1813 - Alexandria and President


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1813 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 214

the north-north-east. The two British ships immediately hauled up in chase, and at 5 h. 30 m. p.m. tacked to the west-northwest, making the Russian as well as English private signals. At 6 h. 15 m. the President and her consort, who had hitherto been standing towards the two British ships, tacked from them to the north-west, under all sail, followed by the Alexandria and Spitfire. At 7 h. 30 m. p.m. the Spitfire was within five miles of the President, who then bore from her north-north-west. In order that there may be no doubt of identity in this case, we subjoin a brief extract or two from the letter of Commodore Rodgers. " At the time of meeting with the enemy's two ships, the privateer-schooner Scourge, of New-York, had fallen in company."----" I stood towards them until, making out what they were, I hauled by the wind upon the opposite tack to avoid them."

The lightness of the night in these latitudes enabling the British frigate and sloop to keep sight of their enemy, no interruption occurred in the chase. On the 20th, at 4 h. 30 m. p.m., finding that the Spitfire, as well as the President, was gaining upon her, the Alexandria cutaway her bower-anchor. At 4 h. 40 m. the Scourge parted company from the President, who was now nearly hull-down from the leading British ship. A schooner being unworthy game when a frigate was in sight, the Alexandria and Spitfire continued in pursuit of the President. " Their attention," says the commodore, " was so much engrossed by the President, that they permitted her (the Scourge) to escape, without appearing to take any notice of her."

At 6 p.m., when the Alexandria bore from the Spitfire full two miles south-south-east, the President bore north distant only six miles. From this time the American frigate continued gaining upon the Spitfire until 1 h. 10 m. p.m. on the 21st ; when, thick weather coming on, the latter lost sight both of her consort and her chase. The discharge of four guns, however, by the Alexandria, enabled the Spitfire to close. The two British ships again making sail, the sloop, at 2 h. 15 m. p.m., again got sight of the President, in the west-south-west, and at 4 p.m. was once more within six miles of her; which, says the commodore, " was quite as near as was desirable. " The chase continued, during the remainder of the 21st, to the advantage of the American frigate, until 8 a.m. on the 22d, when the Spitfire, a fourth time, got within six miles of the President ; who again, by the most strenuous efforts, began increasing her distance.

At 6 p.m., when nearly hull-down from the little persevering sloop, and quite out of sight from the Alexandria, the President fired a gun, hoisted an American ensign at her peak, and a commodore's broad pendant at her main, and hauled upon a wind to the westward. Captain Ellis continued gallantly to stand

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