Page images


18-pounder frigate, by an american 44, not so easy 1814. a task as he had been led to expect.

We formerly noticed the sailing, on the 27th of Essex October, 1812, of the United States' 32-gun frigate sails Essex, captain David Porter, from Delaware bay, the Deon a cruise in the Pacific, conjointly with the Con- laware stitution and Hornet.* Not finding either of these ships at the appointed rendezvous, captain Porter at Val

paraiso resolved to proceed alone round Cape Horn; and on the 14th of March, 1813, having previously captured the british packet Nocton and taken out of her 11000l. sterling in specie, the Essex arrived at Valparaiso, on the coast of Chili. Captain Porter here refitted and provisioned his frigate, and then cruised along the coast of Chili and Peru, and among the Gallapagos islands, until October; by which time he had captured 12 british whale-ships.

Having taken several american seamen out of a Takes peruvian corsair and decoyed several british seamen several out of his prizes, captain Porter armed and manned ships, two of the whale-ships as cruisers. One of them, arms late the Atlantic, but newly named the Essex-Junior, two of was armed with 20 guns, (10 long 6-pounders and ten 18-pounder carronades,) and manned with a crew, officers included, of 95 men; and lieutenant John Downes, who had the command of her, taking under his charge the Hector, Catherine, and Montezuma, proceeded with them to Valparaiso. On the return of the Essex-Junior from this service, the Essex, with the remaining three prizes, (three having been sent to America, and two given up to the prisoners,) steered for the island of Nooaheevah, one of the Marquesas. Here captain Porter completely repaired the Essex; and, sailing thence on the 12th of December, in company with the Essex-Junior, returned, on or about the 12th of January, 1814, to Valparaiso.

On the 8th of February, at 7 A. M., the british


* See p. 182.

and Cherub find

1814. 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Phæbe, captain James Feb. Hillyar, accompanied by the 18-gun ship-sloop Phæbe Cherub, captain Thomas Tudor Tucker, when stand

ing in towards the harbour of Valparaiso, in quest of

the Essex and the three ships which captain Porter Essex was represented to have armed, discovered the Essex- Essex-Junior off the port, and, shortly afterwards, Junior the Essex herself and two of her three prizes, the paraiso Montezuma and Hector, at anchor within it. At

11 h. 15 m. A. M. captain Hillyar spoke the Essex; and at 11 h. 30 m. the Phoebe and Cherub anchored at no great distance from her. The established force of the Phæbe was precisely what we supposed it to be in May, 1811;* but, profiting by the example of the Americans, captain Hillyar had since mounted one swivel in the fore, two in the main, and one in the mizen top of the Phoebe, and had also fitted her 18-pounder boat-carronade, and another carronade, a 12-pounder, as broadside-guns. The force of the Cherub was 18 carronades, 32-pounders, on the main deck, and on the quarterdeck and forecastle six carronades, 18pounders, and two sixes. The 46 guns of the Essex have already been described.+

On the 9th, at 9 A. M., captain Porter began his hoisted attempts upon the loyalty of the Phæbe's seamen, on each by hoisting at his fore topgallantmast-head a white

flag, with the motto, “ FREE TRADE AND SAILORS' RIGHTS.” This, in a little while, the Phæbe answered, with the St.-George's ensign, and the motto, “ God AND COUNTRY, BRITISH SAILORS' BEST RIGHTS: TRAITORS OFFEND BOTH." On this the crew of the Essex manned her rigging and gave three cheers, which the Phoebe's crew presently returned. On the 12th captain Porter's motto mania returned, and the Essex hoisted a flag inscribed with the words,“God, OUR COUNTRY, AND LIBERTY: TYRANTS OFFEND THEM.

On the 15th, at 7 A. M., the Essex-Junior was towed out of the harbour. At 8 A. M. the Phæbe



[blocks in formation]


try to


and Cherub weighed and stood after her; and at 1914. noon, finding she

could not escape, the Essex-Junior Peb. returned to the anchorage, passing ahead of the Both Phoebe within pistol-shot. On the 23d, when the ameritwo british ships were cruising in the bay, the Essex weighed and stood out, but in about an hour resumed escape her station in the harbour.' On the 25th captain chased Porter had his prize, the Hector, towed out to sea and set fire to. On the 27th, at about 6 h. 45 m. P. M., when the Phæbe was about four miles westnorth-west of the anchorage, and the Cherub about six miles north by west of her, the Essex and EssexJunior got under way with a light breeze from the westward, and stood out towards the british frigate. On seeing them approach, the Phæbe backed her main topsail and hoisted her colours. At this moment, by a mere accident as it appears, a gun went off from the Phoebe's windward side. This was at once interpreted by captain Porter into a challenge. At 7 h. 20 m. P.M., as the Phoebe was in the act of wearing to bring her starboard guns to bear, the Essex and Essex-Junior hauled to the wind on the starboard tack, and the former fired one gun to-windward. Soon after this little flourish, captain Porter and his lieutenant stood for the anchorage, followed by captain Hillyar under all sail.

