Page images



Relative size and Scantling of the tWO brigs.

Remarks on the action.

upwards of “100 men on board; for,” says captain

Hull, “I counted upwards of 90 hammocks.” As the

american public did not know that, in the british
service, every seaman and marine has two hammocks
allowed him, this statement from one of their
favourite naval officers produced the desired effect
all over the republic, Washington not excepted.
The Boxer measured 181 tons and a fraction,
the Enterprise at least 245 tons; and, while the
bulwarks of the latter were built of solid oak, those
of the former consisted, with the exception of one
timber between each port, of an outer and an inner
plank, pervious to every grape-shot that was fired. As
a proof of the difference in the size of the two vessels,
the mainmast of the Enterprise was 15 inches more
in circumference than that of the Boxer, and her
main yard upwards of 10 feet longer.
We will, however, admit that, but for the two-
fold disparity in their crews, these two vessels would
have been a tolerably fair match. It was not in
number of men only, that the disparity existed; an
acting master's mate, Hugh James, and three seamen,
as proved at the court-martial assembled to try the
surviving officers and crew for the loss of the Boxer,
deserted their quarters in the action. So that, as
the two midshipmen were absent, lieutenant M'Creery
was the only officer left after the death of the captain,
and the latter, it will be recollected, was killed in
the first broadside; whereas the Enterprise, after
her gallant commander fell, had still remaining two
lieutenants, one or two master's mates, and four
midshipmen. Her crew, also, had evidently been
well practised at the guns; but the Boxer's men
appear to have known very little what use to make of
their guns. The sentence of the court-martial refers
particularly to this disgraceful circumstance. Upon
the whole, the action of the Boxer and Enterprise
was a very creditable affair to the Americans; but,
excepting the Frolic's action, and that was a case
sui generis, it was the first engagement in which

an american vessel had succeeded against a british 1818. vessel nearly equal to her in guns; and, even in o. this case, the american vessel was doubly superior in crew, better found in every respect, nearly a third larger, and constructed, as we have already stated, of much stouter scantling. On the 7th of September the gallant commanders of Burial the two brigs were buried at Portland with military ..."

two and civic honours; and the few surviving officers of com: the Boxer, to testify their regard for their late ..." commander, caused a tombstone, with a suitable inscription, to be placed over his grave. None of the praises lavished upon the “fine brig of war Boxer” could gain her a place among the national vessels of the United States. She was put up to auction, and sold as a merchant brig; for which service only, and that in peaceable times, she was ever calculated. . On the 12th of August, at 6 h. 30 m. A. M., the Peli. british 18-gun brig-sloop, Pelican, captain John ... in Fordyce Maples, anchored in Cork from a cruise. quest Before the sails were furled, captain Maples received ... orders to put to sea again, in quest of an american sloop of war, which had been committing serious depredations in St-George's Channel, and of which the Pelican herself had gained some information on the preceding day. At 8 A. M., having supplied herself with a few necessary stores, the Pelican got under way, and beat out of the harbour against a very strong breeze and heavy sea; a proof of the earnestness of her officers and crew. On the 13th, at 7 h. 30 m. P. M., when standing to ..." the eastward with the wind at north-west, the Pelican her, observed afire ahead, and a brig standing to the south-.” east. The latter was immediately chased under all brigs sail, but was lost sight of in the night. On the 14th, at ... 4 h. 45 m. A. M., latitude 52° 15' north, longitude for the 5° 50' west, the same brig was seen in the north- .

east, separating from a ship which she had just set gage, on fire, and steering towards several merchantmen




mounted by each brig.

sail and

in the south-east. This active cruiser was the United
States' brig-sloop Argus, captain William Henry
Allen, standing close hauled on the starboard tack,
with the wind a moderate breeze from the southward,
The Pelican was on the weather quarter of the
Argus, bearing down under a press of sail to close
her; nor did the latter make any attempt to escape,
her commander, who had been first lieutenant of the
United-States in her action with the Macedonian,
being confident, as it afterwards appeared, that he
could “whip any.english 22-gun” (as all the british
18-gun brigs were called in America) sloop of war
in 10 minutes. Let us now show the force of each
of these anxious candidates for the laurel crown.
The Pelican mounted the usual establishment of
her class, 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long
sixes, with a 12-pounder boat-carronade. But,
unfortunately, captain Maples, when recently at
Jamaica, had taken on board two brass 6-pounders.
As there were no broadside ports for them, these
surplusage guns were not thrown into the hold along
with the ballast, but were mounted through the
stern-ports, to the perpetual annoyance of the man
at the helm, without a redeeming benefit in contri-
buting, in the slightest degree, to the brig's actual
force. Of her established complement of 120 men
and boys, the Pelican had on board 101 men and 12
boys; and, among her absentees, was her second
lieutenant. The Argus mounted 18 carronades, 24-
pounders, and two long english 12-pounders, the
same, we believe, that had belonged to the Mace-

donian. On quitting the United States upon this

cruise, the Argus mustered 157 men and boys; but
she had since manned so many prizes as to reduce
her crew to 127, or, as acknowledged by her officers,
125, a number that included about three lads or boys.

