1813 - Shannon and Chesapeake


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1813 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 212

they become paralyzed with shame, they sink into the veriest cowards in nature, when opposed face to face to their shipmates of former days, their partners in scenes which they can remember with credit. The American commanders have tact enough to see this : hence arises the preference they give to a cannonade engagement ; hence the repugnance they invariably show, unless with a twofold superiority, to grapple with their British antagonists.

Previously to our dismissing the action of the Shannon and Chesapeake, we shall confer a service on the profession, by stating as much as we know of the means taken by Captain Broke, to endow his men with that proficiency at the guns, the effects of which were so decisive and astonishing. Every day, for about an hour and a half in the forenoon, when not prevented by chase or the state of the weather, the men were exercised at training the guns, and, for the same time in the afternoon, in the use of the broadsword, pike, musket, &c. Twice a week the crew fired at targets, both with great guns and musketry ; and Captain Broke, as an additional stimulus beyond the emulation excited, gave a pound of tobacco to every man that put a shot through the bull's eye. As the Shannon was always clear for action, and had on deck a sufficient quantity of ammunition for two or three broadsides, it was impossible to take her by surprise ; nor could the officers well complain of the want of a few of their cabin conveniences, when the cabin of their chief was so completely stripped of every thing which was not absolutely indispensable, of every thing that could not be removed at a moment's notice.

The Chesapeake's late captain was buried at Halifax on the 8th, with military honours such as a post-captain in the British navy of less than three years' standing would be entitled to ; and, unlike poor Captain Lambert at St.-Salvador, Captain Lawrence was followed to his grave by all the naval captains in port. Lieutenant Ludlow died of his wounds while at Halifax, and was also buried with military honours. On the 10th of August a cartel arrived from Boston, and applied for and carried away the remains of the late captain of the Chesapeake and his first lieutenant, to be deposited, with suitable ceremony, in their own country.

On the 1st of May, as already stated, Commodore Rodgers, with the President and Congress frigates, the latter still commanded by Captain Smith, sailed from President roads, Boston, on his third cruise. On the 2d the two American frigates fell in with and chased the British 18-gun brig-sloop Curlew, Captain Michael Head ; but, by knocking away the wedges of her masts, and using other means to increase her sailing, the brig effected her escape. On the 8th, in latitude 39 30' north,

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