Beyond a second attempt of the Essex-Junior to Capt. escape, made and frustrated on the 3d of March, nothing further of consequence happened until the tises an 28th of the month, when the Essex put in practice a cessful well-concerted plan for freeing herself from the fur- ruse to ther annoyance of her watchful enemy. It was the british intention of captain Porter, as he himself states, to ships allow the Phoebe and Cherub to chase the Essex the out of the bay, in order to afford to the Essex-Junior port, the opportunity of getting to sea; and, if the plan succeeded, the two american ships were to effect their junction at the Marquesas. The wind being, as it usually is, to the southward, any scheme that would draw the two british ships to the north-east or the

Porter prac

Essex driven

raiso by a

1814. lee side of the bay, could not fail to favour the March. escape of the two american ships. Accordingly, from

about midnight to past I a. M. on the 28th, a quantity of blue-lights and rockets were burnt and thrown up in the north-east and in the north. The Phoebe and Cherub, as may be supposed, chased in those directions ; but, finding no answer returned to the lights they each hoisted, the two captains suspected who were the makers of the signals, and again hauled to the wind. Daylight found the Essex and Essex-Junior at their moorings, and the two british ships rather too close to the port, to justify the american ships in attempting their escape.

A fresh south-south-east wind now blew, and so out of increased towards 3 P. M., that the Essex parted her Valpa- larboard cable, and dragged her starboard anchor out

to sea. Sail was presently set upon the ship.; and gale, Poses seeing a prospect of

passing to-windward of his two opponents, captain Porter began to chuckle at his

good fortune in having been blown out of the harbour. mast, Just, however, as the Essex was rounding the point at chors the west end of the bay, the accomplishment of which

would have set captain Porter free, a heavy squall shore. struck the ship and carried away her main topmast.

The Essex now hore up, followed by both british ships, and at 3 h.40 m. anchored within half a mile of the shore, in a small bay about a mile to the eastward of Point Caleta. The Essex then hoisted one motto-flag at the fore, and another at the mizen, topgallantmast-head, and one american ensign at the mizen peak, and lashed a second in the main rigging. Not to be outdone in decorations, the two british ships hoisted their motto-flags, along with a handsome display of ensigns and union-jacks.

At 4 P. M., when the Phoebe was standing towards

the starboard quarter of the Essex, at about a mile firing distant, a squall from the land caused the ship to

break off, and prevented her from passing, as had been captain Hillyar's intention, close under the american frigate's stern. At 4 h. 10 m., having fetched as

her fore top

near the

Phæbe commences

at her.

little March.

near as the wind would permit, the Phoebe com- 1814. menced firing her starboard guns, but with very effect owing to the great distance. In five minutes Cherub more the Cherub, who lay on the Phoebe's starboard also. quarter, opened her fire; the Essex returning the fire of both ships with three long 12-pounders run out of her stern ports. At 4 h. 30 m. P. M. the two british ships, being very near the shore, ceased firing, and wore round on the larboard tack. While the Phoebe was wearing, a shot from the Essex passed through several folds of her mainsail as it hung in the brails, and prevented it from being reset in the strong wind which was then blowing. Her jib-boom was also badly wounded, and her fore, main, and mizen stays shot away. Having, besides increasing her distance by wearing, lost the use of her jib, mainsail, and main stay, the Phoebe was now at too great a distance to fire more than one or two random shot. At 4 h. 40 m. the Phoebe tacked towards the Essex; and captain Hillyar soon afterwards informed captain Tucker, by hailing, that it was his intention to anchor, but that the Cherub must keep under way

. On closing the Essex at 5 h. 35 m., the Phæbe Close recommenced a fire from her bow guns; which was comreturned by the former, the weather at this time mences nearly calm. In about 20 minutes the Essex hoisted Essex her flying jib, cut her cable, and, under her foresail tries to and fore topsail, endeavoured to run on shore. This shore. exposed her to a tolerably warm cannonade from the Phoebe; but the Cherub, owing to the baffling winds, was not able to get near. Just as the Essex had approached the shore within musket-shot, the wind shifted from the land, and paid her head down upon the Phoebe. That not being a course very desirable to captain Porter, the Essex let go an anchor, and came to within about three quarters of a mile of the shore. The object now was to get the specie and other

2 E


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »