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1813.

June.

Sends the letter by a discharged priSomer,

Chesapeake sails before it is delivered.

this invitation. We have both nobler motives. You will feel it as a compliment if I say, that the result of our meeting may be the most grateful service I

can render to my country; and I doubt not that you,

equally confident of success, will feel convinced,
that it is only by repeated triumphs in even combats
that your little navy can now hope to console your
country, for the loss of that trade it can no longer
protect. Favour me with a speedy reply. We
are short of provisions and water, and cannot stay
long here.” -
This letter captain Broke intrusted to a captain
Slocum, a discharged prisoner, then about to pro-
ceed, in his own boat, to Marblehead, a port a
few miles north of Boston. Shortly afterwards
the Shannon, with colours flying, stood in close
to Boston lighthouse, and lay to. The Chesa-
peake was now seen at anchor in President roads,
with royal yards across and apparently ready for
sea. The american frigate presently loosed her
fore topsail, and, shortly afterwards, all her topsails,
and sheeted them home. The wind, blowing a light
breeze from west by north, was perfectly fair. At
about 30 minutes past noon, while the men of the
Shannon were at dinner, captain Broke went himself
to the mast-head, and there observed the Chesapeake
fire a gun, and loose and set topgallantsails.
The american frigate was soon under way, and
made more sail as she came down, having in her
company numerous sailing pleasure-boats, besides
a large schooner gun-boat, with, we believe, com-
modores Bainbridge and Hull, and several other
american naval officers on board. While at the
Shannon's mast-head, captain Broke saw that captain
Slocum’s boat had not reached the shore in time for

the delivery of his letter of challenge to the com

mander of the Chesapeake. Notwithstanding this, there cannot be a doubt, that captain Lawrence had obtained the consent of commodore Bainbridge,(whose

orders from the government at Washington were to

despatch the o sea as soon as she was 1813. ready,) to sail and attack the Shannon, in compliance ...’ with one or more of the verbal challenges which had been sent in. It was natural for the conqueror of the Peacock to wish for an opportunity to capture or drive away a british ship, that had repeatedly lay to off the port, and, in view of all the citizens, had used every endeavour to provoke the Chesapeake to come out and engage her. At 0' 55 m. P. M., Cape Ann bearing north-north-Chesaeast half-east distant 10 or 12 miles, the Shannon . filled, and stood out from the land under easy sail. § At 1 P. M. the Chesapeake rounded the lighthouse: under all sail; and at 3 h. 40 m. P. M. hauled up, and . fired a gun, as if in defiance; or, perhaps, to induce for her. the Shannon to stop, and allow the gun-vessel and pleasure-boat spectators an opportunity of witnessing how speedily an american, could “whip” a british. frigate. Presently afterwards the Shanmon did haul, up, and reefed topsails. At 4 P. M. both ships, now about seven miles apart, again bore away; the Shanmon with her foresail brailed up, and her main topsail braced flat and shivering, that the Chesapeake might overtake her. At 4 h. 50 m. the Chesapeake took in her studding-sails, topgallantsails, and royals, and got her royal yards on deck. At 5 h. 10 m. P. M., Boston lighthouse bearing west distant about six leagues, the Shannon again hauled up, with her head to the southward and eastward, and lay to, under topsails, topgallantsails, jib, and spanker. At 5 h. 25 m. the Chesapeake hauled up her fore- Each sail; and, with three ensigns flying, one at the . mizen royalmast-head, one at the peak, and one, the her colargest of all, in the starboard main rigging, steered" straight for the Shannon's starboard quarter. The Chesapeake had also, flying at the fore, a large white flag, inscribed with the words: “SAILors’ RIGHTS AND FREE TRADE ;” upon a supposition, perhaps, that this favourite american motto would WOL. VI. - U

paralyse the efforts, or damp the energy, of the Shannon's men. The Shannon had a union jack at the fore, an old rusty blue ensign at the mizen peak, and, rolled up and stopped, ready to be cast loose if either of these should be shot away, one ensign on the main stay and another in the main rigging. Nor, standing much in need of paint, was her outside appearance at all calculated to inspire a belief, of the order and discipline which reigned within. At 5 h. 30 m. P. M., to be under command, and ready to wear if necessary, in the prevailing light breeze, the Shannon filled her main topsail and kept a close luff; but, at the end of a few minutes, having gathered way enough, she again shook the wind out of the sail, and kept it shivering, and also brailed up her driver. Thinking it not unlikely that the Chesapeake would pass under the Shannou's stern, and engage her on the larboard side, captain Broke divided his men, and directed such as could not fire with effect to be prepared to lie down as the enemy's ship passed. But, either overlooking or waving this advantage, captain Lawrence, at 5 h. 40 m., gallantly luffed up, within about 50 yards, upon the Shannon's starboard quarter, and, squaring his main yard, gave three cheers. The Shannon's guns were loaded thus : the aftermost maindeck gun with two round shot and a keg containing 150 musket-balls, the next gun with one round and one double-headed shot, and so alternately along the broadside. The captain of the 14th gun, William Mindham, had been ordered to fire, the moment his gun would bear into the Chesapeake's second maindeck port from forward. At 5 h. 50 m. P. M. the Shannon's aftermost maindeck gun was fired, and the shot was seen to strike close to the port at which it had been aimed.* In a second or so the 13th gun was fired: then the Chesapeake's bow gun went off; and then the remaining guns on the

