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uss frolick

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  1. Since I bought the first dvd version of the movie, I did not see these extra scenes, which are included in the newest versions of M&C. I wish they had included them in the theatrical release. I hope this is an appropriate place to post them off Youtube Enjoy:
  2. Skull decorations on ships: real or fake

    One of the decorative elements on the tafferail of HMS Pegasus is a rather ghastly looking severed head - but with its flesh still attached, of course. The head of HMS Antelope, 50-guns, of 1803 (Sir Sydney Smith's infamous command), shows the full figurehead of Diana, the goddess of the hunt, holding forth a dinner platter, atop of which rests an antlered skull, presumably of an Antelope.
  3. Not even close ... If that's normal Gregory, then the page did not properly load.
  4. Dummy Frolick wanted to do a topic search, but couldn't find the function tab. I am fully logged in. Did the new pages load incompletely on my machine? Or am I getting old, blind and senile? Thanks!
  5. Red bulwarks

    Possibly for the same reason that New England barns were usually painted red: Red ochre was the least costly paint pigment to make. (It was not to help cows find their way home in a Vermont snow squall, as has been given.)
  6. Social history of the Royal Navy

    For the American Navy there is "A Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession" by Dr. Christopher McKee is an absolute must have. For the British there is always "Nelson's Navy" by Brian Lavery.
  7. Thanks for the fix !!!!!!!! I don't know what I would do, if I could no longer post my silly comments ... I am a Mac Safari user, btw.
  8. Song Title Game

    "Wild Thing! you make my heart sing! wild thing ... i think i ... love you!"
  9. I wondered when you were going to chime in, Force9!
  10. This was a peoples's victory too. In 1811, before the war had been declared, the Frigate Guerriere, then under the command of a "Captain Skeen", made a really bad name for himself, and for the frigate, by repeatedly impressing American sailors off our coast. When Guerriere sailed brazenly into New York harbour and took Americans out of a merchant brig, to the horror of the citizens of the port, President Madison ordered Commodore John Rogers, in the Frigate President, to sea. Rogers had instructions to rescue all captive Americans from the Guerriere, by force, if necessary. Rogers instead caught up with a 22-gun British frigate-built corvette, a captured dutch prize called the 'Lil Belt' or 'Little Belt'. It was on a moonless night, and Commodore Rogers mistakenly thought that Lil Belt was the much larger Guerriere, and that she was much farther away. A brief one-sided battle ensued, resulting in the quick defeat of the smashed British corvette, in what historians today called the "President/Little Belt Affair." When Captain Skeen heard of this battle, he publicly mocked Commodore Rogers for his mistake, by calling him "haughty", and having the words "Not The Little Belt" painted on the Guerriere's foretop sail, inviting Rogers to come out and fight him. Commodore Rogers responded by putting back out to sea, and hoisting a large motto-flag from his mainmast head proclaiming, "Here is the Haughty President, How do you like her?" The two never met, but the public was thirsty specifically for Guerriere's blood. That the President was much more powerful than even the Constitution didn't impress Captain Skeen. The Guerriere also was in the four ship squadron that chased the Constitution for three days in 1812 off New Jersey. The then Captain Dacres repeatedly fired his broadsides at Hull's frigate during the "great chase". Dacres wasn't overly concerned with 'fairness' and 'equal force' at that time either ... not until, of course, Hull later caught him alone.
  11. Interestingly, Teddy Roosevelt wrote his famous 'The Naval War of 1812' solely to refute James's Ameri-phobic history. But James's facts are mostly spot on, it's his opinions which need caution. Dr. David Long, in his biography of Captain David Porter of the Essex, noted that in 1812, Great Britain possessed more than twice as many warships in commission, as the US possessed naval cannon!
  12. Now the fight: "On the 19th of August, at 2 A.M., latitude, by her reckoning, 4.0 20' north, longitude 55 west, standing by the wind on the starboard tack under easy sail, with her head about west-south- west, the Guerriere discovered a sail on her weather-beam. This was the Constitution; who, after her escape from the Guerriere and her consorts on the morning of the 19th of July, finding herself cut off from New York, had proceeded to Boston ; where she arrived on the 26th. On the 2nd of August, Captain Hull again set sail, and stood to the eastward, in the hope of falling in with the British 38-gun frigate Spartan, Captain Edward Pelham Brenton, reported to be cruising in that direc- tion. Having run along the coast as far as the bay of Fundy without discovering the object of her pursuit, the Constitution proceeded off Halifax and Cape Sable, and then steered to the eastward in the direction of Newfoundland. Passing close to the isle of Sable, the American frigate took a station off the gulf of St. Lawrence, near Cape Pace, for the purpose of inter- cepting vessels bound to, or from Quebec and New Brunswick. On the 15th, Captain Hull captured, and on account of their small value burnt, two merchant-brigs and a bark ; and on the 17th recaptured from the British ship-sloop Avenger, the American brig Adeline, on board of which he placed a prize- master and six or seven men, to take her to Boston. Having received intelligence that the squadron which, by a display of so much skill and perseverance, the Constitution had already once evaded, was off the Grand Bank, Captain Hull changed his cruising-ground, and stood to the southward. On the 18th, at midnight, an American privateer gave information that she had the day before seen a British ship-of-war to the southward. The Constitution immediately made sail in that direction ; and, in the course of a few hours, Captain Hull found he had not been misinformed. The Guerriere, when she arrived on the North-American station, was armed the same as the other frigates of her class, with 46 guns, including 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long nines on her quarter-deck and forecastle. Like most French ships, the Guerriere sailed very much by the head; and, to assist in giving her that trim, as well as to obviate the inconvenience of a round-house which intervened between the foremost and bridle ports on each side, and prevented the gun stationed at the former port from being shifted to the latter when required to be used in chase, two additional 18-pounders, as standing bow-chase guns, were taken on board at Halifax; thus giving the Guerriere 48 guns, including 30 long 18-pounders on the main deck. The mere fact, that, for any use they could be in either broadside, these bow guns might as well have been in the hold, is not the principal point cleared up by the explanation. Those who are aware, that no frigate in the British navy, except the Acasta and Lavinia, and none at all belonging to the French navy, mounts as her esta- blishment 30 long 18-pounders on the main deck, would have a right to consider the Guerriere as a frigate of a superior class and description ; and so, for that very reason, is she still gene- rally considered, as well on this as on the opposite side of the Atlantic. We are surprised that neither of our contemporaries, both of whom have given proofs that the first edition of this work has been occasionally consulted by them, has thought it worth his while to point out so important a peculiarity in the Guerriere's armament. 