Page images
PDF

Domingo 74, and commanded by her second lieu- 1813. tenant, William Hutchinson. That was not all. `. Owing to a great deal of cunning on one side, and a tolerable share of imbecility on the other, commodore Rodgers obtained the stations of the different british men of war on the american coast; and, taking his measures accordingly, was enabled, on the same day, to enter unobserved the harbour of Newport, Rhode-island. The Congress frigate continued cruising, without on effecting any thing of consequence, until the middle of of December; when captain Smith succeeded in so reaching, unobserved as it also appears, the harbour mouth of Portsmouth, New-Hampshire. One of her officers, i. when writing to a friend announcing his return, says: she is “The Congress has 410 of her crew on board, all in." good health: she lost four men by sickness, and has }. manned a prize with a few others.” The officer's jo friend carried this letter to a newspaper editor, and . he gave it immediate insertion. There cannot therefore be a doubt, that the Congress had quitted port with at least 425 men; and the Congress and Chesapeake were of the same class. Some months after the arrival of the Congress at Portsmouth, the Tenedos cruised off the port; and, during a long blockade, captain Parker used every means in his power to induce the Congress to come out and engage him. But the fate of the Chesapeake had put a stop to the future cruises of the american 18-pounder frigates, and the Congress, after a while, was disarmed and laid up. On the 5th of August, off the southern coast of Peo the United States, the british schooner Dominica, of: 12 carronades, 12-pounders, and two sixes, with, as ..." an extra gun, a 32-pounder carronade upon a travers- Domiing carriage, lieutenant George Wilmot Barretté, jo, having under her convoy the king's packet Princess-king's Charlotte, bound from St.-Thomas's to England, fell "“” in with the french, or rather, the franco-american,

privateer-schooner Decatur, of six 12-pounder car

1813, ronades and one long 18-pounder on a traversing A. carriage, commanded by the celebrated captain Dominique Diron.* We have no other details than those furnished by the american papers; but we suppose that lieutenant Barretté, the moment he discovered the privateer approaching, hauled off from the packet to meet her. Action Commencing the attack from to-windward, at a i.e. distance that best suited her long 18-pounder, the Decatur gradually closed with the Dominica, and made an attempt to board, but was repulsed. A second attempt met the same fate; but, after the contest had lasted three quarters of an hour, the Decatur ran her jib-boom through the Dominica's mainsail, when a third attempt, made by the whole of the french crew, succeeded; that is, the privateer's men gained a footing upon the Dominica's H. deck. Here a sanguinary conflict ensued; in which rosis lieutenant Barretté, although he had been wounded * early in the action by two musket-balls in the left - arm, fought in the most gallant manner, and, refusing to surrender, was killed. Emulating the example of their youthful commander, (he was not 26,) the remaining officers and men made a noble resistance against double their numbers. Owing to the crowded state of the Dominica's deck from the presence of the boarders, and the valour of the british crew in persisting to struggle with the latter, fire-arms became * useless, and cutlasses and cold shot were the chief ird, weapons used. At length, the Dominica's brave crew ... became diminished to about a dozen effective men iyomi and boys; and the Decatur's, then six times more * numerous, hauled down the british colours. on Of her 57 men and nine boys, the Dominica had her ... commander, master, (Isaac Sacker,) purser, (David Brown,) two midshipmen, (William Archer and William Parry,) and 13 seamen and boys killed and mortally wounded, and 47 severely and slightly wounded,

* See vol. iv. p. 388.

including every other officer (her sub-lieutenant was 1813. absent) except the surgeon and one midshipman. o One of her boys, not 11 years old, was wounded in two places. Poor child it would have suited thee better to be throwing dumps than “cold shot;” to be gamboling in the nursery, rather than “contendin for victory” upon a man of war's deck. Out of a crew of at least 120 men, the Decatur had four killed and 15 wounded. It appears that captain Diron, by his masterly . manoeuvres, prevented the Dominica from making any one effectual use of her guns, relying for success upon * the arm in which he knew he was almost doubly superior. The Dominica was captured by a privateer, certainly, but under circumstances, that reflected an honour rather than a disgrace upon the british character. The following paragraph forms a part of captain Diron's account in the Charleston papers; nor have we been able to discover a contradiction to the serious charge it contains: “During the combat, which lasted an hour, the king's packet Princess-Charlotte remained a silent spectator of the scene; and, as soon as the vessels were disengaged from each other, she tacked and stood to the southward.” On the 5th of September, at daylight, as the or british brig-sloop (late gun-brig) Boxer, of 12.É.carronades, 18-pounders, and two sixes, captain." Samuel Blyth, was lying at anchor near Penguin ouvre Point, a few miles to the eastward of Portland in the " United States, the american gun-brig Enterprise, wind; of 14 carronades, 18-pounders, and two nines, lieute. . nant-commandant William Burrows, was seen in the it. south-south-east. At 7 h; 30 m. P. M., leaving her surgeon, two of her midshipmen, and an army officer, a passenger, on shore at Manhegan, “shootin pigeons,” the Boxer got under way; and, at 8 h. 30m., hoisting three english ensigns, bore up for the Enterprise, then standing on the larboard tack. At 9 A.M.,

