410 men,

lifax, where she captured a brig, who informed them of Boston being blockaded by a superior force. She accordingly made for Portsmouth, where she arrived, with her



perfect health, having lost but four on the cruise. When the men commenced on the jerked beef and cassada, it did not agree with them, and about fifty were sick-but they soon recovered. The Congress is in perfect order, and will want no repairs. She had on board about 30 prisoners on her arrival.

09. The Essex frigate sailed from the capes of the Delaware on the 25th of October, 1812, on a cruise to the Pacific ocean, and has not yet returned. Letters, however, dated July 2, 1813, were received at the navy department about the middle of December following, from her commander, captain Porter, at which time he was cruising off the western coast of South America, with a fleet of nine armed vessels under his command, eight of which were British letters of marque, which he had captured and fitted out. The first of these vessels, which was a ship of two guns and twenty-one men, was captured on the 29th of April. Two others were then in sight, close together, about seven miles distant from the Essex; the one mounting ten guns, 6 and 9 pounders; the other six 18 pounders, four swivels, and six long blunderbusses, mounted on swivels.' The wind being light and variable, and confiding greatly in the bravery and enterprise of his officers and men, and apprehensive of their escape, from the prevalence of fogs in that climate, Porter directed the boats of the Essex to be armed and manned, and divided into two divisions. Suitable signals were established, and each boat had her particular station pointed out for the attack, and every other previous arrangement was made to prevent confusion.

The boats, 7 in number, rowed off in admirable order. Guns were fired from the enemy to terrify them; they rowed up

however, undismayed, under the muzzles of their guns, and took their stations for attacking the first ship, and no sooner was the American flag displayed,

as the signal for boarding, and the intention discovered by the enemy, than their colours were struck without a shot being fired. They then left a crew on board the prize, and took their stations for attacking the other vessel, when her flag was also struck, on the first call to surrender. Thus were two fine British ships, each pierced for twenty guns, worth near half a million of dollars, mounting between them 16 guns, and manned with 55 men, well supplied with ammunition and small arms, surrendered, without the slightest resistance, to seven small pen boats, with fifty men, armed only with muskets, pistols, boarding axes, and cutlasses.

On the 26th of March, previous to the capture


of the letters of marque, Porter fell in with the Peruvian corsair ship Nereyda, mounting 15 guns, which had, a few days before, captured two American whale ships, the crews of which, amounting in number to 24 men, were then detained prisoners on board. As they could assign no other motive for the capture, than that they were the allies of Great Britain, and, as such, should capture all American vessels they could fall in with, Porter, to prevent in future such vexatious proceedings, threw all her armament into the sea, liberated the Americans, and dismissed the Nereyda. He then proceeded with all possible dispatch for Lima, to intercept one of the detained vessels, which had parted with the Nereyda only three days before, and was so fortunate as to arrive there and re-capture her on the 5th of April, at the moment she was entering the port.

Captain Porter describes his crew as enjoying remarkably good health and spirits, no symptoms of scurvy having appeared, although they had been at sea for eight months, with the exception of 23 days. The Essex is in prime order, with abundant supplies, and two of her consorts are fitted out with 20 guns each, and well manned. He mentions that British letters of marque are numerous in those seas, and that the American whalers had derived much benefit from his cruize.

10. Since the commencement of the war the United States have lost the following vessels, viz.

The frigate Chesapeake, rated 36 and mounting 44 guns.
The Wasp sloop of war, rated 16 and mounting 18 guns.
The brig Argus of 16 guns.

The schooners Nautilus, Vixen, and Viper, of 12 guns each.

The captures of the three former have already been mentioned. Of the schooners, the first was captured by a British squadron, the two latter by British frigates rating 32 guns each. A few days after the capture of the Vixen by the Southampton, under sir James Lucas Yeo, both vessels were lost on a reef of rocks near Little Windward or Conception Island. As soon as the vessel struck, the crew of the British frigate became quite unmanageable, and every soul on board would have been lost but for the exertions of their prisoners. The conduct of the American seamen, both at the time of the ship's striking, and afterwards on the uninhabited island on which they saved themselves, was such as to induce sir James to assemble them before his own crew, and thank them publicly for their services. They were taken from this island by a brig from New Providence,

whither Yeo had dispatched a boat to make known their situation.

N 11. The bravery and enterprize of American seamen have not been less conspicuous on board our privateers than in the national vessels. We shall here present an account of a few of the most conspicuous actions that have taken place.

$ 12. In no one action fought during the present war, has there been more courage and gallantry displayed than in the attack made by the privateer Rolla on the British ship Rio Nueva. The Rolla originally carried four twelve pound carronades in her waist, and one double fortified twelve, mounted on a pivot. In a gale of wind off Madeira, the 4 twelve pounders were obliged to be thrown overboard, and only one gun remained: with this, however, on the 14th of December, 1812, the Rolla attacked the Rio Nueva, mounting 18 guns, and 30 men, and took her after an action of twenty-five minutes. During the action, the men on board the Rolla, animated by the courage and conduct of captain Dooley and his officers, evinced a fixed determination to take the enemy or perish. When the ship struck, the Rolla had ranged up within pistol shot, and was preparing to board.

