall be taken by the Constitution, 
or any other American vessel whatever, on the occasion. I 
am convinced, Sir, if such rencontre was to take place, the 
result could not be lone; dubious, and would terminate favor- 
ably to the ship which I have the honor to command; but I 
am equally convince:!, that Commodore Bainbridgc could not 
swerve so much from the paramount duty he owes to his 
country, as to become an inactive spectator, and see a ship 
belonging to the very squadron under his orders, fall into the 
hands of an enemy. This reason operates powerfully on my 
mind, for not exposing (he Bonne Citoyenne to a risk, upon 
terms so manifestly disadvantageous, as those proposed by 


Commodore Bainbridgc. Indeed, nothing could give ma 
greater satisfaction than complying with the wishes of Captain 
Lawrence ; and I earnestly hope, that chance will afford him 
an opportunity of meeting the Bonne Citoyenne under diffe- 
rent circumstances, to enable him to distinguish himself in the 
manner he is now so desirous of doing. I further assure you, 
that my ship will, at all times, be prepared, wherever she may 
be, to repel any attacks made against her ; and I shall also 
act offensively, whenever I judge it proper to do so. 
I am. Sir, with great regard, &c. 


No. 36. 

From Captain Broke to Captain Lawrence. 

H. B. M. shin Shannon, off Boston, 
Sir, June, 1813. 

As the Chesapeake appears now ready for sea, I request you 
will do me the favor to meet the Shannon with her, ship to 
ship, to try the fortune of our respective flags. To an officer 
of your character it requires some apology for proceeding to 
further particulars. Be assured, Sir, that it is not from any 
doubt I can entertain of your wishing to close with my pro- 
posal, but merely to provide an answer to any objection which 
might be made, and very reasonably, upon the chance of our 
receiving unfair support. 

After the diligent attention which we had paid to Commo- 
dore Rodgers ; the pains I took to detach all force but the 
Shannon and Tenedos to such a distance, that they could not 
possibly join in any action fought in sight of the Capes, and 
the various verbal messages which had been sent into Boston 
to that effect, we were much disappointed to find the commo- 
dore had eluded us by sailing on the first change, after the 
prevailing easterly winds had obliged us to keep an offing from 
e 2 


the coast. He, perhaps, wished for some stronger assurance 
of a fair meeting. I am therefore induced to address you more 
particularly, and to assure you, that what I write I pledge my 
honor to perform, to the utmost of my power. 

The Shannon mounts 24 guns upon her broadside, and 
one light boat-gun ; 18-poundcrs upon her main-deck, and 
32-pound carronades on her quarter-deck and forecastle; and 
is manned with a complement of 300 men and boys, (a large 
proportion of the latter,) besides 30 seamen, boys, and pas- 
sengers, who were taken out of recaptured vessels lately. I 
am thus minute, because a report has prevailed in some of 
the Boston papers, that we had 150 men, additional, lent us 
from la Hogue, which really never was the case. La Hogue 
is now gone to Halifax for provisions; and I will send all 
other ships beyond the power of interfering with us, and meet 
you wherever it is most agreeable to you, within the limits of 
the undermentioned rendezvous; viz. — 

From 6 to 10 leagues east of Cape Cod light-house; from 
8 to 10 leagues cast of Cape Ann's light; on Cashc's 
ledge, in latitude 43 north ; at any bearing and distance you 
please to fix off the south breakers of Nantucket, or the shoal 
on St. George's bank. 

If you will favor me with any plan of signals or telegraph, 
I will warn ^ on (if sailing under this promise) should any of 
my friends be too nigh, or any where in sight, until I can 
detach them out of my way ; or I would sail with you under 
a Hag of truce to an) place you think safest from our cruizcrs, 
hauling it down when fair to begin hostilities. 

You must, Sir, be aware that my proposals arc highly ad- 
vantageous to you, as you cannot proceed to sea singly in the 
Chesapeake, without imminent risk of being crushed by th« 
superior force of the numerous British squadrons which arc 
now abroad ; where all your efforts, in case of a rencontre, 
would, however gallant, bo perfect!) hopeless. I entreat you, 
Sir, not to imagine that 1 am urged by mere vanity to 


the wish of meeting the Chesapeake ; or that I depend only 
upon your personal ambition for your acceding to this invita- 
tion : we have both nobler motives. You will feel it as a 
compliment if I say, that the result of our meeting may be 
the most grateful service I can render to my country ; and I 
doubt not that you, equally confident of success, will feel 
convinced, that it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats 
that your little navy can now hope to console your country, 
for the loss of that trade it can no longer protect. Favor me 
with a speedy reply. We are short of provisions and water, 
and cannot stay long here. 

I have the honor to be, Sir, 

Your obedient humble servant, 

P. B. V. BROKE, Captain of 
H. B. M. ship Shannon. 

N. B. For the general service of watching your coast, it is 
requisite for me to keep another ship in company, to support 
me with her guns and boats when employed near the land, and 
particularly to aid each other, if either ship in chase should 
get on shore. You must be aware that I cannot, consistently 
with my duty, wave so great an advantage for this general 
service, by detaching my consort, without an assurance on 
your part of meeting ine directly ; and that you will neither 
seek or admit aid from any other of your armed vessels, if I 
detach mine expressly for the sake of meeting you. Should 
any special order restrain you from thus answering a formal 
challenge, you may yet oblige me by keeping my proposal a 
secret, and appointing any place you like to meet us (within 
300 miles of Boston) in a given number of days after you 
sail ; as, unless you agree to an interview, I may be busied 
on other service, and, perhaps, be at a distance from Boston 
when you go to sea. Choose your terms, but let u* 

To the commander of the U. SL frigate Chesapeake. 


Endorsement on the envelope. 
We have 13 American prisoners on board, which I will 
give you for as many British sailors, if you will send them 
out; otherwise, being privateersmen, they must be detained. 

No. 37. 

From Captain Capel to Mr. Croker. 

Halifax, June 11, 1813. 
It is with the greatest pleasure I transmit you a letter I 
have just received from Captain Broke, of H. M. S. Shannon, 
detailing a most brilliant achievement in the capture of the 
U. S. frigate Chesapeake, in 15 minutes. Captain Broke re- 
lates so fully the particulars of this gallant affair, that I feel it 
unnecessary to add much to his narrative ; but I cannot for- 
bear expressing the pleasure I feel in bearing testimony to the 
indefatigable exertions and persevering zeal of Captain Broke, 
during the time he has been under my orders. Placing a firm 
reliance on the valor of his officers and crew, and a just con- 
fidence in his system of discipline, he sought every opportu- 
nity of meeting the enemy on fair terms ; and I have to rejoice 
with his country and his friends at the glorious result of this 
COntefeL He gallantly headed his boarders in the assault, and 
carried all before him. His wounds are severe, but I trust his 
country will not be long deprived of his services. 
1 have the honor to be, &c. 

and senior officer at Halifax. 
J. W. Croker, Esq. kc. &c. 


No. 38. 
From Captain Broke to Captain Capel. 

Shannon, Halifax, June 6, 1813. 


I have the honor to inform you, that being close in with 
Boston light. house, in H. M.'s ship under my command, on 
the 1st instant, I had the pleasure of seeing that the U. S. 
frigate Chesapeake (whom we had long been watching) was 
coming out of the harbour to engage the Shannon. I took a 
position between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, and then hove-to 
for him to join us. The enemy came down in a very hand- 
some manner, having three American ensigns flying. When 
closing with us he sent down his royal yards; I kept the Shan- 
non's up, expecting the breeze would die away. At half-past 
5 P.M. the enemy hauled up within hail of us on the star- 
board side, and the battle began, both ships steering full under 
the top-sails. After exchanging betv/een two and three broad- 
sides, the enemy's ship fell on board of us, her mizen-channels 
locking in with our fore-rigging. I went forward to ascertain 
her position ; and, observing that the enemy were flinching from 
their guns, I gave orders to prepare for boarding. Our gal- 
lant batid, appointed to that service, immediately rushed in, 
under their respective officers, upon the enemy's decks, driving 
every thing before them with irresistible fury. The enemy 
made a desperate but disorderly resistance. The firing conti- 
nued at all the gangways, and between the tops; but, in two 
minutes' tinle, the enemy were driven, sword in hand, from 
every post ; the American flag was hauled down, and the 
proud old British union floated triumphant over it. In 
another minute they ceased firing from below, and called for 
quarter. The whole of this service was achieved in 15 mi- 
nutes, from the commencement of the action. 


I have to lament the loss of many of my gallant shipmates, 
but they fell exulting in their conquest. 

My brave first lieutenant, Mr. Watt, was slain in the mo- 
ment of victory, in the act of hoisting the British colours : 
his death is a severe loss to the service. Mr. Aldham, the 
purser, who had spiritedly volunteered the charge of a party 
of small. arm men, was killed on his post at the gang-way. 
My faithful old clerk Mr. Dunn, was shot by his side. Mr. 
Aldham has left a widow to lament his loss : I request the 
commander-in-chief will recommend her to the protection of 
my lords commissioners of the admiralty. My veteran boat- 
swain, Mr. Stephens, has lost an arm : he fought under Lord 
Rodney, on the 12th of April. 1 trust his age and services 
will be duly rewarded. 

1 am happy to say that Mr. Sam well, a midshipman of much 
merit, is the only other officer wounded besides myself, and he 
not dangerously. Of my gallant seamen and marines, we had 
23 slain, and 56 wounded. I subjoin the names of the former. 
No expressions I can make use of, can do justice to the merits 
of my valiant officers and crew. The calm courage they dis- 
played during the cannonade, and the tromendous precision of 
their fire, could be equalled only by the ardor with which they 
rushed to the assault. I recommend them all warmly to the 
protection of the commander-in-chief. Having received a 
severe sabre-wound at the first onset, whilst charging a part of 
the enemy who had rallied on their forecastle, I was only ca- 
pable of giving command till assured our conquest was com- 
plete ; and, then directing second lieutenant W'allis to take 
charge of tho Shannon, and secure the prisoner*, I left the 
third lieutenant, Mr. Falkiner (who had headed the main-deck 
boarders) in charge of the prize. 1 beg to recommend these 
officers most strongly to the commander-in-chief's patronage, 
for the gallantry they displayed during tho action, and the 
skill and judgment they evinced in the anxious duties which 
afterwards devolved upon them. 


To Mr. Etouch, the acting master, I am much indebted for 
the steadiness with which he conducted the ship into action. 
The lieutenants Johns and Law, of the marines, bravely 
boarded at the head of their respective divisions. It is impos- 
sible to particularize every brilliant deed performed by my 
officers and men ; but I must mention, when the ships' yard- 
arms were locked together, that Mr. Cosnaghan, who com- 
manded in our main-top, fiuding himself screened from the 
enemy by the foot of the top-sail, laid out at the main-yard- 
arm to fire upon them, and shot three men in that situation. 
Mr. Smith, who commanded in our fore-top, stormed the 
enemy's fore-top from the fore-yard-arm, and destroyed all 
the Americans remaining in it. I particularly beg leave to re- 
commend Mr. Etouch, the acting master, and Messrs. Smith, 
Leake, Clavering, Raymond, and Littlejohn, midshipmen. 
This latter officer is the son of Captain Littlejohn, who was 
slain in the Berwick. The loss of the enemy was about 70 
killed, and 100 wounded. Among the former were the four 
lieutenants, a lieutenant of marines, the master, and many 
other officers. Captain Lawrence is since dead of his 

The enemy came into action with a complement of 440 
men ; the Shannon, having picked up some re-captured sea- 
men, had 330. The Chesapeake is a fine frigate, and mounts 
49 guns ; 18's on her main-deck, 32's on her quarter-deck 
and forecastle. Both ships came out of action in the most 
beautiful order, their rigging appearing as perfect as if they 
had been only exchanging a salute. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

P. B. V. BROKE. 
To Captain the Hon. T. Bladen Capel, &c. Halifax. 

{Then follows the names of the kitted, 24 in all.'] 


No. 39. 

From Lieut. Budd to the American secretary of the navy. 

Halifax, June 15, 1813. 

The unfortunate death of Captain James Lawrence and 
Lieutenant Augustus C. Ludlow, has rendered it my duty to 
inform you of the capture of the late U. S. frigate Chesapeake. 

On Tuesday, June 1st, at 8 A.M. wc unmoored ship, and 
at meridian got under way from President's Roads, with a 
light wind from the southward and westward, and proceeded 
on a cruize. A ship was then in sight in the ofling, -which 
had the appearance of a ship of war, and which, from infor- 
mation received from pilot. boats and craft, we believed to be 
the British frigate Shannon. 

We made sail in chase, and cleared ship for action. At 
half-past 4 P.M. she hove to, with her head to the southward 
and eastward. At 5 P.M. took in the royals and top-gallant- 
sails ; and at half-past 5 hauled the courses up. About 15 
minutes before 6 P.M. the action commenced within pistol- 
shot. The first broadside did great execution on both sides ; 
damaged our rigging ; killed, among others, Mr. White, the 
sailing-master, and wounded Captain Lawrence. 

In about 12 minutes after the commencement of the action, 
we fell on board of the enemy, and immediately after, one of 
our arm-chests on the quarter-deck was blown up, by a hand- 
grenade thrown from the enemy's ship. In a few minutes 
one of the captain's aids came on the gun-deck, to in- 
form me that the boarders were called. I immediately called 
the boarders away, and proceeded to the spar-deck, where I 
found that the enemy had succeeded in boarding us, aud had 
gained possession of our quarter-dock. 

I immediately gave orders to haul on board the fore-tack, 
for the purpose of shooting the ship clear of the other, and 
then made an attempt to regain the quarter-deck, but was 


wounded and thrown down on the gun-deck. I again made 
an effort to collect the boarders; but in the meantime, the 
enemy had gained complete possession of the ship. 

On my being carried down to the cockpit, I there found 
Captain Lawrence and Lieutenant Ludlow, both mortally 
wounded; the former had been carried below previously to the 
ship's being boarded ; the latter was wounded in attempting 
to repel the boarders. Among those who fell early in the 
action, was Mr. Edward J. Ballard the fourth lieutenant, and 
Lieutenant James Broom of marines. 

I herein enclose to you a return of the killed and wounded; 
by which you will perceive that every officer upon whom the 
charge of the ship would devolve, was either killed or wounded 
previously to her capture. The enemy report the loss of 
Mr. Watt, their first lieutenant ; the purser, the captain's 
clerk, and 23 seamen killed; and Captain Broke, a midship- 
man, and 56 seamen wounded. 

The Shannon, had, in addition to her full complement, an 
officer and 16 men belonging to the Belle Poule, and a part of 
the crew belonging to the Tenedos. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Hon. W. Jones, secretary to the navy, Washington. 

[Here follow the names of 47 killed, and 99 wounded. 

No. 40. 

Report of the court of inquiry on the loss of the Chesapeake, 
The court arc unanimously of opinion, that the Chesapeake 
was gallantly carried into action by her late brave commander ; 
and no doubt rests with the court, from comparison of the 
injury respectively sustained by the frigates, that the fire of 
the Chesapeake was much superior to that of the Shannon. 

The Shannon being much cut in her spars and rigging, and 
receiving many shot in and below the water-line, was reduced 


almost to a sinking condition, after only a few minutes can- 
nonading from the Chesapeake, while the Chesapeake was 
comparatively uninjured. And the court have no doubt, 
if the Chesapeake had not accidentally fallen on board the 
Shannon, and the Shannon's anchor got foul in the after- 
quarter-port of the Chessapeakc, the Shannon must have very 
soon surrendered or sunk. 

It appears to the court, that as the ships were getting foul, 
Captain Lawrence ordered the boarders to be called; but the 
bugleman, AV. Brown, stationed to call the boarders by sound- 
ing a bugle, had deserted his quarters, and when discovered 
and ordered to call, was unable, from fright, to sound his 
horn ; that a midshipman went below immediately to pass the 
word for the boarders ; but not being called in the May they 
had been usually exercised, few came upon the upper deck ; 
confu-ion prevailed ; a greater part of the men deserted their 
quarters and ran below. It appears also to the court, that 
when the Shannon got foul of the Chesapeake, Captain Law- 
rence, his first lieutenant, the sailing-master, and lieutenant of 
marines were all killed or mortally wounded, and thereby the 
upper deck of the Chesapeake was left without any command- 
ing officer, and with only one or two young midshipmen. It 
also appears to the court, that previously to the ships getting 
foul, many of the Chesapeake's spar-deck division had been 
killed and wounded, and the number stationed on that deck 
thereby considerably reduced ; that these being left w ithout 
a commissioned officer, or even a warrant-olhcer, except one 
or two inexperienced midshipmen, and not being supported 
by the boarders from the gun-deck, almost universally deserted 
their quarters. And the enemy availing himself of this de- 
fenceless state of the Chesapeake's upper deck, boarded and 
obtained possession of the ship with very little opposition. 

From this view of the engagement, and careful examination 
of the Qfidesee, the court are unanimously of opinion, that 
the capture of the late United States frigate Chesapeake, was 


occasioned by the following causes: — the almost unexampled 
early fall of Captain Lawrence, and all the principal officers ; 
the bugleman's desertion of his quarters, and inability to sound 
his horn; for the court are of opinion, if the horn had been 
sounded when first ordered, the men being then at their quar- 
ters, the boarders would have promptly repaired to the spar- 
deck, probably have prevented the enemy from boarding — cer- 
tainly have repelled them, and might have returned the board- 
ing with success, and the failure of the boarders on both 
decks, to rally on the spar-deck, after the enemy had boarded, 
which might have been done successfully, it is believed, from 
the cautious manner in which the enemy came on board. 

The court cannot, however, perceive in this almost unex- 
ampled concurrence of disastrous circumstances, that the 
national flag has suffered any dishonor from the capture of 
the United States frigate Chesapeake, by the superior force of 
the frigate Shannon, of 52 carriage-guns, and 396 men. Nor 
do this court apprehend that the result of this engagement, 
will in the least discourage our brave seamen from meeting 
the enemy hereafter on equal terms. 