1 We have already, at some length, shown how particular the Americans were in manning tkeir ships ; and how easy, having so few ships to man, it was to supply them with picked crews. For many years previous to the war, America had been decoy- ing the men from British ships, by every artful stratagem. No ship that anchored in her waters could send a boat on shore without having the crew assailed by a recruiting party from some American frigate fitting in the vicinity. Many British seamen had also entered on board American merchant-vessels ; and the numerous non-intercourse and embargo bills, in existence at different periods during the four years preceding the war, threw many merchant sailors out of employment. So that the captains of the American frigates, when preparing for active warfare, had to pick their complements from a numerous body of seamen. Highly to the credit of the naval administration of the United States, the crews of their ships were taught the practical rules of gunnery; and ten shot, with the necessary powder, were allowed to be expended in play, to make one hit in earnest. distinct from the American seamen, so called, were the American marines. They were chiefly made up of natives of the country ; and a deserter from the British would here have been no acquisition. In the United States, every man may hunt or shoot among the wild animals of the forest. The young- peasant, or back-woodman, carries a rifled-barrel gun, the moment he can lift one to his shoulder ; and woe to the duck or deer that attempts to pass him, within fair range of his piece. To collect these expert marksmen, when of a proper age, officers were sent into the western parts of the Union ; and, to embody and finish drilling them, a marine-barrack was established near Washington : from which depot the American ships were regu- larly supplied. With respect to a British ship-of-war, her case was widely different. Although the captain was eased of much of his trouble, by having, in proportion to the size and mounted force of his ship, a considerably smaller crew to collect, by having about one-twentieth part of that crew to form of boys and widows' men, or men of straw, and by being permitted to enter a large proportion of landsmen, a rating unknown on board an American ship-of-war ; still was the small remainder most difficult to be procured, even with all the latitude allowed in respect to age, size, and nautical experience. Sometimes when a captain, by dint of extraordinary exertions, had provided himself with a crew, such as a man-of-war's crew ought to be, the admiral on the station to which he belonged would pro- nounce the ship " too well manned," and order a proportion of her best men to be draughted on board the flag-ship at her moorings, to learn to be idle and worthless : sending, in lieu of them, a parcel of jail-birds and raw hands, to make those among whom they were going nearly as bad as themselves. There was another point in which the generality of British crews, as compared with any one American crew, were miserably deficient ; skill in the art of gunnery. While the American sea- men were constantly firing at marks, the British seamen, except in particular cases, scarcely did so once in a year ; and some ships could be named, on board of which not a shot had been fired in this way for upwards of three years. Nor was the fault wholly the captain's : the instructions, under which he was bound to act, forbade him to use, during the first six months after the ship had received her armament, more shots per month than amounted to a third in number of her upper-deck guns ; and, after those six months had expired, he was to use only half the quantity. Considering by this, either that the lords of the admiralty discouraged firing at marks as a lavish expenditure of powder and shot, or that the limits they had thus set to the exercise of that branch of naval discipline destroyed its practical utility, many captains never put a shot in the guns until an enemy appeared : they employed the leisure time of the men in handling the sails, and in decorating the ship. Others, again, caring little about an order that placed their professional characters in jeopardy, exercised the crew repeatedly in firing at marks; leaving the gunner to account, in the best manner he could, for the deficiency in his stores. As the generality of French crews were equally inexperienced with their British opponents, the unskilfulness of the latter in gunnery was not felt or remarked : we shall now have to adduce some instances, in quick succession, that will clearly show how much the British navy at length suffered by having relaxed in its attention to that most essential point in the business of war, the proper use of the weapons by which it was to be waged. That our opinion on this subject is in perfect accordance with what was the opinion of a British officer of the first rank and distinction, will appear by the following quotation from the work of a contemporary: "The Earl of St. Vincent," says Captain Brenton, " in a letter to the author in 1813, thus ex- presses himself, ' I hear the exercise of the great gun is laid aside, and is succeeded by a foolish frippery and useless orna- ment.' How far this may have been the case," proceeds Cap- tain B., " in the Mediterranean, or East or West Indies, with ships of the line, we shall not say ; but certainly on the coast of North America it was not so, the ships on that station being kept constantly in exercise under the daily expectation of a war." 1 Notwithstanding this to us wholly unexpected dissent on the part of Captain Brenton from an opinion given by Earl St. Yincent, we shall consider the latter to be the highest authority on the subject ; especially as the former, in including the Mediterranean among the