1814 - Sir Thomas Hardy and Commodore Decatur


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1814 Sir Thomas Hardy and Commodore Decatur 323

consequence likely to be lowered in the opinion of the citizens, Commodore Decatur resolved to put in immediate practice an epistolary stratagem ; which, managed as he intended it should be, could not fail to redound to his advantage. On the 14th of January, making the subject of the above reported conversation the ground of the application, the American commodore sent to Captain Hardy a written proposition for a contest between the United-States, of " 48 guns and a boat-gun, " and the Endymion, of " 50 guns, " and between the Macedonian, of " 47, " and the Statira, of " 50 guns. " Captain Hardy readily consented that the Statira should meet the Macedonian, as they were sister-ships ; but, quite contrary, as may be supposed to the wishes of Captain Hope, he refused to permit the Endymion to meet the United-States, because the latter was much the superior in force.

Through the medium or Captain Biddle, the bearer of his proposition, Commodore Decatur had agreed, that the crews of the Endymion and Statira, both of which were short of complement, should be made up from the Ramillies and Borer ; and, had it been finally settled that the meeting should take place between the Macedonian and Statira, Sir Thomas Hardy meant, as we have understood, to include himself among the volunteers from the Ramillies to serve on board the latter. This would undoubtedly have been a very hard measure upon Captain Stackpoole ; but we do not see how Sir Thomas Hardy, having consented that a ship, other than the one he commanded, should meet in single combat the ship of an enemy, could well have acted otherwise.

When Commodore Decatur wrote his letter about capturing the Macedonian, he did not mention, although he took care to reckon, that ship's boat-gun ; but now he tells us, that the 49th gun of the United-States is a " 12-pound carronade, a boat-gun." We have already shown, that the reduction of that ship's force did not go quite the length it purported to go, and that the Macedonian, although she may have mounted but 47 guns, was more effectively armed than when she mounted 49.* The armament of each of the two British ships is easily stated. Until the latter end of the year 1812, when she went into dock at Plymouth, the Endymion mounted, with her 26 long 24-pounders on the main deck, 14 carronades, 32-pounders, on the quarterdeck, and four of the same caliber and two long nines on the forecastle ; total 46 guns. In May, 1813, the Endymion had her quarterdeck barricade continued a few feet further forward, to admit an additional carronade of a side; which, with two additional carronades on the forecastle, and, in lieu of her two 9-pounders, a brass long French 18-pounder as a bow chase-gun and for which there was no broadside-port, gave the Endymion 49 guns. Her net complement consisted of 347 men and

See p. 338

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