The court being also charged to enquire into the conduct of 
the officers and men during and after the engagement, and 
thereupon having strictly examined and maturely considered 
the evidence as recorded, do find the following causes of com- 

First. Against Lieutenant Cox; that being stationed in 
command of the second division on the main-deck, he left his 
division during the action, while his men were at their quar- ' 
ters, and went upon the upper deck; that when there, and 
the enemy boarding, or on the point of boarding, he left the 
deck to assist Captain Lawrence below, went down with him 
from the spar-deck to the berth-deck ; did not return to his 
division, but went forward on the gun-deck; that, while there, 
and the men were retreating below, he commanded them to go 
to their duty, without enforcing his commands. But as a 
court of inquiry allows an accused person no opportunity of 


vindicating his conduct, the members of this court trust that 
their opinion on the conduct of Lieutenant Cox may not be 
deemed conclusive against him, without trial by court-marial. 

Second. Against Midshipman Forrest ; that he left his 
quarters during the action, and did not return to them, and 
now assigns no reason for his conduct satisfactory to this 

Third. Against Midshipman Freshman; that he behaved 
in an un-officer like manner at Halifax, assuming a false name 
at the office of the commissary of prisoners when obtaining his 
parole, and was paroled by the name of William Brown. 

Fourth. Against the crew generally; that they deserted 
their quarters, and ran below after the ships were foul, and 
the enemy boarded. But it appearing that they behaved well 
at their quarters before, and fired on the enemy with great 
rapidity and precision ; the court ascribe their misconduct to 
the confusion naturally incident to the early fall of their 
officers, and the omission of the call of boarders in the accus- 
tomed manner. 

Yet this court is very far from exculpating those who arc 
thus criminal. It is unable to designate by name all the 
individuals who thus abandoned their duty, because most of 
the officers had recently joined the ship, some only a few days 
preceding the engagement, and of course could not distinguish 
the men. The court, therefore, respectfully submit to higher 
authority, the expediency of withholding the wages of the crew. 
The persons whom the court are able to designate by name, 
as deserters from their stations, are William Brown, bugle- 
man, Joseph Russell, captain of second gun, Peter Frost, 
and John Joyce, seamen. 

The court further find, that the following persons entered 
the British service at Halifax ; viz. Henry Ensign, Peter John, 
Andrew Simpson, Peter Langrun, Madness Sparring, Joseph 
Galla, Martin Anderson, Francis Paris, John White, boy, 
Thomas Arthur, Charles Reynolds, John Pierce, jun. Andrew 
Danham, Thomas Jones, Charles Goodman, Joseph Antonio, 


Christopher Stephens, Charles Bowden, Charle6 Westerbury, 
Joseph Smith, George Williams, and George Cordell. 

The court further find and report, that William Wainwright, 
William Worthington, and James Parker, the last of whom was 
born at Salem, Massachussets, were claimed by the enemy 
as British subjects, and sent on board of the enemy's ships 
of war. 

This court respectfully beg leave to superadd, that unbiassed 
by any illiberal feelings toward the enemy, they feel it their 
duty to state, that the conduct of the enemy after boarding 
and carrying the Chesapeake, was a most unwarrantable abuse 
of power after success. 

The court is aware that, in carrying a ship by boarding, the 
full extent of the command of an officer cannot be readily 
exercised ; and that improper violence may unavoidably ensue. 
When this happens in the moment of contention, a magnani- 
mous conquered foe will not complain. But the fact has been 
clearly established before this court, that the enemy met with 
little opposition on the upper deck, and none on the gun-deck. 
Yet after they had carried the ship, they fired from the gun.deck 
down the hatchway upon the berth-deck, and killed and wounded 
several of the Chesapeake's crew, who had retreated there, 
were unarmed and incapable of making any opposition : that 
some balls were fired even into the cockpit^ and what excites 
the utmost abhorrence, this outrage was committed in the 
presence of a British officer standing on the hatchway. 

W. BAINBRIDGE, President. 

No. 41. 

From Mr. Croker to Admiral Warren. 

Admiralty-office, 9th July, 1813. 
I have had the pleasure of receiving and communicating to my 
lords commissioners of the admiralty, a letter from Captain 


the Hon. B. Capel, of H. M. S. la Hogue, enclosing a copy 
of his letter to you, and of that of Captain Broke to him, 
announcing the capture, in 15 minutes, of the U. S. frigate 
Chesapeake, of 49 guns, and 440 men, by H. M.S. Shannon. 

My lords have before had occasion to observe, with great 
approbation, the zeal, judgment, and activity, which have 
characterized Captain Broke's proceedings since the com- 
mencement of the war ; and they now receive, with the highest 
satisfaction, a proof of professional skill and gallantry in 
battle, which has seldom been equalled, and certainly never 
surpassed ; and the decision, celerity, and effect, with which 
the force of H. M. S. was directed against the enemy, mark 
no less the personal bravery of the officers, seamen, and ma- 
rines, than the high discipline and practice in arms, to which 
the ship's company must have been sedulously and succcsslully 

My lords, to mark their sense of this action, have been 
pleased to direct a medal to be presented to Captain Broke ; 
Lieutenants Wallis and Falkiner, who, in consequence of the 
wound of Captain Rroke, and the death of the gallant first 
lieutenant, Walt, succeeded to the command of the Shannon 
and the prize, to be promoted to the rank of commanders ; 
and Messrs. Etough and Smith to that of lieutenants ; and 
my lords will be glad to attend to the recommendation of Cap- 
tain Broke, in favor of the petty-officers and men who may 
have particularly distinguished themselves. 

You will convey to Captain Broke, his officers and ship's 
company, these sentiments of their lordships, with an expres- 
sion of their satisfaction at hearing that the captain's wound 
is not likely long to deprive his country of his valuable 

T am, Sir, 
Your most obedient humble servant, 

To Admiral Warren. 


No. 42. 

From Captain Maples to Admiral Thornborough. 

II.M.B. Pelican, St. David's Head, E. 5 leagues, 
Sin, August 14, 1813. 

I have the honor to inform you, that in obedience to your 
orders to me of the 12th instant, to cruize in St. George's 
Channel, for the protection of the trade, and to obtain infor- 
mation of the American sloop of war, I had the good fortune 
to board a brig, the master of which informed me that he had 
seen a vessel, apparently a man of war, steering to the N.E* 
At 4 this morning I saw a vessel on fire, and a brig standing 
from her, which I soon made out to be a cruizer ; made all 
sail in chase, and at half-past 5 came alongside of her, (she 
having shortened sail, and made herself clear for an obstinate 
resistance,) when, after giving her three cheers, our action 
commenced, which was kept up with great spirit on both sides 
43 minutes, when we lay her alongside, and were in the act of 
boarding, when she struck her colours. She proves to be the 
U. S. sloop of war Argus, of 3G0 tons, 18 24-pound carro- 
nades, and two long 12-poundcrs ; had on board, when she 
sailed from America, (two months since,) a complement of 
149 men, but in the action 127 ; commanded by Lieutenant- 
commandant W. H. Allen, who, I regret to say, was wounded 
early in the action, and has since suffered amputation of his 
left thigh. 

No eulogium I could use would do sufficient justice to the 
merits of my gallant officers and crew, which consisted of 1 1G ; 
the cool courage they displayed, and the precision of their 
fire, could only be equalled by their z?al to distinguish them- 
selves ; but I must beg leave to call your attention to the con- 
duct of my first lieutenant, Thomas Welsh; of Mr. W. Glan- 
ville, acting master; Mr. W. Ingram, the parser, who volun- 


teered his services on deck ; and Mr. Richard Scott, thfc 

Our loss, I am happy to say, is small: one master's mate, 
Mr. William Young, slain in the moment of victory, while 
animating by his courage and example all around him ; and 
one able seaman, John Kitery ; besides five seamen wounded, 
who are doing well. That of the cucmy I have not been able 
to ascertain, but it is considerable ; her officers say, about 40 
killed and wounded. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

J. F. MAPLES, Commander. 
Admiral Thornborough, &c. &c. 

No. 43. 

From Lieutenant IVatson to (he American secretary of the 

Norfolk, March 2, 1815. 
Circumstances, during my residence in England, having 
heretofore prevented my attention to the painful duty which 
devolved on me by the death of my gallant commander, Cap- 
tain W. H. Allen, of (he late U. S. brig Argus, I hare now 
Hie honor to state for \ our information, that, having landed 
the minister plenipotentiary (Mr. Crawford) and suite at 
POrtent, we proceeded on the cruize which had been directed 
by the department, and after capturing 20 vessels, (a list of 
the names, and other particulars, of which, 1 have the honor 
to enclose,) being in latitude 5'2° 15' N. longitude 5° 50' W. 
on the 1 llh of August, 1S13, we discovered, at 1 o'clock 
A.M. a large brig of war, standing down under a press of 
sail upon our weather-quarter, (he wind being at south, and 
the Argus close-hauled «m the sWboord-Uck. We immedi- 
ately prepared to receive her, ami at 1. SO. beinj unable te 

APPENDIX. lxvii 

get the weather-gage, we shortened sail, and* gave her an op- 
portunity of closing. At 6, the brig having displayed Eng- 
lish colours, we hoisted our flag, wore round, and gave her 
the larboard broadside, (being at this time within grape-dis- 
tance,) which was returned, and the action commenced within, 
the range of musketry. At 6. 4. Captain Allen was wounded, 
and the enemy shot away our main-braces, main-spring-stay, 
gaff* and trv-sail mast. At 6. 8. Captain Allen, being much 
exhausted by the loss of blood, was taken below. At 6, 12. 
lost our sprit-sail-yard, and the principal part of the standing- 
rigging on the larboard-side of the fore-mast. At this time I 
received a wound on the head from a grape-shot, which, for a 
time, rendered me incapable of attending to duty, and was 
carried below. I had, however, the satisfaction of recol- 
lecting, on my recovery, that nothing which the most gallant 
exertions could effect would be left undone by Lieutenant W. 
H. Allen, junior, who succeeded to the command of the 

Lieutenant Allen reports, at 6. 14. the enemy, being on our 
weather-quarter, edged off for the purpose of getting under 
our stern, but the Argus luffed close to with the main-top-sail 
a-back ; and, giving him a raking broadside, frustrated his at- 
tempt. At 6. 18. the enemy shot away our preventer main- 
braces and main-top-sail-tye ; and the Argus, having lost the 
use of her after-sails, fell off before the wind, when the enemy 
succeeded in passing our stern, and ranged up on the starboard 
side. At 6. 25. the wheel-ropes and running-rigging of every 
description being shot away, the Argus became unmanage- 
able ; and the enemy, not having sustained any apparent da- 
mage, had it completely in his power to choose a position, 
and continued to play upon our starboard-quarter, occasion- 
ally shifting his situation, until 6. 30. when I returned to the 
deck, the enemy being under our stern, within pistol-shot, 
where he continued to rake us until 6. 3& when we prepared 
f 2 

lxtiii APPENDIX. 

to board, but, in consequence of our shattered condition, 
were unable to effect it. The enemy then passed our broad- 
side, and took a position on our starboard-bow. From this 
time until 6. 47. we were exposed to a cross or raking fire, 
without being able to oppose but little more than musketry to 
the broadside of the enemy, our guns being much disabled, and 
seldom brought to bear. 

The Argus having now suffered much in hull and rigging, as 
also in killed and wounded, among the former of whom, (ex- 
clusive of our gallant captain,) we have to lament the loss of 
two meritorious young officers, in Midshipmen Delphy and 
Edwards ; and being exposed to a galling fire, which, from 
the enemy's ability to manage his vessel, we could not avoid, I 
deemed it necessary to surrender, and was taken possession of 
by H. B. M. sloop Pelican, of 21 carriage-guns ; viz. — 16 
32-pound carronades, four long Cs, and one 12-pound car- 
ronade. I hope this measure will meet your approbation, and 
that the result of this action, when the superior size and metal 
of our opponent, and the fatigue which the crew, &c. of the 
Argus underwent, from a very rapid succession of captures is 
considered, will not be thought unworthy of the flag under 
which we serve. 

I have the honor to inclose a list of killed and wounded, 
and feci great satisfaction in reporting the general good con- 
duct of the men and officers engaged on this occasion, and 
particularly the zeal and activity displayed by Lieutenant Allen, 
who, you will observe, for a time commanded on deck. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 

VV. H. WATSON, late first lieutenant 
U. S. bri^ Argus. 
lion. B. Crowninshield, secretary of the navy. 

\_Ihrc follows the names of 6 killed; 3 mortally, anil 12 

severely and slightly uouniled.~\ 


No. 44. 

Court of inquiry on the loss of the Argus. 

The court, in pursuance of the authority by which they 
were convened, having carefully examined into the causes of 
the loss by capture of the U. S. sloop of war Argus, under 
the command of the late W. H. Allen, master-commandant in 
the navy of the U. S. ; and also into the conduct of the offi- 
cers and crew of the said sloop of war, before and after her 
surrender to the enemy's ship Pelican, and having maturely 
deliberated upon all the testimony, they find the following 
facts : — 

First : it is proved that in the number of her crew, and in 
the number and calibre of her guns, the Pelican was decidedly 
superior to the Argus. 

Secondly : they find that the crew of the Argus was very 
much exhausted by the continued and extraordinary fatigue 
and exposure to which they had been subjected for several 
weeks, and particularly for 24 hours immediately preceding 
the action. 

Thirdly : they find that every officer and man of the Argus, 
(with the exception of one man, Jacob Allister, and one boy, 
Henderick,) made use of every practicable exertion to capture 
the British sloop of war Pelican. 

They are therefore of opinion, that every officer and man, 
with the exception before-mentioned, displayed thoughout the 
engagement a zeal, activity, and spirit, in defence of the vessel 
and flag committed to their protection, which entitles them to 
the undiminished confidence and respect of their govern- 
ment and fellow-citizens, and do therefore honorably acquit 


No. 4.5. 

From Lieutenant M'Call to Commodore Hull. 

U. S. brig Enterprise, Portland, 
Sir, September 7, 1813. 

In consequence of the unfortunate death of Lieutenant 
William Burrows, late commander of this vessel, it devolves 
on me to acquaint you with the result of the cruize. After 
sailing from Portsmouth on the 1st instant, we steered to the 
eastward, and on the morning of the 3d, off Wood island, 
discovered a schooner, which we chased into this harbour, 
■where we anchored. On the morning of the 4th weighed an- 
chor, and swept out, and continued our course to the east- 
ward. Having received information of several privateers 
being off Manhagan, wc stood for that place, and on the fol- 
lowing morning, in the bay near Penguin point, discovered a 
brig getting under way, which appeared to be a vessel of war, 
and to which we immediately gave chase. She lired several 
guns, and stood for us, having four ensigns hoisted. After 
reconuoitering and discovering her force, and the nation to 
which she belonged, we hauled upon a wind to stand out of 
the bay, and at 3 o'clock shortened sail, tacked to run down, 
with an intention to bring her to close action. At '20 minutes 
after 3 P.M. when within half pistol-shot, the firing com- 
menced from both, and after being warmly kept up, and with 
some manceuvering, the enemy hailed, and said they had sur- 
rendered, at 4 P.M. ; their colours, being nailed to the RsMftj 
could not be hauled donit. She proved to be II. B. M.'s brig 
Boxer, of 14 guns, Samuel Blythc, Baq. commander, who 
fell in the carlj part of the engagement, having received a 
cannon-shot through the body ; and 1 am sorry It add that 
Lieutenant Burrows, who had gallantly led 01 into action, 
fell also about the same time by a musket-ball, which tcrmi- 
Bltod his existence in eight hours. 


The Enterprise suffered much in spars and rigging ; and the 
Boxer in spars, rigging, and hull, having many shots between 
wind and water. 

It would be doing injustice to the merit of Mr. Tillinghast, 
second lieutenant, were I not to mention the able assistance I 
received from him during the remainder of the engagement, by 
his strict attention to his own division, and other departments ; 
and of the officers and crew generally, I am happy to add, 
their cool and determined conduct have my warmest approba- 
tion and applause. 

As no muster-roll, that can be fully relied on, has come 
into my possession, I cannot exactly state the number of killed 
and wounded on board the Boxer ; but from information re- 
ceived from the officers of that vessel, it appears there were 
between 20 and 25 killed, and 14 wounded. Enclosed is a 
list of the killed and wounded on board the Enterprise. 
I have the honor to be, &c. 

EDWARD R. M'CALL, senior officer. 
Isaac Hull, Esq. commanding naval-officer 
on the eastern station. 

List of killed and wounded on board the U. S. brig Enter- 
prise^ S)C. 

Killed — 1 ordinary seaman. 

Wounded — William Burrows, Esq. commander, since dead ; 
Kervin Waters, midshipman, mortally ; 1 carpenter's mate, 
since dead ; 2 quarter-masters, 1 boatswain's-mate, 5 seamen, 
and 1 marine. 

No. 46. 

Sentence of tlic court-martial on the surviving officers and 
crexo of the Boxer. 

The court proceeded to inquire into all the particulars at- 
tending the capture of II. M.'s brig Boxer by the enemy, and 


to try Lieutenant David M'Crcry, her surviving officers and 
company, for the same ; and having heard Lieutenant 
M'Crcrv's official letter and narrative of the action, and 
strictly examined the said lieutenant, and the surviving officers 
and company, produced to the court, and carefully investi- 
gated all the particulars attending the capture of H. M.'s brig 
Boxer, by the U. S. vessel of war Enterprise ; and having 
very maturely and deliberately weighed and considered the 
whole and every part thereof, the court is of opinion that the 
capture of H. M. brig Boxer, by the U. S. vessel of war 
Enterprise, is to be attributed to a superiority in the enemy's 
force, principally in the number of men, as well as to a greater 
degree of skill in, the direction of her fire, and the destructive 
effects of her first broadside. 

The court is also of opinion, that the surviving officers and 
company (with the exception hereinafter made) appear to have 
done their utmost to capture the enemy's vessel, and to defend 
II. M. brig Boxer; and to have conducted themselves with 
courage, and a determination not to surrender while any pros- 
pect of success remained ; and the court will therefore adjudge 
Licutenont M'Crcry, the surviving officers and company, to 
be acquitted, with the exception of Mr. Hugh James, quarter- 
master, doing duty as master's-matc, John Dod, James Jack- 
son, and William Slattery, seamen ; who have not appeared 
before the court, and have been stated to have deserted their 
quarters during the action ; and through cowardice, negli- 
gence, or disaffection, to hive withdrawn themselves from their 
duty in the engagement; and the said Lieutenant M'Crery, 
the surviving officers and company, are hereby acquitted ac- 
cordingly, with the exception of the said Mr. Hugh James, 
John Dodd, James Jackson ; and William Slattery. 


