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Statement of the effective force of a division of the United States
gun-boats, under the command of lieutenant commanding Thomas Ap Catesby Jonės, at the commencement of the action, with á flotilla of English boats, on the 14th of December, 1814.
Gun-boat, No. 5, 5 guns, 36 men, sailing master John D. Ferris; gun-boat, No. 156, 5 guns, 41 men, lieutenant commandant T. A. 0. Jones ; ġun-boat, No. 162, 5 guns, 35 men, lieutenant Robert Speeden; gun-boat, No. 163, 3 guns, 31 men, sailing master George Ulrick.Total, 28 guns, 182 men.
N. B. The schooner Sea Horse had one 6 pounder and 14 men, säiling måster William Johnson, commander; none killed or wounded.
The stoop Alligator (tender) had one 4 pounder and eight men, sailing master Richard S. Sheppard, commander.
THOMAS AP CATESBY JONES,
Lieut. Com. U. 8. Navy. The following is a correct statement af the British forces which
were engaged in the capture of the late United States' gun-boats, Nos. 23, 156, 5, 162 and 163, near Malhereur islands, 'lake Borgne, 14th December, 1814.
Forty launches and barges, mounting one carronade each, of 12, 19, and 24 calibre.
One launch, mounting one long brass 12 pounder.
do. do. 9 do.
45 do. do. 'cantion,
42 The above flotilla was manned with 1200 men and officers, conmanded by captain Lockyer, who received three severe wounds in the action. The enemy, as usual, will not acknowledge his loss' on this occasion, in boats or men; but from the nature of the action, and the observations made by our officers while prisoners in their feet, his loss in killed and wounded inay be justly estimated to exceed three hundred, among whom are an unusual proportion of officers.
CAPTURE OF THE PENGUIN.
March 25th, 1815. SIR.
I have the honour to inform you, that on the morning of the 23d instant, at half past ten, when about to anchor, off the north end of the island of Tristan d'Acunha, a sail was seen to the sonth ward and eastward, steering to the westward, the wind fresh from the S. S. W. In a few minutes she had passed on to the westward, so that we could not see her for the land. I immedi
ately made sail for the westward, and shortly after getting in sight of her again, perceived her to bear up before the wind. i hove to for him to come down to us. When she had approached near, I filled the maintopsail, and continued to yaw the ship, while she continued to come down, wearing occasionally to prevent her passing under our stern. At 1 48 P. M. being within nearly nusket shot distance, she hauled her wind on the starboard tack, hoisted English colours and fired a gun. We immediately luffed tu, hoisted our ensign and gave the enemy a broadside. The action being thus commenced, a quick and well directed fire was kept up from this ship, the enemy gradually driving near to us, when at 1 65 minutes he bore up apparently to run us on board. As soon as I perceived he would certainly fall on board, I called the boarders, so as to be ready to repel any attempt to board uş. At the instant every officer and man repaired to the quarter deck, where the two vessels were coming in contact, and eagerly pressed me to permit them to board the enemy; but this I would not permit, as it was evident, from the commencement of the action, that our fire was greatly superior both in quickness and in effect. The enemy's bowsprit came in between our main and mizen rigging, on our starboard side, affording him an opportunity to board us, if such was his design, but no atteinpt was made. There was a considerable swell on, and as the sea'lifted us ahead, the eneiny's boom earried away our mizen shrouds, stern davits and spanker boom, and he hung upon our larboard quarter. At this moment an officer, who was afterwards recognized to be Mr. M.Donald, the first lieutenant, and the then cominanding officer, called out that they had surrendered. I directed the marines and musketry men to cease firing, and, while on the taffrail asking if they had surrendered, I received a wound in the neck. The enemy just then got clear of us, and his fore-mast and bowsprit being both gone, and perceiving us wearing to give a fresh broadside, he again called out that he had surrendered. It was with difficulty I could restrain my crew from firing into him again, as he had certainly fired into us after having surrendered. 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. She proved to be his Britannic majesty's brig Penguin, mounting six 32 pound carronades, two long 12's, a twelve pound carronade on the top-gallant foré-castle, with swivels on the capstern in the tops. She had a spare port forward, so as to fight both her long guns of a side.' She sailed from England in September last. She was shorter upon deck than this ship, by two feet, but she had a greater length of keel, greater breadth of beam, thicker sides, and higher bulwarks than this ship, and was in all respects a remarkably fine vessel of her class. The enemy acknowledge a complement of 132, 12 of them supernumerary marines from the Medway 74, received on board in consequence of their being ordered to çruize for the American privateer Young Wașp. They acknowledge, also, a loss of 14 killed and 28 wounded; but Mr. Mayo, who was in charge of the prize, assures me that the number of killed was certainly greater. Among the killed is captain Dickenson, who fell at the close of the action, and the boatswain; among the wounded, is the second lieutenant, purser, and two midshipmen. Each of the midshipmen lost a leg. We received on board, in all, 118 prisoners, four of whom have since died of their wounds. Having removed the prisoners, and taken on board such provisions and stores as would be useful to us, I scuttled the Penguin this morning, before day-light, and she went down. As she was completely riddled by our shot, her foremast and bowsprit both gone, and her main-mast so crippled as to be incapable of being secured, it seemed unadvisable, at this distance from home, to attempt sending her to the United States.
This ship did not receive a single round shot in her hull, nor any material wound in her spars; the rigging and sails were very much cut; but having bent a new suit of sails and knotted and secured our rigging, we are now completely ready, in all respects, for any service. We were eight men short of complement, and had nine upon the sick list the morning of the action.
Enclosed is a list of killed and wounded. I lament to state that lieutenant Conner is wounded dangerously. I feel great solicitude on his account, as he is an officer of much promise, and his loss would be a serious loss to the service.
