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chance of escape left, I deemed it my duty to surrender.
"It is with emotions of pride I bear testimony to the gallantry and steadiness of every officer and man I had the honor to command on this occasion; and I feel satisfied that the fact of their having beaten a force equal to themselves, in the presence and almost under the guns of so vastly superior a force, when, too, it was almost self-evident, that whatever their exertions might be, they must ultimately be captured, will be taken as evidence of what they would have performed, had the force opposed to them been in any degree equal."
The loss on board the President was twenty-five killed and sixty wounded; the Endymion's loss was only eleven killed and fourteen wounded. The President was carried to Bermuda, and subsequently sent to England, as a show. Decatur returned to New London, on the 21st of February, and, notwithstanding his misfortune, was received by his countrymen with warm and hearty admiration.
The Constitution, "Old Ironsides," Captain Stewart, sailed from Boston on the 17th of December, 1814. Having made some prizes, in the vicinity of Lisbon, Stewart discovered two ships, on the afternoon of February 20th, 1815. One of these bore up for the Constitution, but soon after changed her course to join hor consort. The Constitution gave chase to both, and at six, p. M., ranged ahead of the sternmost, brought her on the quarter and her consort on the bow, and opened a broadside. The fire was immediately returned; and exchanges of broadsides Vol. III.—35
continued until both ships were envelopped in smoke. When it cleared away, the Constitution finding herself abreast of the headmost ship, Captain Stewart ordered both sides to be manned, and dropped into his former position. The fight continued with great spirit, until the ship on the Constitution's stern fell off, entirely unmanageable. Captain Stewart pursued the former ship, and very soon reduced her so completely that she could not escape. Returning to the other ship, she fired a gun to leeward to signify her surrender; and on sending an officer on board, she proved to be the Cyane, thirty-four, Captain Falcon. Captain Stewart then proceeded in pursuit of the consort of the Cyane, which surrendered after brief resistance, having five feet water in her hold. She proved to be the Levant, eighteen, Captain Douglass. The loss in killed and wounded on the two vessels, was nearly eighty; the Constitution received but little injury, and had only three killed, and twelve wounded.*
Early in March, Captain Stewart carried his prizes into Porto Praya, in the Islaud of St. Jago; but, on the 11th, observing a British squadron off the harbor, and having no confidence in the security of a neutral port, he got under weigh, and succeeded in bringing
* With this terminated the exploits of the gallant Constitution, or "Old Ironsides," as she was familiarly termed in the navy. Always well commanded and officered, and manned with the very best of crews, she was emphatically a "lucky ship," and performed actions that will ever live in naval story. Mr. Cooper has written a full account of this noble vessel, as a separate' contribution to the History of the United States Navy.
EXPLOITS OF "OLD IKONSIDES."
the Cyane to the United States. The Levant was recaptured in the Portuguese harbor by the British frigates.
A few days after the capture of the President, the Hornet and the Peacock, who, as we have above stated, were destined to the Indian Ocean, contrived to get out of New York; and without being aware of the fate of Decatur's vessel, made directly for Tristan d'Acunha, the place of rendezvous, without havinsr heard that the war had terminated. On the morning of the 23d of March, when not far .to the west of the Cape of Good Hope, the Hornet met the Penguin, a British vessel of equal size and weight of metal, but a little inferior to her in the number of her crew; and after a furious conflict, in which the captain of the Penguin was slain while attempting to board the Hornet, gained a very complete victory, a third of the crew of the British vessel being killed or wounded, and the ship herself so much injured, that a day or two afterwards, she was scuttled by her captors.
Joining the Peacock, on the 25th of March, they remained at the place of rendezvous for some weeks, according to orders. About the middle of April, they sailed for the Indian seas, and on the 27th, were descried and chased by the Cornwallis, a British seventy-four. The Peacock, being a capital sailer, easily escaped; but the Hornet, having been followed for nearly two days, and receiving several shot, threw overboard every thing that could impede her sailing, and finally escaped with but one gun, and without boat, or anchor, or cable, or any part of her ship's burden
that could be cast into the sea. Having made his way to San Salvador, Captain Biddle heard there of the peace, and on the 30th of July, reached New York, and received the due meed of praise for his gallantry and admirable seamanship.