No. 47. 

Vote of congress. 

The congress of the United States presented to the nearest 
male relative of Lieutenant William Burrows, and to Lieu- 
tenant M'Call of the brig Enterprise, a gold medal, with 
suitable emblems and devices; and a silver medal to each of 
the commissioned officers, in honor of their gallantry and good 
conduct in the conflict with the Boxer. 

No. 48. 

From Sir James Yeo to Mr. Croker. 

H.M.S. Wolfe, Kingston, Upper Canada, 
Sm, 29th June, 1813. 

I have the honor to inform you, for the information of the 
lords commissioners of the admiralty, that on the 3d instant, 
I sailed with his majesty's squadron under my command from 
this port, to co-operate with our army at the head of the 
lake, and annoy the enemy by intercepting all supplies going 
to the enemy, and thereby oblige his squadron to come out for 
its protection. 

At daylight on the 8th, the enemy's camp was discovered 
close to us at Forty-mile creek. It being calm, the large vessels 
could not get in, but the Beresford, Captain Spilsbury, the 
Sir Sidney Smith, Lieutenant Majoribanks, and the gun-boats 
under the orders of Lieutenant Anthony, (first of this ship,) 
succeeded in getting close under the enemy's batteries, and by 
a sharp and well-directed fire, soon obliged him to make a 
precipitate retreat, leaving all his camp equipage, provisions, 
stores, &c. behind, which fell into our hands. The Beresford 
also captured all his batteaux, laden with stores, &c. Our 
troops immediately occupied the post. I then proceeded 
along to the westward of the enemy's camp, leaving our army 


in front. On (he 13th we captured two schooners and some 
boats, going to the enemy with supplies ; by them I received 
information that there was a depot of provisions at Geuesscc 
river. I accordingly proceeded off that river, lauded some 
seamen and marines of the squadron, and brought olf all the 
provisions found in the government stores ; as also a sloop 
laden with grain for the army. On the 19th I anchored off 
the Great Sodas, lauded a party of the 1st regiment royal 
Scots, and took off 600 barrels of flour and pork, which had 
arrived there for their army. 

1 have the honor to be, &c. 

J. L. YEO, commodore. 

No. 49. 

From Sir James Yeo to Admired Warren. 

II. M.S. Wolfe, on Lake Ontario, 
Sir, August 10, 1813. 

I have the honor to inform you, that the enemy's squadron 
«as discovered at anchor off Fort Niagara, on the morning of 
thcUth instant, consisting of 13 sail; that of his majesty of 
f>. 'Ihey immediately weighed, and stood out in a line of 
battle; but on our approaching nearly within gun r shot, they 
fired their broadsides, wore, and stood under their batteries. 
Light airs and calms prevented me from closing with them 
attain, until this night, when having a fine breeze, we stood 
for them. 

At 1 1, we came within gun-shot of their line of schooners, 
■which opened a heavy fire, their ships keeping off the wind 
to prevent our closing. At half-past 12, this ship came 
within gun sliol of (he V\lc and Madison, when they imme- 
diately bore up, fired their stem-chase guns, and made sail for 
Niagara, leaving two of their schooners a- stern, which we 


captured, the Growler and Julia, each mounting one long 32, 
and one long 12, and 40 men. 

From information obtained from the prisoners, I hear that 
their new ship, the General Pike, mounts 28 long 24-poun- 
ders, and has 400 men ; and that all their schooners mount 
from 2 to 4 long 32-pounders. 

The enemy have disappeared ; I therefore suppose they 
have gone to Sackett's harbour to refit. 

I am happy to add that (except in the sails and rigging) his 
majesty's squadron have not sustained any injury, and have 
the honor to be, &c. 

J. L. YEO, commodore. 
The Right Hon. Sir J. B. Warren, Bart. 

No. 50. 

From Commmodore Chauncey to the American secretary of 
the navy. 

U, S. ship General Pike, at Sackett's harbour, 
Sin, 13th August, 1813. 

I arrived here this day with these ships, the Madison, 
Oneida, Governor Tomk ins, Conquest, Ontario, Pert, and 
Lady of the Lake : the Fair American and Asp I left at Nia- 
gara. Since I had the honor of addressing you last, I have 
been much distressed and mortified i distressed at the loss of 
a part of the force entrussed to my command, and mortified 
at not having been able to bring the enemy to action. The 
following movements and transactions of the squadron since 
the 6th instant, will give yon the best idea of the difficulties 
and mortifications that I have had to encounter. 

On the 7th at day -light, the enemy's (leet, consisting of two 
ships, two brigs, and two large schooners, were discovered 
bearing W.N.W. distant about 5 or 6 miles, wind at west, 
At 5, weighed with the fleet, and mancevred to gain the wind. 


At 9, having passed to-leeward of the enemy's line, and 
abreast of his van-ship, (the Wolfe,) hoisted our colours, and 
fired a few guns to ascertain whether we could reach him with 
our shot. Finding they fell short, I wore, and hauled upon 
a wind on the larboard-tack ; the rear of our schooners then 
about G miles astern. The enemy wore in succession, and 
hauled upon a wind on the same tack : he tacked and made all 
sail to the northward. As soon as our rear vessels could fetch 
his wake, tacked and made all sail in chase. In the afternoon the 
wind became very light, and, towards night, quite calm. The 
schooners used their sweeps all the afternoon in order to close 
with the enemy, but without success. Late in the afternoon 

1 made the signal of recal, and formed in close order. "Wind 
during the night from the westward, and, after midnight, 
squally. Kept all hands at quarters and beat to-windward, in 
hopes to gain the wind of the enemy. At 2, A.M. missed 
two of our schooners. At day-light, discovered the missing 
schooners to be the Hamilton and Scourge. Soon after, spoke 
the Governor Tomkins, who informed me, that the Hamilton 
and Scourge both overset and sunk, in a heavy squall about 

2 o'clock ; and, distressing to relate, every soul perished, 
except sixteen. This fatal accident deprived me at once of 
the services of two valuable officers, Lieutenant Winter, and 
Sailing-master Ogwood ; and two of my best schooners, 
mounting together 19 gnus. This accident giving to the 
enemy decidedly the superiority, I thought he would take 
advantage of it, particularly as, by a change of wind, he was 
again brought dead to-windward of me. Formed the line 
upon the larboard-tack, and hove to. Soon after f>, A. M. 
the enemy bore up, and set studding-sails, apparently with an 
intention to bring us to action. When he had approached us 
within about 1 miles, he brought to on the starboard-tack ; 
1 wore, and brought to on the same tack. Finding that the 
enemy had no intention of bringing us to action, I edged away 
to gain the land, in order to have the advantage of the land- 
breeze in the afternoon. It soon after fell calm, and I 

APPENDIX. lxxvii 

directed the schooner to sweep up and engage the enemy. 
About noon we got a light breeze from the eastward. I took 
the Oneida in tow, as she sails badly; our schooners was within 
If or 2 miles of his rear ; the wind shifted to the westward, 
which again brought him to windward. As soon as the breeze 
struck him he bore up for the schooners, in order to cut them 
off before they could rejoin me ; but, -with their sweeps, and the 
breeze soon reached them also, they were soon in their station. 
The enemy finding himself foiled in his attempt upon the 
schooners, hauled his wind and hove to. It soon after became 
very squally, and the appearance of its continuing so during 
the night; and as we had been at quarters for nearly 40 hours, 
and being apprehensive of separating from some of the heavy- 
sailing schooners in the squall, induced me to run in towards 
Niagara, and anchor outside the bar. General Boyd very 
handsomely offered any assistance in men that I might require. 
I received 150 soldiers, and distributed them in the different 
vessels, to assist in boarding, or repelling boarders, as circum- 
stances might require. It blew very heavy in squalls during 
the night. Soon after day-light discovered the enemy's fleet 
bearing north ; weighed and stood after him. The Mind soon 
became light and variable, and before 12 o'clock quite calm. 
At 5, fresh breezes from north, the enemy's, fleet bearing 
north, distant about 4 or 5 leagues. Wore the fleet in suc- 
cession, and hauled upon a wind on the larboard-tack ; at 
sun-down, the enemy bore N.W. by N. on the starboard- 
tack. The wind hauling to the westward, I stood to the 
northward all night, in order to gain the north-shore; at day- 
light, tacked to the westward, the -wind having changed to 
N.N.W. Soon after, discovered the enemy's fleet bearing 
S.W. I took the Asp, and the Madison the Fair American, 
in tow, and made all sail in chase. It was at this time we 
thought of realizing what we had been so long toiling for; 
but before 12 o'clock the wind changed to W.S.W. which 
brought the enemy to-windward : tacked to the northward. 

Ixxriii APPENDIX. 

At 3, the wind inclining to the northward, wore to the south- 
ward and westward, and made the signal for the ileet to make 
all sail. At 4, the enemy bore S.S. W. bore up, and s tec red 
for him. At 5, observed the enemy becalmed under the land, 
nearing him very fast, with a line breeze from N.N.W. At 
6, formed the order of battle, within about 4 miles of the enemy. 
The wind at this time very light. At 7, the wind changed to 
S.W. and a fresh breeze, which again placed the enemy to- 
windward of me. Tacked and hauled upon the wind on the 
larboard-tack under easy sail, the enemy standing after us. 
At 9, when within about two gun-shot of our rear, he wore to 
the southward. I stood on to the northward under easy sail ; 
the fleet formed in two lines, a part of the schooners forming 
the weather-line, with orders to commence the fire upon the 
enemy as soon as their shot would take effect; and as the 
enemy reached them to edge down upon the line to-leeward 
and pass through the intervals, and form to-leeward. At 
about half-past 10, the enemy tacked and stood after us. At 
11, the rear of our line opened his lire upon the enemy. In 
about 15 minutes the fire became general from the weather- 
line, which was returned by the enemy. At half-past 
11, the weather-line bore up and passed to-leeward, except 
the Growler and Julia, which soon after tacked to the south- 
ward, which brought the. enemy between them and me. Filled 
the main-top-sail, and edged away two points, to lead the 
enemy down, not. only to engage him to more advantage, but 
to lead him from the Growler and Julia. He, however, kepi 
his wind, until he completely separated those two vessels from 
the rest of the squadron; exchanged a fen shot with ship 
as he passed wilhout injury to us. and made sail after our two 
schooners: tacked, and stood after him. At 12 (midnight) 
finding that I must either separate from the rest of tho 
squadron, or relinquish the hope of saving the two which hail 
K-paratcd, I reluctantly gave up the pursuit, rejoined the squa- 
dron theu to leeward, and formed the line on the starboard-tai k. 


The firing was continued between our two schooners and 
the enemy's fleet until about 1 A.M. when, I presume, they 
were obliged to surrender to a force so much their superior. 
Saw nothing more of the enemy that night. Soon after day- 
light, discovered them close in with the north shore, with one 
of our schooners in tow, the other not to be seen. I presume 
she may have sunk. The enemy shewed no disposition to 
come down upon us, although to-windward, and blowing 
heavy from W. The schooners labouring very much, I or- 
dered two of the dullest to run into Niagara, and anchor. 
The gale encreasing very much, and as I could not go into 
Niagara with this ship, I determined to run to Gencssee bay, 
as a shelter for the small vessels, and with the expectation of 
being able to obtain provisions for the squadron, as we were 
all nearly out, the Madison and Oneida having not a single day's 
on board when we arrived opposite Genessee bay. I found 
there was every prospect of the gale's continuing, and if it 
did, I could run to this place, and provision the whole squa- 
dron with more certainty, and nearly in the same time that I 
could at Genessee, admitting that I could obtain provisions at 
that place. After bringing the breeze as far as Oswego, the 
wind became light, inclining to a calm, which had prolonged 
our passage to this bay. I shall provision the squadron for 
five weeks, and proceed up the lake this evening; and when I 
return again, I hope to be able to communicate more agreea- 
able news than this communication Contains. The loss of the 
Growler and Julia, in the manner in which they have been 
lost, is mortifying in the extreme ; and, although their com- 
manders disobeyed my positive orders, I am willing to believe 
that it arose from an error of judgment, and excess of zeal, to 
do more than was required of them ; thinking, probably, that 
the enemy intended to bring us to a general action, they 
thought, by gaining the wind of him, they would have it more 
in their power to annoy and injure him, than they could by 
forming toilceward of our line. From what I have been abl« 


to discover of the movements of the eucmy, he lias no inten- 
tion of engaging us, except he can get decidedly the advantage 
of wind and weather, and as his vessels in squadron sail better 
than our squadron, he can always avoid an action; unless I 
can gain the wind, and have sufficient day-light to bring him 
to action before dark. His object is, evidently, to harrass us 
by night-attacks, by which means he thinks to cut off our 
small dull-sailing schooners in detail. Fortune has evidently 
favored him thus far, and I hope that it will be my turn next; 
and, although inferior in point of force, I feel very confident 
of successs. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Hon. secretary of the navy. 

No. 51. 

From Sir James Yeo to m iral Warren. 

II. M.'s ship Wolfe, off the False Duck islands, 
Sin, on Lake Ontario, Sept. 12, 1S13. 

I have the honor to acquaint you, that II. M.'s squadron 
under my command, being becalmed on Cenessee river, on the 
11th instant, the enemy's fleet of 1 1 sail, having a partial 
wind, succeeded in getting within range of their long '24 and 
32-pouiulcrs ; and from their having the wind of us, and the 
dull sailing of some of our squadron, 1 found it impossible to 
bring them to close action. We remained in this mortifying 
situation five hours, having only six guns in all the squadron 
that would reach the enemy ; (not a carronade being fired;) 
at sun-set a breeze sprang up from the westward, when I 
Steered for the False Duck islands, under which (he enemy 
could not keep the weather -gage, but be obliged to meet us on 
equal terms. This, however, he carefully avoided. 


Although I have to regret the loss of Mr. William Ellery, 
midshipman, .and three seamen killed, and seven wounded, I 
cannot but conceive it fortunate that none of the squadron 
have received any material damage, which must have been con- 
sidcrable, had the enemy acted with the least spirit, and taken 
advantage of the superiority of position they possessed. 

Inclosed is a list of killed and wounded. 

Killed 3 ; wounded 7. J. L. YEO. 

No. 52. 

From Commodore Chauncey to the American secretary of the 

U. S. ship General Pike, off Duck island, 
Sir, September 13, 1813. 

On the 7th, at day-light, the enemy's 'fleet was discovered 
close in with Niagara river, wind from the southward. Made 
the signal, and weighed with the fleet, (prepared for action,) 
and stood out of the river after him : he immediately made all 
sail to the northward. We made sail in chase, with our heavy 
schooner in tow ; and have continued the chase all round the 
lake, night and day, until yesterday morning, when he suc- 
ceeded in getting into Amherst bay ; which is so little known 
to our pilots, and said to be full of shoals, that they are not 
willing to take me in there. I shall, however, (unless driven 
from my station by a gale of wind,) endeavour to watch him 
so close, as to prevent his getting out upon the lake. 

During our long chase, we frequently got within one or two 
miles of the enemy ; but our heavy-sailing schooners prevented 
our closing with him until the 11th, off Gennessee river. We 
carried a breeze with us, while he lay becalmed, to within 
three-quarters of a mile of him, when he took the breeze, and 
we had a running fight Z\ hours, but by his superior sailing 

lxxxii APPENDIX. 

he escaped me, and run into Amherst bay yesterday 

m orning. 

In the course of our chase on the 11th, I got several broad- 
sides from this ship upon the enemy, which must hare done 
him considerable injury, as many of the shot were seen to 
strike him, and people were observed over the sides plugging 
shot-holes. A few shot struck our hull, and a little rigging 
was cut, but nothing of importance. Not a man was hurt. 

I was much disappointed that Sir James refused to fight me, 
as he was so much superior in point of force, both in guns and 
men, having upwards of 20 guns more than we have, and 
heaves a greater weight of shot. 

This ship, the Madison, and the Sylph, have each a schooner 
constantly in tow, yet the others cannot sail as fast as the 
enemy's squadron ; which gives him decidedly the advantage, 
and puts it in his power to engage me when and how he 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Hon. William Jones, secretary of the navy. 

No. 53. 

From Sir James Yco to Sir George Prevost. 

II. M 's ship Wolf, at Kingston, 
Sin, November 15, 1813. 

I yesterday received Captain Barclay's official statement of 
the ill- fated action on Lake Erie ; and as your excellency must 
wish to be informed of every particular, I have the honor to 
enclose a copy of the same. It appears to me, that though 
his majesty's squadron were very deficient in seamen, weight 
of metal, and particularly long guns, yet the greater misfor- 
tune was the loss of every officer, particularly Captain Einuis, 

APPENDIX. lxxxiii 

-whose life, had it been spared, would, in my opinion, have 
saved the squadron. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

JAMES L. YEO, Commodore. 
His Excellency Sir George Prevost, Bart, 
governor and gcneral-in-chief. 

No. 54. 

From Captain Barclay to Sir James Yco. 

H.M.'s late ship Detroit, Put-in bay, 
Sir, Lake Erie, Sept. 12, 1813. 

The last letter I had the honor of writing to you, dated the 
6th instant, I informed you, that unless certain intimation was 
received of more seamen being on their way to Amherstburg, 
I should be obliged to sail with the squadron, deplorably 
manned as it was, to fight the enemy, (who blockaded the 
port,) to enable us to get supplies of provisions and stores of 
every description. So perfectly destitute of provisions was 
the port, that there was not a day's flour in store, and the 
crews of the squadron under my command were on half al- 
lowance of many things, and when that was done there was 
no more. Such were the motives which induced Major-general 
Proctor, (whom by your instructions I was directed to con- 
sult, and whose wishes I was enjoined to execute, as far as 
related to the good of the country,) to concur in the neces- 
sity of a battle being risked, under the many disadvantage* 
which I laboured ; and it now remains to me, the most melan- 
choly task, to relate to you the unfortunate issue of the battle, 
as well as the many untoward circumstances that led to that 

No intelligence of seamen having arrived, I sailed on the 
9th instant, fully expecting to meet the enemy next morning, 
as they had been seen among the islands ; nor was I mistaken. 

