G H I J K L M 

Total read books on site:
more than 10 000

You can read its for free!

Text on one page: Few Medium Many
local product, rice, also went far to supply deficiencies in other
grains. In the matter of manufactured goods, however, the disadvantage
of the South was greater. These had to find their way there from the
farther extreme of the land; for the development of manufactures had
been much the most marked in the east. It has before been quoted that
some wagons loaded with dry goods were forty-six days in accomplishing
the journey from Philadelphia to Georgetown, South Carolina, in May of
this year. Some relief in these articles reached the South by
smuggling across the Florida line, and the Spanish waters opposite St.
Mary's were at this time thronged with merchant shipping to an
unprecedented extent; for although smuggling was continual, in peace
as in war, across a river frontier of a hundred miles, the stringent
demand consequent upon the interruption of coastwise traffic provoked
an increased supply. "The trade to Amelia,"--the northernmost of the
Spanish sea-islands,--reported the United States naval officer at St.
Mary's towards the end of the war, "is immense. Upwards of fifty
square-rigged vessels are now in that port under Swedish, Russian,
and Spanish colors, two thirds of which are considered British
property."[185] It was the old story of the Continental and License
systems of the Napoleonic struggle, re-enacted in America; and, as
always, the inhabitants on both sides the line co-operated heartily in
beating the law.

The two great food staples chosen sufficiently indicate general
conditions as regards communications from centre to centre. Upon this
supervened the more extensive and intricate problem of distribution
from the centres. This more especially imparted to the Eastern and
Southern coasts the particular characteristics of coasting trade and
coast warfare, in which they differ from the Middle states. These form
the burden of the letters from the naval captains commanding the
stations at Charleston, Savannah, and Portsmouth, New Hampshire; nor
is it without significance that Bainbridge at Boston, not a way port,
but a centre, displayed noticeably less anxiety than the others about
this question, which less touched his own command. Captain Hull, now
commanding the Portsmouth Yard, writes, June 14, 1813, that light
cruisers like the "Siren," lately arrived at Boston, and the
"Enterprise," then with him, can be very useful by driving away the
enemy's small vessels and privateers which have been molesting the
coasting trade. He purposes to order them eastward, along the Maine
coast, to collect coasters in convoy and protect their long-shore
voyages, after the British fashion on the high seas. "The coasting
trade here," he adds, "is immense. Not less than fifty sail last night
anchored in this harbor, bound to Boston and other points south. The
'Nautilus' [a captured United States brig] has been seen from this
harbor every week for some time past, and several other enemy's
vessels are on the coast every few days." An American privateer has
just come in, bringing with her as a prize one of her own class,
called the "Liverpool Packet," which "within six months has taken from
us property to an immense amount."[186]

Ten days later Hull's prospects have darkened. There has appeared off
Portsmouth a blockading division; a frigate, a sloop, and two brigs.
"When our two vessels were first ordered to this station, I believed
they would be very useful in protecting the coasting trade; but the
enemy's cruisers are now so much stronger that we can hardly promise
security to the trade, if we undertake to convoy it." On the contrary,
the brigs themselves would be greatly hazarded, and resistance to
attack, if supported by the neighborhood, may entail destruction upon
ports where they have taken refuge; a thought possibly suggested by
Cockburn's action at Havre de Grace and Frenchtown. He therefore now
proposes that they should run the blockade and cruise at sea. This
course was eventually adopted; but for the moment the Secretary wrote
that, while he perceived the propriety of Hull's remarks, "the call
for protection on that coast has been very loud, and having sent those
vessels for that special purpose, I do not now incline immediately to
remove them."[187] It was necessary to bend to a popular clamor, which
in this case did not, as it very frequently does, make unreasonable
demands and contravene all considerations of military wisdom. A month
later Hull reports the blockade so strict that it is impossible to get
out by day. The commander of the "Enterprise," Johnston Blakely,
expresses astonishment that the enemy should employ so large a force
to blockade so small a vessel.[188] It was, however, no matter for
surprise, but purely a question of business. The possibilities of
injury by the "Enterprise" must be blasted at any cost, and Blakely
himself a year later, in the "Wasp," was to illustrate forcibly what
one smart ship can effect in the destruction of hostile commerce and
hostile cruisers.

Blakely's letter was dated July 31. The "Enterprise" had not long to
wait for her opportunity, but it did not fall to his lot to utilize
it. Being promoted the following month, he was relieved in command by
Lieutenant William Burrows. This officer had been absent in China, in
mercantile employment, when the war broke out, and, returning, was
captured at sea. Exchanged in June, 1813, he was ordered to the
"Enterprise," in which he saw his only service in the war,--a brief
month. She left Portsmouth September 1, on a coasting cruise, and on
the morning of the 5th, being then off Monhegan Island, on the coast
of Maine, sighted a vessel of war, which proved to be the British brig
"Boxer," Commander Samuel Blyth.

