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without displacing one of the 32-pounder carronades.* 1815. The boat-carronade we shall also reject, for the o' reason formerly given. That leaves the Endymion Guns, with 24 guns upon her broadside. Her established; net complement was 347 men and boys; but her loss . by the Neufchatel, and the deficiency with which she had originally quitted port, left the Endymion with the number already stated. The President had landed four of her 24 car- Guns ronades, one pair at the beginning of the war and j the other pair recently; but, like the Constitution, the President now fought one of her two upperdeck 24-pounders through a spare port on her quarteri. and the other through a spare port on the forecastle. She mounted also upon a travelling carriage, a brass 8-inch howitzer; for which there was a spare port at the gangway. We shall consider this gun, although of a 68-pound caliber, merely as a 24-pounder. In her fore top the President mounted two brass 4-pounders, in her main top the same, and one in her mizen top. These guns, although they were evidently used, and must have produced some effect on the Endymion’s deck, we shall not reckon as a part of the President's force. This leaves the american frigate 53 guns on her decks, and 28 of them in broadside. The number of prisoners delivered to the agent at . Bermuda was 434. Add to these, beside the 35:“ acknowledged by the President’s officers to have crew. been killed, six or seven too badly wounded to be removed, and we have 475 as the President's complement; just two less than were named in her watchbill. Yet commodore Decatur and two of his officers swore before the surrogate, that the President had “about 450, but certainly not 460, men when the action commenced.” The consequence of this oath, this american oath, was, that the captors got head-money for 450 men only; when there was
proof positive that 469, and every probability that 477, men were in the ship at the time stated. We shall take the number of which there was that proof, 465 men and four boys. The President's ship's company were a remarkably stout set of men, and a great many british deserters were discovered among them; but, as the news of the peace very soon arrived, the men were not molested.
On the 17th, in a violent storm from the eastward, the Endymion lost her bowsprit and her fore and main masts; the latter chiefly from the shrouds giving way where they had been knotted after the action. The ship was also obliged to throw overboard the whole of her quarterdeck and forecastle guns. In the same gale, the President carried away all three of her masts. Several of her guns were also thrown overboard; and, in the battered state of her hull by the Endymion's fire, it was considered a mercy to the people on board that she did not founder. On the 25th the two ships arrived at Bermuda. We will now give the
COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS.
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As soon as the gale of wind had dismasted and otherwise disabled the Endymion, so as to leave an inference that the shot of the President had mainly contributed to reduce her to that state, commodore Decatur wrote his official letter. In a very few days after his arrival at Bermuda, the communicativeness of one of his officers made him regret that he had despatched the letter. Mr. Bowie, the President's schoolmaster, when deposing before the surrogate relative to the capture of the ship, says: “When the Endymion dropped astern, we were confident of escaping, ... Shortly after, discovered two ships coming up, (Pomone and Tenedos,) when commodore 1815. Decatur ordered all hands below to take care of their bags. One of the ships commenced firing; and eommodore Decatur called out, ‘We have surrendered, and gave this deponent the trumpet to hail, and say, they had surrendered. The Pomone's fire did damage to the rigging, but neither killed nor wounded any person. The President did not return the Pomone's fire, but hoisted a light in the mizen rigging, as a sign of submission.” Again: “When the two ships were coming up, a light was hoisted in the mizen rigging of the President, as this o conceived at the time, as an ensign or flag, but, as he afterwards had reason to believe, as a sign that they had surrendered; for this deponent observed to the commodore, that, as long as that light was hoisted, the ships would fire: upon which commodore Decatur ordered it to be taken down.” To counteract the mischievous tendency of Mr. Bowie's averment about the harmless fire of the Pomone, commodore Decatur wrote from New-York a supplementary letter, commencing: “I omitted to state, that a considerable number of my killed and wounded was from the fire of the Pomone.” The one shot that entered on the larboard side might, to be sure, have killed and wounded a few men; but then, says, or rather swears, Mr. Bowie, “the men were all, just then, down below taking care of their bags.” Oh! Mr. Bowie, Mr. Bowie, you were but half an American; and no wonder we do not find your name among the officers belonging to the United States' navy in April, 1816. Although commodore Decatur’s first official is a Com
very long one, and contains a great many inaccu- . racies, we shall notice only two paragraphs. One Peois: “I remained with her (the |. in this on position for half an hour, in the hope that she would letter. close with us on our broadside, in which case I had prepared my crew to board; but, from his continuing to yaw his ship to maintain his position, it became
1815, evident, that to close was not his intention.” The ‘Two other: “It is with emotions of pride I bear testimony to the gallantry and steadiness of every officer and man I had the honour to command on this occasion; and I feel satisfied that the fact of their having beaten a force equal to themselves, in the presence, and almost under the guns, of so vastly a superior force, when, too, it was almost self-evident that, whatever their exertions might be, they must ultimately be captured, will be taken as evidence of what they would have performed, had the force opposed to them been in any degree equal.” An im: Passing over the illiberal insinuation cast upon a ...” gallant british officer, upon one especially, who, as the state commodore acknowledges, paid every attention to ." himself and his officers, “that delicacy and humanity : could dictate," by the words, “it became evident, #.. that to close was not his intention,” we come to an i. inquiry into the fact, of whether, or not commodore Decatur did intend “to board” the Endymion. An extract or two from his own letter will, we think, establish the point. He states, that at 8 h. 30 m. the President “ completely succeeded in dismantling her,” the Endymion, whom he had previously shown to be on his lee quarter; and yet that it was not until 11 P.M. that “two fresh ships of the enemy came up.” What was to have prevented commodore Decatur, had such been his intention, from boarding the Endymion during this long interval? The truth is, such an idea never entered his head, until some one, after the affair was over, pointed out to him what a chance he had missed of distinguishing himself. Admitting that commodore Decatur had succeeded in capturing the Endymion, of which there is a very strong doubt, by boarding, he would, it is true, have been able to hold possession for only a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes. Still he would have had all the credit of the thing; and the subsequent capture of the President and recapture of the Endymion, by a force so overwhelming as that which was approaching, would not, in the slightest 815. degree, have detracted from his merit. \-yAlthough the President did not inflict upon the AnEndymion above one-fourth of the numerical loss which ..." she herself sustained; although, while the latter did statenot have a single warrant-officer touched, the former * had three lieutenants killed, and her master and two midshipmen wounded; although the hull of the british ship was very little struck, and that of the President was shattered from stem to stern; although, in short, very little injury was done to the Endymion more than her own active crew replaced in less than an hour, still the President had “beaten" the Endymion. When commodore Decatur was writing his official letter, he had been two days on board the Endymion, and had found time enough to discover, that her wounded men occupied “ the o starboard side of the gundeck from the cabin bulkhead to the mainmast;” and yet he had the hardihood to declare to his government and the world, that the Endymion, the ship he had so “beaten,” was equal in force to the President. On the 17th of April a court of inquiry was sum-o: moned at New-York, to investigate the circumstances: under which the President had been captured. . After what has already appeared in these pages on officers, the subject of american courts of inquiry, after cap-" tain Joseph Bainbridge could be honourably acquitted for the manner in which he gave up the Frolic, we cannot be surprised that the court should decree, that the “Endymion was subdued,” that the “proposition to board her” was “heroic,” and that commodore Decatur “evinced great judgment and skill, perfect coolness, the most determined resolution and heroic courage,” and so forth. Although, by a sort of endemial tact at telling Behahis own story, the commodore may have raised. himself in the esteem of Americans, the manner in nowhich he yielded up the President, coupled with the jo shifts and quirks, the misrepresentations and mean-"