Ixxxiv APPENDIX.. 

Soon after day. light they were seen in motion in Put-in bay, 
the wind then south-west, and light, giving us the weather- 
gage. I bore up for them, in hopes of bringing them to action 
•among the islands, bat that intention was soon frustrated by 
the wind suddenly shifting to the south-west, which brought 
the enemy directly to- windward. 

The line was formed according to a given plan, so that each 
ship might be supported against the superior force of the two 
brigs opposed to them. About 10, the enemy cleared the 
islands, and immediately bore up, under sail, in a line a-breast, 
each brig being also supported by the small vessels. At a 
quarter before 12, I commenced the action, by firing a few 
long guns; about a quarter past, the American commodore, 
also supported by two schooners, one carrying four long 
12-pounders, the other a long 32 and 21-pounder, came to 
close action with the Detroit; the other brig of the enemy, 
apparently destined to engage the Queen Charlotte, supported 
in like manner by two schooners, kept so far to-windward as 
to render the. Queen Charlotte's 24-pounder carronades use- 
less, while she was, with the Lady Prevost, exposed to the 
heavy and destructive fire of the Caledonian, and four other 
schooners, armed with long and heavy guns, like those I have 
already described. 

Too soon, alas! was I deprived of the service of the noble 
and intrepid Captain Finnis, who, soon after the commence- 
ment of the action, fell; and with him fell my greatest sup- 
port. Soon after Lieutenant Stokes, of the Queen Charlotte, 
was struck senseless by a splinter, which deprived the country 
of his services at this very critical period. 

As I perceived the Detroit had enough to contend with, 
without the prospect of a fresh brig, Provincial-lieutenant 
Irvine, who then had charge of the Queen Charlotte, behaved 
with great courage ; but his experience was much too limited 
to BOpp'ly the place of such an officer as Captain Finuis, henco 
the proved of far less assistance than 1 expected. 


The action continued with great fur)' until half-past 2, when 
I perceived my opponent drop a-stern, and a boat passing 
from him to the Niagara; (which vessel was at this time per- 
fectly fresh ;) the American commodore, seeing that as yet the 
day was against him, (his vessel having struck soon after he 
left her,) and also the very defenceless state of the Detroit, 
which ship was now a perfect wreck, principally from the 
raking fire of the gun-boats, and also that the Queen Char- 
lotte was in such a situation that I could receive very little 
assistance from her, and the Lady Prevost being at this time 
too far to-leeward, from her rudder being injured, made a 
noble, and, alas ! too successful an effort to regain it, for he 
bore up, and, supported by his small vessels, passed within 
pistol-shot, and took a raking position on our bow; nor could 
I prevent it, as the unfortunate situation of the Queen Char- 
lotte prevented us from wearing. In attempting it we fell on 
board her. My gallant First-lieutenant Garland was now mor- 
tally wounded, and myself severely, that I was obliged to quit 
the deck. Manned as the squadron was, with not more than 
50 British seamen, the rest a mixed crew of Canadians and 
soldiers, and who were totally unacquainted with such service, 
rendered the loss of officers more sensibly felt, and never in 
any action was the loss more severe : every officer commanding 
vessels, and their seconds, were either killed, or wounded so 
severely, as to be unaule to keep the deck. 

Lieutenant Buchan, in the Lady Prevost, behaved most 
nobly, and did every thing that a brave and experienced officer 
could do, in a vessel armed with 12-pound carronades, against 
vessels carrying long guns. I regret to state that he was se- 
verely wounded. Lieutenant Bigual, of the Dover, command- 
ing the Hunter, displayed the. greatest intrepidity ; but his 
guns being small, (2, 4, and 6-pounders,) he could be of 
much less service than he wished. 

Every officer in the Detroit behaved in the most exemplary 
manner. Lieutenant Inglis shewed such calm intrepidity, that 

lxxxvi APPENDIX. 

I was fully convinced that, on leaving the deck, I left the ship 
in excellent hands ; and for an account of the battle after that, 
I refer you to his letter, which he wrote rnc for your infor- 

Mr. Hoffmeister, purser of the Detroit, nobly volunteered 
his services on deck, and behaved in a manner that reflects the 
highest honor on him. I regret to add, that he is very severely 
wounded in the knee. 

Provincial-lieutenant Purvis, and the military officers, Lieu- 
tenants Gordon, of the Royal Newfoundland Rangers, and 
O'Kecfc, of the 41st regiment, behaved in a manner which 
excited my warmest admiration. The few British seamen I 
had behaved with their usual intrepidity; and, as long as I 
was on deck, the troops behaved with a calmness and courage 
worthy of a more fortunate issue to their exertions. 

The weather-gage gave the enemy a prodigious advantage, 
as it enabled them not only to choose their position, but their 
distance also, which they did in such a manner, as to prevent 
the carronades of the Queen Charlotte and Lady Prevost from 
haviDg much effect ; while their long guns did great execution, 
particularly against the Queen Charlotte. 

Captain Perry has behaved in a most humane and attentive 
manner, not only to myself and officers, but to all the 

I trust, that although unsuccessful, you will approve of the 
motives that induced me to sail under so many disadvantages, 
and that it may be hereafter proved that, under such circum- 
stances, the honor of his majesty's Hag has not been tar- 

I enclose the list of killc-J and wounded. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

R. II. BARCLAY, commander, 
and la ie senior officer. 
Sir James Lucas Yco, &c. Sec. 

APPENDIX. lxxxvii 

No. 55. 

From Lieutenant lnglis to Captain Barclay. 

Hi M. late ship Detroit, Sept. 10, 1813. 

I have the honor to transmit you an account of the termi- 
nation of the late unfortunate battle with the enemy's squadron. 

On coming on the quarter-deck, after your being wounded, 
the enemy's second brig, at that time on our weather-beam, 
shortly afterwards took a position on our weather-bow, to 
rake us ; to prevent which, in attempting to wear, to get our 
starboard-broadside to bear upon her, a number of the guns of 
the larboard-broadside being at this time disabled, fell on board 
the Queen Charlotte, at this time running up to-lceward of us. 
In this situation the two ships remained for some time. 

As soon as we got clear of her, I ordered the Queen Char- 
lotte to shoot a-head of us, if possible, and attempted to back 
our fore-top-sail, to get a-stern ; but the ship lying completely 
unmanageable, every brace cut away, the mizen-top-mast and 
gaff down, all the other masts badly wounded, not a stay left 
forward, hull shattered very much, a number of the guns dis- 
abled, and the enemy's squadron raking both ships, a-head 
and a-stern, none of our own in a situation to support us, I 
was under the painful necessity of answering the enemy, to 
say we had struck, the Queen Charlotte having previously 

done so. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

To Captain Barclay. GEORGE INGLIS. 

A statement of the force of his majesty's squadron on Lake 
Erie, and that of the United States. 
His majesty's squadron. 
Detroit. — Two long 24-pounders, one long 18- pounder on 
pivot ; six long 12-pound«rs, eight long 9-pounders, one 24- 
pound carronade, one 18-pound carronade. 

lxxxviii APPENDIX. 

Queen Charlotte. — One long 12-poundcr, on pivot ; two 
long 9-potinders, fourteen 24-pound carronades. 

Lady Prevost. — One long 9-pounder, on pivot; two long 
6-poundcrs, ten 12-pound carronades. 

Hunter. — Four long 6-pounders, two long 4-pounders, two 
long 2-pounders, two 12-pound carronades. 

Little Belt. — One long 12-pounder, on pivot; two long 
C -pounders. 

Chippcway. — One long 9-poundcr, on pivot. 

United States' squadron. 

Lawrence. — Two long 12-pounders, eighteen 32-pound 

.Niagara.— Two long 12-pounders, eighteen 32 pound car- 

Caledonia. — Two long 24-pounders, one 32-pound carro- 
nade, all on pivots. 

Ariel. — Four long 12-pounders, on pivots. 

Somers. — One long 24-pouudcr, one 32-pound carronadc, 
both on pivots. 

Porcupine. — One long 32-pounder, on pivot. 

Tigress. — One long 32-pouiuler, on pivot. 

Scorpion. — One long 32-pounder, one 24-pound carronadc, 
both on pivots. 

Trippc. — One long 24-poundcr, on pivt t. 


A list of killed and zcounded on board his majesty* a ships and 
vessels in an action ivith the American squadron on Lake 
Eric, c\c. 
Three officers, 38 men killed ; nine officers, 85 men, 


Names of officers killed and icounded. 
S. J. Garden, Royal Newfoundland Regiment, killed. 
Detroit.— Killed, First-lieutenant J. Garland.— Wounded, 


Captain R. H. Barclay, dangerously ; J. M. Hoffmeister, 
purser, dangerously. 

Queen Charlotte. — Killed, Captain 11. Finnis. — Wounded, 
First-lieutenant James Stokoe, severely ; James Foster, mid- 
shipman, slightly. 

Lady Prevost. — Wounded, Lieutenant Edward Buchan, 
commanding, dangerously ; First-lieutenant F. Roulette, se- 

Hunter. — Wounded, Lieutenant G. Bignell, commanding, 
severely ; Henry Gateshill, master's-mate. slightly. 

Chippeway. — Wounded, Master's-mate J. Campbell, com- 
manding, slightly. 

R. II. B. commander, and late senior officer. 

No. 56. 

From Commodore Perry to the American secretary of the navy. 

U. S. brig Niagara, off the Western Sister, 
Sir, Lake Erie, September 10, 1013. 

It has pleased the Almighty to give to the arms of the 
United States, a signal victory over their enemies on this lake. 
The Britith squadron, consisting of two ships, two brigs, one 
schooner, and one sloop, have this moment surrendered to the 
force under my command, after a sharp conflict. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


Hon. W. Jones, secretary of the navy. 

No. 57. 

From Commodore Perry to General Harrison. 

Dear Sir, September 11, 1813. 

W"e have a great number of prisoners, which I wish to 
land : will you be so good as to order a guard to receive 


them, and inform me of the place? Considerable numbers 

have been killed aod wounded on both sides. From the best 

information, we have more prisoners than wc have men on 

board our vessels. 

In great haste, 

Your's very truly, 

General Harrison. 

No. 58. 

From Commodore Perry to the American secretary of the navy. 

U. S. schooner Ariel, Put-in bay, 
Sin, September 13, 1813. 

In my last I informed you that we had captured the enemy's 
fleet on this lake. I have now the honor to give you the most 
important particulars of the action. On the morning of the 
10th instant, at sun-rise, they were discovered from Put-in 
bay, where I lay at anchor with the squadron under my com- 
mand. We got under way, the wind light at S. W. and stood 
for them. At 10 A.M. the wind hauled to S.E. and brought 
us to windward ; formed the line, and bore up. At 15 mi- 
nutes before 12, the enemy commenced firing ; at 5 minutes 
before 12 the acliou commenced on our part. Finding their 
fire very destructive, owing to their long guns, and its being 
mostly directed at the Lawrence, I made sail, and directed the 
other vessels to follow, for the purpose of closing wilh the 
enemy. Every brace and bow-line being shot away, she be- 
came unmanageable, notwithstanding the great exertions of the 
sailing-master. In this si! uation she sustained the action up- 
wards of two hours, within canister-distance, until every gun 
was rendered useless, and the greater part of her crew cither 
killed or wounded. Finding she could no longer annoy the 
enemy, I left her in charge of LuMiUnant Yarnall, who, I was 
convinced, from the bravery already displayed by him, would 


do what would comport with the honor of the flag. At 
half-past 2, the wind springing up, Captain Elliott was 
enabled to bring his vessel, the Niagara, gallantly into close 
action. I immediately went on board of her, when he antici- 
pated my wish by volunteering to bring the schooners, which 
had been kept a-stern by the lightness of the wind, into close 
action. It was with unspeakable pain, that I saw, soon after 
I got on board the Niagara, the flag of the Lawrence come 
down, although I was perfectly sensible that she had been 
defended to the last, and that to have continued to make a 
shew of resistance, would have been a wanton sacrifice of her 
brave crew. But the enemy was not able to take possession 
of her, and circumstances soon permitted her flag again to be 

At 45 minutes past 2, the signal was made for li close 
action." The Niagara being very little injured, I determined 
to pass through the enemy's line; bore up and passed a-head 
of their two ships and a brig, giving a raking fire to them from 
the starboard-guns, and to a large schooner and sloop from the 
larboard-side at half-pistol-shot distance. The smaller vessels 
at this time having got within grape and canister-distance, 
under the direction of Captain Elliott, and keeping up a well- 
directed fire, the two ships, a brig and a schooner, surren- 
dered, a schooner and sloop making a vain attempt to escape. 

Those officers and men who were immediately under my 
observation evinced the greatest gallantry, and I have no doubt 
that all others conducted themselves as became American offi- 
cers and seamen. Lieutenant Yarnall, first of the Lawrence, 
although several times wounded, refused to quit the deck. 
Midshipman Forrest, (doing duty as a lieutenant) and sailing- 
master Tailor, were of great assistance to mc. I hare great 
pain in stating to you the death of Lieutenant Brooks of the 
marines, and Midshipman Lamb, both of the Laurence, and 
Midshipman John Clarke of the Scorpion : they were valu- 
able and promising officers. Mr. Hambleton, purser, who 


volunteered his services on deck, was severely wounded late 
in the action. Midshipman Claxton and Swartcvant of the 
Lawrence, were severely woumled. On board of the Niagara, 
Lieutenants Smith and Edwards, and Midshipman Webster, 
(doing dufy as sailing-master,) behaved in a >ery handsome 
manner. Captain Breevoort, of the army, Mho acted as a 
volunteer in the capacity of a marine officer on board that 
vessel, is an excellent and brave officer, and with his musketry 
did great execution. Lieutenant Turin r. commanding the 
Caledonia, brought that vessel into action in the most able 
manner, and is an officer that in all situations may be relied 
on. i he Ariel, Lieutenant Packet, and Scorpion, Sailing- 
master Champlain, were enabled to get early into action, and 
were of great service.* Captain Elliott speaks in the highest 
terms of Air. Mag rath, purser, wh<> had been dispatched in a 
boat on service previous to my getting on board the Niagara; 
and, being a seaman, since the action has rendered essential ser- 
vice, in taking charge of one of the prizes. Of Captain Elliott, 
already so well known to (he government, it would be almost 
supcrlluous to speak. In this action he evinced his character- 
istic bravery and judgment, and, since the close of the action, 
has given me the most able and essential assistance. 

1 have the honor to enclose, you a return of killed and 
wounded, together with a statement of the relative fore of the 
squadrons. The captain and first lieutenant of the Queen 
Charlotte, and the first lieutenant of the Detroit, were killed; 
Captain liarclay, senior officer, and the commander of the 
Lady Prevost, severely wounded; the commanders of tho 
Hunter and Chippeway, slightly wounded. Their loss in 
killed and wounded 1 have not yet been able to ascertain ; it 
must however have, been very great. 

Very respectfully. &r. 

0.11. PEUHV. 
Hon. Wi Jones, secretary of the navy. 

* Assisted the Lawrence in engaging the Detroit. 

APPENDIX. xciii 

No. 59. 

Extract of a letter from Commodore Perry to the same. 

U. Si schooner Ariel, Put-in bay, 
Sir, September 13, 1813. 

I have caused the prisoners taken on the 10th instant to be 
landed at Sandusky, and have requested General Harrison to 
have them marched to Chilicothe, and there wait until your 
pleasure shall be known respecting them. 

The Lawrence has been entirely cut up ; it is absolutely 
necessary she should go into a safe harbour. I have therefore 
directed Lieutenant Yarnall to proceed to Erie in her, with 
the wounded of the fleet, and dismantle and get her over the 
bar as soon as possible. 

The two ships in a heavy sea this day at anchor lost their 
masts, being much injured in the action. I shall haul them 
into the inner bay at this place, and moor them for the present. 
The Detroit is a remarkably fine ship, sails well, and is very 
strongly built. The Queen Charlotte is a much superior vessel 
to what has been represented. The Lady Provost is a large 
fine schooner. 

I also beg your instructions respecting the wounded. I am 
satisfied, Sir, that whatever steps I might take, governed by 
humanity, would meet your approbation. Under this im- 
pression I have taken upon myself to promise Captain Bar- 
clay, who is very dangerously wounded, that he shall be landed 
as near Lake Ontario as possible, and I had no doubt you 
would allow me to parole him. He is under the impression 
that nothing but leaving this part of the country will save his 

There is also a number of Canadians among the prisoners, 
many of whom have families. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Hon. William Joncs ; secretary of the navy, 


Statement of the force of the British squadron. 

Ship Detroit 19 guns — 1 on pivot, and 2 howitzers. 

Queen Charlotte ..17 ditto— 1 ditto 

Schooner Lady Prevost 13 ditto — 1 ditto 

Brig Hunter 10 ditto 

Sloop Little Belt 3 ditto 

Schooner Chippeway 1 do. and 2 swivels: total 63 gs. 

Xote. — The Detroit is a new ship, very strongly built, and mounting lone 
54s, 18s, and 12s. * b 

Statement of the force of tne U. S. squadron. 

Brig Lawrence ..20 guns. 

Niagara 20 ditto 

Caledonia .. 3 ditto 
Schooner Ariel 4 ditto (one burst early in the action.) 

Scorpion ..2 ditto 

Soraers 2 ditto 

Sloop Trippe 1 ditto 

Schooner Tigress 1 ditto 

Porcupine .. 1 ditto— Total, 54 guns. 
The exact number of the encmys' force has not been ascer- 
tained, but I have good reason to believe, that it exceeded ours 
by nearly one hundred men. 

List of -killed and zcounded on board the U.S. squadron, §c. 

( Here follow the names, then,) 


Killed. Wounded. Total. 

