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389. 3. p. 189.

[170] Annals of Congress, 1813-1814, vol. i. p. 500.

[171] This parenthesis shows that the censures were not directed against
New England only, for the blockade so far declared did not extend
thither.

[172] Niles' Register, vol. iv. pp. 370, 386.

[173] Ibid., p. 387.

[174] Niles' Register, vol. iv. p. 387.

[175] Ibid., p. 402.

[176] Ibid.

[177] Ibid. Author's italics.

[178] Morris to Navy Department, Dec. 20 and 26, 1813. Captains'
Letters.

[179] Post, chapter xviii.

[180] British Records Office, Secret Papers MSS.

[181] Niles' Register, vol. v. p. 311.

[182] The Columbian Centinel, Boston, Sept. 7 and Dec. 15, 1813.

[183] Ibid., Dec. 18.

[184] Ibid.

[185] Campbell to the Navy Department, Nov. 11, 1814. Captains' Letters.

[186] Captains' Letters.

[187] Ibid., June 24, 1813.

[188] Hull to Navy Department, July 31, 1813. Ibid.

[189] Cooper tells the story that when this gun was transported, and
preparations being made to use it as a stern instead of a bow chaser,
the crew--to whom Burrows was as yet a stranger, known chiefly by his
reputation for great eccentricity--came to the mast to express a hope
that the brig was not going to retreat.

[190] Report of Lieutenant Tillinghast to Captain Hull. Captains'
Letters, Sept. 9, 1813.

[191] Hull to Bainbridge, Sept. 10. Niles' Register, vol. v. p. 58.

[192] Report of the carpenter of the "Enterprise." Captains' Letters.

[193] There is a discrepancy in the statements concerning the "Boxer's"
crew. Hull reported officially, "We have sixty-seven, exclusive of those
killed and thrown overboard." (Sept. 25. Captains' Letters.) Lieutenant
McCall, who succeeded to the command after Burrows fell, reported that
"from information received from officers of the 'Boxer' it appears that
there were between twenty and thirty-five killed, and fourteen wounded."
(U.S. State Papers, Naval Affairs, vol. i. p. 297.) The number killed is
evidently an exaggerated impression received, resembling some statements
made concerning the "Chesapeake;" but it is quite likely that the
"Boxer's" loss should be increased by several bodies thrown overboard.

[194] Naval Chronicle, vol. xxxii. p. 473.

[195] Columbian Centinel, July 28, Sept. 1, and Nov. 13, 1813.

[196] Ibid., Sept. 25.

[197] Campbell to Navy Department, Jan. 4, 1814. Captains' Letters.

[198] For full particulars see Captains' Letters (Campbell), June 12,
1813; Jan. 2 and 4, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, Oct. 8, Oct. 15, Dec. 4, 1814.

[199] Campbell, Dec. 2, 1814. Captains' Letters.

[200] Dent to Navy Department, Jan. 28, 1815. Ibid.

[201] Campbell, Feb. 3, 1815. Ibid.

[202] June 7, 1813. Navy Department MSS.

[203] Captains' Letters, Sept. 3, 1814.

[204] Benton's Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, vol. v. p. 202.

[205] Dec. 10, 1813. Niles' Register, vol. v. pp. 257-260.

[206] Niles' Register, vol. vii. p. 194.

[207] Ibid., vol. viii. p. 234.

[208] Ibid., vol. vii. p. 168. Quoted from a Charleston, S.C., paper.

[209] Captains' Letters, May 3, 23, 24; June 27, 29; August 7, 17; Nov.
9, 13, 23, 1813.

[210] Niles' Register, vol. viii. p. 311. Quoted from a Norfolk paper.

[211] American State Papers, Commerce and Navigation, vol. i. p. 1017.

[212] Ibid., vol. ii. p. 12.

[213] American State Papers, Commerce and Navigation, vol. ii. p. 87.

[214] Ibid., vol. i. p. 1017; vol. ii. pp. 12, 87.

[215] Ante, vol. i. pp. 402-404.

[216] Admiralty's Letter to Warren. Feb. 10, 1813.




CHAPTER XIV

MARITIME OPERATIONS EXTERNAL TO THE WATERS OF THE UNITED
STATES, 1813-1814


In broad generalization, based upon analysis of conditions, it has
been said that the seacoast of the United States was in 1812 a
defensive frontier, from which, as from all defensive lines, there
should be, and was, opportunity for offensive returns; for action
planned to relieve the shore-line, and the general military situation,
by inflicting elsewhere upon the opponent injury, harassment, and
perplexity. The last chapter dealt with the warfare depending upon the
seaboard chiefly from the defensive point of view; to illustrate the
difficulties, the blows, and the sufferings, to which the country was
exposed, owing to inability to force the enemy away from any large
portion of the coast. The pressure was as universal as it was
inexorable and irresistible.