The Peacock continued her cruise, and on the 30th of June, fell in with the British East India Company's cruiser, Nautilus, fourteen. Captain Warrington, having no knowledge of the peace, exchanged broadsides with his adversary, when the Nautilus struck, having had six killed and eight wounded. The next day, the Nautilus was given up, the American captain being informed of the ratification of the treaty of peace, and learning that the period set for the termination of hostilities had passed. This is Mr. Cooper's account of the matter; but it is only fair to state, that English writers accuse Captain Warrington of insisting upon the flag of the Nautilus being hauled down, notwithstanding the British cornmandei assured him that peace had been made, and that when he was not gratified in this, he enforced obedience by a broadside.* However the exact truth may be in regard to the point in dispute, we may note, that this was the last instance
* Alison, who will not, by those who know bis work, be accused of any partiality for Americans, speaks of the close of the war in these terms: "Thus terminated at sea this memorable contest, in which the English, for the first time for a century and a half, met with equal antagonists on their own element: and in recounting which, the British historian, at a loss whether to admire most the devoted heroism of his own countrymen, or the gallant bearing of their antagonists, feels almost equally warmed in narrating either side of the strife."
of hostilities between ships of England and the United States.
It was in August, 1814, as we have related on a previous page, (p. 211,) that General Jackson concluded the treaty with the Creek Indians, and directly afterwards transferred his headquarters to Mobile. He had previously demanded of the governor of Pensacola the surrender of Francis and M'Queen, two Creek chiefs who had escaped into the Spanish territory; but had received an ambiguous and unsatisfactory reply from that functionary; Jackson, who was now in command of the seventh military district, and had about two thousand men under him at Mobile, determined to take prompt and effective measures in order to prevent the British availing themselves of Spanish help in their projects against the south.
Towards the close of the month, he received information by express, that three British vessels (the Hermes, Orpheus and Charon,) had arrived at Pensacola on the 25th, and disembarked on the following day a large quantity of arms, ammunition, munitions of war and provisions; and that between two and three hundred troops of the enemy had landed from the vessels, and marched into the Spanish fort. The express also brought information that thirteen sail of the line, with transports, having on board ten thousand troops, weie daily expected at that place. General Jackson immediately addressed a letter to the governor of Tennessee, requesting him, without delay, to organize, equip, and bring into the field, the whole of the quota of the militia
of that state, agreeably to the requisition of the war department of the preceding July, amounting to two thousand five hundred infantry. This request was promptly complied with; and in a short time the state's quota, and many volunteers from Tennessee and Kentucky, proceeded to put themselves under Jackson's immediate command. Several thousand men were thus got together, and with these the enemy were to be met and repulsed.
Notwithstanding the fact that negotiations were in progress for the restoration of peace, the British admiral was busily engaged in preparing to strike a heavy blow upon New Orleans, and by his directions, a system of petty marauding was kept up along the coast, and injuries of every kind inflicted upon the inhabitants and their possessions. Admiral Cochrane even issued a proclamation, in order to excite the slaves to insurrection, and promised them his aid and protection as "persons desirous . to emigrate from the United States."
In carrying out his plans, the enemy made an effort to enlist the services of that horde of smugglers and pirates on the Island of Barataria, who, under Lafitte, had rendered themselves notorious for acts of daring and cruelty But Lafitte spurned the offer of a captaincy in the British service, and refused to join the enemies of the United States in their purpose of inroad and destruction. Shortly afterwards, at the close of September, Commodore Patterson proceeded to Barataria with a sufficient force, and completely broko up the nest of pirates, captured a number of vessels, and nearly a thousand men, and dispersed the remainder.*
Disappointed in respect to the Baratarians, the British force at Pensacola determined to push forward an attack upon Mobile. It happened that a year or two before, there had been raised, at the end of a tongue of land in Mobile Bay, a redoubt, called Fort Bowyer, mounting twenty guns, and garrisoned by one hundred and sixty men. It had been erected with a view to ulterior operations, in the direction of Florida; but had been neglected as insufficient for either attack or defence. Jackson however, on assuming command of the seventh military district, discerned the use that might be made of this exposed station, to delay the advance of a hostile force against Mobile, which was only thirty miles off; and so, he placed the force above stated in it, under command of Major Lawrence.
