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1814, respectively carried by boarding, we might have J. some faith in captain Porter's assertion, that british seamen were not so brave as they had been represented. But, shall we take the Epervier's crew as a sample of british seamen? As well might we judge of the moral character of a nation by the inmates of her jails, or take the first deformed object we meet, as the standard of the size and shape of her people. *: . We must be allowed to say that, had the Eper.." vier's carronades been previously fired in exercise, ... for any length of time, together, the defect in the of want clinching of her breeching-bolts, a defect common :* to the vessels of this and the smaller classes, nearly all of them being contract-built, would have been discovered, and perhaps remedied. Even one or two discharges would have shown the insufficiency of the fighting-bolts. We doubt, however, if any teaching at the guns could have amended the Epervier's crew : the men wanted, what mature alone could give them, the hearts of Britons. Rein- On the 28th of June, at daylight, latitude 48° 36' ... north, longitude 11° 15' west, the british 18-gun coun- brig-sloop Reindeer, captain William Manners, ...a steering with a light breeze from the north-east, gages discovered and chased in the west-south-west the "* United States' ship-sloop Wasp, captain Johnston Blakeley. The latter was the sister-ship to the Peacock and armed every way the same. The Reindeer, built of fir in 1804, was a sister-brig to the Epervier, but not so heavily armed, having, on account of her age and weakness, exchanged her 32-pounder carronades for 24-pounders; 16 of which, .# two sixes and a 12-pounder boat-carronade, formed her present armament. By 1 P.M. the two vessels had approximated near enough to ascertain that each was an enemy; and, while one manoeuvred to gain, the other manoeuvred to keep, the weathergage. At 2 P. M. the Wasp hoisted her colours, and fired a gun to-windward ;
and immediately, the Reindeer, whose colours had
been previously hoisted, fired a gun also to-wind- 1814. ward, as an answer to the challenge. At 3h. 15 m. ‘so P. M., being distant about 60 yards on the Wasp's starboard and weather quarter, the Reindeer opened a fire from her boat-carronade mounted upon the topgallant forecastle. This she repeated four times; when at 3h. 26m., putting her helm a-lee, the Wasp luffed up and commenced the action with the after carronade and the others in succession. The Reindeer returned the fire with spirit, and a close and furious engagement ensued.
After the mutual cannonade had lasted about half Falls an hour, the Reindeer, owing to her disabled state, ord fell with her bow against the larboard quarter of of her. the Wasp. The latter immediately raked her with dreadful effect; and the american riflemen in the tops picked off the british officers and men in every part of the deck. It was now that captain Manners showed himself a hero. The calves of his legs had been . partly shot away early in the action; yet did he keep our and the deck, encouraging his crew, and animating, by his #. example, the few officers remaining on board. A grape Man: or canister shot passed through both his thighs: he fell “” on his knees, but quickly sprang up ; and, although bleeding profusely, resolutely refused to quit the deck. Perceiving at this time the dreadful slaughter which the musketry in the Wasp's tops was causing among his crew, this gallant young officer called out to them, “ Follow me, my boys, we must board.” While with that object in view climbing into the Reindeer's rigging, two balls from the Wasp's main top penetrated his skull, and came out beneath his chin. Placing one hand on his forehead, and with the other convulsively brandishing his sword, he exclaimed, “O God!” and dropped lifeless on his own deck
- To live with fame
1814. Having lost, besides her captain, nearly the whole ... of her officers and more than half her, men, the j Reindeer was wholly unable to oppose the Wasp's .* overwhelming numbers. Accordingly, at about 4 p.m.; the american crew rushed on board, and received Fo of their hard-earned trophy from Mr. ichard Collins, the captain's clerk, the senior officer alive on deck. ... In a line with her ports, the Reindeer was literally To cut to pieces: her upperworks, boats, and spare !..." spars were one complete wreck. Her masts were of her both badly wounded; particularly her foremast, which was left in a tottering state. Out of her crew of 98 men and 20 boys, the brig had her commander, purser, (John Thomas Barton,) and 23 petty officers, seamen, and marines killed, her first and only lieutenant on board, (Thomas Chambers,) one master's mate, (Matthew Mitchell,) one midshipman, (Henry Hardiman,) her boatswain, (all badly,) and 37 petty officers, seamen, and marines wounded; total, 25 killed, and 42 wounded, 27 of the number dangerously and severely. One of the men was wounded in the head by a ramrod; which, before it could be extracted, required to be sawed off close to the skull. The man, notwithstanding, recovered. After receiving this desperate wound, he, like his gallant chief, refused to go below; saying to those who begged him to leave his gun : “If all the wounded of the Reindeer were as well able to fight as I am, we should soon make the american strike.” .." . The sails and rigging of the Wasp were a good board deal cut. “Sox round shot and many grape,” cap"** tain Blakeley says, struck her hull. We should imagine, from the Wasp's acknowledged loss, that a few more had either perforated her thick sides or entered at her port-holes. One 24-pound shot passed through the centre of the foremast; and yet it stood : a tolerable proof of its large dimensions.