stations on which ships of the line were neglected to be exercised, has overlooked the very strict and commendable attention paid to that important branch of discipline by Vice-admiral Sir Edward Pellew. We have already given the best account which the imperfect state of the American records has enabled us to give of the con- struction, size, and established armament of the three American 44-gun frigates. We have now to notice a slight alteration, that was afterwards made in the armament of the Constitution. In the summer of 1811, when that frigate was fitting for sea at Norfolk, Virginia, Captain Hull considered that her upper-works would not strain so much as they had been found to do if her 42-pounder carronades were exchanged for 32s. This he got effected ; and on or about the 31st of July the Constitution sailed for Cherbourg, with those guns and a reduced crew of 380 men on board. On the 6th or 7th of September the Consti- tution reached her destination, and in a month or two afterwards returned to her anchorage at Norfolk. Having discovered that 380 men, even in peaceable times, were not enough for so large and heavily-rigged a ship as the Constitution, Captain Hull, during his stay in the Chesapeake, enlisted as many more as restored his complement to 476. But, finding probably that the removal of six tons from the Consti- tution's upper battery afforded the ship great relief in a heavy sea, Captain Hull did not take back his 42-pounders. He con- trived, however, to reduce the inequality of force by opening a port in the centre of the gangway for one of the two 24-pounders on the upper-deck ; or rather, as to be precise we should desig- nate them, the two English long 18-pounders (battery-guns, we believe), bored to carry a 24-pound shot. We formerly noticed the extraordinary size and weight of the Constitution's main- deck 24-pounders. It appears that the guns were mounted on very high carriages, which the height of the deck, represented to be nearly eight feet, rendered no inconvenience. The height of the President's midship main-deck port-sill from the water's edge was eight feet eight inches, and she is described as the lowest ship of the three. This goes far to reconcile the statement we have often heard made, that the Constitution's main deck battery was upwards of 10 feet from the water ; a height which, at a long distance, gave her a decided advantage in the range. It is a remarkable fact, that no one act of the little navy of the United States had been at all calculated to gain the respect of the British. First was seen the Chesapeake allowing herself to be beaten, with impunity, by a British ship only nominally superior to her. Then the huge frigate President attacks, and fights for upwards of half an hour, the British sloop Little Belt. And, even since the war, the same President, at the head of a squadron, makes a bungling business of chasing the Belvidera. While, therefore, a feeling towards America, bordering on con- tempt, had unhappily possessed the miBd of the British naval officer, rendering him more than usually careless and opiniative. the American naval officer, baring been taught to regard his new foe with a portion of dread, sailed forth to meet him with the whole of his energies roused. A moment's reflection taught him, that the honour of his country was now in his hands ; and what in the breast of man could be a stronger incitement to extraordinary exertions ? Thus situated were the navies of the two countries, when, with damaged masts, a reduced comple- ment, and in absolute need of that thorough refit for which she was then, after a very long cruise, speeding to Halifax, the Guerriere encountered the Constitution, 17 days only from port, manned with a full complement, and in all respects fitted for war. It was, as we have already stated, about 2 P.M. that the Guerriere, standing by the wind on the starboard tack, under topsails, foresail, jib, and spanker, with the wind blowing fresh from the north-west, discovered the Constitution bearing down towards her. At 3 P.M. each ship made out the other to be an enemy's man-of-war: and at 3h. 30m. each discovered, with tolerable precision, the force that was about to be opposed to her. At 4 h. 30 m. P.M. the Guerriere laid her maintopsail to the mast, to enable the Constitution the more quickly to close. The latter, then about three miles distant, shortened sail to double-reefed topsails, and went to quarters. At 4h. 45 in. P.M. the Guerriere hoisted one English ensign at the peak, another at the mizentopgallantmast-head, and a union-jack at the fore ; and, at 4h. 50m. P.M., 1 opened her starboard broadside at the Constitution. The Guerriere then filled, wore, and, on coming round on the larboard tack, fired her larboard guns, " her shot," says Captain Hull, "falling short;" a proof, either that the Guerriere' s people knew not the range of their guns, or that the powder they were using was of an inferior quality : both causes, indeed, might have co-operated in producing the discreditable result. At 5 h. 5 m. P.M., having run up one American ensign at the peak, lashed another to the larboard mizen rigging, and hoisted a third flag at the foretopgallantmast-head, the Constitution opened her fire ; and, it is believed, none of her shot fell short. To avoid being raked, the Guerriere wore three or four times; and continued discharging her alternate broadsides, with about as little effect, owing to her constant change, of position and the necessary alteration in the level of her guns, as when her shot fell short. After the Constitution had amused herself in this 1 In noticing the time, we shall generally, as on former occasions, take the mean of the two statements. vay for half an hour, she set her maintopgallantsail, and in five minutes, or at about 5 h. 45 m. P.M., 1 brought the Guerriere to close action on the larboard 2 beam ; both ships steering with the wind on the larboard quarter. At 6 h. 5 m. P.M. a 24-pound shot struck the Guerriere's mizenmast and carried it away by the board. It fell over the starboard quarter, knocked a large hole in the counter, and, by dragging in the water, brought the ship up in the wind, although her helm was kept hard a-port. By this accident to her opponent, who had then sustained only a very slight loss, the Constitution would have ranged ahead ; but, bearing up, she quickly placed herself in an admirable position on the Guerriere's larboard bow. Now the American riflemen in the Constitution's tops had an opportunity of co- operating with their friends on deck ; and a sweeping and most destructive fire of great guns and small-arms was opened upon the British frigate, whose bow- guns were all she could bring to bear in return. At 6 h. 15 m. P.M. the two ships fell on board each other, the Guerriere's bowsprit getting foul