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to prevent his passing under our stern, which he evidently intended. At 8 hailed her when on the starboard beam, but received no answer; wore ship. At 8. 10. she hauled her foresail up, and hove to, within half pistol shot of our weather beam. Capt. Bingham standing on the gun abast the larboard gangway, hailed the ship ahoy! which words were repeated. Capt. Bingham hailed again, what ship is that? which was again also repeated word for word, and she immediately fired a broadside ; captain Bingham jumped off the gun and gave orders to fire, which we did instantly, the captains of the guns standing with the lanyards of the locks in their hands, and the guns pointed at her, continued firing about an hour, when she ceased and hailed us, what ship is that? Captain Bingham replied, his majesty's ship Little Belt, several times before he understood us ; he then asked what ship that was? They answered the United States' frigate, the name we did not understand, and asked if our colors were down? Captain Bingham answered, No! He then filled on the starboard tack, we very soon lost sight of her; continued all night refitting ; at day light observed her lying too to windward about 8 or 10 miles. About 6 she bore down under her topsails and foresail. At 8 he hailed ship ahoy! I'll send a boat on board if you please, sir. Very well, sir, was captain Bingham's answer. The boat came on board, and remained ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour; after which he wore, and stood to the westward under his topsails.
Latitude 36 53, longitude 71 49. Cape Charles bearing west 50 miles.
Mr. James Franklin, boatswain, states, at half past 6 o'clock observed the frigate coming up under studding sails on both sides ; 2bout half past 7 shortened sail and brought too, hoisted the colors ; at a quarter before 8 hailed, no answer, wore ship ; about two minutes before 8 the ship was hailed ; the captain's words were repeated twice, without making any answer ; then he fired a whole broadside ; about a minute returned a broadside from us, continued firing about an hour, and then he ceased firing and hailed, and asked if the colors were down, the answer was, No, and I heard the capt. say they should not come down, and ordered the starboard guns to be manned; then the captain hailed to know what ship that was ; being under the forecastle, wounded, I could not hear the answer. I then came down below, and there was no more firing after.
Mr. Hinshelwood, purser, states, that on the 16th inst. at 11 A. M. saw a strange sail, made sail in chace of her; 1 30, observed her to be a frigate, made the private signal, our number and 275, neither of which were answered ; at 2, made out a commodore's broad pendant, apparently an American, cleared for quarters, oba served the frigate to be in chace of us ; at 5, beat to quarters a second time ; 7 30, hove too and hoisted our colors ; at 8, hailed her, no answer, wore ship; at 8 10, she hove too, close to windward of us ; captain Bingham standing on the gun abaft the larboard gang, way, hailed, Ahoy! the ship, which they repeated ; capt. B. asked, What ship is that? which was also repeated, and immediately gave us a broadside, commencing firing from the midships of the deck; captain B.jumped off the gun and gave orders to fire, which was instantly done; continued firing about an hour, observed the frigate to leave off firing; she hailed at the same time, and asked what ship this was ; captain B. answered, His Britannic majesty's ship Little Belt, six or seven times before they understood; he then asked if our colors were down, to which captain B. answered, No, and asked what ship that was ; she answered, the United States' ship, the name we could not understand; she then made "sail; at dav-light, observed her to windward; at 6 she bore down, at 8 passed within hail, hailed the ship, and said he would send a boat on board, if capt. B. pleased ; a boat came on board, and remained about a quarter of an hour; she then made sail to the westward.
Mr. William Turner, surgeon, states, that when steering to the southward from off New-York, on May 16th, 1811, at 11 A. M. and a strange sail was reported to the westward, which was immediately given chace tv; on nearing, observed her to be a frigate, standing to the eastward, with an American broad pendant at her main-topgallant mast head. We then resumed our course to the southward, and shewed the ensiga and pendant; stranger observed shortly after to alter her course to join us's when the Little Belt made more sail, strange frigate did the same ; finding the stranger joined us fast, prepared for action, shortened sail and hove too, sometime before sun
Immediately after the Little Belt hove too, the strange frigate shortened sail, coming down very slowly. I shortly after went below. At 10 minutes past 8 o'clock P. M. captain Bingham hailed the stranger twice, very loudly, but received no answer; about 5 minutes after, captain Bingham hailed, and was answered from the frigate, to what purport I could not distinctly understand ; capt. B. again hailed twice, and immediately heard the frigate fire, and the whole passed over us. I then distinctly heard captain Bingham give orders to fire away; we returned our broadside within 20 seconds. The action continued with great vigor for about 45 minutes, to the best of my judgment.
