Infomotions, Inc.Dewey and Other Naval Commanders / Ellis, Edward S. (Edward Sylvester), 1840-1916



Author: Ellis, Edward S. (Edward Sylvester), 1840-1916
Title: Dewey and Other Naval Commanders
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): decatur; captain; dewey; squadron; navy; lieutenant; jones; naval; bonhomme richard; guns; vessels; porter; american; crew; fort; captain carden; war
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Title: Dewey and Other Naval Commanders

Author: Edward S. Ellis

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[Illustration: ADMIRAL GEORGE DEWEY, U.S.N.]


DEWEY

AND OTHER

NAVAL COMMANDERS.


BY

EDWARD S. ELLIS, A.M.

Author of "A History of the World," "The People's Standard History
of the United States," "A History of the State of New York," "Deerfoot
Series," "Log Cabin Series," Etc.


NEW YORK

HURST & COMPANY

PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1899,

BY

JOHN HOVENDON.




CONTENTS.                                                       Page.

Introduction                                                       5

    CHAPTER I.

Admiral George Dewey--The Birth and Boyhood of
George Dewey.                                                      7


    CHAPTER II.

Dewey in the War for the Union.                                   17


    CHAPTER III.

Dewey in the War with Spain.                                      35


    CHAPTER IV.

The Revolutionary Battles--Birth of the American
Navy--The Privateers--Capture of New Providence, in
the Bahamas--Paul Jones--A Clever Exploit--A
Skilful Escape--Fine Seamanship--An Audacious
Scheme.                                                           52


    CHAPTER V.

A Daring Attempt by Captain Paul Jones--Why It
Failed--A Bold Scheme--Why It Did Not Succeed--The
Fight Between the _Ranger_ and _Drake_.                           63


    CHAPTER VI.

One of the Most Memorable Sea Fights Ever Known--The
Wonderful Exploit of Captain Paul Jones.                          71


    CHAPTER VII.

Our Naval War with France--The Tribute Paid to the
Barbary States by Christian Nations--War Declared
Against the United States by Tripoli--Bainbridge,
Decatur, Stewart, Dale and Preble.                                88


    CHAPTER VIII.

The First Serious Engagement--Loss of
the _Philadelphia_--The Scheme of Captain
Bainbridge--Exploit of Lieutenant Decatur.                        97


    CHAPTER IX.

Bombardment of Tripoli--Treacherous Act of a Turkish
Captain--A Quick Retribution at the Hands of Captain
Decatur.                                                         108


    CHAPTER X.

The Bomb Ketch--A Terrible Missile--Frightful
Catastrophe--Diplomacy in Place of War--Peace.                   114


    CHAPTER XI.

The War of 1812--Cause of the War of 1812--Discreditable
Work of the Land Forces--Brilliant Record of the
Navy--The _Constitution_--Captain Isaac Hull--Battle
Between the _Constitution_ and _Guerriere_--Winning
a Wager.                                                         122


    CHAPTER XII.

Jacob Jones--The _Wasp_ and the _Frolic_--James
Biddle--The _Hornet_ and the _Penguin_--A
Narrow Escape.                                                   133


    CHAPTER XIII.

Captains Carden and Decatur--Cruise of the
_Macedonian_--Battle with the Frigate _United
States_--Decatur's Chivalry.                                     142


    CHAPTER XIV.

Occasional American Defeats as Well as Victories--Captain
Decatur's Misfortune--The _Chesapeake_ and _Shannon_.            152


    CHAPTER XV.

David Porter--A Clever Feat--Numerous Captures by
the _Essex_--Her Remarkable Cruise in the Pacific--Her
Final Capture.                                                   167


CHAPTER XVI.

Oliver Hazard Perry--Prompt and Effective Work--"We Have
Met the Enemy and They Are Ours"--Death of Perry.                176


CHAPTER XVII.

A Hero of the Olden Days--Cruise of the
_Constitution_--Her Capture of the _Cyane_ and
_Levant_--Reminiscences
of Admiral Stewart--His Last Days.                               185


CHAPTER XVIII.

Captures Made After the Signing of the Treaty of
Peace--The Privateers--Exploit of the _General
Armstrong_--Its Far-Reaching Result.                             197


CHAPTER XIX.

Lesser Wars--Resentment of the Barbary States--The
War with Algiers--Captain Decatur's Vigorous
Course--His Astonishing Success as a Diplomat.                   206


CHAPTER XX.

Piracy in the West Indies--Its Cause--Means by Which
It Was Wiped Out--Piracy in the Mediterranean.                   216


CHAPTER XXI.

The Qualla Battoo Incident.                                      226


CHAPTER XXII.

Wilkes's Exploring Expedition.                                   236


CHAPTER XXIII.

The War for the Union--A New Era for the United
States Navy--Opening of the Great Civil War--John
Lorimer Worden--Battle Between the _Monitor_
and _Merrimac_--Death of Worden.                                 246


CHAPTER XXIV.

Two Worthy Sons--William D. Porter--The Career of
Admiral David Dixon Porter.                                      259


CHAPTER XXV.

Charles Stewart Boggs--His Coolness in the Presence
of Danger--His Desperate Fight Below New Orleans--His
Subsequent Services.                                             271


CHAPTER XXVI.

John Ancrum Winslow--His Early Life and
Training--The Famous Battle Between the _Kearsarge_
and _Alabama_.                                                   279


CHAPTER XXVII.

An Unexpected Preacher--Andrew Hull Foote--His
Character and Early Career--His Brilliant Services
in the War for the Union.                                        295


CHAPTER XXVIII.

A Man Devoid of Fear--William Barker Cushing--Some
of His Exploits--The Blowing Up of the
_Albemarle_--His Sad Death.                                      312


CHAPTER XXIX.

The Greatest of Naval Heroes--David Glasgow Farragut.            327


CHAPTER XXX.

The Spanish-American War--The Movement Against
Cuba--The Destruction of Cervera's Fleet--Admiral
Sampson--Admiral Schley--"Fighting Bob" Evans--Commodore
John C. Watson--Commodore John
W. Philip--Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright.              343



INTRODUCTION.


I purpose telling you in the following pages about the exploits of the
gallant men who composed the American Navy, beginning with the
Revolution and ending with the story of their wonderful deeds in our
late war with Spain. You can never read a more interesting story, nor
one that will make you feel prouder of your birthright. While our
patriot armies have done nobly, it is none the less true that we never
could have become one of the greatest nations in the world without the
help of our heroic navy. Our warships penetrated into all waters of the
globe, and made people, whether barbarous or civilized, respect and fear
the Stars and Stripes.

This is due in a great measure to the bravery of our naval heroes, who
did not fear to meet Great Britain, the "mistress of the seas," when her
navy outnumbered ours one hundred to one. England is now our best
friend, and no doubt will always remain so. Never again can there be war
between her and us, and it will not be strange that one of these days,
if either gets into trouble, the American and English soldiers will
"drink from the same canteen," which is another way of saying they will
fight side by side, as they did a short time ago in Samoa. All the
same, our brethren across the ocean are very willing to own that we
fought them right well. Indeed, they think all the more of us for having
done so. You know that one brave man always likes another who is as
brave as himself, just as Northerners and Southerners love each other,
and are all united under one flag, which one side defended and the other
fought against, through long years, terrible years from 1861 to 1865.

The decks of no ships have ever been trodden by braver men than our
American sailors. There are no more heroic deeds in all history than
those of Paul Jones, Porter, Hull, Decatur, Perry, Cushing, Farragut,
Worden, Dewey, Schley, Evans, Philip, Hobson and scores of others, who
have braved what seemed certain death for the glory of our flag. Many
gave up their lives in its defence, and their names form one of the
proudest and most cherished heritages that can descend to a grateful
country.

So, I repeat, I am sure you will be interested and instructed in
learning the story of the heroes who have done so much for us; and their
example cannot fail to inspire you with loftier heroism, greater
devotion, and deeper resolve to do all you can for our favored land,
which is the fairest that ever sun shone upon.

E.S.E.




ADMIRAL GEORGE DEWEY.


CHAPTER I.

THE BIRTH AND BOYHOOD OF GEORGE DEWEY.


The name of Vermont recalls the gallant "Green Mountain Boys," who
proved their sturdy patriotism not only in the Revolution, but before
those stormy days broke over the land. In the colonial times the section
was known as the "New Hampshire Grants," and was claimed by both New
York and New Hampshire, but Vermont refused to acknowledge the authority
of either, even after New York, in 1764, secured a decision in her favor
from King George, and set vigorously to work to compel the settlers to
pay a second time for their lands. The doughty pioneers would have none
of it, and roughly handled the New York officers sent thither. In 1777
Vermont formally declared her independence and adopted a State
constitution. Then, since the Revolution was on, Ethan Allen and the
rest of the "Green Mountain Boys" turned in and helped whip the
redcoats. That being done, Vermont again asserted her independence,
compelled New York to recognize it in 1789, and she was admitted to the
Union in 1791.

It was away back in 1633 that the first Englishman bearing the name of
Dewey arrived in Massachusetts with a number of other emigrants. They
settled in Dorchester, and in 1636 Thomas Dewey, as he was named,
removed to Windsor, Connecticut, where he died in 1648, leaving a widow
and five children. Following down the family line, we come to the birth
of Julius Yemans Dewey, August 22, 1801, at Berlin, Vermont. He studied
medicine, practiced his profession at Montpelier, the capital, and
became one of the most respected and widely known citizens of the State.
He was married three times, and by his first wife had three sons and one
daughter. The latter was Mary, and the sons were Charles, Edward, and
George, the last of whom became the famous Admiral of the American navy
and the hero of the late war between our country and Spain. He was born
in the old colonial house of Dr. Dewey, December 26, 1837.

George was a good specimen of the mischievous, high-spirited and
roystering youngster, who would go to any pains and run any risk for the
sake of the fun it afforded. This propensity was carried to such an
extent that the youth earned the name of being a "bad boy," and there is
no use of pretending he did not deserve the reputation. He gave his
parents and neighbors a good deal of anxiety, and Dr. Dewey, who knew
how to be stern as well as kind, was compelled more than once to
interpose his authority in a way that no lad is likely to forget.

Dr. Dewey was a man of deep religious convictions. In middle life he
gave up the practice of medicine and founded the National Life Insurance
Company, to whose interests he devoted his time and ability, and met
with a good degree of success. George was gifted by nature with rugged
health, high spirits and indomitable pluck and fearlessness. None could
surpass him in running, leaping, swimming and in boyish sports. He was
fond of fishing and of rough games, and as a fighter few of his years
could stand in front of him. In numerous athletic trials he was
invariably the victor, and it must be admitted that he loved fighting as
well as he liked playing ball or fishing. He gave and received hard
knocks, and even at that early age showed evidence of the combative,
aggressive courage that became so marked a feature of his manhood.

An incident is related by Z.K. Pangborn, the well known editor of New
Jersey, who took charge of the Montpelier school, in which George Dewey
was a pupil. The school was notorious for the roughness of a number of
its pupils, who had ousted more than one instructor and welcomed the
chance to tackle a new one. Master Dewey was the ringleader of these
young rebels, and chuckled with delight when the quiet-looking,
ordinary-sized teacher sauntered down the highway to begin his duties in
the schoolroom.

At the time of the gentleman's appearance George was sitting astride of
a big limb in a tree at the side of the road, his pockets bulging with
stones, which he was hurling with unpleasant accuracy at every one who
came within range. Several youngsters were howling from having served as
targets to the urchin up the tree, and as soon as Mr. Pangborn saw how
things were going he shouted to Dewey to stop his sport. The boy replied
by advising the teacher to go to the hottest region named in works on
theology, and, descending the tree, led several young scamps in an
attack upon the instructor. There was a lively brush, in which it cannot
be said that either party was the victor.

A drawn battle is always unsatisfactory to two armies, and George
determined to have it out in the schoolroom with the teacher, who,
expecting the struggle, had prepared for it and was as eager as the
boys for the fight. As before, Dewey was the leader in the attack on
the pedagogue, who was wiry, active, and strong. He swung his rawhide
with a vigor that made Dewey and the others dance, but they pluckily
kept up the assault, until the instructor seized a big stick, intended
to serve as fuel for the old-fashioned stove, and laid about him with an
energy that soon stretched the rebels on the floor.

Then how he belabored them! As fast as one attempted to climb to his
feet he was thumped back again by the club that continually whizzed
through the air, and if a boy tried to stay the storm by remaining
prone, the instructor thumped him none the less viciously. Indeed,
matters had got to that point that he enjoyed the fun and was loath to
let up, as he felt obliged to do, when the howling rebels slunk to their
seats, thoroughly cowed and conquered.

George Dewey was the most battered of the lot and made a sorry sight. In
fact, he was so bruised that his teacher thought it prudent to accompany
him to his home and explain to his father the particulars of the affray
in school. Mr. Pangborn gave a detailed history of the occurrence, to
which Dr. Dewey listened gravely. When he understood everything, he
showed his good sense by thanking the teacher for having administered
the punishment, asking him to repeat it whenever the conduct of his son
made it necessary.

This chastisement marked a turning point in the boy's career. He did a
good deal of serious thinking throughout the day, and saw and felt his
wrongdoing. He became an attentive, obedient pupil, and years after,
when grown to manhood, he warmly thanked Mr. Pangborn for having
punished him with such severity, frankly adding: "I believe if you
hadn't done so I should have ended my career in the penitentiary."

Dr. Dewey wished to give George a career in the army, and he sent him to
Norwich University, a military training school, in order to fit him for
the Military Academy at West Point. George's tastes, however, were for
the navy, and after much pleading with his father he brought him to his
way of thinking. The utmost that Dr. Dewey could do was to secure the
appointment of his son as alternate, who, as may be understood, secures
the appointment only in the event of the principal failing to pass the
entrance examination. In this case the principal would have passed
without trouble, and, to quote an ordinary expression, George Dewey
would have been "left," had not the mother of the other boy interposed
at the critical moment. Under no circumstances would she allow her son
to enter the navy. He was compelled to give up all ambition in that
direction and to take up the study of theology. At this writing he is a
popular preacher, who will always believe it was a most providential
thing for our country that turned him aside from blocking the entrance
of George Dewey to the Naval Academy at Annapolis.

Our hero entered the institution September 23, 1854. It did not take him
long to discover that the institution, like that at West Point, is
controlled by the most rigid discipline possible. No stricter rules can
be devised than those that prevail at the two institutions. I have heard
it said by a West Point graduate that a cadet cannot sit down and
breathe for twenty-four hours without violating some rule. The fact that
a few men do escape being "skinned"--that is, punished for derelictions
of duty--does not prove that they have not committed any indiscretions,
but that they have escaped detection.

Hard, however, as was the road for Dewey to travel, he never shrank or
turned aside, for he knew the same path had been traveled by all who had
gone before him, and he reasoned that what man had done man could do,
and he did it.

It will be noted that the future Admiral entered the Naval Academy at a
stirring period in the history of our country, over which the coming
Civil War already cast its awful shadow, and, as the months and years
passed, the shadow darkened and grew more portentous until the red
lightning rent the clouds apart and they rained blood and fire and woe
and death.

At the Annapolis Academy the lines between the cadets from the North and
the South were sharply drawn. They reflected the passions of their
sections, and, being young and impulsive, there were hot words and
fierce blows. As might be supposed, George Dewey was prominent in these
affrays, for it has been said of him that there was never a fight in his
neighborhood without his getting into the thickest of it.

One day a fiery Southerner called him a dough-face, whereupon Dewey let
go straight from the shoulder and his insulter turned a backward
somersault. Leaping to his feet, his face aflame with rage, he went at
the Green Mountain Boy, who coolly awaited his attack, and they
proceeded instantly to mix it up for some fifteen minutes in the most
lively manner conceivable. At the end of that time the Southerner was so
thoroughly trounced that he was unable to continue the fight.

It was not long before Dewey had a furious scrimmage with another
cadet, whom he soundly whipped. He challenged Dewey to a duel, and Dewey
instantly accepted the challenge. Seconds were chosen, weapons provided
and the ground paced off. By that time the friends of the two parties,
seeing that one of the young men, and possibly both, were certain to be
killed, interfered, and, appealing to the authorities of the
institution, the deadly meeting was prevented. These incidents attest
the personal daring of Admiral Dewey, of whom it has been said that he
never showed fear of any living man. Often during his stirring career
was the attempt made to frighten him, and few have been placed in so
many situations of peril and come out of them alive, but in none did he
ever display anything that could possibly be mistaken for timidity. He
was a brave man and a patriot in every fibre of his being.

A youth can be combative, personally brave and aggressive, and still be
a good student, as was proven by the graduation of Dewey, fifth in a
class of fourteen. As was the custom, he was ordered to a cruise before
his final examination. He was a cadet on the steam frigate _Wabash_,
which cruised in the Mediterranean squadron until 1859, when he returned
to Annapolis and, upon examination, took rank as the leader of his
class, proof that he had spent his time wisely while on what may be
called his trial cruise. He went to his old home in Montpelier, where he
was spending the days with his friends, when the country was startled
and electrified by the news that Fort Sumter had been fired on in
Charleston harbor and that civil war had begun. Dewey's patriotic blood
was at the boiling point, and one week later, having been commissioned
as lieutenant and assigned to the sloop of war _Mississippi_, he hurried
thither to help in defence of the Union.

The _Mississippi_ was a sidewheel steamer, carrying seventeen guns, and
was destined to a thrilling career in the stirring operations of the
West Gulf squadron, under the command of Captain David Glasgow Farragut,
the greatest naval hero produced by the Civil War, and without a
superior in all history.




CHAPTER II.

DEWEY IN THE WAR FOR THE UNION.


No one needs to be reminded that the War for the Union was the greatest
struggle of modern times. The task of bringing back to their allegiance
those who had risen against the authority of the National Government was
a gigantic one, and taxed the courage and resources of the country to
the utmost. In order to make the war effective, it was necessary to
enforce a rigorous blockade over three thousand miles of seacoast, open
the Mississippi river, and overcome the large and well-officered armies
in the field. The last was committed to the land forces, and it proved
an exhausting and wearying struggle.

Among the most important steps was the second--that of opening the
Mississippi, which being accomplished, the Southwest, from which the
Confederacy drew its immense supplies of cattle, would be cut off and a
serious blow struck against the armed rebellion.

The river was sealed from Vicksburg to the Gulf of Mexico. At the former
place extensive batteries had been erected and were defended by an army,
while the river below bristled with batteries and guns in charge of
brave men and skilful officers.

While General Grant undertook the task of reducing Vicksburg, Captain
Farragut assumed the herculean work of forcing his way up the
Mississippi and capturing New Orleans, the greatest commercial city in
the South. Knowing that such an attack was certain to be made, the
Confederates had neglected no precaution in the way of defence. Ninety
miles below the city, and twenty miles above its mouth, at the
Plaquemine Bend, were the forts of St. Philip and Jackson. The former,
on the left bank, had forty-two heavy guns, including two mortars and a
battery of four seacoast mortars, placed below the water battery. Fort
Jackson, besides its water battery, mounted sixty-two guns, while above
the forts were fourteen vessels, including the ironclad ram _Manassas_,
and a partially completed floating battery, armored with railroad iron
and called the _Louisiana_. New Orleans was defended by three thousand
volunteers, most of the troops formerly there having been sent to the
Confederate army in Tennessee.

The expedition against New Orleans was prepared with great care, and so
many months were occupied that the enemy had all the notice they could
ask in which to complete their preparations for its defence. The Union
expedition consisted of six sloops of war, sixteen gunboats, twenty
mortar schooners and five other vessels. The _Mississippi_, upon which
young Dewey was serving as a lieutenant, was under the command of
Melanethon Smith. The land troops numbered 15,000, and were in charge of
General Benjamin F. Butler, of Massachusetts.

Farragut arrived in February, 1862, nearly two months after the
beginning of preparations to force the river. When everything was in
readiness the fleet moved cautiously up stream, on April 18, and a
bombardment of Forts St. Philip and Jackson was opened, which lasted for
three days, without accomplishing anything decisive. Farragut had
carefully studied the situation, and, confident that the passage could
be made, determined it should be done, no matter at what cost. On the
night of the 23d his vessels were stripped of every rope and spar that
could be spared, the masts and rigging of the gunboats and mortar
vessels being trimmed with the limbs of trees, to conceal their identity
from the Confederate watchers.

At two o'clock in the morning the signal was hoisted on the _Hartford_,
Captain Farragut's flagship, and the fleet started in single line to run
the fearful gauntlet. The _Cayuga_ led, the _Pensacola_ followed, and
the _Mississippi_ was third. The rebels had huge bonfires burning on
both shores, and as the _Pensacola_ came opposite the forts they opened
their furious fire upon her.

A good deal of uneasiness prevailed in the Union fleet regarding the
rebel rams. It was known they were formidable monsters, which the
Confederates believed could smash and sink the whole Union squadron.
While it was known that much was to be feared from the forts, it was the
ironclads that formed the uncertain factor and magnified the real danger
in many men's minds.

The _Mississippi_ was hardly abreast of Fort St. Philip when the dreaded
_Manassas_ came plunging down the river out of the gloom at full speed,
and headed directly for the _Mississippi._ She was not seen until so
close that it was impossible to dodge her, and the ironclad struck the
steamer on the port side, close to the mizzenmast, firing a gun at the
same time. Fortunately the blow was a glancing one, though it opened a
rent seven feet long and four inches deep in the steamer, which, being
caught by the swift current on her starboard bow, was swept across to
the Fort Jackson side of the river, so close indeed that her gunners and
those in the fort exchanged curses and imprecations.

[Illustration: SHELLING FORTS PHILIP AND JACKSON.]

The passage of the forts by the Union vessels forms one of the most
thrilling pictures in the history of the Civil War. The _Hartford_, like
all the vessels, was subjected to a terrible fire, was assailed by the
Confederate ironclads, and more than once was in imminent danger of
being sent to the bottom. Following with the second division, Captain
Farragut did not reply to the fire of the forts for a quarter of an
hour. He hurled a broadside into St. Philip and was pushing through the
dense smoke when a fire-raft, with a tug pushing her along, plunged out
of the gloom toward the _Hartford's_ port quarter. She swerved to elude
this peril and ran aground close to St. Philip, which, recognizing her
three ensigns and flag officer's flag, opened a savage fire, but luckily
most of the shot passed too high.

There was no getting out of the way of the fire-raft, which, being
jammed against the flagship, sent the flames through the portholes and
up the oiled masts. The perfect discipline of the crew enabled them to
extinguish the fire before it could do much damage, and the _Hartford_
succeeded in backing into deep water and kept pounding Fort St. Philip
so long as she was in range.

Without attempting to describe the battle in detail, we will give our
attention to the _Mississippi_. Within an hour and a quarter of the
time the leading vessel passed the forts, all had reached a safe point
above, where they engaged in a furious fight with the Confederate
flotilla, the smaller members of which were soon disabled or sunk.

[Illustration: THE "HARTFORD"--FARRAGUT'S FLAGSHIP.]

Meanwhile the ironclad _Manassas_ had been prowling at the heels of the
Union squadron, but being discovered by the _Mississippi_, the steamer
opened on her with so destructive a fire that the ram ran ashore and the
crew scrambled over the bows and escaped. The _Mississippi_ continued
pounding her until she was completely wrecked. The loss of the Union
fleet was thirty-seven killed and one hundred and forty-seven wounded,
while the Confederate land forces had twelve killed and forty wounded.
The Confederate flotilla must have lost as many men as the Unionists.
Having safely passed all obstructions, Captain Farragut steamed up to
the river to New Orleans, and the city surrendered April 25, formal
possession being taken on May 1.

It will be admitted that Lieutenant Dewey had received his "baptism of
fire."

It is the testimony of every one who saw him during the turmoil of
battle that he conducted himself with the coolness and courage of a
veteran. At no time during the passage of the forts and the desperate
fighting with the Confederate flotilla above did he display the first
evidence of nervousness or lack of self-possession.

[Illustration: IRONCLADS ON THE MISSISSIPPI.]

The next engagement in which Lieutenant Dewey took part was the attempt
by Farragut to pass the battery of nineteen guns, mounted on the
hundred-foot high bluff of Port Hudson, on a bend of the Mississippi,
below Vicksburg. The position was the most difficult conceivable to
carry from the river, because of the plunging shots from the enormous
guns on the bluff above.

Captain Farragut had no thought of reducing these batteries, which would
have been impossible with a fleet double the strength of his, but he
wished to get his vessels past in order to blockade the river above the
bend. The attempt was made on the night of March 14, 1863, with the
_Hartford_ in the lead, and followed by the _Richmond_, _Monongahela_
and _Mississippi_, with the smaller boats. The first three boats had as
consorts the _Albatross_, _Kineo_ and _Genessee_. Captain Mahan, in "The
Gulf and Inland Waters," gives the following vivid description of this
historical incident:

"As they drew near the batteries, the lowest of which the _Hartford_ had
already passed, the enemy threw up rockets and opened their fire.
Prudence, and the fact of the best water being on the starboard hand,
led the ships to hug the east shore of the river, passing so close under
the Confederate guns that the speech of the gunners and troops could be
distinguished. Along the shore, at the foot of the bluffs, powerful
reflecting lamps, like those used on locomotives, had been placed to
show the ships to the enemy as they passed, and for the same purpose
large fires, already stacked on the opposite point, were lit. The fire
of the fleet and from the shore soon raised a smoke which made these
precautions useless, while it involved the ships in a danger greater
than any from the enemy's guns. Settling down upon the water in a still,
damp atmosphere, it soon hid everything from the eyes of the pilots. The
flagship leading had the advantage of pushing often ahead of her own
smoke; but those who followed ran into it and incurred a perplexity
which increased from van to rear. At the bend of the river the current
caught the _Hartford_ on her port bow, sweeping her around with her head
toward the batteries, and nearly on shore, her stern touching the ground
slightly; but by her own efforts and the assistance of the _Albatross_
she was backed clear. Then, the _Albatross_ backing and the _Hartford_
going ahead strong with the engine, her head was fairly pointed up the
stream, and she passed by without serious injury. Deceived possibly by
the report of the howitzers in her top, which were nearly on their own
level, the Confederates did not depress their guns sufficiently to hit
her as often as they did the ships that followed her. One killed and two
wounded is her report; and one marine fell overboard, his cries for help
being heard on board the other ships as they passed by, unable to save
him."

If the capture of the batteries was impossible, their passage was almost
equally so. The _Richmond_ was so badly injured that she was compelled
to turn down stream, having suffered a loss of three killed and fifteen
wounded, while the _Monongahela_ had six killed and twenty-one wounded
before she was able to wrench herself loose from where she had grounded
and drift out of range.

Now came the _Mississippi_, whose tragic fate is graphically told by
Admiral Porter in his "Naval History of the Civil War":

"The steamship _Mississippi_, Captain Melancthon Smith, followed in the
wake of the _Monongahela_, firing whenever her guns could be brought to
bear. At 11:30 o'clock she reached the turn which seemed to give our
vessels so much trouble, and Captain Smith was congratulating himself on
the prospect of soon catching up with the flag officer, when his ship
grounded and heeled over three streaks to port.

"The engines were instantly reversed and the port guns run in in order
to bring her on an even keel, while the fire from her starboard battery
was reopened on the forts. The engines were backed with all the steam
that could be put upon them, and the backing was continued for thirty
minutes, but without avail.

"It was now seen that it would be impossible to get the ship afloat.

"Captain Smith gave orders to spike the port battery and throw the guns
overboard, but it was not done, for the enemy's fire was becoming so
rapid and severe that the Captain deemed it judicious to abandon the
ship at once in order to save the lives of the men.

"While preparations were being made to destroy the ship, the sick and
wounded were lowered into boats and conveyed ashore, while the men at
the starboard battery continued to fight in splendid style, firing at
every flash of the enemy's guns. The small arms were thrown overboard,
and all possible damage was done to the engine and everything else that
might prove of use to the enemy.

"The ship was first set on fire in the forward storeroom, but three
shots came through below her water-line and put out the flames. She was
then set afire in four places aft, and when the flames were well under
way, so as to make her destruction certain, Captain Smith and his first
lieutenant (George Dewey) left the ship, all the officers and crew
having been landed before.

"The _Mississippi_ was soon ablaze fore and aft, and as she was now
relieved of a great deal of weight--by the removal of her crew and the
destruction of her upper works--she floated off the bank and drifted
down the river, much to the danger of the Union vessels below. But she
passed without doing them any injury, and at 5:30 o'clock blew up and
went to the bottom."

When the time came for the crew to save themselves as best they could,
all sprang overboard and struck out for shore. A little way from the
blazing steamer a poor sailor was struggling hard to save himself, but
one arm was palsied from a wound, and he must have drowned but for
Dewey, who swam powerfully to him, helped him to a floating piece of
wreckage and towed him safely to land.

The lieutenant was now transferred to one of the gunboats of Admiral
Farragut's squadron and engaged in patrol duty between Cairo and
Vicksburg.

[Illustration: GUNBOATS PASSING BEFORE VICKSBURG.]

The latter surrendered to General Grant July 4, 1863, and the river was
opened from its source to the Gulf. Early in 1864 the lieutenant was
made executive officer of the gunboat _Agawam_, and when attached to the
North Atlantic squadron, took part in the attack on Fort Fisher, one of
the strongest of forts, which, standing at the entrance of Cape Fear
river, was so efficient a protection to Wilmington that the city became
the chief port in the Confederacy for blockade runners. Indeed, its
blockade was a nullity, despite the most determined efforts of the Union
fleet to keep it closed. The Confederate cruisers advertised their
regular days for departure, and they ran upon schedule time, even women
and children taking passage upon the swift steamers with scarcely a fear
that they would not be able to steam in and out of the river whenever
the navigators of the craft chose to do so.

