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sisting of one ship of the line, four frigates, a brig and a schooner. The nearest frigate was within gun-shot.
It was a dead calm. The British immediately put all the boats of the squadron to two frigates, and thereby gained on the Constitution, and brought some of their bow guns to bear. The Constitution occasionally fired her stern chasers. In this state the vessels continued all that day. On the following morning a light breeze sprang up, which enabled the Constitution to escape, after a chase of sixty-four hours. During the whole of this time, her gallant crew remained at their quarters without a murmur. So ably and successfully did Capt. Hull manæuvre his vessel on this occasion, that it excited admiration even in the British admiral. The Constitution arrived safe in Boston.
On the 2d of Aug. she again sailed from Boston. Capt. Hull stood to the eastward, along the coast, in hopes of falling in with one of the British frigates, reported to be cruizing in that direction. He passed near the coast, as far as the bay of Fundy, without seeing any vessel whatever. He then ræn off Halifax and cape Sables. Seeing no ressel for three or four days, be determined to steer eastward, toward Newfoundland. He passed near the isle of Sables ; and took a station off the Gulph of St. Lawrence, near cape Race, to intercept vessels bound either 10 or from Canada. While cruizing off this station he captured two merchant' vessels. On the 15th he discovered a convoy of five sail, to which he gave chase. He captured one of them, and prevented the prize ship of an American privateer from being taken.
Having received information, that the British squadron were off the Grand Bank, and not far distant, he determined to change his cruizing ground. He accordingly stood to the south ward..... On the 18th he was informed by the commander of an American privatrer, that a British ship of war had been seen the day before standing to the southward, and could not be far off. It was then about 12 o'clock at night. Hull im.nediately made sail to the southward, intending, if possible, to fall in with her.
On the 19th of Aug. at 2 o'clock, P. M. the Constitution being in latitude 41 degrees and 42 ainutes north, and 55 degrees 33 minutes west longitude, a vessel was discovered to the southward. The Constitution instantly made all sail in chase, and soon gained on her. At 3 P. M. it could plainly be perceived she was a ship on the starboard tack, under easy sail, close hauled to the wind. At half past 3 she was ascertained to be a frigate. The Constitution continued the chase. At about three miles dis. tance Capt. Hull ordered the light sails to be taken in, the coursers to be hauled up, and the ship to be cleared for action. The chase now backed her main-top sail, and waited for the Constitution to come down. As soon as the Constitution was ready for action, she bore down, intending to bring immediately to close aetion, the British frigate, which had about this time hoisted three English ensigns in token of defiance. As soon as the Constitų. tion came within gun-shot, the British frigate fired her broadside ; then filled away, wore, and gave a broadside on the other tack. They, however, produced no effect; her shot fell short. The British frigate manæuvred and wore several times for about three quarters of an hour, in order to obtain a raking position. But not succeeding in this, she bore up under her top-sails and jib with the wind on the quarter. Capt. Hull immediately made sail to bring his ship up with her. At 5 minutes before six, P. M. the Constitution being along side, within pistol shot, he ordered a brisk firing to be commenced from all her guns, which were double-shotted with round and grape shot, and so well directed, and 180 warmly kept up that, in fifteen minutes, the mizen-mast of the British frigate went by the board, and her main-yard in her slings. Her hull was much injured ; and her rigging and sails torn to pieces. The fire was kept up, in the same spirited manner, for fifteen minutes longer by the Constitution. She had now taken a position for raking, on the bows of the British frigate ; when the latter could only bring her bow guns to bear on the Constitution. The grape shot and small arms of the Constitution completely swept the decks of the British frigate. Thirty minutes after the commencement of the action by the Constitution, the mainmast and foremast of the British frigate went by the board, taking with them every spar except the bowsprit. She then struck her colours, which had been fastened to the stump of the mizen-mast. The Constitution then sat fore and main sails, and hauled to the eastward to repair damages. All her braces, a great part of her standing and running rigging, and some of her spars were shot away, At 7 P. M. she stood under the lee of the prize and sent a boat on board, which returned at 8, with Capt. Dacres, commander of the frigate. She was the Guerriere, rating 38 and mounting 49 guns. The hull of the Guerriere was so much shattered, that a few more broadsides would have sunk her. She had fifteen men killed, sixty-one wounded, and twenty-four missing, who, it is presumed, were swept overboard by the falling masts. The Constitution had only seven killed and seven wounded.