$ 13. The privateer schooner Comet, captain Thomas Boyle, sailed from Cape Henry, on the 25th of November, 1812, on a cruize to the coast of South America. On the 12th of December, at one in the afternoon, she discovered four sail standing out of Pernambuco, and lay by to give them an opportunity of getting off shore, in order to cut them off. At three, they being then about six leagues from the land, she bore up and made all sail in chase of them ; and at six, having discovered one of them to be a very large man of war brig, all hands were called to quarters, the guns loaded with round and grape shot, the deck cleared, and all got ready for action. At seven, being then close to the chase, the Comet hoisted her colours, and sheered up to the man of war, which had hoisted Portuguese colours. The Portuguese then sent his boat on board the Comet, the officer of which informed captain Boyle, that the brig was a Portuguese national vessel, mounting 20 thirty-two pounders, and 165 men, and that the three others were English vessels under his protection, which he would not suffer to be molested; he also mentioned that the English vessels were armed and very strong. Boyle having shown him his commission, answered, that the brig had no right to protect English vessels on the high seas, and that he was determined to capture those vessels if he could ; that he should be sorry if any thing disagreeable took place, but if it did he would not be the aggressor; but that he should cer

tainly resist any attempt to prevent his capturing the vessels. The officer having now returned on board the brig, Boyle hailed her, and distinctly stated his intention of immediately attacking the convoy, which consisted of a ship of 14 guns, and two brigs of 10 guns each, the whole force, including the Portuguese, being 54 guns.

Boyle accordingly made sail for the English vessels, which were close together, and about half past eight, the moon shining clear, he hailed the ship, ordering them to back the main topsails. Little or no answer being given, Boyle, having quick way at the time, shot a little ahead, saying he should be along side again in a few minutes, when, if his orders were not obeyed, a broadside would be poured into him. After a few minutes he tacked, the man of war close after him. He then ran alongside the ship, one of the brigs being close to her, and opened his broadside upon them both, all the vessels at this time carrying a crowd of canvass. From his superior sailing Boyle was frequently obliged to tack, by which he would have received considerable advantage, had he not been closely followed by the man of war, which now opened a heavy fire upon him, which was returned by the Comet. Having now the whole force to contend with, Boyle kept as close as possible to the English vessels, which frequently separated to give the man of war an opportunity of giving a broadside. The Comet continued the action, sometimes pouring her broadsides into the merchantmen, at others into the man of war, until eleven o'clock, when the ship surrendered, being all cut to pieces, and rendered unmanageable, and directly after one of the brigs, which was also very much disabled. A boat was now despatched to take pos. session of the brig, but it was forced to return, being prevented from passing by the fire of the man of war, one of whose broadsides almost succeeded in sinking it. The Comet now directed the whole of her fire at the Portuguese, who soon sheered off, and was followed for a short distance by the Comet, which then returned, and made the third merchantman surrender, she also being cut to pieces.

Boyle now took possession of the Bowes, the brig that had first surrendered. He also spoke the ship, and ordered the captain to follow him, who answered, that his ship was in a sinking condition, having many shot holes between wind and water, and not a rope but what was cut away; but that he would, if possible, follow his orders, for his own safety. As soon as the Bowes was taken possession of, she received a passing broadside from the Portuguese. The moon having now set, it became very dark and squally, and the Comet was sepa

rated from all the vessels except the man of war, with whom for half an hour longer she continued occasionally to exchange broadsides. At day-light, however, the vessels being found to be still in the neighbourhood, the Comet wore close to her prize. The man of war then stood down for them ; on perceiving which Boyle immediately hove about, and stood for him, when he also tacked, and made signals for the convoy to make the first port. The two merchantmen accordingly put before the wind, accompanied by the Portuguese, by whose assistance and their own exertions they succeeded with the utmost difficulty in regaining the harbour of Pernambuco, leaving the Bowes in possession of the Comet.

On the 11th of March, 1813, the General Armstrong, a privateer schooner, while cruizing off the mouth of Surinam river, discovered a sail, which was supposed to be a British letter of marque, and immediately bore down on her, with the intention of giving her two broadsides and then boarding. After giving her

one broadside, and wearing and giving another, to their surprise they found they were alongside of a frigate, pierced for 14 guns on the main deck, 6 on the quarter-deck, and 4 on the forecastle. The wind being light, the privateer lay for about ten minutes like a log in the water. During that time, however, they shot away the frigate's fore-top sail tie, his mizen gaff haulyards, which brought his colours down, and his mizen and main stay, when thinking she had struck, they ceased firing; but being soon undeceived, they recommenced the action. The frigate lay for a few minutes apparently unmanageable, but soon getting way, opened such a heavy fire as would soon have sunk the schooner, had she not succeeded in making her escape by the assistance of her sweeps. In this action, which continued for 45 minutes, the privateer had 6 men killed and 16 wounded. All the haulyards of her head sails were shot away, the fore mast and bowsprit one quarter cut through, all the fore and main shrouds but one cut away, both mainstays and running rigging cut to pieces, a great number of shot through the sails, and several between wind and water, which caused the vessel to leak, and a number in the hull. While they were getting away from the frigate, she kept up a well directed fire for the foremast and gaff of the schooner, but without effect.

$ 15. On the 5th of August, 1813, the privateer Decatur, being on a cruize, discovered a ship and a schooner, the first of which proved to be the British packet Princess Charlotte, the other the British vessel of war, the Dominica. She immediately stood towards them, and soon found herself abreast of the schooner. Both vessels continued to manæuvre for two or three VOL. II.


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