The first attempt against Fort Fisher was in the latter part of
December, 1864, but, though the fleet was numerous and powerful, and the
greatest gallantry was displayed, the attack was unsuccessful. General
Butler, in command of the land troops, after a careful examination of
the Confederate works, pronounced capture impossible and refused to
sacrifice his men in a useless attack. Nevertheless the attempt was
renewed January 12, when General Alfred Terry had charge of the land
forces. The garrison made one of the bravest defences of the whole war,
and the hand-to-hand fight was of the most furious character. It lasted
for five hours, when the fort was obliged to surrender, the garrison of
2,300 men becoming prisoners of war. It was in this fearful struggle
that Ensign "Bob" Evans, who was with the naval force that charged up
the unprotected beach, was so frightfully wounded that it was believed
he could not live. When the surgeon made ready to amputate his shattered
leg, Bob, who had secured possession of a loaded revolver, swore he
would shoot any man who touched the limb with such purpose. Perforce he
was left alone, and in due time fully recovered, though lamed for life.

Lieutenant Dewey was one of the most active of the young officers in the
attack on Fort Fisher, and conducted himself with so much bravery and
skill, executing one of the most difficult and dangerous movements in
the heat of the conflict, that he was highly complimented by his
superior officers.

But peace soon came, and a generation was to pass before his name was
again associated with naval exploits. In March, 1865, he was promoted to
the rank of lieutenant-commander and assigned to duty on the
_Kearsarge_, the vessel that acquired undying glory for sinking the
_Alabama_, off Cherbourg, France, during the previous July. Early in
1867 he was ordered home from the European station and assigned to duty
at the Kittery Navy Yard, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

While at this station he became acquainted with Miss Susan B. Goodwin,
daughter of the "war Governor" of New Hampshire. She was an accomplished
young woman, to whom the naval officer was married, October 24, 1867.
Their all too brief wedded life was ideally happy, but she died December
28, 1872, a few days after the birth of a son, named George Goodwin, in
honor of his grandfather.

From 1873 to 1876 Dewey was engaged in making surveys on the Pacific
coast; he commanded the _Juniata_ on the Asiatic squadron in 1882-83,
and the following year was made captain and placed in charge of the
_Dolphin_, one of the original "white squadron." Next came service in
Washington as Chief of the Bureau of Equipment and Recruiting, as member
of the Lighthouse Board and president of the Board of Inspection and
Survey (he being made commodore February 28, 1896), until 1897, when he
was placed in command of the Asiatic squadron, much against his will.




CHAPTER III.

DEWEY IN THE WAR WITH SPAIN.


While engaged with his duties in Washington, Commodore Dewey found his
close confinement to work had affected his health. Naturally strong and
rugged, accustomed to the ozone of the ocean and toned up by the variety
of the service, even in times of peace, the monotony of a continual
round of the same duties told upon him, and his physician advised him to
apply for sea service. He knew the counsel was wise and he made
application, which was granted.

Assistant Secretary of War Theodore Roosevelt, after a careful study of
the record of the different naval commanders, was convinced that George
Dewey deserved one of the most important commands at the disposal of the
Government. The impetuous official was certain that war with Spain was
at hand, and that one of the most effective blows against that tyrannous
power could be struck in the far East, where the group of islands known
as the Philippines constituted her most princely possessions.

The assignment, as has been stated, was not pleasing to Dewey, because
he and others believed the real hard fighting must take place in
European or Atlantic waters. We all know the uneasiness that prevailed
for weeks over the destination of the Spanish fleet under Admiral
Cervera. Dewey wanted to meet him and do some fighting that would recall
his services when a lieutenant in the Civil War, and he saw no chance of
securing the chance on the other side of the world, but Roosevelt was
persistent, and, against the wishes of the Naval Board, he obtained his
assignment as flag officer of the Asiatic squadron.

Commodore Dewey felt that the first duty of an officer is to obey, and
after a farewell dinner given by his friends at the Metropolitan Club in
Arlington, he hurriedly completed his preparations, and, starting for
Hong Kong, duly reached that port, where, on January 3, 1898, he hoisted
his flag on the _Olympia_.

The official records show that the _Olympia_ was ordered home, but
Roosevelt, in a confidential dispatch of February 25, directed Commodore
Dewey to remain, to prepare his squadron for offensive operations, and,
as soon as war broke out with Spain, to steam to the Philippines and hit
the enemy as hard as he knew how. Meanwhile ammunition and supplies were
hurried across the continent to San Francisco as fast as express trains
could carry them, and were sent thence by steamer to Hong Kong, where
they were eagerly received by the waiting Commodore.

Reverting to those stirring days, it will be recalled that the Queen
Regent of Spain declared war against the United States on April 24,
1898, to which we replied that war had begun three days earlier, when
the Madrid government dismissed our minister and handed him his
passports. Then followed, or rather were continued, the vigorous
preparations on the part of our authorities for the prosecution of the
war to a prompt and decisive end.

Commodore Dewey's squadron lay at anchor in the harbor of Hong Kong,
awaiting the momentous news from Washington. When it reached the
commander it was accompanied by an order to capture or destroy the
enemy's fleet at Manila. Almost at the same time Great Britain issued
her proclamation of neutrality, the terms of which compelled Dewey to
leave the British port of Hong Kong within twenty-four hours. He did so,
steaming to Mirs Bay, a Chinese port near at hand, where he completed
his preparations for battle, and on the 27th of April steamed out of the
harbor on his way to Manila.

The city of Manila, with a population numbering about a quarter of a
million, lies on the western side of Luzon, the principal island, with a
magnificent bay in front, extensive enough to permit all the navies of
the world to manoeuvre with plenty of elbow room. The entrance to the
immense bay is seven miles wide and contains two islands, Corregidor and
Caballo, both of which were powerfully fortified, the works containing a
number of modern guns. Torpedoes were stretched across the channel and
the bay abounded with enough mines and torpedoes, it would seem, to blow
any fleet of ironclads to atoms as soon as it dared to try to force an
entrance into the waters. Some twenty miles beyond lay the city of
Manila, and about ten miles to the south was Cavite, constituting the
strongly fortified part of the city proper.

Of course the Spanish spies were on the watch in Hong Kong, and while
the American squadron was steaming out of the bay the news was
telegraphed to the authorities at Manila, who knew that the real
destination of the enemy was that city. Every effort was made to keep
the matter a secret, but it was impossible, and it soon became known to
everybody that the American "pigs" were coming, and that Manila must
fall, if the Spanish fleet were unable to beat off the enemy.

The Spaniards proclaimed that they would send every one of the American
vessels to the bottom; but they had made similar boasts before, and
their bombast did not quiet the fears of the people, among whom a panic
quickly spread. Those who were able to do so gathered their valuables
and took refuge on the merchant ships in the harbor and thanked heaven
when they bore them away. Many others fled from the city, but the
majority stayed, grimly determined to be in at the death and accept
whatever fate was in store for them.

The distance between Hong Kong and Manila is 630 miles, and it needed
only a little figuring on the part of the inhabitants to decide that the
dreaded squadron would be due on the following Saturday evening or early
the next morning, which would be the first of May. The self-confidence
of Admiral Montojo and his officers was almost sublime. All they asked
was a fair chance at the "American pigs." They hoped that nothing would
occur to prevent the coming of the fleet, for the Spaniards would never
cease to mourn if the golden opportunity were allowed to slip from their
grasp. They were not disappointed in that respect.

It is proper to give at this point the respective strength of the
American and Spanish fleets. The squadron under the command of
Commodore Dewey was as follows:

_Olympia_--Protected cruiser (flagship), 5,500 tons. Speed, 21.7 knots.
Complement, 450. Armor, protected deck, 2 inches to 4-3/4 inches. Guns,
main battery, four 8-inch, ten 5-inch, rapid-fire; secondary battery,
rapid-fire, fourteen 6-pound, seven 1-pound, four Gatlings, one field
gun and five torpedo tubes. Captain Charles V. Gridley.

_Baltimore_--Protected cruiser, 4,400 tons. Speed, 20.1 knots.
Complement, 386. Armor, 2-1/2 inches to 4 inches. Guns, main battery,
four 8-inch, six 6-inch, slow-fire; secondary battery, rapid-fire, four
6-pound, two 3-pound, two 1-pound, four 37 MM. Hotchkiss, two Colts, one
field gun and five torpedo tubes. Captain N.M. Dyer.

_Raleigh_--Protected cruiser, 3,213 tons. Speed, 19 knots. Armor, 1 inch
to 2-1/2 inches. Guns, one 6-inch, rapid-fire, ten 5-inch; secondary
battery, eight 6-pounders, four 1-pounders, and two machine guns.
Complement, 320. Captain J.B. Coghlan.

_Boston_--Protected cruiser, 3,189 tons. Speed, 15.6 knots. Complement,
270. Armor, 1-1/2 inch deck. Guns, main battery, two 8-inch and six
6-inch rifles; secondary battery, rapid-fire, two 6-pounders and two
3-pounders. Captain F. Wildes.

_Petrel_--Fourth-rate cruiser, 890 tons. Speed, 13.7 knots. Guns, four
6-inch, two 3-pounder rapid-fire, one 1-pounder, and four machine guns.
Commander E.P. Wood.

_Concord_--Gunboat, 1,710 tons. Speed, 16.8 knots. Armor, 3/8-inch deck.
Guns, main battery, six 6-inch rifles. Commander Asa Walker.

_Hugh McCulloch_--Revenue cutter, light battery of rapid-fire guns.

_Zafiro_--Auxiliary cruiser: supply vessel.

The vessels under command of Admiral Montojo were the following:

_Reina Cristina_--Cruiser (flagship). Built in 1887, iron, 3,090 tons,
14 to 17.5 knots, according to draught, and a main battery of six
6.2-inch rifles.

_Castilla_--Cruiser, built in 1881, wood, 3,342 tons, 14 knots, and four
5.9-inch Krupps and two 4.7-inch Krupps in her main battery.

_Velasco_--Small cruiser, built in 1881, iron, 1,139 tons, and three
6-inch Armstrongs in her main battery.

_Don Juan de Austria_--Small cruiser, completed in 1887, iron, 1,152
tons, 13 to 14 knots, and four 4.7-inch rifles in her main battery.

_Don Antonio de Ulloa_--Small cruiser, iron, 1,152 tons. Four 4.7-inch
Hontoria guns; two 2.7-inch, two quick-firing; two 1.5-inch; five muzzle
loaders.

Gunboats _Paragua_, _Callao_, _Samar_, _Pampagna_, and _Arayat_, built
1881-6, steel, 137 tons, 10 knots, and each mounting two quick-firing
guns.

Gunboats _Mariveles_ and _Mindoro_, built in 1886 and 1885, iron, 142
tons, 10 knots, each mounting one 2.7-inch rifle and four machine guns.

Gunboat _Manileno_, built in 1887, wood, 142 tons, 9 knots, and mounting
three 3.5-inch rifles.

Gunboats _El Cano_ and _General Lezo_, built in 1885, iron, 528 tons, 10
to nearly 12 knots, and each mounting three 3.5-inch rifles.

Gunboat _Marquis Del Duero_, built in 1875, iron, 500 tons, 10 knots,
and mounting one 6.2-inch and two 4.7-inch rifles.

       *       *       *       *       *

Through the bright sunshine and when the stars twinkled in the sky or
the full moon rode overhead, the American ships steamed to the southeast
across the heaving China Sea. The Stars and Stripes fluttered in the
breeze and there was a feeling of expectancy on board the grim engines
of war, that had laid aside every possible encumbrance, and like
prize-fighters were stripped to the buff and eager for battle.

The run was a smooth one, and as the sun was sinking in the sky
Commodore Dewey, peering through his glass, caught the faint outlines of
Corregidor Island, and dimly beyond the flickering haze revealed the
Spanish fleet in the calm bay. The Commodore had been in that part of
the world before, and while waiting at Hong Kong had gathered all the
knowledge possible of the defences of Manila. He knew the fort was
powerfully fortified and the bay mined, and knowing all this, he
remembered the exclamation of his immortal instructor in the science of
war, the peerless Farragut, when he was driving his squadron into Mobile
Bay. Recalling that occurrence, Commodore Dewey joined in spirit in
repeating the words:

"D---- the torpedoes!"

It was still many miles to the entrance, and night closed in while the
squadron was ploughing through the sea that broke in tumbling foam at
the bows and spread far away in snowy wakes at the rear. All lights were
put out, the full moon again climbed the sky and the shadowy leviathans
plunged through the waters straight for the opening of the bay, guarded
by the fort and batteries, with the Spanish fleet beyond, defiantly
awaiting the coming of the American squadron.

Suddenly from Corregidor Island the darkness was lit up by a vivid
flash, a thunderous boom traveled across the bay, and the heavy shot
tore its way screaming over the _Raleigh_, quickly followed by a second,
which fell astern of the _Olympia_ and _Raleigh_. The Spaniards had
discovered the approach of the squadron. The _Raleigh_, _Concord_, and
_Boston_ replied; all the shots being fired with remarkable accuracy.

One may imagine the consternation in Manila when the boom of those guns
rolled in from the bay, for none could mistake its meaning. Women and
children ran to the churches and knelt in frenzied prayer; men dashed to
and fro, not knowing what to do, while the Spanish soldiers, who had not
believed the American ships could ever pass the harbor torpedoes and
mines, were in a wild panic when they learned that the seemingly
impossible had been done. To add to the terror, rumors spread that the
ferocious natives were gathering at the rear of the city to rush in and
plunder and kill.

When at last the morning light appeared in the sky, the Americans saw
tens of thousands of people crowded along the shore, gazing in terror
out on the bay where rode the hostile fleets, soon to close in deadly
battle. Commodore Dewey coolly scanned the hostile vessels, and grasping
the whole situation, as may be said, at a glance, led in the attack on
the enemy.

While approaching Cavite two mines exploded directly in front of the
_Olympia_. The roar was tremendous and the water was flung hundreds of
feet in the air. Without swerving an inch or halting, Dewey signalled to
the other vessels to pay no attention to the torpedoes, but to steam
straight ahead. It was virtually a repetition of the more emphatic
command of Farragut in Mobile Bay, uttered thirty-four years before.

The batteries on shore let fly at the ships, and the first reply was
made by Captain Coghlan of the _Raleigh_. The _Olympia_ had led the way
into the harbor, and she now headed for the centre of the Spanish fleet.
Calmly watching everything in his field of vision, and knowing when the
exact moment arrived for the beginning of the appalling work, Commodore
Dewey, cool, alert, attired in white duck uniform and a golf cap, turned
to Captain Gridley and said in his ordinary conversational tone:

"Gridley, you may fire when ready."

A series of sharp, crackling sounds followed, like exploding Chinese
crackers, and then the thunderous roars and a vast volume of smoke
rolled over the bay and enveloped the warships that were pouring their
deadly fire into the Spanish vessels. The American ships, in order to
disconcert the aim of the batteries of the enemy, moved slowly in their
terrible ellipses or loops, their sides spouting crimson flame and
answered by the shots of the Spaniards, who fought with a courage
deserving of all praise. The manoeuvring of the American ships led the
breathless swarms on shore to believe they were suffering defeat, and an
exultant telegram to that effect was cabled to Madrid, nearly ten
thousand miles away, where it caused a wild but short-lived rejoicing.

At half-past seven there was a lull. Commodore Dewey drew off to
replenish his magazines, of whose shortness of supply he had received
disturbing reports. Advantage was taken of the cessation to give the men
breakfast, for it is a well accepted principle that sailors as well as
soldiers fight best upon full stomachs. As the wind blew aside the dense
smoke, it was seen that the _Reina Cristina_, the Spanish flagship, was
in flames. Hardly two hours later the American squadron advanced again
to the attack, and Admiral Montojo was observed to transfer his flag
from the doomed _Reina Cristina_ to the _Isla de Cuba_, which soon after
was also ablaze. Amid the crash and roar of the ponderous guns sounded
the shrieks and cries of mortal agony from the Spanish crews, victims
to the matchless gunnery of the Americans.

[Illustration: THE "OLYMPIA" IN MANILA BAY.]

The latter pressed their advantage remorselessly. The _Don Juan de
Austria_ was the centre of the heaviest fire, and suddenly a part of the
deck flew upward in the air, carrying with it scores of dead and
wounded. A shot had exploded one of her magazines, and at the sight of
the awful results Admiral Montojo threw up his arms in despair. The crew
refused to leave the blazing ship, and cursing and praying they went
down with her. Then the _Castilla_ burst into one mass of roaring flame,
and the rest of the defeated fleet skurried down the long narrow isle
behind Cavite. Others dashed up a small creek, where they grounded, and
those that were left ran ashore. By half-past eleven the batteries of
Cavite were silenced, the Spanish fleet was destroyed, and the
victorious Americans broke into ringing cheers. The battle of Manila,
one of the most remarkable in naval annals, was won and Commodore Dewey
took rank among the greatest of all the heroes of the sea.

What a marvellous record! Of the Spaniards, the dead and wounded
numbered nearly a thousand, while not a single life had been lost by the
American squadron. Several were wounded, but none seriously. No such
victory between ironclads has thus far taken place in the history of
the world. In the face of mines, torpedoes and shore batteries,
Commodore Dewey had won an overwhelming and crushing victory. The power
of Spain in the Philippines was forever destroyed, and another glorious
victory had been added to the long list that illumines the story of the
American navy.

It was easy for Dewey to compel the surrender of Manila, but with the
prudence that always guides him, he decided that since his force was not
strong enough to occupy and hold the city, to await the arrival of
reinforcements from the United States. They reached Manila the following
August, and, under command of General Wesley Merritt and aided by the
fleet, Manila surrendered, almost at the same hour that the
representatives of Spain and our own officials in Washington signed the
protocol that marked the cessation of war between the two countries.

Now came long and trying weeks and months to Rear Admiral Dewey, he
having been promoted upon receipt of news of his great victory. Peerless
as was his conduct during offensive operations, it was surpassed in many
respects by his course throughout the exasperating period named. Germany
and France were unfriendly and Aguinaldo treacherous, though Great
Britain and Japan were ardent in their sympathy for the United States.
Germany especially was a constant cause of irritation to Admiral Dewey,
whose patience was often tried to the utmost verge. To his tact,
prudence, self-control, firmness, diplomacy and masterful wisdom were
due the fact that no complication with foreign powers occurred and that
the United States escaped a tremendous war, whose consequences no one
could foresee or calculate.

Everybody instinctively felt that Admiral Dewey was the real hero of our
war with Spain. The wish was general that he should return home in order
that his countrymen might have opportunity to show their appreciation of
him and to give him fitting honors.

And nothing could be more repugnant than all this to the naval hero, who
is as modest as he is brave. Besides, he felt that his work was by no
means finished in the far East, for, as has been shown, there was need
of delicate diplomacy, prudence and statesmanship. He asked to be
allowed to stay, and he did so, until, the main difficulty being passed,
and his health feeling the result of the tremendous strain that was
never relaxed, he finally set sail in the _Olympia_ for home, leaving
Hong Kong in May, and, one year after his great victory, proceeding at a
leisurely rate that did not bring him to his native shores until the
cool breezes of autumn. On the long voyage hither he was shown the
highest honors everywhere, and Washington or Lincoln could not have
received more grateful homage than was paid to him by his countrymen,
whom he had served so long, so faithfully and so well.

Meanwhile, it should be added, that the rank of full Admiral of the
navy, hitherto borne only by David Glasgow Farragut and David Dixon
Porter, was revived and bestowed, in February, 1899, upon George Dewey,
and of the three none has worn the exalted honor more worthily than the
Green Mountain Boy, who has proven himself the born gentleman and
fighter, the thorough patriot and statesman and the Chevalier Bayard of
the American navy.




THE REVOLUTIONARY BATTLES.




CHAPTER IV.


Birth of the American Navy--The Privateers--Capture of New Providence,
in the Bahamas--Paul Jones--A Clever Exploit--A Skilful Escape--Fine
Seamanship--An Audacious Scheme.



When, on April 19, 1775, the battle of Lexington opened the Revolution
the Colonies did not possess a single ship with which to form the
beginning of a navy. They had for many years been actively engaged in
the coasting trade and some of their vessels did valiant service on the
side of England in the wars against France and Spain. We had a good many
hardy, skilled seamen, who formed the best material from which to man a
navy, and before long Congress undertook the work of building one. That
body ordered the construction of thirteen frigates--one for each
State--and some of these did noble work, but by the close of the war few
of them were left; nearly all had been captured or destroyed.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.]

It was far different with the privateers, which were vessels fitted out
by private parties, under the authority of Congress, to cruise the seas
wherever they chose and capture English vessels wherever they could.
When a prize was taken the lucky officers and crews divided the plunder.
It was a very tempting field for the brave and enterprising Americans
and when, in March, 1776, Congress gave them permission to fit out and
sail privateers, they were quick to use the chance of securing prize
money as it was called. Those swift sailing vessels and their daring
crews sailed out of Salem, Cape Ann, Newburyport, Bristol and other
seacoast towns, and they did not have to hunt long before they found the
richest sort of prizes. In the single year 1776 these privateers
captured 342 British vessels and wrought great havoc among the English
shipping.

In January, 1778, one of these privateers entered the harbor of New
Providence, in the Bahamas, and captured the fort and a sixteen-gun
man-of-war. Many other valiant exploits were performed and before long
some of the more daring privateers boldly crossed the Atlantic and by
their deeds threw the coast of Great Britain into consternation.

Among the most remarkable of these naval heroes was a young Scotchman,
not quite thirty years old.

[Illustration]

He had been trained in the merchant service and had become a skilful
sailor before he removed to Virginia, where he made his home. He
devotedly loved his adopted country, and, when the war broke out between
the colonies and Great Britain, and the long, hard struggle for
independence began, he was among the very first to offer his services on
the side of liberty. His character was so well known and appreciated
that he was appointed a first lieutenant. I am sure you have all heard
of him, for his name was John Paul Jones, though since, for some reason
or other, he dropped his first name and is generally referred to simply
as Paul Jones.

His first service was on the _Alfred_, which helped in the capture of
the fort at New Providence, already spoken of. Jones with his own hands
hoisted the first flag displayed on an American man-of-war. It was of
yellow silk, with the device of a rattlesnake, and bore the motto,
"Don't tread on me."

Jones attracted such favorable attention during this enterprise that on
his return he was made commander of the twelve-ton brig _Providence_ and
was employed for a time in carrying troops from Rhode Island to New
York. Since he was by birth a citizen of Great Britain, which then
insisted that "once a British subject always a British subject," the
English cruisers made determined efforts to capture him. Many of the
officers declared that if they could lay hands on the audacious
freebooter, as they called him, they would hang him at the yard arm.
But, before doing so, they had to catch him, and that proved a harder
task than they suspected. He was chased many times and often fired into,
but the _Providence_ was always swift enough to show a clean pair of
heels to her pursuers and Jones himself was such a fine sailor that he
laughed at their efforts to take him prisoner.

One of the cleverest exploits of Jones was performed in the autumn of
1776. He saw an American brig returning from the West Indies, heavily
laden with supplies for Washington's army, which was badly in need of
them. A British frigate was in hot pursuit of the American, which was
straining every nerve to escape, but would not have been able to do so
except for Jones, who ran in between the two, and, firing into the
frigate, induced her to let the American go and chase him. Taking
advantage of the chance thus offered, the brig got safely away and then
Jones himself dodged away from the frigate, which thus lost both.

In the month of October, 1776, Jones was promoted to the rank of captain
and ordered to cruise between Boston and the Delaware. I must tell you
an anecdote which illustrates his wonderful seamanship.

Some weeks before he was made a captain, and while cruising off Bermuda,
he saw five sail far to the windward and he beat up, doing so carefully
and with the purpose of finding out whether there was a chance for him
to strike an effective blow. He picked out what looked like a large
merchant ship and gave chase. He gained fast, but to his dismay, when he
was quite close, he discovered that instead of a merchant ship he had
almost run into a twenty-eight gun frigate of the enemy.

Finding he had caught a Tartar, Jones did the only thing left to him. He
hauled off and put on every stitch of sail and the frigate did the same.
She proved the better sailer, and, though she gained slowly, it was
surely, and in the course of a few hours she had approached within
musket shot of the brig's lee quarter. There seemed no possible escape
for Jones, knowing which, he did a remarkable thing. He veered off until
the frigate was almost astern, when he put about dead before the wind,
with every yard of canvas set.

The Englishman was dumfounded by the daring manoeuvre, which brought
the American within pistol shot, for he did not fire a gun until Jones
was beyond reach of his grape. The pursuit was continued hour after
hour, but the brig was now at her best and finally left her pursuer
hopelessly astern. When the _Providence_ ran into Newport in October she
had captured or destroyed fifteen prizes.

Jones's bold and skilful seamanship drew attention to him and he was now
given command of the 24-gun ship _Alfred_, while Captain Hacker took
charge of the _Providence_. The two vessels started on a cruise in
company and some days later the _Alfred_ fell in with three British
vessels, and, after a brisk action, captured them all. One proved to be
a transport with 150 men and a large amount of supplies for Burgoyne's
army, which was at that time organizing in Montreal for its notable
campaign through New York, where it was captured by General Gates, at
Saratoga.

This transport was so valuable that Jones, instead of putting a prize
crew on board, determined to take her into port, and, if in danger of
capture from pursuit, he meant to sink her. It began snowing the
following night and the _Providence_ and _Alfred_ were obliged to
separate.

Jones was making for Boston when he was discovered by the frigate that
he had outwitted two months before, when the _Providence_ narrowly
escaped capture. Night was closing in and the frigate being to windward,
her outlines were indistinct. Captain Jones ordered his prizes to steer
southward and to pay no attention to the signals displayed on his own
vessel. At midnight he hoisted a toplight and tacked to the west,
knowing the others would continue to the southward as he had directed.
The strategem was successful, for at daylight the frigate was pressing
hard after the _Alfred_, while the prizes had disappeared. The _Alfred_
eluded her enemy as before, and, upon reaching Boston, Jones found his
captives awaiting him.

An idea of the effectiveness of the privateers may be gained by the
statement that during the year 1777 nearly 500 vessels were captured by
them. By that time Paul Jones had proven himself to be the finest
officer in the American Navy. He had every quality to make him such. No
one could surpass him in seamanship. He was cool and daring and was
animated by the highest patriotism for his adopted country. Such a man
was sure to be heard of again, as Great Britain learned to her cost.

France had shown a strong liking for the American colonies from the
first. No doubt this liking was influenced by her hatred of England, for
the nations had been bitter rivals for years. We had sent several
commissioners to Paris, and they did a good deal for our country. The
commissioners had a heavy, single-decked frigate built in Holland, which
was named the _South Carolinian_ and was intended for Paul Jones, but
some difficulties occurred and he was sent to sea in the 18-gun ship
_Ranger_, which left Portsmouth, N.H., at the beginning of November. She
was so poorly equipped that Jones complained, though he did not hesitate
on that account.

On the way to Nantes, in France, the _Ranger_ captured two prizes,
refitted at Brest, and in April, 1778, sailed for the British coast.
Having made several captures, Captain Jones headed for the Isle of Man,
his intention being to make a descent upon Whitehaven. A violent wind
that night baffled him, and, hoping to prevent his presence in the
section from being discovered, he kept his vessel disguised as a
merchantman. Sailing hither and thither, generally capturing all vessels
that he sighted, he finally turned across to the Irish coast and in the
latter part of the month was off Carrickfergus, where he learned from
some fishermen that the British sloop-of-war _Drake_ was at anchor in
the roads. Jones was exceedingly anxious to attack her, and planned a
night surprise, but again the violent wind interfered and he was forced
to give up the scheme, so well suited to his daring nature.

This brave man now set out to execute one of the most startling schemes
that can be imagined. Whitehaven at that time was a city of 50,000
inhabitants and the harbor was filled with shipping. His plan was to
sail in among the craft and burn them all. It seemed like the idea of a
man bereft of his senses, but there was not the slightest hesitation on
his part. Such enterprises often succeed through their very boldness,
and his belief was that by acting quickly he could accomplish his
purpose and strike a blow at England that would carry consternation to
the people and the government.

Captain Jones had in mind the many outrages committed by British vessels
along our seacoast, for, describing his purpose in a memorial to
Congress, he said his intention was, by one good fire in England of
British shipping, "to put an end to all burnings in America."




CHAPTER V.


A Daring Attempt by Captain Paul Jones--Why It Failed--A Bold
Scheme--Why It Did Not Succeed--The Fight Between the _Ranger_ and
_Drake_.



Paul Jones waited until midnight. Then, when no one was dreaming of
danger, his men silently pulled away from the _Ranger_ in two boats, one
commanded by himself and the other by Lieutenant Wallingford. It was a
long pull, and when they reached the outer pier of the harbor it was
beginning to grow light in the east. They now parted company, and Jones
directed his men to row for the south side of the harbor, while the
Lieutenant was to make for the north shore. The object of the two was
the same: the burning of the shipping.

Wallingford reached the north side, and then, strangely enough, gave up
the attempt, his reason being that the candle on which he counted to
start the fire was blown out. The reader must remember that in those
days matches were unknown and the task of relighting had to be done with
the steel, flint and tinder. Though the contrivance is an awkward one,
we cannot help thinking the excuse of the Lieutenant was weak, but the
result was a failure on his part to carry out the important work
assigned to him.

Captain Jones was a different kind of man. Although day had fully
dawned, he kept his men rowing rapidly. Reaching the south side of the
harbor, he came upon a small fort garrisoned by a few soldiers. Leaping
out of the boat, the American dashed forward, bounded over the walls and
captured the sentinels before they knew their danger. The guns were
spiked and the garrison made prisoners.

"Set fire to the shipping!" he commanded to his men, while he, with only
a single companion, ran for a second fort some distance away and spiked
the guns in that. Then he hurried back to the first fort and found to
his surprise that the fire had not been started.

"The candles have given out," was the reply to his angry inquiry.

It being broad daylight, his men expected him to jump into the boat and
order them to return with all haste to the ship; but, instead of doing
so, he darted into one of the nearest houses, procured some tinder and
candles and began himself the work of destruction. Fixing his attention
upon a large vessel, he climbed quickly aboard and started a fire in her
steerage. To help matters, he flung a barrel of tar over the flames and
in a few minutes they were roaring fiercely. It meant prodigious damage,
for the vessel was surrounded by more than a hundred others, none of
which could move, since they were aground and the tide was out.

As may be supposed, there was great excitement by that time. The alarm
had been given. Men were running to and fro, and a number hurried toward
the burning ship with the purpose of extinguishing the flames. All the
Americans had entered the small boat and were impatiently awaiting their
commander. Instead of joining them, Jones drew his pistol, and, standing
alone in front of the crowd, kept them back until the fire burst out of
the steerage and began running up the rigging. Backing slowly with drawn
pistol, he stepped into the boat and told his men to row with might and
main for the vessel.

The instant this was done the crowd rushed forward and by desperate
efforts succeeded in putting out the blaze before it had done much
damage. Then the forts attempted to fire on the Americans, but their
guns were spiked. Some cannon on the ships were discharged at the boats,
but their shots went wild. When the _Ranger_ was reached Captain Jones
made the discovery that one of his men was missing. The reason was
clear. He was a deserter and had been seen by his former comrades
running from house to house and giving the alarm. Such was the narrow
chance by which one of the most destructive conflagrations of British
shipping was averted.

As may be supposed, this daring act caused alarm throughout England.
Jones was denounced as a freebooter and pirate, and every effort was
made to capture him. Had his enemies succeeded, little mercy would have
been shown the dauntless hero.

England was very cruel to many of her American prisoners, and Captain
Jones fixed upon a bold and novel plan for compelling her to show more
mercy toward those unfortunate enough to fall into her power. It was to
capture some prominent nobleman and hold him as a hostage for the better
treatment of our countrymen. It must be remembered that Jones was
cruising near his birthplace and when a sailor boy had become familiar
with the Scottish and the English coasts. The _Ranger_ was a fast
vessel, and, as I have shown, Jones himself was a master of seamanship.
It would seem, therefore, that all he had to do was to be alert, and it
need not be said that he and his crew were vigilant at all times.

The Earl of Selkirk was a Scottish nobleman who had his country seat at
the mouth of the Dee, and Jones made up his mind that he was just the
man to serve for a hostage. At any rate, he could not be put to a
better use and certainly would not suspect the purpose of the American
vessel which, as night was closing in, anchored offshore. Indeed, no one
dreamed that the vessel was the terrible American "pirate," which had
thrown the whole country into terror.

Fortunately the night was dark and the men rowed to land without being
noticed. The task was an easy one, for there was no one to resist them.
They walked silently through the darkness to the fine grounds, and,
having surrounded the handsome building, the officer in charge of the
party presented himself at the door and made known his startling errand.
He was informed that the Earl was absent. A careful search revealed that
such was the fact, and all the trouble of the Americans went for naught.

It was a keen disappointment and the party decided to compensate
themselves so far as they could. The Earl was wealthy and the house
contained a great deal of valuable silver plate. A quantity of this was
carried to the _Ranger_.

Captain Jones was angered when he learned what had been done. He knew
the Earl and Lady Selkirk well and personally liked them both. The
singular scheme he had in mind was solely for the benefit of his adopted
countrymen.

"I am accused of being a pirate, robber and thief," he exclaimed, "and
you are doing all you can to justify the charges. Every ounce of plate
shall be returned."

He kept his word. The messengers who took back the silver carried a note
from Captain Jones apologizing to Lady Selkirk for the misconduct of his
men.

Now, if there was anything which Paul Jones loved it was to fight. It
was simply diversion for him to capture merchantmen or vessels that
could make only a weak resistance, and he longed to give the enemy a
taste of his mettle. It may be said that his situation grew more
dangerous with every hour. His presence was known and a score of
cruisers were hunting for him.

The British sloop of war _Drake_, which the gale prevented him from
attacking, was still at Carrickfergus, and Jones sailed thither in the
hope of inducing her to come out and fight him. Being uncertain of his
identity, the captain of the _Drake_ sent an officer in a boat to learn
the truth. Captain Jones suspected the errand and skilfully kept his
broadsides turned away until the officer, determined to know his
identity, went aboard. As soon as he stepped on deck he was made a
prisoner and sent below.

Captain Jones reasoned that the captain of the _Drake_ would miss his
officer after awhile and come out to learn what had become of him. He,
therefore, headed toward the North Channel, the _Drake_ following, with
the tide against her and the wind unfavorable until the mid-channel was
reached, when, to quote Maclay, Paul Jones "in plain view of three
kingdoms, hove to, ran up the flag of the new Republic and awaited the
enemy."

In reply to the demand of the _Drake's_ captain, Jones gave the name of
his vessel and expressed the pleasure it would give him to engage him in
battle. The American was astern of the _Drake_, and, to show his
earnestness, Captain Jones ordered his helm put up and let fly with a
broadside. The _Drake_ replied and then the battle was on. There was
little manoeuvring, the contest being what is known as a square
yardarm and yardarm fight.

The comparative strength of the two vessels was as follows: The _Ranger_
carried 18 guns and 123 men, the _Drake_ 20 guns and 160 men, a number
of the latter being volunteers for the fight, which lasted one hour and
four minutes, at the end of which time the _Ranger_ had lost two killed
and six wounded and the _Drake_ forty-two killed. The latter was so
badly damaged by the well directed fire of the American that the captain
called for quarter. Ceasing her firing, Captain Jones lowered a boat
and sent it to the _Drake_ to take possession.

As an evidence of the effect of the fire of the _Ranger_, the following
words may be quoted from Jones's official report: "Her fore and
maintopsail yards being cut away and down on the caps, the topgallant
yard and mizzen gaff both hanging up and down along the mast, the second
ensign which they had hoisted shot away and hanging on the quarter
gallery in the water, the jib shot away and hanging in the water, her
sails and rigging cut entirely to pieces, her masts and yards all
wounded and her hull very much galled."

The damages to the _Ranger_ were so slight they were repaired by the
close of the following day, when she got under sail with her prize.
Despite the swarm of cruisers that were hunting for him, Jones passed
unscathed through North Channel, along the western coast of Ireland and
arrived at Brest, in France, within a month of the day he left the port,
his cruise having been one of the most remarkable in naval history.




CHAPTER VI.


One of the Most Memorable Sea Fights Ever Known--The Wonderful Exploit
of Captain Paul Jones.



I have taken Paul Jones as the highest type of the infant American navy.
There were others who fought with great bravery and did much to aid in
the struggle for American independence, but none combined in such
perfection the qualities of perfect seamanship, cool but dauntless
courage and skill in fighting.

Of course, no matter how daring our cruisers, they did not always escape
disaster. At the close of the Revolution there had been twenty-four
vessels lost, carrying 470 guns. Several of these met their fate through
shipwreck. Contrast with this the loss of Great Britain, which was 102
war vessels, carrying in all 2,624 guns. The total vessels of all kinds
captured from the English by our cruisers and privateers was about 800.

Captain Jones had made so successful a cruise with the _Ranger_ that he
felt, upon returning to Brest, in France, he was entitled to a better
ship. He wrote to Benjamin Franklin, expressing himself plainly on that
point, and the American commissioner, after several months' delay, had a
ship of 40 guns placed under the command of Jones. Her original name was
the _Duras_, but at Jones's request it was changed to the _Bonhomme
Richard_. This was in compliment to Franklin, who was often called "Poor
Richard" by his admiring countrymen, because for many years he had
published "Poor Richard's Almanac," filled with wise and witty sayings.

This ship was an old Indiaman, in which 42 guns were placed, and the
final number of her crew was 304. The 32-gun frigate _Alliance_, Captain
Landais, was put under the orders of Captain Jones and a third, the
_Pallas_, was bought and armed with thirty guns. A merchant brig and a
cutter were also added to the squadron. It was found very hard to man
these vessels and any other captain than Jones would have given up the
task as an impossible one. It seemed as if about every known nation in
the world was represented and some of the men of the most desperate
character. Maclay says in his "History of the American Navy" that the
muster roll of the _Bonhomme Richard_ showed that the men hailed from
America, France, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland,
England, Spain, India, Norway, Portugal, Fayal and Malasia, while there
were seven Maltese and the knight of the ship's galley was from Africa.
The majority of the officers, however, were American.

[Illustration: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN.]

This squadron sailed from L'Orient on June 19, 1779. Almost immediately
trouble occurred. Captain Landais, without any show of reason, claimed
that the command, by right of seniority of commission, belonged to him.
On the first night out the _Alliance_ and _Bonhomme Richard_ collided
and were obliged to return to port for repairs. Vexatious delays
prevented the sailing of the squadron until August 14.

One of the consorts captured an English war vessel in the latter part of
June, but was compelled to abandon her on the appearance of a superior
force of the enemy, and the squadron put into L'Orient for repairs. A
piece of good fortune came to the _Bonhomme Richard_ while in this port.
About a hundred exchanged American prisoners volunteered and did a great
deal to improve the discipline and strengthen the crew of Jones's ship.

The valiant American, however, met with difficulties that were of the
most exasperating nature. A boat's crew deserted and spread the news of
the arrival of the squadron off the English coast. Captain Landais,
commander of the _Alliance_, refused to obey the signals of the
flagship, and conducted himself so outrageously that Jones more than
suspected his brain was askew. The _Bonhomme Richard_ was old and in bad
condition, but Jones told Benjamin Franklin in a letter that he meant to
do something with her that would induce his Government to provide him
with a better ship. He sailed almost completely around Great Britain,
during which he captured seventeen vessels, most of which were
destroyed though the more valuable were sent into port in charge of
prize crews.

This depletion of his crew so weakened it that Captain Jones wisely
refrained from remaining long in one place. Doubling Flamborough Head,
he came up with his companions, the _Pallas_ and the _Alliance_, the
latter having been out of his company for a fortnight.

This was on September 23, 1779. It was near noon, while the American
squadron was chasing a British brigantine and was approaching
Flamborough Head from the south, that a large sail was discovered,
rounding that promontory from the south. Another and another followed,
the astonished Americans counting them until the number had mounted up
to forty-two.

It was a startling sight, for if these vessels were ships of war nothing
could save the American squadron, or, if most of them were merchantmen,
under a strong escort, the peril of Captain Jones and his crews would be
almost as great. The commander studied the fleet through his glass,
allowing it to come closer and closer and holding himself ready to flee,
should it be necessary to do so. Finally, after a long scrutiny, Jones's
face lit up with exultation. There were only two vessels of war in the
fleet, and he immediately gave the signal for pursuit.

The _Serapis_, commanded by Captain Pearson, knew that he was confronted
by the redoubtable Paul Jones, and he welcomed a fight with him, for the
British captain was one of the bravest of men. He signalled for the
merchantmen to scatter, and they did so with the utmost haste, while the
frigate with her consort, the _Countess of Scarborough_, boldly advanced
to engage the American squadron.

It was at this critical moment that the captain of the _Alliance_ once
more showed his insubordination. He refused to obey Jones's signal to
fall to the rear of the _Bonhomme Richard_ and the _Pallas_ for a time
was equally disobedient. Soon, however, she changed her conduct and
gallantly advanced to engage the _Countess of Scarborough_. Captain
Landais, however, sullenly kept out of the battle, and, as we shall
presently learn, did even worse than that.

Captain Pearson, of the _Serapis_, waited until his convoy was beyond
danger, when he tacked inshore. Fearing he would get away, Jones ran in
between him and the land. It was now growing dark, and it was hard for
the American commander to follow the movements of his enemy. But the
latter was not fleeing, and, although dimly visible to each other, the
two antagonists began cautiously approaching, both on the alert for any
advantage that might present itself. Nothing but the rippling of water
made by the vessels broke the profound, expectant hush that rested upon
both.

Suddenly from the gloom came the voice of the captain of the _Serapis_:

"What ship is that?"

Jones wished to get nearer before opening fire and replied:

"I do not understand you; speak louder."

"What ship is that?" repeated the other in a louder voice through his
trumpet. "Answer or I shall fire into you."

Jones made no reply, knowing that it was useless, but continued to edge
near his antagonist. A minute later both ships discharged a broadside at
the same moment, the gloom being lit up by spouts of crimson flame,
while the thunder "shook the mighty deep" and the sulphurous smoke
rolled slowly upward and drifted through the rigging. Then again came a
minute or so of impressive stillness, while the crews of both looked
around to learn the results of the awful tempest of round shot, grape
and canister of which they had been the targets.

Sad work, indeed, had been done, for from each vessel rose the cries of
the wounded and dying--cries that inspired their companions to revenge
and caused them to hasten the reloading and firing of the cannon. But
unfortunately the _Bonhomme Richard_ suffered from her own guns as well
as from those of the enemy. On the lower gun deck was an improvised
battery of six 18-pounders, two of which burst, killing most of the men
at work there and tearing away the deck above them. The remainder of the
men refused to serve the other guns, and thus the _Bonhomme Richard_ was
deprived of the services of her heaviest battery, in addition to the
serious loss in dead and wounded.

Captain Jones forged ahead, crossing his enemy's bow, while the latter
came up on his port quarter. They were within a biscuit's toss of each
other, wrapped in dense smoke, lit up by the jets of flame which were
continuous. Mingled with the terrific booming was the spiteful rattle of
musketry from the tops and yells and cries of the wounded. The decks of
the _Bonhomme Richard_ were slippery with blood, which increased until
the men, as they ran to and fro, splashed in it, like children playing
in a mud puddle, and it was the same on the _Serapis_. It found its
outlet through the scuppers and crimsoned the deep blue of the ocean.

[Illustration: FIGHT BETWEEN "BONHOMME RICHARD" AND "SERAPIS."]

Some of the shots from the _Serapis_ pierced the _Bonhomme Richard_
under the water line, causing her to leak badly. Deprived of his
18-pound guns by reason of the accident mentioned, Jones was forced to
rely upon his 12-pounders. They were worked for all that was in them,
but the whole fourteen were silenced in little more than half an hour
and seven of the quarter deck and forecastle guns were dismounted. She
was left with three 9-pounders, which, being loaded and aimed under the
eye of Jones himself, did frightful execution on the deck of the enemy.

An hour had passed and the men were fighting furiously, when the full
moon appeared above the horizon and lit up the fearful scene. The
_Serapis_ attempted to cross the bow of the _Bonhomme Richard_, but
miscalculated and the _Bonhomme Richard_ shoved her bowsprit over the
other's stern. In the lull that followed, when each expected his
antagonist to board, Captain Pearson called out:

"Have you struck?"

"Struck!" shouted back Jones; "I am just beginning to fight!"

The _Serapis_ made another effort to get into position to rake the
American, but in the blinding smoke she ran her jibboom afoul of the
starboard mizzen shrouds of the _Bonhomme Richard_. Captain Jones
himself lashed the spar to the rigging, knowing that his only chance was
in fighting at close quarters, but the swaying of the ships broke them
apart. At that instant, however, the spare anchor of the _Serapis_
caught on the American's quarter and held the two vessels, as may be
said, locked in each other's arms.

They were so close, indeed, that the English gunners could not raise the
lower port lids, and they blew them off by firing their cannon through
them. The men on each ship in loading were forced to push their rammers
into the ports of the other vessel. The _Bonhomme Richard_ was set on
fire by burning wads, but the flames were speedily extinguished.

The explosion of the American's lower guns at the opening of the battle
had made her helpless against the corresponding battery of the enemy,
which pounded away until a huge, yawning gap was opened. Some of the
shots went clean through the battered hull and splashed into the water,
hundreds of feet distant. The disadvantage was more than offset by the
concentration of the Americans on the upper deck and in the rigging. The
fire of the _Bonhomme Richard_ became so terrible that every officer and
man of the enemy kept out of sight, observing which an American seaman
crawled out on the main yard, carrying a bucket of hand grenades which
he threw wherever he saw a man. He did this with such excellent aim that
he dropped one through the main hatchway and into the gunroom. It fell
into a heap of powder and produced an explosion that was awful beyond
description, for it killed and wounded thirty-eight men and really
decided the battle.

At that moment, when it all seemed over, Captain Landais fired a
broadside from the _Alliance_ into the _Bonhomme Richard_. Captain Jones
called to him in God's name to desist, but he circled about the two
ships and fired again and again into his ally, killing and wounding a
number of men and officers. It was believed that the _Alliance_ had been
captured by the enemy and had joined in the attack on the _Bonhomme
Richard_, which was so injured that she began slowly to sink. Having
wrought this irreparable damage, the _Alliance_ drew off and ceased her
murderous work.

Jones incited his prisoners to desperate pumping by the report that the
_Serapis_ must soon go down and that the only way to save themselves
from drowning was to keep the _Bonhomme_ afloat. An officer ran to the
quarter deck to haul down the colors, but they had been shot away. He
then hurried to the taffrail and shouted for quarter. Jones, being in
another part of the ship, did not hear him. The British commander
mustered his men to board the American, but they were driven back by the
firing from the rigging of the _Bonhomme Richard_. The condition of the
latter could not have been more desperate. She was so mangled that she
began to settle, most of her guns had been disabled, a fire that could
not be checked was already close to her magazine and several hundred
prisoners were stealing here and there, waiting for a chance to strike
from behind.

[Illustration: OLD-TIME BATTLESHIPS.]

A deserter had slipped on board of the _Serapis_ in the confusion and
acquainted the commander with the frightful plight of the American.
After firing with renewed ardor for several minutes Captain Pearson
again called to know whether Jones had surrendered. He shouted back a
defiant negative, and, pistol in hand, ordered his men to the guns,
threatening to kill the first one who refused. All knew his temper too
well to hesitate, and the battle was renewed with greater fury than
before. Captain Pearson could not believe the condition of the _Bonhomme
Richard_ as bad as was represented by the deserter. He had lost a great
many men, all his guns were silenced, and, being utterly unable to make
any further defence, he hauled down his flag with his own hands.

The surrender was just in time to save the _Bonhomme Richard_, which
was in danger of going down and blowing up. The united efforts of both
crews were necessary to extinguish the flames before they reached the
magazine. She was kept afloat through the night, while the wounded and
prisoners were transferred to the _Serapis_. Then the battered and
riddled old hulk plunged downward bow foremost into the depths of the
German Ocean.

[Illustration: MEDAL PRESENTED BY CONGRESS TO CAPTAIN JOHN PAUL JONES.]

This battle has never been surpassed in heroism. Both sides fought with
a bravery that has given the conflict a place by itself in naval
annals, and it will always stand as a proof of the dauntless courage of
the Anglo-Saxon beyond the reach of those of the Latin race. The
_Bonhomme Richard_ had 42 guns and the _Serapis_ 50; the American crew
numbered 304 and the English 320. The killed on each side was 49; the
wounded on the _Bonhomme Richard_ was 116 and on the _Serapis_ 117,
there being a difference of only one in the total of killed and wounded.
The battle lasted three hours and a half.

The _Countess of Scarborough_ made a gallant resistance for two hours,
when she was so crippled that she was compelled to surrender to the
Frenchman. An investigation into the treacherous conduct of Captain
Landais caused many to believe him insane, though others were convinced
that he was inspired by intense jealousy of Captain Jones. He was
discharged from both the French and American navy. Benjamin Franklin was
among those who believed he deserved punishment for his perfidy.

The _Serapis_ and _Countess of Scarborough_ were refitted and given to
France, while Captain Jones was placed in command of the _Alliance_. He
was loaded with honors in France, the king presenting him with a gold
sword, and when he sailed for the United States he gave another
exhibition of his superb seamanship by eluding the blockaders that were
waiting for him outside of Texel, running through the Straits of Dover
and then defiantly standing down the English Channel in full view of
more than one of the largest British fleets. He reached the United
States in June, 1780, without mishap.

Congress gave Captain Jones a vote of thanks, and, had the war
continued, no doubt he would have rendered more brilliant service for
the country he loved so well, but before he could be given a fitting
command hostilities ceased. He had won a world-wide reputation and
accepted the appointment of rear-admiral in the Russian navy, but gained
no opportunity to display his marvelous prowess. He died in Paris in
1792.




CHAPTER VII.


Our Naval War with France--The Tribute Paid to the Barbary States by
Christian Nations--War Declared Against the United States by
Tripoli--Bainbridge, Decatur, Stewart, Dale and Preble.



Now I suspect that if my young readers were asked to name the nations
with which, at one time or another we have been at war, they would not
be likely to include France in the list. All the same, we have had a war
with her, though it was confined to the ocean and there was no formal
declaration on either side.

A few years after the close of our Revolution one of the most appalling
uprisings in the history of the world took place in France. The kings
and nobility ground the people into the very dust until they were goaded
into revolt, which overturned the throne and was marked by atrocities
that shocked the world. Incredible as it may seem, there were a million
people put to death during the awful days of the Reign of Terror.

The mad rulers, not satisfied with deluging their own country with
blood, were at war with most of the neighboring nations. They seemed to
wish to array themselves against all mankind and began a system of
action toward us which soon became unbearable.

They seemed to think we could be scared into paying the rulers immense
sums of money for the privilege of being left alone. They encouraged
their naval officers to capture American vessels, and when we sent
commissioners to France to protest they were coolly told that outrages
upon our commerce would not be stopped until we paid the leaders several
hundred thousand dollars in the way of bribes. Then it was that one of
our commissioners made the memorable reply: "Millions for defence, but
not one cent for tribute."

Our representatives were driven out of France and the capture of our
vessels by French cruisers continued. So Congress met, cancelled all
treaties with France, formed an army, placed Washington, then an old
man, at the head, formed a new navy and told the men-of-war to go out
and give the insolent nation a lesson she very much needed.

And France got the lesson. The fighting on the ocean, beginning in 1798,
continued for two years and a half. The French cruisers succeeded in
capturing only one vessel from the American navy, while 84 armed French
ships, mostly privateers, mounting more than 500 guns, were captured by
our vessels. In February, 1801, a treaty of peace was signed with
France, which brought our troubles with her to an end.

Now, if you will examine your map of Africa, you will notice a group of
countries along the southern coast of the Mediterranean that are known
as the Barbary States. Their names are Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and
Tripoli. I remember when I was a boy how easy it was to learn the names
of the capitals of those countries, for each one was the same as the
country itself.

The people of the Barbary States are only half civilized or barbarous,
but they have always had a mighty high opinion of themselves, though it
can hardly be as high to-day as it was a hundred years ago. They looked
upon the "dogs of Christians" as heathen nations, only fitted to be
their slaves, and it must be admitted that it was quite natural they
should hold the leading maritime nations of Europe as well as ourselves
in contempt, for all deserved it.

The favorite business of those barbarians was playing pirate. Their
corsairs roamed up and down the Mediterranean, eagerly hunting for
Christian merchant vessels, that they might kill the crews and divide
the plunder among themselves. Sometimes, by way of variety, they would
throw their captives into dungeons and then notify the governments to
which they belonged that they would be set free upon the payment of a
large sum of money to their captors. If the government did not choose to
pay the ransom, why their captors would give themselves the pleasure of
putting the prisoners to death.

Now, it would have been an easy thing for any one of the Christian
nations interested to send a fleet into the Mediterranean, which,
speaking figuratively, would have wiped those miscreants off the face of
the earth; but such an enterprise would have cost a good deal of money,
so, instead of punishing the wretches as they deserved, the countries
paid them a yearly sum of money on their promise not to disturb vessels
when they ran across them.

So it was that, year after year, we sent a good round gift to those
barbarians. You know our Government is often slow in meeting its
obligations, and it happened now and then we were late in sending our
tribute to the swarthy rulers. When that occurred, the Dey, or Bashaw,
imposed a heavy fine to remind us of the expense of trifling with him.
We meekly bowed our heads, paid it, and tried to be more prompt
afterward. Then, too, the mighty ruler sometimes expressed a wish to
receive naval stores instead of money, and we were happy to oblige him.
Of course, he set his own valuation on what he received, which was
generally about one-half of what they cost our Government, but we made
no complaint.

It came about that the Dey of Tripoli got the idea into his head that we
were not paying him as much as we did his neighbors. In his impatience,
he decided to give us a lesson as badly needed as it was in the case of
France, to which I have alluded. So he declared war against the United
States. It would be interesting to know what ideas the Dey had of the
Republic on the other side of the Atlantic.

One good thing resulted from our flurry with France. A number of good
ships had been added to our navy. Better still, many young officers,
brave, skilful and glowing with patriotic ardor, were serving on those
ships. They eagerly welcomed the chance of winning glory. To them the
war with Tripoli offered the very opportunity for which they longed.

Among these was William Bainbridge, who was born in 1774 and died in
1833. He began life as a sailor at the age of fifteen, and was in
several engagements before he was appointed to the navy in 1798, during
our war with France.

Another was Stephen Decatur, born in Maryland in 1779 and killed in a
duel with Commodore Barron in 1820. His father was a gallant officer in
the Revolution, and his two sons were among the bravest officers who
ever trod the quarter deck. Both entered the service in 1798, and
Stephen is generally regarded as the best type of the young American
naval officer during the early years of the present century.

Still another was Charles Stewart, born in Philadelphia in 1778, and,
like those whom I have named, he entered the navy as lieutenant in 1798.
It will always be one of my pleasantest recollections that I was well
acquainted with Stewart, and spent many hours talking with him about the
stirring scenes in which he took part. He lived to be more than ninety
years of age, dying in 1869, and for a good many years occupied a modest
little home, just below Bordentown, New Jersey. When eighty-eight years
old he was as active as a man of half his years. I came upon him one
wintry day, when he was of that age, and found him in the barn,
shoveling corn into a hopper, of which a sturdy Irishman was turning the
crank. The old admiral kept his hired man busy and enjoyed his own work.
He was of small figure, always wore an old-fashioned blue swallow-tail
with brass buttons, took snuff, and would laugh and shake until his
weatherbeaten face was purple over some of his reminiscences of the
early days of the Republic.

Think of it! He remembered seeing Benedict Arnold burned in effigy in
Philadelphia in 1781; he recalled Paul Jones, and had drunk wine and
talked with Washington.

Stewart and Decatur were of about the same age, and attended the old
Academy in Philadelphia. They were bosom friends from boyhood. Stewart
told me that Decatur was a good student, but there was hardly a boy in
the school, anywhere near his own age, with whom he did not have a
fight. He would "rather fight than eat," but he was not a bully, and
never imposed upon any one younger or weaker than himself.

A great many of my talks with old Admiral Stewart related to the war
with Tripoli, which began in 1801 and lasted nearly four years. As you
will learn, Stewart had a great deal to do with that war, and most of
the incidents that follow were told to me by him, a fact which insures
their truthfulness and interest.

Among others to whom I shall refer was Commodore Richard Dale, who was
born in 1756, and died in 1826. He was older, as you will notice, than
the three whom I have mentioned. As to his bravery, it is enough to say
that he was first lieutenant on the _Bonhomme Richard_ during her
terrible fight under Paul Jones with the _Serapis_, and served with
that wonderful naval hero on the _Alliance_ and the _Ariel_. Had he not
been made of the right stuff he never could have held such a position
when a very young man.

[Illustration: COMMODORE EDWARD PREBLE.]

Another hero was Commodore Edward Preble, born in 1761 and died in 1807.
When only sixteen years old he joined a privateer, and at eighteen was
active in the attacks of the _Protector_ on the British privateer
_Admiral Duff_. He was on the _Winthrop_, and fought bravely in the
battle which resulted in the capture of a British armed brig. He was
commissioned lieutenant in 1798, and the year following commanded the
_Essex_.

From what I have told you, it will be seen that it was a gallant band
that our Government sent into the Mediterranean in 1801 to chastise the
barbarians and compel them to respect the Stars and Stripes.




CHAPTER VIII.

The First Serious Engagement--Loss of the Philadelphia--The Scheme of
Captain Bainbridge--Exploit of Lieutenant Decatur.


Andrew Sterrett was executive officer of the _Constellation_, which
captured the French frigate _L'Insurgente_, in 1799, and _La Vengeance_,
in 1800. It fell to his lot, while in command of the _Enterprise_, a
vessel of 12 guns, to have the first serious fight in the war with
Tripoli. When off Malta, he met a Tripolitan vessel of 14 guns, and they
fought furiously for two hours, at the end of which time the enemy
hauled down his flag. The Americans left their guns and broke into
cheers, whereupon the Tripolitan fired a broadside. Nothing loath,
Lieutenant Sterrett resumed the battle. The Tripolitans ran in close and
attempted to board, but were repulsed, and, under the fierce fire of the
_Enterprise_, they again hauled down their flag.

"I guess they mean it this time," remarked Lieutenant Sterrett, but the
words were hardly spoken when the enemy let fly with another broadside.

As may be supposed, this exhausted the patience of the American
commander. He ordered his men to their guns, and mentally resolved to
finish the job without fail. Circling round his antagonist, he raked her
from stem to stern, shot away the mizzen mast, made a sieve of the hull
and killed and wounded fifty men. He was still at it, when, through the
smoke, he caught sight of the swarthy captain, leaping up and down on
the deck, swinging his arms and shrieking in broken English that he had
surrendered. To show he was in earnest, he flung his colors overboard.

"Now throw your guns and powder after your flag," shouted Sterrett.

He was promptly obeyed; and, resolved to take no chances, Sterrett then
compelled him to cut away his masts, after which he was permitted to rig
a jury mast and a single sail.

"Now go home to your Dey," said his conqueror, "and give him my
compliments."

Not a man was killed on board the _Enterprise_, though, as has been
shown, the loss of the enemy was severe.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN WILLIAM BAINBRIDGE.]

The American squadron in that part of the world was increased, and a
number of engagements took place, with the advantage invariably on the
side of our countrymen. By the opening of 1803 there were nine of our
ships, carrying two hundred and fourteen guns, in the Mediterranean
waters. The fine frigate _Philadelphia_ captured a Moorish cruiser upon
which were found papers signed by the Governor of Tangier authorizing
the commander to destroy American commerce. Commodore Preble sailed into
the harbor and demanded an explanation of the emperor. He denied having
given any such authority to his subordinate, and in making his denial
undoubtedly told a falsehood. Nevertheless, he was so scared that he
signed anew the treaty of 1786, deprived the governor of his commission
and confiscated his estates.

Captain William Bainbridge was in command of the _Philadelphia_, and was
detailed to help in blockading Tripoli. His companion vessel was sent in
pursuit of a corsair, so that the _Philadelphia_ was left alone to
perform blockade duty. On the last day of October, 1803, Captain
Bainbridge observed a Tripolitan vessel trying to make port. He gave
chase, but the coast was dangerous, abounding with shoals and reefs,
with which the fugitive vessel was familiar, while Captain Bainbridge
had to keep sounding and regulating his speed in accordance with the
degree of danger.

In the midst of the pursuit, and while every precaution was taken, the
crew, to their dismay, heard a dull, grating sound, whose meaning they
well knew; the bow of the frigate rose six feet out of the water, and
the stoppage was so sudden that nearly every one was thrown off his
feet.

A hurried examination showed that the _Philadelphia_ was inextricably
fast, and could not be freed until the tide rose. Meanwhile the corsairs
would issue from the harbor near at hand, and, choosing their own
position, batter the frigate to pieces and kill or make prisoners of the
crew.

Every possible effort was made to release the ship, but she was too
firmly spiked on the jagged reef to be budged, and the dreaded peril
speedily appeared. The Tripolitans soon discovered the plight of the
American, and nine gunboats hurried out from the harbor. Fire was opened
on both sides, but neither was effective, the position of the frigate
preventing an effective aim. The sea drove her higher upon the rocks,
and she careened so much that all the guns became useless. The
Tripolitans, seeing her helplessness, now came closer and increased
their fire.

There was no help for Captain Bainbridge. Unable to deliver an effective
shot, the enemy could kill every one of his men. He therefore flooded
his magazine, blocked the pumps, bored holes through the bottom of the
ship in order to sink her if his enemies succeeded in releasing her,
and then struck his flag. Distrustful at first, though they ceased
firing, the Tripolitans finally came aboard, plundered the officers and
men of their personal property, and then took them--three hundred and
fifteen in all--to the city, where they were lodged in prison.

Some days later a powerful northerly wind partly lifted the
_Philadelphia_ off the rocks, and by united efforts her captors
succeeded in getting her into deep water. The holes in the bottom were
plugged, and the guns and anchors that had been thrown overboard in the
shallow water were easily recovered and replaced on the ship. Thus the
Bashaw secured a most valuable prize.

The disaster gave a serious aspect to the war, for it not only added
material strength to the enemy, but increased their courage and insured
a more determined resistance on their part. While the loss was a severe
one to the American navy, it was not difficult to replace it.

One day a letter reached Commodore Preble. Apparently it was nothing but
a blank sheet of paper, but knowing that lemon juice had been employed
for ink, the Commodore held it before a flame and brought out the
following, in the handwriting of Bainbridge:

"Charter a small merchant schooner, fill her with men and have her
commanded by fearless and determined officers. Let the vessel enter the
harbor at night with her men secreted below deck; steer her directly on
board the frigate, and then let the men and officers board, sword in
hand, and there is no doubt of their success. It will be necessary to
take several good rowboats in order to facilitate the retreat after the
enterprise has been accomplished. The frigate in her present condition
is a powerful auxiliary battery for the defence of the harbor. Though it
will be impossible to remove her from her anchorage and thus restore
this beautiful vessel to our navy, yet, as she may and no doubt will be
repaired, an important end will be gained by her destruction."

Captain Bainbridge had sent several similar letters to Preble, his good
friend, the Swedish consul, being the man who secured their delivery.
The plan suggested by Bainbridge was a good one, for, since it was
impossible to add the _Philadelphia_ to our navy, the next best thing
was to prevent her remaining with that of Tripoli. It may as well be
stated here that the court martial which investigated the particulars of
the loss of the _Philadelphia_ acquitted Captain Bainbridge of all blame
and declared that he had done everything possible under the
circumstances.

Fortunately, the American squadron succeeded about this time in
capturing a Tripolitan gunboat, which would serve admirably to disguise
the purpose of the Americans. Preble then told Lieutenant Decatur of the
suggestion made by Bainbridge. No sooner was the young lieutenant
acquainted with the plan than he volunteered to lead in the perilous
enterprise. Nothing could have suited the daring fellow better.

Lieutenant Charles Stewart, who arrived a short time before in the
_Siren_, not knowing of the scheme that had been formed, proposed with
the _Siren's_ men to cut out the _Philadelphia_. Preble informed him the
honor had been given to Decatur. Stewart was disappointed, but expressed
his honest pleasure that the management of the affair was entrusted to
such worthy hands.

"He is the best man that could have been selected," he said heartily,
"and there isn't a shadow of doubt that he will succeed."

Every one in the fleet was eager to volunteer, but Decatur selected
sixty-two men, to which were added six officers from the _Enterprise_
and six from the _Constitution_, with a native pilot. Knowing the daring
nature of Decatur, he was given strict orders not to attempt to cut out
the _Philadelphia_, but to destroy her.

Late in the day, February 9, 1804, the ketch left Syracuse for Tripoli,
accompanied by the _Siren_, Lieutenant Stewart, to cover the retreat.
The weather became so bad that the attempt had to be postponed, since
the ketch was sure to be dashed to pieces on the rocks. The impatient
crew was compelled to withdraw and wait for a week before the weather
moderated. On the 15th, everything being favorable, the crew of the
ketch bade good-by to their friends and set out on their perilous
mission.

The night was clear and starlit, and at nine o'clock the ketch was in
full view of the city and its twinkling lights, with the dark shores
crowded with batteries, while far ahead, under the guns of the Bashaw's
castle, lay the _Philadelphia_. The wind fell and the little craft crept
slowly through the water, seemingly into the very jaws of death, until
the outlines of the silent frigate loomed to sight through the gloom.
Following Decatur's guarded orders, the men lay flat on the deck, all
concealing themselves as best they could, while five or six, dressed as
Maltese sailors, lounged about in plain sight.

The quartermaster at the wheel, obeying the directions of Decatur,
steered so as to foul the _Philadelphia_, from which there suddenly came
a hail. Lieutenant Decatur whispered to the pilot to say they had just
arrived from Malta, and, having lost their anchor, wished to make fast
to the _Philadelphia's_ cables until another could be got from shore. A
brief conversation followed, during which the ketch edged closer, but
the Tripolitans soon discovered the men in the stargleam, and the alarm
was sounded; but with great coolness and haste the ketch was worked into
position and Decatur gave the order to board.

The eager Americans, with cutlass and boarding pike in hand, dashed
through the gun ports and over the bulwarks. In a twinkling the quarter
deck was cleared and all the Tripolitans on the forecastle were rushed
overboard. The noise brought up a number of Turks from below, but the
moment they saw what was going on they either leaped into the sea or hid
themselves in the hold. They were pursued, and within ten minutes the
frigate was captured, without a shot having been fired or an outcry
made.

An abundance of combustibles had been brought, and they were now
distributed and fired so effectively that nothing could save the fine
vessel. Then the Americans scrambled back to the ketch, Lieutenant
Decatur being the last to leave the doomed frigate, from which the
dazzling glare lit up the harbor and revealed the smaller boat straining
to get away. The batteries on shore opened fire, but, in their
excitement, they aimed wildly, and no harm was done. Every American
safely reached the _Siren_, waiting anxiously outside. The two made sail
for Syracuse, where Captain Preble was vastly relieved to hear the news.
The ketch was renamed the _Intrepid_, and Decatur, for his daring
exploit, was promoted to the rank of captain and presented with a sword
by Congress.

The _Philadelphia_ was totally destroyed, and its remains still lie at
the bottom of the harbor of Tripoli. In referring to this exploit, the
great English naval commander, Lord Nelson, said it was "the most bold
and daring act of the age."




CHAPTER IX.

Bombardment of Tripoli--Treacherous Act of a Turkish Captain--A Quick
Retribution at the Hands of Captain Decatur.


The Bashaw of Tripoli was not yet subdued. He treated his American
prisoners with greater harshness and refused to believe their nation was
strong enough to bring him to terms.

On August 3, Commodore (as the senior officer of every squadron was then
called) Preble sailed into the harbor of Tripoli with his fleet and
opened the bombardment of the city. At the same time, several of his
gunboats engaged those of the enemy. Lieutenant James Decatur, brother
of Stephen, made chase of a Tripolitan vessel, reserving his fire until
the two almost touched, when he poured in such a destructive discharge
of musketry and grape that the terrified enemy surrendered. Lieutenant
Decatur sprang aboard of his prize, when, at that instant, the Turkish
commander, a man of massive strength and build, fired his pistol in the
American officer's face and killed him. In the confusion caused by this
treacherous act the enemy's boat got away and started for the city.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN STEPHEN DECATUR.]

Meanwhile, Captain Decatur had been doing characteristic work. With
three gunboats he attacked a force three times as numerous as his own.
Impetuously boarding the first craft, after a discharge from his long
boat, he engaged the numerous crew in a furious hand-to-hand struggle,
in which all were made prisoners or forced to leap into the sea to save
themselves. Then Decatur began towing away his prize, when he was told
of the murder of his brother.

The grief-stricken and enraged captain instantly cast his prize adrift
and started after the "unspeakable Turk." The boat was easily
recognized, and, delivering a destructive fire, the pursuer ran
alongside and the Americans rushed aboard, with Decatur in the lead. The
enormous size and gorgeous uniform of the Turkish captain made him so
conspicuous that Decatur knew him at once, and, rushing forward, lunged
at him with his boarding pike. The Turk must have felt contempt for the
American who dared thus to assail him, for his assailant was but a boy
in size compared to him. He speedily proved his physical superiority
over Decatur, for he not only parried the lunge of the pike, but
wrenched it from his hand. He in turn drove his pike at Decatur's
breast, but his blow was also parried, though its violence broke off the
American's sword at the hilt. The active Turk came again, and his
second blow was only partly turned aside, the point of the pike tearing
through Decatur's coat and inflicting a bad wound in his chest.

Before the Turk could strike a third time, Decatur ran in, and the two
instantly engaged in a fierce wrestling bout. The American was the most
skilful, but by sheer strength his enormous antagonist threw him to the
deck, and, gripping him by the throat with one hand, he reached down to
draw a small curved knife, known as a yataghan. It was behind the sash
in his waist and directly in front. Decatur threw both legs over the
back of the Turk and pressed him so close that he could not force his
hand between their bodies to reach his weapon. Decatur's pistol was at
his hip. He was able to withdraw it, and he then did the only thing that
could possibly save his life, though the chances were that the act would
hasten his death.

Reaching over the back of the Turk, he pointed the weapon downward
toward his own breast and pulled the trigger. In most cases the bullet
would have passed through both bodies, but, fortunately, the ball
encountered some obstruction and did not reach the imperiled American.
He shoved off the bulky form, which rolled over on its back, dead.

It must not be supposed that while this furious hand-to-hand encounter
was under way the respective crews were idle. They, too, were fighting
fiercely, and, closing about the struggling commanders, each side
endeavored to help its own. The crowd surged back and forth and became
mixed in inextricable confusion. One of the Turks saw a chance to help
his captain and made a vicious blow at his opponent with his scimiter.
Reuben James, a sailor, who was so wounded in his arms that he could not
use them, thrust his head forward and received the stroke upon his
skull. The wound was a frightful one, but, beyond dispute, it saved the
life of Decatur, who never forgot the man that had done him this
inestimable service.

Reuben James was one of the volunteers who helped Decatur destroy the
_Philadelphia_. He recovered from his terrible wound and did excellent
service in the war of 1812. In one battle he was three times wounded
before he would allow his comrades to carry him below. He lived fully
twenty years after the death of his beloved commander, dying at a good
old age, though he was scarred with sabre cuts, wounded times
innumerable by bullets, and compelled to suffer the amputation of a leg.

The bombardment of Tripoli was less successful than expected. The
shells were of such poor quality that no impression was made on the
defences. All naval operations have proven that, as a rule, ships are
comparatively powerless for aggressive work against forts and batteries
on shore.

An investigation into the cause of the failure of so many shells sent
into Tripoli brought out several interesting facts. Captain Bainbridge,
who carefully noted the results of the bombardment while a prisoner in
the city, stated that out of forty-eight thrown on one day only one
exploded. It was found that the fuses in many of the bombs had been
choked by lead that was poured into them. This was probably done by
French agents in Sicily.

At the beginning of hostilities, the Tripolitans placed great reliance
upon their ability to fight at close quarters. Undeniably, they did
better in such position than in handling their ships. They had all the
viciousness of wild cats, and it has been shown how fiercely they fought
in hand-to-hand encounters; but their experience with the Americans
taught them that they were to be dreaded in any situation where their
anger was aroused, and, as a consequence, the Turks became less eager
for tests of individual strength, skill and bravery.




CHAPTER X.

The Bomb Ketch--A Terrible Missile--Frightful Catastrophe--Diplomacy in
Place of War--Peace.


Whenever a war is under way a number of persons on each side are certain
to come forward with ingenious schemes for injuring their opponents,
through improvements upon the accepted methods of conducting
hostilities. So it came about, after the slight success attained in
bombarding Tripoli, that a plan was formulated for creating
consternation in the blockaded city and bringing the defiant Bashaw to
his senses.

The new scheme was to fix up the _Intrepid_ as a bomb ketch, send her
into the harbor at night and there explode her. While a few had no faith
in the plan, others believed it would cause great destruction and spread
dismay among the Tripolitans.

In the forward hold were stowed one hundred barrels of gunpowder, and on
the deck above were piled one hundred and fifty shells and a lot of shot
and scrap iron. The plan was to give this floating volcano the
appearance of a blockade-runner. Two small boats were taken along, to be
used by the crews after setting off the fuse that was to blow the ketch
into a million atoms. It will be seen that the task was of the most
dangerous nature conceivable, and yet when Captain Preble called for
volunteers it seemed as if every one was eager to go.

The command was given to Master-Commandant Richard Somers, who was of
the same age as Decatur and Stewart, and had established a reputation
for coolness and intrepidity in the operations of the fleet. Midshipman
Henry Wadsworth, an uncle of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet, was
the second in command. They were accompanied by another midshipman named
Israel, who begged so hard to be allowed to go that he could not be
refused, and ten of the best seamen.

After waiting for several days, the night of September 4 was found to be
just what was desired. A fog lay like a blanket on the sea, but it was
so clear overhead that the stars shone with brilliant splendor. Before
the start was made, Decatur, Stewart and Somers, all the most intimate
of friends, had a long talk in the cabin of the ketch, no one else being
present. Each felt the gravity of the situation. Somers, though cool and
composed, seemed to feel a presentiment that he would not return. He
took a ring off his finger, and breaking it apart, gave one portion to
Decatur, one to Stewart, and kept the other for himself. He told his
friends what he wished done in case of his death, and they assured him
that every wish should be respected.

During that last impressive interview Stewart asked Somers what he would
do if discovered and attacked by the enemy.

"Blow us all up together!" was the instant response; "I shall never be
taken prisoner."

I may remark here that no writer has recorded this expression of the
gallant Somers, and I give it because Admiral Stewart assured me of its
truth. His recollection of the incident, more than sixty years
afterward, was as vivid as on the succeeding day. Indeed, Stewart, as is
often the case with aged persons, remarked that his memory of
occurrences a half century old was unerring, while of quite recent
incidents it was unreliable.

It was comparatively early in the evening when the ketch got under way
with a favoring breeze. Stewart, with the _Siren_, by order of Preble,
stood toward the northern passage, through which the ketch was to pass.
His purpose was to remain in as close as was safe, and hold himself
ready to pick up the men as they returned in their boats. Stewart turned
his night glass toward the _Intrepid_ and watched her slowly fading
from sight, until she melted into the gloom and not the slightest trace
of her outlines was discernible.

Nothing could be more trying than the waiting of the craft outside, for
Somers' own vessel and two small ones were near at hand. The stillness
was so profound that men heard the suppressed breathing of their
comrades. If one moved, he did so on tiptoe. Few words were spoken, and
all in guarded undertones. The rippling of the water against the prows
and cables was an annoyance, and on more than one forehead great drops
of cold perspiration gathered.

Slowly and painfully the long minutes wore away, until it seemed as if
several hours had passed, when in reality the interval was but a small
part of that period. Every nerve was in this tense state, when suddenly
the boom of a cannon came rolling through the fog from the direction of
the city, followed soon by the rapid firing of artillery. The approach
of the _Intrepid_ had been discovered, and it seemed as if all the
enemy's batteries were blazing away at her. But what of the ketch
itself?

Stewart, like all the rest, was peering into the black mist, when he saw
a star-like point of light, moving with an up and down motion, in a
horizontal line, showing that it was a lantern carried by a man running
along the deck of a ship. Then it dropped out of sight, as if the bearer
had leaped down a hatchway. For a moment all was profound darkness, and
then an immense fan-like expanse of flame shot far up into the sky, as
if from the crater of a volcano, and was crossed by the curving streaks
of fire made by shells in their eccentric flight. Across the water came
the crashing roar of the prodigious explosion, followed a few moments
later by the sounds of wreckage and bodies as they dropped into the sea.
Then again impenetrable gloom and profound stillness succeeded. The
batteries on shore were awed into silence by the awful sight, and the
waiting friends on the ships held their breath.

The hope was that Lieutenant Somers and his companions had fired the
fuse and then rowed away in their boats, but as minute followed minute
without the sound of muffled oars from the hollow night reaching the
straining ears, suspense gave way to sickening dread. The vessels moved
to and fro about the entrance, as if the inanimate things shared in the
anxiety that would not allow them to remain still. At intervals a gun
was fired or a rocket sent up to guide the missing ones, but none
appeared. Every man had been killed by the explosion of the ketch.

Investigations made afterward seemed to establish that Somers was
attacked by three gunboats, and, finding escape impossible, it was he
who ran along the deck, lighted lantern in hand, and deliberately blew
up the _Intrepid_, destroying not only himself and companions, but many
of the enemy. The mangled remains of several bodies were found some days
later and given burial on shore, but not one could be recognized.
Captain Bainbridge and some of his brother officers, who were prisoners
in Tripoli, were allowed to view them. He said: "From the whole of them
being so disfigured, it was impossible to recognize any feature known to
us, or even to distinguish an officer from a seaman."

In November, Commodore Samuel Barron arrived, and succeeded Captain
Preble in command of the American squadron. He brought with him the
_President_ and _Constellation_, thereby increasing the force to ten
vessels, carrying two hundred and sixty-four guns.

Having failed to bring the Bashaw to terms by force of arms, the
Americans now resorted to what may be termed diplomacy. The reigning
Bashaw of Tripoli was a usurper, having displaced his elder brother, who
had fled to Upper Egypt. He had a good many friends, who, if they dared,
would have been glad to replace him on his throne. The American consul,
who understood all the particulars, proposed to our government to use
the deposed ruler as an instrument to compel the usurper to make terms.
The Government authorized the consul to go ahead.

Accordingly, he made his way to Alexandria, sought out the banished
ruler, proposed his plan, and it was eagerly accepted. He furnished the
consul with a cavalry escort, enlisted a number of Greek soldiers, the
party marched a thousand miles across the flaming Barcan desert, and in
April appeared before Derne, one of the seaports of the reigning
monarch, who was also advancing upon the place. With the help of the
American fleet, the town was captured, and, for the first time in its
history, the Stars and Stripes were given to the breeze above a
fortification on the eastern side of the Atlantic.

By the enlistment of the mongrel population of the neighborhood, the
American consul gathered a formidable force, with which the enemy were
again defeated. Then they boldly set out for Tripoli.

Meanwhile the usurper was shivering with fear, and was more than ready
to make a treaty of peace with the terrible barbarians from the other
side of the ocean. The treaty was signed on June 2, 1805. The Bashaw,
who had demanded a princely sum for the release of his American
prisoners, was now glad to set them free for $60,000. It was agreed,
furthermore, that no more tribute should be paid, and thus ended all our
troubles with Tripoli.

These proceedings left the rightful ruler in the lurch. He had been
promised that he should be restored to his throne on condition of
helping the Americans, and he had given the most valuable sort of aid,
but the treaty declared that no assistance should be given him. It was a
gross injustice on the part of our Government, which did no special
credit to itself, when, after the deposed ruler had made a pitiful
appeal to Congress, that body presented him with a beggarly pittance of
$2,400.




THE WAR OF 1812.


CHAPTER XI.

Cause of the War of 1812--Discreditable Work of the Land
Forces--Brilliant Record of the Navy--The _Constitution_--Captain Isaac
Hull--Battle Between the _Constitution_ and _Guerriere_--Winning a
Wager.


Probably no hostilities in which the United States was ever engaged so
abound with stirring, romantic and remarkable exploits as those upon the
ocean in the War of 1812.

Now, as to the cause of the war between England and our country: Great
Britain was engaged in a tremendous conflict with France, at the head of
which was the greatest military leader of the world, Napoleon Bonaparte.
England needed every soldier and sailor she could get. Some of them
deserted to our ships, so her officers began the practice of stopping
such vessels on the ocean, searching them for deserters, and if found
they were taken away. Sometimes she took Americans, because she knew
they were good seamen, and, to excuse her action, she declared they were
deserters from the British navy.

[Illustration: IMPRESSING AMERICAN SAILORS.]

This action was against the law of nations. She had no more right to
molest an American vessel than she had to land a force on our coast,
march inland and search the house of a private family. We protested, but
she paid no attention. It happened more than once that when our vessels
refused to be searched the English fired into them and killed and
wounded some of the American crews. If any nation acted that way toward
England to-day she would declare war at once, and so would any other
nation.

Finding there was no peaceable way of stopping the unbearable conduct of
Great Britain, our country, in the month of June, 1812, declared war
against her, and it lasted until the early part of 1815.

There was one feature of that war which it is not pleasant for Americans
to recall. It opened with a cowardly surrender by General William Hull
of Detroit to the English army, and for two years our land forces did
very little to their credit. They set out to invade Canada several
times, but in every instance were beaten. The leading generals were
"poor sticks," quarreled among themselves, and for a time failed to gain
any advantage. The trouble was not with the soldiers. They were among
the best in the world, but their leaders were of no account. By and by,
however, the poor officers were weeded out and good ones took their
places. Then something was accomplished in which we all could feel
pride.

It was just the other way on the ocean. From the very start our naval
vessels and privateers won the most brilliant of victories. This was the
more remarkable when several facts are kept in mind. Great Britain had
been at war so long that she had the most powerful navy by far in the
world. It numbered one thousand and thirty-six vessels, of which two
hundred and fifty-four were ships-of-the-line, not one of which carried
less than seventy guns of large calibre. This prodigious navy was manned
by one hundred and forty-four thousand sailors, and eighty-five of her
war vessels were on the American coast, equipped and ready for action.

In amazing contrast to all this, we had only twenty large war vessels
and a number of gunboats that were of little account. The disparity was
so great that our Government, after looking at the situation and
discussing the matter, decided that it would be folly to fight England
on the ocean, and it was decided not to do so. When Captains Stewart and
Bainbridge learned of this decision, they went to President Madison and
his advisers and insisted that the American navy, weak as it was, should
be given a chance of showing what it could do. Consent was finally
given, and then opened the wonderful career of our cruisers and
privateers.

Among the frigates that had been built during our war with France was
the _Constitution_, which carried 44 guns. She earned the name of being
one of the luckiest ships in the navy, and because of her astonishing
record was named "Old Ironsides." The old hulk of this historical ship
is still carefully preserved in remembrance of her brilliant record,
which in some respects has never been equalled.

Sailors are superstitious, and the good name which the _Constitution_
gained made it easy to get all the seamen needed. When you come to look
into the matter you will find that the _Constitution_ was a lucky ship,
because it was always officered by the best men we had, and they were
wise enough to choose the finest crews.

The captain of the _Constitution_, when the war broke out, was Isaac
Hull, a nephew of General William Hull, who made the cowardly surrender
of Detroit. He was born in Connecticut in 1773, and died in 1843. He was
one of the brilliant young officers who received his commission in 1798,
and was commander of the _Argus_ during the war with Tripoli. He was
made a captain in 1806, and the following year was given command of the
_Constitution_.

Upon learning that the war had broken out, Captain Hull left the
Chesapeake, with orders to join the squadron under the command of
Captain Rodgers at New York. When off Barnegat, New Jersey, he was
sighted by the blockading squadron of Captain Philip Bowes Vere Broke,
which gave chase. The ingenuity and skill displayed by Captain Hull in
escaping from the enemy, when all escape seemed hopeless, is still
referred to as one of the most remarkable exploits in the history of the
American navy. The chase lasted for more than two days and three nights,
and it is safe to say that very few commanders placed in the situation
of Captain Hull would have been able to save themselves from capture.

Captain Hull sailed on a cruise from Boston on August 21, just in time
to dodge an order from Washington to remain in port until further
orders. On the afternoon of August 19, when several hundred miles to the
eastward of Halifax, he sighted the British frigate _Guerriere_. Her
commander, Captain James E. Dacres, was an old acquaintance of Hull, and
the two had made a wager of a hat during peace that if they ever met in
battle the other would run.

The British officer was as anxious as Hull for a fight, and they drew
near each other, both confident of winning the wager made half in jest
a brief time before.

Great interest attaches to this naval battle, for it was the first of
its kind and a fair test of the respective prowess of ships of and crews
of that nature. The _Constitution_ was somewhat the superior, carrying
55 guns and four hundred and sixty-eight men, while the _Guerriere_ had
49 guns and two hundred and sixty-three men, but all of the latter were
under fine discipline, while most of the Americans were green hands.
Captain Dacres was confident of his superiority, and had no doubt that
when the two frigates met the _Constitution_ would be compelled speedily
to strike her colors. He waited for the American to come up, each having
cleared for action.

A little after four o'clock the two exchanged broadsides, but they were
so far apart that no damage was done. Dacres manoeuvred for a raking
position, but Hull would not permit it, nor could he obtain one for
himself. There was much wearing and manoeuvring, which prevented the
firing on either side from being effective. Each was wary of the other
and took the utmost pains to prevent his securing any advantage.

When it became certain that the battle was to be one at close range,
Hull ordered the firing to cease, in order that the fullest preparation
could be made for the next broadside. He knew the skill of his men in
marksmanship, and determined to hold his fire until the most
advantageous position was reached. As he drew near his enemy, the latter
continued firing, and some of her shots were so effective that the crews
cheered. The Americans, most of them barefooted and stripped to the
waist, were standing beside their guns eager and impatient for the order
to fire, but Hull, when appealed to, shook his head. It was a proof of
the fine discipline of the American crew that when they saw two of their
comrades killed by the fire of the enemy, they silently waited without
murmur for the order whose delay they could not comprehend.

Not until about a hundred feet distant and in the exact position desired
did Captain Hull give the order to fire as the guns bore. To quote
Maclay: "In an instant the frigate belched forth a storm of iron hail
that carried death and destruction into the opposing ship. The effect of
this carefully aimed broadside at short range was terrific. The
splinters were seen to fly over the British frigate like a cloud, some
of them reaching as high as the mizzen top, while the cheers of her men
abruptly ceased and the shrieks and groans of the wounded were heard.
The Americans had struck their first earnest blow, and it was a
staggering one. The Englishman felt its full weight, and perhaps for the
first time realized that this was no child's play."

The Americans displayed remarkable skill in their gunnery, as it may be
said they have always done. The main yard of the enemy was shot away in
the slings, and hull, rigging and sails were badly mangled. A shot
passing through the mizzenmast close to the deck, added to the stress
from the sails, caused it to break in two and fall over the quarter. One
curious effect of this dragging in the water was to make the wreckage
act like a rudder, bringing her up to the wind in spite of the
opposition of the helm. While the damage on the _Constitution_ was less,
it clogged her action, but she secured a position from which she
delivered two raking broadsides. Then as the vessel see-sawed, the
jibboom of the _Guerriere_ crossed the _Constitution's_ quarter deck.
Both crews made ready to board, but each found the other so fully
prepared that neither attempted it. Meanwhile the riflemen in the
rigging were working with destructive energy. In each of the
_Constitution's_ tops were seven marines, six loading for the seventh,
who was the best marksman. A good many officers were wounded and killed
on both sides.

[Illustration: THE "CONSTITUTION" AND THE "GUERRIERE."]

Although the vessels had been lashed together, their lurching broke
them apart, and the Englishman gained a chance to use his broadsides. A
fire broke out on the _Constitution_, but it was quickly extinguished,
and the shot of the American soon made a complete wreck of the enemy.
When it became clear that the _Guerriere_ could make no further
resistance, Captain Hull drew off to repair the damages to his own ship.
Another English frigate was likely to appear at any moment, and she
would make short work of the _Constitution_ in her crippled condition.
It took but a short time to complete the work, when she returned to her
former position beside the wallowing _Guerriere_. A lieutenant was sent
on board to receive the surrender, which Dacres gave with painful
reluctance. When brought to the side of the _Constitution_, Hull
assisted him up the rope ladder. Dacres extended his sword.

"No" replied Hull, "I will not take it from one who knows so well how to
use it, but I must trouble you to pay me that hat I have won."




CHAPTER XII.

Jacob Jones--The _Wasp_ and the _Frolic_--James Biddle--The _Hornet_ and
the _Penguin_--A Narrow Escape.



I must now tell you something about another gallant young officer who
entered the American navy at the close of the century, when he was
hardly thirty years old. He was Jacob Jones, who lived until 1850. He
was a lieutenant on the _Philadelphia_ for two years, and was with that
frigate when she ran on the rocks in the harbor of Tripoli. He was given
command of the 18-gun sloop of war _Wasp_, which sailed from the
Delaware in October, 1812, and headed eastward, with the intention of
intercepting some of the enemy's merchantmen plying between Great
Britain and the West Indies.

About a week after sailing he sighted five merchantmen, several of which
were well armed, while all were convoyed by a brig of war. Jones stood
toward them, when the brig signalled to her companions to make all sail
before the wind, while she dropped back to attend to the stranger. The
American came up quite close, and hailing, demanded the name of the
other. For a reply, the brig lowered the Spanish colors, ran up the
British flag, and let fly with a broadside and volley of musketry.

The _Wasp_ was expecting something of that nature and returned the
compliment, the vessels working nearer each other and firing as rapidly
as possible. The action had hardly begun when the _Wasp_ lost her main
topmast, and a few minutes later the mizzen topgallant mast and the gaff
were shot away. These mishaps so crippled her that she became almost
unmanageable. The _Frolic_, as the enemy was named, was also damaged,
but not so badly as the _Wasp_, but, unfortunately for the _Frolic_, the
heavy sea and the twisting about of the hull threw her into position to
be raked by the _Wasp_, and Captain Jones was quick to seize the
advantage, the vessels being so close that the ramrods were pushed
against each other's sides while the gunners were loading. The sea was
so heavy that the guns of the _Wasp_ frequently dipped under water.

The intention of the Americans was to board, and Lieutenant James Biddle
held himself and men ready to take instant advantage of the moment the
roll of the sea brought them near enough to do so.