of the Constitution's starboard mizen rigging. The crew of the latter now prepared to board the Guerriere ; but, in addition to the impracticability of the attempt owing to the motion of the ships, a slight pause was created by the fall of some of the American leaders : a shot from a British marine brought down the first-lieutenant of malices while leading forward his party ; another well-directed musket- shot passed through the body of the first-lieutenant of the ship while at the head of the boarding seamen ; and a third shot entered the shoulder of the master, as he was standing near Lieutenant Morris. The riflemen in the Constitution's tops, in the mean time, continued their unerring fire. Among those who suffered on the occasion was Captain Dacres himself, by a ball fired from the enemy's mizentop, which inflicted a severe wound in his back, while he was standing on the starboard forecastle hammocks, animating his crew. Although suffering greatly, he would not quit the deck. At about the same moment the master was shot through the knee, and a master's mate (Samuel Grant) was wounded very severely. In a few minutes the two ships got clear. Having disentangled her bowsprit from her opponent's mizen rigging, the Guerriere now came to a little, and was enabled to bring a few of her foremost guns on the star- board side to bear. Some of the wads from these set fire to the Constitution's cabin, but the flames were soon extinguished. The i See diagram at p. 379. 2 " Starboard," by mistake, in t le Gazette account 1812. Guerriere's "bowsprit, at that moment striking the taffrail of the Constitution, slacked the fore-stay of the Guerriere, and, the fore-shrouds on the larboard or weather side being mostly shot away, the mast fell over on the starboard side, crossing the main- stay : the sudden jerk carried the mainmast along with it, leaving the Guerriere a defenceless wreck, rolling her main-deck guns in the water." "At about 6 h. 23 m. 2 the Constitution ranged ahead : and the Guerriere soon began clearing away the wreck of her masts, to be ready to renew the action. Just, however, as she had suc- ceeded in doing so, her spritsail-yard, upon which she had set a sail to endeavour to get before the wind, was carried away. The Guerriere now lay an unmanageable hulk in the trough of the sea, rolling her main-deck guns under water : to secure which required increased eiforts, the rotten state of the breech- ings, as well as of the timber-heads through which the long- bolts passed, having caused many of them to break loose. While the British frigate was in this state, the Constitution, at 6 h. 45 m. P.M., having rove new braces, wore round and took a position within pistol-shot on her starboard quarter. It being utterly in vain to contend any longer, the Guerriere fired a lee- gun, and hauled down the union-jack from the stump of her mizenmast. The following diagram will show the progress of this action, from the time the tw r o ships closed to the moment of the Guerriere's surrender. Much to his credit, the moment the Constitution hoisted her colours, Captain Dacres ordered seven Americans, that belonged to his reduced crew, to go below : one accidentally remained at his gun, the remainder went where they had been ordered. This just left 244 men and 19 boys. Out of this number, the Guerriere had her second -lieutenant (Henry Ready), 11 seamen, and three marines killed, her captain (severely), first-lieutenant (Bartholomew Kent, slightly), master (Robert Scott), two master's mates (Samuel Grant and William John Snow), one midshipman (James Enslie), 43 seamen, 13 marines, and one boy wounded; total, 15 killed and 63 wounded, six of the latter mortally, 39 severely, and 18 slightly. Out of her 468 men and boys, the Constitution, according to Captain Hull's statement, had one lieutenant of marines (William S. Bush) and six seamen killed, her first-lieutenant (Charles Morris, dangerously), master (John C. Alwyn, slightly), four seamen (three of them dangerously), and one marine wounded ; total, seven killed and seven wounded. But several of the Guerriere' s officers counted 13 wounded ; of whom three died after ampu- tation. An equal number of killed and wounded, as stated in the American return, scarcely ever occurs, except in cases of explosion. In the British service, every wounded man, although merely scratched, reports himself to the surgeon, that he may get his smart-money, a pecuniary allowance so named. No such regulation exists in the American service; consequently the return of loss sustained in action by an American ship, as far as respects the wounded at least, is made subservient to the views of the commander and his government. Although Captain Hull does not give his prize any guns at all, no other American account gives the Guerriere less than 49 guns. It is true that, besides the 48 guns already specified, the ship had an 18-pounder launch carronade, mounted upon the usual elevating carriage for firing at the tops ; but the priming- iron, when put into the touch-hole just before the action com- menced, broke short off and spiked the gun. In this state it was found by the captors. Consequently, as the two bow 18-pounders were equally useless, the Guerriere, out of her 49 guns, could employ in broadside only 23. We have already shown that the American 44-gun frigate, without making any use of her concealed gangway ports, could present 28 carriage- guns in broadside ; but the Constitution could and did, as we now verily believe, present one gun more. 1 Of the fact of one of her two upper-deck 24-pounders being stationed on the forecastle and the other on the quarter-deck, we have not a doubt, from the following entry in the log of the Constitution when she was pursued by the British off New York, and was about to open a fire from her stern-chasers, " Got the forecastle gun aft." But the disparity in her action with the Guerriere is sufficiently great without adding this gun to the Constitution's broadside : we shall therefore, as in common cases, take no more than half the mounted number. As it would be not only unjust, but absurd, to compare together the totals of two crews of men and boys, in a case where each opponent uses the latter in so very different a pro- portion as the British and the Americans, we shall, making an ample allowance for those in the American crew, exclude the boys altogether from the estimate. This action affords a strong practical proof of the advantages possessed by a large and lofty ship. While the main deck of the Guerriere was all afloat with the roughness of the sea, the Constitution's main deck was perfectly dry. If that was the case before the fall of the Guerriere's masts had destroyed her stability, what .must it have been afterwards ? It is this con- sideration that renders the tonnage so important an item in any statement of comparative force. The relative scantling is another essential point, for which the one-third disparity in size between these figures will partly allow. By an unfortunate typo- graphical (as we take it) error, Captain Brenton represents the Constitution as " an American frigate of the same force as tlie President, though inferior (superior ?) as to scantling." 