1813 - Alexandria and President


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1813 Alexandria and President 213

longitude 60 west, the Congress, whether by intention or accident is not stated, parted company.

The commodore now proceeded alone ; pleased, no doubt, at the prospect thus afforded him, of rivalling his brother commodores in the capture, single.-handed, of a " large-class " British frigate, and, like each of them, of being hailed on his return as one of the first of naval conquerors. The President cruised along the eastern edge of the Grand Bank of Newfoundland, so as to cross the tracks of the West-India, Halifax, Quebec, and St.-John's trade. Having reached latitude 48 without meeting any thing, the commodore stood to the south-east, and cruised off the Azores until the 6th of June ; when, learning from an American merchant vessel, that she had, four days previous, passed a homeward-bound West-India fleet, the President crowded sail to the north-east. Commodore Rodgers, however, was too late ; and, even had the President got among the merchant ships, the admirable sailing of their escort the Cumberland 74, Captain Thomas Baker, might have made the commodore regret that he had acted upon the information of his countryman.

On the 13th of June, being then in latitude 46 north, longitude 28 west, the disappointed commodore resolved to shape a course towards the North Sea, in the hope of falling in with vessels bound from St.-George's Channel to Newfoundland ; but, to his " astonishment," no prize fell in his way. The President subsequently made the Shetland islands, and on the 27th of June put into North-Bergen for provisions and water. Water was all the commodore could obtain ; and, provided with a supply of that wholesome article, the President quitted North Bergen on the 2d of July, and stretched over towards the Orkney islands; and thence towards the North-Cape, for the purpose of intercepting a convoy of 25 or 30 sail, which the commodore had understood would leave Archangel - about the middle of the month, under the protection of two British brig-sloops.

On the 19th of July, when off the North-Cape, in company with the privateer-schooner Scourge, of New-York, and in momentary expectation of meeting the Archangel fleet, Commodore Rodgers was driven from his station by, in the language of his official letter, " a line-of-battle ship and a frigate," but, in the language of truth, by the British 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Alexandria, Captain Robert Cathcart, and 16-gun ship-sloop Spitfire, Captain John Ellis. As the commodore is very brief in his account of this meeting, we shall take our narrative from the logs of the two British ships. On the day in question, at 2h. 30 m. p.m., latitude at noon (the mean of the two ships' reckonings) 71 52' north, longitude 20 18' east, the Alexandria and Spitfire, standing south-east by south, with a light wind from the northward, discovered a frigate and a large schooner in

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