Out of 173 men and two boys in complement, the Wo: two midshipmen and nine seamen and ma- 1814. rines killed and mortally wounded, and 15 petty officers, ‘. seamen, and marines wounded severely and slightly, Doubtless, a great part of the Wasp's loss arose from the determined efforts of the Reindeer's crew . to board; but how, taking the relative numbers as they at first stood, could 98 men succeed against 173?
COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTs.
- No. 9 11 Broadside-guns. . . . . . . . . . . . lbs. 198 338 Crew (men only) .......... No. 98 173 Size . . . . . • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * tons 385 539
Notwithstanding this decided disparity of force, Rethe weaker party was the assailant; nor can the o: british commander be accused of rashness, both action. yessels being “sloops of war.” The force employed by the Wasp, stationed upon a floating body, varying a trifle in construction, would have entitled the Reindeer to seek her safety in flight. But, had she run from the Wasp, Mr. Madison would have exulted as much, in announcing that a british ship had been chased, as captured, by an american ship . “of the same class;” and even Britons would have considered the act as a stigma upon the national character. This may be pronounced one of the best-fought sloop-actions of the war. The british crew had long served together, and captain Manners was the idol and delight of his men. They were called the pride of Plymouth. Gallant souls | they wanted but as many more like themselves as would have brought them in number within a fourth of their opponents; and the Americans would have had to rue the day that the Wasp encountered the Reindeer. -
On the 29th, in the afternoon, on a breeze spring- Reining up, the foremast of the prize went by the board; :
and on the same evening, finding the Reindeer too onfire ****, much shattered to keep the sea, and too old and worthless, had she been otherwise, to be worth wisp carrying into port, captain Blakeley set fire to and jo destroyed her. The Wasp then steered for Lorient, rient to refit and renovate her crew, and on the 8th of July anchored in that port. Ac- It will appear surprising, that an action so preg... nant with circumstances calculated to excite the ted by sympathy of the brave of all nations, an action in i." the conduct of it, from first to last, so highly honourton able to the character of the british navy, as that of the Reindeer and Wasp, should be altogether omitted by an english naval historian; by a writer, especially, who claims the honour to belong to that very profession of which the gallant Manners was a member. But every friend to the memory of the youthful hero, every well-wisher to the cause of the british navy, will rejoice to find, that captain Brenton has not even glanced at the action of the Reindeer and Wasp, when he discovers that, in the Avon's case, (to which we shall come presently,) the Wasp is described as a “brig,” mounting eighteen 32-pounder carronades and two sixes, with 140 men.” Recollecting the mistake about the force of the Peacock, the Hornet's opponent, we have not a doubt that captain Brenton would have made a similar mistake respecting the Reindeer; and then, what with underrating the force on one side and overrating it on the other, the merits of the action would have been entirely changed. Wor On the 27th of August the Wasp, thoroughly ..., refitted and manned, sailed from Lorient to resume *... her cruise; and on the 1st of September, at 7 P. M., i. latitude 30° north, longitude lio west, going free ised on the starboard tack, with the wind at south-east, to captain Blakeley fell in with the british 18-gun brig* sloop Avon, (sixteen 32-pounder carronades and two sixes,) captain the honourable James. Arbuthnot,