The antagonists in the approaching combat were nearly of equal force,
the respective armaments being, "Enterprise," fourteen 18-pounder
carronades, and two long 9-pounders, the "Boxer," twelve 18-pounder
carronades and two long sixes. The action began side by side, at half
pistol-shot, the "Enterprise" to the right and to windward (position
1). After fifteen minutes the latter ranged ahead (2). As she did so,
one of her 9-pounders, which by the forethought of Captain Burrows had
been shifted from its place in the bow to the stern,[189] was used
with effect to rake her opponent. She then rounded-to on the starboard
tack, on the port-bow of the enemy,--ahead but well to the left
(3),--in position to rake with her carronades; and, setting the
foresail, sailed slowly across from left to right. In five minutes the
"Boxer's" maintopmast and foretopsailyard fell. This left the
"Enterprise" the mastery of the situation, which she continued to hold
until ten minutes later, when the enemy's fire ceased. Her colors
could not be hauled down, Blyth having nailed them to the mast. He
himself had been killed at the first broadside, and almost at the same
instant Burrows too fell, mortally wounded.

[Illustration: Diagram of the Enterprise vs. Boxer battle]

The "Boxer" belonged to a class of vessel, the gun brigs, which
Marryat through one of his characters styled "bathing machines," only
not built, as the legitimate article, to go up, but to go down.
Another,--the immortal Boatswain Chucks,--proclaimed that they would
"certainly d--n their inventor to all eternity;" adding
characteristically, that "their low common names, 'Pincher,'
'Thrasher,' 'Boxer,' 'Badger,' and all that sort, are quite good
enough for them." In the United States service the "Enterprise," which
had been altered from a schooner to a brig, was considered a
singularly dull sailer. As determined by American measurements, taken
four days after the action, the size of the two was the same within
twenty tons; the "Boxer" a little the larger. The superiority of the
"Enterprise" in broadside force, was eight guns to seven; or, stated
in weight of projectiles, one hundred and thirty-five pounds to one
hundred and fourteen. This disparity, though real, was in no sense
decisive, and the execution done by each bore no comparison to the
respective armaments. The hull of the "Boxer" was pierced on the
starboard side by twelve 18-pound shot, nearly two for each of the
"Enterprise's" carronades. The 9-pounder had done even better, scoring
five hits. On her port side had entered six of 18 pounds, and four of
9 pounds. By the official report of an inspection, made upon her
arrival in Portland, it appears that her upper works and sides forward
were torn to pieces.[190] In her mainmast alone were three 18-pound
shot.[191] As a set-off to this principal damage received, she had to
show only one 18-pound shot in the hull of the "Enterprise," one in
the foremast, and one in the mainmast.[192]

From these returns, the American loss in killed and wounded, twelve,
must have been largely by grapeshot or musketry. The British had
twenty-one men hurt. It has been said that this difference in loss is
nearly proportionate to the difference in force. This is obviously
inexact; for the "Enterprise" was superior in gun power by twelve per
cent, while the "Boxer's" loss was greater by seventy-five per cent.
Moreover, if the statement of crews be accurate, that the "Enterprise"
had one hundred and twenty and the "Boxer" only sixty-six,[193] it is
clear that the latter had double the human target, and scored little
more than half the hits. The contest, in brief, was first an artillery
duel, side to side, followed by a raking position obtained by the
American. It therefore reproduced in leading features, although on a
minute scale, the affair between the "Chesapeake" and "Shannon"; and
the exultation of the American populace at this rehabilitation of the
credit of their navy, though exaggerated in impression, was in
principle sound. The British Court Martial found that the defeat was
"to be attributed to a superiority of the enemy's force, principally
in the number of men, as well as to a greater degree of skill in the
direction of her fire, and the destructive effects of her first
broadside."[194] This admission as to the enemy's gunnery is
substantially identical with the claim made for that of the
"Shannon,"--notably as to the first broadside.

Pages: | Prev | | 1 | | 2 | | 3 | | 4 | | 5 | | 6 | | 7 | | 8 | | 9 | | 10 | | 11 | | 12 | | 13 | | 14 | | 15 | | 16 | | 17 | | 18 | | 19 | | 20 | | 21 | | 22 | | 23 | | 24 | | 25 | | 26 | | 27 | | 28 | | 29 | | 30 | | 31 | | 32 | | 33 | | 34 | | 35 | | 36 | | 37 | | 38 | | 39 | | 40 | | 41 | | 42 | | 43 | | 44 | | 45 | | 46 | | 47 | | 48 | | 49 | | 50 | | 51 | | 52 | | 53 | | 54 | | 55 | | 56 | | 57 | | 58 | | 59 | | 60 | | 61 | | 62 | | 63 | | 64 | | 65 | | 66 | | 67 | | 68 | | 69 | | 70 | | 71 | | 72 | | 73 | | 74 | | 75 | | 76 | | 77 | | 78 | | 79 | | 80 | | 81 | | 82 | | 83 | | 84 | | 85 | | 86 | | 87 | | 88 | | 89 | | 90 | | 91 | | 92 | | 93 | | 94 | | 95 | | 96 | | Next |

U V W X Y Z 

Your last read book:

You dont read books at this site.