down as the enemy's ship passed. But, either overlooking or waving this advantage, Captain Lawrence, at 5 h. 40 m., gallantly luffed up, within about 50 yards, upon the Shannon's starboard quarter, and, squaring his main yard, gave three cheers.
The Shannon's guns were loaded thus : the aftermost maindeck gun with two round shot and a keg containing 150 musket-balls, the next gun with one round and one double-headed shot, and so alternately along the broadside. The captain of the 14th gun, William Mindham, had been ordered to fire, the moment his gun would bear into the Chesapeake's second maindeck port from forward. At 5 h. 50 m. p.m. the Shannon's aftermost maindeck gun was fired, and the shot was seen to strike close to the port at which it had been aimed.* In a second or so the 13th gun was fired : then the Chesapeake's bow gun went off ; and then the remaining guns on the broadside of each ship as fast as they could be discharged.
At 5 h. 53 m. p.m., finding that, owing to the quantity of way in the Chesapeake and the calm she had produced in the Shannon's sails, he was ranging too far ahead; and, being desirous to preserve the weathergage in order to have an opportunity of crippling the Shannon by his dismantling shot, Captain Lawrence hauled up a little. † At 5 h. 56 m., having had her jib-sheet and fore topsail-tie shot away, and her helm, probably from the death of the men stationed at it, being for the moment unattended to, the Chesapeake came so sharp to the wind as completely to deaden her way ; and the ship lay, in consequence, with her stern and quarter exposed to her opponent's broadside. The shot from the Shannon's aftermost guns now took a diagonal direction along the decks of the Chesapeake; beating in her stern-ports, and sweeping the men from their quarters. The shot from the Shannon's foremost guns, at the same time, entering the Chesapeake's ports from the mainmast aft, did considerable execution. ‡ At 5.h. 58 m. an open cask of musket-cartridges, standing upon the Chesapeake's cabin-skylight for the use of the marines, caught fire and blew up, but did no injury whatever. Even the spanker-boom, directly in the way of the explosion, was barely singed.
As the Shannon had by this time fallen off a little, and the manoeuvres of the Chesapeake indicated an intention to haul away, Captain Broke ordered the helm to be put a-lee ; but, scarcely had the Shannon luffed up in obedience to her helm, than the Chesapeake was observed to have stern way, and to be paying round off . The Shannon immediately shifted her helm a-starboard, and shivered her mizen topsail, to keep off the wind again, and delay the boarding, probably until her guns had done a little more execution among a crew, supposed to be at least a
‡ Ibid. But in this position, the engraver has not copied the drawing quite so faithfully as he might have done.
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