From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, April 3, 1813
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
US Sloop HORNET Sinks HM Brig PEACOCK
Bristol Gazette, March 20, 1813. On the 19th inst. arrived at Holmes’ Hole, the United States sloop of war HORNET, of 16 guns, Captain [James] Lawrence, from a cruise. Off Surinam fell in with His Britannic Majesty’s brig PEACOCK, Captain [William] Peake, of 19 guns, which he sunk after 15 minutes close action. The following from the log-book, was handed us, which diffused a general joy amongst the friends of “FREE TRADE & SAILORS RIGHTS.”
“Thursday, Feb. 13, 1813. At half past three P.M. discovered a strange sail bearing down for us.
“-- at 4.20, she hoisted English colors.
“-- at 4.30, beat to quarters and cleared ship for action, and hauled close by the wind in order to get the weather gage of her.
“-- at 5.10, hoisted American colors, tacked and stood for the enemy.
“-- at 5.25, in passing each other exchanged broadsides within pistol shot. The enemy then wore and gave us their starboard broadside. Bore up close on her starboard quarter, and kept up such a heavy and well directed fire, that in less than 15 minutes she made the signal of submission, being cut to pieces. In 5 minutes after, her mast went by the board.
“Sent our first lieutenant on board. Returned with her first lieutenant, who reported her to be His Britannic Majesty’s brig peacock, mounting 19 guns, and 134 men, that her commander, Capt. Peake was killed in the action, a great number of her men were killed & wounded, and that she was sinking fast.
“Dispatched the boats immediately to take out the wounded & the rest of the prisoners, & brought both vessels to anchor, but notwithstanding every exertion was made to save the crew, she unfortunately sunk, carrying down 19 of her crew, and three of our brave fellows.