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Otsego Herald

June 27, 2013

HMS Shannon vs. USS Chesapeake

From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, June 26, 1813

Compiled, with comments

by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL

US Frigate Chesapeake Captured

Particulars of the Engagement between the Chesapeake and Shannon Frigates. Halifax [British Nova Scotia], June 9.

It is with pleasure we congratulate our readers on the capture of the American frigate Chesapeake, commanded by Captain Lawrence, by his magesty’s ship Shannon, Capt. Broke, which arrived here on Sunday the 6th inst after an action of eleven minutes....

[Capt. Broke hoped] that the Chesapeake frigate, finding the Shannon was cruising alone off Boston, would come out, and give her battle — nor were our tars disappointed — early in the morning of [June first] the Shannon stood in close to Boston lighthouse and observed the Chesapeake lying at anchor, with royal yards across, and apparently ready for sea.

The British colors were then hoisted on board the Shannon, and she hove to, near the land. At 9 a.m. the enemy’s frigate was observed to loosen her sails, and fire a gun; at half past twelve she weighed anchor, and stood out of the harbor, when the Shannon filled, and, under easy sail edged off the land, followed by the Chesapeake; at 4, shortened sail, at 5, hove to, with the topsails aback, for fear the enemy would not bring her to action before dark.

In 20 minutes after, the Chesapeake sheered within musket shot of the Shannon, still standing towards her in such a way as left our tars in uncertainty, which side of the ship she intended to engage.

At half past 5, however, she luffed up on the Shannon’s weather quarter, and on her foremast coming in a line with the Shannon’s miz[z]en, the latter fired her after gun, and her others successively, until the enemy came directly abreast, when the Chesapeake fired her whole broadside, which the Shannon immediately returned; and here broadside to broadside the action commenced.

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