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Otsego Herald

June 27, 2013

HMS Shannon vs. USS Chesapeake


In 5 minutes the Chesapeake fell along side the Shannon, & was boarded in her tops, as well as on her decks by our gallant countrymen, and in eleven minutes from the commencement of the action, her three ensigns were hauled down, and soon afterwards replaced with the English flag over them — her decks cleared of the dead, the wounded taken below, a great proportion of the prisoners removed out of her; and accompanied by the Shannon she was steering for this port.

COMMENT: In British and Canadian eyes (and this is, of course, a British report), the victory of the Shannon over the Chesapeake avenged the earlier ship-to-ship victories of the American frigate Constitution. The U.S. Captain James Lawrence (1781-1813) died in the engagement, after giving his famous (but in this case unheeded) admonition of “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” which was to become an American naval battle cry. British Captain Sir Philip Bowes Vere Broke (1776-1841), who was wounded, became an instant British hero and was created a Baronet and given a gold medal. A long ballad about the fight, “The Chesapeake and the Shannon” is still sung in Canada, beginning:

“The Chesapeake so bold, out of Boston we've been told, / Came to take the British frigate neat and handy-o, / All the people of the port, they came out to see the sport, / And the bands were playing Yankee Doodle dandy-o ...

“The British frigate's name, for which the purpose came, / Of cooling Yankee courage neat and handy-o, / Was the Shannon - Captain Broke, / All her crew were hearts of oak, \ And at fighting they’re allowed to be the dandy-o ...”

New Lawyer in Town

S. O. RUNYAN, Attorney & Counsellor at Law, has opened his office next door East of the dwelling of Dr. Russell, in the Village of Cooperstown. June 22, 1812.

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Otsego Herald
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