Lawrence 22 61 83 

Niagara .._ 2 2. r > 27 

Caledonia 3 3 

Somers o o 

A riel 1 3 I 

Trippe ,__ 2 9 

Scorpion 2 2 

27 IMJ 123 

S. HAMBLETON, purser. 
O. II. PiiilUV, captain and scniur ofikvr. 


No. 60. 

From Commodore Perry to General Harrison. 

U.S. schooner Ariel, Sept. 15, 1813. 

The very great assistance in the action of the 10th instant 
derived from those men you were pleased to send on board the 
squadron, renders it a duty to return you my sincere thanks 
for so timely a re-inforcement. In fact, Sir, I may say, 
without those men the victory could not have been achieved; 
and equally to assure you, that those officers and men behaved 
as became good soldiers and seamen. Those who were under 
my immediate observation evinced great ardour and bravery. 
Captain Prevqrt, of the 2d regiment of infantry, serving on 
board the Niagara, I beg leave to recommend particularly to 
your notice : he is a brave and gallant officer, and, as far as 
I am capable of judging, an excellent one. I am convinced 
you will present the merit of this officer to the view of the 
honorable secretary of war, as I shall to the honorable 
secretary of the navy. 

Very respectfully, &c. 

Major-General W. II. Harrison, 
commander-in-chief of the N. W. army. 

No. 61. 

Extracts from the court-martial on Captain Barclay. 
(Parliamentary papers.) 

Provincial Lieutenant Francis Purvis of the Detroit, examined. 
Q. How many experienced seamen had you on board the 
Detroit when the action commenced ? 


A. To the best of my knowledge, not more than ten, officers 

Q. Can you recollect how many of those ten seamen were 
killed and wounded ? 

A. To the best of my recollection, seven or eight were 
killed or wounded. 

Q. How near were the enemy to you at the early part of 
the engagement? 

A. The Detroit, in engaging the Lawrence, was within 
pistol-shot, and within pistol. shot of the Niagara. The latter 
came down after the Lawrence had struck. 

Captain Barclay asked: — 

Were the matches and tubes so bad, that were supplied to 
me from Amherst bay, that I was obliged to prime without 
the latter, and fired pistols at the guns to set them off? 

A. Yes; we fired pistols at the guns to set them off during 
the whole of the action. 

Q. "Why did you not take possession of the Lawrence 
when she struck ? 

A. We had only one boat, and that was cut to pieces ; and 
the Niagara, another large brig, being to-windward, came 
down too quickly upon us. 

Q. Did the enemy's gun-boats do much damage? 

A. More than any of their vessels : they had long two and 

Lieutenant Thomas Stokoc of the Queen Charlotte, examined. 

Q. How many men had you on board the Queen Charlotte 
that you could call experienced seamen? 

A. Not more than fen, with the petty officers. We had 
on board between 190 and 130 men, officers and all together. 

Q. How m. my nun had jou on board that had been 
accustomed to work the great guns with a ship in motion? 

A. Only the men that came up from the Dover three days 
before we sailed. We had iixtccn of them, boys included, 

APPENDIX. xcvii 

from the Dover: the rest we had learnt ourselves, since our 
arrival on the Lake. 

Q. Do you know whether the other vessels that composed 
the squadron of Captain Barclay were equally deficient in 
seamen. ? 

A. All the other vessels were equally deficient in point of 
seamen, except the Detroit might have a few more on account 
of being a larger vessel. 

Q. At half an allowance, how many days' provisions had 
you ou board the Queen Charlotte when you went out? 

A. We might have had a week's, at half-allowance, of pro- 
visions, but not of spirits; they were preserved for the action, 
and all consumed on that day. We had none served out for 
several days before. 

Q. Did you understand that the enemy's vessels were well 

manned ? 

A. Yes, they were remarkably well manned. I believe, 

from the information I received from the American officers, 

that the Lawrence had more able seamen on board, than we 

had in our whole squadron. I was on board the Lawrence 

about a quarter of an hour, and on board the Niagara two or 

three days : she appeared to be very well manned ; they chiefly 

manned the prizes from her. 

Captain Barclay asked :— 

Was I obliged to take from the Queen Charlotte stores of 
various descriptions, even to sails, cables, and anchors, as well 
as a proportion of pistols to Jire the guns off with, before I 
could make the Detroit at all fit for the lake ? 

A. Yes, you were. 

No. 62. 

Sentence of the court-martial on Captain Barclay. 
That the capture of his majesty's late squadron was caused 
by the very defective means Captain Barclay possessed to equip 

xcviii APPENDIX. 

them on Lake Erie ; the want of a sufficient number of able 
senmen, whom he had repeatedly and earnestly requested of 
Sir James Yeo to be sent to him; the very great superiority 
of the enemy to the British squadron ; and the unfortunate 
early fall of the superior officers in the action. That it ap- 
peared that the greatest exertions had been made by Captain 
Barclay, in equipping and getting into order the vessels under 
his command ; that he was fully justified, under the existing 
circumstances, in bringing the enemy to action ; that the 
judgment and gallantry of Captain Barclay in taking his squa- 
dron into action, and during the contest, were highly conspi- 
cuous, and entitled him to the highest praise ; and that the 
whole of the other officers and men of his Majesty's late 
squadron conducted themselves in the most gallant manner; 
and did adjudge the said Captain Robert Heriot Barclay, his 
surviving officers and men, to be most fully and honorably 
acquitted. — Rear-admiral Foote, president. 

No. 63. 

Vote of congress. 

The congress of the United States voted their thanks to 
Commodore Perry, and through him to the officers, petty- 
officers, seamen, marines, and infantry serving as such, attached 
to the squadron under his command, for the decisive and 
glorious victory of Lake Erie ; also gold medals, &c. and 
three months extra-pay to all the petty-otliecrs, seamen, 
marines, and infantry, who were in the engagement. 


No. 64. 

From Commodore Perry to Messrs. Murray, Draper, and 

Extracted from an American newspaper. 

Newport, May 23, 1814. 


I have examined two views of the action on Lake Erie, 
drawn by Mr. Sully, and Mr. Kearney, from information 
given them by the commanding officers of the American vessels 
on Erie. I have no hesitation in pronouncing them a correct 
representation of the engagement at those particular moments. 

Wishing that your pecuniary success may equal your exer- 
tions in obtaining correct information of the battle, 

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant, 
Messrs. Murray, Draper, Fairman, and Webster. 

No. 65. 

From Commodore Chauncey to the American secretary of the 

Sackett's harbour, May 1, 1814. 

I am happy to have it in my power to inform you, that 
the United States ship Superior, was launched this morning 
without accident. The Superior is an uncommonly beautiful 
and well-built ship, something larger than the President, and 
could mount 64 guns, if it was thought advisable to put as 
many upon her. This ship has been built in the short space 
of 80 days ; and when it is taken into view, that two brigs 
of 500 tons each have also been built, rigged, and completely 
fitted for service, since the first of February, it will be 
h 2 

xcviii APPENDIX. 

them on Lake Erie; the want of a sufficient number of able 
sc imrn, whom he had repeatedly and earnestly requested of 
Sir James Yeo to be sent to him; the very great superiority 
of the enemy to the British squadron ; and the unfortunate 
early fall of the superior officers in the action. That it ap- 
peared that the greatest exertions had been made by Captain 
Barclay, in equipping and getting into order the vessels under 
his command ; that he was fully justified, under the existing 
circumstances, in bringing the enemy to action ; that the 
judgment and gallantry of Captain Barclay in taking his squa- 
dron into action, and during the contest, were highly conspi- 
cuous, and entitled him to the highest praise; and that the 
whole of the other officers and men of his Majesty's late 
squadron conducted themselves in the most gallant manner; 
and did adjudge the said Captain Robert Heriot Barclay, his 
surviving officers and men, to be most fully and honorably 
acquitted.— Rear-admiral Foote, president. 

No. 63. 

Vote of congress. 

The congress of the United States voted their thanks to 
Commodore Perry, and through him to the officers, pctly- 
officers, seamen, marines, and infantry serving as such, attached 
to the squadron under his command, for the decisive and 
glorious victory of Lake Erie ; also gold medals, &c. and 
three months extra-pay to all the petty-oflicen, seamen, 
marines, and infantry, who were in the engagement. 


No. 64. 

From Commodore Perry to Messrs. Murray, Draper, and 

Extracted from an American newspaper. 

Newport, May 23, 1814. 


I have examined two views of the action on Lake Erie, 
drawn by Mr. Sully, and Mr. Kearney, from information 
given them by the commanding officers of the American vessels 
on Erie. I have no hesitation in pronouncing them a correct 
representation of the engagement at those particular moments. 

Wishing that your pecuniary success may equal your exer- 
tions in obtainiag correct information of the battle, 

I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant, 
Messrs. Murray, Draper, Fairman, and Webster. 

No. 65. 

From Commodore Chauncey to the American secretary of tht 

Sackett's harbour, May 1, 1814. 
I am happy to have it in my power to inform you, that 
the United States ship Superior, was launched this morning 
without accident. The Superior is an uncommonly beautiful 
and well-built ship, something larger than the President, and 
could mount 64 guns, if it was thought advisable to put as 
many upon her. This ship has been built in the short space 
of 80 days ; and when it is taken into view, that two brigs 
of 500 tons each have also been built, rigged, and completely 
fitted for service, since the first of February, it will be 
h 2 


acknowledged that the mechanics employed on this station 
have done their duty. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Hon. secretary of the navy, &c. 

No. 66. 

From Commodore Decatur to Sir Thomas M. Hardy. 

U. S. ship United States, New London, 
Sir, 17th January, 1814. 

Having been informed by Nicholas Moran, the master of 
a sloop recently captured by his Brittanic Majesty's ship 
Endymion, now lying before this port, that, whilst he was on 
board the Ramillies, and in your hearing, Captain Hope of 
the 'Endymion did ask him, whether the frigate United States 
would not avoid an action. He further states, that he heard 
you declare it to be your wish, that the U.S. ship Macedo- 
nian, should have a meeting with H. B. S. Statira; that you 
would furnish men, and give room for such meeting ; but 
that you would not permit the challenge to come from your 

The Endymion, I am informed, carries 24-pounders; and 
mounts 50 guns in all. This ship also carries 24-pounders, 
and mounts 48 guns; besides a 12-pound carronade, a boat- 

The Statira mounts 50; the Macedonian, 47; metal the 
same. So that the force on both sides is as nearly equal a» 
we could expect to find. 

If Mr. Moran's statement be correct, it is evident Captains 
Hope and Stack poolc have thelaudahle desire of engaging with 
their ships, the United States and Macedonian : we sir, ar« 
ready, and equally desirous for such meeting forthwith. 

The only difficulty that appears to be in the way, is from 


■whom the formal invitation is to come. If, sir, you admit 
Moran's statement to be correct, the difficulty will be removed, 
and you will be pleased to consider this as an invitation. 
At the same time we beg you will assure Captains Hope and 
Stackpoole, that no personal feeling towards them, induces 
me to make this communication. They are solicitous to add 
to the renown of their country : we honor their motives. 

Captain Biddle, who will have the honor to deliver you 
this, is authorised on our part, to make any arrangements 
which may be thought necessary. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


To Sir Thomas M. Hardy. 

No. 67. 

From Captain Stackpoole to Commodore Decatur. 

H. M. S. Statira, off N. London, 
Sir, January 17, 1814. 

Captain Sir Thomas M. Hardy, Bart, and commodore off 
New London, has this afternoon handed me a letter from you, 
expressing a desire that the U. S. ship Macedonian, commanded 
by Captain Jones, should meet H". M.S. Statira, under my 
command ; and that the U. S. ship United States, bearing your 
broad pendant, would embrace the same opportunity of meet, 
ing the Endymion, commanded by Captain Hope. In the 
event of Sir Thomas Hardy's permitting our joint acceptation 
of this rendezvous, I, of course, must be the senior officer; 
but, in the interim, I shall confine my reply to your obliging 
letter, as to the future acts of H.M. ship I have the honor to 

It will afford her captain, officers, and crew, the greatest 
pleasure, to meet Captain Jones in the Macedonian to-morrow, 


next day, or whenever such a meeting may suit his purpose r 
let him only be pleased to appoint the day and place. Say, 
six or ten leagues south of Montauk point, or further if he 
pleases ; my ouly object for selecting this distance from the 
shore is to avoid any interruption. Little, I think, can be 
apprehended, as all the captains commanding frigates, except- 
ing one, in these seas, are junior to me; and, in the event of 
chance, or by accident meeting him, I will hoist a flag of 
truce, pledging the word and honor of a British officer, (fur- 
ther I cannot offer,) to keep the truce flying, till the Mace, 
donian is out of sight; and, in the event of a junior officer 
appearing, the same guarantee shall be kept flying until I can 
detach him. 

In accepting this invitation, sir, it is not to vaunt, or, in 
the most trifling degree, to enhance my own professional cha- 
racter, or lake from what is so justly due to Captain Jones; 
although I have been twice mortified, in being obliged to re- 
treat, on the 26th and 28th of August, 1812, by six American 
men of war; and, for 12 weeks together, cruizing alone, it 
has never fallen to the Statira's lot to meet one singly. 

The honor of my king, defence of my country, engaged in 
a just and unprovoked -war, added to the glory of the British 
flag, is all I have in view. 

I perceive a statement in your letter, of the comparative 
force pf the two ships ; and, as I fear you have been led into 
error, shall take this opportunity to say, the Statira carries 
only 46 guns, instead of 50, with two little boat-guns, of 
more utility in exercising the men, than any effect they might 
have in the hour of battle; and, without any external finery 
to recommend her, is simply a British man of war, of her 
class : nevertheless, a more lair and equal match, in ship and 
guns, may not soon ocenr. In number of men, I am aware of 
having a superiority to oppose: all I request is, that both 
fchips may quickly meet. 

Having received your communication by the hand of Sir 


T. M. Hardy, Bart. I shall convey my reply through the same 
channel, requesting you will be so good as to hand it to the 
captain of the Macedonian. 

I am, sir, with every consideration, 

Your obedient humble servant, 

To Commodore Decatur, commanding the U. S. 
ship United States, New London. 

No. 68. 

Sir T. M. Hardy to Commodore Decatur. 

Ramillies, off New London, 
Sir, January 18, 1812. 

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter 
of yesterday's date, by Captain Biddle, signifying a desire on 
your part, and that of Captain Jones, as commanders of the 
ships United States and Macedonian, to meet H. B. M. ihips 
Endymion and Statira, in consequence of a conversation re- 
ported to you by Mr. Moran, master of a sloop recently 
captured ; and, in reply, I beg to inform you, I have no hesi- 
tation whatever to permit Captain Stackpoole, in the Statira, 
to meet the Macedonian, as they are sister-ships, carrying the 
same number of guns, and weight of metal; but, as it is my 
opinion, the Endymion is not equal to the United States, being 
200 tons less, and carrying 26 guns on her main-deck, and 
only 32-pound carronades on her quarter-deck and forecastle, 
when, I am informed, the United States has 30 guns on her 
main-deck, and 42-pound carronades on her quarter-deck and 
forecastle, I must consider it my duty, (though very contrary 
to the wishes of Captain Hope.) to decline the invitation on 
his part. 

The captains of H. B. M. frigates under my orders, as well 


as myself, cannot too highly appreciate the gallant spirit that 
has led to the communication from you, sir ; and are equally 
convinced, that no personal feeling towards each other can 
ever influence a laudable ambition to add to the naval renown 
of our respective countries. 

I have the honor to enclose a letter from Captain Stack- 
poole, bearing your address ; and I pledge my honor to faci- 
litate, by every means in my power, the meeting on the ren- 
dezvous pointed out by him, and that none of the captains of 
H. M. ships, junior to me, shall interfere. Captain Stack- 
poole's proposal amply provides against that of a senior 

Should success attend the Macedonian, I guarantee her pro- 
ceeding unmolested to any port to the eastward of this an- 
chorage; and I propose the same from you, sir, for the Statira 
to proceed to Bermuda. 

Captain Coote will have the honor to deliver this letter, and 
to make any arrangements that may be necessary. 

I have the honor to be, &£. 

Commodore S. Decatur, &c. &c. New London. 


No. 69. 

From Commodore Decatur to Sir T. M. Hardy. 

U.S. ship United States, New London, 
S, R January 19, 1814. 

I havo the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor 
of yesterday > with the enclosure from Captain Stack poole, by 
(he hands of Captain Coote. 

The proposition for a contest between II. B. M. frigates 
Endymion and Statira, and (his ship and the Macedonian, was 
made by mc in the full belief that their force was equal; but 


k has been declined in consequence of your entertaining a dif- 
ferent opinion on this subject from my own. 

I do not think myself authorised to comply with the wishes 
of Captains Jones and Stackpoole, for a meeting in their 

This squadron is now under sailing-orders from'the govern- 
ment ; and I feel myself bound to put to sea the first favorable 
opportunity that may occur. 

In my proposal for a meeting of the four ships, I consented, 
and I fear incautiously, that you should make up the comple- 
ments of the Endymion and Statira from the crews of the 
Ramillies and Borer. 

I was induced to accord this indulgence, from a supposition 
that their crews might have been reduced by manning prizes ; 
and a hope that, as the selected men would be divided between 
the two ships, the advantage would not be overwhelming. 

But, sir, if the Statira is to avail herself alone of this con- 
cession, it must be obvious to you, and every one, that I 
should be yielding to you an advantage I could not excuse to 
my government ; and in making the crew of the Macedonian 
any degree equal to such a conflict, I should be compelled to 
break up the crews of this ship and the Hornet, and thus ren- 
der a compliance with my orders to proceed to sea utterly im- 
practicable. I beg leave also to state, that the guarantee 
against recapture, in case the Macedonian should prove suc- 
cessful, is very far from satisfactory. 

You will have the goodness, sir, to inform Captain Stack- 
poole, that his letter was shewn to Captain Jones, • according 
to his request ; that Captain Jones is extremely desirous that 
a meeting should take place between the Statira and Macedo- 
nian, but is controuled by me for the reasons I have stated. 

Whether the war we are engaged in be just and unprovoked 
on the part of Great Britain, as Captain Stackpoole has been 
pleased to suggest, is considered by us as a question exclusively 
with the civilians j and I am perfectly ready to admit, both my 


incompetence aud unwillingness, to confront Captain Stack. 
poole in its discussion. 

