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Art. 1.-NAVIGATION AND NAVAL ARCHITECTURE.
A HISTORY of navigation and naval architecture was commenced more than a year since, and the twelfth number had been published in the Nau. tical Magazine, on the first of last May, when that valuable periodical work was suspended. It was the object of the author to present a condensed account of the maritime enterprise of all nations, from the earliest ages to the present time.
The preceding numbers included the history of the rise and development of the commercial and naval marines of Egypt, Tyre, Carthage, Greece, Rome, and other ancient empires, until their extinction, and of the mod. ern nations of Venice, Genoa, Spain, Portugal, Holland, England, France, Denmark, Sweden, Turkey, and their numerous colonial establishments in the East and West Indies, North and South America, and on the coasts of Africa and Asia, to the memorable engagement between the fleets of Ad. miral Keppel and Count D'Orvilliers, in 1778.
After the lapse of several months, the subject has been resumed, and will be continued, in four numbers, to the ratification of the treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, in 1783 ; and it is possible it may be extended to the close of the present year, as was originally in. tended. But if the history of navigation cannot be immediately prosecuted through the important period which has elapsed since the establishment of our national independence, that of naval architecture will certainly be concluded in two additional numbers.
So vastly have the commercial and naval fleets of Europe and of this continent been augmented within the last sixty years, and so far have the bounds of nautical adventure been extended, in consequence of the im. mensely increased products of agricultural, manufacturing and mechanical industry, that it is desirable the respective proportions of navigation which the numerous maritime nations have employed, and the credit due to each, for their enterprise and skill as merchants and mariners, as well as the brilliant achievements of their squadrons in war, should be more amply disclosed than can be immediately accomplished; and, therefore, it may be found indispensably necessary to defer that portion of the history to a period when the requisite time for its completion can be more certainly commanded.
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF NAVIGATION AND NAVAL ARCHITECTURE.
NUMBER I.NEW SERIES.
“A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land ; traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their country; engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right; advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye.”—JEFPERSON.
Spain having concluded, in June, 1779, to take a decided part with France and America against Great Britain, a joint naval expedition was determined upon by the courts of the two former; and Count D'Orvilliers sailed from Brest, with a large fleet, early in June, for the purpose of forming a junction with that of Spain, which was accomplished on the twenty. fourth. Their united forces, amounting to sixty-six ships of the line, steered for England early in August. Large bodies of troops had been previously stationed on the coasts of Normandy and Brittany; and the ports in the Channel and Bay of Biscay were thronged with vessels, for the apparent purpose of invading England or Ireland.
D'Orvilliers passed Sir Charles Hardy, who was cruising in the Bay of Biscay, with nearly forty ships of the line, without their having the least knowledge of each other. Sir Charles had sailed from Spithead on the sixteenth of June—the day on which the Spanish manifesto was presented to the British court. The French fleet appeared off Plymouth on the evening of the sixteenth of August; and if an attempt had then been made to take that important naval arsenal, it must have been successful ; for it was in an utterly defenceless condition. An easterly storm having commenced on the eighteenth, which continued until the twenty-second, the fleet was obliged to pass lower down the Channel, and, instead of returning, cruised off the Land's End, the Scilly Isles, and the chops of the Channel, until the end of the month, for the purpose of intercepting the fleet of Sir Charles Hardy on its return ; but he was enabled to gain the entrance of the Channel on the thirty-first, in sight of the combined fleets, which pursued him as far as Plymouth ; but, in consequence of the great sickness which prevailed in the French and Spanish ships, as well as their impaired condition, and the apprehension of a gale from the near approach of the equinox, Count D’Orvilliers deemed it necessary to abandon the British coast and repair to Brest, early in September. Several of the pub. lic and private armed ships of the United Colonies achieved splendid vic. tories during the year 1779. Captain John Hasten Williams had distinguished himself as a naval officer in the service of the colony of Massachusetts, while commander of the Republic, of twelve guns, by the capture of a large armed merchant ship, richly laden, which he carried into Boston; and having been appointed commander of the Hozand, of fourteen guns, he captured, in February, 1779, the brig Active, of eighteen guns, after a vigorous and close action of thirty minutes. The following May, he sailed in the ship Protection, of twenty guns, and, in June, engaged the
, a letter of marque, of equal force. The action was contin. ued, at close quarters, for more than an hour, when the British ship was perceived to be on fire. Captain Williams immediately hauled off, but had scarcely disengaged his vessel before the Admiral Duff blew up; but, by great exertions, he succeeded in saving fifty-five of her crew.