[ocr errors]

1813. the latter tacked and stood to the southward. At ‘so 9 h. 30 m., when the two brigs were about four miles apart, it fell calm; and at 11 h. 30 m. a breeze sprang up from the southward, which placed the

american brig to-windward. At 2 P. M. the Enter

prise made sail on a wind, to try her rate of sailing with the Boxer; and, in half an hour, having clearly ascertained his advantage in this respect, as well as that the Boxer was inferior in size and force, lieutenant Burrows hoisted three american ensigns, and, firing a shot of defiance, bore up to engage. Action At 3 h. 15 m. P. M. the Boxer, being on the stari.e., board tack, fired her starboard broadside, and immediately received the larboard broadside of the Enterprise in return; the two brigs then not more than half pistol-shot apart. In the very first broadside, an 18-pound shot passed through captain Blyth's ... body, and shattered his left arm. The command of ... the Boxer then devolved upon her only lieutenant, David M'Creery. At about the same time a musketball fired from the Boxer mortally wounded captain Burrows. At 3 h. 30 m. P. M. the Enterprise, now commanded by lieutenant Edward R. M'Call, ranged ahead, and, rounding to on the starboard tack, raked the Boxer with her starboard guns, and shot away her main topmast and foretopsail yard. The american brig then set her j and, taking a position on the starboard bow of her now wholly Boxe, unmanageable antagonist, continued pouring in suc.." cessive raking fires until 3 h. 45 m., when the Boxer

surrendered. ... The Boxer was much cut up in hull and spars, of and, out of her 60 men (12 absent) and six boys, .." lost, besides her commander, three men killed, side, and 17 men wounded, four of them mortally. The Enterprise suffered very little injury in her hull and spars; but her rigging and sails were a good deal cut. Out of her 120 men and three boys, the ameri

can brig lost one man killed, her commander, one

ers killed,

midshipman, (both mortally,) and 11 men wounded, 1813. one of the latter mortally. ‘so The established armament of the Boxer was 10 Guns carronades; and that number, with her two 6-pound- * ers, was as many as the brig could mount with effect. or carry with ease. But, when the Boxer was refitting at Halifax, captain Blyth obtained two additional carronades: had he taken on board, instead of them, 20 additional seamen, the Boxer would have been a much more effective vessel. Against the english 18-pounder carronade, complaints have always been made, for its lightness and unsteadiness in action; but the american carronade of that caliber is much shorter in the breech, and longer in the muzzle : therefore it heats more slowly, recoils less, and carries farther. The same is the case, indeed, with British all the varieties of the carronade used by the Ameri-ocans; and they, in consequence, derive advantages rican in the employment of that piece of ordnance, not.” possessed by the English; whose carronades are notoriously the lightest and most inefficient of any in use. If the english carronade, especially of the smaller calibers, had displayed its imperfections, as these pages have frequently shown that the english 13-inch mortar was in the habit of doing, by bursting after an hour or two's firing, the gun must either have been improved in form, or thrown out of the service. While on the subject of carronades, we may remark, that even the few disadvantages in the carronade, which the Americans have not been able entirely to obviate, they have managed to lessen, by using, not only stouter, but double, breechings; one of which, in case the ring-bolt should draw, is made to pass through the timber-head. Although it was clearly shown, by the number of . prisoners received out of her, that the Boxer com-board menced the action with only 66 men and boys, ... captain Isaac Hull was so officious as to address a letter to commodore Bainbridge at Boston, purposely to express his opinion, that the british brig had

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »