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1815 Chase of the President 363

on the 15th, Sandy-Hook bearing west-north-west distant 15 leagues, the principal object of search to all the British captains made her appearance very near them.

Considering the chance of escape greater, by taking a separate departure with the ships of his squadron, Commodore Decatur, on the afternoon of the 14th, weighed and put to sea with the President and brig Macedonian, having left directions with Captain Warrington, to join him at the island of Tristan-d'Acunha, with the Peacock, Hornet, and Tom-Bowline. At 8 h. 30 m. p.m., owing partly to a mistake in the pilots and partly to the ship's increased draught of water from the quantity of stores on board of her, the President struck on the bar, and did not get off for an hour and a half. Having, besides some trifling damage to her rudder, shifted her ballast and got herself out of trim, the President would have put back, but the strong westerly wind prevented her. Accompanied by the brig, the American frigate now shaped her course along the shore of Long island for 50 miles, then steered south-east by south, until, at 5 a.m. on the 15th, she encountered the Majestic and her companions. Three of the ships appearing right ahead, the President hauled up, and passed about two miles to the northward of them ; and at daylight Commodore Decatur found himself, as he states, chased by four ships ; the Majestic about five miles astern, the Endymion a little further in the same direction, the Pomone six or eight miles on his larboard, and the Tenedos barely in sight on his starboard quarter. The Tenedos, indeed, having parted from her squadron the preceding evening, was taken for a second enemy's ship, and Captain Hayes ordered the Pomone, by signal, to bear. away in chase of her. Consequently the President, at first, was pursued by the Majestic and Endymion only.

These and the American frigate were soon under all sail, steering about east by north, with the wind now at north-west by north. At 6 h. 30 m. a.m. the Majestic fired three shot at the President, but, owing to the distance, without effect; nor, for the same reason probably, were they returned. Towards noon the wind decreased; and the Endymion, in consequence, began to leave the Majestic and gain upon the President. At 1 h. 15 m. p.m. the American frigate commenced lightening herself, by starting, her water, cutting away her anchors, throwing overboard provisions, spare spars, boats, and every article of the sort that could be got at : she also kept her sails constantly wet from the royals down. At 2 p.m. the President opened a fire from her stern guns ; which, at 2 h. 30 m., the Endymion returned with her bow-chasers. At 2 h. 39 m. p.m. a shot from the President came through the head of the larboard fore lower studding-sail, the foot of the mainsail, and the stern of the barge on the booms, and, perforating the quarterdeck, lodged on the main deck, without doing any other damage. Towards 5 p.m.,

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