I am, Sir, &c. 

To Commodore Sir T. M. Hardy, Bart. &c. 

No. 70. 

From Sir T. M. Hardy to Commodore Decatur. 

Ramillies, off New London, Jan. 20, 1814. 
I have the honor to acquaint you, that I will communicate 
to Captain Stackpoole .your letter of the 19th instant, which 
I this evening had the honor of receiving by Captain Biddle ; 
and I have nothing further to offer, in addition to my former 
letter, on the subject of the meeting between the ships of the 
United States, and those of his brilannic majesty, but that I 
-will give every guarantee in my power, in case of the Mace. 
doni.n". success, should the nm ting ever take place. 

I beg to assure you, sir, I shall hail «ith pleasure the re- 
turn of an amicable adjustment of the differences between the 

two nations. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

Commodore Stephen Decatur. 


No. 71. 

From Captain IIMyar to Mr. Croker. 

Valparaiso bay, March 30, 1814. 

Sir, , 

I have the honor to acquaint you, for the information of 
the lords commissioners of the admiralty, that a little past 3 
O'clock in the afternoon of the 28th instant, after nearly fire 


months anxious search, and six weeks still more anxious look- 
out, for the Essex and her companion, to quit the port of Val- 
paraiso, we saw the former under weigh, and immediately, 
accompanied by the Cherub, made sail to close with her. On 
rounding the outer point of the bay, and hauling her wind for 
the purpose of endeavouring to weather us, and escape, she 
lost her main-top-mast, and afterwards, not succeeding in an 
effort to regain the limits of the port, bore up, and anchored 
so near the shore, (a few miles to the leeward of it,) as to 
preclude the possibility of passing a-head of her, without risk 
to his majesty's ships. As we drew near, my intention of 
going close under her stern was frustrated, by the ship break- 
ing off; and, from the wind blowing extremely fresh, our first 
fire, commencing a little past 4, and continuing about 10 mi- 
nutes, produced no visible effect. Our second, a few random 
shot only, from having increased our distance by wearing, 
was not, apparently, more successful; and having lost the use 
of our main-sail, jib, and main-stay, appearances were a little 
inauspicious. On standing again towards her, I signified my 
intention of anchoring, for which we were not ready before, 
with springs, to Captain Tucker, directing him to keep under 
weigh, and take a convenient station for annoying our oppo- 
nent. On closing the Essex, at 35 minutes past 5, the firing 
re-commenced; and, before I gained my intended position, 
her cable was cut, and a serious conflict ensued ; the guns of 
his majesty's ship gradually becoming more destructive, and 
her crew, if possible, more animated, which lasted until 20 
minutes past 6 ; when it pleased the Almighty Disposer of 
events to bless the efforts of my gallant companions, and my 
personal, very humble ones, with victory. My friend, Captain 
Tucker, an officer worthy of their lordships' best attentions, 
was severely wounded at the commencement of the action, but 
remained on deck till it terminated, using every exertion 
against the baffling winds, and occasional calms which followed 
the heavy firing, to close near the enemy. He informs me 


that his officers and crew, of whose loyalty, zeal, and disci- 
pline, I entertain the highest opinion, conducted themselves to 
his satisfaction. 

I have to lament the death of four of my brave companions, 
and one of his. With real sorrow, I add, that my first- 
lieutenant, Ingram, is among the number : he fell early, and is 
a great loss to his majesty's service. The many manly tears 
which I observed this morning, while performing the last mo- 
mental duty at his funeral on shore, more fully evinced the 
respect and affection of his afflicted companions, than any 
eulogium my pen is equal to. Our lists of wounded are small, 
and there is only one for whom I am under anxiety. The 
conduct of my officers and crew, without an individual excep- 
tion that has come to my knowledge, before, during, aud after 
the battle, was such as became good and loyal subjects, zealous 
for the honor of their much-loved, though distant, king and 


The defense of the Essex, taking into consideration our 
superiority of force, the very discouraging circumstance of her 
having lost her main-top-mast, and being twice on fire, did 
honor to her brave defenders, and most fully evinced the cou- 
rage of Captain Porter, and those under his command. Her 
colours were not struck, until the loss in killed and wounded 
was so awfully great, and her shattered condition so seriously 
bad, as to render further resistance unavailing. 

I was much hurt on hearing, that her men had been encou- 
raged, when the result of the action was evidently decided, 
some to take to their boats, and others to swim on shore. 
Many were drowned in the attempt; 10 were saved by the 
exertions of my people, and others. I believe between 30 and 
40 effected their landing. 1 informed Captain Porter that I 
considered the latter, in point of honor, as my prisoners ; he 
said, the encouragement was given, when the ship was in dan- 
ger from fire ; and I have, not pressed the point. The BMa 
•s completely stored and provisioned for, at least six months, 


and, although much injured in her upper-works, masts, and 
rigging, is not in such a state as to give the slightest cause of 
alarm, respecting her being able to perform a voyage to Eu- 
rope with perfect safety. Our main and mizen-masts, and 
main-yard, are rather seriously wounded. These, with a few 
shot-holes between wind and water, which we can get at with- 
out lightening, and a loss of canvass and cordage, which we 
can partly replace from our well-stored prize, are the extent 
of the injuries his majesty's ship has sustained. 

I feel it a pleasant duty to recommend to their lordships' 
notice my now senior lieutenant, Pearson, and Messrs. Allan, 
Gardner, Portner, and Daw, midshipmen. I should do very 
great injustice to Mr. George O'Brien, the mate of the Emily, 
merchantman, Avho joined a boat's crew of mine in the har- 
bour, and pushed for the ship, the moment he saw her likely 
to come to action, were I to omit recommending him to their 
lordships. His conduct, with that of Mr. N. Murphy, master 
of the English brig Good Friends, were such as to entitle 
them both to my lasting regard ; and prove, that they were 
ever ready to hazard their lives in their country's honorable 
cause. They came on board when the attempt was attended 
with great risk, and both their boats were swamped. I have 
before informed their lordships, that Mr. O'Brien was once a 
lieutenant in his majesty's service; (may I now add, that 
youthful indiscretions appear to have given place to great cor- 
rectness of conduct ;) and as he has proved his laudable zeal 
for its honor, I think, if restored, he will be found one of its 
greatest ornaments. I enclose returns of killed and wounded ; 
and, if conceived to have trespassed on their lordships' time by 
this very long letter, hope it will be kindly ascribed to the 
right cause— an earnest wish that merit may meet its duo 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


P. S. There has not been found a ship's book, or paper of 


any description, (charls excepted,) on board the Essex, or 
any document relative to the number serving in her previous 
to the action. Captain Porter informs me, that he had up- 
wards of 260 victualled. Our prisoners, including 42 wounded, 
amount to 161 ; 23 were found dead on her decks ; 3 wounded 
were taken away by Captain Downes, of the Essex Junior, a 
few minutes before the colours were struck ; and, I believe, 
20 or 30 reached the shore : the remainder were killed or 

{Here follow the names of four killed and seven zeounded 
on board the Phcebe ; and one killed and three wounded on 

board the Cherub."] 


J. W. Croker, Esq. &c. &c. 

No. 72. 

From Captain Uillyar to Captain Porter. 

Phccbe, April 4, 1814. 


Neither in my conversations, nor the accompanying letter, 
have I mentioned your sword. Ascribe my remissness, in the 
first instance, to forgetfulness : I consider it only in my ser- 
vant's possession, with my own, until the master may please to 
call for it 3 and, although 1 omitted, at the moment of presen- 
tation, from my mind being much engrossed in attending to 
professional duties, to offer its restoration, the hand that re- 
ceived it will be most gladly extended to put it in possession of 
him, who wore it so honorably in defending his country's 

Believe me, my dear sir, 

Very faithfully your's, 

Captain Porter. 


No. 73. 

From Captain Porter to the American secretary of the navy. 

Essex Junior, at sea, July 3, 1814. 

I have done myself the honor to address you repeatedly 
since I left the Delaware, but have scarcely a hope that one of 
my letters has reached you ; therefore consider it necessary to 
give a brief history of my proceeding since that period. 

I sailed from the Delaware on the 27th of October, 1812, 
and repaired, with all diligence, (agreeably to instruction from 
Commodore Bainbridge,) to Port Praya, Fernando de No- 
ronha, and Cape Frio, and arrived at each place on the day 
appointed to meet him. On my passage from Port Praya to 
Fernando de Noronha, I captured H. B. M. packet Norton, 
and after taking out 11,000/. sterling in specie, sent her, 
under command of Lieutenant Finch, for America. I cruized 
off Rio de Janeiro, and about Cape Frio, until the 12th of 
January, 1813, hearing frequently of the commodore by 
vessels from Bahia. I here captured but one schooner, with 
hides and tallow. I sent her into Rio. The Montague, the 
admiral's ship, being in pursuit of me, my provisions now 
getting short, and finding it necessary to look out for a supply, 
to enable me to meet the commodore, by the 1st of April, off 
St. Helena, I proceeded to the island of St. Catherine's, (the 
last place of rendezvous on the coast of Brazil,) as the most 
likely to supply my wants, and at the same time afford me 
that secrecy, necessary to enable me to elude the British ships 
of war on the coast, and expected there. 1 here could pro- 
cure only wood, water, rum, and a few bags of flour ; and 
hearing of the commodore's action with the Java, the capture 
of the Hornet by the Montague, and a considerable augmen- 
tation of the British force on the coast, and of sereral being 


in pursuit of me, I found it necessary to get to sea as soon as 
possible. I now, agreeably to the commodore's plan, stretched 
to the southward, scouring the coast us far as Ilio de la Plata. 
I heard that Buenos Ayres was in a state of starvation, and 
could not supply our wants, and that the government of Mon- 
teviedo was very inimical to us. The commodore's instruc- 
tions now left it discretionary with me what course to pursue, 
and I determined on following that which had not only met 
his approbation, but the approbation of the then secretary of 
the navy. I accordingly shaped my course for the Pacific, 
and after suffering greatly from short allowance of provisions, 
and heavy gales off Cape Horn, (for which my ship and men 
were illy provided,) I arrived at Valparaiso on the 14th 
March, 1813. I here took in as much jerked beef, and other 
provisions, as my ship would conveniently stow, and run down 
the coast of Chili and Peru. In this track I fell in with a 
Peruvian corsair, which had on board 24 Americans, as pri- 
soners, the crews of two whale-ships which she had taken on 
the coast of Chili. The captain informed me, that as the allies 
of Great Britain, they would capture all they should meet 
with, in expectation of a war between Spain and the United 
States. I consequently threw all his guns and ammunition into 
the sea, liberated the Americans, wrote a respectful letter to 
the vicc-roy, explaining the cause of my proceeding, which 
I delivered to her captain. I then proceeded for Lima, and 
rc-captured one of the vessels as she was entering the port. 
From thence I proceeded for the Gallapagos ulands, where I 
cruized from the 17th of April, until the 3d of October, 1813 ; 
during which time I touched only mire on the coast of Ame- 
rica, which was for the purpose of procuring a supply of fresh 
water, as none is to be found among those islands, which arc, 
perhaps, the most barren and desolate of any known. 

While among this group, I captured the following Bri- 
tish ships, employed chielly in the spermaceti whale-fishery j 


Letters of marque. 

Tons. Men. 

Montezuma 270 21 ... 

Policy 175 26 ... 

Georgiana 280 25 

Greenwich 338 25 

Atlantic 353 24 ... 

Rose 220 21 ... 

Hector 270 25 ... 

Catherine 270 29 

Seringapatam 357 31 ... 

Charlton 274 21 

New Zealander .. 259 23 ... 

Sir A. Hammond 301 31 


Pierced for 

. 2 . 

... — 

. 10 


. 6 . 

... 18 

. 10 . 


. 8 


. 8 . 

... 20 

. 11 


. 8 . 

... 18 

. 14 . 

... 26 

. 10 . 

... 18 

- 8 

... 13 

. 12 

... 18 

3369 302 107 

As some of those ships were captured by boats, and others 
by prizes, my officers and men had several opportunities of 
shewing their gallantry. 

The Rose and Charlton were given up to the prisoners ; the 
Hector, Catherine, and Montezuma, I sent to Valparaiso, 
where they were laid up; the Policy, Georgianar, and New 
Zealander, I sent for America ; the Greenwich I kept as a 
store-ship, to contain the stores of my other prizes, necessary 
for us; and the Atlantic, now called the Essex Junior, I 
equipped with 20 guns, and gave command of her to Lieute- 
nant Downes. 

Lieutenant Downes had convoyed the prizes to Valparaiso, 
and on his return brought me letters, informing me that a 
squadron, under the command of Commodore James Hillyar 
consisting of the frigate Phoebe, of 36 guns, the Racoon and 
Cherub sloops of war, and a store-ship of 20 guns, had sailed 
on the 6th of July for this sea. The Racoon and Cherub had 
been seeking me for some time on the coast of Brazil, and on 
their return from their cruize, joined the squadron sent in 

cx lv APPENDIX. 

search of me to the Pacific. My ship, as it may be supposed, 
after being near a year at sea, required some repairs to put 
her in a state to meet them, which I determined to do, and 
to bring them to action, if I could meet them on nearly equal 
terms. I proceeded now, in company with the remainder of 
my prizes, to the island of Noaheevah, or Madison island, 
lying in the Washington groupe, discovered by Captain Ingra- 
ham, of Coston. Here I caulked, and completely overhauled 
my ship, made for her a new set of water-casks, her old ones 
being entirely decayed, and took on board, from my prizes, 
provisions and stores for upwards of four months, and sailed 
for the coast of Chili on the 12th December, 1813. Previous 
to sailing, I secured the Scringapatam, Greenwich, and Sir 
Andrew Hammond, under the guns of a battery, which I 
erected for their protection. After taking possession of this 
fine island for the United States, and establishing the most 
friendly intercourse with the natives, I left them, under the 
charge of Lieutenant Gamble, of the marines, with 21 men, 
wilh'orders to repair to Valparaiso after a certain period. 

I arrived on the coast of Chili on the 12th January, 1814 J 
looked into Conception and Valparaiso ; found at both places 
only three English vessels; and learned that the squadron, 
Mhich sailed from Rio do Janeiro for that sea, had not been 
heard of since their departure, and were supposed to be lost in 
endeavouring to double Cape Horn. 

1 had completely broken up the Ikitish navigation in the 
Pacific: the vessels which had not been captured by mo were 
laid up, and dared not venture out. 1 had afforded the most 
ample protection to our own vessels, which were, on my arri- 
val, very numerous, and unprotected. '1 he valuable * hale- 
fishery there is entirely destroyed, and the actual injury wfl 
have done them may be estimated at two and a half millions of 
dollars, independent of the expenses of the vessels in search 
of me. They have furnished me imply with sails, cordage, 
cables, anchor, provisions, medicines, aud stores of every 


description ; and (he slops on board them have furnished cloth, 
ing for the seamen. We have, in fact, lived on the enemy 
since I have been in that sea, every prize having proved a 
well-found store-ship for me. I had not yet been under the 
necessity of drawing bills on the department for any object, 
and had been enabled to make considerable advances to my 
officers and crew on account of pay. 

For the unexampled time we had kept the sea, my crew had 
been remarkably healthy. I had but one case of the scurvy, 
and had lost only the following men by death ; viz. — John S. 
Cowan, lieutenant; Robert Miller, surgeon; Levi Holmes, 
Edward Sweeney, ordinary seamen ; Samuel Groce, seaman; 
James Spafford, gunner's-mate ; Benjamin Geers, John Rod- 
gers, quarter-gunners ; Andrew Mahan, corporal of marines ; 
Lewis Price, private marine. 

I had done all the injury that could be done the British 
commerce in the Pacific, and si ill hoped to signalize my cruize 
by something more splendid, before leaving that sea. I thought 
it not improbable that Commodore Hillyar might have kept 
his arrival secret ; and, believing that he would seek me at 
Valparaiso, as the most likely place to find me, I therefore 
determined to cruize about (hat place ; and, should I fail of 
meeting him, hoped to be compensated by the capture of some 
merchant-ships, said to be expected from England. 