It remains still to consider the employment and effects of the one
offensive maritime measure left open by the exigencies of the war; the
cruises directed against the enemy's commerce, and the characteristic
incidents to which they gave rise. In this pursuit were engaged both
the national ships of war and those equipped by the enterprise of the
mercantile community; but, as the operations were in their nature more
consonant to the proper purpose of privateers, so the far greater
number of these caused them to play a part much more considerable in
effect, though proportionately less fruitful in conspicuous action.
Fighting, when avoidable, is to the privateer a misdirection of
energy. Profit is his object, by depredation upon the enemy's
commerce; not the preservation of that of his own people. To the ship
of war, on the other hand, protection of the national shipping is the
primary concern; and for that reason it becomes her to shun no
encounter by which she may hope to remove from the seas a hostile
cruiser.

The limited success of the frigates in their attempts against British
trade has been noted, and attributed to the general fact that their
cruises were confined to the more open sea, upon the highways of
commerce. These were now travelled by British ships under strict laws
of convoy, the effect of which was not merely to protect the several
flocks concentrated under their particular watchdogs, but to strip the
sea of those isolated vessels, that in time of peace rise in irregular
but frequent succession above the horizon, covering the face of the
deep with a network of tracks. These solitary wayfarers were now to be
found only as rare exceptions to the general rule, until the port of
destination was approached. There the homing impulse overbore the
bonds of regulation; and the convoys tended to the conduct noted by
Nelson as a captain, "behaving as all convoys that ever I saw did,
shamefully ill, parting company every day." Commodore John Rodgers has
before been quoted, as observing that the British practice was to rely
upon pressure on the enemy over sea, for security near home; and that
the waters surrounding the British Islands themselves were the field
where commerce destruction could be most decisively effected.

The first United States vessel to emphasize this fact was the brig
"Argus," Captain William H. Allen, which sailed from New York June 18,
1813, having on board a newly appointed minister to France, Mr.
William H. Crawford, recently a senator from Georgia. On July 11 she
reached L'Orient, having in the twenty-three days of passage made but
one prize.[217] Three days later she proceeded to cruise in the chops
of the English Channel, and against the local trade between Ireland
and England; continuing thus until August 14, thirty-one days, during
which she captured nineteen sail, extending her depredations well up
into St. George's Channel. The contrast of results mentioned, between
her voyage across and her occupancy of British waters, illustrates the
comparative advantages of the two scenes of operations, regarded in
their relation to British commerce.

On August 12 the British brig of war "Pelican," Captain Maples,
anchored at Cork from the West Indies. Before her sails were furled
she received orders to go out in search of the American ship of war
whose depredations had been reported. Two hours later she was again at
sea. The following evening, at half-past seven, a burning vessel to
the eastward gave direction to her course, and at daybreak, August 14,
she sighted a brig of war in the northeast, just quitting another
prize, which had also been fired. The wind, being south, gave the
windward position to the "Pelican," which stood in pursuit; the
"Argus" steering east, near the wind, but under moderate sail to
enable her opponent to close (positions 1). The advantage in size and
armament was on this occasion on the British side; the "Pelican" being
twenty per cent larger, and her broadside seventeen per cent heavier.

At 5.55 A.M., St. David's Head on the coast of Wales bearing east,
distant about fifteen miles, the "Argus" wore, standing now to the
westward, with the wind on the port side (2). The "Pelican" did the
same, and the battle opened at six; the vessels running side by side,
within the range of grapeshot and musketry,--probably under two
hundred yards apart (2). Within five minutes Captain Allen received a
wound which cost him his leg, and in the end his life. He at first
refused to be taken below, but loss of blood soon so reduced him that
he could no longer exercise command. Ten minutes later the first
lieutenant was stunned by the graze of a grapeshot along his head, and
the charge of the ship devolved on the second. By this time the
rigging of the "Argus" had been a good deal cut, and the "Pelican"
bore up (3) to pass under her stern; but the American brig, luffing
close to the wind and backing her maintopsail (3), balked the attempt,
throwing herself across the enemy's path, and giving a raking
broadside, the poor aim of which seems to have lost her the effect
that should have resulted from this ready and neat manoeuvre. The main
braces of the "Argus" had already been shot away, as well as much of
the other gear upon which the after sails depended; and at 6.18 the
preventer (duplicate) braces, which formed part of the preparation for
battle, were also severed. The vessel thus became unmanageable,
falling off before the wind (4), and the "Pelican" was enabled to work
round her at will. This she did, placing herself first under the stern
(4), and then on the bow (5) of her antagonist, where the only reply
to her broadside was with musketry.

In this helpless situation the "Argus" surrendered, after an
engagement of a little over three quarters of an hour.



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