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cock, which I believe to be correct. On the 11th instant about 9 o'clock, P. M., arrived off Ocracock bar, and anchored within one mile of the inlet, a British fleet, consisting of one 74, three frigates, one brig, and three schooners, under the command of admiral Cockburn, which was discovered by the inhabitants of Ocracock, some of whom apprised the inhabitants of Portsmouth, before day, of the circumstance, As soon as day-light appeared I sent my trunk, containing all the money and custom-house bonds belonging to the of fice, on board the revenue cutter Mercury, which was got under way by captain Wallace, as soon as the pilot was able to discern the stakes which mark out the channel. The barges started from the fleet about the time the cutter weighed her anchors and such was the rapidity of their move. ments, that they were within one mile and a half of her when she cleared the Swash. The first eleven barges came in regular order, close together, until they came nearly within reach of the shot of the privateer brig Anaconda, of New York, and the letter of marque schooner Atlas, of Philadel. phia, they then separated from one to two hundred yards apart, and hauled off under the edge of Ocracock, and waited a short time for the approach of the other barges, ten in number; and upon their arrival, they all began slowly to approach the above-mentioned vessels, discharging their twelvepound carronades, which they carried in their
launches and barges—they also fired several of their Congreve rockets at the shipping, without effect. The Anaconda and Atlas commenced firing very spiritedly, though it was of short duration, for the former had but 15 men on board, the latter but 30, they were therefore compelled to submit to overwhelming numbers, as there could not have been less than 3000 men, at that time inside the bar and crossing it together. These men abandoned the brig and schooner, and betook themselves to their boats, most of whom escaped. The captain of the Atlas remained in her, and continued to fire at the enemy
after all his men had forsaken him. Several of the barges proceeded immediately on, without stopping to board the prizes, in pursuit of the cutter, thinking (as they afterwards said) if they could have taken the cutter, they would have precluded the possibility of information reaching Newbern until they arrived themselves. The cutter very narrowly escaped, by crowding upon her every inch of canvas she had, and by cutting away her long boat. The admiral did not hesitate to declare, that it was his intention to have gone to Newbern, provided he could have reached that place
previous to the citizens receiving any intelligence of his
approach. After pursuing the cutter eight or ten miles through the Sound they gave out the chase and returned. Several hundred men were landed on Portsmouth, and I presume as many on Ocracock; among those landed on Portsmouth, there were about 300 regulars of the 102d regiment, under the command of colonel Napier, and about 400 marines and sailors. They had several small field-pieces in their launches, but did not land them. On both the above-mentioned places there was the most wanton, cruel, and savage-like destruction of property I have ever witnessed ; furniture of all kinds split and broken in pieces, beds ripped open and the feathers scattered in the wind, women and children robbed of their clothing, and indeed many little children have been left without a second suit to their backs. They broke open my office, and destroyed every paper they could lay their hands on, private as well as public. ' I very fortunately had buried the most valuable papers belonging to the office, which escaped them: they robbed me of all the books in my library as well as every other species of property they could lay their hands on, except the law books, and them, with savage fury, they tore in pieces.
They plundered the two islands of 200 head of cattle, 400 sheep, and 1600 fowls of various kinds, for which they pretended to pay; they paid 1600 dollars for the above articles, which is about one-half the value of the cattle. This was done, no doubt, to acquire the reputation of being a generous enemy, without deserving it. After they had been at Portsmouth two days, I was informed by captain Powell, that the admiral considered it necessary for the safety of his inen and officers, that I should go on board his Britannic majesty's ship Sceptre, and there remain until they had all embarked and the squadron ready to sail. I was immediately sent on board, where I remained two days, during which time I was very politely treated. At the expiration of the two days, I was turned adrift in the ocean with four Spaniards, in a small boat, who were as little acquainted with the bar as myself, by which means we all narrowly escaped being lost in the breakers. On the 26th they hoisted sail and stood to sea, the wind at S. S. W. Very respectfully I remain, sir, your obedient servant,
THOMAS SINGLETON. His Excellency William Hawkins, Esq.
P.S. The inhabitants being much alarmned, a number of them endeavoured to make their escape from the island, among whom was a Mr. Richard Casey, with his family. He had got into his boat with his wife and children, and was under way when he was hailed by a party of soldiers and ordered back, which he was about obeying, though slowly (for he is a decrepid old man), when one of the soldiers fired on him and shot him in the breast. I believe the wound will not prove mortal. The admiral told him (as he told every other person, who complained of depredations), point out the man who did it and he shall be corrected-well knowing it was impossible for them to identify any one among such a number of strangers.
Copy of a Letter from Lieutenant Angus, commanding the Uni
ted States Delaware Flotilla, to the Secretary of the Navy. Sir, United States Flotilla, Cape May, July 29th, 1813.