The boats were immediately employed in bringing the wounded and prisoners on board the Constitution. About two A. M. a sail was discovered off the larboard beam, standing to the south. The ship was instantly cleared for action. At three the vessel
At day-break, information was received from the Lieut. on board the prize, that the ship was in a sinking condition, and had four feet water in the hold. As soon as all her crew were removed from on board of her, she was set on fire, and blew up a quarter past three.
Capt. Hull, in his letter to the secretary of the navy, says : re that from the smallest boy in the ship, to the oldest seaman, not a look of fear was seen. They all went into action giving three cheers, and requesting to be laid along side the enemy."
An instance of heroism may be here given, which fully shows zvith what spirit the American sailors entered into the action, and the noble enthusiasm and bravery that animated them. In the heat of the engagement, one of the crew of the Constitution, perceiving that the flag at the fore top.mast head had been shot away, went up with it, and lashed it so securely, as to render it impossible to shoot it away, unless the mast went with it.
Few events ever excited greater sensations of joy throughout the United States, than the capture of the Guerriere. All the principal towns through which Capt. Hull passeư, after his return to Boston welcomed him with every demonstration of joy. At Boston a splendid entertainment was given to him and his offi
The citizens of Philadelphia subscribed for the purchase of two elegant pieces of plate.....one to be presented to Capt. Hull; and the other to Charles Morris, his first lieutenant.
The legislature of New York....the councilof the city of Albany and Savannah....the congress of the U. S......the house of representatives of Massachusetts, and other public bodies, voted their thanks to Capt. Hull, his officers and crew, The order of Cincinnati ad. mitted the Captain as an honourary member. And congress voted 50,000 dollars as an indemnification to the captain, his officers and crew, for the loss sustained by the destruction of the Guer. riere.
Much having been said on the disparity of force between the American 44 gun frigates and the British 38, the rates of the Constitution and Guerriere, it will, perhaps, not be out of place here to give a comparative view of the force of each. Both the American 44 gun ships, and the British 38 gun ships are con. structed on the same principles ; and their guns are placed in the same relative position, forming batteries of a similar nature. The guns in each ship are placed on the main or gun deck, the quarter deck, and the forecastle. The gun deck, which may be considered as the line of defence, is about 176 feet long in the American 44 gun ships, and about 160 feet in the English 38 gun ships. The line of defence, therefore, in the American 44 gun ships exceeds the English by about 16 feet. But it is to be observed that the length of line of defence by no mens implies strength. This essentially consists in the number of guns that can be placed in battery, with advantage, in a given line, and the strength of the remparts and parapets; in which light the sides of the ship may be considered. A line of defence of 200 feet, mounting 30 guns in battery, would be about one fourth weaker, and produce an effect one-fourth less than a line of defence 150 feet long, mounting
the same uumber of guns. The American 44 gun ships mount 30 twenty-four pounders on the gun deck, 24 thirty-two pound carronades, and two eighteen pounders on the quarter desk and forecastle or upper decks.* The British 38 gun ships mount 28 eighteen pounders on their gun deck, 18 thirty-two pound carronades, and two eighteen pounders, on their quarter deck and forecastle, besides a 24 pounder shifting gun. In an engagement between ship and ship, the effect produced is by the broadside or the number of guns placed in battery on one side of the ship..... So that only half the number of guns in a ship can be considered as placed in battery in its length or line of defence. The number of guns, therefore, of the American 44 gun ships, placed in battery in its line of defence of 176 feet, will be 28. The nun:ber of guns in the English 38 gun ships, placed in battery in its line of defence of 100 feet, will be 24 ; but as they carry a shifting gun, which may be placed in battery on either side, the number will actually be 25. So that the number of guns in battery in the American 44 gun ships, will exceed those in the English 38 gun ships, only one-tenth. But the American line of defence is one tenth longer, and consequently would be one-tenth weaker than the English, if it had only the same number of guns in battery ; consequently, the force of each, when the line of defence and number of guns placed in battery are considered, is very near. ly equal.
