Contents

Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>

10 Pages <<
1814 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 300

as a schooner, and commanded by Lieutenant Norfolk King, fell in with the American privateer schooner Perry, and, after a chase of 60 minutes, 10 of which they closely engaged, was captured. It is not known what loss was sustained on either side. The prize was carried into Wilmington, North-Carolina. The Ballahou's original armament consisted of four carronades, 12-pounders ; but, according to the American papers, two only were mounted, the remaining two having been placed in the hold on account of bad weather. Her complement, admitting all to have been on board, was 20 men and boys. In an American prize-list now lying before us, the Ballahou appears with 10 guns. The Perry mounted five guns, one, a long 18 or 24 pounder, upon a pivot, and had a complement of 80 men. The Landrail and Ballahou were each under 76 tons ; the Syren and Perry of at least 180 tons each.

After 15 or 16 precious months had been wasted in the experiment, the British government discovered that Admiral Sir John Warren was too old and infirm to carry on the war, as it ought to be carried on, against the Americans. Sir John was therefore recalled, and in the summer of 1814 Vice-admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane arrived at Bermuda to take the command on the coast of North-America. During the preceding winter the command of the British forces in the Chesapeake had been intrusted to Captain Robert Barrie, of the 74-gun ship Dragon. In the latter end of May Rear-admiral Cockburn in the 74-gun ship Albion (into which he had shifted his flag from the Sceptre), Captain Charles Bayne Hodgson Ross, arrived in the bay and relieved Captain Barrie. The first operation of any importance in the bay of Chesapeake, after Rear-admiral Cockburn's arrival, was an attack upon a strong American flotilla fitted out at Baltimore, and intrusted to the command of a brave officer of the revolutionary war, Commodore Joshua Barney, a native of Ireland. This flotilla consisted of the commodore's vessel, the Scorpion sloop, mounting eight carronades and a heavy long gun upon a traversing carriage, and 16 gun-boats, with one long gun in the bow and another in the stern, the largest of the vessels carrying 32-pounders and 60 men, and the smallest, 18-pounders and 40 men.

The first sight gained of this flotilla, by the British, was on the 1st of June, when it was proceeding from Baltimore, past the mouth of the river Patuxent, to " scour the bay. " The British vessels consisted of the St.-Lawrence schooner, of 13 guns, and 55 men, and the boats, in number seven, of the Albion and Dragon, under the command of Captain Barrie. The Americans had the honour of seeing this trifling force retreat before them to the Dragon, then at anchor off Smith's point. That ship got under way, and, with the schooner and the boats, proceeded in chase ; but the shallowness of the water shortly compelled the Dragon to reanchor. In the mean time the flotilla had run

^ back to top ^