1813 - Shannon and Chesapeake


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1813 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 202

fourth superior in number. At that moment, however, the Shannon had her jib-stay shot away ; and, her head-sails being becalmed, she went off very slowly. The consequence was, that, at 6 p.m., the Chesapeake fell on board the Shannon, with her quarter pressing upon the latter's side, just before her starboard main-chains. The Chesapeake's foresail being at this moment partly loose, owing to the weather clue-garnet having, been shot away from the bits, the American frigate forged a little ahead, but was presently stopped, by hooking, with her quarter port, the flook of the Shannon's anchor stowed over the chess-tree.

Captain Broke now ran forward ; and observing the Chesapeake's men deserting the quarterdeck guns, he ordered the two ships to be lashed together, the great guns to cease firing, the maindeck boarders to be called, and Lieutenant George Thomas L. Watt, the first lieutenant, to bring up the quarterdeck men, who were all boarders. While zealously employed outside the bulwark of the Shannon, making the Chesapeake fast to her, the veteran boatswain, Mr. Stevens (he had fought in Rodney's action), had his left arm hacked off with repeated sabre cuts, and was mortally wounded by musketry. The midshipman commanding on the forecastle, Mr. Samwell, was also mortally wounded. Accompanied by the remaining forecastle party, about 20 in number, Captain Broke, at 6 h. 2 m. p.m., stepped from the Shannon's gangway-rail, just abaft the fore rigging, on the muzzle of the Chesapeake's aftermost carronade, and thence, over the bulwark, upon her quarterdeck. Here not an officer or man was to be seen. Upon the Chesapeake's gangways, about 25 or 30 Americans made a slight resistance. These were quickly driven towards the forecastle, where a few endeavoured to get down the fore hatchway, but, in their eagerness, prevented each other. Several fled over the bows; and, while part, as it is believed, plunged into the sea, another part reached the main deck through the bridle-ports. The remainder laid down their arms and submitted. Lieutenant Watt, with several quarterdeck men, and sergeant Richard Molyneux, corporal George Osborne, and the first division of marines ; also Lieutenant Charles Leslie Falkiner, third of the Shannon, with a division of the maindeck boarders, quickly followed Captain Broke and his small party Lieutenant Watt, Just as he had stepped on the Chesapeake's taffrail, was shot through the foot by a musket-ball fired from the mizen top, and dropped on his knee upon the quarterdeck ; but quickly rising up, he ordered Lieutenant of marines James Johns to point one of the Shannon's 9-pounders at the enemy's top. In the mean time Lieutenant Falkiner and the marines, with the second division of which Lieutenant John Law had now arrived, rushed forward ; and, while one party kept down the men who were ascending the main hatchway, another party answered a destructive fire still continued from the main and mizen tops. The Chesapeake's main top was presently stormed

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