ON THIS DATE IN 1813…The Capture of USS Chesapeake by the HMS Shannon…

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A depiction of the naval battle between Royal Navy frigate H.M.S. Shannon and the American frigate U.S.S. Chesapeake off the coast of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, in June 1813. – In Public Domain

In the original Patrick O’Brian Aubrey-Maturin series, many of the stories took place during the War of 1812 between the young nation of the United States and the British Empire. In the series, Jack Aubrey would have been involved, therefore he would have known of this:

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Capture of USS Chesapeake, or the Battle of Boston Harbor, was fought on 1 June 1813, between the Royal Navy’s frigate HMS Shannon and American frigate USS Chesapeake, as part of the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. The Chesapeake was captured in a brief but intense action in which over 80 men were killed. This was the only frigate action of the war in which there was no preponderance of force on either side.

At Boston, Captain James Lawrence took command of Chesapeake on 20 May 1813, and on 1 June, put to sea to meet the waiting HMS Shannon, the frigate whose written challenge had just missed Chesapeake‘s sailing. Chesapeake suffered early in the exchange of gunfire, having her wheel and fore topsail halyard shot away, rendering her unmanoeuvrable. Lawrence himself was mortally wounded and was carried below. The American crew struggled to carry out their captain’s last order, “Don’t give up the ship!“, but the British boarding party overwhelmed them. The battle was notably intense but of short duration, lasting ten to fifteen minutes, in which time 252 men were killed or wounded. Shannon‘s Captain Philip Broke was severely injured in fighting on the forecastle. Chesapeake and her crew were taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the sailors were imprisoned; the ship was repaired and taken into service by the Royal Navy. She was sold at Portsmouth, England in 1819 and broken up. Surviving timbers were used to build the nearby Chesapeake Mill in Wickham and can be seen and visited to this day. Shannon survived longer, being broken up in 1859.

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