The American 44 gun ships carry twenty-four pounders on their gun decks; the English eighteen pounders. But are not eighteen pounders of sufficient weight of metal for the service of large frigates, and fully calculated to produce every effect that may be required in an engagement between frigates ? It has, moreover, been asserted by the officers of the Constitution, that the shot of the Java's eighteen pounders were only three pounds lighter than those of the American twenty-four pounders, after accurately weighing them both. So that consequently the difference in weight of metal was only one-eighth.
It has been often asserted in the British newspapers, that the American frigates were 74's in disguise. It has also been asserted by an English naval commander, in bis official letter, that the American 44 gun ships were built with the scantling of a 74. If by this assertion he meant to insinuate, that the American 44 gun ships were of the same nature with a 74, or a ship of the line, he has manifested an extreme want of candour or want of professional knowledge. 74 gun ships are all of the line, that is, they have guns mounted on two gun decks, extending the whole length of the ship, or its line of defence, besides those on the quater deck and forecastle ; and in addition to these, there are guns on the
The reader will please correct & mistake in page 11, stating the sumber of guns on board 05 44's--thers are but 56.
On the 4th of September, the Essex being off the tail of St. George's Bank, two ships of war were discovered to the southward, and a brig to the northward. The brig was in chase of an American merchant ship. Porter immediately chased the brig, which attempted to pass, and join the rest of the squadron. This he prevented, and compelled her to stand to the northward. He continued in chase of her, until abreast of the American ship, when the wind becoming light, she escaped by means of her sweeps. On showing American colours, several signal guns were fired by the ships to the southward. All sail was made by them in chase. At 4 P. M. they had gained the wake of the Essex, and were coming up with her very fast. Calculating on making his escape by some manoeuvre during the night, he fired a gun to windward. The two ships still continued to gain on the Essex. The largest was considerably to windward of the other, and about five miles astern of the Essex. Capt. Porter determined to heave about as soon as it grew dark, and in case he should not be able to pass her, he determined to fire a broadside into her, and lay her on board.
Every preparation was made for this purpose. The crew, as soon as the plan was proposed to them,gave three cheers, and were in high spirits. At 20 minutes after seven, the Essex hove about, and stood S. E. by S. until 30 minutes after eight, when she bore away S. W. without seeing any thing more of them. This was the more extraordinary, as a pistol was fired on board the Essex, when nearest to them.
The Essex arrived safe in the Delaware a few days afterwards.
Cruize of the Wasp..... The Wasp, Capt. Jones, sailed from the Delaware on a cruize, the 13th Oct. and on the 16th, it came on to blow a heavy gale, which carried away her jib boom and two men. On the 17th, at 11 P. M. in lat. 37 N. lon. 65 W. (the track of vessels passing from Bermuda to Halifax,) she found herself near five strange sail, steering westward.
As some of them seemed to be ships of war, it was thought better to get farther from them. The Wasp thertore hauled her wind, and having reached a few miles to windward, so as to escape or fight as the occasion might require, followed the strange sail through the night. At daybreak on Sunday morning, Capt. Jones found that they were six large merchant ships, under convoy of a sloop of war, which proved to be the Frolic, Captain Whinyates, from Honduras to England, with a convoy, strongly armed and manned, having all forty or fifty men, and two of them mounting sixteen guns each. He determined, however, to attack them, and as there was a heavy swell and the weather boisterous, got down his top-gallant yards, close reefed the topsails, and prepared for action. About eleven o'clock, the Fro