Captain Jones did not believe himself warranted in boarding, since he
held the advantage of position, and he issued orders for the men to
wait, but their ardor could not be checked. Among his sailors was one
who had been impressed into the British service, where he was brutally
treated. Springing upon his gun, he grasped the bowsprit of the brig,
swung himself upon the spar and ran as nimbly as a monkey to the deck of
the enemy. Imitating his enthusiasm, Lieutenant Biddle and his boarders
took advantage of a favorable lurch at that moment and sprang upon the
deck of the _Frolic_. There, every man stopped and repressed the cheer
that rose to his lips, for the scene was one of the most dreadful that
imagination can picture.

The quartermaster stood grimly clutching the wheel, a lieutenant,
bleeding from several wounds, was leaning against the companionway,
unable to stand without its support, while all along the deck were
strewn the dead and dying. Silently the victors stepped over the
prostrate forms to the quarter deck, where the officer weakly dropped
his sword to signify his surrender. Lieutenant Biddle walked to where
the colors were still fluttering and pulled them down. A few minutes
later the mainmast and foremast fell.

Maclay gives the strength of the two vessels as follows: _Wasp_, 18
guns, _Frolic_, 22; crew of the _Wasp_, 138, of the _Frolic_, 110. On
the _Wasp_ 5 were killed and 5 wounded; on the _Frolic_ 15 were killed
and 47 wounded, the latter being completely riddled. The cause of this
frightful difference in results was brought about by the Americans
discharging their broadsides when their ship was on the downward roll,
the shot landing in the hull of the enemy, while the latter fired on the
rise, her broadsides mainly passing into and through the rigging.

As soon as Captain Jones learned of the fearful plight of the Frolic he
sent his surgeon on board, and everything possible was done to assist
the sorely smitten enemy.

The _Wasp_ was so badly injured that Captain Jones gave his attention to
repairing her, and was thus engaged when a sail appeared. It proved to
be the British 74-gun ship of the line _Poictiers_, which, surmising
what had taken place, bore down, took possession of both ships and
carried them to Bermuda.

This battle, one of the most fiercely contested of the war, naturally
caused much rejoicing throughout the United States. Congress voted
$25,000 to the officers and crew of the _Wasp_ as prize money, and gave
a gold medal to Master-Commandant Jones and a silver one to each of his
officers, while the Legislature of Pennsylvania presented a sword to
Lieutenant James Biddle.

This gallant young officer is entitled to more notice than has been
given him. He was born in Philadelphia in 1783, and died in 1848. After
his exchange, he was appointed to the command of the _Hornet_, and
sailed from New York in the month of January, 1815, in company with the
_Peacock_ and _Tom Bowline_, but the three became separated, each making
for Tristan d'Acunha, which had been named as the rendezvous of the
squadron under the command of Stephen Decatur.

This was on the last day of February, and Captain Biddle was about to
drop anchor when a sail appeared, and the _Hornet_ went out to
reconnoitre. The stranger approached as if anxious to fight him, and,
when within musket range, ran up the English flag and fired a shot, to
which the _Hornet_ replied with a broadside. The vessels continued
firing as they drew near each other. The superior aim of the American
speedily crippled the rigging of the other, and, coming together, the
_Penguin_, as the British vessel proved to be, in preparing to board,
succeeded in passing her bowsprit between the main and mizzen rigging of
the _Hornet_ on the starboard quarter. This gave the enemy the
opportunity he seemed to be seeking, but his boarders did not appear.

The American sailors begged permission of Captain Biddle to board, but
he would not consent, since he wished to hold the advantage already
gained. Just then the heaving sea broke the vessels apart, the _Penguin_
receiving considerable damage from the forcible rupture. The _Hornet_
wore round to bring her broadside to bear, and was on the point of
opening fire, when the surviving officer of the _Penguin_ called out
that they surrendered. His condition was so hopeless that no choice was
left to him.

Captain Biddle ordered his men to stop firing, and, stepping to the
taffrail, asked his enemy if they had struck. The answer was two musket
shots, one aimed at the man at the wheel and the other at Biddle. The
latter was hit on the chin and badly, though not dangerously, wounded,
while the man at the wheel was not struck. The men who fired the
treacherous shots were seen by two American marines, who shot them dead.

No doubt the action of the Englishmen was unauthorized, and probably was
due to a misunderstanding; but the Americans were so incensed that it
was difficult to restrain them from continuing the firing. The enemy
hailed a second time and called out they had surrendered.

The strength of the _Hornet_ was 20 guns and 132 men; of the _Penguin_,
19 guns and 128 men. The _Hornet_ had 1 man killed and 11 wounded; the
_Penguin_, 10 killed and 28 wounded. She was so badly shattered that,
after taking out her stores, her captors scuttled her.

In order to complete our history of the gallant Captain James Biddle it
is necessary to carry the record in advance of some of the incidents
that follow.

As has been stated, the _Peacock_ and the _Hornet_ had gone to Tristan
d'Acunha in obedience to the orders of Commodore Decatur, to wait for
him and the _President_, but the latter never arrived, for the good
reason that she had been captured by the enemy. Growing tired of
waiting, Biddle and Captain Warrington, of the _Peacock_, started on an
extended cruise, April 13, for the East Indies.

Doubling the Cape of Good Hope, they met with no incident of note until
the latter part of April, when they sighted a large sail, which they
believed to be a heavily laden East India merchantman. A chase
immediately began. It continued a long time, and the _Peacock_ was
within a few miles, when she made the discovery that the stranger,
instead of being a merchantman, was a ship of the line. Captain
Warrington signalled the startling fact to Biddle, and the two turned to
escape. Since the formidable vessel could not pursue both when they
took different directions, she selected the _Hornet_ for her prize.

All that Biddle could now hope to do was to out-sail his pursuer. He put
forth every effort known to the most skilful seamanship. When night
closed in, however, the pursuer had perceptibly gained. Since the
weather was perfectly clear and the two were in plain sight of each
other, the enemy could keep up the chase all night. Captain Biddle threw
overboard some of his heavy spars, cut away the sheet anchor and flung
several tons of kentledge into the sea.

This helped matters somewhat, but the stranger continued slowly to gain,
and secured such a position that Captain Biddle was obliged to go about.
Still he could not shake off the bulldog at his heels, and at daylight
he was near enough to begin barking with the bow guns. Although the shot
did not strike the _Hornet_, Captain Biddle dropped his remaining
anchors into the sea, including six guns, launch, cables, and everything
not absolutely necessary.

The lightening was so considerable that for the first time the _Hornet_
began drawing away from her persistent pursuer. At the end of a few
hours, however, he began creeping up again, and Captain Biddle tumbled
overboard all his guns except one, most of his shot, his extra spars,
cutlasses, muskets, forge and bell, and indeed everything of which he
could free himself. Not only that, but the men lay down on the quarter
deck to help trim the ship.

All in vain. The shot and shell whistled about the _Hornet_, the enemy
came closer, and every American prepared to submit as gracefully as
possible to the inevitable. Captain Biddle addressed his men feelingly,
telling them to show the same restraint in misfortune that they had in
victory, and then the gallant officer coolly awaited the moment when he
should be obliged to haul down his flag to save the lives of his brave
crew.

But lo! the wind changed to a quarter favorable to the _Hornet_, and it
lasted throughout the night and the next day. The _Hornet_ drew steadily
away from the British ship of the line _Cornwallis_, as she proved to
be, and made her way at a leisurely speed to the United States.




CHAPTER XIII.

Captains Carden and Decatur--Cruise of the _Macedonian_--Battle with the
Frigate _United States_--Decatur's Chivalry.


Before the war broke out between England and the United States the naval
officers naturally were on the best of terms with one another. They
exchanged visits, had dinners together and talked in the most friendly
terms over the relations of their respective countries. Brave men always
feel thus, and no matter how fiercely they have been fighting, they
become friends again as soon as peace is declared.

You have already been told considerable about Stephen Decatur, one of
the bravest and most chivalrous men that ever drew a sword. At the
breaking out of the War of 1812 he was given command of the frigate
_United States_, of 44 guns, built in 1798, and one of the finest in the
American navy. While lying at Norfolk, some months before war was
declared, the British frigate _Macedonian_, of about the same strength,
was in port, and the officers and crews became well acquainted.

The commander of the _Macedonian_ was Captain John Surman Carden, one of
the finest officers in the British service. He and Decatur became fond
of each other and often discussed the probable results of the impending
naval contests, for it was apparent to both that their countries were on
the brink of war. Captain Carden conceded the bravery and skill of the
American officers and seamen, but insisted that they would be at a
disadvantage, because they had not met with the experience of the
Englishmen, who had been engaged in so many wars with European nations.

The _Macedonian_ was made of oak and was without a superior in the
British navy. In the latter part of September, 1812, she left
Portsmouth, England. She was just off the docks and her crew, 297 in
number, were such as the best officer would have been proud to command.
The discipline was as near perfection as possible, Captain Carden being
one of the severest of disciplinarians. His business was to look out for
French merchantmen and warships, though as it was known that war had
been declared with the United States, it was deemed probable that
Captain Carden would have a chance of testing the mettle of her naval
officers and crews.

There were two American vessels that Captain Carden was specially
anxious to meet. One was the _Essex_, which was playing havoc among the
English shipping (and of which I shall tell you something later on),
and the other that of Captain Stephen Decatur, the courteous but brave
naval officer who had displayed so much intrepidity in the war with
Tripoli and had insisted to Carden that the American sailors were the
match of the English anywhere.

While at Madeira Captain Carden learned that the _Essex_ had sailed from
the Delaware and was expected to cruise in the neighborhood of the
Canary Islands. The Englishman turned southward and was within a few
days' sail of the islands when, on the 25th of October, the man at the
masthead reported a sail. As it approached it was carefully scrutinized
and found to be a frigate bearing down on the _Macedonian_.

Convinced that she was an enemy, Captain Carden at once issued the
command to clear for action. The most thorough preparations were made
and officers were stationed with orders to shoot down the first man who
flinched from his duty. On board the ship were a number of American
seamen, who began speculating among themselves as to whether the
approaching frigate was a Frenchman or belonged to their own country.
They were in a trying position, for they were patriotic and would have
given anything in the world to escape firing upon their countrymen, but
there was no help for it. Such a rigid disciplinarian as Captain Carden
would listen to no protests from them, and, should the stranger prove
to be an American, it would be a choice between helping to fight her or
being shot down by their own officers.

The approaching frigate went through a number of evolutions of such a
rapid and brilliant nature that the Englishmen murmured their
admiration. Through their glasses the officers could see groups of men
on the quarter deck scanning them closely, while glimpses of sailors
were caught as they moved about the deck and of the gun crews standing
quietly at their stations. Then, when there was a change of direction,
parties of marines were observed in her tops, muskets in hand, coolly
awaiting the time when the ships would engage at close quarters.

While Captain Carden and his officers were in doubt whether the ship was
a French one she gave her colors to the breeze. They were the Stars and
Stripes of the American Republic. One of the finest of its frigates had
thrown down the gage of battle to as superb a frigate as belonged to the
British navy.

Since all doubt of her nationality was dispelled, one of the American
seamen walked resolutely to Captain Carden, saluted and told him that he
and his companions had no wish to fight the flag of their country. In
reply the officer ordered him back to his station and with notice that
if the request was repeated he would be shot. Sad to say, the sailor
who made his wish known was one of the first killed in battle.

The two ships now began exchanging shots, but the distance was too great
for any damage on either side. A little after 9 o'clock on that bright
sunshiny Sunday morning they were close enough for the wonderful
marksmanship of the American to display itself. The first shot that
found the _Macedonian_ entered through the starboard bulwark and killed
the sergeant of marines. A minute later the mizzen topmast was sundered,
and, cluttered with sails, yards and rigging, it fell into the maintop,
where it hung suspended, liable to fall at any moment and crush those
beneath.

The fire of the American became frightfully destructive. It seemed as if
every shot splintered some part of the rigging or hull and killed and
wounded men right and left. The exasperating feature of this awful
business was that neither Captain Carden nor his aids, who were
directing operations from the quarter deck, could discover any
corresponding damage on the American ship. Her mizzen topgallant mast
had been carried away, but it looked as if all the other shots sent in
her direction sped past without harm. She was wrapped in an immense
volume of smoke made by her own broadsides, and through it constantly
shot tongues of crimson flame, while the roar of the rapidly discharged
guns was incessant.

Now and then a rift appeared in the billows of vapor, through which the
Stars and Stripes were seen fluttering, while the men worked as coolly
at their guns as if going through manoeuvres in time of peace. Finally
the smoke became so dense that the Americans were unable to see through
it. Ceasing firing for a few minutes, the frigate moved far enough
forward to pass from under the impenetrable blanket of vapor and then
renewed the battle with more terrific effect than before. Her firing was
so rapid that several times Captain Carden believed the incessant flame
indicated she was on fire. The report was spread among his men to
encourage them, but no such good fortune came to the Englishmen.

One of the men on board the _Macedonian_ gave the following graphic
account of his experience:

"Our men kept cheering with all their might. I cheered with them, though
I confess I scarcely knew what for. Certainly there was nothing very
inspiriting in the aspect of things. Grape shot and canister were
pouring through our portholes like leaden hail. The large shot came
against the ship's side, shaking her to the very keel, and passing
through her timbers and scattering terrific splinters, which did more
appalling work than the shot itself. A constant stream of wounded men
were being hurried to the cockpit from all quarters of the ship. My
feelings were pretty much as I suppose every one else felt at such a
time. That men are without thought when they stand among the dying and
dead is too absurd an idea to be entertained. We all appeared cheerful,
but I know that many a serious thought ran through my mind. Still, what
could we do but keep up a semblance at least of animation? To run from
our quarters would have been certain death from the hands of our own
officers; to give way to gloom or show fear would do no good and might
brand us with the name of cowards and insure certain defeat."

In the desperate hope of warding off defeat, Captain Garden now ordered
his helm aport and directed that boarders be called. The response was
prompt, for the British sailor fights with unsurpassable heroism, but at
the critical moment the forebrace was carried away, the ship was thrown
into the wind and exposed to a raking fire. The American instantly
seized the advantage and swept the decks with murderous destructiveness.
In a brief time the _Macedonian_ was completely disabled. Her rigging
was in tatters and splinters and her hull had been pierced by more
than a hundred shot, many of which struck between wind and water.

[Illustration: BATTLE BETWEEN THE "UNITED STATES" AND THE "MACEDONIAN."]

Finally the American ceased firing and drew off to make the few repairs
that were necessary. During the lull Captain Carden called his surviving
officers around him for council. There was indeed but one thing to do,
and it was agreed to surrender. As the American was returning,
therefore, to resume her appalling work the English colors were hauled
down. The victor lay to and lowered a boat, under charge of a
lieutenant, who, as he climbed aboard, gave his name and that of the
American 44-gun frigate as the _United States_, Captain Stephen Decatur.
The _United States_, whose crew numbered 478, had 5 killed and 7
wounded, while the 297 of the _Macedonian_ lost 36 killed and 68
wounded.

So it was that the old friends settled the question over which they had
argued many times. When the English officer came aboard of the _United
States_ and offered his sword to Decatur the latter said: "I cannot
receive the sword of a man who has defended his ship with such bravery."

The chivalrous nature of Decatur was shown in a private letter in which
he wrote: "One-half of the satisfaction arising from this victory is
destroyed in seeing the mortification of poor Carden, who deserved
success as much as we did who had the good fortune to obtain it."
Everything possible was done to alleviate the sufferings of the
prisoners. The private property of the officers and seamen was returned
or its equivalent in money. In a letter from Captain Carden to Captain
Decatur he expressed his feelings and added: "I have much gratitude to
express to you, my dear sir, for all your kindnesses, and all my
officers feel it equally with myself. If ever we should turn the tables
we will endeavor, if possible, to improve on your unusual goodness."




CHAPTER XIV.

Occasional American Defeats as Well as Victories--Captain Decatur's
Misfortune--The _Chesapeake_ and _Shannon_.


You would gain a wrong impression if my account of the leading naval
events in the War of 1812 were made up wholly of American victories. It
was inevitable that our gallant officers and men should meet with some
defeats. In order, therefore, to give as true an idea as possible of
those times I shall devote this chapter to telling about some events
which went the wrong way.

Enough has been related concerning Stephen Decatur to show that he was
the most prominent of our naval leaders in our last war with Great
Britain. He entered into the work with the same dauntless enthusiasm he
showed whenever it was his privilege to serve his country, and his
capture of the _Macedonian_ was one of the most brilliant exploits of
the many that took place during those memorable years.

In order to understand my use of the words "captain" and "commodore," it
is necessary to explain that at the time to which I now refer the latter
rank was different from what it is to-day. The commodore of a squadron
was the highest ranking officer and he might be lower than a captain.
Thus "Commodore" Perry, who won the remarkable victory on Lake Erie, was
promoted from that rank to "captain."

Another interesting fact may be named. The Stars and Stripes used in
that war was slightly different in pattern from the present, for,
instead of containing thirteen stripes, as it did at the close of the
Revolution and as it does to-day, it had fifteen. The first law of
Congress bearing on this point was to add a stripe for every new State
admitted to the Union, but after two had come in and others were making
ready it became evident that before long the pattern of the beautiful
emblem would be spoiled if the rule were followed. So the increase in
the number of stripes stopped and remained fifteen for a few years after
the close of the war, even though new States had been admitted. Then the
law was changed so as to provide that the increase of States should be
shown by the stars in the blue field, while the stripes should always
remain thirteen in number, typical of the original colonies of the
Revolution.

It was decided early in the war to send a squadron consisting of the
_President_, Captain Stephen Decatur, and the sloops of war _Peacock_,
Captain Warrington, and _Hornet_, Lieutenant Biddle, and the storeship
_Tom Bowline_ on a cruise in the Indian Ocean. This squadron was to
rendezvous at Tristan d'Acunha, but failed to do so, for a reason that
has been stated in the account of the exploits of the _Hornet_ and
_Peacock_.

Captain Decatur lay in the harbor of New York with his vessels and found
himself so closely blockaded by the British squadron that it was
impossible for the Americans to sail in company. He sent out the two
ships named, and, on the night of January 14, 1815, when the blockading
squadron had been driven to the south by a gale, he sailed down the
Narrows, hoping to get to sea before it returned. There was good reason
to expect success, but misfortune speedily came. The beacon lights had
been removed and early in the evening the pilot ran the ship aground
just before reaching Sandy Hook. It required two hours of the hardest
kind of work to get her off. The _President_ was not very seaworthy at
the start, and the efforts to reach deep water so injured her that it
was necessary to return to the city for repairs, but the strong contrary
wind prevented and she was driven over the bar.

Meanwhile the blockading squadron had come back and, early the next
morning, Decatur had four of them in full pursuit. He put on every
stitch of canvas, threw overboard everything that could be spared and
wet his sails, but the _President_ was so badly crippled from having run
aground that, despite all that was done, she steadily lost ground. The
_Endymion_ led the pursuers and soon drew up within range, her position
such that Decatur could not reply to the shots which began to injure his
ship and kill and wound his crew.

He formed a desperate scheme that was characteristic of him. The
_Endymion_ was so far in advance of the other pursuers that there was a
possibility of turning about and capturing her. Then, by transferring
the American crew to her, the worthless _President_ could be abandoned
and swift flight be made in the _Endymion_, which had already
demonstrated her superior speed.

The great risk in this attempt (for no one among the Americans doubted
their ability to overcome the other crew) was that before the capture
could be accomplished the other vessels would come up and Decatur be
assailed by an overwhelming force, but he did not hesitate. He explained
his plan to his men and they responded with cheers. No commander was
ever more beloved by his crew than Decatur, and they were ready to
follow him to the death, for he was always their leader and the foremost
in personal danger.

Since every minute was valuable, Decatur put about and made for the
_Endymion_ with the intention of engaging her at close quarters. But the
British vessel suspected his purpose, for she also turned, and, being
much the superior sailer, was able to hold a safe distance between the
two. It was an exasperating disappointment, but Decatur opened with a
heavy fire, hoping to disable his antagonist before the arrival of the
others.

A furious engagement followed, in which Decatur lost several of his most
valuable officers and was himself painfully wounded by flying splinters.
But the American guns were served with perfect precision and the
_Endymion_ was so broken and shattered by the fire that after two and a
half hours she was incapable of further resistance. She would have
surrendered had the time been sufficient for Decatur to enforce the
demand, but the other blockaders were hurrying up and placed the
American again in grave danger. He crowded on all sail once more, but
the scurrying clouds which gave him a chance of escaping were swept from
the sky and the bright moon revealed him so plainly to his pursuers that
they rapidly overtook the _President_. A running fight followed, but the
_President_ was overmatched in every respect. In his official report
Decatur said: "Two fresh ships of the enemy, the 38-gun frigates
_Pomone_ and _Tenedos_, had come up. The _Pomone_ had opened fire on the
port bow, within musket shot, the other, about two cables' length
astern, taking a raking position on our quarter, and the rest, with the
exception of the _Endymion_, within gunshot. Thus situated, with about
one-fifth of my crew killed and wounded, my ship crippled and a more
than fourfold force opposed to me, without a chance of escape, I deemed
it my duty to surrender."

The British senior officer of the squadron to whom Decatur offered his
sword showed his appreciation of the American's gallantry and of his
chivalrous treatment of Captain Carden, when the situations were
reversed, by handing the weapon back to Decatur with the remark that he
was proud to return the sword of an officer who had defended his ship so
nobly.

Shortly after this misfortune news reached this country of the signing
of a treaty of peace, though several encounters took place on the ocean
before the tidings could reach the various ships.

Turning back to the earlier part of the war, mention must be made of
another American hero, James Lawrence, who was born in Burlington, N.J.,
in 1781 and was active in the war with Tripoli. He was commander of the
_Hornet_ when she captured the _Peacock_ in an engagement which lasted
only fifteen minutes, with the loss of one American killed and two
wounded. He was given the command of the frigate _Chesapeake_, which was
repairing in Boston harbor. The ship had gained the reputation of being
unlucky, and, having already passed through several accidents, Lawrence
assumed command with extreme reluctance.

Among the blockading vessels of the enemy outside of Boston was the
_Shannon_, commanded by Captain Philip Bowes Vere Broke. She was one of
the most efficient ships in the British navy, carried 38 guns and had a
crew of 330 men, all well disciplined and skilled in firing guns and in
fighting, while Broke himself probably had no superior as an officer.
That he was brave was proven not only by his sending a challenge to
Lawrence, inviting him to come out and fight him, but by his conduct
during the battle.

Captain Lawrence sailed out of Boston harbor before Broke's challenge
reached him. He had learned that a single frigate had presumed to
blockade the port, and, having been ordered to sail as soon as possible,
he made unwise haste in venturing to give the _Shannon_ battle, even
though one cause was the wish to leave the port before other blockaders
appeared.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN JAMES LAWRENCE.]

The crew of the _Chesapeake_ was inferior in every respect to that of
the enemy, except that it contained ten more men. The majority had been
newly enlisted and contained many foreigners, landsmen, and
objectionable sailors. They were not only unaccustomed to the
ship--though they knew of its reputation as an unlucky one--but were
unacquainted with one another and nearly all were strangers to the
officers. The best of these were absent from illness and other causes.
Worse than all, many were in a maudlin state of drunkenness when the
_Chesapeake_ started out with flags flying to engage the well-manned
_Shannon_.

On the way down the bay some of the _Chesapeake's_ crew impudently
notified Lawrence that they would not fight unless they received the
prize money earned a short time before. It was a humiliating situation
for the young commander, but he was virtually in the face of the enemy
and he issued prize checks to the malcontents. Well aware of the
character of the foe he was about to encounter, he must have looked upon
the meeting with foreboding. Maclay uses these impressive words:

[Illustration: THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE "CHESAPEAKE" AND THE "SHANNON."]

"The calm deliberation with which the American and English commanders
went out to seek each other's life and the earnestness with which they
urged their officers and men to steep their hands in the blood of
their fellow beings form one of the sombre pictures of naval history.
Lawrence was the youngest son of John Lawrence, Esquire,
counselor-at-law at Burlington, N.J., and was the second in command at
the celebrated capture of the _Philadelphia_ in the harbor of Tripoli.
Broke was the descendant of an ancient family which had lived in Broke
Hall, England, over three hundred and fifty years and for four hundred
years at Leighton. Both were men in the prime of manhood, Lawrence in
his thirty-second year and Broke in his thirty-seventh. Both were models
of chivalry and manly grace; both were held in the highest estimation in
their profession. Lawrence had just taken an affectionate farewell of
his two sons and an hour later was urging his men to "_Peacock_ them!
_Peacock_ them!" Broke a short time before had committed his wife to
God's mercy and soon afterward was urging his crew to 'Kill the men!
kill the men!' Both were men of the kindliest feelings and most tender
affections; both acknowledged the justice of the cause for which the
Americans were contending, yet with steady determination they went out
at the head of their ships' companies to take each other's life. A few
hours afterward, when Captain Broke fell on the _Chesapeake's_ decks
fainting and covered with his own blood, his lieutenants, on loosening
his clothes, found a small blue silk case suspended around his neck. It
contained a lock of his wife's hair."

[Illustration: DEATH OF CAPTAIN LAWRENCE.]

Lawrence, in accordance with his chivalrous nature, disdained to seek
any unfair advantage, his purpose being to engage in what is called a
fair yardarm and yardarm fight. It was toward the close of the first day
of summer, with thousands crowding the hills and points of advantage and
peering at the ships through glasses, that the battle opened by the fire
of the _Shannon_. Great damage was inflicted and much execution done by
the return broadside of the _Chesapeake_. The first fire severely
wounded Lawrence in the leg, but he refused to go below. Then the firing
became so close and rapid that half the American officers were killed or
wounded. The most frightful confusion that can be imagined followed.
When Lawrence formed his men to board after the two vessels had fouled
the bugler could not be found, whereupon Captain Broke led his own men
upon the deck of the _Chesapeake_.

It was at this critical moment that Lawrence was fatally wounded and
carried below. He kept calling out his commands while in the cockpit to
fight harder and to keep the guns going. His last words, often
repeated in his delirium, were "_Don't give up the ship!_" and they
formed the motto of the American navy for many years afterward.

[Illustration: THE OFFICERS OF THE "CHESAPEAKE" OFFERING THEIR SWORDS.]

In the wild, savage fighting, where everything was so mixed that an
American lieutenant joined the British boarders under the impression
that they were his own men, Captain Broke was fearfully wounded, though
he afterward recovered. The _Chesapeake_, with a loss of 47 killed and
99 wounded to 24 killed and 59 wounded of the enemy, became the prize of
the _Shannon_.




CHAPTER XV.

David Porter--A Clever Feat--Numerous Captures by the _Essex_--Her
Remarkable Cruise in the Pacific--Her Final Capture.


David Porter was born in 1780 and died in 1842. He came from a seafaring
family, and, entering the navy at an early age, did gallant service in
the war with France and Tripoli. He was the father of David Dixon
Porter, who, on account of his brilliant record in the war for the
Union, was made vice-admiral in 1866 and admiral in 1870.

The elder Porter was appointed captain of the _Essex_ at the beginning
of the War of 1812, and, leaving New York, started on a cruise after the
British 36-gun _Thetis_, which was on her way to South America with a
large amount of specie aboard. She took several unimportant prizes, and,
failing to meet the _Thetis_, turned northward and on the night of July
10, 1812, sighted a fleet of merchantmen.

The night was cloudy and dark and Porter with a great deal of cleverness
pushed his way among the vessels without his identity being suspected.
He had drawn in his guns, hidden most of his men and done all he could
to give the _Essex_ the appearance of being an inoffensive merchantman.
His object was to learn whether the escort was too powerful to be
attacked. He opened conversation with the captain of one of the vessels,
who, unsuspicious of his identity, informed him that the fleet was
carrying a thousand soldiers from Barbados to Quebec, and that the
convoying vessel was the _Minerva_, a 32-gun frigate. In addition,
several of the merchantmen were heavily armed.

Captain Porter's next act was still more audacious. He glided forward
among the fleet and hailed the captain of a second vessel, but the
latter became suspicious, and was on the point of signalling to the
escort the appearance of a stranger among them, when Porter thrust out
the muzzles of twenty cannon and warned him that if he failed to keep
perfect silence and follow in his wake he would blow him out of the
water. The English captain obeyed, and Porter extricated his prize with
such astonishing skill that not a vessel took the alarm. When a safe
point was reached, Porter found that his prize was a brig with about two
hundred British soldiers on board.

Having succeeded so well, Porter again returned to the fleet for another
capture. But by this time day was breaking and the character of his
vessel was discovered. It being useless to attempt further disguise, he
cleared for action and offered the _Minerva_ battle. The captain,
however, deemed it his duty to remain with his convoy, and continued his
course to Quebec, while Porter headed southward, afterward restoring his
prize to its owners for a liberal ransom.

Captain Porter had become so clever in disguising his vessel as a
merchantman that some days later he lured the British 16-gun ship-sloop
_Alert_ to attack him. In the space of eight minutes the _Alert_ was so
helplessly crippled that her captain surrendered. The _Essex_ did not
suffer the slightest injury and no men were killed on either vessel.

The _Essex_ had now five hundred prisoners aboard, and they formed an
element of serious danger, for they began plotting among themselves to
capture the ship from the Americans and turn her over to the enemy.
Captain Porter was a severe disciplinarian, and one of his practices was
to have the alarm of fire sounded at all hours of the day or night, that
his crew might be taught the successful way of fighting the ever-present
danger. To make such training perfect, he occasionally started a fire in
the hatches.

The leader in the conspiracy to seize the ship fixed upon a night to
make the attempt, and his friends were on the alert to join him the
moment he gave the signal. In one of the hammocks was sleeping a
midshipmite only eleven years old, but, young as he was, he was a hero.
Pistol in hand, the plotter tiptoed up beside the hammock to learn
whether the boy was asleep. The little fellow was never wider awake in
his life; but he kept his eyes closed and breathed regularly, so as to
deceive the scoundrel, who slipped away to lead his companions in their
murderous uprising.

The instant the man disappeared the boy midshipman sprang out of his
hammock, crept to the cabin and told Captain Porter what he had seen.
That officer ran into the berth deck and loudly shouted "_Fire_!" The
finely disciplined crew promptly answered the call, and going to the
main hatch, were speedily armed and received their orders from Captain
Porter. The plotters were overawed and the rebellion nipped in the bud.

