Page images
PDF

Boughton Wintle; both so severely wounded as to 1812. be unable to stand without supporting themselves. So Contrary to the american statement, however, 17 of the Frolic's men were also on deck. The remainder of the survivors were below, attending to the wounded, and performing other necessary duties. Lieutenant James Biddle, first of the Wasp, had now the honour of striking the Frolic's colours, as they were lashed to the main rigging. The Frolic was of course much shattered in her Dahull; and her two masts, from the wounds they had * received, fell over the side in a few minutes after." her surrender. Out of her 92 men (including one ii. assenger, an invalided soldier) and 18 boys, the rolic had 15 seamen and marines killed, her commander, two lieutenants, (Charles M*Kay, mortally, and Mr. Wintle,) master, (John Stephens, mortally,) and 43 seamen and marines wounded. The Wasp received a few shot in her hull, one near her magazine; and her three lower masts were wounded, but, owing chiefly to the goodness of the sticks, none of them fell. The american sloop began the action with a crew of 138, one of whom was a lad of 17 or 18 years of age, the remainder young and ablebodied seamen, with, as subsequently proved, many British among them; and even the midshipmen, of whom the Wasp had 12 or 13, while the Frolic had but one, and he a boy, were full-grown men, chiefly masters and mates of american merchantmen. Out of this fine crew, the Wasp had eight killed, and about the same number wounded. The Frolic was armed like every other vessel of her. class, with 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long o sixes. The brig had also the established 12-pounder . carronade for her launch, mounted on the usual e elevating carriage; and she had likewise on board a second 12-pounder carronade, taken out of some prize probably, but it was dismounted and lashed upon the forecastle. As the boat-carronade, when used at all in action, can only be fired en barbette, we

[ocr errors]

1812, shall not consider it as worthy a place among the

‘O.K.’ broadside-guns. The Wasp mounted 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two brass long 12-pounders, exclusively of two brass 4-pounders, one of which was usually mounted in the fore, and the other in the main top; but, in consequence of the gale, they had been brought on deck. Although strictly speaking, there was not a single boy belonging to the Wasp, we shall allow three. The following, therefore, will be the

COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS.

FROLIC. WASP. • No. 9 9 Broadside-guns. . . . . . . . . . lbs. 262 268 Crew (men only”) ...... No. 92 135 Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tons 384 434

Re-... . With her masts entire, and a healthy, instead of a * debilitated crew, the Frolic would have encountered a tolerably equal opponent. As the matter stood, her officers and men deserve great credit, for maintaining a resistance so long after their vessel had become unmanageable and defenceless. Surely, there was nothing in the result of this action, that could cast the slightest slur upon the british naval character; and yet, with the wonted exaggerations of american officers, the latter made it, as we shall see presently, a victory over a superior force. Wasp Captain Jones, however, was not allowed to carry tolen, his trophy, his “22-gun sloop of war,” into port; olic for, in the course of a few hours after the action, the ..., british 74-gun ship Poictiers, captain John Poer i." Beresford, heaving in sight, captured one vessel and : recaptured the other. With a just appreciation of the merits of captain Whinyates, captain Beresford court continued him in the command of the Frolic. At the martial court-martial which was subsequently held upon the § captain, officers, and crew of the Frolic, for the loss of yates, their vessel, they were, as a matter of course, most honourably acquitted. Captain Whinyates, although he was unacquainted with the circumstance, had been made a post-captain since the 12th of the preceding 1812. August. o' . A word or two upon the american official account Ame. of this action. Captain Jacob Jones describes the ion. vessel he captured, as “the british sloop of war counts. Frolic, of 22 guns, 16 of them 32 lb. carronades, and four 12-pounders on the main deck, and two 12pounders, carronades, on the topgallant forecastle; making her,” says captain Jacob Jones, “superior in force to us by four 12-pounders.” Unfortunately for captain Jacob Jones, lieutenant Biddle, without his privity, wrote a letter to his father in Philadelphia, in these words: “The Frolic was superior in force to us: she mounted 18 32 lb. carronades, and two long nines. The Wasp, you know, has only 16 carronades.” Mr. Biddle, being a man of some note, got his son's letter into the Philadelphia papers as quickly as Mr. Paul Hamilton, the secretary of the american navy, could get the letter of captain Jacob Jones into the “National Intelligencer.” Here was a business! Comments are unnecessary. Suffice it that, neither letter contained a word relative to the disabled state of the Frolic when the action commenced; and that the Congress of the United States, willing believers in a matter so flattering to their self-love, voted 25000 dollars, and their thanks, to captain Jacob Jones, the 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 displayed by them in the capture of the british sloop of war Frolic, of “superior force.”

