War with United States of America to war in Syria - from A.D. 1811 to A.D. 1840.
“Ay, Bill, but it won’t do—so here goes,” and the poor fellow sprang overboard, and was drowned, rather than meet the fate which might have been his lot, as he had deserted from the Shannon a few months before.
The two frigates were pretty equally matched, there being a slight superiority only in favour of the Chesapeake, which was 31 tons larger, and had a crew of fully 70 more men. The gallant Captain Lawrence and his first lieutenant, Augustus Ludlow, died of their wounds, the former on the passage to Halifax, the latter on his arrival, and were buried there with all the honours their victors could bestow. Their remains were shortly afterwards removed in a cartel to the United States.
Passing over a number of actions between smaller vessels, in which sometimes the English and at others the Americans were the victors, a celebrated combat in the Pacific between two frigates, the American being the smallest, must be mentioned. In October, 1822, the United States 32-gun frigate Essex, commanded by Captain David Porter, sailed from Delaware Bay on a cruise in the Pacific. Having captured several whale-ships, he named one of them the Essex Junior, and having visited the Marquesas, where he exhibited his prowess against the natives, he reached Valparaiso about the 12th of January, 1814. The British 36-gun frigate Phoebe, Captain James Hillyar, with the 18-gun ship-sloop Cherub, Captain Tucker, which vessels had sailed in search of him, standing towards Valparaiso, on the 8th of February discovered the American cruisers, with several prizes at anchor in the harbour. For a couple of weeks or more Captain Hillyar did his best to draw the American ships out of the port. Captain Porter, however, had considered that his most prudent course was to attempt to escape, and he and his consort were on the point of doing so, a strong wind blowing out of the harbour, when the Essex was struck by a squall, which carried away her main-topmast. She accordingly bore up and anchored, while the Essex Junior ran back into the harbour. The Phoebe and Cherub made sail towards them. The former at length got near enough to open her fire. Captain Hillyar now ordered Captain Tucker to keep under way, while he himself stood in closer with the intention of anchoring close to the Essex. The latter ship now cut her cable, and endeavoured to run on shore, but the strong wind from the land blew her off towards the Phoebe, and she had again to let go an anchor. By this time most of her boats were destroyed. The three boats from the Essex Juniorwere alongside, carrying off the specie and other valuables in the ship. Those of her crew who were English taking the opportunity of escaping, a report was raised at this juncture that the ship was on fire, and a number of her men leaped overboard during the confusion. At about 6:30 p.m. the Essex hauled down her flags, and the boats of the Phoebe, pulling for her, saved the lives of 16 of her crew who were in the water, though too late to rescue 30 others who perished; while between 30 and 40 reached the shore. The Phoebe lost 5 killed and 10 wounded, and the Americans 24 killed, including one of the lieutenants, and 45 wounded. As soon as the Essex could be repaired, the command of her being given to Lieutenant Charles Pearson, she and the Phoebe sailed for England, and anchored safely in Plymouth Sound, although Captain Porter had stated that the damage she had received would prevent her making the voyage. Of the prizes she had taken, not one reached the States, all having been recaptured, with the exception of three, which were burnt by the Americans, and one, the Seringapatam, the American prize-crew of which mutinied and carried her to New South Wales, whence she was brought to England and delivered to her former owners; while the Essexherself was placed on the list of the British Navy. Those who have read the journals of Captain Porter’s cruise in the Pacific will feel very little pity for him on account of its result.