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1813, river. Previously to giving up the chase, the Hornet TT discovered a brig of war, with english colours flying, at anchor without the bar. This was the brig-sloop Espiègle, of sixteen 32-pounder carronades and two sixes, captain John Taylor, refitting her rigging, Falls in At 3 h. 30 m. P. M., while beating round Caroband ...” bank to get at the Espiègle, the Hornet discovered gages, a sail on her weather quarter bearing down for her. i. This was the british brig-sloop Peacock, of sixteen : 24-pounder carronades and two sixes, captain Wil* liam Peake; who had only sailed from the Espiègle's anchorage the same day at 10 A. M. At 4 h. 20 m. P. M. the Peacock hoisted her colours; and at 5h. 10 m., having kept close to the wind to weather the Peacock, the Hornet tacked for that purpose and hoisted her colours. At 5 h. 25 m., in passing each other on opposite tacks, within half pistol-shot, the ship and brig exchanged broadsides. After this, the Peacock wore to renew the action on the other tack; when the Hornet, quickly bearing up, received the Peacock’s starboard broadside ; then, at about § 5 h. 35 m., ran the latter close on board on the starhoist board quarter. In this position, the Hornet poured .#. in so heavy and well-directed a fire, that at 5h.50 m., tress having had her commander killed, and being with six feet water in the hold and cut to pieces in hull and masts, the Peacock hoisted from her fore rigging an ensign, union down, as a signal of distress. Shortly afterwards her mainmast went by the board. sinks, Both the Hornet and Peacock were immediately Foot anchored; and every attempt was made to save the both latter, by throwing her guns overboard, by pumping ...” and bailing her, and stopping such ... aS board could be got at ; but all would not do, and in a very few minutes after she had anchored, the Peacock went down in five and a half fathams’ water, with 13 of her men, four of whom afterwards got to the fore top and escaped, as well as three men belonging to the Hornet. An american lieutenant and midshipman, and the remainder of the Hornet's men on board the Peacock, with difficulty saved themselves by to: as the brig went down, into a boat which was 1813, ying on her booms. Four of the Peacock's seamen Fo, had just before taken to her stern boat; in which, notwithstanding it was much damaged by shot, they arrived in safety at Demerara.
Of her 110 men and 12 boys, the Peacock lost, Loss, about the middle of the action, her young and gallant." commander and four seamen killed, her master, one side. midshipman, the carpenter, captain's clerk, and 29 seamen and marines wounded; three of the latter mortally, but the greater part slightly. The principal damages of the Hornet are represented to have been one shot through the foremast, and her bowsprit slightly wounded by another: her loss, out of a crew of 163 men and two boys, the Americans state at one seaman killed, and two slightly wounded; also one mortally, and another severely burnt by the explosion of a cartridge.
The Hornet had three lieutenants, a lieutenant Hoof marines, and a great show of full grown young . midshipmen; and her men were all of the usual class blished of “american” seamen. Her established comple- * ment was 170, but she had on board, as was frequently ot the case in american ships of war, three supernume-... raries. On the other hand, eight men were absent in a prize. This reduced the Hornet's crew to 165; among whom we will suppose, although none were discoverable, there were three boys. The Hornet, it will be observed, mounted one gun more of a side than the Wasp, and the latter was 434 tons: the former, therefore, could not well have been less than 460 or 470 tons.
COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS.
This is what the Americans, now for the first time pretending to believe, that “24-pounders are as
marks on the action.
Peacock's ineffec, tive State.
good as 32s,” call an equal match ; or rather, as a brass swivel or two were stuck upon the capstan, or
somewhere about the quarterdeck, of the Peacock, by way of ornament, these and the boat-carronade were reckoned in, and the Hornet was declared to have gained a victory over a superior british force. If, in their encounter of british frigates, the Americans were so lucky as to meet them with crippled masts, deteriorated powder, unskilful gunners, or worthless crews, they were not less fortunate in the brigs they fell in with. There was the Frolic, with her main yard gone and topmasts sprung; and here is the Peacock, with 24 instead of 32 pounder carronades, the establishment of her class, and with a crew that, owing to the nature of their employment ever since the brig had been commissioned, in August, 1807, must have almost forgotten that they belonged to a man of war. The Peacock had long been the admiration of her numerous visitors, for the tasteful arrangement of her deck, and had obtained, in consequence, the name of the yacht. The breech
ings of the carronades were lined with white canvass,
the shot-lockers shifted from their usual places, and nothing could exceed in brilliancy the polish upon the traversing bars and elevating screws. If carronades, in general, as mounted in the british service,
are liable to turn in-board or upset, what must have
Excellent gunnery of Hornet.