We, the undersigned, have duly examined the officers herein named, belonging to his majesty's sloop Little Belt, respecting the attack made on that ship by the United States' frigate President, have received the above as a true statement of all the occurrences.
In witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands, on board his majesty's ship Æolus, Halifax harbor, Nova Scotia, the 29th of May, 1811. (Signed)
Halifax Yard, May 30, 1811. I acquaint the board that his majesty's sloop the Little Belt, returned to this port on Sunday last, almost a wreck, having on the 16th instant, off the Chesapeake, had an action, which lasted three quarters of an hour, with the American frigate the President, one of their heaviest ships, carrying upwards of fifty guns.
Having directed the master shipwright to examine her defects, I received from him the report which is herewith enclosed for the information of the board, and for the satisfaction of the lord's commissioners of the admiralty, in ascertaining the extent of the injury received.
In addition to the damages detailed in the builders report, her sails and rigging are cut to pieces by shot. I have the honor to be, &c. &c. &c.
(Signed) J. N. INGLEFIELD. Inclosure in commissioner Inglefield's letter to the Navy Board.
Halifax Yard, May 28, 1811. Report of the state and condition of his majesty's sloop Little Belt.
The short plank abaft the after port, with top timbers spirketting and quick work above the spirketting of the larboard side much damaged by shot.-The strings and sheer strakes of each side, shot away in midships and abreast of the forechannels of the larboard side. The gunwales and part of the hammock stantion boards and rails in midship shot away: -Several of the fore and main chains and bolts of midship shot away.--The top timbers and strings in the way of the fore channel, and iron standards and larboard main bitt, shot away-Several of the port timbers and lower hanging ports of the larboard side, much damaged with shot.-Part of the waterways, spirketting, and oak work of the upper deck, and timbers in the way of ditto, much damaged by the shot.-Part of the wales of the larboard side and plank of the top sides much damaged by shot.--A number of shot holes at load water mark and below do.- Part of the copper damaged.—The midship port timber damaged.-One beam and several planks of the poop deck much damaged by shot. One pump between decks shot through.-- The plank under the clamps much damaged.-Gun-room and cabin sky lights much damaged. One bumkin wanted.-Cabins in want of repair.--New tin work in the galley wanted.--Two planks in the upper deck decayed and want shifting.–Several shot racks wanting.-Bowsprit shot through in the wake of the gammoning.--Foremast shot through in two places.Mainmast do.--Mizen mast shot above the cap.--Mizen top gallant mast shot away.--Fore yard damaged by shot on the larboard quar. ter.--Cross jack-yard damaged by shot.-Drives boom decayed.Main top sail yard damaged by shot.-One main topmast, one fore topmast, one fore topsail yard, one fore top gallant mast, one mizen
top gallant mast, one main topsail yard, spare spars on the boom, also several others, all damaged and shattered by the shot.--A swinging boom wanted. The jolly boat and launch much damaged by the shot. (Signed) WILLIAM HUGHES, Master shipwright. J. PARRYIE,
No. 4. Copy of a letter from Rear Admiral Sawyer to 7. W. Croker, Esq. SIR, His majesty's ship Africa, at Bermuda, June 11, 1811.
Inclosed I transmit to you for the information of the lords commissioners of the admiralty, a copy of a letter from captain Arthur Batt Bingham, commander of his majesty's sloop Little Belt, received this day from lord James Townshend, captain of his majesty's ship Æolus, and senior officer at Halifax, by which their lordships will perceive he was attacked on the evening of May 16th last, when cruizing between Cape Henry and Cape Hatteras, by the U. States' frigate the President, of 44 guns, commanded by commodore Rodgers, and that after a close action of three quarters of an hour, the American ship made sail from him.