1813.

June.

* Chesa... peake

hauls upon Shannon's Starboard quar

Action com

Inences

* See diagram at p. 296.

broadside of each ship as fast as they could be 1813. discharged. ‘so

At 5 h. 53 m. P. M., finding that, owing to the chessquantity of way in the Chesapeake and the calm she peake had produced in the Shannon's sails, he was ranging ..." too far ahead; and, being desirous to preserve the . weathergage in order to have an opportunity of crip. ared pling the Shannon by his dismantling shot, captain onLawrence hauled up a little.* At 5 h. 56 m., having non. had her jib-sheet and fore topsail-tie shot away, and her helm, probably from the death of the men stationed at it, being for the moment unattended to, the Chesapeake came so sharp to the wind as completely to deaden her way; and the ship lay, in consequence, with her stern and quarter exposed to her opponent's broadside. The shot from the Shannon's aftermost guns now took a diagonal direction along the decks of the Chesapeake; beating in her stern-ports, and sweeping the men from their quarters. The shot from the Shannon's foremost guns, at the same time, entering the Chesapeake's ports from the mainmast aft, did considerable execution.H. At 5 h. 58 m. an open cask of musket-cartridges, standing upon the Soto, cabin-skylight for the use of the marines, caught fire and blew up, but did no injury whatever. Even the spankerboom, directly in the way of the explosion, was barely singed.

As the Shannon had by this time fallen off a little, Falls and the manoeuvres of the Chesapeake indicated an ..., intention to haul away, captain Broke ordered the of her. helm to be put a-lee; but, scarcely had the Shannon luffed up in obedience to her helm, than the Chesapeake was observed to have stern way, and to be paying round off. The Shannon immediately shifted her helm a-starboard, and shivered her mizen topsail, to keep off the wind again, and delay the boarding,

* See diagram.

+ Ibid." But, in this position, the engraver has not copied the drawing quite so faithfully as he go have done.

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1813, probably until her guns had done a little more

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J. execution among a crew, supposed to be at least

a fourth superior in number. At that moment, how-
ever, the Shannon had her jib-stay shot away; and,
her head-sails being becalmed, she went off very
slowly. The consequence was, that, at 6 P.M., the
Chesapeake fell on board the Shannon, with her
quarter pressing upon the latter's side, just before
her starboard main-chains. The Chesapeake's fore-
sail being at this moment partly loose, owing to the
weather clue-garnet having been shot away from the
bits, the american frigate forged a little ahead, but
was presently stopped, by hooking, with her quarter
port, the flook of the Shannon's anchor stowed over
the chess-tree.
Captain Broke now ran forward; and, observing
the Chesapeake's men deserting the quarterdeck
guns, he ordered the two ships to be lashed together,
the great guns to cease firing, the maindeck boarders
to be called, and lieutenant George Thomas L.Watt,
the first lieutenant, to bring up the quarterdeck men,
who were all boarders. While zealously employed
outside the bulwark of the Shannon, making the
Chesapeake fast to her, the veteran boatswain, Mr.
Stevens, (he had fought in Rodney's action,) had his
left arm hacked off with repeated sabre-cuts, and was
mortally wounded by musketry. The midshipman
commanding on the forecastle, Mr. Samwell, was
also mortally wounded. Accompanied by the
remaining forecastle party, about 20 in number,
captain Broke, at 6 h. 2 m. P. M., stepped from the
Shannon's gangway-rail, just abaft the fore rigging,
on to the muzzle of the Chesapeake's aftermost
carronade, and thence, over the bulwark, upon
her quarterdeck. Here not an officer or man
was to be seen. Upon the Chesapeake's gang-
ways, about 25 or 30 Americans made a slight
resistance. These were quickly driven towards
the forecastle; where a few endeavoured to get
down the fore hatchway, but, in their eagerness,

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