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out Missionaries to preach the gospel to the heathen but it is all over now." " Indeed !” answered the American captain, “ that is very good.” After pausing a few minutes, he said: “Captain, I'll not hurt a hair of your head, nor touch your vessel,” and immediately departed, leaving the owner to pursue his course to his destineri port."
DESPERATE BATTLE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES SHIP HORNET, CAPTAIN BIDDLE, AND
THE BRITISH SLOOP-OF-WAR PENGUIN-REMARKS ON THE BATTLE-CAPTURE OF THE BRIG LADY TROWBRIDGE BY THE PRIVATEER INO, OF BOSTON--LOSS OF THE INO OFF CHARLESTON BAR--CAPTURE OF THE SHIP MARY AND SUSAN, BY THE CHASSEUR-CAPTURE OF THE SHIP ADVENTURE BY THE SAME VESSEL SENT INTO CHARLESTON-EXTRACT FROM THE LOG-BOOK OF THE PRIVATEER MC. DONOUGH-INTERESTING CRUISE ON THE PRIVATEER YOUNG WASP-CAPTURE OF THE BRITISH SHIP ARABELLA, OF CALCUTTA, BY THE SHIP RAMBLER OF BOSTON--CAPTURE OF THE PACKET-SHIP ELIZABETH, AFTER A SHORT BATTLE, BY THE LETTER-OF-MARQUE JACOB JONES, OF BOSTON-CAPTURE OF THE PRIVATEER HYDER-ALI, IN THE EAST INDIES, BY THE BRITISH FRIGATE OWEN GLENDOWER-CAPTAIN BOYLE'S CRUISE IN THE BRITISH CHANNEL, IN THE PRIVATEER CHASSEUR-A LIST OF PRIZES MADE BY CAPTAIN BOYLE-CAPTAIN BOYLE'S BURLESQUE BLOCKADE-CAPTURE OF HIS BRITANNIC MAJESTY'S SCHOONER ST. LAWRENCE, BY CAPTAIN BOYLE, IN THE CHASSEUR-ARRIVAL OF CAPTAIN BOYLE AT BALTIMORE IN THE PRIVATEER CHASSEUR, AFTER A SUCCESSFUL CRUISE IN THE WEST INDIES—THE AUTHOR'S ADMIRATION OF CAPTAIN BOYLE AND HIS GALLANT EXPLOITS.
REMARKS ON THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES SHIP HORNET, J. BIDDLE, COMMANDER, AND THE BRITISH SLOOP-OF-WAR PENGUIN, CAPTAIN DICKENSON, ON THE 25TH OF MARCH, 1815, NEAR THE ISLAND OF TRISTAN D'ACUNHA.
I have selected this action from among many others, because I believed the two vessels as nearly equal, both in men and guns, as could possibly be chosen from the navies of their respective countries. Consequently, I think this action a very fair test between Young America and Old England, in point of seamanship, skill, and bravery. I consider this one of the fairest and best fought battles, on both sides, that occurred during the war.
In some of the other naval battles fought between single American and British ships, it so happened that the force of the American vessels was slightly superior in men and guns to the English ; but in this instance, I trust, the English will not raise that objection, but on the contrary, acknowledge it without a cavil, to have been a fair-fought action, and a decided victory in favor of the American ship.
These two sloops-of-war had, previous to their meeting, been wishing and seeking for an opportunity to distinguish themselves by gaining a decisive battle over the enemies of their respective countries, in an honorable combat on the broad ocean.
When the Penguin hove in sight, and the two belligerent parties understood the character of each other, their hearts beat high with hope for a glorious victory.
The Penguin bore up, and ran off a little, to get clear of the land. At the same time, the Hornet, being a little to leeward, backed her main-top-sail, and waited for her opponent to come down, that they might commence the action.
As the two ships neared each other, the Penguin hoisted English colors, and fired a gun, which said, as plain as a gun could speak, I am ready for the light.
Capt. Biddle set his colors, and here follows his official account of the action :
Hon. Secretary of the Navy .
SIR, - I have the honor to inform you, that on the morning of the 23d instant, at half-past ten o'clock when about to anchor off the north end of the Island of Tristan d'Acunha, a sail was seen to the southward and eastward, steering to the westward, the wind fresh from the S.S.W. In a few minutes she had passed on to the westward. so that we could not see her
for the land. I immediately made sail for the westward, and shortly after getting in sight of her again, perceived her to bear up before the wind. I hove-to for him to come down to us. When she had approached near, I filled the main-top-sail, and continued to yaw the ship, while she continued to come down, wearing occasionally to prevent her passing under our stern. At forty minutes past one P. M., being nearly within musket-shot distance, she hauled her wind on the starboard tack, hoisted English colors, and fired a gun. We immediately luffed-to, hoisted our ensign, and gave the enemy a broadside. The action being thus commenced a quick and well-directed fire was kept up from this ship, the enemy gradually drifting nearer to us, when at five minutes to 2 o'clock he bore up apparently to run us on board. As soon as I perceived he would certainly fall on board, I called the boarders, so as to be ready to repel the attempt. At the instant every officer and man repaired to the quarterdeck, where the two vessels were coming in contact, and eagerly pressed me to permit them to board the enemy; but this I would not permit, as it was evident, from the commencement of the action, that our fire was greatly superior both in quickness and in effect. The enemy's bowsprit came in between our main and mizzen rigging, on our starboard side, affording him an opportunity to board us, if such was his design, but no attempt was made. There was a considerable swell on, and as the sea lifted us ahead, the enemy's bowsprit carried away our mizen-shrouds, stern davits and spanker-boom, and he hung upon our larboard quarter. At this moment an officer, who was afterwards recognized to be Mr. McDonald, the first lieutenant, and the then commanding officer, called out that they had surrendered. I directed the marines and musketry-men to cease firing, and while on the taffrail asking if they had surrendered, I received a wound in the neck. The enemy just then got clear of us, and his fore-mast and bowsprit being both gone, and perceiving us wearing to give him a fresh broadside, he again called out that he had surrendered. It was with difficulty I could restrain my crew from firing into him again, as he had certainly fired into us after having surrendered. From the firing of the first gun, to the last time the enemy cried out he had surrendered, was exactly twenty-two minutes by the watch.
She proved to be his Britannic Majesty's brig Penguin, mounting 16 thirty-two-pound carronades, two long-twelves, a twelve-pound carronade on the top-gallant forecastle, with swivels on the capstan and in the tops. She had a spare port forward, so as to fight both her long guns of a side. She sailed from England in September. She was shorter upon deck than this ship, by two feet, but she had a greater length of keel, greater breadth of beam, thicker sides, and higher bulwarks than this ship, and was in all respects a remarkably fine vessel of her class. The enemy acknowledged a complement of 132 men, 12 of them supernumerary marines, from the Medway “74,” received on board in consequence of their being ordered to cruise for the American privateer Young Wasp. They acknowledge also a loss of 14 killed, and 28 wounded ; but Mr. Mayo, who was in charge of the prize, assures me that the number of killed was certainly greater. Among the killed is Capt. Dickenson, who fell at the close of the action, and the boatswain; among the wounded are the second lieutenant, purser, and two midshipmen. Each of the midshipmen lost a leg. We received on board in all, 118 prisoners, four of whom have since died of their wounds. Having