Thus the _Essex_ was saved by the wits of a boy only eleven years old.
The name of that boy was David Glasgow Farragut, and he became the
greatest naval officer of the American navy. Of course I shall have more
to tell you about him later on.

Determined to rid himself of the dangerous prisoners, Captain Porter
placed them on board the _Alert_ and sent them to Nova Scotia on parole.
In a cruise of sixty days he made nine captures, recaptured five
privateers and merchantmen, and arrived in the Delaware early in
September.

He sailed again in the latter part of October with the smallest frigate
in the navy, but with a full complement of officers and men. Among the
former, it need hardly be said, was young Midshipman Farragut. The first
port at which he stopped was Port Praya, where the Portuguese governor
showed them much courtesy. In December the _Essex_ crossed the equator,
and soon after overhauled a British brig of war, which strained every
effort to escape. The two manoeuvred for position, but the _Essex_
proved her superiority, and, after a volley of musketry, which killed
one man, the _Nocton_, as she proved to be, hauled down her flag. She
carried only 10 guns and 31 men, but had $50,000 in specie on board.
Captain Porter placed an officer and crew in charge of the prize, with
instructions to make the nearest American port. While striving to do so
he was captured by the British frigate _Belvidera_.

Captain Porter's instructions were to meet the _Constitution_ and
_Hornet_, which were cruising in that part of the world. He made
continued efforts to do so, and frequently got on their track, but
finally had to give it up. Then Captain Porter formed the bold plan of
doubling Cape Horn and entering the Pacific ocean.

This venture was more dangerous than would be supposed, for all the
South American countries on that side of the continent were dominated by
Great Britain, and in entering the vast expanse the American knew he
would meet plenty of enemies and not a solitary friend. Like an army
when it invades a country, however, he determined to live off the enemy.
He knew that scores of English vessels were in the Pacific, and all
Porter had to do was to capture them. He had had sufficient experience
at that sort of work to give him confidence, and he liked the business.

Unfortunately, it was the most dangerous season of the year for doubling
the Horn, which is always attended with peril. The _Essex_ was caught in
a tempest that lasted for three days, and was so terrific that the
stoutest hearted sailors quailed. The escape of the gallant little ship
could not have been narrower, and she suffered great damage, but finally
the dreaded extremity of South America was weathered, and in the
beginning of March, 1813, the _Essex_ sailed into the calmer water of
the Pacific, where no armed American vessel had ever before penetrated.

The first halt was made off the island of Mocha, where a hunting party
secured a number of hogs, which were salted down for future use.
Captain Porter wished to keep secret his presence in that part of the
world until after he had secured a number of prizes, but the condition
of his vessel compelled him to put into Valparaiso, where he learned
that Chili had begun her war of independence against Spain.

A sail which was sighted displayed the Spanish colors, and, believing
her to be one of the vessels that had been preying upon American
commerce in the Pacific, Captain Porter hoisted the British flag. The
stranger approached and sent an armed boat to the _Essex_. It was
immediately sent back with orders for the Peruvian cruiser to come under
the lee of the _Essex_. This was done, and she was compelled to strike.
Upon the demand of Porter, her captain gave a list of all the vessels,
so far as he could remember, that were cruising in the Pacific. Then the
arms, ammunition and spars of the captive were thrown overboard and she
was allowed to go.

From that time forward the captures made by the _Essex_ were so numerous
that the full story would be monotonous. The swiftest and best of the
captured cruisers were fitted out with crews and added to the American
vessel, until Captain Porter had under his command seven ships, carrying
80 guns and 340 men, in addition to nearly a hundred prisoners. Still
more were added, and the cruise of the _Essex_ and her companions in
that part of the world became very much like a picnic.

A number of powerful British frigates were searching for the _Essex_,
which had wrought such prodigious mischief. Porter sailed for the
Marquesas Islands, reaching them in the latter part of October. There he
landed, built a fort and made the repairs of which his vessel stood in
sore need.

The work accomplished by Captain Porter was almost beyond computation.
He literally destroyed English commerce in the Pacific, for none of the
vessels not captured dared leave port, and the American merchant ships
were protected. The play being over, he craved more serious business. He
therefore set out to hunt up some of the British cruisers that were
trying to hunt him up.

In February, 1814, the _Essex_ and the _Essex Junior_, as one of the
newly manned prizes had been christened, entered Valparaiso, where they
learned that the 36-gun frigate _Phoebe_ was in the neighborhood
searching for them. Captain Porter gave a reception to the officials of
Valparaiso, and the next morning, while half of the crew were ashore,
the _Essex Junior_ signalled from the offing that two British frigates
were in sight. They came into port, the captain of the _Phoebe_
exchanging, compliments with Porter, they being old acquaintances; but,
all the same, each was distrustful of the other, and both maintained
what may be termed a position of armed neutrality.

For six weeks the two frigates blockaded Porter. Learning then that
other ships were expected, Porter determined to get to sea. In the
attempt, his vessel was completely disabled by a storm. Despite the
neutrality of the port, the two British frigates attacked him, keeping
beyond range of the _Essex's_ short guns and thus rendering her
perfectly powerless to help herself. The _Essex_ was pounded at long
range until 58 of her men were killed and 66 wounded, when, to save her
officers and crew from annihilation, she surrendered.




CHAPTER XVI.

Oliver Hazard Perry--Prompt and Effective Work--"We Have Met the Enemy
and They Are Ours"--Death of Perry.


Oliver Hazard Perry was born in Rhode Island in 1785, and entered the
American navy as midshipman when fourteen years old, under his father,
Captain Christopher Raymond Perry, who commanded the 28-gun ship
_General Greene_, which did good service in the war against France. The
son also served on the _Constellation_ in the Tripolitan war, and
afterward gave his attention to ordnance.

The surrender of Detroit by General William Hull at the opening of the
war gave the British control of the Territory of Michigan and Lake Erie.
They had formed the formidable plan of extending the Dominion of Canada
along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to the Gulf of Mexico, thus
inserting an immense wedge between the United States and the great West,
which has since become so important a part of our country. The only way
of blocking this far-reaching and dangerous scheme was for the Americans
to regain control of Lake Erie, and to young Perry was assigned the
seemingly almost impossible task.

At the little town of Erie, Perry began the construction of his fleet,
and pushed it with such vigor, in the face of every sort of obstacle,
that early in July, 1813, he had ten vessels ready for sea, but only
enough men to man one of them. The end of the month made the total three
hundred, but he determined to get to sea on the first opportunity.
Outside was a powerful blockading squadron, and the water in the lake
was so low that it was not until the 4th of August that he was able to
get all his vessels over the bar. They comprised the _Scorpion_,
_Ariel_, _Lawrence_ (flagship), _Caledonia_, _Niagara_, _Somers_,
_Porcupine_, _Tigress_ and _Trippe_. The total guns carried were 54,
with a force of 490 men.

The British squadron consisted of six vessels, with an aggregate of 63
guns and 502 men. They were under the command of Commander Robert H.
Barclay, who had fought under Nelson at Trafalgar, and in another battle
lost an arm. It was less than three months before that the dying
Lawrence had uttered the appeal, "Don't give up the ship!" and Perry
hoisted a flag with the words displayed in large letters. As it floated
in the breeze from his vessel it was received with enthusiastic cheers.

It was on the 10th of September, 1814, that the two squadrons met at the
western end of Lake Erie. When a mile apart, the _Detroit_, the British
flagship, fired a shot to test the distance. It ricochetted past the
_Lawrence_. A few minutes later she fired a second shot, which smashed
into the starboard bulwarks of the _Lawrence_ and sent a cloud of
splinters flying. The reply to these was a 32-pounder from the
_Scorpion_. Then the firing became more rapid, the enemy possessing the
advantage at long range.

Most of the shots from the British vessels were directed against Perry's
flagship, which suffered considerably. He therefore made sail to get to
close quarters. His ship and the _Scorpion_ and _Ariel_ drew
considerably ahead of the rest of the fleet. As a consequence they
received the main fire of the enemy, which soon became concentrated on
the _Lawrence_, that was gallantly fighting against overwhelming odds.
Moreover, she was at a hopeless disadvantage with her short guns, and
soon became a wreck, with a large number of her men killed or wounded.

Gradually the boats drifted nearer and the Americans were able to make
use of their short guns and small arms. Perry's clothing was torn by
splinters and two musket balls passed through his hat. The battle
continued for more than two hours with the utmost desperation, during
which the scenes on the _Lawrence_ were too frightful to be described.
Finally the wrecked flagship began drifting helplessly out of action,
when Perry determined to transfer his flag to the _Niagara_.

[Illustration: COMMODORE PERRY AT THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE.]

With his broad pennant folded over his arm, and accompanied by a younger
brother and four seamen, he stepped into the small boat, which began
pulling in the direction of the _Niagara_. The thick smoke concealed
them for a time, but it soon lifted, and Barclay aimed a shot at the
boat. He said in his official report that he saw the shot strike the
boat, whereupon Perry took off his coat and plugged the hole with it.
But for the temporary veil the American commander could not have made
half the brief distance between the _Lawrence_ and the _Niagara_. As it
was, however, he reached the latter without a scratch. He hoisted his
pennant and the flag bearing the immortal words of the gallant Lawrence.
Then an officer was sent in a boat to communicate the orders of the
Commodore to the other vessels. This was hardly done when Perry saw with
the keenest distress the surrender of the _Lawrence_. Such submission
was inevitable, for almost every man on board was either killed or
wounded and every gun on the engaged side was disabled. The English
crews broke into cheers, believing the battle won, but they could not
take possession of the _Lawrence_, which drifted out of range.

Captain Barclay now made an attempt to change his line of battle with a
view of bringing his other broadsides into action. The line became
broken and entangled, observing which, Perry took instant advantage of
it. The _Niagara_, passing through the disorganized squadron, raked the
vessels fore and aft, while the other American vessels promptly
followed, and added to the confusion of the enemy and the dreadful
destruction on board. The Americans were now at close quarters and able
to do their best work, and so dreadful was it that fifteen minutes later
a white handkerchief was waved at the end of a boarding-pike on one of
the boats as a signal of surrender.

Firing ceased, and in the smoke and confusion two of the enemy's boats
darted away in an attempt to escape; but they were followed and brought
back. Determined to honor the _Lawrence_, Perry now had himself rowed to
the wreck, drifting some distance away in charge of the few that had
survived the awful conflict. Perry took his position aft and with calm
dignity received the surrender. As the defeated officers approached and
presented their swords in turn, he told each to retain the weapon,
accompanying the remark with words of compliment for the bravery he had
displayed.

The loss of the Americans was 27 killed and 96 wounded, and that of the
British 41 killed and 94 wounded. Perry showed every possible kindness
to the suffering prisoners, who expressed their gratitude. Commander
Barclay displayed conspicuous bravery throughout the battle and was
twice wounded, one of his injuries depriving him of the use of his
single remaining arm.

From what was stated at the beginning of this chapter, it will be seen
that this battle was one of the most important of the war. Not only was
it a glorious victory of itself, the occasion being the first time in
England's history that she surrendered a whole squadron, but it settled
a much more momentous matter. The British General Proctor was waiting
with his army on the Canadian shore ready to be carried across the lake
by the English fleet, in the event of their being successful, and
pressing his invasion of Ohio, which would have been an almost fatal
blow to our country.

On the Ohio shore General Harrison was waiting with an American force to
invade Canada, if Perry gained a victory. Hardly had the surrender been
made when the commandant, using his cap for a desk and the back of an
old letter for paper, pencilled the despatch which has become famous:
"We have met the enemy and they are ours--two ships, two brigs, one
schooner and one sloop," which he sent by messenger to General Harrison.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE.]

In the following month Harrison invaded Canada, with Proctor retreating
before him, and accompanied by the famous Indian, Tecumseh, and several
hundred of his warriors. Proctor halted near the Moravian Towns, where a
battle was fought October 5, in which the British and Indians were
decisively defeated. The Indian confederacy was destroyed and all danger
of the invasion of Ohio ended.

Master-Commandant Perry's victory caused his promotion to the rank of
captain, and Congress awarded him a gold medal, besides suitably
rewarding his officers and men. After the war he was sent into southern
waters to help suppress piracy, which had become very troublesome. While
engaged on this duty he was seized with yellow fever, and died August
24, 1819, just as his ship reached Port of Spain, Trinidad.




CHAPTER XVII.

A Hero of the Olden Days--Cruise of the _Constitution_--Her Capture of
the _Cyane_ and _Levant_--Reminiscences of Admiral Stewart--His Last
Days.


During the early days of President Lincoln's administration, before the
firing upon Fort Sumter by the Confederates, the all-absorbing question
was as to whether or not the fort should be reinforced by the
Government. A good many opposed, because it was known that the attempt
would bring on a conflict, and, if war was to come, each was anxious
that the other side should strike the first blow.

It was amid those times of excitement, doubt and trouble that Commodore
Charles Stewart left his modest home near Bordentown, N.J., and went by
train to Washington. From the station he made his way straight to the
White House and sent in his name to President Lincoln. As usual, the
Executive had a swarm of visitors, but he directed the distinguished
caller to be admitted at once. As the tall, sad-faced man rose from his
chair he towered fully two feet above the diminutive form of the naval
officer in his blue swallow-tail, who took the proffered hand, and,
after a few conventional words, looked up and said in his brisk manner:

"Mr. President, I'll reinforce Fort Sumter."

"You, Commodore! We are just discussing the question."

"There's no need of discussing it; it must be done! Give me the men and
ships--there won't be many required--and I'll do it."

The President saw that his caller was in earnest, and he respected him
too highly to indulge in anything like jesting.

"I am inclined to think as you do, Commodore, but--"

"But _what_?" impatiently interrupted the veteran.

"You have already done so much for your country that it seems only fair
that we should give the younger men a chance."

"Younger men! What's the matter with me? I'm not old enough yet to need
a cane."

"I observe that; you are wonderfully spry for one of your years. Let me
see, what _is_ your age?"

"Not quite eighty-four."

"Why, you are still a young man; but the trouble is, Commodore, we have
so many that are still younger, that they are plaguing the life out of
me; I don't see how I can refuse them, but I shall be grateful to have
the benefit of your counsel any time you are willing to give it."

[Illustration: THE BOMBARDMENT OF FORT SUMTER.]

"Counsel be hanged! We have had too much _talk_; it's time for actions,
and I demand that you give me a chance with the rest."

With that inimitable tact for which President Lincoln was noted, he
succeeded in soothing the ruffled feelings of the Commodore (soon
afterward made an admiral), but the old gentleman was not quite
satisfied, when he bade the President good-by, without having obtained
the opportunity to re-enter the active service of his country.

This little anecdote, which is authentic, may serve to introduce my last
references to one of the most remarkable naval heroes of our country. If
his fire, vigor and patriotism burned so brightly in 1861, little need
be said in way of explanation of its nature when he was less than forty
years of age.

Captain Stewart came back from a cruise in the West Indies in the spring
of 1814, and found the _Constitution_, "Old Ironsides," closely
blockaded by a powerful British squadron. That remarkable frigate had
already won such a reputation that the enemy were determined she should
not get to sea again. They held her locked in the port for months, but
despite their unceasing vigilance, Captain Stewart, who was a consummate
seaman, slipped out in December and sailed away.

He made several captures, and the frigates of the enemy began an
industrious search for him, while all the lesser craft strained every
nerve to keep out of his way. On the 20th of February, 1815, when off
the coast of South America, he gave chase to two of the enemy's vessels,
one of which proved to be the _Cyane_ and the other the _Levant_. The
two together carried 55 guns and 313 men, while the _Constitution_ had
51 guns and a crew of 456 men. The _Cyane_ was properly a frigate, and
she being at the rear, Stewart opened fire from the long guns of his
port battery. The response from the starboard guns of the enemy was
prompt, and for a time the cannonade was deafening. The _Constitution_
gave most of her attention to the rear ship. The smoke around the
American becoming so dense as to cloud the vision, Stewart slipped
forward and quickly delivered a double-shotted broadside. Before it
could be repeated the other ship attempted to gain a raking position
across the stern of the _Constitution_. By a splendid manoeuvre,
Stewart defeated the purpose, and, placing himself abreast the rear
ship, delivered another destructive broadside before the more sluggish
enemy comprehended their danger. He maintained his tremendous fire for a
time, when he observed the other ship luffing across his course to
secure a raking position, whereupon, with the same unsurpassable
seamanship that he had shown from the first, he crossed the wake of the
foremost ship and obtained a raking position himself. Before the vessel
could extricate itself Stewart raked her twice. Then the second ship
repeated the attempt of its consort, but Stewart not only defeated her,
but again laid the _Constitution_ so as to rake her.

In the manoeuvring the two ships drew up side by side, and, the enemy
opening with the port battery, Stewart replied with his starboard guns.
The fire of the American was so amazingly accurate and effective that in
a short time the enemy hoisted a light and fired a gun in token of
surrender. The battle occurred in the early hours of evening.

Upon sending an officer to take possession, it was found that the
captured vessel was the English 32-gun frigate _Cyane_. It took an hour
to transfer and secure the prisoners, when the _Constitution_ started
after the other ship, which was some distance away, engaged in repairing
her rigging. Seeing the American approaching, and not knowing what fate
had befallen her consort, the Englishman gallantly bore down to meet his
formidable enemy. The two vessels passed each other and exchanged
broadsides, but with another display of masterly seamanship Stewart,
before the other was aware of her danger, crossed her wake and raked
her.

This startling experience convinced the Englishman that he had met his
master and he crowded on all sail in the desperate effort to escape. The
_Constitution_ was immediately after her, and by ten o'clock secured a
position from which to deliver another of her terrible broadsides,
seeing which the enemy surrendered. She proved to be the British sloop
of war _Levant_, of 21 guns.

In this battle the _Constitution_ had 4 killed and 10 wounded, while on
the _Cyane_ and _Levant_ 35 were killed and 42 wounded. Of all the
battles in which this famous ship was engaged, there was none more
remarkable than this. When Stewart advanced to the attack he believed
both his enemies were frigates. The manner in which he baffled every
effort of the two to rake him, while he repeatedly raked them, was one
of the many proofs that the American navy contained no finer seaman than
he. The grand old _Constitution_ seemed to anticipate every wish of her
commander and responded with a promptness that could not have been
surpassed. The discipline of the crew was perfect, and, after all,
therefore, it is little wonder that one of the last acts of the famous
ship was the most brilliant of them all.

It is stated by Richard Watson Gilder that when Captain Stewart was
talking with the respective captains of the _Cyane_ and _Levant_ in his
own cabin, the two fell into a dispute, each charging the other with
failing to do the right thing during the engagement, and insisting that
if it had been done they would not have been defeated. Stewart sat
amused and interested until he saw they were becoming angry, when he
interfered.

"Now, gentlemen," said he, "there's no need of your growing warm over
this affair; no matter what evolutions you made, or what you did, the
end would have been the same. If you don't believe it, I will put each
of you back on your ship with the same crews and we'll fight it all over
again."

Neither of the gentlemen was prepared to accept this proposal, and there
can be no doubt that Captain Stewart was warranted in his declaration,
and his prisoners knew it.

Stewart started for home with his prizes, and early in March anchored in
Port Praya. While there, three powerful British frigates approached,
which, through a series of singular coincidences, were blockading Boston
at the time the _Constitution_ made her escape some months before. They
were anxious, above everything else, to capture the most dreaded ship
in the American navy. Stewart knew that his only chance was to get away
before they shut him in, for the experience of the _Essex_ at Valparaiso
proved that the neutrality of no port would protect an American cruiser.

Accordingly, he lost no time in getting to sea, leaving with the utmost
haste and signalling to the _Cyane_ and _Levant_ to follow. They obeyed,
and were handled with such skill that all got to sea, with the squadron
in hot pursuit. The chase was continued for a long time, with the
remarkable result that both the _Constitution_ and _Cyane_ safely
reached Boston, while the _Levant_ was recaptured--a small reward for
the exertions of the British squadron.

Maclay says: "In this brilliant cruise Captain Stewart proved himself an
officer of rare ability. His action with the _Cyane_ and _Levant_, and
his masterly escape from the British squadron, called for all the
qualities of a great commander, while his unhesitating attack on what
appeared, in the heavy weather, to be two frigates, the beautiful style
in which the _Constitution_ was put through the most difficult
manoeuvres, and the neatness with which he captured a superior force,
have ranked him as one of the most remarkable naval officers of his day.
Congress awarded him a sword and gold medal."

It happened one day, when I was talking with Admiral Stewart at his
home, that he showed me a Toledo sword which had been presented to him
by the King of Spain, because of his rescue of a Spanish ship, drifting
helplessly in mid ocean, with the captain and all the crew dead or
prostrated by yellow fever.

The blade of the weapon, although quite plain and ordinary looking, of
course was very valuable, but the hilt was so rough and crude that I
expressed my surprise.

"I supposed that when a king makes a present of a sword," I said, "that
the hilt is generally of a more costly pattern than that."

"So it is," replied Stewart, accepting it from me and playfully making a
few lightning-like passes in the air just to show that he had not
forgotten how to handle the weapon; "that was a very handsome sword when
it came to me, and I could not accept it until authorized by Congress.
During my fight with the _Cyane_ and _Levant_ I was walking back and
forth with this sword under my arm, the hilt slightly projecting in
front of my chest, when a grapeshot slipped it off, as it grazed me. The
hilt which it now has was put there by my gunner."

"Were you ever wounded in battle?" I asked. "I was struck only once,
and it amounted to nothing. It was in the same battle. A pigeon became
so frightened by the smoke and racket that it flew hither and thither,
and finally perched on my shoulder. While there a musket ball struck its
claw at the junction of the toes with the leg, and entered my shoulder.
The resistance it met was so tough that it saved my shoulder from being
shattered; except for that, the hurt must have proved serious, but it
did not bother me at all."

The Admiral, still loosely holding the weapon in his hand, turned his
faded eyes toward the window and gazed out over the snow. Those eyes
seemed to look backward over the vista of forty, fifty, sixty, seventy,
eighty years, and must have recalled the many stirring scenes in which
he had taken part, as well as the faces of the brave fellows, like
himself, who had gone from earth long ago, leaving him alone. Then the
old veteran, still erect and with the fires of patriotism glowing in his
brave heart, softly murmured:

"I have been more fortunate than I deserve; strange that I should be the
only one left, but it cannot be for long."

And yet he lived for seven more years. Then, when a scirrhus cancer
appeared on his tongue, a skilful surgeon told him it could be easily
removed and need cause him no trouble.

"Oh," said the Admiral, who was then past ninety, "I've lived long
enough; let it alone."

He died a few months later, and, as has been stated, was in his
ninety-second year.




CHAPTER XVIII.

Captures Made After the Signing of the Treaty of Peace--The
Privateers--Exploit of the _General Armstrong_--Its Far-Reaching Result.


The treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States was
signed December 24, 1814, at the city of Ghent, in Belgium. Had the
submarine telegraph been known at that time, or had we possessed our
ocean greyhounds, a good deal of blood-shed would have been saved, and
the most important victory of the whole war would not have been gained.
General Jackson won his famous triumph at New Orleans--still celebrated
in all parts of the country--January 8, 1815; the _President_ was
captured by a British fleet, January 15; Captain Stewart captured the
_Cyane_ and _Levant_, February 20; the _Hornet_ took the _Penguin_,
March 23, and the _Peacock_ captured the _Nautilus_, in a distant part
of the world, June 30. That was the last of hostilities between the two
countries, and let us pray that it will be the last for all time to
come.

In the account of the naval exploits of the War of 1812, I have confined
myself to those of the regular cruisers of the United States, but in no
other war in which we were engaged did the privateers play so prominent
a part. These vessels were usually schooners or brigs of 200 or 300
tons, with crews varying from 75 to 100 men. They left all of our
principal ports, many of the swiftest and most effective going from
Baltimore, but twenty-six were fitted out in New York alone in the
summer of 1812. Probably the whole number engaged was about six hundred.
Of the four hundred British prizes captured in the second year of the
war, four-fifths were taken by privateers. A favorite cruising ground
was the West Indies, but some of the vessels ventured across the ocean
and displayed a degree of boldness that recalled the days of Paul Jones.
Among the most famous were the _Reindeer_, _Avon_ and _Blakeley_, built
in a few weeks, near Boston, in 1814. They were so large and well
equipped that more than once they attacked and defeated British
warships.

Some of the privateers which left Charleston, Bristol and Plymouth were
nothing but pilot boats, carrying twenty or thirty men each, who gave
their attention to the West Indies. They were often obliged to deplete
their crews to that extent in order to man their prizes that barely
enough were left to manage their own ships. In those days all, of
course, were sailing vessels, and they carried nothing in the shape of
armor. Their guns were cannon, loading at the muzzle and firing solid
shot. The most effective of these was the "Long Tom," which was
generally mounted on a pivot forward, and used in firing upon a fleeing
vessel.

[Illustration: GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON.]

(_Afterward President of the United States_.)

The most famous achievement was that of the privateer _General
Armstrong_, which carried nine long guns, the largest being 24-pounders,
or "long nines." She sailed with a large crew, which was depleted to
ninety on account of the number in charge of the prizes captured. Her
commander was Captain Samuel C. Reid, born in Connecticut in 1783, and
died in 1861. It was he who designed the accepted pattern of the United
States flag, with its thirteen stripes and one star for each State. The
fifteen-striped flag, which it has been stated was carried through the
War of 1812, remained the pattern until 1818, when the change referred
to was made.

While engaged upon one of his successful cruises, Captain Reid put into
the harbor of Fayal, one of the Azores, to provision his ship. He was
thus employed when Admiral Sir Thomas Cochrane, of England, reached the
same port and on the same errand. He had with him three vessels: the
flagship _Plantagenet_, 74 guns; the frigate _Rotan_, 38 guns, and the
brig _Carnation_, 18 guns. This powerful squadron was manned by 2,000
men, and was on the way to New Orleans with the purpose of occupying the
city.

When the British admiral discovered the American privateer within the
harbor, he placed his own vessels so as to prevent its escape. Captain
Reid did not think the enemy would attack him, since the harbor was
neutral, but the previous experience of his countrymen warned him that
it was not safe to count upon the British respecting the laws of war
when there was an opportunity to destroy one of the pests of the ocean.
He cleared his decks and made every preparation against attack, and it
was well he did so.

It was not long before he observed several boats, crowded with men,
leave the _Plantagenet_ and row toward him. This was on the 26th of
September. There being no doubt of their hostile purpose, Captain Reid
several times warned them off, but they paid no attention to him. He
then fired upon the boats, and a number of the crews were killed and
wounded. This was a sort of reception they had not counted upon, and the
boats turned about and hastily rowed back to the flagship.

"We have got to fight," said Captain Reid to his men; "they will attack
us again to-night, and things will be lively."

There was no thought of surrender on the part of the Americans, though,
as will be noted, they were threatened by a force more than twenty times
as numerous as their own. They sent their valuables ashore and disposed
of everything, as if not a man expected to emerge from the fight alive.
All were cool and confident, and the dauntless courage of the commander
inspired every one around him.

Night settled over the harbor, and by and by the sounds of oars showed
the enemy were approaching again. Through the gloom seven boats,
containing two hundred men, loomed into view, coming straight for the
_General Armstrong_. Each carried a carronade, with which they opened
fire on the privateer. The reply of the latter was so well directed and
effective that three of the boats were sunk and their crews left
struggling in the water. The cries that sounded across the harbor left
no doubt of the effect of the fire of the American.

The four remaining boats were not frightened off, but, rowing with might
and main, reached the side of the vessel and began clambering on board.
They were enraged, and as their heads rose above the gunwales they
shouted, "No quarter!"

"No quarter!" replied the Americans, discharging their pistols in their
faces and pressing them back into the water with their pikes. The
assailants displayed great bravery and made desperate efforts to board
the privateer; but the Americans needed not the incentive of the warning
that no quarter would be given to fight with all the vigor and skill at
their command. The struggle was a furious one, but in the end the
British were so decisively defeated that only two of the boats returned
to the ships. The others, filled with dead and wounded, drifted ashore.

[Illustration: BRITISH ATTACK ON SULLIVAN ISLAND.]

(_Our Last Naval Engagement with England_.)

In this brief but terrific struggle there were only two Americans killed
and seven wounded, while the enemy acknowledged a loss of thirty-four
killed and eighty-six wounded, the former including the leader of the
expedition.

Admiral Cochrane was so incensed by the rough treatment his men had
received that he determined to throw neutrality to the winds and destroy
the defiant privateer. Nothing more was attempted that evening, but in
the morning the _Carnation_ advanced to the attack of the _General
Armstrong_. This gave the latter a chance to bring its Long Tom into
play, and it was served with such unerring accuracy that not a shot
missed. Before the brig could come to close quarters she was so crippled
that she was obliged to withdraw.

The three ships now closed in. It would have been folly to fight them.
So Captain Reid scuttled his ship, lowered his boats and rowed ashore.
The enemy were disposed to follow him thither, but he and his men took
refuge in an old stone fortress and dared the Englishmen to do so. Upon
second thought they decided to leave the Americans to themselves.

This wonderful exploit was celebrated in song, one stanza of which ended
thus:


"From set of sun till rise of morn, through the long September night,
Ninety men against two thousand, and the ninety won the fight;

                                   In the harbor of Fayal the Azore."

While the victory of itself was one of the most remarkable of which
there is any record, it resembled that of Perry on Lake Erie in its
far-reaching consequences. Admiral Cochrane found his ships so crippled
that he returned to England to refit. He then sailed for New Orleans,
which he reached a few days after it had been occupied by General
Jackson. But for the delay caused by his fight with Captain Reid he
would have shut out General Jackson from the city and prevented his
winning the most glorious land victory of the whole war.




LESSER WARS.

CHAPTER XIX.


Resentment of the Barbary States--The War with Algiers--Captain
Decatur's Vigorous Course--His Astonishing Success as a Diplomat.


It was not alone in our wars with the leading nations that the American
navy won glory. Wherever there arose a demand for its work, its
patriotism, skill and bravery were instant to respond.

