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CHAPTER VI.

DESPERATE BATTLE FOUGHT BETWEEN THE AMERICAN PRIVATEER-SCHOONEB DECATUR, OF

CHARLESTON, CAPTAIN DIRON, AND HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S SCHOOSER DOMINICA, OX THE 5TH AVGUST, 1813-SAFE ARRIVAL OF THE DECATCR AND HER PRIZE AT CHARLESTON -REMARKS ON THE BATTLE-THE DECATUB SAILS OS A FRESH CRUISE FROY CHARLESTON, ON THE 26TH XOVEMBER — FOTAGE TO FRANCE IN LETTER-OF-YARQUE, SCHOONER DAVID PORTER, GEORGE COGGEXHALL, COMMANDER, LOADS AT PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND-SAILS FROM NEWPORT-CHASED OFF CHARLESTOS--ARRIVES AT THAT PORT—SAILS FROM CHARLESTON FOR TRANCE-LOSS OF FIRST PRIZE TERRIBLE GALE IN THE BAY OF BISCAY—THE SCHOOSER THROWX OX HER BEAN-EXDS-ARRIVIS AT LA TISSTE-SHORT CRUISE IN THE BAY OF BISCAT-MAKES SEVERAL CAPTURE—ARRIVES AT L'ILE DIE-REMARKS OS THAT ISLAND-DIFFICULTIES AT BOEDEAUX-HTRRIES AWAY FROM LA TESTE-VISIT TO LA ROCHELLE-BRIG IDA'S ESCAPE FROM LA ROCHELLE -ACCOUNT OF THE CAPTURE OF THE BRITISH SHIP MARY BY THE BATTLESNAKEVISIT TO BORDEATI AND PARIS.

DESPERATE BATTLE, FOCGHT BETWEEN THE AMERICAN SCHOONER

PRIVATEER DECATUR, OF CHARLESTON, CAPTAIN DOMINIQUE DIRON, AND HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S SCHOONER DOMINICA COMMANDED BY LIECTESANT GEORGE WILMOT BARRETTE

The Decatur was armed with 6 twelve-pound carronades, and i long eighteen-pounder on a pivot amidships, with a crew of 103 men, including the officers.

Captain Barrette's vessel had 12 twelve-pound carronades, 2 long-sixes, 1 brass four-pounder, and a thirtytwo-pound carronade on a pivot, with a crew of 88 men and officers.

The Decatur was cruising in the track of the West India traders, on their return passage to England. On the 5th of August, 1813, when in latitude 23°4' N. longitude about 67°0' W., during the early part of the morning, the Decatur was steering to the Northward, under easy sail. At half-past 10 o'clock in the forenoon,

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the man at the masthead discovered two sail, bearing about South, when the Decatur tacked to the southward, to get the weather-gage, and by so doing, ascertain the character of the two strangers.

At eleven o'clock, they were made out to be a ship and a schooner, standing to the Northward. At half-past, twelve (noon), being a little to the windward, and not far distant, the Decatur wore round and ran a little to the leeward, when the strange schooner set English colors.

At one P.m. the privateer wore again, still keeping to windward of his adversary. In the course of about half an hour, the strange schooner fired a shot at the Decatur, but without effect. Captain Diron then beat to quarters, and prepared for boarding the enemy.

After having loaded all his great guns and small arms, he hoisted American colors, having previously got on deck all the necessary ammunition, water, etc.

He then ordered all the hatches secured, so that no person could leave the deck, and with his grappling irons ready, bore down upon the enemy. His plan was to discharge all his guns, both great and small, and then board his adversary in the smoke.

For this purpose, at about two o'clock, Captain Diron wore ship, in order to pass under the stern of his

opponent, and give him a raking fire. As they neared each other, the Englishman luffed to, and gave the privateer a broadside, but the most of his shot passed over her. At a quarter past two, Captain Diron fired his long tom which fire the enemy returned from his main-deck battery. Captain D. continued to discharge his long gun, a second and third time, and being now within halfgunshot distance, it must have done the

enemy

much damage.

As the English schooner evinced a disposition to run to leeward, Captain Diron was fearful that he wished to make his escape. To prevent this, the Decatur filled away to bring his bowsprit over the stern of his antagonist, but to counteract this manoeuvre, the English schooner gave him a whole broadside, which fortunately for him, only injured a portion of his rigging and sails.

The Decatur answered the broadside by again giving him a shot from his long-tom, at the same time ordering the boarders to be ready at a moment's warning, to rush on board of the enemy, should an opportunity offer. It was now about a quarter to three o'clock in the afternoon, and as the privateer approached to board, three cheers were given by the crew ; when, the English schooner gave the Decatur a whole broadside, which killed two of her crew, and materially injured the sails and rigging.

In the mean time, the privateer kept up a brisk fire of musketry. The Englishman then kept away, to prevent being boarded, while the Decatur followed close under his stern, to avoid another broadside from him, and lose not a moment in boarding him.

In this manner the conflict was kept up, and another attempt made to board, but it was again repulsed. Capt. Diron then ordered the drum to beat for the boarders, and the crew cried out to let them board.

The Decatur's bowsprit was forced over the stern of the enemy, and her jib-boom pierced through the mainsail of the English schooner. It was now half-past three o'clock. While the fire of the musketry was being kept up by a portion of the privateer's crew, the rest rushed from the bow-sprit on board the Dominica. A terrible scene of slaughter and bloodshed then ensued; the men fought with swords, pistols, and small arms. In short, it

[graphic]

A Weingärtner's LithyNY BATTLE between the SCHOONER DECATUR and the SCHOONER DOMINICA,

on the 5th of August 1813

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