Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

blockaded

Tenedos.

[ocr errors]

Domingo 74, and commanded by her second lieu- 1813. tenant, William Hutchinson. That was not all.

Aug. Owing to a great deal of cunning on one side, and a tolerable share of imbecility on the other, commodore Rodgers obtained the stations of the different british men of war on the american coast; and, taking his measures accordingly, was enabled, on the same day, to enter unobserved the harbour of Newport, Rhode-island.

The Congress frigate continued cruising, without Return effecting any thing of consequence, until the middle Conof December; when captain Smith succeeded in gress to reaching, unobserved as it also appears, the harbour mouth of Portsmouth, New-Hampshire. One of her officers, Where when writing to a friend announcing his return, says: she is “Tbe Congress has 410 of her crew on board, all in good health: she lost four men by sickness, and has by the manned a prize with a few others.” The officer's friend carried this letter to a newspaper editor, and he gave it immediate insertion. There cannot therefore be a doubt, that the Congress had quitted port with at least 425 men; and the Congress and Chesapeake were of the same class. Some months after the arrival of the Congress at Portsmouth, the Tenedos cruised off the port; and, during a long blockade, captain Parker used every means in his power to induce the Congress to come out and engage him. But the fate of the Chesapeake had put a stop to the future cruises of the american 18-pounder frigates, and the Congress, after a while, was disarmed and laid up. • On the 5th of August, off the southern coast of Deca: the United States, the british schooner Dominica, of vateer 12 carronades, 12-pounders, and two sixes, with, as will an extra gun, a 32-pounder carronade upon a travers- Domiing carriage, lieutenant George Wilmot Barretté, nica having under her convoy the king's packet Princess- king's Charlotte, bound from St.- Thomas's to England, fell

packet. in with the french, or rather, the franco-american, privateer-schooner Decatur, of six 12-pounder car

Action commences

1813. ronades and one long 18-pounder on a traversing Aug. carriage, commanded by the celebrated captain

Dominique Diron.* We have no other details than those furnished by the american papers; but we suppose that lieutenant Barretté, the moment he discovered the privateer approaching, hauled off from the packet to meet her.

Commencing the attack from to-windward, at a distance that best suited her long 18-pounder, the Decatur gradually closed with the Dominica, and made an attempt to board, but was repulsed. A second attempt met the same fate; but, after the contest had lasted three quarters of an hour, the Decatur ran her jib-boom through the Dominica's mainsail, when a third attempt, made by the whole of the french crew, succeeded; that is, the pri

vateer's men gained a footing upon the Dominica's Lieut. deck. Here a sanguinary conflict ensued; in which retté is lieutenant Barretté, although he had been wounded killed. early in the action by two musket-balls in the left

arm, fought in the most gallant manner, and, refusing to surrender, was killed. Emulating the example of their youthful commander, (he was not 26,) the remaining officers and men made a noble resistance against double their numbers. Owing to the crowded state of the Dominica's deck from the presence of the boarders, and the valour of the british crew.in

persisting to struggle with the latter, fire-arms became Deca- useless, and cutlasses and cold shot were the chief boards weapons used. At length, the Dominica's brave crew

became diminished to about a dozen effective men Domi- and boys; and the Decatur's, then six times more

numerous, hauled down the british colours.

Of her 57 men and nine boys, the Dominica had her side. commander, master, (Isaac Sacker,) purser, (David

Brown,) two midshipmen, (William Archer and William Parry,) and 13 seamen and boys killed and mortally wounded, and 47 severely and slightly wounded,

and carries

nica.

Loss on

* See vol. iv. p. 388.

action.

including every other officer (her sub-lieutenant was 1813. absent) except the surgeon and one midshipman.

Sept. One of her boys, not 11 years old, was wounded in two places. Poor child ! it would have suited thee better to be throwing dumps than “cold shot;" to be gamboling in the nursery, rather than “contending for victory” upon a man of war's deck. Out of a crew of at least 120 men, the Decatur had four killed and 15 wounded.

It appears that captain Diron, by his masterly Remanoeuvres, prevented the Dominica from making any on the effectual use of her guns, relying for success upon the arm in which he knew he was almost doubly superior. The Dominica was captured by a privateer, certainly, but under circumstances, that reflected an honour rather than a disgrace upon the british character. The following paragraph forms a part of captain Diron's account in the Charleston papers ; nor have we been able to discover a contradiction to the serious charge it contains: “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."

On the 5th of September, at daylight, as the Boxer british brig-sloop (late gun-brig) Boxer, of 12 Entercarronades, 18-pounders, and two sixes, captain prise Samuel Blyth, was lying at anchor near Penguin næuvre Point, a few miles to the eastward of Portland in the to gain United States, the american gun-brig Enterprise, wind : of 14 carronades, 18-pounders, and two nines, lieutenant-commandant William Burrows, was seen in the it. south-south-east. At 7 h. 30 m. P.M., leaving her surgeon, two of her midshipmen, and an army officer, a passenger, on shore at Manhegan, “shooting pigeons," the Boxer got under way; and, at 8 h. 30 m., hoisting three english ensigns, bore up for the Enterprise, then standing on the larboard täck, At 9 A.M,

latter obtains

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Action commences

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

ers killed,

1813. the latter tacked and stood to the southward. At
Sept.

9 h. 30 m., when the two brigs were about four
miles apart, it fell calm; and at 11 h. 30 m. a breeze
sprang up from the southward, which placed the
american: brig tó-windward. At 2 P. M. the Enter-
prise, made sail, on a wind, to try her rate of
sailing with the Boxer; and, in half an hour, having
clearly ascertained his advantage in this respect, as
well as that the Boxer was inferior in size and force,
lieutenant Burrows hoisted three american ensigns,
and, firing a shot of defiance, bore

up
to

engage.
At 3 h. 15 m. P. M. the Boxer, being on the star-
board tack, fired her starboard broadside, and
immediately received the larboard broadside of the
Enterprise in return; the two brigs then not more
than half pistol-shot apart. In the very first broad-

side, an 18-pound shot passed through captain Blyth's Both body, and shattered his left arm. The command of mand- the Boxer then devolved upon her only lieutenant,

David M‘Creery. At about the same time a musket-
ball fired from the Boxer mortally wounded captain
Burrows. At 3 h. 30 m. P. M. the Enterprise, now
commanded by lieutenant Edward R. M-Call, ranged
ahead, and, rounding to on the starboard tack,
raked the Boxer with her starboard guns, and shot
away her main topmast and foretopsail yard. The
american brig then set her foresail, and, taking a

position on the starboard bow of her now wholly Boxer unmanageable antagonist, continued pouring in suc

cessive raking fires until 3 h. 45 m., when the Boxer
surrendered.

The Boxer was much cut up in hull and spars,
and, out of her 60 men (12 absent) and six boys,
lost, besides her commander, three men killed,
and 17 men wounded, four of them mortally. The
Enterprise suffered very little injury in her hull and
spars; but her rigging and sails were a good deal
cut. Out of her 120 men and three boys, the ameri-
can brig lost one man killed, her commander, one

surren.

ders.,

Damage and loss on each side.

Sept.

carronades.

midshipman, (both mortally,) and 11 men wounded, 1813. one of the latter mortally.

The established armament of the Boxer was 10 Guns carronades; and that number, with her two 6-pound- mounters, was as many as the brig could mount with effect Boxer. or carry with ease. But, when the Boxer was refitting at Halifax, captain Blyth obtained two additional carronades: had he taken on board, instead of them, 20 additional seamen, the Boxer would have been a much more effective vessel. Against the english 18-pounder carronade, complaints have always been made, for its lightness and unsteadiness in action; but the american carronade of that caliber is much shorter in the breech, and longer in the muzzle : therefore it heats more slowly, recoils less, and carries farther. The same is the case, indeed, with British all the varieties of the carronade used by the Ameri- and cans; and they, in consequence, derive advantages rican in the employment of that piece of ordnance, not possessed by the English; whose carronades are notoriously the lightest and most inefficient of any in use. If the english carronade, especially of the smaller calibers, had displayed its imperfections, as these pages have frequently shown that the english 13-inch mortar was in the habit of doing, by bursting after an hour or two's firing, the gun must either have been improved in form, or thrown out of the service. While on the subject of carronades, we may remark, that even the few disadvantages in the carronade, which the Americans have not been able entirely to obviate, they have managed to lessen, by using, not only stouter, but double, breechings; one of which, in case the ring-bolt should draw, is made to pass through the timber-head.

Although it was clearly shown, by the number of No. of prisoners received out of her, that the Boxer com- board menced the action with only 66 men and boys, captain Isaac Hull was so officious as to address a letter to commodore Bainbridge at Boston, purposely to express his opinion, that the british brig had,

of Boxer.

« AnteriorContinuar »