been the state of the Peacock's carronades after the first broadside 2 A single discharge from them, in exercise, would have betrayed the very defective state of their fastenings; and the feelings of Englishmen might then have found some relief in the skill, as well as gallantry, evinced in the Peacock's defence. The firing of the Hornet was admirable, and proved that her men, to the credit of captain Lawrence and his officers, had been well taught what use to make of their guns: at the same time, it must be admitted, that the Peacock, Frolic, and all the brigs of their class were mere shells; especially, when compared with such a shi p as the Hornet, whose scantling was nearly as stout as that of a $818.
british 12-pounder frigate. ‘Ro’
The wreck of the Peacock was visible for a long Disartime after the action, and bore from Point Spirit, #. which is about six miles to the eastward of the of entrance to Demerara river, north-east by east dis-jo tant six leagues; making the distance between the ment Espiègle and Peacock, during the action, nearly 24. miles. This confirms the statement of lieutenanting the Frederick Augustus Wright, the late senior lieu-.” tenant of the Peacock, that the Espiègle “ was not the Esvisible from the look-outs stationed at the Peacock’s ” mast-heads for some time previous to the commencement of the action, and gives rather an awkward appearance to captain Lawrence's statement, that the Espiègle lay about six miles in-shore of him, and “ could plainly see the whole of the action.” If another confirmation were wanted, it is to be found in the log of the Espiègle; by which it appears that, although pieces of wreck passed her on the morning of the 25th, captain Taylor did not know that an action had taken place, until informed, the same afternoon, by the governor of Demerara, of the Peacock’s destruction.
It was fortunate, perhaps, for the character of the i. f british navy, that the disordered state of her rigging .." prevented the Espiègle from sailing out to engage of the ship, which, at noon on the day of action, she “” plainly saw, and continued to see for nearly an hour, until the Hornet tacked and stood to the south-east; as, at the court-martial subsequently held upon him, captain Taylor was found guilty of having “neglected to exercise the ship's company at the great guns.” It seemed hard, however, to punish the Espiègle's commander for a piece of neglect, which prevailed over two thirds of the british navy; and to which the admiralty, by their sparing allowance of powder and shot for practice at the guns, were in some degree instrumental.
* . Much good as, we flatter ourselves, we have done ... to the cause of truth, by analyzing the american #: accounts of their naval actions with the English, the ... inattention of a contemporary may throw some re- doubt upon the accuracy of our statement respecting #... the relative force of the parties in the case i. has cock's just been detailed. Captain Brenton, with a par* ticularity not common with him, states that “the force of the Peacock was sixteen 32-pound carronades and two long sixes.” Admitting that neither our former work on the subject published nine years ago, nor the first edition of the present work, and into which, we know, our contemporary has occasionally dipped, was deemed of sufficient authority, what has captain Brenton to say to lieutenant Wright's letter, published in all the London papers? Nay, what objection has he to offer to the official statement of captain Lawrence himself, “She (the Peacock) mounted sixteen 24-pound carronades and two long nines 7” * The counter statement of our contemporary, it is ... true, may have little weight in this country; but not ** so in the United States, not so among a people whom we are, and long have been, labouring so hard to convince of the inutility, even in a profit-and-loss point of view, of telling a falsehood. There the high rank and presumed practical experience of the author, and his long list of kings, princes, princesses, dukes, and officers of the navy, for subscribers, will produce their full effect: the Americans will be convinced that, in the hurry of the moment, captain Lawrence made a mistake respecting the force of his prize, By the : captain Brenton is not the only british officer, who has given the Peacock 32-pounder carronades: a post-captain, who, about 18 months ago, volunteered to correct the mistatements of a very captivating writer, both for and against the Ame
* Brenton, vol. v. p. 1112