England had its hands full during the early years of the nineteenth
century in combating Napoleon Bonaparte and other nations with which she
became embroiled. Had she been wise and treated the United States with
justice, she would have saved herself the many humiliations received at
our hands. She is another nation to-day, but it was wholly her fault
that her "children" on this side of the ocean were forced to strike for
the defence of their rights in the Revolution and the War of 1812.

In the account of our war with Tripoli it has been shown that the young
American navy performed brilliant service. The Barbary States took
naturally to piracy, and Great Britain, by securing immunity for her
vessels through the payment of tribute, also secured a virtual monopoly
of the commerce of the Mediterranean. Her policy was a selfish one, for
she believed the United States was too weak to send any effective
warships into that part of the world. The story of Tripoli convinced her
of the mistake of this belief.

The Barbary States were sour over their defeat, and, when the War of
1812 broke out, they eagerly seized the occasion to pick a quarrel with
us. The Dey of Algiers opened the ball by insisting that $27,000 should
be paid him, the same being past due (under the old treaty providing for
tribute from the United States), owing to the difference in the methods
of computing time by the two countries. Since our war with England
prevented the sending of any force to the Mediterranean at that time,
the consul complied and the blackmail was handed to the Dey.

This concession only whetted the barbarian's appetite, and his next step
was to order the consul to leave the country, since he was not honest
enough to make his residence in the Dey's dominions congenial to the
latter. About that time the Dey received a present of valuable naval
stores from England, and he lost no time in sending out his corsairs to
prey upon American commerce.

Tripoli and Tunis were not so active, but believing the British boast
that they would sweep the American navy from the seas, they allowed the
warships of that nation to recapture several prizes that the American
privateers had sent into their ports. Their sympathies were wholly with
England and against the United States, which they hated with an
intensity natural to their savage nature.

The United States bided its time. No sooner had the War of 1812 closed
than our Government decided to give its attention to Algiers, whose
defiant Dey had not only refused to allow his American prisoners to be
ransomed, but had insolently declared that he meant to add a good many
more to them.

Hardly had the treaty with England been proclaimed when two squadrons
were ordered into Algerian waters. The first was under the command of
Captain William Bainbridge and assembled at Boston, and the second,
under Captain Stephen Decatur, was organized at New York. Decatur was
the first to get under way, sailing on May 20 with a squadron consisting
of ten vessels, mounting 210 guns. He had under his direct command
nearly all the seamen who had served under him and survived the last
war.

It may seem that Decatur had an easy task before him, but Maclay shows
that the force against which he sailed was really the stronger. It
consisted of 5 frigates, 6 sloops of war and 1 schooner--all carrying
360 guns, which exceeded those of the American squadron by 50 per cent.
The Algerian admiral was the terror of the Mediterranean. He had risen
from the lowest to the highest rank by his indomitable valor and skill.
He once captured by boarding in broad daylight a Portuguese frigate
within sight of Gibraltar. He had performed other valiant exploits; his
ships were well equipped and manned, and the crews trained in modern
warfare.

In addition, the city of Algiers was so strongly fortified that Lord
Nelson declared that twenty-five ships of the line would not be more
than enough to capture it. As Decatur drew near the Portugal coast he
made guarded inquiries as to the whereabouts of the Algerian squadron.
He used the utmost care to prevent his presence from becoming known to
the enemy, and finally heard that which led him to believe the Moorish
admiral had passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and entered the
Mediterranean. At Gibraltar Decatur saw several boats hurrying off to
Algiers to warn his enemy of his danger. He made sail up the
Mediterranean, hoping to beat the despatch boats. The admiral's flagship
was descried, and, still striving to avert suspicion, the American ships
worked gradually toward him. Before they could get within range the
Moorish admiral took the alarm, and, crowding on every stitch of canvas,
made a resolute effort to escape. He handled his ship with great skill,
and Decatur feared he would succeed in reaching some neutral port or
elude him in the night, which was near at hand.

A hot chase followed, and the Turks soon opened on the American flagship
and wounded several men, but Decatur reserved his fire until able to
deliver one of his fearful broadsides. A shot literally cut the Moorish
admiral in two. A few minutes later a second broadside was fired, but no
signal of surrender was made, and the men in the tops continued firing
until the American marines picked them off. Seeing there was no escape
for the enemy, and wishing to save the unnecessary shedding of blood,
Decatur took a position off the frigate's bow, whereupon she made a
vigorous effort to escape.

In doing this, she headed directly for the 18-gun brig _Epervier_, which
was in danger of being run down; but the plucky master-commandant, John
Downes, backed and filled away with wonderful skill, chased the flying
frigate, delivered nine diminutive broadsides and compelled the Turk to
strike his colors.

Upon taking possession of the prize it was found that 30 had been killed
and there were 406 prisoners. On the _Guerriere_ 3 had fallen and 11
were wounded by the fire of the enemy.

Believing that the rest of the Algerian squadron would make haste to
their home port, Decatur hastened thither with the view of cutting them
off. If the Dey refused to come to terms, he intended to blockade the
squadron and bombard the city. It was on the 28th of June, 1815, that
the American fleet appeared off Algiers, and the commander signalled a
request for the Swedish consul to come aboard. He came out a few hours
later, accompanied by the Algerian captain of the port. When Decatur
proved by the testimony of one of the native prisoners that their
admiral had been killed and his ship and a second one captured, the
officer was astounded, and so alarmed that he asked the American
commander on what terms he would make peace.

Decatur was prepared for this question, and produced a letter to the Dey
from the President of the United States, in which it was declared that
the only conditions upon which peace could be made was the full and
final relinquishment by Algiers of all claim to tribute in the future,
and the guarantee that American commerce would not be molested. The
captain, like all Orientals, began to quibble to gain time, asking that
the commissioners should land and conduct the negotiations on shore.
Decatur replied that they must be negotiated on board the _Guerriere_
and nowhere else.

The next day the Moorish captain returned with full powers to negotiate.
Decatur now notified him that, in addition to the terms already named,
every American prisoner must be given up without ransom, and the value,
to the last penny, of their stolen property restored. Other minor
demands were added, all of which were within the province of Decatur,
who had been clothed with full authority to make peace. The captain
asked for a truce that he might lay the terms before the Dey. This was
denied. Then he asked for a delay of three hours.

"Not three minutes," replied Decatur; "if the remaining ships of your
squadron appear before the treaty is signed, or before every American
prisoner is on board this ship, I will capture every one of them."

[Illustration: CAPTAIN BAINBRIDGE AND THE DEY OF ALGIERS.]

The Moor was thoroughly cowed by the aggressive American, and,
promising to do all he could to secure the consent of the Dey, he was
hastily rowed ashore. It was understood that if the Dey agreed to the
terms the captain would return in the boat with a white flag displayed
at the bow.

He had been gone but a short time when an Algerian ship of war was
discovered, crowded with soldiers and approaching. Decatur instantly
cleared for action, and had started to meet the enemy, when the port
captain was observed approaching as rapidly in his boat as his men could
row, and with the white signal fluttering from the bow. All the
Americans, including Decatur, were disappointed, but as he had promised,
he waited until the boat was within hail. Then he called out to know
whether the treaty was signed. He was told that it was, and in a short
time the prisoners were brought alongside and delivered to their
rescuers. Wan, emaciated and hollow-eyed from their long and bitter
imprisonment, they wept tears of joy and kissed the American flag that,
coming so many thousand miles, had brought them deliverance.

Thus in two weeks after the arrival of the American squadron in Algerian
waters, every demand of its Government was complied with, and a treaty
of peace made on terms dictated by its gallant and faithful
representative. It will be admitted that Stephen Decatur proved himself
one of the most successful diplomats as well as intrepid and skilful of
commanders.

He now proceeded to Tunis and notified the Dey that he would give him
twelve hours in which to pay $46,000 for allowing the seizure of
American prizes in his port during the late war. The Dey paid it. The
next call of the American commander was on the Bashaw of Tripoli, who,
although he blustered a good deal, was compelled to hand over $25,000
for a similar breach of the law.

Among the vessels of the American squadron were three--the _Guerriere_,
_Macedonian_, and the _Peacock_--which had been captured from Great
Britain during the late war. This fact gave peculiar point to the
reproof of the Dey's prime minister to the British consul: "You told us
that the Americans should be swept from the seas in six months by your
navy, and now they make war upon us with some of your own vessels which
they took from you."




CHAPTER XX.

Piracy in the West Indies--Its Cause--Means by Which It Was Wiped
Out--Piracy in the Mediterranean.


We hear little of pirates in these days, but for ten years or more after
the close of the War of 1812 the West Indies were infested by them. Our
Government saw that in self-defense they must be wiped out, for they
grew bolder with every month and made it unsafe for our commerce in
those waters.

Where did they come from and what gave rise to the ocean nuisances?
About the time named Spain was the mistress of most of the South
American countries. When she discovered America through Columbus, and
for a long period afterward, she was one of the greatest maritime
nations in the world. Like England at the present time, she had colonies
in all parts of the globe, and had she not been so cruel and unwise in
the treatment of her dependencies, would still have retained a great
deal of her former greatness and power; but she is one of the few
nations that never learn from experience, and a short time after our
second war with Great Britain her South American colonies began
revolting against her, and one by one they gained their independence.

Among the most powerful of the rebelling provinces were Buenos Ayres
and Venezuela; and, taking lesson from the success of our privateers,
they sent out many swift sailing, well-armed vessels to prey upon
Spanish commerce. They did their work so effectively that by and by they
extended their attacks to the vessels of all nations. Nothing being done
for a time to check them, they grew rapidly in numbers and audacity,
until, as has been stated, the West Indies swarmed with the pests. The
men living along the coast found buccaneering so profitable that they
gave up their peaceful pursuits and became free-booters of the sea. Like
the Spaniards themselves, they were ferocious, and generally murdered
the crews of the captured vessels and then divided the plunder among
themselves.

Seeing that something must be done to check these intolerable outrages,
our Government gave the task, in 1819, to Oliver Hazard Perry, the hero
of Lake Erie. His work was more difficult than would be supposed, for,
in addition to destroying the pirates, he had to avoid offending the
countries named, with whom we wished to maintain friendly relations.
They sent out regular cruisers that had the same right to prey upon
Spanish commerce that our privateers had to attack English ships when we
were at war with their country. Some of these cruisers secretly engaged
in piracy; many that flew the black flag, in the presence of those who
could not defend themselves, claimed to be authorized privateers at
other times and carried forged commissions. They were treacherous, cruel
and merciless to the last degree.

It will be seen, therefore, that the task assigned to Captain Perry
required quick decision, courage and discretion. He possessed all those
qualities in a high degree, and, in the performance of his duty, reached
the mouth of the Orinoco in July, 1815, in command of three powerful
ships. The following extract from his journal will give a vivid idea of
the discomforts which he and his men underwent in the performance of
their work:

"The sun, as soon as it shows itself in the morning, strikes almost
through you. Mosquitoes, sand flies and gnats cover you, and as the sun
gets up higher it becomes entirely calm and the rays pour down a heat
that is insufferable. The fever that it creates, together with the
irritation caused by the insects, produces a thirst which is insatiable,
to quench which we drink water at a temperature of eighty-two degrees.
About four o'clock in the afternoon a rain squall, accompanied by a
little wind, generally takes place. It might be supposed that this would
cool the air, but not so, for the steam which arises as soon as the sun
comes out makes the heat still more intolerable. At length night
approaches and we go close inshore and anchor. Myriads of mosquitoes and
gnats come off to the vessel and compel us to sit over strong smoke
created by burning oakum and tar, rather than endure their terrible
stings, until, wearied and exhausted, we go to bed to endure new
torments. Shut up in the berth of a small cabin, if there is any air
stirring, not a breath of it can reach us. The mosquitoes, more
persevering, follow us and annoy us the whole night by their noise and
bites until, almost mad with heat and pain, we rise to go through the
same trouble the next day."

Perry sailed three hundred miles up the Orinoco and was undaunted by the
fact that the dreaded yellow fever soon appeared among his men. He was
seized with the terrible disease and died on the 24th of August. He was
buried with the highest civic and military honors at Trinidad, many
British officers who had fought against him on Lake Erie showing their
respect for his bravery and an appreciation of his kindness to them when
they were prisoners of war. His remains were afterward removed to
Newport, Rhode Island, where a magnificent monument was erected to his
memory.

The untimely death of this naval hero before he had time to complete
his work encouraged the West Indian pirates and they became more
audacious than before. In the autumn of 1821 several naval vessels were
sent thither by our Government. They did vigorous work, capturing and
destroying a number of piratical vessels, but there were too many of
them, and they were spread over too extended a space to be wiped out by
a few captures. In the following year a still more powerful squadron
went to the West Indies under the command of Captain James Biddle, who
did such valiant service in the War of 1812. A good many buccaneers were
destroyed, including several leaders of the buccaneers whose atrocious
deeds had long made their names a terror. In one of these attacks
Lieutenant William H. Allen, of the schooner _Alligator_, was killed by
a musket ball. His gallantry in the fight between the _Argus_ and
_Pelican_ in the war with Great Britain sent a thrill of admiration
through the country and brought him well-merited promotion.

You have not forgotten the wonderful cruise of Captain David Porter in
the _Essex_, when he entered the Pacific Ocean and caused such havoc
among the British shipping. He was appointed commander of the West India
forces and arrived off Porto Rico in March, 1823. He was provided, in
addition to his warships, with a number of barges, furnished with
twenty oars apiece, and which were indispensable in following the
pirates up the shallow creeks and into the shoal waters where the
vessels could not go.

[Illustration: OUR FLEET IN THE BALTIC.]

Captain Porter was discreet but impatient with injustice. When one of
his schooners was fired into by the Porto Rican authorities he promptly
demanded an explanation, which was given. The most important incident of
his service occurred in the autumn of 1824 and is known as the "Foxardo
Affair."

In October of that year the storehouse of the American consul at St.
Thomas was broken into and robbed of much valuable property which there
was reason to believe had been carried to the small port at the eastern
end of Porto Rico known as Foxardo. Lieutenant Platt, of the _Beagle_,
anchored off the town and asked the help of the authorities in capturing
the criminals and recovering the property. The officer was treated with
the grossest discourtesy. Having landed in civilian clothes, the
authorities accused him of being an impostor and ordered him to show his
commission. The Lieutenant produced it, whereupon they declared it a
forgery and arrested him on the charge of being a pirate. After he and a
midshipman who accompanied him had been insulted repeatedly they were
allowed to leave.

When Captain Porter learned of this outrage he entered the harbor with
several of his vessels and sent a letter to the alcalde or governor,
notifying him that he had one hour in which to send an explanation of
his action. While waiting for the return of the flag of truce Captain
Porter saw one of the shore batteries getting ready to fire upon him.
Instantly, he sent a detachment, which captured the battery and spiked
the guns. Then Captain Porter landed, and, after spiking another
battery, made his way to the town. By and by the alcalde and captain of
the port appeared and made such profuse and humble apologies that the
officer could not refuse to accept them, and returned to his ship.

Such is a truthful account of the incident as it occurred. It would seem
that there was nothing in the course of the gallant naval officer that
deserved censure. One of his officers had been insulted and he compelled
the offenders to make a suitable apology. Fearing with good reason a
treacherous attack from the batteries on shore, he spiked their guns.
But when the news reached our Government Captain Porter was ordered
home, tried by court martial and sentenced to be suspended from the
service for six months. Feeling himself unjustly treated, Captain Porter
resigned and entered the Mexican navy, where he remained until 1829. In
that year Andrew Jackson became President of the United States. He had
been through trying and stormy times himself and would never submit to
insult from any man or nation. He appointed Porter consul general at
Algiers. He afterward became minister to Turkey and died March 28, 1843.

Captain Lewis Warrington succeeded Porter in the West Indies and
followed out his aggressive policy. The buccaneers were hunted down
without cessation and nest after nest broken up until, at the close of
1825, piracy in those waters was practically suppressed. For several
years, however, a squadron was maintained there and more than once its
services were needed, but the work was completed and since then no
trouble in that quarter of the world of the nature described has plagued
either ourselves or any other nation.

Even in the Mediterranean our navy had similar work to do. While little
Greece was making so gallant a struggle for freedom against Turkey a
number of her vessels played the role of pirate and attacked ships of
other nations. Among others, an English brig had been seized, but
Lieutenant Lewis M. Goldsborough, after a furious fight, recaptured the
vessel. Lieutenant John A. Carr singled out the Greek captain and in
the fierce hand-to-hand conflict killed him. Lieutenant
Goldsborough--who afterward became rear-admiral--received the thanks of
several of the Mediterranean powers for his assistance in ridding the
waters of the pirates who, though few in number, became exceedingly
troublesome.

It was by such prompt, vigorous and brave measures that the American
navy compelled the respect not only of civilized but of barbarous
peoples in all parts of the world. This fact is proven by a remarkable
occurrence, not often mentioned in history, the particulars of which are
given in the next chapter.




CHAPTER XXI.

The Qualla Battoo Incident.


Qualla Battoo is the name of a small Malay town, which stood on the
northwestern coast of Sumatra. In the month of February, 1831, the
_Friendship_, a trading vessel from Salem, Mass., lay at anchor off the
town, taking on board a cargo of pepper. Her captain, Mr. Endicott, and
crew numbered fifteen men. There being no harbor, the vessel was about
half a mile from shore. The day was oppressively hot and no one on the
_Friendship_ put forth more exertion than was absolutely necessary. Even
the swarthy natives seemed to languish in the flaming heat and displayed
less vigor in bringing out the pepper in their boats than they did when
the sun beat down upon them with its usual rigor.

Captain Endicott understood the treacherous nature of the Malays, and he
and his crew kept sharp watch of those who were given the management of
the vessel's boats, owing to the difficult character of the coast which
made such a course necessary.

The trade in pepper was almost the only one in which Qualla Battoo
engaged. Captain Endicott, his second mate and four seamen were on
shore at the trading station, a little way up the river, superintending
the weighing of the pepper. The first mate and the rest of the crew
waited on the vessel to receive and stow away the cargo. The work had
hardly begun when a suspicious proceeding caught the eye of Captain
Endicott.

The first boat, after receiving its load, passed the short distance
necessary down the river to the sea, where, instead of rowing directly
out to the ship, it turned up the coast and took on board more men. The
Captain concluded the crew needed this additional help to work their way
through the heavy surf. But, not wholly satisfied, he told two of his
men to go nearer the shore, keep their eyes on the boat and report to
him anything that looked wrong.

Captain Endicott, from his position, was unable to catch the full
significance of the first action of the natives in charge of the
outgoing boat, for, instead of taking on board more help, the whole
unarmed party stepped ashore and twice as many fully armed warriors took
their places. They carefully concealed their weapons and the Americans
on the vessel made the same mistake as their captain in believing they
were merely the additions necessary to help work the craft through the
surf.

They tied fast to the gangway and most of them climbed over the side
with their daggers hidden in their clothing. The mate would have stopped
them, but they pretended not to understand his words and acted as if
interested in the appearance of the guns and rigging. Their conduct was
so natural that the mate and his men gave their whole attention to
taking the pepper on board and stowing it away. The mate was absorbed in
his work, when suddenly several Malays sprang with lightning-like
quickness at him and buried their daggers in his back. He turned and
attempted to defend himself, but was quickly despatched. Five men rushed
to the help of the mate, but they were unarmed and outnumbered four to
one. Two were quickly killed and three made prisoners. The other four
seamen sprang overboard and swam for land. They saw that the beach was
lined with warriors waiting for them. Accordingly they turned to one
side and swam several miles to a promontory, where they were safe for
the time.

Seeing that their friends had gained possession of the ship, several
boatloads of natives rowed out to it, took possession, plundered and
then tried to run it ashore, that they might break out the metal work at
their leisure.

Meanwhile the two seamen stationed near shore by the captain saw what
had taken place and ran back to him with the alarming news. He instantly
ordered all into the second boat and hurried down the river, hoping to
reach the vessel in time to recapture it. The boat was pursued by the
natives along the bank, but it managed to reach the mouth of the river,
where it would have perished in the surf but for the help of a friendly
member of an adjoining tribe, who sprang from his armed coasting
schooner and swam to their assistance. He helped them through the surf,
and, when confronted by the native armed boats, made such threats and
flourishes with his sword (none of the Americans being armed) that he
kept the miscreants at bay and the white men succeeded in reaching the
open sea.

Seeing that it would be sure death to go to the vessel, the boat was
rowed to a small town about twenty miles distant, where the occupants
found three American merchant vessels. The officers and crews were
enraged upon learning what had taken place, and, although it was night,
they made sail at once for Qualla Battoo, reaching it next day. In reply
to the demand that the _Friendship_ should be returned, the insolent
Rajah told them to take her if they could. The three ships moved as
close to shore as was safe and opened fire with such guns as they had.
All merchant vessels carried some kind of armament against pirates in
that part of the world. Impatient with the delay involved in recapturing
the _Friendship_, by attacking at long range, as it may be called, three
boats were filled with armed men who rowed straight for the vessel. It
was swarming with armed natives, who kept up a vicious but ill directed
fire, the result of which was the sailors rowed the faster, eager to get
close enough to punish the miscreants for their murderous work.

When they were almost to the ship the Malays sprang overboard and swam
frantically for land. Captain Endicott regained possession of his
vessel, and, upon examination, found it had been rifled from stem to
stern. Among the plunder taken away was $12,000 in specie. Altogether
the loss was $40,000 to the owners of the ship and the captain was
compelled to give up his voyage and return home.

It took a long time for news to travel in those days, but it finally
reached the United States, where Andrew Jackson happened to be
President. He immediately ordered the 44-gun frigate _Potomac_ to that
out of the way corner of the world, with instructions to punish the
guilty parties concerned in the outrage. Captain Downes lost no time in
getting under way and arrived off Qualla Battoo in February, 1832, just
a year after the treacherous attack upon the _Friendship_.

Anxious to prevent his errand becoming known so that he might surprise
the Malays, Captain Downes disguised his ship as a merchantman, closing
his ports and taking every precaution possible. He displayed the Danish
colors, still maintaining the guise of a merchantman, and sent a boat's
crew to take soundings along shore. The natives on the beach displayed
so hostile a disposition that no landing was made, and, having gained
the necessary information, the boat returned to the frigate. Captain
Downes then informed them that the expedition would leave the ship at
midnight.

A strong armed force in several boats secretly rowed to land at the time
named, but day was approaching when they reached the beach, where the
men landed under the guidance of the former second mate of the
_Friendship_ and started inland. One division turned to the left to
attack the fort at the northern end of the town. The Malays received
them with a brisk discharge of cannon, muskets, javelins and arrows.
But, returning the fire, the Americans burst open the gate of the
stockade, fought hand to hand with the fierce Malays and drove them out
of the open space into the citadel. There they were attacked with the
same impetuosity, but they fought like tigers, and it was not until
twelve had been killed and a great many wounded that they were overcome.
The Rajah in command, after a desperate defence in which he wounded
several Americans, was finally despatched.

In the meantime the fort in the middle of the town had been attacked by
the other division and carried after a bloody fight in which a marine
was killed and a number wounded. But the strongest fort of all stood on
the bank of the river near the beach. There the Rajah of Qualla Battoo,
who was the real author of the attack on the _Friendship_, had gathered
a large force of his best warriors and announced that he would fight to
the death.

The strength of the force which marched against the fort was eighty-five
men. One of the officers who took part in this attack said: "The natives
were brave and fought with a fierceness bordering on desperation. They
would not yield while a drop of their savage blood warmed their bosoms
or while they had strength to wield a weapon, fighting with that
undaunted firmness which is the characteristic of bold and determined
spirits and displaying such an utter carelessness of life as would have
been honored in a better cause. Instances of the bravery of these
people were numerous, so much so that were I to give the detail of each
event my description would probably become tiresome."

The barricades stoutly resisted the fire. Leaving a force to engage the
fort in front, Lieutenant Shubrick led a body of sailors through the
woods to the rear with the 6-pounder which had been brought from the
frigate. When they reached their position they came upon three heavily
armed schooners, swarming with warriors, awaiting a chance to take part
in the fight. Shubrick promptly opened upon them with his cannon,
followed by a destructive fire of musketry, which sent the Malays
leaping overboard and into the woods. They succeeded, however, in
warping one of the schooners beyond range.

The Americans now being at the front and rear of the fort, a
simultaneous attack was made. The gate was wrenched from its fastenings,
but the first American who tried to enter was killed and three others
badly wounded. Undaunted the remainder of the assailants rushed through
and drove the defenders to a high platform, where they made their final
stand. The other stockade was in flames, which were burning so fast that
the Americans themselves were in danger from them. The little cannon was
brought into play from a neighboring elevation and poured canister and
grape into the Malays. Meanwhile the Americans, who had performed their
part so well, came up and joined in the attack on the main fort. The
Malays, still fighting, shrieked out their defiant cries. In the ardor
of the assault the little cannon was too heavily loaded and dismounted.
Amid the wild confusion the flames of the second fort reached the
magazine and the whole structure blew up with a tremendous explosion.

The cannon being useless, Lieutenant Shubrick ordered a general assault
upon the citadel, and it was made with a resistless rush. The men
scrambled upon the platform, in the face of the swarthy wild cats, and
despatched them in a whirlwind fashion. The work being apparently
completed, the bugle was sounded for retreat and the Americans returned
to the beach. On the way they were fired upon by another fort for which
they had searched without being able to find it. Returning the fire, the
Americans charged through the jungle and after another desperate fight
it was captured, most of the garrison slain and the remainder sent
scurrying through the woods.

The roll call revealed that two Americans had been killed and eleven
wounded. All were gently lifted into the boats and carried to the ship.
A moderate estimate made 100 of the Malays killed and fully double the
number wounded.

Captain Downes now brought his long 32-pounders to bear and opened a
bombardment of Qualla Battoo which spread destruction and death among
the natives. Many were killed and others sent scurrying in terror to the
jungle. Toward the close of the day white flags were displayed and the
firing ceased. Immediately after a boat was sent out by the remaining
rajahs, with a white flag fluttering at the bow. On coming aboard the
messengers were presented to Captain Downes and they humbly prayed that
he would stop the firing of his big guns, which were killing all their
people. He promised to do so on their pledge never again to molest an
American. He assured them that if they ever did his country would send
larger and more terrible ships across the ocean that would lay their
towns in ashes and slay hundreds of their men. The subsequent history of
that quarter of the world leaves no doubt that the impressive warning of
Captain Downes produced the best of results, for Sumatra has never
required any further attention from our navy.




CHAPTER XXII.

Wilkes's Exploring Expedition.


Perhaps my young readers have wondered over the same fact that used to
puzzle me when a boy. While the civilized world was interested, as it
has been for hundreds of years, in trying to reach the Pole, and the
nations were constantly sending expeditions to search for it, to be
followed by others to hunt for the expeditions and then by others to
look up those that were hunting for the others and so on, all these
efforts were confined to the North Pole. Everybody seemed to have
forgotten that there is also a South Pole, which is not a mile further
from the equator than the North Pole.

Of course there was good reason for all this. There is a great deal of
land in the north, while the unbroken ocean seas stretch away from the
South Pole for hundreds and thousands of miles in every direction and
the prodigious masses and mountains of ice make it impossible to get
anywhere near it. Our daring explorers are continually edging further
north, and doubtless within a few years the Pole will be reached, but
there appears no prospect of the South Pole being seen for many a year
to come.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN CHARLES WILKES.]

Lieutenant Charles Wilkes was born in 1798 and died in 1877. He entered
the American navy at an early age and in 1838 was made commander of the
squadron which spent four years in sailing through the Pacific, along
its American coasts and in the Antarctic regions.

Before giving an account of this memorable scientific expedition, let me
add a little more information concerning this distinguished naval
officer, since this is the only chapter which contains any reference to
him. He was made a captain in 1855. In the month of November, 1861,
while in command of the steamer _San Jacinto_, he stopped the British
ship _Trent_ and forcibly took off the two Confederate commissioners,
Mason and Slidell, who were on their way respectively to England and
France to secure their aid for the Southern Confederacy.

Captain Wilkes was highly applauded for his act by his countrymen, but
England was very indignant. It was an illegal proceeding on his part,
since the deck of a ship is the same as the soil of the country whose
flag she flies. Our Government was compelled to disavow his action and
restore the commissioners to English custody.

In the War for the Union Captain Wilkes commanded the James River
squadron, was made commodore in 1862 and was retired in 1864 and made
rear-admiral on the retired list.

[Illustration: THE "SAN JACINTO" STOPPING THE "TRENT."]

The scientific expedition of which Lieutenant Wilkes was given command
was intended, to quote the words of Congress, "for the purpose of
exploring and surveying the southern ocean, as well to determine the
existence of all doubtful islands and shoals as to discover and
accurately fix the position of those which lie in or near the track of
our vessels in that quarter and may have escaped the observation of
scientific navigators."

Lieutenant Wilkes sailed from Hampton Roads on the 19th of August, 1838,
his flagship being the 18-gun sloop-of-war _Vincennes_, the 18-gun
sloop-of-war _Peacock_, the 12-gun brig-of-war _Porpoise_, the storeship
_Relief_, the tender _Sea Gull_ and the tender _Flying Fish_. Since one
of the main objects was scientific research, the expedition was provided
with a philologist, naturalists, conchologists, mineralogist, botanist,
draughtsmen and a horticulturist.

A halt for a week was made at the Madeira Islands, when the ships headed
southward, reaching Rio Janeiro late in November. In January, 1839, they
halted at Orange Harbor, Terra del Fuego, and made it their base of
operations. On the 25th of February Lieutenant Wilkes, in the
_Porpoise_, accompanied by the _Sea Gull_, started for the South Pole.
On the 1st of March considerable ice and snow were encountered and an
island sighted, but the men could not land because of the surf. The next
day the Ashland Islands were discovered and soon after the two vessels
reached Palmersland. The following is the account of Lieutenant Wilkes:

"It was a day of great excitement to all, for we had ice of all kinds to
encounter, from the iceberg of huge quadrangular shape, with its
stratified appearance, to the sunken and deceptive masses that were
difficult to perceive before they were under the bow. I have rarely seen
a finer sight. The sea was literally studded with these beautiful
masses, some of pure white, others showing all shades of the opal,
others emerald green and occasionally, here and there, some of deep
black. Our situation was critical, but the weather favored us for a few
hours. On clearing these dangers we kept off to the south and west under
all sail, and at 9 P.M. we counted eight large islands. Afterward the
weather became so thick with mist and fog as to render it necessary to
lie to till daylight, before which time we had a heavy snowstorm. A
strong gale now set in from the southwest; the deck of the brig was
covered with ice and snow and the weather became exceedingly damp and
cold. The men were suffering not only from want of sufficient room but
from the inadequacy of the clothing."