Captain Bingham's modest, but full and clear statement, renders any comment from me unnecessary ; and I have only to admire the extraordinary bravery and firmness with which himself, his officers and ship's company supported the honor of the British flag, when opposed to such an immense superiority of force. I have, however, deeply to lament the number of valuable British seamen and royal marines, who have been killed or wounded on this unexpected occasion, a list of whose names is also enclosed, together with a copy of my order under which captain Bingham was cruizing. I have the honor to be, &c. &c.
(Signed) HERBERT SAWYER, Rear Admiral.
No. 5. Copy of Rear Admiral Sawyer's instructions to Capt. Bingham, of his
Majesty's sloop Little Belt. By Herbert Sawyer, Esq. rear admiral of the red, and commander in chief of his majesty's ships and vessels employed and to be employed in the river St. Luwrence, along the coast of NovaScotia, the Islands of Anticoste, Madeline, and St. John, and Cape Breton, the Bay of Fundy, and at and about the Island of Bermuda, or Somer's islands.
YOU are hereby required and directed to put to sea in his majesty's sloop under your command, and proceed, without loss of time, off Charleston, where you may expect to meet captain Pechell, in the Guerriere, to whom you will deliver the packet you will herewith receive, and follow his orders for your further proceedings. Should you not meet the Guerriere off Charleston, you will stand to the northward, and use your utmost endeavors to join him off the capes of Virginia or off New-York, and in the event of not meeting the
Guerriere you will cruize as long as your provisions and water will last, and then repair to Halifax for further orders. You are to pay due regard to protecting the trade of his majesty's subjects, and the capture or destruction of the ships of the enemy. You are to be particularly careful not to give any just cause of offence to the government or subjects of the United States of America, and to give very particular orders to this effect to the officers you may have occasion to send on board ships under the American flag. You are not to anchor in any of the American ports, but in case of absolute necessity; and then put to sea again as soon as possible. Given under my hand at Bermuda, this 19th day of April, 1811.
(Signed) HERBERT SAWYER. By command of the rear-admiral.
(Signed) H. W SOMERVILLE
No. 6. Return of officers, petty officers, seamen and marines, killed and
wounded on board his majesty's Sloop Little Belt, Arthur Batt Bingham, esq. commander, in action with the American frigate President, the 16th of May, 1811.
KILLED.--- Mr. Samuel Woodward, midshipman ; Charles Bennet, captain foretop; Jacob Graves, carpenters crew; Wm. Shippard, gunner's mate; George Wilson, able ; Robert Liversage, able ; Jas. Gray, ordinary ; Rt. Harwood, ordinary; John Pardoe, private marine.
WOUNDED.---Danl. Killham, L. M. dangerously, died 10 hours after the action; Robert Coody, ordinary, John Randall, able, Nicholas Manager, gunner's crew, dangerously, died 20 hours after the action; Mr. J. M.Queen, acting master, severely ; Jas. Dunn, (2) captain maintop, do.; James Lawrence, able, do. ; John Richards, able, do.; Thomas Ivés, able, do.; Michael Skinners, L. M. do. ; Wm. Fern, boy, do. , David Dowd, marine, do. ; Wm. Harold, marine, do.; Jas. Franklin, boatswain, slightly ; Benj. Angel, carpenter, do. ; Peter M.Cashell, capt. mast, do.; Wn. Andrews, ordinary, do.; Wm. Western, boy, do. ; Edward Graham, able, do.; George Dalany, able, do.; George Roberts, boy, do.; Geo. Shoard, marine, do. ; Daniel Long, marine, do.
(Signed) A. B. BINGHAM, Capt.
WM. TURNER, 2d Surg.
Lord Wellesley to Mr. F. S. Smith. Sir,
Foreign Office, July 2, 1811. I am commanded by his royal highness, the prince regent, to transmit to you the inclosed official documents, and to request that you will be pleased to furnish me with any explanation which may have received from the government of the United States, of the transaction to which they refer.
I have the honor to be, &c. (Signed) WELLESLEY.