It is a most pleasing part of my duty to acquaint you, that the conduct of lieutenants Conner and Newton, Mr. Mayo, acting lieutenant Brownlow, of the marines, sailing master Romney, and the other officers, seamen and marines I have the honour to command, was in the highest degree creditable to them, and calls for my warmest recommendation. I cannot, indeed, do justice to their merits. The satisfaction which was diffused throughout the ship when it was ascertained that the stranger was an enemy's sloop of war, and the alacrity with which every one repaired to quarters, fully assured me that their conduct in the action would be marked with coolness and intrepidity.
I have the honour to be, &c.
J. BIDDLE. Hon. Secretary of the Navy. The loss on board the Hornet, was one killed and 11 wounded.
CAPTURE OF THE CYANE AND LEVANT.
U. S. FRIGATE CONSTITUTION, May- 1815. SIR,
On the 20th of February last, the island of Madeira bearing about west south-west, distant 60 leagues, we fell in with his Britannic majesty's two ships of war, the Cyane and Levant; and brought them to action about 6 o'clock in the evening, both of
which, after a spirited engagement of 40 minutes, surrendered to the ship under my command.
Considering the advantages derived by the enemy, from a divided and more active force, as also their superiority in the weight and number of guns, I deem the speedy and decisive result of this action the strongest assurance which can be given to the government, that all under my command did their duty, and gallantly supported the reputation of American seamen.
Enclosed you will receive the minutes of the action, and a list of the killed and wounded on board this ship; also enclosed you will receive for your information, a statement of the actual force of the enemy, and the number killed and wounded on board their ships, as near as could be ascertained.
I have the honour to be, &c.
CHARLES STEWART. Hon. Secretary of the Navy.
American loss-3 killed, 12 wounded.
Prisoners taken, 313.
tution, and his Britannic majesty's ships Cyane and Levant, on the 20th February, 1815.
Commences with light breezes from the east, and cloudy weather. At one, discovered a sail two points on the larboard bow hauled
and made sail in chase. At # past one, made the sail to be a ship; at & past one, discovered another sail ahead; made them out at two P. M. to be both ships, standing close hauled, with their starboard tacks on board ; at 4 P. M. the weather most ship made signals, and bore up to her consort, then about 10 miles to leeward; we bore up after her, and set lower top-mast, top-gallant, and royal studding sails in chase ; atpast 4, carried away our main royal mast; took in the sails and got another prepared'; at 5 P. M. commenced firing on the chase from our two larboard bow guns; our shot falling short, ceased firing ; at 4 past five, finding it impossible to prevent their junction, cleared ship for action, then about four miles from the two ships ; at 40 minutes after 5, they passed within hail of each other, and hauled by the wind on the starboard tack, hauled up their courses, and prepared to receive us; at forty-five minutes past five, they made all sail close hauled by the wind, in hopes of getting to the wind ward of us; at 55 minutes past 5, finding themselves disappointed in their object, and we were closing with them fast, they shortened sail, and formed on a line of wind, about half a cable's length from each other. At 6 P. M. having them under command of our battery, hoisted our colours, which was answered by both ships hoisting English ensigns. At 5 minutes past 6, ranged up on the starboard side of the sternmost ship, about 300 yards distant, and commenced the action by broadsides, both ships returning our fire with the greatest spirit for about 15 minutes, then the fire of the enemy beginning to slacken, and the great column of smoke collected under our lee, induced us to cease our fire to ascertain their positions and conditions. In about three minutes the smoke clearing away, we found ourselves abreast of the headmost ship, the sternmost ship luffing up for our larboard quarter; we poured a broadside into the headmost ship, and then braced aback our main and mizen topsails, and backed astern under cover of the smoke, abreast the sternmost ship, when the action was continued with spirit and considerable effect, until 35 minutes past 6, when the enemy's fire again slackened, and we discovered the head most bearing up; filled our topsails, shot ahead, and gave her two stern rakes. We then discovered the sternmost ship wearing also; wore ship immediately after her, and gave her a stern rake, she Jufling to on our starboard bow, and giving us her larboard broadside. We ranged upon her larboard quarter, within hail, and was about to give her our starboard broadside, when she struck her colours, fired a lee gun and yielded. At 50 minutes past 6, took possession of his Britannic majesty's ship Cyane, captain Gordon Falconi, mounting 34 guns. At 8 P. M. filled away after her consort, which was still in sight to leeward. At half past 8, found her standing towards us, with her starboard tacks close hauled, with topgallant sails set and colours flying. At 50 minutes past 8, ranged close alongside to windward of her, on opposite tacks, and exchanged broadsides; wore immediately under ber stern and raked her with a broadside. She then crowded all sail and endeavoured to escape by running; hauled on board our tacks, set spanker and flying jib in chase. At half past 9, commienced firing on her from our starboard bow chaser; gave her several shot, which cut her spars and rigging considerably. At 10 P. M. finding they could not escape, fired a gun, struck ber colours, and vielded. We immediately took possession of his Britaunic majesty's ship Levant, hon. captain George Douglass, mounting 21 guns. At 1 A. M. the damages of our rigging were repaired, sails shifted, and the ship in fighting condition.
CAPTAIN BIDDLE'S ESCAPE FROM A 74.
U. S. SHIP TORNET, ST. SALVADORE, June 10th, 1815. SIR,
I have the honour to report, that the Peacock and this ship, having continued off Christian D'Acupha, the number of days directed by you, in your letter of instructions, proceeded in coin pany to the eastward on the 12th of April, bound to the second place of rendezvous. Nothing of any importance occurred to us until the 27th of April, when at 7 A. M. in latitude 38 30 south and longitude 33 cast, we made a strange sail to the south east to