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In the
course of her operations she encountered near St. Thomas the British
ship "Hibernia;" the size of which, and her height above the water, by
preventing boarding, enabled her successfully to repel attack, and the
privateer was obliged to haul off, having lost three men killed and
thirteen wounded. The American account of this affair ascribes
twenty-two guns to the "Hibernia." The British story says that she had
but six, with a crew of twenty-two men; of whom one was killed and
eleven wounded. The importance of the matter in itself scarcely
demands a serious attempt to reconcile this discrepancy; and it is
safer to accept each party's statement of his own force. The two agree
that the action lasted eight or nine hours, and that both were much
cut up. It is evident also from each narrative that they lay alongside
most of the time, which makes it probable that the ship's height
saved her from being overborne by superior numbers.

The "Saucy Jack," of Charleston, passed through several severe
combats, in one of which she was even worse mauled than the "Comet" in
the instance just cited. On April 30, 1814, off St. Nicolas Mole, in
the Windward Passage between Cuba and Santo Domingo, she met the
British ship "Pelham," a vessel of five hundred and forty tons, and
mounting ten guns, bound from London to Port au Prince. The "Pelham"
fought well, and the action lasted two hours, at the end of which she
was carried by boarding. Her forty men were overpowered by numbers,
but nevertheless still resisted with a resolution which commanded the
admiration of the victors. She lost four killed and eleven wounded;
among the latter her captain, dangerously. The privateer had two
killed and nine wounded. Both vessels reached Charleston safely, and
the "Saucy Jack" at once fitted out again. It is told that, between
daylight and dark of the day she began to enlist, one hundred and
thirty able-bodied seamen had shipped; and this at a time when the
navy with difficulty found crews.[234]

The "Saucy Jack" returned to the West Indies for another cruise, in
which she encountered one of those rude deceptions which privateers
often experienced. She had made already eight prizes, for one of
which, the ship "Amelia," she had had to fight vigorously, killing
four and wounding five of the enemy, while herself sustaining a loss
of one killed and one wounded, when on October 31, 1814, about 1 A.M.,
being then off Cape Tiburon at the west end of Ha´ti, she sighted two
vessels standing to the westward. Chase was made, and an hour later
the privateer opened fire. The strangers replied, at the same time
shortening sail, which looked ominous; but the "Saucy Jack," willing
to justify her name, kept on to close. At 6 A.M., having arrived
within a few hundred yards, the enemy were seen to be well armed, but
appeared not to be well manned. At seven, by which time it was
daylight, the "Saucy Jack" began an engagement with the nearer, and
ten minutes later ran her alongside, when she was found to be full of
soldiers. The privateer sheered off at once, and took to her heels,
followed by an incessant fire of grape and musketry from those whom
she had recently pursued. This awkward position, which carried the
chance of a disabling shot and consequent capture, lasted till eight,
when the speed of the schooner took her out of range, having had in
all eight men killed and fifteen wounded; two round shot in the hull,
and spars and rigging much cut up. It was afterwards ascertained that
her opponent was the "Volcano" bombship, convoying the transport
"Golden Fleece," on board which were two hundred and fifty troops from
Chesapeake Bay for Jamaica. The "Volcano" lost an officer and two men
killed, and two wounded; proving that under somewhat awkward
circumstances the "Saucy Jack" could give as well as take.[235]

A little later in this season a group of nine sail, from the West
Indies for Europe, was encountered by the privateer "Kemp," of
Baltimore, broad off the coast of North Carolina. Excluded, like the
"Comet" and others, from return to the port where she belonged, the
"Kemp" had been in Wilmington, which she left November 29, 1814; the
strangers being sighted at 8 A.M. December 1. One was a convoying
frigate, which, when the "Kemp" pursued, gave chase and drove her off
that afternoon. The privateer outran her pursuer, and during the night
by devious courses gave her the slip; thereupon steering for the
position where she judged she would again fall in with the merchant
vessels. In this she was successful, at daylight discovering
them,--three ships, three brigs, and two schooners. At 11 A.M. one
ship was overtaken, but proving to be Spanish, from Havana to Hamburg,
was allowed to proceed, while the "Kemp" again followed the others. At
noon they were five miles to windward, drawn up in a line to fight;
for in those days of war and piracy most merchant ships carried at
least a few guns for defence, and in this case their numbers, combined
in mutual support, might effect a successful resistance. At two they
took the initiative, bearing down together and attacking. The "Kemp"
engaged them all, and in half an hour the untrained squadron was
naturally in confusion. One after the other, six of the seven were
boarded, or without waiting to be attacked struck their colors as the
schooner drew up; but while four were being taken into possession, the
two others seized the opportunity and made off. Two ships and two
brigs remained in the hands of the captor. All were laden with sugar
and coffee, valuable at any time, but especially so in the then
destitute condition of the United States. After this unusual, if not
wholly unique, experience, the "Kemp" returned to port, having been
absent only six days. Her prisoners amounted to seventy-one, her own
crew being fifty-three. The separation of the escort from the convoy,
the subsequent judicious search for the latter, and the completeness
of the result, constitute this a very remarkable instance of good
management accompanied by good fortune; success deserved and

