Imágenes de páginas

the two enemy's vessels, a schooner, was considerably 1813, in the rear of her consort, captain Rattray despatched July. in pursuit of her the cutter of each brig, under the into orders of lieutenant Roger Carley Curry, assisted Yeo: by lieutenant William Hutchinson, and by midship- river. men George Morey, Bradford, and Caleb Evans Tozer.

Lieutenant Curry pushed up the narrow inlet of Boats Yeocomico, and, when about four miles from the under entrance, found the american schooner, which was Curry the Asp, of one long 18-pounder, two 18-pounder and carronades and swivels, hauled up close to the capture beach, under the protection of a large body of Asp. militia. The british boats, however, persevered in their attack, and after a smart struggle, in which they had two men killed and lieutenant Curry and five men wounded, carried the vessel. The american commanding officer, lieutenant Segourney was killed, and nine out of his 25 in crew were either killed or wounded. The British set fire to the Asp, but not effectually, as the Americans afterwards extinguished the flames and preserved the vessel.

In the month of July captain Sanders, with his Martin frigate the Junon, and the ship-sloop Martin, cap-shore tain Humphrey Fleming Senhouse, of '16 carronades, in the 24-pounders, and two long nines, was stationed in Delaware bay. On the 29th, about 8 A. M., the Martin grounded on the outer ridge of Crow's shoal, within two and a half 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 the ship up; and the same cause prevented, the Junon from afterwards anchoring nearer to the Martin than a mile and three quarters. This afforded to the flotilla of american gun-boats and block-vessels then in the Delaware, a fine opportunity to destroy the british sloop. They accordingly, 10 in number, advanced, and deliberately took up an anchorage about a mile and three quarters 'distant, directly on


[ocr errors]

Is at

can gun

[ocr errors]

1813. the Martin's beam, on the opposite side to the Junon,

and so as to bring the latter in a line with the sloop.
Thus, by anchoring at the distance of three 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 by hed horseback, and in carriages, were hastening to the ameri- beach, in the hope to see verified, in the speedy

destruction of the Martin, the wonderful accounts boats. they had heard of american prowess on the ocean.

The Martin got her topgallantmasts struck, and
her sails furled; and, although he despaired of
saving his ship from so formidable a force, captain
Senhouse resolved to defend her to the last ex-
tremity. The gun-boats commenced 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 topgallant forecastle, the other to the
poop. Between these two guns, and all the guns of
the american flotilla, was the fire maintained for
nearly two hours, without the slightest injury to the
Martin. At about 2 P. M. the sternmost gun-boat in
the line having separated a little from the rest, cap-

tain Sanders made the signal for the boats manned Boats and armed.

Accordingly, three boats were deJunon spatched from the Martin, containing 40 officers and anartin men, and four from the Junon, containing 100 capture officers and men, the whole under the orders of the one of Junon's first lieutenant Philip Westphal. On the gun- approach of the boats, the gun-vessels turned their

fire from the Martin against them, but at too great a
distance to be effective. The single gun-boat, which
was the principal object of attack, kept up a spirited
fire, but was quickly boarded and overpowered.
The british boats, in this affair, lost three killed and
mortally wounded, and four slightly wounded; the
gun-boat, seven wounded. The last discharge from

[ocr errors]



retire from


the gun, mounted on board the gun-boat, broke its 1813. carriage. That prevented the British from return- July. ing 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, in their attempt to save their companion, the gun-boats passed the bow of the Martin, the sloop 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 re-Re: mainder anchored for their mutual protection. The der of tide had drifted the ship's boats, as well as the captured am vessel, to a considerable distance. The gun-boats flotilla that had grounded got off, and the whole, as if to renew the attack upon the change of tide, anchored the within two miles and a half of the Martin, now weakened by the absence of 40 of her best hands. However, at 5 P. M., 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 formidable flotilla weighed and beat up, between the Martin and the shore, without further molesting her, and arrived in safety, soon afterwards, at their station near the mouth of the river.

