1813 - Peacock and Hornet

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1813 Peacock and Hornet 193

cut to pieces in hull and masts, the Peacock hoisted from her fore rigging an ensign, union down, as a signal of distress. Shortly afterwards her mainmast went by the board.

Both the Hornet and Peacock were immediately anchored ; and every attempt was made to save the latter, by throwing her guns overboard, by pumping and bailing her, and stopping such shot-holes as could be got at ; but all would not do, and in a very few minutes after she had anchored, the Peacock went down in five and a half fathoms' water, with 13 of her men, four of whom afterwards got to the fore top and escaped, as well as three men belonging to the Hornet. An American lieutenant and midshipman, and the remainder of the Hornet's men on board the Peacock, with difficulty saved themselves by jumping, as the brig went down, into a boat which was lying on her booms. Four of the Peacock's seamen had just before taken to her stern boat ; in which, notwithstanding it was much damaged by shot, they arrived in safety at Demerara.

Of her 110 men and 12 boys, the Peacock lost, about the middle of the action, her young and gallant commander and four seamen killed, her master, one midshipman, the carpenter, captain's clerk, and 29 seamen and marines wounded ; three of the latter mortally, but the greater part slightly. The principal damages of the Hornet are represented to have been one shot through the foremast, and her bowsprit slightly wounded by another : her loss, out of a crew of 163 men and two boys, the Americans state at one seaman killed, and two slightly wounded ; also one mortally, and another severely burnt by the explosion of a cartridge.

The Hornet had three lieutenants, a lieutenant of marines, and a great show of full grown young midshipmen ; and her men were all of the usual class of " American " seamen. Her established complement was 170, but she had on board, as was frequently the case in American ships of war, three supernumeraries. On the other hand, eight men were absent in a prize. This reduced the Hornet's crew to 165 ; among whom we will suppose, although none were discoverable, there were three boys. The Hornet, it will be observed, mounted one gun more of a side than the Wasp, and the latter was 434 tons : the former, therefore, could not well have been less than 460 or 470 tons.

COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS

    PEACOCK HORNET
Broadside-guns

No.

9

10

lbs.

192

297

Crew (men only)

No.

110

162

Size

tons  

386

460

This is what the Americans, now for the first time pretending to believe, that " 24-pounders are as good as 32s, " call an equal

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