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CHAPTER V.

CAPTAIN SHALER'S ESCAPE IN THE PRIVATEER GOVERNOR TOMPKINS FROM A BRITISH

FRIGATE--THE PRIVATEERS YANKEE AND BLOCKADE SAIL FROM NEWPORT ON THB 1ST OF JUNE, 1813-BRITISH POLICY OF TAKING NEW ORLEANS-SCHOONER FLYINGFISH TAKEN BY THE SAUCY JACK-BRITISH SHIP INDUSTRY SENT INTO BERGEN, NORWAY, BY THE TRUE-BLOODED YANKEE-BRITISH SHIP LONDON PACKET CAPTURED BY THE ARGUS AND SENT INTO BOSTON—BRITISH PACKET MORGIANNA, CAPTURED BY BOARDING, BY THE SARATOGA-FIFTEEN BRITISH VESSELS CAPTURED OFF JAMAICA, BY THE LOVELY CORDELIA, OF CHARLESTON—THE YANKEE PRIVATEER RETURNS TO RHODE ISLAND AFTER A SUCCESSFUL CRUISE-TABLE OF PRIVATEERS BELONGING TO SALEM-CAPTAIN STARFORD'S FAMOUS DEFENCE OF THE PRIVATEER DOLPHIN-ARRIVAL OF THE PRIVATEKR GRAMPUS AT NEW YORK NARROW ESCAPE OP TUIS VESSEL, WHILE CRUISING AMONG THE CANARY ISLANDS-EULOGY ON CAPTAIN JOHN MURPHY--DESPERATE ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN THE PRIVATEER GLOBE, CAPTAIN RICHARD MOON, WITH TWO ENGLISH BRIGS, OFF MADEIRA-BRITISH SHIP NEREID CAPTURED OFF MADEIRA BY THB GOVERNOR TOMPKINS-INTERESTING CRUISE OF THE FAMOUS CAPTAIN BOYLE IN THB SCHOONER COMET.

1.

EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM NATHANIEL SHALER, COMMANDER

OF THE PRIVATE ARMED SCHOONER “GOVERNOR TOMPKINS," TO HIS AGENT IN NEW YORK.-DATED AT SEA, JAN. 1st, 1813.

Two days after dispatching the Nereid, I took a whaleman from London, bound for the South Seas, but as she was of no value, I took out such stores, etc., as I could stow, and being much lumbered with prisoners and baggage, I put them on board, and ordered her for Falmouth. The chasing of this ship had taken me some distance from my ground, and owing to calms, I could not regain it until the 25th ult., when at sunrise three ships were discovered ahead. We made all sail in chase. The wind being light, we came up with them slowly. On a nearer approach, they proved to be two ships and a brig. One of the ships had all the appearance of a large transport, and from their manoeuvres, seemed to have concerted measures for mutual defence. The large ship appeared

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to take the bulk of an action. Boats were seen passing to and from her. She had boarding nettings almost up to her tops, with her topmast studding-sail booms out, and sails at their ends, ready for running, as if prepared for a runaway fight.

Her ports appeared to be painted, and she had something on deck, resembling a merchant's boat. After all this what the devil do you think she was ? why, have a little patience, and I will tell you. At 3 P. M. a sudden squall struck us from the northward, and the ship not having yet received it, before I could get our light sails in, and almost before I could turn round, I was under the guns, (not of a transport) but of a large frigate! and not more than a quarter of a mile from her.

I immediately hauled down English colors, which I previously had up, set three American ensigns, trimmed our sails by the wind, and commenced a brisk fire from our little battery, but this was returned with woful interest. Her first broadside killed two men and wounded six others—(two of them severely, one has since died)—it also blew up one of my salt-boxes, with two nine-pound cartridges ; this communicated fire to a number of pistols and three tube boxes which were lying on the companion way, all of which exploded, and some of the tubes penetrated through a crevice under the companion leaf, and found their way to the cabin floor, but that being wet, and the fire-screen being up, no further accident took place. This, together with the fire from the frigate, I assure you, made warm work on the Tompkin's quarter-deck, but thanks to her heels, and the exertions of my brave officers and crew, I still have the command of her.