On his re, turn, with a crew greatly reduced in numbers, he sustained a running fight with the frigate Thames, of thirty-two guns; and was enabled to in jure the enemy so much that he finally sheered off.
In June, 1779, a squadron under the command of Captain Whipple, consisting of the Providence, of thirty-two guns, the Queen of France, of twenty-eight, and the Ranger, of eighteen, captured eleven vessels out of a commercial fleet of one hundred and fifty sail
, under the convoy of a ship of the line, and several frigates and sloops of war; eight of which arrived in Boston, the value of whose cargoes amounted to over a million of dollars.
Captain John Paul Jones sailed from the roads of Groaix, on the western coast of France, in August, with a squadron consisting of the Bonne Homme Richard, of forty guns, the Alliance, of thirty-six, the Pallas, of thirty-two, the Cerf, of eighteen, and the Vengeance, of twelve, for the purpose of intercepting the Baltic fleets. When off Flamborough Head, on the twenty-third of September, he discovered the northern commercial fleet, under convoy of the Serapis, of forty-four guns, and the Countess of Scarborough, of thirty-two. The merchant ships took refuge under Scar. borough Castle. The frigates stood out to sea and prepared for action. It was night before Jones came up with them, when they tacked and stood towards the shore. He immediately changed his course with the intention of cutting them off. As the Pallas, at the same time, hauled her wind and stood out to sea, and the Alliance lay to, at a considerable distance, the Bonne Homme Richard was left alone to contend with the two British ships. The action commenced about seven o'clock, within pistol shot. Several of the guns in the Bonne Homme Richard having been burst, Jones determined to grapple with the Serapis, and thus render her supe. riority less efficient, and prevent the Countess of Scarborough from firing. With great difficulty, this object was, at last, so fully accomplished that the muzzles of the guns touched each other. In this situation they were engaged for nearly three hours, and all the guns of the Bonne Homme Richard but four, were silenced. Captain Pearson, the commander of the Serapis, then attempted to board, but was repulsed ; and soon after, not being able to bring a single gun to bear, he struck. Captain Jones imme. diately took possession of the ship, and removed his crew on board ; and shortly after, his own ship sunk.
The Pallas, commanded by Captain Cotineau, engaged the Countess of Scarborough, while the battle was raging between the Bonne Homme Richard and the Serapis, and captured her after an action of two hours.
On the arrival of Captain Jones in Paris, a sword was presented to him by the king of France, who also conferred upon him the cross of the order of military merit; and, by a resolution of the 27th of February, 1781, Congress declared that they entertained“ a high sense of the distinguished bravery and military conduct of John Paul Jones, Esq., Captain in the navy of the United States, and particularly in his victory over the British ship of war Serapis, which was attended with circumstances so brilliant as to excite general applause and admiration."
Count D'Estaing, who sailed from Boston the third of November, 1778, arrived at St. Lucia in the afternoon of the fourteenth of December, with a fleet of twelve ships of the line, besides a number of frigates and trans. ports which had joined him in the West Indies, with a land force of about nine thousand men. A descent had been made upon that island, the preceding day, by a squadron under Admiral Barrington, of five ships of the line and three frigates, and a military force commanded by General Meadows. The British ships were arranged across Careening Bay, between two forts, in such a manner as to effectually guard the entrance. In the afternoon of the fifteenth, the Count made an attack upon the British squadron ; but after sustaining a heavy cannonade from the boats and ships, until dark, he retired, with a loss of a great number of men. The next night he landed his troops in Choc Bay, between Gross-Islet and Careening Bay. On the eighteenth, he advanced, in three columns, upon the British lines, which extended across the isthmus ; but, after three gal. lant assaults, he was compelled to retreat, with the loss of four hundred men killed, and eleven hundred wounded. The troops were re-embarked on the twenty-third, and he left the island the next day.
Count D'Estaing took the island of St. Vincent on the eighteenth of June; and his force having been augmented, by the arrival of a squadron under De la Motte Piquet, to twenty-five ships of the line, twelve frigates, and ten thousand troops, under Count Dillon, he sailed for Grenada, which was taken on the third of July. In the mean time, Admiral Byron, who had convoyed the West India commercial fleet through the most exposed portion of its route, returned to St. Lucia, where he received intelligence of the loss of St. Vincent, and immediately determined to proceed to that island with a land force, under Governor Grant, for the purpose of recov. ering it ; but having received information, on bis passage, of the attack on Grenada, he changed his destination, and steered for that island, although his armament consisted of only twenty-one ships of the line, and one frigate. He arrived within sight of the French fleet on the morning of the sixth of July; and Count D'Estaing, having received intelligence of his approach, was getting under way. An action commenced at eight o'clock, and ceased at twelve ; but was again renewed at two, and con. tinued, for a great portion of the time, until evening, without anything essential having been effected on either side.