The force, that attacked the Martin, consisted of Force eight gun-boats and two block-vessels. The latter tacked were 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 loopholes for musketry, (through which pikes might be used in repelling boarders,) and three ports of a side : in these were mounted six long 18-pounders. The covering extended the whole length of the vessel, and was large enough to contain 60


the number stated as the complement of each. The gunboats were sloop-rigged vessels, averaging about 95 tons, and mounted each a long 32, and a 4 pounder on traversing carriages, with a complement of 35 men, the exact number found on board the prize,

the Martin

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

1813. Each gun-boat and block-vessel was commanded by
May. an experienced merchant-master; and the whole

flotilla by master-commandant Samuel Angus, of
the United States' navy.

On the 24th of May the frigate United States,

still commanded by commodore Decatur, accomDeca- panied by the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Mace

donian, captain Jacob Jones, and 18-gun ship-sloop Nem- Hornet, captain James Biddle, all provisioned and York. stored for a cruise in the East Indies, quitted the

harbour of New-York through Long-island Sound,
the Sandy-Hook passage being blockaded by a
british force. Having found in his ship a disposition
to hog, commodore Decatur had put on shore six of
his carronades; thus reducing the force of the
United States from 54 to 48 guns. It was, however,
asserted, and, we believe, stated in the New York
papers, that the commodore had taken on board eight
medium or columbiad 32-pounders, and sent an equal
number of 24-pounders from his four 'midship ports
on each side to the Macedonian; and that, of the
latter's eight long 18-pounders removed to make
room for the 24s, two were mounted on board the
Hornet in lieu of her 12-pounders.

Just as the United States, towards evening,
arrived abreast of Hunt's point, her mainmast was
struck by lightning.

The electric fluid tore away the commodore's broad pendant and cast it upon the deck : it then passed down the after-hatchway, through the wardroom into the doctor's cabin, put out his candle and tore up his bed, and, entering between the skin and ceiling of the ship, ripped off two or three sheets of copper just at the water's edge. No further trace of it could be discovered. The Macedonian, who was about 100 yards astern of the United States, on seeing what had happened, hove all aback, to save herself from the justly

dreaded explosion of the latter. Fortunately, not a Fisher's man was hurt on the occasion. Commodore Decatur

soon afterwards anchored under Fisher's island, near


chors off



and is chased

Valiant and

the entrance of New-London river, to be ready for 1813, a start the first opportunity.

On the 1st of June, very early in the morning, the Weighs american squadron got under way and stood out to sea; but at 9 A. M., just as they were clearing the back by Sound, the ships were discovered by the british 74-gun ship Valiant, captain Robert Dudley Oliver, Acasta. and 18-pounder 40-gun frigate Acasta, captain Alexander Robert Kerr. The two british ships gave chase, and the three american ships put back ; both parties hauling to the wind under all sail. At about 1 h. 30 m. P. M. the american squadron bore up for New-London; and the United States and Hornet, being too deep for their trim, started their water and threw overboard a part of their provisions. At 2 h. 15 m. P. m., being far ahead of the Valiant, and just within gun-shot of the UnitedStates, the Acasta fired a bow-chaser at the latter, just as the Macedonian was rounding New-London Amerilighthouse. The United States returned the shot squawith one from her stern. Instead, however, of bringing dron to and trying to cut off the british frigate from her chors consort, as many of the spectators on shore expected 20 to see done, commodore Decatur stood on, and an- don, chored with his squadron in the river. Having cape

captain shortened sąil, the Acasta hauled to the wind, and Oliver tacked, and soon afterwards, along with the Valiant, Gardanchored off Gardner's island, distant about 12 miles ner's from New-London.

Having no persons on board acquainted with the Practinavigation of the Sound, the british ships, particu- C deia larly the 74, chased with much less effect than they stroyotherwise would. It was not, of course, known to americaptain Oliver, that he might even have followed can the american squadron into New-London; and that, in the had the United States and her companions ascended river. the river beyond his reach, he might, with very little risk, there being no battery of any consequence, have placed the Valiant and Acasta against the

in New


« AnteriorContinuar »