When the frigate opened her fire on me, it was about half-past three. I was then a little abaft her beam. To

have attempted to tack in a hard squall, would at least have exposed me to a raking fire, and to have attempted it, and failed to do so, would have been attended with the inevitable loss of the schooner. I therefore thought it most prudent to take her fire on the tack on which I was, and this I was exposed to from the position I have mentioned, until I had passed her bow; she all the while standing on with me, and almost as fast as ourselves, and such a tune as was played round my ears, I assure you, I never wish to hear again on the same key. At four his shot began to fall short of us. At half-past four the wind dying away, and the enemy still holding it, his ship began to reach us. We got out sweeps, and turned all hands to. I also threw all the lumber from the deck, and about 2,000 lbs. weight of shot from the after hold. From about five P. M., all his shot fell short of us. At twenty-five minutes past five the enemy hove about, and I was glad to get so clear of one of the most quarrelsome companions that I ever met with. After the first broadside from the frigate, not a shot struck the hull of the Tompkins, but the water was literally in a foam all around her. · The moment before the squall struck us, I told Mr. Farnum that she was too heavy for us, and he went forward with his glass to take another look, when the squall struck the schooner as if by magic, and we were up with her, before we could get in our light sails. My officers conducted themselves in a way that would have done honor to a more permanent service. Mr. Farnum, first Lieutenant, conducted himself with his usual vigor. Mr. Atchison, sailing-master, performed his part in the style of a brave and accomplished seaman. Messrs Mil ler and Dodd, second and third Lieutenants, were not immediately under my eye, but the precision and promptitude with which all my orders were executed, is sufficient proof that they were to be relied upon. Mr. Thomas, boatswain, and Mr. Casewell, master's-mate, were particularly active, and deserve encouragement. The name of one of my poor fellows who was killed ought to be registered on the book of fame, and remembered with reverence as long as bravery is considered a virtue. He was a black man, by the name of John Johnson ; a 24 lb. shot struck him in the hip, and took away

all the lower part of his body. In this state the poor, brave fellow lay on the deck, and several times exclaimed to his shipmates, "fire away boys, neber haul de color down.” The other was also a black man, by the name of John Davis, and was struck in much the same way : he fell near me, and several times requested to be thrown overboard, saying he was only in the way of the others. While America has such sailors, she has little to fear from the tyrants of the ocean. From the circumstance of her shot being 24's, which I assure you was the case, as we have felt and weighed them, I am of opinion that it was the Laurel, a new frigate, which I had information of. A gentleman whom I took, told me she was in the fleet; that she was built and manned for the purpose to cope with our frigates ; that if she got sight of me, she would certainly take me, as she was the fastest sailer he

ever saw.

I send you a list of the killed and wounded ; in every thing else we are in good order and high spirits.

Killed-John Johnson, John Davis ; wounded—six.

PRIZES CAPTURED BY PRIVATEERS.

The British brig Harriet, captured by the privateer General Armstrong, and sent into Porto Rico, she being short of water ; was seized by the Spanish government and given up to the British.

On the 20th of May, 1813, the privateer Alexander, of Salem, of 18 guns, was chased on shore in Well's Bay, by two British men-of-war. She was so closely pursued that only twenty of her crew had time to make their escape. It fortunately happened, however, that a large portion of her crew were on board of seven prizes, which she had made previous to her capture.

On the 1st of June the Yankee privateer, of 19 guns, with a crew of 200 men, sailed in company with the privateer Blockade, of 15 guns, from Newport, R. I., on a fresh cruise.

The privateer Grand Turk, of 16 guns, arrived at Portland, after having captured three large, armed, and very valuable ships, on the coast of Brazil, all of which she ordered to proceed to France. On her passage home she also captured a schooner, which she sent to the United States.

EXTRACT FROM THE LONDON COURIER. I herewith insert the following extract from the London Courier, dated June the 17th, 1813, in order to show the erroneous opinions entertained in England at that period, with respect to the power and strength of the United States to defend their own territory :

“POLICY OF TAKING NEW ORLEANS.--There are arguments in our colonial journals, tending to prove that there exists a necessity for our government's taking possession of the province of New Orleans. We extract the following observations on that subject: If Great Britain will only take New Orleans, she will divide the States. By shutting that outlet to the fruits of Western indus

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