On the 15th of September, a squadron of two sloops and two brigs appeared before Fort Bowyer; a body of soldiers, marines, and Indians, was landed to attack the fort in the rear, while the ships bombarded it from the bay. The men, we are told, composing the garrison, were not artillerists, and their means were extremely slender; nevertheless, they not only endured for three hours a bombardment from four ships of war, and a mortar battery on
* Two months later, when General Jackson was in want of men, the Baratarians, on a pledge of pardon, enlisted in the service of the United States, and rendered effective aid in the defence of New Orleans. On the 6th of February, 1815, the president proclaimed their full pardon.
shore, but returned it with such hearty good will, that the enemy was glad to escape with the loss of more than two hundred men, and one of his ships, which having its cable cut by a shot, drifted so close to the fort, that its crew were compelled to desert and burn it. The American loss was only four killed and five wounded; and the effect oi this successful defence against such great odds, was most excellent in nerving our countrymen to repel the enemy. Ingersoll, in a sentence which characterizes the iron-willed man of Tennessee, says, of this "campaign which began and ended at Fort Bowyer, General Jackson acted without specific, if indeed any, orders, sometimes almost against orders, performing exploits of warfare and civil administration, which paved his way to the presidency."
Discovering that the British had returned to Pensacola, on their retreat from Fort Bowyer, Jackson without any difficulty came to the conclusion, that he ought to occupy that place. He had already sent several urgent requests to the secretary of war, for permission to do so; and had at last received a reluctant consent. Accordingly, he advanced upon Pensacola with a force of about three thousand five hundred men, including some Choctaw Indians, and having reached it on the 6th of November, immediately sent a flag with a message to Manriquez, the Spanish governor. As the flag advanced, the fort opened its fire and compelled it to return. Encamping, therefore, for the night, and dis- lgJ4> covering that the place was defended by British, as well as Spanish sol
diers, Jackson determined to storm it on the next day. On the morrow, deceiving the Spaniards as to the quarter on which he meant to attack them, three thousand men, in three columns, were marched along the beach, so as to avoid the fire of the fort and the shipping. Approaching the town, the advance of the artillery being retarded by deep sand, the middle column was ordered to charge. It advanced briskly to the attack; entering the principal street, a battery of two guns opened its fire upon it; but it was immediately carried by the Americans at the point of the bayonet; and the governor directly afterwards surrendered the town and fort unconditionally. The British, as Jackson says, in his official letter, abandoned a fort at the Barancas, seven miles below Pensacola, on the night after his arrival: and on the day after he captured the town, blew it up.
After occupying Pensacola two days, perceiving that no more annoyance was to be expected from that direction, General Jackson restored the place to the Spaniards, and returned to Mobile. Thence he proceeded westward, to arrange measures for the defence of New Orleans, which seemed to be (as in fact it was) the point against which the attack of the British was next to be directed. "There," says Ingersoll . with one of his occasional poetic outbursts, "there, like the American eagle perched, surveying the vast expanse of sea and shore, forest, morass, rivers, and lakes, of an alluvial region, anxiously watching the approach of the British lion, a Tennessee warrior, who had hardly ever encountered a regular soldier, took
post." This was. early in December, and the commanding general entered upon his duties with a resolute energy admirably calculated to meet the critical dangers of his position.
There was m*re than enough to occupy all his care; for the indolence of Flournoy, and the removal of Wilkinson to the north, before his defensive preparations had been half completed, had left the capital city of the south entirely unprotected. The magazines were empty; there was a deficiency of munitions and stores, of clothing and ammunition, and all the requisites of defensive warfare. There were no funds and no credit. The banks paid no coin, of which the rich hoarded what they had. Committees of the legislature and self-constituted committees of safety differed in their projects. All business was at a stand; all confidence was nearly annihilated.
New Orleans itself seemed wholly unable, or disinclined, to take up arms against the threatened invasion. The peculiar character of its population, in part French, in part Spanish, in part Anglo-American, with a large number of slaves; its principal occupation, trade; its wealth, bringing, as inevitable consequences, in a warm climate, wide spread profligacy and luxury;— these things were altogether unfavorable to the existence of a spirit, which would contend to the death, pro aris etfocis, against an invading foe. Worse than all the hindrances arising from the motley population, with its various tongues, its indolence and cowardice; and from the divided counsels of its public officers, and the few of its private