Lying off Dennis's Creek this morning I discovered that an enemy's sloop of war had chased a small vessel, and taken her near the Overfalls. I immediately got under way and stood down the bav. The sloop of war stood so near the Overfalls, that she grounded slightly on the outer ridge of Crow's shoals. I thought proper to endeavour to bring him to action. ' I succeeded and got within three quarters of a mile, and anchored the boats, (consisting of eight gun-boats and two block-sloops) in a line a-head. A heavy frigate had by this time anchored about half a mile further out. After a cannonade of one hour and 45 minutes, in which the ships kept up a constant and heavy fire, heaving their shot from a half to three quarters of a mile over us, they doing us but little damage, their shot seldom striking us, the sloop of war and frigate, finding our shot to tell on their hulls, maạned their boats, ten in number (two launches, the rest large barges and cutters), with from 30 to 40 men in each, and despatched them after gun-boat No. 121, sailing master Shead, which had unfortunately fell a mile and a half out of the line, al. though it had been my positive and express orders to anchor at half cable length apart and 'not farther.
From the strong ebb tide they succeeded in capturing her, after a gallant resistance (for three times did No. 121 discharge her long gun, apparently full of canister among the whole line of boats when at a very short distance, which must have done execution, and not till after he was boarded did the colours come down); before any assistance could be given her, however, we got near enough to destroy three or four of their boats, and must have killed a vast number of
It being a calm, they succeeded in getting her away,
by sending all their boats ahead and towing her, but have paid dearly for their temerity, they must at least have had one-third of their men killed and wounded. They put one shot through the foot of the Buffaloe's jib, and one through the under part of the bowsprit, and cut gun-boat No. 125, sailing master L. Moliere's rigging in several places, and an 18-pound shot struck her long gun and indented it several inches; but happy am I to say, that not a man was wounded in any of the boats, except the one captured, and have not yet learnt their fate. I feel much indebted to L. Mitchell and officers commanding gun-boats for their spirited conduct in carrying into execution my orders; and if I may judge from the gallant resistance made by sailing master Shead in engaging when surrounded by the boats of the enemy, that every officer and man of the flotilla will do their duty in all situations. I have the honour to be, &c.
Commanding United States Del. Flotilla. P.S. The action commenced at 7 minutes before 1, P. M., and ended 37 minutes after 2, P. M.
Sir, United States Flotilla, Newcastle, Aug. 17, 1813.
I have just received a letter from sailing master Shead, respecting the capture of gun-boat No. 121 (a copy of which I have the honour of enclosing to you). I see from this the enemy had 7 killed and 12 wounded, 4 since dead. I am convinced they have deceived him, both as to the number of killed and wounded as well as the number of men in the boats, which at the smallest calculation could not have been less than 250.
I have the honour to remain, with the highest respect, sir, your obedient servant, (Signed)
Mr. Shead's Letter enclosed in the above.
August 6, 1813. It is with the deepest regret that I announce to you the capture of the United States gun-boat, No. 121, under my command, by the boats of the Junon frigate, and Martin sloop of war, eight in number, three of which mounted 12-pound carronades and carrying in all. 150 men. At ten minutes before meridian on the 27th July, I received orders from you to form a line ahead and to fire on the enemy, but finding VOL. II.
myself drove away from the squadron by the wind dying away and a strong ebb tide, I remained sweeping and firing the 32-pounder. At the same time finding my shot did not reach, I placed all hands to the sweeps to endeavour to gain the squadron. At twenty minutes past 12, I perceived the enemy's barges making for me; they being out of gun-shot, I still endeavoured to sweep up to the squadron. At twenty minutes before 1, P. M., I commenced firing on the enemy's boats and sweeping at the same time; but finding I could gain nothing, I anchored to receive them as American tars have been accustomed to. The enemy then getting within
grape reach, I commenced it, but unfortunately the pintle of the large gun gave way the first round; I again charged and got her to bear, which discharge did considerable damage, but tearing my gun-carriage all to pieces.--I loaded with the hope of getting her to bear again, but found it impossible ; the enemy now close on board, discharging vollies of shot from their carronades and muskets, I called
the boarders and small arms men away to repel the enemy; they now surrounding us poured in a heavy fire which we returned with as much promptness as our feeble numbers would admit: several of my men having now fell, our ensign halyards shot away, and seeing the superiority of the enemy's force in the act of boarding us in every quarter, they began to fire briskly, and I found it necessary for the preservation of those few valuable lives left, to surrender to seven times our number; the enemy boarding, loaded our decks with men, we were driven below, and it was with the utmost difficulty that the officers could stay the revenge of the seamen, who seemed to thirst for blood and plunder, the last of which they had by robbing us of every thing; we had none killed, but seven wounded, five slightly. The enemy's loss by us was 7 killed and 12 wounded, 4 of which have since died. They have conquered me, but they have paid dearly for it, and I trust, sir, when you come to view the disadvantages
laboured under, having been but seven days on board of my boat, and scarcely time to station my men, and the misfortune of entirely disabling my gun, and the superiority.of numbers to oppose me, you will be convinced that the flag I had the honour to wear has not lost any of that national character which has ever been attached to it.
I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, sir, your most obedient servant,
WILLIAM SHEAD, Sailing Master. Lieut. Saml. Angus, commanding U. S. Flotilla, Delaware.