1814 - Junon and Tenedos with Constitution


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1814 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 328

persuading the Pique's crew that there had been any necessity for issuing them. Either just before, or just after, the reading of the captain's orders, the crew refused to take their suppertime grog : alleging as a reason, that they did not want " Dutch courage to fight a yankee frigate." Although it is true, that the Constitution was by no means so well manned as when she took the Java or Guerrière, and that the Pique had about 260 men, who, upon an average, were not more than 26 years of age, and the major part of them good seamen, yet the numerical disproportion was too great ; and it was well that Captain Stewart thought the Pique's 18s were 24s, and therefore did not make an effort to bring her to action.

At 8 p.m., owing to thick squally weather, during which the wind shifted to the east-north-east, the two frigates lost sight of each other. At 2 a.m. on the 24th the Pique tacked to the south-east, and, crossing the bows of the Constitution, again discovered her, at the distance of about two miles on her lee beam. As each stood on her course, the Pique to the south-east, and the Constitution to the north by west, the two ships, by 3 a.m., had run each other quite out of sight. Those who have gone along with us thus far, in unravelling the American accounts, and exposing the little peccadilloes of the writers, professional and non-professional, will feel no surprise at being told, that Captain Stewart declared to his government, and through that channel to the public, that he had chased a British frigate, but that she had escaped from him in the dark.

On the 3d of April, at 7 a.m., having arrived off the port of Marblehead, in the state of Massachusetts, the Constitution fell in with the two British 38-gun frigates Junon, Captain Clotworthy Upton, and Tenedos, Captain Hyde Parker. The American frigate was standing to the westward, with the wind about north by west, and bore from the two English frigates about north-west by west. The Junon and Tenedos quickly hauled up in chase, and the Constitution crowded sail in the direction of Marblehead. At 9 h. 30 m., finding the Tenedos rather gaining upon her, the Constitution started her water, and threw overboard a quantity of provisions, spars, and other articles. At 11 h. 30 m. she hoisted her colours, and the two British frigates, who were now rather dropping in the chase, did the same. At 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Constitution came to an anchor in the harbour of Marblehead. Captain Parker, whose ship now bore from Cape Ann north-north-east distant nine miles, was anxious to follow the American frigate into the port, which had no defences; but the Tenedos was recalled by signal from the Junon. A shift of wind to the south-east enabled the Constitution, at 6 p.m., to remove to Salem : where she lay much more secure. A short time afterwards the American frigate found an opportunity of quitting Salem unperceived, and anchored in the harbour of Boston.

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