Three of the English ships were disabled, and many of the others sustained considerable damage in their masts and rigging ; and the French had a great number of men killed and wounded. In the morning the Count returned to Grenada, and Admiral Byron proceeded to Antigua.
Count D'Estaing having repaired and garrisoned the forts in Grenada, repaired to St. Francois, where he received despatches from the governor of South Carolina, General Lincoln, and the French consul at Charleston, requesting his co-operation in a proposed attack upon Savannah ; and, as he had been directed by his sovereign to act in concert with the American forces whenever an occasion occurred, he despatched two ships of the line and three frigates to Charleston, to announce his determination to proceed to the coast of Georgia as soon as the requisite arrangements for that purpose could be made.
On the reception of that cheering intelligence, General Lincoln marched with all expedition for Savannah, with the
troops under his command ; and orders were given for the militia of North Carolina and Georgia to imme. diately rendezvous near that city.
Count D'Estaing arrived, with twenty ships of the line, two of fifty guns, and eleven frigates, on the first of September ; but, as the British had sunk a number of ships in the channel, and extended a boom across it, to prevent the French frigates from entering the harbor, and as the large ships could not approach near the shore, the troops were not landed until the twelfth, and Savannah was not invested until the twenty-third. The siege was vigorously prosecuted until the ninth of October, when it was decided to attempt to carry the enemy's work by an assault
. Two feints were first made, by a portion of the militia, and, about day-break, an at. tack was commenced on the Spring-hill battery, with three thousand five hundred French troops, six hundred continentals, and three hundred and fifty of the Charleston militia, headed by Count D'Estaing and General Lincoln. They advanced up to the lines with great firmness, and two standards were planted on the redoubts. At the same moment, Count Pulaski, with two hundred cavalry, was rushing forward towards the town, between the batteries, with the intention of charging in the rear, when he received a mortal wound. A general retreat then ensued of the assail. ants, after they had withstood the enemy's fire for nearly an hour. Count D'Estaing received two wounds, and eight hundred and seventy-eight men were killed or wounded.
Count D'Estaing re-embarked his troops in about ten days ; but scarcely had that been accomplished, when a violent gale dispersed the fleets ; and although he had ordered seven ships of the line to repair to Hampton Roads, in Chesapeake Bay, the Marquis de Vaudreuil was the only offi. cer who was able to execute that order.
On the tenth of July, 1780, Chevalier Ternay's fleet, consisting of seven ships of the line, two frigates, a cutter, a bomb-ship, and thirty-two transports, with six thousand French troops, under the command of Count De Rochambeau, arrived at New York. At that time, the combined squad. rons of Admirals Arbuthnot and Graves, which were in the harbor of New York, amounted to ten sail of the line ; and Sir Henry Clinton embarked eight thousand men for the purpose of proceeding to Rhode Island ; but, after reaching Huntington Bay, having ascertained that troops were marching from Connecticut and Massachusetts to join the French army, and that Washington had crossed the Hudson with the evident intention of attacking New York, he abandoned the expedition and returned to that city.
Sir George Rodney, having been appointed to the chief command in the West Indies, received orders to proceed, in his way thither, with a strong squadron, to the relief of Gibraltar, which had been so closely blockaded since the commencement of hostilities between Spain and Great Britain, that the garrison was reduced to great extremity, both with re. spect to provisions, and munitions of war. On the eighth of January, 1780, he fell in with and captured a convoy bound from St. Sebastian's to Cadiz, consisting of fifteen sail of merchantmen, under the protection of a sixty-four, four frigates, and two smaller vessels.
On the sixteenth, he discovered a Spanish squadron of eleven ships of the line, under Don Juan Langara, off Cape St. Vincent, which, being inferior to him in force, the admiral endeavored to avoid an action ; when Rodney threw out the signal for a general chase, with orders to engage, as the ships came up, in rotation, taking, at the same time, the lee-gage, to prevent a retreat. The engagement was commenced, by the headmost