1 Now. the extraordinary thickness and solidity of the Constitution's sides had long obtained her, among the people who best knew her, the name of " Old Ironsides." We have already shown that the President, an acknowledged lighter ship, possessed stouter sides than a British 74 : we may therefore consider, that the topsides of the Constitution were at least equal in thickness to the topsides of a British 80. With respect to the advantages of stout scantling, we are willing to take the opinion of the Americans themselves. A letter from Mr. Paul Hamilton, the secretary of the American navy, written a few months after the Guerriere's capture, and addressed to the " Chairman of the Naval Committee of the House of Representatives," contains the following paragraph : " A 76 is built of heavier timber, is intrinsically much stronger than a frigate in all her works, and can sustain battering much longer, and with less injury. A shot which would sink a frigate might be received by a 76 with but little injury : it might pass between wind and water through a frigate, when it would stick in the frame of a 76." Nor is this merely the opinion of Mr. Secretary Hamilton : it is the result of " a very valuable communication received from Charles Stewart, Esq., a captain in the navy of the United States, an officer of great observation, distinguished talents, and very extensive profes- sional experience ; in whose opinion," adds Mr. H , "I believe all the most enlightened officers in our service concur." By a singular coincidence, too, subjoined to this highly-complimented officer's communication to Mr. Hamilton, are the signatures of Captain Hull and his first-lieutenant to a brief but comprehensive sentence of approval: " We agree with Captain Stewart in the above statement in all its parts." 1 We have before remarked upon the great care and expense bestowed by the Americans in equipping their few ships-of-war. As one important instance may be adduced, the substitution of fine sheet-lead for cartridges, instead of flannel or paper. This gives a decided advantage in action, an advantage almost equal to one gun in three ; for, as a sheet-lead cartridge will hardly ever leave a particle of itself behind, there is no neces- sity to sponge the gun, and very seldom any to worm it : opera- tions that, with paper or flannel cartridges, must be attended to every time the gun is fired. The advantage of quick firing no one can dispute, any more than, from the explanation just given, the facility with which it can be practised by means of the sheet-lead cartridge. The principal objection against the use of this kind of cartridge in the British navy is its expense; another may be, that it causes the powder to get damp. The last objection is obviated by filling no more cartridges than will serve for present use ; and, should more be wanted, the Ame- ricans have always spare hands enough to fill them. Although, in the American accounts of actions, no other description of cannon-shot is ever named as used on board their ships than "round and grape," it is now so well known as scarcely to need repetition, that the Americans were greatly indebted for their success over the British to a practice of dis- charging, in the first two or three broadsides, chain, bar, and every other species of dismantling shot, in order to cut away the enemy's rigging, and facilitate the fall of his masts. As an additional means of clearing the decks of British ships of the (seldom over numerous) men upon them, the carronades, when close action commenced, were filled with jagged pieces of iron and copper, rusty nails, and other "langridge" of that descrip- tion. Of the riflemen in the tops we have already spoken ; but even the remaining musketry-men of the crew were provided in a novel and murderous manner : every cartridge they fired con- tained three or four buck-shot, it being rightly judged, that a buck-shot, well placed, would send a man from his quarters as well as the heaviest ball in use. We mention these circum- stances not to dwell for a moment upon their unfairness, but merely to show the extraordinary means to which the Americans resorted, for the purpose of enabling them to cope with the British at sea." "Even this statement, with the one-third disparity in guns, and nearly two-fold disparity in men, which it exhibits, will not convey a clear idea of the real inequality of force that existed between the Guerriere and Constitution, without allowance is made for the ineffective state in which the former commenced the action. There is one circumstance, also, which has greatly contributed to mislead the judgment of the public in deciding upon the merits of this and its succeeding fellow-actions : a belief, grounded on the official accounts, that British frigates of the Guerriere's class had frequently captured French frigates carrying 24-pounders on the main deck. But, in truth, the Forte is the only 24-pounder French frigate captured by a British 38-gun frigate ; and the Forte, in point of force, and readiness for action, was not to be compared with the Constitu- tion. 1 That even French 18-pounder frigates were not, in com- mon cases, captured by British frigates of the same class, with- out some hard fighting, and a good deal of blood spilt on both sides, these pages afford many proofs. Upon the whole, there- fore, no reasonable man can now be surprised at the result of the action between the Guerriere and Constitution. Nor was there in the conduct of the Guerriere, throughout the engage- ment, anything that could militate, in the slightest degree, against the long-maintained character of British seamen. With respect to Captain Dacres, he evinced a great share of personal bravery on the trying occasion; and we confess ourselves to have been amon^ the number of those who did not recollect that, although the Guerriere had made herself very obnoxious to the Americans, it was before Captain Dacres was appointed to her. The chief cause of quarrel between the Americans and the Guerriere undoubtedly arose while Captain Pechell commanded her ; but still it was the same ship, or, to those who doubted that fact, a ship of the same name, which Captain Hull had cap- tured. Most desirable, therefore, would the Guerriere have been as a trophy ; but the shattered state of her hull precluded the possibility of getting the ship into port. At daylight, on the day succeeding the action, the American