The privateer brig "Chasseur," of Baltimore, Captain Thomas Boyle, was
one of the typically successful and renowned cruisers of the time. She
carried a battery of sixteen 12-pounder carronades, and in the course
of the war thirty prizes are credited to her. In the late summer of
1814 she cruised off the coast of Great Britain and Ireland,
returning at the end of October; having made eighteen captures during
an absence of three months. From these she paroled and sent in by
cartels one hundred and fifty prisoners, bringing back with her
forty-three, of whom she had not been able thus to rid herself.[237]
After refitting she went to the West Indies for a winter cruise, which
extended from the Windward Islands to the neighborhood of Havana. Here
she signalized the approaching end of her career by an action, fought
after peace not only had been concluded at Ghent, but already was
known in the United States. On February 26, 1815, at 11 A.M., being
then twenty miles east of Havana, and six miles from the Cuban coast,
a schooner was seen in the northeast (1), running down before the
northeast trade-wind. Sail was made to intercept her (2), there being
at the time visible from the "Chasseur's" masthead a convoy lying-to
off Havana, information concerning which probably accounts for her
presence at this spot. The chase steered more to the northward (2),
bringing the wind on her starboard side, apparently wishing to avoid a
meeting. The "Chasseur" followed her motions, and when within about
three miles the stranger's foretopmast went over the side, showing the
press of sail she was carrying. After clearing the wreck she hauled
close on the wind, heading northerly. At 1 P.M., she began to fire her
stern gun and showed British colors; but only three port-holes were
visible on her port side,--towards the "Chasseur."

Believing from appearances that he had before him a weakly armed
vessel making a passage, and seeing but few men on her deck, Captain
Boyle pressed forward without much preparation and under all sail. At
1.26 P.M. the "Chasseur" had come within pistol-shot (3), on the port
side, when the enemy disclosed a tier of ten ports and opened his
broadside, with round shot, grape, and musket balls. The American
schooner, having much way on, shot ahead, and as she was to leeward in
doing so, the British vessel kept off quickly (4) to run under her
stern and rake. This was successfully avoided by imitating the
movement (4), and the two were again side by side, but with the
"Chasseur" now to the right (5). The action continued thus for about
ten minutes, when Boyle found his opponent's battery too heavy for
him. He therefore ran alongside (6), and in the act of boarding the
enemy struck. She proved to be the British schooner "St. Lawrence,"
belonging to the royal navy; formerly a renowned Philadelphia
privateer, the "Atlas." Her battery, one long 9-pounder and fourteen
12-pounder carronades, would have been no very unequal match for the
sixteen of her antagonist; but the "Chasseur" had been obliged
recently to throw overboard ten of these, while hard chased by the
Barrosa frigate, and had replaced them with some 9-pounders from a
prize, for which she had no proper projectiles. The complement allowed
the "St. Lawrence" was seventy-five, though it does not seem certain
that all were on board; and she was carrying also some soldiers,
marines, and naval officers, bound to New Orleans, in ignorance
probably of the disastrous end of that expedition. The "Chasseur" had
eighty-nine men, besides several boys. The British loss reported by
her captain was six killed and seventeen wounded; the American, five
killed and eight wounded.[238]

[Illustration: Diagram of the Chasseur vs. St. Lawrence battle]

This action was very creditably fought on both sides, but to the
American captain belongs the meed of having not only won success, but
deserved it. His sole mistake was the over-confidence in what he could
see, which made him a victim to the very proper ruse practised by his
antagonist in concealing his force.

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