* See p. 147.

On the 8th of October the american commodore . Rodgers, with the same three frigates he commanded out. before,” accompanied by the brig-sloop Argus, captain . Arthur Sinclair, sailed from Boston upon his second from cruise against british men of war and merchantmen.” On the 10th, at 8 A.M., when in latitude 41° north, longitude 65° west, steering to the westward, with a light

* See p. 115.

1812., northerly wind, the squadron discovered ahead the ‘So british 38-gun frigate Nymphe, captain Farmery c. Predam Epworth. The Nymphe hauled on the starNymphe board tack in chase; and at noon, finding the private *::" signal not answered, captain Epworth made out the three ships and brig to be american cruisers. At 4 h. 30 m. P.M. the Nymphe boarded a swedish brig from the island of St-Bartholomew to New-York; and which, at 8 P.M., was boarded by the american squadron. With the intelligence thus gained, commodore Rodgers proceeded in chase; but, in the course of an hour, lost sight of the british frigate. United. On the 12th of October the frigate United-States : parted company; and we shall at present follow her compa- fortunes. On the 25th, soon after daylight, in lati#. tude 29° north, longitude 29° 30' west, this american

with 44, being close hauled on the larboard tack with the *... wind blowing fresh from the south-south-east, descried, donian on her weather beam, at the distance of about 12 miles, the british 38-gun frigate Macedonian, captain John Latter Surman Carden. The Macedonian immediately set {..., her fore topmast and topgallant studding-sails, and in bore away in chase, steering a lasking course for * the weather bow of the stranger. While the tracks of the two ships are thus gradually converging, we will give an account of the force of each. In addition to her 28 maindeck long 18-pounders, the Macedonian mounted on the quarterdeck and forecastle 16 carronades, 32-pounders, fitted with their choeks outside, (a new, but,

as far as we can learn, not much approved principle,)

two long 12-pounders, and two brass long french

Force 8-pounders, (the captain's private property,) total 48 j" guns, exclusive of the usual T8-pounder launch ships, carronade. The crew of the Macedonian at this time consisted of 262 men and 35 boys. To account for this extraordinary proportion of boys, we must state that, shortly before the Macedonian sailed on her last cruise, 12 supernumerary boys were put on board,

by way, possibly, of “strengthening” her crew.

With respect to the quality of the 35 boys, very few 1812, of them, it appears, were worth ship-room. It has already been shown, that the established armament of the United-States was 56 guns, long 24-pounders, and 42-pounder carronades.* Subsequently the ship appears to have landed two of her 42s, and to have received on board, in lieu of them, a travelling 18-pounder carronade; making her carriage-guns, in all, 55. She also mounted a brass howitzer in each top. With respect to crew, the United-States victualled 477 men and one lad or boy. At about 7 h. 30 m, A.M. the two ships were not." above three miles apart. Having by this time hoisted . her ensign and broad pendant, the United-States ..." was known to be one of the american 44s; but, Mace. having on board one of commodore Rodgers's spy-" glasses, commodore Decatur mistook the Macedonian for a much larger ship, a sail of the line probably. The United-States accordingly wore round on the starboard tack, keeping a point or two off the wind. Having sailed from Portsmouth as long ago as the 29th of September, captain Carden, although he knew of the war, had received no information of the Guerrière's capture. The Macedonian had since been at Madeira, where she had heard that the american frigate Essex was cruising ; but, even had the force of the United-States in guns and men been at this time fully known, such was the confidence of victory on board the Macedonian, that every officer, man, and boy, except perhaps the eight foreigners, who requested and were allowed to go below, was in the highest spirits. ... As, from sailing better than the United-States, the ol. Macedonian gradually advanced more fully into view, wo the american officers seem to have fallen into the ..., opposite mistake. They now believed the Macedonian the to be a 32-gun frigate; and, with the determination . to attack her, the United-States, at 8 h. 30 m. A. M., wore round on the larboard tack, and hauled sharp up. This brought the two ships, at 8 h. 45 m., into the

* See p. 7.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »