A tragic accident
New York, Dec. 24. Extraordinary Accident. During the last week, a marine on board of one of the gun-boats at the Wall-about, having loaded a musket too deeply, was attempting to draw the charger, when an officer on board seized the musket, directed the musket over the side of the boat, and fired into the water, the ball glanced from the water, passed through a thick board fence, and through the body of a man who happened to be standing on the opposite side.
The man survived his wounds but a few minutes. The gun-boat was lying about 50 yards from the shore, and about 80 or 100 from the person who was accidentally killed.
COMMENT: Muskets were loaded through the barrel. President Jefferson had had built large numbers of small gun-boats to defend the major American harbors.
Navy Bill – On Wednesday the 23d ult. [December] the final question was taken in the House of Representatives of the U.S. on the bill from the Senate, for building four 74’s and six frigates, which passed ayes 76, nays 56. The House has also passed the bill from the Senate for remitting the merchants’ bonds, ayes 64, nays 61.
The Secretary of the navy has stated to Congress, that a 76 gun ship is equal to three frigates of 44 guns, but that the cost of her building and maintenance will only be about 50 per cent more than the cost and support of a frigate. – United State Gazette.
COMMENT: a “74” was a three-masted warship carrying 74 cannons. A frigate was a three-masted warship with only one deck for cannon under its topside deck. American frigates were generally larger and stronger than those of the British Navy, but the British had far more larger warships.
War in Florida
A letter from New Orleans, dated Nov. 30, states that the U.S.troops at that place had received orders to take possession of West Florida, as far as the Perdido.