The Phoebe, agreeably to my expectations, came to seek me 
at Valparaiso, where I was anchored with the Essex; my 
armed prize, the Essex Junior, under (he command of Lieu- 
tenant Downes, on (he look-out off the harbour. But, con. 
trary to the course I thought he would pursue, Commodore 
Hillyar brought with him (he Cherub sloop of war, mounting 
twenty-eight guns, eighteen 32-ponnd carronades, eight 24s, 
and two long 9s on the quarter-deck and forecastle, and a 
complement of 180 men. The force of the Phoebe is as fol- 
lows : — thirty long 18-pounders, sixteen 32-pound carronades, 
ooe howitzer, and six 3-pfsunders in the (ops: in all, fifty-three 
i 2 

cxv i APPENDIX. 

guns, and a complement of 3<20 men ; making a force of eightr- 
one guns, and 500 men. In addition to which, they took on 
board the crew of an English letter of marque, lying in port. 
Both ships have picked crews, and were sent in the PaciBc, in 
company with the Racoon, of 22 guns, and a store-ship, of 
20 guns, for the express purpose of seeking the Essex ; and 
was prepared with flags, bearing the motto, " God and coun- 
try ; British sailors' best rights ; traitors offend both." This 
was intended as a reply to my motto, " Free trade and sailors' 
rights,'' under the erroneous impression that my crew were 
chiefly Englishmen, or to counteract its effects on their own 
crews. The force of the Essex was 46 guns : forty 32-pound 
carronades, and six long 12s ; and her crew, which had been 
much reduced by prizes, amounting only to 255 men. The 
Essex Junior, which was intended chiefly as a store-ship, 
mounted 20 guns : ten 18-pound carronades, and ten short 6s, 
with only 60 men on board. In reply to their motto, I wrote 
at my mizen, " God, our country, and liberty : tyrants offend 


On getting their provisions on board, they went off the port 
for the purpose of blockading me, where they cruized for 
near six weeks; during which time I endeavoured to pro- 
voke a challenge, and frequently, but ineffectually, to bring 
the Phoebe alone to action : first, with both my ships, and 
afterwards with my single ship, with both crews en board. 
I was several times under way, and ascertained that I had 
greatly the advantage in point of sailing \ and once succeeded 
in closing within gun-shot of the Phoebe, and commenced a 
(ire on her, when she ran down for the Cherub, which wis 'Jl- 
miles to-lccward. This excited some surprize, and expression* 
of indignation, as, previous to my gelling under way, she 
hove-to off the port, hoisted her motlo-ilag, and tired a gun 
to-windward. Commodore llillyar seemed determined to avoid 
a contest with me on nearly equal terms ; and from his extreme 
prudence in keeping both his ships ever after constantly within 

APPENDIX. cxvii 

hail of each other, there were no hopes of any advantages to 
my country from a longer stay in port. I therefore deter- 
mined to put to sea the first opportunity which should offer ; 
and I was the more strongly induced to do so, as I had gained 
certain intelligence that the Tagus, rated 38, and two other 
frigates, had sailed for that sea in pursuit of me ; and I had 
reason to expect the arrival of the Racoon, frbm the N.W. 
coast of America, where she had been sent for the purpose of 
destroying our fur-establishment on the Columbia. A rendez- 
vous was appointed for the Essex Junior, and every arrange- 
ment made for sailing ; and I intended to let them chase me 
off, to give the Essex Junior an opportunity of escaping. On 
the 28th of March, the day after this determination was 
formed, the wind came on to blow fresh from the southward, 
when I parted my larboard cable, and dragged my starboard 
auchor directly out to sea. Not a moment was to be lost in 
getting sail on the ship. The enemy were close in with the 
point forming the west-side of the bay; but, on opening them, 
I saw a prospect of passing to-windward, when I took in my 
top-gallant-sails, which were set over single-reefed top-sails, 
and braced up for this purpose ; but, on rounding the point, 
a heavy squall struck the ship, and carried away her main-top- 
mast, precipitating the men who were aloft into the sea, who 
were drowned. Both ships now gave chase to me, and I en- 
deavoured, in my disabled state, to regain the port; but finding 
1 could not recover the commou anchorage, I ran close into a 
small bay, about three-quarters of a mile to-leeward of the 
battery on the east-side of the harbour, and let go my anchor 
within pistol-shot of the shore, where I intended to repair ray 
damages as soon as possible. The enemy continued to ap- 
proach, and shewed an evident intention of attacking, regard- 
less of the neutrality of the place where I was anchored ; and 
the caution observed in their approach to the attack of the 
crippled Essex, was truly ridiculous, as was their display of 
their motto-flags, and the number of jacks at all their mast- 

cxviii APPENDIX. 

heads. I, with as much expedition as circumstances would 
admit of, got my ship ready for action, and endeavoured to 
get a spring on my cable; but had not succeeded, when the 
enemy, at 54 minutes past 3 P.M. made his attack : the 
Phcebe placing herself under my stern, and the Cherub on mj 
starboard-bow ; but the Cherub, soon finding her situation a 
hot one, bore up and ran under my stern also ; where both 
ships kept up a hot raking fire. I had got three long 
12-pounders out of the stern. ports; which were worked with 
so much bravery and skill, that in half an hour we so disabled 
both as to compel them to haul off to repair damages. In the 
course of this firing, I had, by the great exertions of Mr. Ed- 
ward Barnewell, the acting sailing-master, assisted by Mr. 
LinSCOtt, the boatswain, succeeded in getting springs on our 
cable three different times; but the fire of the enemy was so 
excessive, that, before we could get our broadside to bear, 
they were shot away, and thus rendered useless to us. 

My ship had received many injuries, and several had been 
killed and wounded; but my brave officers and men, notwith- 
standing the unfavorable circumstances under which wc were 
brought to action, and the powerful force opposed to us, were 
no ways discouraged. All appeared determined to defend 
their ship to the last extremity; and to die in preference to a 
shameful surrender. Our gaff, with the ensign, and themotto- 
flag at the mi/.en, had been shot away ; but " Free trade and 
sailors' rights," continued to lly at the fore. Our ensign was 
replaced by another; and, to guard against a similar event, an 
ensign uasm.ule fast in the mizen-rigging ; and several jacks 
w,-ie hoisted in different parts of the ship. The enemy soon 
repaired his damages for a fresh attack : he now placed him- 
s<lf, w'uli both his ships, on my starboard-quarter, out of the 
reach of im carrouades, and where my stern-guns could not 
he brought to bear. Ho there kept up a most galling lire, 
which it was out of my power to return; when 1 saw no 
prospect of injuring him without getting under way, and 


becoming the assailant. My top-sail sheets and haliards Mere 
all shot away, as well as the jib, and fore-top. mast staysail 
haliards. The only rope not cut, was the flying-jib haliards; 
and that being the only sail 1 could set, I caused it to be 
hoisted, my cable to be cut, and ran down on both ships, with 
an intention of laying the Phcebe on board. The firing on 
both sides was now tremendous. 1 had let fall my fore- top- 
sail, and fore-sail, but the want of tacks and sheets rendered 
them almost useless to us ; yet wc were enabled, for a short 
time, to close with the enemy; and, although our decks were 
now strewed with dead, and our cockpit filled with wounded; 
although our ship had been several times on fire, and was 
rendered a perfect wreck, we were still encouraged to hope to 
save her, from the circumstance of the Cherub, from her 
crippled state, being compelled to haul off. She did not return 
to close action again, although she apparently had it in her 
power to do so ; but kept up a distant firing with her long guns. 
The Phoebe, from our disabled state, was enabled however, by 
edging off", to choose the distance which best suited her long- 
guns, and kept up a tremendous fire on us, which mowed down 
my brave companions by the dozen. Many of my guns had 
been rendered useless by the enemy's shot; and many of them 
had had whole crews destroyed. Wc manned them again 
from those which were disabled ; and one gun, in particular, 
was three times manned ; fifteen men were slain at it in the 
course of the action ; but, strange as it may appear, the cap- 
tain of it escaped with only a slight wound. 

Finding that the enemy had it in his power to change bil 
distance, I now gave up all hopes of closing with him; and 
as the wind, for the moment, seemed to favor the design, I 
determined to endeavour to run her on shore, land m> men, 
and destroy her. Every thing seemed to favour m\ wishes. 
We had approached the shore within musket-shot. and I had 
no doubt of succeeding, when, in an instant, the Hind shifted 
from the land, (;is is very common in this port in the latter 


part of the day,) and payed our head down on the Pliccbe ; 
where we were again exposed to a dreadful raking fire. My 
ship was now totally unmanageable; yet, as her head was 
toward the enemy, and he to-leeward of me, I still hoped to 
be able to board him. At this moment, Lieutenant-command- 
ant Downes came on board to receive my orders, under the 
impression that I should soon be a prisoner. He could be of 
no use to me in the then wretched state of the Essex ; and 
finding (from the enemy's putting his helm up) that my last 
attempt at boarding would not succeed, I directed him, after 
he had been about ten minutes on board, to return to his own 
ship, to be prepared for defending and destroying her in case 
of an attack. He took with him several of my wounded, 
leaving three of his boats' crew on board to make room for 
them. The Cherub had now an opportunity of distinguishing 
herself, by keeping up a hot fire on him during his return. 
The slaughter on board my ship had now become horrible ; 
the enemy continuing to rake us, and we unable to bring a 
gun to bear. I therefore directed a hawser to be bent to the 
sheet-anchor, and the anchor to be cut from the bows, to 
bring her head round ; this succeeded. We again got our 
broadside to bear; and as the enemy was much crippled, and 
unable to hold his own, I have no doubt he would soon have 
drifted out of gun-shot before he discovered we had anchored, 
had not the hawser unfortunately parted. My ship had taken 
fire several times during the action, but alarmingly so, forward 
and aft, at this moment. The flames were bursting up each 
hatchway, and no hopes were entertained of saving her. Our 
distance from the shore did not exceed three-quarters of a mile; 
and I hoped many of my brave crew would be able to save 
themselves, should the ship blow up, as I was informed the 
fire was near the magazine; and the explosion of a large quan- 
tity of powder below served to increase the horrors of our 
situation. Our boats were destroyed by the enemy's shot, I 
therefore directed those who could swim to jump overboard, 


and endeavour to gain the shore. Some reached it, some 
were taken by the enemy, and some perished in the attempt; 
but most preferred sharing with me the fate of the ship. We 
who remained, now turned our attention wholly to extinguish- 
ing the flames ; and when we had succeeded, went again to 
our guns, where the firing was kept up for some minutes, but 
the crew had by this time become so weakened, that they all 
declard to me the impossibility of making further resistance; 
and entreated me to surrender my ship to save the Mounded, 
as all further attempts at opposition must prove ineffectual, 
almost every gun being disabled by the destruction of their 
crews. I now sent for the officers of divisions to consult 
them ; but what was my surprise to find only Acting-lieutenant, 
Stephen Decatur M'Knight, remaining ; who confirmed the 
report respecting the condition of the guns on the gun-deck ; 
those on the spar-deck were not in a better condition. 

Lieutenant Wilmer, after fighting most gallantly throughout 
the action, had been knocked overboard by a splinter, while 
getting the sheet-anchor from the bows, and was drowned. 
Acting-lieutenant John G. Cowell had lost a leg; Mr. Ed- 
ward Barnewell, acting sailing-master had been carried below, 
after receiving two severe wounds, one in the breast, and one 
in the face; and Acting-lieutenant Win. H. Oldenheimer, had 
been knocked overboard from the quarter an instant before, 
and did not regain the ship until after the surrender. I was 
informed that the cockpit, the steerage, the wardroom, and 
the birth-deck could contain no more wounded ; that tho 
wounded were killed while the surgeons were dressing them ; 
and that, unless something was speedily done to prevent it, tho 
ship would soon sink from the number of shot-holes in her 
bottom. And on sending for the carpenter, he informed me, 
that all his crew had been killed or wounded ; and that he had 
once been over the side to stop the leaks ; when his slings had 
been shot away, and it was with dilliculty he was saved from 
drowuing. The enemy, from the smoothness of the water, 

cxxii APPENDIX. 

and the impossibility of our reaching him with our carronades, 
and the little apprehension that was excited by our fire, whieli 
had now become much slackened, was enabled to take aim at us 
as at a target. His shot never missed our hull, and my ship 
was cut up in a manner, which was, perhaps, never before 
•witnessed. In fine, I saw no hopes of saving her ; and at 
twenty minutes past 6, P.M. gave the painful order to strike 
the colours. Seventy. five men, including officers, were all 
that remained of my whole crew, after the action, capable of 
doing duty; and many of them severely wounded, some of 
whom have since died. The enemy still continued his fire, and 
my brave though unfortunate companions were still falling 
about me. I directed an opposite gun to be fired, to shew 
them we intended no further resistance; but they did not 
desist; four men were killed at my side, and others in different 
parts of the ship. I now believed he intended to shew us no 
quarters, and that it would be as well to die with my flag 
flying, as struck ; and was on the point of again hoisting it, 
when, about ten minutes after hauling the colours down, he 
ceased firing. 

I cannot speak in sufficiently high terms of the conduct of 
those engaged for such an unparalleled length of time (under 
such circumstances) with me in the arduous and unequal con- 
flict. Let it suffice to say, that more bravery, skill, patriotism, 
and zeal, were, never displayed on any occasion. Every one 
seemed determined to die in defence of their much-loved 
country's cause, and nothing but views of humanity could 
ever have reconciled them to the surrender of the ship; they 
remembered their wounded and helpless .shipmates below. To 
Acting-lieutenants M'Knight and Oldenheimer, I feel much 
indebted for their great exertions and bravery throughout the 
action, in 6ghting and encouraging the men at their divisions, 
for the dexterous management of the long guns, and for their 
promptness in re-manning their guns as their crews wore 
•laughtcred. The conduct of that brave and heroic oflicor, 

APPENDIX. o.xxiii 

Acting-lieutenant John G. Cowcll, who lost his leg in the 
latter part of the action, excited the admiration of every man 
in the ship, and after being wounded, would not consent to 
be taken below, until loss of blood rendered him insensible. 
Mr. Edward Barnewcll, acting sailing-master, whose activity 
and courage were equally conspicuous, returned on deck after 
receiving his first wound, and remained after receiving his 
second, until fainting with loss of blood. Mr. Samuel B. 
Johnston, who had joined rac the day before, and acted as 
niarinc-ofiiccr, conducted himself with great bravery, and 
exerted himself in ass. sting at the long-guns ; the musketry 
after the first half hour being useless from our long distance. 

Mr. M. W. Bostwick, whom I had appointed acting purser 
of the Essex Junior, and who was on board my ship, did the 
duties of aid in a manner which reflects on him the highest 
honour; and Midshipman Isaacs, Farragut, and Ogden, as 
well as Acting-midshipmen James Terry, James R. Lyman, 
and Samuel Duzenbury, and Master's-mate William Pierce, 
exerted themselves in the performance of their respective duties, 
and gave an earnest of their value to the service : the three 
first are too young to recommend for promotion ; the latter I 
beg leave to recommend for confirmation, as well as the acting 
lieutenants, and Messrs. Barnewcll, Johnston, and Bastwic. 

We have been unfortunate but not disgraced. The defence 
of the Essex has not been less honorable to her officers and 
crew, than the capture of an equal force ; and I now consider 
my situation less unpleasant than that of Commodore Jlillyar, 
who, in violation of every principle of honor and generosity, 
and regardless of the rights of nations, attacked the Essex in 
her crippled state within pistol-shot of a neutral shore, when 
for six weeks I had daily offered him fair and honourable 
combat, on terms greatly to his advantage. The blood of the 
slain must rest on his head ; and he has yet to reconcile his 
conduct to Heaven, to his conscience, and to the world. The 

cxxiv APPENDIX. 

annexed extract of a letter from Commodore Ilillyar, which 
was written previous to his returning me my sword, will shew 
his opinion of our conduct. 

My loss has becen dreadfully severe, 58 killed, or have since 
died of their wounds, and among them Lieutenant Cowell ; 
39 were severely wounded, 27 slightly, and 31 are missing; 
making in all 154 killed, wounded, and missing, a list of whose 
names is annexed. 

The professional knowledge of Dr. Richard Hoffman, acting 
surgeon, and Dr. Alexander Montgomery, acting surgeon's 
mate, added to their assiduity, and the benevolent attentions 
and assistance of Mr. D. P. Adams, the chaplain, saved the 
lives of many of the wounded. Those gentlemen have been 
indefatigable in thicr attentions to them; the two first I beg 
leave to recommend for confirmation, and the latter to the 
notice of the department. 

I must in justification of myself, observe, that with our six 
12-poundcrs only, we fought this action— our carronades 
being almost useless. 

The loss in killed and wounded has been great with the 
enemy ; among the former is the first lieutenant of the Phooebe, 
and of the latter, Captain Tucker of the Cherub, whose 
wounds arc severe. Hoth the Essex and Phoebe were in a 
sinking state, and it was with difficulty they could be kept 
a-float until they anchored in Valparaiso next morning. The 
battered state of the Essex will, I believe, prevent her ever 
reaching England ; and I also think it will be out of their power 
to repair the damages of the Phoebe, so as to enable her to 
double Cape Horn. All the maits and yards of the Phoebe 
and Cherub arc badly crippled, and their hulls much cut up; 
the former had eighteen 12-pound shot through her, below 
her water-line, some three feet under water. Nothing but 
the smoothness of the water saved both the Phoebe and Essex. 

I hope, Mr, that our conduct may prove satisfactory to our 


country, and it will testify it by obtaining our speedy ex. 
change, that we may again have it in our power to prove our 

Commodore Hillyar, I am informed, has thought proper to 
state to his goverment, that the action lasted only 45 minutes. 
Should he have done so, the motive may be easily discovered ; 
but the thousands of disinterested witnesses, uho covered the 
surrounding hills, can testify that Ave fought his ships near two 
hours and a half. Upwards of 50 broadsides were fired by 
the enemy, agreeably to their own accounts, and upwards of 
75 by ours. Except the few minutes they were repairing da- 
mages, the firing was incessant. 

Soon after my capture I entered into an agreement with 
Commodore Hillyar to disarm my prize, the Essex Junior, and 
proceed with the survivors of my officers and crew in her to 
the United States, taking with me all her officers and crew, 
lie consented to grant her a passport, to secure her from re- 
capture. The ship was small, and we knew we had much to 
suffer ; yet we hoped to reach our country in safety, that we 
might again have it in our power to serve it. This arrange- 
ment was attended with no additional expense, as she was abund- 
antly supplied with provisions and stores for the voyage. 

In justice to Commodore Hillyar I must observe, that 
although I can never be reconciled to the manner of his attack 
on the Essex, or his conduct before the action, he has, since 
our capture, shewn the greatest humanity to my wounded, 
whom he permitted me to land, on condition that the United 
States should bear their expenses; and has endeavoured, a9 
much as lay in his power, to alleviate the distresses of war, 
by the most generous and delicate deportment towards myself, 
my officers, and crew. He gave orders that the property of 
every person should be respected. His ordeis, however, were 
not so strictly attended to as might have been expected ; be- 
eides being deprived of books, charts, &c. &c. both myself 

cxxvi APPENDIX. 

and officers lost many articles of our clothing : sonic to a con- 
siderable amount. I should not have considered this la t circum- 
stance of sufficient importance to notice, did it not mark a 
striking difference between the navy of Great Britain and that 
of the United States, highly creditable to the latter. 

By the arrival of the Tagus, a few days after my capture, I 
was informed that, besides the ships which had arrived in the 
Pacific in it of me, and those still expected, others were 
sent to cruize for me in the China seas, off New Zealand, Ti- 
mour, and New Holland ; and that another frigate was sent to 
the river la Plata. 

To possess the Essex, it has cost the British government 
near six millions of dollars, and yet, sir, her capture was 
owing entirely to accident ; and if we consider the expedition 
with which naval contests are now decided, the action is a dis- 
honor to them. Had they brought their ships boldly to action 
with a force so very superior, and having the choice of posi- 
tion, they should either have captured or destroyed us in one- 
fourth the time they were about it. 

