Friday, February 13, 2009

Battle Between The Chesapeake & Leopard 1807.

The United States frigate Chesapeake, was on a cruise in the Mediterranean sea, under the command of Commodore James Barron and sailed from Hampton Roads on the June 22, 1807, having on board a crew of more than three hundred and seventy men, and was completely equipped with every thing necessary for such a ship of war sailing on such a cruise. In proceeding to sea, from Hampton Roads, she passed a British squadron at anchor in Lynnhaven bay, in passing the British squadron was passing signals to each other. The British ship of war Leopard, of fifty guns, one of the squadron then at anchor within the limits of the United States, weighed immediately after getting a signal she took to the sea. Then at three o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, as the Chesapeake neared Cape Henry, which was then a bearing of northwest by west, the Leopard came up to the Chesapeake, backed the main topsail and spoke her; Commodore Barron, understood that the Leopards commander had communications for him and hove to.

A officer was accordingly sent from the Leopard to the Chesapeake, who, on his arrival, presented to Commodore Barron a note from the captain of the Leopard respecting some deserters from some of His Britannic Majesty’s ships, supposed to be serving as part of the crew of the Chesapeake. Commodore Barron sent his answer back stating he knew of no deserters on board his ship and had been ordered that no officer would be a allowed to search his ship. Shortly after the command of the Leopard received his answer, the Leopard came along side the Chesapeake and opened a heavy fire.

When the attack upon the Chesapeake commenced, some of her guns were not securely fitted in their carriages; some of her sponges and wads were too large; but few of her powder horns were filled; her matches were act primed; some of her rammers were not in their proper places; her marines were not supplied with cartridges enough, while those they had were not of the proper size, and she was otherwise unprepared for action. The Chesapeake made no resistance whatever, but remained under fire of the Leopard for twenty to thirty minutes, when, having suffered much damage in her hull, rigging and spars, and lost of three men and eighteen wounded, Commodore Barren ordered lair colors to be struck. Commodore Barron, immediately after striking his colors, he sent Lieutenant Smith on board the Leopard to inform her commander that he considered the Chesapeake her prize.

The commander of the Leopard sent an officer on board, who took possession of The Chesapeake and mustered her crew, and carrying off four of her men, who were: John Strahan, William Ware, Daniel Martin, and John Wilson, After the ship had been abandoned it was found the she had thee feet or water in her hole and on the advice of his officers, headed back to Hampton Roads. Those who were killed and wounded in the short battle are the following;

Killed. Joseph Arnold, Peter Shakely, and John Lawrence.

Wounded. Commodore Barron, Mr. Broom, John Hadden, Cotton Brown, Peter Ellison, John Parker, George Percival, Peter Summers, Wm. Hendrick, W. Macdonald, Francis Conhoven, Thomas Short, Wm. Moody, David Creighton, John Martyr, James Epps, Emanuel Hendrichs, John Wilson, Wm. Warren, and John Bates.

Note. This information was put together from a 24 page report on this battle and it’s aftermath those of you who whish to read the full report my have it upon request. My address can be found in my profile. Those of you who may have a question about the battle or the men of that battle, your questions are welcomed too.

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