Imágenes de páginas

American ac

a counts.

1814. upon bis trial, and the following was the sentence

pronounced upon him: “The court having heard the circumstances, determined, that the Chubb, was not properly carried into action, nor anchored so as to do the most effectual service ; by which neglect, she drifted into the line of the enemy: that it did not appear, however, that there was any want, of courage in lieutenant M'Ghie; and, therefore, the court did only adjudge him to be severely reprimanded.

Upon the american accounts we sball bestow but few words. Having seen the effects of commodore Perry's puritanical epistle, commodore Macdonough writes his first letter in the same mock-religious strain : “ The Almighty has been pleased to grant us a signal victory on Lake Champlain, in the capture of one frigate, one brig, and two sloops of war of the enemy.” The Contiance a “ frigate;" and the Chubb and Finch sloops of war” ! Yet, according to an american writer, commodore Macdonough was “a religious man, as well as a hero, and prayed with his brave men on the morning of the victory."*

In the very summer preceding the Lake Chamcomo plain action, some of the american newspaper modore editors were blaming commodore Chauncey for not ceycon. sailing out of Sackett's-Harbour, in the new ships trasted Superior and Mohawk, after the latter had been

launched nearly two, and the former upwards of three months. 'How did that cautious commander

answer them? Why, by writing to the secretary of ing the the american navy thus: “I need not suggest to fiance one of your experience, that a man of war may apaction. pear, to the eye of a landsman, perfectly ready for

sea, when she is deficient 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


Caution of

with the rashness of send

* Naval Monument, p, 155,


enemy of equal force, without being able to meet 1814. him in one hour after my anchor was weighed." Sept. And yet, had poor captain Downie acted with only half this caution, his fair fame would have been tarnished, and the very service to which he belonged scoffed at, by no less a man than the governorgeneral of the british north-american provinces.

On the 26th of September the british 74-gun Ameriship Plantagenet, captain Robert Lloyd, 38-gun privafrigate Rota, captain Philip Somerville, and 18-gun teer brig-sloop. Carnation, captain George Bentham, ralcruising off the Western Isles, discovered at anchor Armin the road of Fayal the american privateer schooner fires at General-Armstrong, of seven guns, inclading a long Pianta! 24 or 32 pounder on a traversing carriage, and about genet in

Fayal 90 men, captain Guy R. Champlin. Captain Lloyd sent lieutenant Robert Faussett, in the Plantagenet's pinnace, into the port, to ascertain the force of the schooner, and to what nation she belonged. Owing to the strength of the tide, and to the circumstance of the schooner getting under way and dropping fast astern, the boat drifted nearer to her than had been intended. The american privateer hailed, and desired the boat to keep off, but that was impracticable owing to the quantity of stern-way on the schooner. The General-Armstrong then opened her fire, and, before the boat could get out of gun-shot, killed two and wounded seven of her men.

As the captain of the american privateer had now Capt. broken the neutrality of the port, captain Lloyd de

Lloyd termined to send in and endeavour to cut out his hoats of schooner; which had since come to again with springs close to the shore. Accordingly, at 8 P. M., the Plan- and tagenet and Rota anchored off Fayal road; and at 9P. M. to cut four boats from the Plantagenet and three from the Rota, with about 180 seamen and marines, under the command of lieutenant William Matterface, first of the frigate, pulled in towards the road. The Carnation had been directed to cover the boats in their advance; but, owing, as it appears, to the strength of



her out.

1814. the current and the intricacy of the navigation, the Sept. brig did not arrive within gun-shot of the american Inabi- schooner, and therefore was not of the slightest use. lity of At midnight, after a fatiguing pull against a strong tion to wind and current, the boats got within hạil of the coope- General-Armstrong, and received from her, and from

a battery erected, with a portion of her guns, on the commanding point of land under which she had anchored, a heavy fire of cannon and musketry. In about half an hour, this fire sank two of the boats, and killed or disabled two thirds of the party that had been detached in them. The remainder returned, and at about 2 A. M. on the 27th reached the Rota.

The loss appears to have been of the following

lamentable amount: the Rota's first and third lieutained tenants, (William Matterface and Charles R. NorBritish. man,) one midshipman, and 31 seamen and marines

killed, the Rota's second lieutenant, (Richard Rawle,) first lieutenant of marines, (Thomas Park,) purser, (William Benge Basden,) two midshipmen, and 81 seamen and marines wounded.

Among the langridge which the Americans fired, were nails, brass buttons, knife-blades, &c.; and the consequence was, that the wounded, as on former occasions recorded in this work, suffered excruciating pain before they were cured. Soon after daylight the

Carnation went into the road to destroy the privateer, priva

but the Americans saved the British the trouble by setting fire to her themselves.

Serious loss sus

Destruction of







Two circumstances, in the abstract for the com- 1815. mencement of the present year,* indicate the return of peace; the small number of line-of-battle cruisers in commission, and the great number of ships sold, taken to pieces, or otherwise removed from the service.t

The number of commissioned officers and masters, Officers belonging to the british navy at the beginning of bficken 1815, was, Admirals

70 Vice-admirals


superannuated 35


39 Commanders or sloop-captains 762

superannuated 60 Lieutenants

3211 Masters

666 And the number of seamen and narines, voted for the service of the same year, was 70000 for three, and 90000 for ten, lunar months. I

On the 2d day of January, 1815, his royal bigh- New ness the prince regent was pleased to advance the of the splendour, and to extend the limits, of the most Bath. honourable military order of the bath, “to the end that those officers, who have had the opportunity of distinguishing themselves by eminent services during the late war, may share in the honours of the said order, and that their names may be delivered

[ocr errors]

* See Appendix, Annual Abstract No. 23.
+ See Appendix, Nos. 11 and 12.
# See Appendix, No. 13.


persons who

[ocr errors]

fication of a

1815. down to remote posterity, accompanied by the

marks of distinction which they have so nobly
earned." The order of the bath was thenceforward
to be composed of three classes. The first class
was to consist of knights grand-crosses, and was
limited to 72; of whom 12 might be
had rendered eminent services to the state in
civil and diplomatic employments. The second
class, limited to 180, exclusive of 10 foreign
officers holding british commissions, was to consist
of knights-commanders; and the third class, of com-

panions of the bath. Quali

The qualifications of a companion of the bath are

thus defined: “No officer shall be nominated a C. B. companion of the said most honourable order, unless

he shall have received, or shall hereafter receive,
a medal, or other badge of honour, or shall have
been especially mentioned by name in despatches
published in the London Gazette, as having distin-
guished himself by his valour and conduct in action
against bis majesty's enemies, since the commence-
ment of the war in 1803, or shall hereafter be named
in despatches published in the London Gazette, as
having distinguished himself." This was all very
proper; but, suppose the board of admiralty should
neglect to publish in the “ London Gazette” de-
spatches, incontestably showing, that an officer had

distinguished himself by his valour and conduct in
action”? For instance, had captain Manners of the
Reindeer, after having been hewed and hacked as
he was, escaped the two bullets that passed through
his head, would he not have deserved to be made a
companion, at least, if not a knight-commander, of
the bath? But the account of the Reindeer's action
did not appear in the Gazette : therefore captain
Manners, had he survived, would not have been
officially qualified to receive an honour, designed by
the sovereign for the exclusive reward of gallantry.
Nay, there would have been another impediment in

way. The order descends no lower than post

« AnteriorContinuar »