Dining the action our consul-general, Mr. Poinsett, called 
on the governor of Valparaiso, and requested that the batte- 
ries might protect the Essex. The request was refused ; but 
he promised, that if she should succeed in fighting her way to 
the common anchorage, he would send an officer to the British 
commander, and request him to cease irittg, but declined using 
force under any circumstances, and there is no doubt a perfect 
understanding existed between them. This conduct, added to 
the assistance given to the British) and their friendly reception 
after their action, and the strong bias of the faction which 
governs Chili in favor of the English, as well as their hostility 
to the Americans, induced Mr. Poinsett to leave that country. 
Under such circumstances, I did not conceive that it would be 
proper for DM to claim the restoration of my ship, confident 
that the claim would be made by my government to more 


effect. Finding some difficulty in the sale of my prizes, I had 
taken the Hector and Catherine to sea, and burnt them, with 
their cargoes. 

I exchanged Lieutenant M'Knight, Mr. Adams, and Mr. 
Lyman, and 11 seamen, for part of the crew of the Sir An- 
drew Hammond, and sailed from Valparaiso on the 27th of 
April ; where the enemy were still patching up their ships, to 
put them in a state for proceeding to Rio de Janeiro, previous 
to going to England. 

Annexed is a list of the remains of my crew to be exchanged, 
as also a copy of the correspondence between Commodore 
Hillyar and myself on that subject. I also send you a list 
of the prisoners I have taken during my cruize, amounting 
to 343. 

I have the honor to be, &c. 


Hon. secretary of the navy of the United 

States, Washington. 

P. S. To give you a correct idea of the state of the Essex 
at the time of her surrender, I send you the boatswain's and 
earpenter's report of damages ; I also send you a report of 
the divisions. 

[Here follows a return of killed, as already numbered; 
but no " report of damages" sustained by the Essex; nor 
iC list of the remains of her crew."] 

No. 74. 

From Captain Porter to the American secretary of the navy. 

New York, July 13, 18U. 
There are some facts relating to our enemy, and although 
not connected with the action, serve to shew his perfidy, and 
should be known. 

cxxviii APPENDIX. 

On Commodore Ilillyar's arrival at Valparaiso, he ran the 
Phoebe close alongside the Essex, and enquired politely after 
my health, observing that his ship was cleared for action, and 
his men prepared for boarding. I observed, " sir, if you, 
by any accident, get on board of me, I assure you that great 
confusion will take place : 1 am prepared to receive you, but 
shall only act on the defensive." lie observed, coolly and 
indifferently, " Oh, sir, I have no sucli intention.'' At this 
instant his ship took a-back on my starboard-bow, her yards 
nearly locking with those of the Essex. 1 called all hands to 
board the enemy, and, in an instant, my crew were ready to 
spring on her decks. Commodore Hillyar exclaimed, vtith 
great agitation, " I had no intention of getting on-board of 
you — I had no intention of coming so near you — I am sorry 
I came so near you." His ship fell off, with her jib-boom 
over my decks, her bows exposed to my broadside, her stern 
to the fire of the Essex Junior, her crew in the greatest con- 
fusion, and in 15 minutes I could have taken or destroyed 
her. After he had brought his ship to anchor, Commodore 
Hillyar, and Captain Tucker, of the Cherub, visited me on 
shore ; when I asked him if he intended to respect the neu- 
trality of the port. " Sir," said he, " you have paid such 
respect to the neutrality of this port, that I feel myself bound 
in honor to do the same." 

I have the honor to be, &c. 
Hon. secretary of the navy, Sec. D. PORTER. 

No. 75. 

From Captain Pigot to Vice-admiral Cochrane. 

11. M.S. Orpheus, New-Providence, 
Sin, April 15, 1S11. 

I have the pleasure to acquaint yon, that on the 20th instant, 
after a chase of GO miles, the point of Matauzas, iu Cuba, 


bearing S.S.E. five leagues, we captured the U. S. ship Frolic, 
commanded by Mastcr-coinuiandant Joseph Bainbridge. She 
had mounted twenty 32-pound carronadcs, and two long 18s, 
with 171 men ; but, a few minutes before striking her co- 
lours, threw all her lee-guns overboard, and continued throw- 
ing also her shot, small-arms, &c. until taken possession of. 
She is a remarkably fine ship, of 509 tons, and the first time 
of her going to sea. She has been out from Boston two 
months, and frequently chased by our cruisers. Their only 
capture was the Little Fox, a brig laden with fish, which they 

I have the honor to be, &c. 

H. PIGOT, captain. 
The lion. Alexander Cochrane, 
commander-in-chief, &c. 

No. 76. 

From Captain Warrington to the American secretary of the 

U. S. sloop Peacock, at sea, lat. 27° 47', 
Sir, long. 80° 9', April 29, 1814. 

I have the honor to inform you, that we have this morning 
captured, after an action of 45 minutes, H.M. brig Epcrvicr, 
rating and mounting eighteen 32-pound carronades, with 128 
men, of whom eight were killed, and 15 wounded ; (according 
to the best information we could obtain ;) among the latter is 
her first lieutenant, who has lost an arm, and received a severe 
splinter-wound on the hip. Not a man in the Peacock was 
killed, and only two wounded, neither dangerously. The fat* 
of the Epervier would have been determined in much leM time, 
but for the circumstance of our fore yard being totally en- 
abled bv two round-shot in the starboard.quarter, from btr 


first broadside, which entirely deprived us of the use of our 
fore aud fore-top-sails, and compelled us to keep the ship 
large throughout the remainder of the action. 

This, with a few top-mast, and top-gallant back-stays, cut 
away, and a few shot through our sails, is the only injury the 
Peacock has sustained. Not a round-shot touched her hull : 
our masts and spars are as sound as ever. When the enemy 
struck, he had five feet water in his hold, his main-top-mast 
was over the side, his main-boom shot away, his fore-mast cut 
nearly in two, and tottering, his fore-rigging and stays shot 
away, his bowsprit badly wounded, and 45 shot-holes in his 
hull, 20 of which were within a foot of his water-line. By 
great exertion, we got her in sailing order just as dark 
came on. 

In 15 minutes after the enemy struck, the Peacock was 
ready for another action, in every respect, but her fore-yard ; 
which was sent down, fished, and had the fore-sail set again, 
in 45 minutes : such were the spirit and activity of our gallant 
crew. The Epervicr had under convoy an English hermaphro- 
dite brig, a Russian and a Spanish ship, which all hauled their 
wind, and stood to the E.N.E. I had determined upon pur- 
suing the former, but found that it would not answer to leave 
our prize in her then crippled state, and the more particularly 
so, as we found she had 120,000 dollars in specie, which we 
soon transferred to this sloop. Every officer, seaman, ami ma- 
rine, did his duty, which is the highest compliment 1 can pay 

I am, respectfully, 


. P. S. Prom Lieutenant Nicholson's report, who was count- 
ing up the Epervicr's crew, there were U killed, and 15 

L. W. 

The secretary of the navy, &C 

APPENDIX. cxxxi 

No. 77. 

Vote of congress. 

Congress voted their thanks to Captain Lewis Warrington, 
officers, and crew of the Peacock, for the skill and bravery 
displayed in the capture of the Epervier. They also gave to 
Captain Warrington a gold medal, with emblematic devices ; 
to each of the commissioned officers a silver medal, with like 
devices ; and to each of the midshipmen and sailing-masters a 

No. 78. 

From Captain Blakcley to the American secretary of the navy. 

U. S. sloop Wasp, l'Orient, 
Sin, July 8, 1814. 

On Tuesday, the 28th ultimo, being then in lat. 48° 36' N. 
and long. 11° 15' W. we fell in Avith, engaged, and, after an 
action of 19 minutes, captured, his Britannic majesty's sloop 
of war the Reindeer, William Manners, Esq. commander. 
Annexed are the minutes of our proceedings prior to, and 
during the continuance of the action. 

Where all did their duty, and each appeared anxious to 
excel, it is very difficult to discriminate. It is, however, only 
rendering them their merited due, when it is declared of Lieu- 
tenants Reilly and Bury, first and third of this vessel, and 
whose names will be among those of the conquerors of thu 
Guerrier and Java, and of Mr. Tillinghost, second lieutenant, 
who was greatly instrumental in the capture of the Boxer, that 
their conduct and courage on this occasion fulfilled the highest 
expectation, and gratified every wish. Sailing-master Carr is 
also entitled to great credit, for the zeal and ability with which 
he discharged his various duties. 
L 2 

cxxxii APPENDIX. 

The cool and patient conduct of every officer and man, 
while exposed to the fire of the shifting gun of the enemy, and 
without an opportunity of returning it, could only be equalled 
by the animation and ardour exhibited, when actually engaged, 
or by the promptitude and firmness with which every attempt 
of the enemy to board was met, and successfully repelled. 
Such conduct may be seen, but cannot well be described. 

The Reindeer mounted sixteen 24-pound carronades, two 
long 6 or 9-pounders, and a shifting 12-pound carronade, with 
a complement on board of 118 men. Her crew were said to 
be the pride of Plymouth. 

Our loss in men has been severe, owing, in part, to the 
proximity of the two vessels, aud the extreme smoothness of 
the sea, but chiefly in repelling boarders. That of the enemy, 
however, was infinitely more so, as will be seen by the list of 
killed and wounded on both sides. 

Six round-shot struck our hull, and many grape, which did 
not penetrate far. The forc-mast received a 24-pound shot, 
which passed through its centre, and our rigging and sails were 
a good deal injured. 

The Reindeer was literally cut to pieces in a line with her 
ports : her upper-works, boats, and spare spars, were one 
complete wreck. A breeze springing up next afternoon, her 
forc-mast went by the board. 

Having received all the prisoners on boards which, from the 
number of wounded, occupied much time, together with their 
baggage, the Reindeer was, on the evening of the 29th, set on 
fire, and in a few hours blew up. 

1 have the honor to be, &o, 


Hon. William Jones, &c. 


No. 79. 

American minutes of the action between the U. S. sloop 
Wasp and II. B. M. sloop Reindeer, on the 28th of June, 
1814, in latitude 48° 36' N. and longitude 11° 15' W. 

At 4 A.M. light breezes and cloudy ; at a quarter past 4, 
discovered two sail, two points before the lee-beam ; kept away 
in chase ; shortly after [afterwards] discovered one sail on the 
weather-beam ; altered the course, and hauled- by, in chase of 
the sail to-windward; at 8, sail to-windward bore E.N.E. 
wind very light ; at 10, the strange sail bearing E.N.E. hoisted 
an English eusign and pendint, and displayed a signal at the 
main, (blue and yellow diagonally.) Meridian, light airs and 
cloudy; at half-past 12, the enemy shewed a blue and white 
flag diagonally at the fore, and fired a gun ; 15 minutes after 

1, called all hands to quarters, and prepared for action; 22 
minutes after 1, believing we could weather the enemy, tacked 
ship and stood for him ; 50 minutes after 1, the enemy tacked 
ship and stood from us; 56 minutes after 1, hoisted our co- 
lours, and fired a gun to-windward, which was answered by 
the enemy with another to-windward ; 20 minutes after 2, the 
enemy still standing from us, set the royals ; 25 minutes after 

2, set the flying-jib; 29 minutes after 2, set the upper stay- 
sails ; 32 minutes after 2, the enemy having tacked for us, 
took in the stay-sails ; 37 minutes after 2, furled the royals ; 
51 minutes after 2, seeing that the enemy would be able to 
weather us, tacked ship; 3 minutes after 3, the enemy hoisted 
his flying-jib ; brailed up our mizen ; 15 minutes after 3, the 
enemy on our weather-quarter, distant about 60 yards, fired 
his shifting-gun, a 12-pound carronade, at us, loaded with 
round and grape-shot, from his top-gallant-foncaslle ; 17 mi- 
nutes after 3, fired the same gun a second time; 19 minutes 
after 3, fired it a third time; 21 minutes after 3, find it a 
fourth time ; 24 minutes after 3, a fifth shot, all from the same 

cxxxif APPENDIX. 

gun. Finding the enemy did not get sufficiently on the beam, 
to enable us to bring our guns to bear, put the helm a-lec ; 
and, at 26 minutes after 3, commenced the action with the 
after-carronadc on the starboard-side, and fired in succession ; 
34 minutes after 3, hauled up the main-sail ; -40 minutes after 
3, the enemy having his bow in contact with our larboard 
quarter, endeavoured to board us, but was repulsed in every 
attempt ; at 44 minutes after 3, orders were given to board in 
turn, which were promptly executed, when all resistance im- 
mediately ceased ; and, at 45 minutes after 3, the enemy hauled 

down his flag. 


List of killed and wounded on board the U. S. sloop of WOT 
IVasp, in the action zcith the Reindeer. 

Killed, and since dead (including 2 -midshipmen) 1 1 

Wounded severely 5 

slightly 10 15 

Total 26 

List of the killed and icounded on board 11. B. M. sloop 

Killed — William Manners, Esq. commander ; John Thomas 
Barton, purser ; and 23 petty-officers and seamen. 

Wounded — Thomas Chambers, first lieutenant; Itichard 
Jones, master ; and 40 petty-officers and seamen. 

Killed 25 

Wounded dangerously 10 

severely 17 

slightly 15 42 

Total 67 

APPENDIX. cxxxt 

No. 80. 

Vote of Congress. 

The president of the United Slates, at the request of con- 
gress, presented to Captain Johnston Blakely, of the sloop of 
war Wasp, a gold medal, with suitable devices, and a silver 
medal, with like devices, to each of the commissioned officers ; 
and also a sword to each of the midshipmen and sailing-masters 
of that vessel, in testimony of the high sense entertained by 
the legislature of the nation, of their gallantry and good con- 
duct in the action with the British sloop of war Reindeer. 

No. 81. 
From Rear-admiral Cockburn to Vice-admiral Cochrane. 

On board the Resolution tender, off Mount-calvert, 
Sir, Monday night, August 22, 1814. 

I have the honor to inform you, that after parting from you 
at Benedict, on the evening of the 20th instant, 1 proceeded 
up the Patuxent with the boats and tenders, the marines of 
the ships being embarked in them, under the command of 
Captain Robyns, (the senior officer of that corps in the fleet.) 
and the marine-artillery, under Captain Harrison, in their 
two tenders : the Severn and Hebrus frigates, and the Manly 
sloop, being directed to follow us up the river, as far as might 
prove practicable. 

' The boats and tenders I placed in three divisions : the first 
under the immediate command of Captains Sullivan (the senior 
commander employed on the occasion) and Badcock ; the se- 
cond, under Captains Money and Somerville ; the third, under 
Captain Ramsay ; the whole under the superintendence and 
immediate management of Captain Wainwright, of the Ton- 
nant, Lieutenant James Scott (first of the Albion) attending 
as my aid-de-camp. 

cxxxvi APPENDIX. 

I endeavoured to keep, with the boats and tenders, as nearly 
as possible a-brcast of the army under Major-general Ross, 
that I might communicate with him as occasion offered, ac- 
cording to the plan previously arranged ; and, about mid-day 
yesterday, I accordingly anchored at the ferry-house, oppo- 
site Lower Marlborough, where I met the general, and where 
the army halted for some hours ; after which he marched for 
Nottingham, and I proceeded on for the same place with the 
boats. On our approaching the town, a few shot were ex- 
changed between the leading boats and some of the enemy's ca- 
valry ; but the appearance of our army advancing caused them 
to retire with precipitation. Captains Noursc and Palmer, of 
the Severn and Ilebrus, joined me this day with their boats, 
having found it impracticable to get their ships higher than 

The major-general remained with the army at Nottingham, 
and the boats and tenders continued anchored off it during the 
night, and, soon after day-light this morning, the R hole again 
moved forward ; but the wind blowing, during the morning, 
down the river, and the channel being \< rssnely narrow, and 
the advance of our tenders consequently mow, I judged it 
advisable to push on with the boats only, leasing the tenders 
to follow as they could. 

On approaching Pig-point, (where (he enemy's flotilla was 
said to be.,) 1 landed the marines under Captain llobyns, on 
the left bank of the river, and directed him to march round 
and attack, on the laud-side, the town, situated on the point; 
to draw from us the attention of such troops as might be there 
for its defence, and the defence of the tlotilla. I then pro- 
ceeded on with the boats ; and, as we opened the reach above 
Pig. point, I plainly discovered Commodore Barney's broad 
pendant in the headmost vessel, a large, sloop, and the remain- 
der of the tlotilla extending in a long line, a-stern of her. Our 
boats now advanced towards them as rapidly as possible ; but, 
on Hearing (hem, wc observed the sloop, buai'.ng the broad 

APPENDIX. cxxxvii 

pendant, to be on fire, and she, very soon afterwards, blew 
up. I now saw clearly (hat they were all abandoned, and on 
lire, with trains to their magazines ; and out of the 17 vessels, 
which composed this formidable, and so much vaunted flotilla, 
16 were, in quick succession, blown to atoms; and the 17th 
(in which the fire had not taken) we captured. The commo- 
dore's sloop was a large armed vessel ; the others were gun- 
boats, all having a long gun in the bow, and a carronade in 
the stern. The calibre of the guns, and number of the crew 
of each, differed in proportion to the size of the boat, varying 
from 32-pounders, and 60 men, to 18-pounders, and 40 men. 
I found here, lying above the flotilla, under its protection, 13 
merchant-scbooners ; some of which, not being worth bringing 
away, I ordered to be burnt : such as were in good condition, 
I directed to be moved to Pig-point. Whilst employed taking 
these vessels, a few shots were fired at us by some of the men 
of the flotilla, from the bushes on the shore near us ; but 
Lieutenant Scott, whom I had landed for that purpose, soon 
got hold of them, and made them prisoners. Some horsemen 
likewise shewed themselves on the neighbouring heights, but a 
rocket or two dispersed them ; and Captain Robyns, who had 
got possession of Pig-point without resistance, now spreading 
his men through the country, the enemy retreated to a dis- 
tance, and left us in quiet possession of the town, the neigh- 
bourhood, and our prizes. 

A large quantity of tobacco having been found in the town 
at Pig-point, I have left Caplaiu Robyns, with the marines, 
and Captain Nourse, with two divisions of the boats, to hold 
the place, and ship the tobacco into the prizes; and 1 have 
moved back with the third division to this point, to enable me 
to co