prize-master hailed the Constitution, to say that the Guerriere had four feet water in the hold, and was in a sinking condition. Quickly the prisoners were removed out of her ; and at 3 h. 30 m. P.M., having been set on fire by Captain Hull's order, the Guerriere blew up. Having by the evening repaired her principal damages, includ- ing a few wounds in each of her three masts, the Constitution made sail from the spot of her achievement, and on the 30th anchored in the harbour of Boston. As may well be conceived, Captain Hull and his officers and crew were greeted with ap- plause by their native and adopted countrymen. He and they also received, at a subsequent day, the thanks of the govern- ment, accompanied by a present of 50,000 dollars. It is a singular fact, that in the letter published in the " Na- tional Intelligencer," as that transmitted by Captain Hull to his government, not a word appears respecting the force of the ship which the Constitution had captured. Captain Hull's letter is in this respect an anomaly of the kind. Perhaps, as the Ameri- can newspapers had frequently stated, that the Constitution mounted 56 guns, and as dead ships, like dead men, " tell no tales," Captain Hull thought it better to leave his friends and countrymen to form their opinion, relative to the force and size of his prize, out of the following sentence: " So fine a ship as the Guerriere, commanded by an able and experienced officer." If Captain Hull did practise this ruse (and the men of Connecti- cut are proverbially shrewd), the effect, as we shall presently see, must almost have exceeded his hopes. When the British says to an American officer, " Our frigates and yours are not a match," the latter very properly replies : "You did not think so once." But what does this amount to ? Admitting that the force of the American 44-gun frigate was fully known before the Guerriere's action, but which was only partially the case ; and admitting that the British 38-gun frigate was considered able to fight her, all that can be said is, that many, who once thought otherwise, are now convinced, that an American and a British ship, in relative force as three to two, are not equally matched. The facts are the same : it is the opinion only that has changed. Man the Constitution with 470 Turks or Algerines ; and even then she would hardly be pro- nounced, now that her force is known, a match for the Guer- riere. The truth is, the name " frigate " had imposed upon the public ; and to that, and that only, must be attributed the angry repinings of many of the British journalists at the capture of the Guerriere. They, sitting safe at their desks, would have sent her and every soul on board to the bottom, with colours flying, because her antagonist was a "frigate;" whereas, had the Constitution been called "a 50-gun ship," a defence only half as honourable as the Guerriere's would have gained for her officers and crew universal applause. Captain Hull, and the officers and men of the Constitution, deserve much credit for what they did do ; first, for attacking a British frigate at all, and next, for conquering one a third infe- rior in force. It was not for them to reject the reward presented by the " Senate and House of Eepresentatives of the United States," because it expressed to be, for capturing a frigate (now for the effect of Captain Hull's "fine ship Guerriere "), " mount- ing 54 carriage-guns," instead of, with two standing bow-chasers and a boat-carronade included, 49. Smiling in their sleeves at the credulity of the donors, the captain and his people, with- out disputing the terms, pocketed the dollars. But is a writer, who stands pledged to deal impartially between nation and nation, to forbear exposing this trickery, because it may suit the Americans to invent any falsehoods, no matter how bare- faced, to foist a valiant character upon themselves ? The author of the American " Naval History," Mr. Clark, remarks thus upon the Guerriere's capture : " It has manifested the genuine worth of the American tar, and that the vigorous co-operation of the country is all he requires, to enable him to meet, even under disadvantageous circumstances, and to derive glory from the encounter, with the naval heroes of a nation Avhich has so long ruled the waves." 1 But was it really " Ame- rican tars " that conquered the Guerriere ? Let us investigate, as far as we are able, this loudly-asserted claim. Our contem- porary says, "It appeared in evidence on the court-martial, that there were many Englishmen on board the Constitution, and these were leading men, or captains of guns. The officers of the Guerriere knew some of them personally, and one man in particular, who had been captain of the forecastle in the Eurydice, a British frigate, then recently come from England. Another was in the Achille at Trafalgar ; and the third-lieute- nant of the Constitution, whose name was Reed, was an Irishman. It was said, and we have no reason to doubt the fact, that there were 200 British seamen on board the Constitution when she began the action." 1 One fellow, who after the action was sitting under the half-deck busily employed in making buck-shot cart- ridges to mangle his honourable countrymen, had served under Mr. Kent, the first-lieutenant. He now went by a new name; but, on seeing his old commanding-officer standing before him, a glow of shame overspread his countenance. In the latter end of the year 1816 a work issued from the Washington press, entitled, "A Register oi' Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, &c. Prepared at the Department of State, by a resolution of Con- gress." Affixed to the list of names in this official document, is one column headed " State or Country where Born." Turning to this column in the " Navy Department," we find that, out of the 32 captains, one only, " Thomas Tingey/' has "England" marked as his birthplace. There was another, we know ; but he had died about a twelvemonth before, Captain Smith of the Congress. Three blanks occur; and we consider it rather creditable to Captains "John Shaw," "Daniel T. Patterson," and "John Orde Creighton," that they were ashamed to tell where they were born. Of the 22 masters commandant, one only appears to have been born out of the United States, and that is " George C. Piead," of "Ireland ;" the same, no doubt, mentioned by Captain Brenton, as the third-lieutenant of the Constitution in A.ugust, 1812. Of the 160 lieutenants, there appear to be only five born out of the United States ; of which five, "Walter Stewart," "William Finch," and "Benjamin Page, jun.," are stated to be of "England," and "James Ramage," of " Ireland." To 17 names, all English and Irish, appears no bir thplace. We shall pass over the surgeons, their mates^ the pursers, chaplains, and midshipmen ; among whom we find, besides