At 4 h. 30m. A. M., being unable to get the weather

gage, the Argus shortened sail, to give the Pelican

the opportunity of closing. At 5 h. 55 m. A. M., St.-
David's Head bearing east distant about five leagues,


the Pelican hoisted her colours. The Argus imme- 1813. diately did the same, and at 6 A. M., having wore `. round, opened her larboard guns within grape-distance; receiving in return the starboard broadside of the Pelican. In about four minutes captain Allen Ameriwas severely wounded, and the main braces, main **i. o gaff, and trysail-mast of the Argus were sound. shot away. At 6 h. 14 m. the Pelican bore up, to “ pass astern of the Argus; but the latter, now commanded by lieutenant William Henry Watson, adroitly threw all aback, and frustrated the attempt, bestowing at the same time a well intended, but ineffective raking fire. At 6 h. 18 m., having shot away her opponent's preventer-brace and main topsail-tie, and thus deprived her of the use of her aftersails, the Pelican passed astern of and raked the Argus, and then ranged up on her starboard quarter, pouring in her fire with destructive effect. In a short time, having by this vigorous attack had her wheelropes and running rigging of every description shot away, the Argus became entirely unmanageable, and again exposed her stern to the broadside of the Pelican; who, shortly afterwards, passing the broadside of the Argus, placed herself on the latter's starboard bow. In this position the british brig, at 6 h. 45 m. A. M., boarded the american brig, and Pelican instantly carried her, although the master's mate of o: the Pelican, Mr. William Young, who led the party, and received his death-wound from the fore top of the ...” Argus, just as he had stepped upon her gunwale. Even this did not encourage the american crew to rally; and two or three, among those who had not run below, hauled down the colours. On board the Pelican, one shot had passed through Dathe boatswain's and another through the carpenter’s ...” cabin. Her sides were filled with grape-shot, and loss * her rigging and sails much injured: her foremast ...a and main topmast were slightly wounded, and so were her royal-masts; but no spar was seriously hurt. Two of her carronades were dismounted. Out of WOL, WI. Y

1818, her 101 men and 12 boys, the Pelican lost, besides ‘...." the master's mate, Mr. Young, slain in the moment of victory, one seaman killed, and five slightly wounded, chiefly by the american musketry and langridge; the latter to the torture of the wounded. Captain Maples had a narrow escape: a spent canister-shot struck, with some degree of force, one of his waistcoat buttons, and then fell on the deck. Same The Argus was tolerably cut up in her hull. ..ara Both her lower masts were wounded, although not Argus. badly, and her fore shrouds on one side were nearly all destroyed; but, like the Chesapeake, the Argus had no spar shot away. Several of her carronades were disabled. Out of her 122 men and three boys, to appearance a remarkably fine ship's company, the Argus had six seamen killed, her commander, two midshipmen, the carpenter, and three seamen mortally, her first lieutenant and five seamen severely, and eight others slightly, wounded; total, six killed and 18 wounded. Broad. We shall not, of course, reckon as a part of the ... Pelican's broadside force the two 6-pounders in guns o each her stern-ports, nor, for the reason formerly stated, * the 12-pounder boat-carronade. Although a trifle shorter on deck than the Pelican, the Argus carried her 10 guns of a side with ease; first, because, being of a smaller caliber, they took up rather less room, and next, because her tiller worked on the ’tween decks, and admitted her aftermost port to be carried nearer to her stern by several feet. The american writers dwelt upon the number of prizes which the Argus had previously made, partly with the view of raising an inference, that she had reduced her ammunition to an inadequate amount. The fact is that, after her action with the Pelican, the Argus had more powder left than was supplied to the Pelican at her first outfit; and the american brig's round, grape, and canister shot, exclusive of bars of iron, old iron, rusty nails, bayonets lashed together with rope-yarn, and other species of american langridge,

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »