1813 - Shannon and Chesapeake


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1813 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 204

instead of above it. A few seconds before this, the Chesapeake's quarter gallery had given way, and the two ships were gradually separating. Observing the American stripes going up first, the Shannon's people reopened their fire; and directing their guns with their accustomed precision at the lower part of the Chesapeake's mizenmast, killed their own first lieutenant (a grape-shot took off the upper part of his head) and four or five of their comrade. Before the flags had got half-way to the mizen peak, they were lowered down and hosted properly ; and the aggrieved and mortified men of the Shannon ceased their fire.

An unexpected fire of musketry, opened by the Americans who had fled to the hold, killed a fine young marine, William Young. On this, Lieutenant Falkiner, who was sitting on the booms, very properly directed three or four muskets, that were ready, to be fired down. Captain Broke, from his seat upon the carronade-slide, told Lieutenant Falkiner to summon the Americans in the hold to surrender, if they desired quarter. The Lieutenant did so. The Americans replied, " We surrender ; " and all hostilities ceased. The Shannon was now about 100 yards astern of the Chesapeake, or rather upon her larboard quarter. To enable the Shannon to close, Captain Broke ordered the Chesapeake's main yard to be braced flat aback, and her foresail to be hauled close up. Almost immediately afterwards Captain Broke's senses failed him from loss of blood ; and the Shannon's jollyboat just then arriving with a fresh supply of men, he was conveyed on board his own ship.

Between the discharge of the first gun, and the period of Captain Broke's boarding, 11 minutes only elapsed ; and, in four minutes more, the Chesapeake was completely his. The following diagram will explain the few evolutions there were in this quickly decided action.

Now for the damage and loss of men sustained by the, respective combatants. Five shot passed through the Shannon ; one only below the main deck. Of several round shot that struck her, the greater part lodged in the side, ranged in a line just above the copper. A bar-shot entered a little below the water-mark, leaving a foot or 18 inches of one end sticking out. Until her shot-holes were stopped, the Shannon made a good deal of water upon the larboard tack ; but, upon the other, not more than usual. Her fore and main masts were slightly injured

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