a few blanks, only eight of England and Ireland. As we descend in the list, the blanks in the column of " Country where born " increase surprisingly. Now, as the native Ameri- can seaman usually carries about him his certificate of citizen- ship ; and, as scarcely any man is to be found who, if he can speak at all, cannot answer the question, " Where were you born ?" we must consider that the birthplace is purposely omitted, because, being a native of Great Britain or Ireland, and probably a deserter from the British navy, the fellow is ashamed or afraid to avow it. Hence, out of the 83 sailing-masters, we find eight born in England, Scotland, Ireland, and Bermuda, and 15 without any birthplace assigned to them. Among the 20 boat- swains, one is stated to have been born in England, four in the United States, and the rest nowhere. Of the 2o gunners, three appear to have been born in the United States, one in Germany, another in Portugal, and the remaining four-fifths in some name- less country. Of the 18 carpenters, 11 sail-makers, and four master's mates, 33 in all, five only have been p,ble or willing to enable the Washington state-clerk to fill up the important blanks. Can any one, after the analysis we have given of this curious American state-document, entertain a doubt that, during the late war between Great Britain and the Uuited States, one third in number, and nearly one-half in point of effectiveness, of the sea- men that fought in the ships of the latter were bred on the soil, and educated in the ships of the former? This may appear very discreditable to British seamen, considered as a body; but it should be recollected, that the total of the seamen belonging to the American ships-of-war formed only a small portion of those employed in the British navy. Moreover, a large proportion of the deserters and renegades that entered the service of the United States, were Irish Eoman Catholics. It is for this reason that an American captain can sometimes assert, with no great degree of untruth, that he has a few "Englishmen" among his crew. There were, it appeal's, on board the Constitution, so many men whom the crew of the Guerriere considered as their country- men, so many who felt, as well they might feel, some degree of compunction at their fallen state, that Captain Hull was afraid the two bodies united would overpower him and his Americans, arid carry the Constitution to Halifax. He very naturally, and very properly, we think, "kept his prisoners* manacled and chained to the deck during the night, and the greater part of the day." 1 One reason for doing this, might be to render more allur- ing the offer of liberty made to those who would turn traitors. Being perfectly aware, that all the British whom they could persuade to enter, would fight in the most desperate manner rather than be taken and turned over to their certain and merited fate, Captain Hull and his officers, as well while the Constitution was steering for Boston, as after she had arrived there, used every art to inveigle the late Guerriere's crew to enlist in the American service. Eight Englishmen, however, were all that remained in the United States ; and only two of those entered on board the Constitution. On the 2nd of the succeeding October, a court-martial assem- bled on board the Africa 64, Halifax harbour, to try the captain, officers, and late crew of the Guerriere ; when, as may be antici- pated from the details already given, the following sentence of acquittal was pronounced: "Having attended to the whole of the evidence, and also to the defence of Captain Dacres, the court agreed, that the surrender of the Guerriere was proper in order to preserve the lives of her valuable remaining crew ; and that her being in that lamentable situation was from the acci- dent of her masts going, which was occasioned more by their defective state than from the fire of the enemy, though so greatly superior in guns and men. The court do, therefore, unanimously and honourably acquit the said Captain Dacres, the officers and crew, of his majesty's late ship the Guerriere, and they are here- by honourably acquitted accordingly. The court, at the same time, feel themselves called upon to express the high sense they entertain of the conduct of the ship's company in general, when prisoners, but more particularly of those who withstood the attempts made to shake their loyalty, by offering them high bribes to enter into the land and sea-service of the enemy, and they will represent their merit to the commander-in-chief." In his official letter, dated at Boston, September 7, Captain Dacres compliments Captain Hull and his officers, for their treatment of his men, "the greatest care being taken to prevent them losing the smallest trifle." But, considering perhaps that, in an enemy's country, it would be unwise to commit complaints or the chance of leading to further oppression, Captain Dacres remained silent about the attempts to inveigle his crew, until ho addressed the members of his court-martial at Halifax. The concluding passage of that address is in the following words : " Notwithstanding the unlucky issue of this affair, such con- fidence have I in the exertions of the officers and men who be- longed to the Guerriere ; and I am so well aware that the success of my opponent was owing to fortune, that it is my earnest wish, and would be the happiest period of my life, to be once more opposed to the Constitution, with them under my com- mand, in a frigate of similar force to the Guerriere." That the captain of the Guerriere should have expressed such an opinion on such an occasion is allowable enough ; but we are surprised to find that opinion seconded by the captain of the Spartan, a frigate of the same force as the Guerriere, a frigate which the Constitution herself had just come from seeking when she fell in with the latter. " Thus far," says Captain Brenton, "the two ships had fought with an equal chance of success, when the day was decided by one of those accidents to which ships-of-war are ever liable, and which can be rarely guarded against." 1 He then describes the fall of the Guerriere's mizen- mast. We are stopped, however, in the comments we were going to make, by observing, at the conclusion of the account of the Guerriere's capture, the following paragraph, whether in confirmation or contradiction of the former passage, let others decide : " The inference is erroneous (that our navy was declin- ing and our officers and men deficient in their duty), founded on a supposition, that, if two ships happen to be called frigates, the lesser one, being manned and commanded by Englishmen, ought to take the greater, though a ship very nearly double her force, in size, guns, and men : we need scarcely enter into any argument to prove the fallacy of such an expectation."
  13. William James' Naval History of Great Britain, Vol. 5, 1823, again. First, the famous chase of the Constitution by Philip Broke's squadron: "On the 9th, in latitude 41, longitude 66 or nearly abreast of Nan- tucket island, the squadron was joined by the 38-gun frigate Guerriere, Captain James Eichard Dacres, then on her way to Halifax to refit. When it is known, that the Guerriere had nearly expended, not only her water and provisions, but her boatswain's and car- penter's stores that her gunner's stores were also deficient that what remained of her powder, from damp and long keep- ing, was greatly reduced in strength that her bowsprit was badly sprung, her mainmast, from having been struck by light- ning, in a tottering state, and her hull, from age and length of ser- vice, scarcely seaworthy no one will deny that this rencounter with a squadron, the commodore of which had orders to supply her with three months' provisions and take her under his com- mand, was rather unfortunate ; in fact, such was the state of general decay in which the Guerriere at this time was, that, had the frigate gone into Portsmouth or Plymouth, she would, in all probability, have been disarmed and broken up. On the 14th, when arrived off Sandy Hook, Captain Broke received the first intelligence of the squadron of Commodore Rodgers having put to sea ; and, as may be supposed, a sharp look-out began immediately to be kept by each of the British ships. On the 16th, at 3 P.M., when the British squadron was abreast of Barnegat, about four leagues off shore, a strange sail was seen, and immediately chased, in the south by east or wind- ward quarter, standing to the north-east. This sail was the United States 44-gun frigate Constitution, Captain Isaac Hull, from Chesapeake bay since the 12th, bound to New York. The chase continued throughout the afternoon and evening, in light winds ; and at 10 P.M. the Guerriere, who since dusk had lost sight of her consorts to leeward, found the Constitution standing towards her, making signals. These two frigates continued to near each other, and at 3h. 30m. A.M. on the 17th were only half a mile apart ; when, observing on his lee beam two other frigates, the Belvidera and J^olus, and astern of them three more vessels, the Shannon, Africa, and a schooner, none of whom answered or appeared to understand his signals, Captain Dacres concluded that they were the squadron of Commodore Eodgers, and tacked. The consequence of this mistake was, that at day- light the Guerriere and Constitution were nearly two miles in- stead of only half a mile from each other. At daylight it was quite calm. The Constitution, while she steered, kept her head to the southward. At this time the Belvidera was about four miles on her lee-quarter, or bearing about north-east by north ; the Guerriere at some distance astern of the Belvidera ; the Shannon upon the latter's weather-quarter, or about west-north-west, distant two miles ; and the jiEolus at no great distance from the Shannon. The Africa was consi- derably astern of these two ships, and gradually losing ground in the chase. At 5 h. 30 m. A.M., the Constitution no longer steering, the boats were sent ahead to tow the ship's head to the southward. At the same time a 24-pounder was hoisted up from the main deck ; and that and the forecastle 24-pounder were got aft to be used, along with the quarter-deck 24-pounder,* as stern-chasers. The taffrail was then cut away, to give the three guns room, and two more 24-pounders were pointed through the stern ports on the main deck. At about 5 h. 45 m. the Belvidera and other British ships began towing with their boats. At 6 A.M. the Constitution got her head to the south- ward, and set topgallant studding-sails and staysails. At 7 A.M., having a few minutes before sounded in 26 fathoms, Captain Hull, at the suggestion of Lieutenant Charles Morris, first of the ship, got out a kedge, and began warping ahead. At 7 h. 30 m. the Constitution hoisted her colours, and fired one shot at the Belvidera. At 9 A.M. a light air sprang up from the south-south-east, and the ships all trimmed sails on the larboard tack. The Bel- videra gaining, the Constitution started a portion of her water, and threw overboard some of her booms. At 10 h. 30 m. the breeze freshened ; but, in a few minutes, again subsided to nearly a calm. Observing the benefit that the Constitution had derived from warping, Captain Byron did the same; "bending all his hawsers to one another, and working two kedge anchors at the same time, by paying the warp through one hawse-hole as it was run in through another opposite." The effect of this was such, that the Belvidera, by 2 P.M., got near enough to exchange bow and stern chasers with the Constitution, but without efiect on either side. At 3 P.M., a light breeze having sprung up, the Constitution rather gained, and the firing ceased. During the afternoon and night the chase continued, to the gradual advantage of the American frigate. On the 18th, at daylight, the Constitution bore from the Bel- videra south-west distant four miles, and the Shannon bore from the latter north-east distant six miles. At 4 h. A.M. the Belvidera tacked to the eastward, with a light air from the south by east ; and at 4 h. 20 m. the Constitution did the same. At 9 A.M. an American merchant-ship was seen bearing down towards the squadron ; upon which the Belvidera, by way of a decoy, hoisted American colours. To counteract the effect of this ruse, the Constitution hoisted English colours, and the merchant-vessel hauled off and escaped capture. At 4 P.M., owing to the permanency of the breeze, the Constitution was seven miles ahead, and at daylight on the 19th had attained double that distance. The British squadron persevered until about 8h. 30m. A.M. ; then gave up the chase, and stood to the northward and eastward ; latitude at noon the same day 38 north, and longitude 71 20' west. On the 29th of July, in latitude 40 44', longitude 62 41', Captain Broke fell in with the expected homeward-bound Jamaica fleet, consisting of about 60 sail, under convoy of the 38-gun frigate Thetis, Captain William Henry Byam ; and on the 6th of August, having escorted it over the banks of New- foundland, to about latitude 43 20', longitude 50, he stood back towards the American coast. On this or the following day the Guerriere parted company for Halifax, to obtain that refit which could now no longer be postponed. Indeed, the ship was in a far less effective state than when she had joined the squadron, having sent away in prizes her third-lieutenant (John Pullman), second-lieutenant of marines, three midship- men, and 24 of her best seamen ; thus leaving herself with only 250 men and 19 boys." Again, please excuse the scanning errors.
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