Naturally the further south they penetrated the greater became their
danger from the increasing fields of ice and icebergs. The _Peacock_ and
_Flying Fish_ left Orange Harbor on the same day with the _Porpoise_ and
_Sea Gull_. They were separated by a gale and the _Peacock_ was
continually beset by icebergs. Every rope and the deck, spars and
rigging were thickly coated with ice. Some days later the _Flying Fish_
was met and she reported that she had penetrated to the parallel of 70
degrees. There was imminent danger of being frozen in, and, as they were
short of provisions, they sailed northward. The _Flying Fish_ reached
Orange Harbor in April, while the _Peacock_ continued on to Valparaiso,
where the storeship _Relief_ was found. In May the other members of the
squadron arrived at the port, with the exception of the _Sea Gull_,
which was never heard of again.

The squadron now crossed the Pacific, reaching Sydney, New South Wales,
in the latter part of November. There, after consulting with his
officers, Lieutenant Wilkes decided to make another Antarctic cruise.
The _Flying Fish_ proved so unseaworthy that, after passing through a
violent storm, she was obliged to return to port and took no further
part in the enterprise.

Once more among the ice fields, the ships were menaced by danger from
every side. Some of the escapes were of the most thrilling nature. One
of the ships barely missed being crushed by hundreds of tons of ice
which fell from the top of an overhanging iceberg. The weather was
intensely cold and the snow and fine sleet which were whirled
horizontally through the air cut the face like bird shot.

The _Vincennes_ prowled along the edge of the Antarctic Continent as far
as 97 degrees east, when Lieutenant Wilkes headed northward and arrived
at Sydney in March, 1840, and found the _Peacock_ at anchor. The
_Porpoise_ reached 100 degrees east and 64 degrees 65 minutes south when
she turned her prow away from the inhospitable solitude and in March
arrived at Auckland Isle.

The following summer was spent in exploring the islands of the Southern
Archipelago. A party was engaged in a launch and cutter, when a tempest
compelled them to run into a bay of the Fiji group for shelter. While
working its way back the cutter ran upon a reef and was attacked by the
natives. The ammunition of the Americans was wet and they abandoned the
cutter and returned to the _Vincennes_.

Since these natives needed a lesson, Lieutenant Wilkes landed a force
and burned the native village. A few days later an exploring party was
again attacked while trying to trade with the natives. The men were
forced to retreat to their boats, under a hot fire, many of the savages
using muskets with no little skill. Reinforcements were landed and the
savages put to flight, but in the fighting Midshipman Underwood and
Henry Wilkes were mortally hurt and a seaman dangerously wounded.

Matters had now assumed so serious a shape that a detachment of seventy
officers and men landed at another point on the island and marched upon
the nearest village, laying waste the crops as they advanced. When the
village was reached it was found to be defended by a strong stockade,
with a trench inside, from which the crouching natives could fire
through loopholes, while outside of the stockade was a deep ditch of
water. Feeling their position impregnable, the savages flourished their
weapons and uttered tantalizing whoops at the white men. The whoops
quickly changed when the cabins within the stockade were set on fire by
a rocket. The natives fled, leaving the village to be burned to ashes.
The Americans pushed hostilities so aggressively that on the following
day the islanders sued for peace.

The squadron next sailed to the Hawaiian Islands, where several months
were spent in exploration. Then the coast of Oregon was visited and the
_Peacock_ suffered wreck at the mouth of the Columbia. Doubling the Cape
of Good Hope, the expedition reached New York in June, 1842, having been
gone nearly four years and having sailed more than 30,000 miles.




THE WAR FOR THE UNION.

CHAPTER XXIII.

A New Era for the United States Navy--Opening of the Great Civil
War--John Lorimer Worden--Battle Between the _Monitor_ and
_Merrimac_--Death of Worden.


The War for the Union ushered in a new era for the American navy. Steam
navigation had been fully established some years before. As all my
readers no doubt know, the first successful steamboat in this country
was the _Clermont_, made by Robert Fulton, which ascended the Hudson in
the summer of 1807. The average speed of the pioneer boat was about five
miles an hour, so that the trip occupied more than thirty hours. This
great invention was a novelty, and, like many others of a similar
nature, it required considerable time for it to come into use. The first
western steamboat was built at Pittsburg in 1811. It gave an impetus to
river navigation by steam, and before long the boats were ploughing the
principal streams of the country. The first steamer to cross the
Atlantic was the _Savannah_, which made the voyage in 1819, but ocean
navigation was not fairly begun until 1838, when the _Sirius_ and _Great
Western_ made the voyage from England to the United States. It is a
noteworthy fact that one of the greatest of English scientists, after
demonstrating that ocean navigation by steam was impossible, was a
passenger on the _Great Western_ on her first trip across the Atlantic.

When the great Civil War burst upon the country the National Government
not only failed to comprehend the gigantic nature of the struggle, but
was almost wholly unprepared for it. The navy consisted of 90 vessels,
of which only 42 were in commission, while 21 were unfit for service,
and of those in commission there were but 11, carrying 134 guns, that
were in American waters. The remainder were scattered over the waters of
the globe, such being the policy of President Buchanan's Secretary of
the Navy, who, like the Secretary of War and other members of the
Presidential Cabinet, were secessionists who did all they could to pave
the way for the establishment of the Southern Confederacy.

On the authority of Maclay, the total number of officers of all grades
in the navy on August 1, 1861, was 1,457, in addition to whom an immense
volunteer force was called for and 7,500 volunteer officers were
enrolled before the close of the war. Three hundred and twenty-two
officers resigned from the United States navy and entered that of the
seceding States, of which 243 were officers of the line. The 7,600
sailors in the navy at the opening of the war was increased to 51,500
before the close of hostilities.

In a work of this nature the difficulty is to select the most striking
and interesting incidents from the scores that formed a part of the War
for the Union. One of the many heroes who was brought into prominence
was John Lorimer Worden, who was born in Dutchess County, N.Y., March
12, 1818. He entered the navy when sixteen years old and became a
lieutenant in 1840. His services in the Mexican War were unimportant and
he was a first lieutenant of the Brooklyn Navy Yard when the Civil War
broke out.

In the month of April, 1861, when a conflict was inevitable, the
Government was anxious to send dispatches to Captain Adams commanding
the fleet at Pensacola, who was waiting for orders to reinforce with two
companies of artillery, that post being in danger of capture by the
Confederates. The dispatches intrusted to Lieutenant Worden were orders
for such reinforcements to be made.

It was so delicate and dangerous a duty, since Worden was compelled to
make his way through the South which was aflame with secession
excitement, that he committed the dispatches to memory and then
destroyed them. He applied to General Bragg in command of the
Confederate forces in that neighborhood for permission to make a verbal
communication from the Secretary of War to Captain Adams. Permission was
given, and, going on board, Worden delivered his message like a boy
reciting his piece at school. Captain Adams gave him a written
acknowledgment of the receipt of the dispatches, adding that the orders
of the Government would be carried out.

Having thus cleverly eluded the suspicious watchfulness of the
authorities, Lieutenant Worden started for home, but when near
Montgomery, Ala., then the capital of the Confederacy, he was arrested,
taken from the train and thrown into prison. This was on the order of
General Bragg, who discovered how he had been outwitted, and the prompt
reinforcement prevented the capture of Fort Pickens, for which Bragg had
made every preparation. The post was held by the Unionists throughout
the war and was the only one south of Mason and Dixon's line so held.

Lieutenant Worden was kept a prisoner until the 13th of the following
November, when, his health having broken down, he was exchanged and sent
North. There he remained, slowly regaining his strength until March,
1862, when it fell to his lot to become a leading actor in one of the
most famous naval engagements in all history.

When war had fully begun the Union forces in charge of the Norfolk Navy
Yard saw they were not strong enough to prevent its capture by the
Confederates, who were arming for that purpose. They therefore set fire
to the numerous and valuable shipping there. Among the vessels scuttled
and sunk was the steam frigate _Merrimac_, at that time the finest
vessel in the service. In truth, she went down so quickly that very
little damage was done to her. The Confederates raised her, fastened a
huge iron snout or prow at the front, cut down her deck and encased her
with railroad iron, which sloped at an angle of forty-five degrees, and
was smeared on the outside with grease and tallow. Her enormous weight
made her draw more than twenty feet of water and when she was moving
slowly through the bay or river her appearance suggested the mansard
roof of a vast house. From what has been said it will be noted that the
_Merrimac_ was a genuine ironclad, something which had never been heard
of before.

[Illustration: BLOCKADE RUNNER--THE "MONITOR"--CAPTAIN ERICSSON.]

Regular news of the building of the _Merrimac_ (called the _Virginia_ by
the Confederates) was telegraphed to Washington by friends of the
Government. The authorities felt some uneasiness, but were far from
suspecting the terrible power for destructiveness possessed by the
monster. Captain Ericsson, the famous Swedish inventor, was constructing
on Long Island an ironclad about one-fourth the size of the _Merrimac_,
and he was urged to all possible speed in its completion. He kept his
men busy night and day and had it finished a day or two before the
completion of the _Merrimac_.

The _Merrimac_ carried ten guns, which fired shells and had a crew of
300 men, under the command of Commodore Franklin Buchanan, a former
officer of the United States navy. Late in the forenoon of March 8,
1862, a column of black smoke rising over the Norfolk Navy Yard gave
notice that the _Merrimac_ had started out at last on her mission of
destruction and death. As the enormous craft forged into sight it was
seen that she was accompanied by three gunboats ready to give what help
they could.

Five Union vessels were awaiting her in Hampton Roads. They were the
steam frigates _Minnesota_ and _Roanoke_ and the sailing frigates
_Congress_, _Cumberland_ and _St. Lawrence_, all of which immediately
cleared for action. Turning her frightful front toward the _Cumberland_,
the _Merrimac_ swept down upon her in grim and awful majesty. The
_Cumberland_ let fly with her terrific broadsides, which were powerful
enough to sink the largest ship afloat, but the tons of metal hurled
with inconceivable force skipped off the greased sides of the iron roof
and scooted away for hundreds of yards through the startled air.

The prodigious broadsides were launched again and again, but produced no
more effect than so many paper wads from a popgun. The iron prow of the
_Merrimac_ crashed through the wooden walls of the _Cumberland_ as if
they were cardboard, and, while her crew were still heroically working
their guns, the _Cumberland_ went down, with the red flag, meaning "no
surrender," flying from her peak. Lieutenant Morris succeeded in saving
himself, but 121 were lost out of the crew of 376.

Having destroyed the _Cumberland_, the _Merrimac_ now made for the
_Congress_, which had been vainly pelting her with her broadsides. The
_Congress_ was aground and so completely at the mercy of the _Merrimac_,
which raked her fore and aft, that every man would have been killed had
not the sign of surrender been displayed. As it was, her commander and
100 of the crew were slain by the irresistible fire of the tremendous
ironclad.

By this time the fearful spring afternoon was drawing to a close and
the _Merrimac_ labored heavily back to Sewall's Point, intending to
return on the morrow and continue her work of destruction.

The news of what the _Merrimac_ had done was telegraphed throughout the
South and North. In the former it caused wild rejoicing and raised hope
that before the resistless might of the new ironclad the North would be
compelled to make terms and save her leading seacoast cities from
annihilation by acknowledging the Southern Confederacy. The national
authorities were thrown into consternation. At a special meeting of the
President's Cabinet Secretary of War Stanton expressed his belief that
the _Merrimac_ would appear in front of Washington and compel the
authorities to choose between surrender and destruction, and that the
principal seaports would be laid under contribution.

But at that very time the hastily completed _Monitor_ was speeding
southward under the command of Lieutenant Worden, who had risen from a
sick bed to assume the duty which no one else was willing to undertake.
Her crew numbered 16 officers and 42 men, with Lieutenant S. Dana Green
as executive officer. Her voyage to Hampton Roads was difficult and of
the most trying nature to the officers and crew, who were nearly
smothered by gas. The boat would have foundered had not the weather been
unusually favorable, but she reached Hampton Roads on the night of March
8 and took a position beside the _Minnesota_, ready and eager for the
terrific fray of the morrow. The _Monitor_ carried two 11-inch Dahlgren
guns and fired solid shot.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE "MERRIMAC" AND "MONITOR."]

When the _Merrimac_ steamed back the _Monitor_ moved out from her
position and boldly advanced to meet her. The huge monster and smaller
craft, whose appearance suggested the apt comparison of a cheese box on
a raft, silently drew near each other until within a hundred yards, when
the smaller opened with a shot to which the larger replied. The battle
was now between two ironclads. If the shots of the _Monitor_ glanced
harmlessly off of the _Merrimac_ those of the latter were equally
ineffective against the _Monitor_. The latter had the advantage of being
so much smaller that many of the shells of the _Merrimac_ missed her
altogether. Those which impinged against the pilot house or turret did
no harm, while the lesser boat was able to dart here and there at will,
dodging the _Merrimac_ and ramming her when she chose, though such
tactics accomplished nothing. All attempts to run down the _Monitor_
were vain. The novel battle continued for four hours, when the
_Merrimac_, unable to defeat her nimble antagonist, steamed back to
Norfolk and the strange contest--the first between ironclads--was over.

The _Monitor_ had proven her inestimable value and was held in reserve
by the Government for future emergencies. But the first battle between
the two proved the last. Some months later, when the Union troops
advanced upon Norfolk, the _Merrimac_ was blown up to prevent her
falling into the hands of the Federals, while at the close of the year
the _Monitor_ foundered in a gale off Cape Hatteras.

This fight marked an era in the history of naval warfare. The days of
wooden vessels were numbered. All nations saw that their warships to be
effective must be ironclad, and the reader does not need to be reminded
that such is the fact to-day respecting the navy of every civilized
nation.

During this memorable fight a shell from the _Merrimac_ lifted the iron
plate of the pilot house of the _Monitor_ and disabled Lieutenant Worden
by driving the fragments into his face, while he was peering out of the
peep-hole. He was compelled to give way to Lieutenant Green, who handled
the little ironclad throughout the remainder of the fight.

Lieutenant Worden never fully recovered from the injuries received in
his fight with the _Merrimac_. As soon as he was able to take an active
command he asked the privilege of doing so. In charge of the _Montauk_,
of the South Atlantic blockading squadron, he destroyed, while under a
heavy fire, the Confederate steamer _Nashville_ and participated in the
unsuccessful attack upon Charleston. He received the thanks of Congress
and was promoted to be a commander for his services with the _Monitor_.
From 1870 to 1874 he was superintendent of the Naval Academy at
Annapolis, becoming commodore in 1868, rear admiral in 1872 and was
retired in 1886. It was said that he never was without pain from the
injuries received in the battle with the _Merrimac_ until his death,
October 18, 1897.




CHAPTER XXIV.

Two Worthy Sons--William D. Porter--The Career of Admiral David Dixon
Porter.


The reader will not forget the exploits of Captain David Porter, in
command of the _Essex_ in the War of 1812. Contrary to the rule that
great men never have great sons, Captain Porter left two boys who
possessed the same remarkable qualities as himself and one of whom
became more famous than his gallant father.

The eldest of his sons was William D., who was born in New Orleans in
1809, but was educated in the North and was appointed to the navy when
fourteen years old. He was placed in command of a cumbrous ironclad
constructed from a ferryboat at the beginning of the war and named the
_Essex_, in honor of the famous cruiser with which his father played
havoc with the shipping of Great Britain in the Pacific. In the attack
on Fort Henry, in February, 1862, the _Essex_, while doing effective
service, had her boiler pierced by a shot from the enemy, with appalling
consequences. Porter was scalded and knocked senseless and twenty-nine
officers and men were disabled or killed by the escaping steam.

Later, when he had fully recovered, he was placed in command of the
_Essex_, which was repaired and greatly improved. The Confederates had
completed a more terrible ironclad than the _Merrimac_, which they named
the _Arkansas_. Manned by brave officers and crew, it came down the
Yazoo into the Mississippi, and, secure in her fancied invulnerability,
challenged the whole Union fleet which was assisting in the siege of
Vicksburg. In the furious engagement that followed Captain Porter, with
the _Essex_, succeeded in destroying the ironclad. He rendered his
country other valuable service, but his health gave way, and, while in
the East for medical attendance, he died in the City of New York at the
age of fifty-three.

The more famous son of Captain Porter was David Dixon, who was born in
Chester, Pa., in 1813. He entered Columbia College, Washington, when
only eleven years old, but left it in 1824 to accompany his father on
his cruise in the West Indies to break up piracy in those waters. When,
two years later, Captain Porter entered the Mexican navy he appointed
his son a midshipman. He acquitted himself gallantly in more than one
fight with the Spanish cruisers. While still a mere boy he was made a
midshipman in the United States navy. As a lieutenant he saw plenty of
active service in the war with Mexico, and, at the beginning of the
Civil War, was one of our most trusted officers. In command of the
_Powhatan_ he covered the landing of the reinforcements for Fort Pickens
just in time to save its capture by Confederates.

[Illustration: DAVID DIXON PORTER.]

One of the most important captures of the war was that of New Orleans,
in the spring of 1862. The naval forces were under the command of
Admiral Farragut, while Commander Porter had charge of the mortar fleet.
The principal defences below the city were Forts Jackson and St. Philip.
In approaching them Porter had his ships dressed out with leaves and
branches of trees, the clever disguise proving an effectual protection
from a very destructive fire.

The furious bombardment lasted for several days and nights. The river
was spanned by a boom of logs, which it was necessary to break through
that the vessels might reach the city above. This was done, Porter
protecting the expedition which effected it. When the situation of the
forts became hopeless his demand for their surrender was accepted and an
officer came on board under a flag of truce to complete the
negotiations.

While Porter and his visitor were conversing an officer came forward
with the information that the immense floating battery _Louisiana_, of
four thousand tons burden and carrying sixteen heavy guns, had been set
on fire, as Admiral Cervera did with his ships a generation later, when
his escape was cut off from Santiago.

"Such an act is anything but creditable to you," remarked Porter,
addressing the Confederate commander.

"I am not responsible for the acts of the naval officers," replied the
visitor.

The explanation was reasonable, and without any excitement, Commander
Porter renewed the conversation respecting the surrender, but a few
minutes later the officer again approached.

"The ropes which held the floating battery to the bank have been burned
and she is drifting down stream toward us."

"Are her guns loaded and is there much ammunition aboard?" asked Porter
of the Confederate commander.

"I suppose the guns are loaded, but I know nothing about naval matters
here," was the reply.

Just then the heated cannon began firing their huge charges, which,
though without aim, were likely to do injury to the Union vessels toward
which the battery was floating. Besides, the magazine was stored with
powder and the impending explosion could not fail to be disastrous.

"If you do not mind it," said Porter, addressing the visitor, "we will
continue our negotiations."

In referring to this incident, the Admiral said:

"A good Providence, which directs the most important events, sent the
battery off toward Fort St. Philip, and, as it came abreast of that
formidable fort, it blew up with a force which scattered the fragments
in all directions, killing one of their own men in the fort, and when
the smoke cleared off it was nowhere to be seen, having sunk immediately
in the deep water of the Mississippi. The explosion was terrific and was
seen and heard for many miles up and down the river. Had it occurred
near the vessels, it would have destroyed every one of them."

[Illustration: GUN AND MORTAR BOATS ON THE MISSISSIPPI.]

After the fall of New Orleans Porter was sent to Ship Island to await
the attack that was in contemplation upon New Orleans. He was recalled
by Admiral Farragut to aid him in the siege of Vicksburg. In passing the
batteries Porter had three of his vessels disabled and twenty-nine men
killed and wounded. The capture of that last Confederate stronghold on
the Mississippi was a severe and tedious task, but General Grant, with
that bulldog tenacity for which he was famous, held on until the 4th
of July, 1863, when General Pemberton, the Confederate commander,
surrendered his whole garrison of more than 20,000 men. In thus opening
the Mississippi all the way to the Gulf the navy rendered invaluable
assistance. Porter's aid was so important and his conduct so gallant
that he received the thanks of Congress and was created a full rear
admiral, his commission dating from July 4, 1863. In a public dispatch
the Secretary of the Navy said, addressing Admiral Porter: "To yourself,
your officers and the brave and gallant sailors who have been so fertile
in resources, so persistent and so daring under all circumstances, I
tender, in the name of the President, the thanks and congratulations of
the whole country on the fall of Vicksburg."

One of the most disastrous expeditions of the Civil War was that which
was undertaken by General N.P. Banks, in the spring of 1864. His
ostensible purpose was to complete the conquest of Texas and Louisiana,
but there is good reason to believe that the famous Red River expedition
was little more than a huge cotton speculation. Immense quantities were
stored along the river and could it have been secured would have been
worth many hundred thousand dollars to the captors. The charge has been
made, with apparent reason, that several Confederate leaders were
concerned in the "deal," seeing as they did, that the end of the
Confederacy was at hand. The trouble, however, was that other
Confederates like General Dick Taylor did all they could to defeat the
purpose of General Banks and they succeeded to perfection.

The Union commander had an army of 30,000 men with which he began the
ascent of the Red River. He captured Fort de Russy March 14 and then
marched against Shreveport. His forces were strewn along for miles, with
no thought of danger, when at Sabine Cross Roads they were furiously
attacked by General Dick Taylor and routed as utterly as was the first
advance upon Manassas in July, 1861. The demoralized men were rallied at
Pleasant Hill, where they were again attacked and routed by Taylor.
Banks succeeded at last in reaching New Orleans, where he was relieved
of his command.

When Porter had waited a short time at the appointed place of meeting
for Banks's army a messenger reached him with news of that General's
defeat and his hurried retreat. Porter saw that it would not do for him
to delay an hour. He had had great difficulty in getting his fifty
vessels up the narrow stream, whose current was falling so rapidly that
it already appeared impossible to get the fleet past the snags and
shoals to the point of safety two hundred miles below.

Improving every moment and under a continual fire from the shore, Porter
managed to descend something more than half way down the river to Grand
Ecore, where he found Banks and his demoralized army. Porter advised the
commander to remain where he was until the spring rains would enable the
fleet to ascend the river again, but Banks was too frightened to do
anything but retreat, and he kept it up until he arrived at New Orleans.

The river fell so rapidly that all the fleet would have been stranded
above the falls but for the genius of Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Bailey,
of Wisconsin, a military engineer who accompanied Banks's expedition.
Under his direction several thousand men were set to work, and, at the
end of twelve days, they had constructed a series of wing dams, through
which the vessels were safely floated into the deeper water below the
falls. This accomplished their deliverance from what otherwise would
have been certain destruction. Porter pronounced the exploit of Bailey
the greatest engineering feat of the whole war. One of the Admiral's
most pleasing traits was his appreciation of the services of his
assistants. He complimented Bailey in glowing terms in his official
report, secured his promotion to brigadier-general and presented him
with a sword which cost nearly a thousand dollars.

[Illustration: BREAKING THROUGH THE DAMS ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.]

Porter was now transferred to the North Atlantic Squadron and commanded
the powerful naval contingents in the two attacks on Fort Fisher,
December, 1864, and January, 1865. In the latter Porter and General
Terry succeeded in capturing the last important sea fortress belonging
to the Confederates. Porter was promoted to be vice-admiral in 1866 and
admiral in 1870. He was superintendent of the naval academy until 1869,
and died in Washington, February 13, 1891, one day before the death of
General Sherman.




CHAPTER XXV.

Charles Stuart Boggs--His Coolness in the Presence of Danger--His
Desperate Fight Below New Orleans--His Subsequent Services.


When the gallant Lawrence, mortally wounded on the _Chesapeake_, was
dying, he called out in his delirium, "Don't give up the ship!" thus
furnishing a motto that has served times without number for the American
navy. Among the mourning relatives left by Lawrence was a married
sister, Mrs. Boggs, who lived in New Brunswick, N.J., where a son was
born to her in January, 1811, and named Charles Stuart.

It was probably the admiration formed for his heroic uncle which led the
boy to determine to follow in his footsteps, for he was appointed a
midshipman when fifteen years old, and saw active service in the
Mediterranean against the Greek pirates, to which reference has been
made in a previous chapter. He was made lieutenant in 1833. One of the
most marked traits in young Boggs was his perfect coolness in times of
peril and his instant perception of the best thing to do. The following
incident will illustrate this remarkable power on his part, which was
united to a gentleness of disposition that made one wonder at his daring
and intrepidity.

During the war with Mexico Lieutenant Boggs was ordered to the steamer
_Princeton_, which took a leading part in the bombardment of the Castle
of St. Juan de Ulloa and of Tampico. The brig _Truxton_ unfortunately
ran aground on the bar of Tuspan River and had to be surrendered to the
Mexicans. The _Princeton_ was ordered to destroy her. Anchoring near the
wreck, a boat was manned and placed in charge of Lieutenant Boggs, to
whom the work of destruction was intrusted.

The boat had nearly reached the stranded vessel when it was caught in
one of the tropical tempests, which sometimes appear with cyclonic
suddenness in that part of the world. It was impossible to board the
wreck, and equally impossible to get back to the _Princeton_. A powerful
current set in toward shore, in which direction the gale was blowing.
The combined efforts of the sturdy rowers could not check the progress
of the boat, which perhaps would have been the right course to take but
for an alarming discovery.

On the beach a company of Mexican soldiers were drawn up with a field
piece, making ready to annihilate the little American company, as they
could do without the slightest difficulty before the gallant sailors
could land and make a charge. Here was a dilemma indeed. Nothing could
extricate the boat and its crew from their peril and not a man could
raise a finger to help himself.

There was only one person who saw the only possible thing to do.
Lieutenant Boggs ordered the single white shirt in the party to be torn
up, tied on the end of a boathook and displayed as a flag of truce.
Then, by his directions, the men rowed with all speed straight for the
enemy, who were thus disarmed of their hostile purpose. Walking up to
the leader of the company, the lieutenant explained that he had been
sent to destroy the _Truxton_, but had been driven ashore against his
will. He hastened to explain to the officer that he had no intention of
attacking the town, but he should do so if any one tried to prevent his
destruction of the stranded vessel.

When the insignificance of the American party is remembered, there was
something amusing in this; but the Mexican officer not only gave his
promise, but entertained his visitors until the gale was over. Then the
_Truxton_ was fired and Boggs returned to his ship.

He was on the Pacific coast when the Civil War broke out, serving as
inspector of lighthouses. Chafing under idleness, he petitioned the
Government to give him active employment afloat. His wish was granted
and he was placed in command of the _Varuna_, a passenger steamer,
purchased by the Government and changed into a gunboat. Admiral Farragut
was making his preparations to attack New Orleans, and the _Varuna_ was
added to his fleet. She was a very swift but frail craft, a fact which
led Farragut to grant Boggs' request to be allowed to run ahead of the
position that had been assigned him.

In order to get up all the steam possible, the pork among the ship's
store was flung into the blazing furnace under the boilers. The craft
went through the water at a tremendous speed, and upon coming opposite
the forts, Boggs fired his starboard battery and then ordered grape and
canister to be used as rapidly as possible. Work had hardly begun when
the Confederate gunboats appeared on every hand. With the same coolness
that he had shown when driven ashore in Mexico, the command was given
for the guns to be fired "on both sides." Indeed, there were so many
targets that it would have been about as difficult to miss as to hit
one.

[Illustration: ATTACK ON ROANOKE ISLAND--LANDING OF THE TROOPS.]

The _Varuna_ did terrific work, her gunners displaying fine markmanship.
The formidable craft _Governor Moore_ had detected her in the early
morning light, and steaming after her, fired a shot when only a
hundred yards away, but missed. The _Varuna_ replied, killing and
wounding men on the _Governor Moore_ at every shot. One of the enemy's
shot, however, raked the _Varuna_, killing four men and wounding nine.
Another struck the _Varuna's_ pivot gun and killed and wounded a number
more. Then the _Governor Moore_ rammed the _Varuna_ twice in quick
succession.

But while the Confederate was doing so, Boggs planted three 8-inch
shells into his antagonist, which set her on fire and compelled her to
drop out of action. Her loss had been heavy and her engines were so
battered that her commander ran her ashore, where she was burned to the
water's edge.

Out of the misty light burst the _Stonewall Jackson_ and rammed the
_Varuna_ on the port side, repeating the blow with a viciousness that
stove in the vessel below the water line; but the _Varuna_ swung the ram
ahead until her own broadside guns bore, when she planted several 5-inch
shells into the _Stonewall Jackson_, which set her on fire and caused
her to drift ashore.

But the _Varuna_ had been mortally hurt and was sinking fast. To quote
the words of Commodore Boggs: "In fifteen minutes from the time the
_Varuna_ was struck by the _Stonewall Jackson_, she was on the bottom,
with only her topgallant forecastle out of the water."

But those were exceedingly lively minutes for the _Varuna_ and the other
craft in her neighborhood. Commander Boggs turned her prow toward shore
and crowded all steam, firing his guns as the water rose about the
trucks. When the last shell left the side of the sinking vessel the
current had reached the mouth of the piece, and some of it was blown out
like mist with the shrieking missile.

The moment the bow of the _Varuna_ struck the bank a chain cable was
fastened around the trunk of a tree, so as to prevent her from sliding
into deep water as she went down and taking the wounded and dead with
her. This was a precaution which would not have occurred to every man in
the situation of Commander Boggs.

The daring conduct of this officer brought a tribute from one of our
poets, which contains the stanzas:

"Who has not heard of the dauntless _Varuna_?
  Who shall not hear of the deeds she has done?
Who shall not hear while the brown Mississippi
  Rushes along from the snow to the sun?

"Five of the rebels like satellites round her,
  Burned in her orbit of splendor and fear,
One like the Pleiad of mystical story
  Shot terror-stricken beyond her dread sphere."

When Boggs' native city heard of his gallant conduct it voted him a
sword, and the State of New Jersey did the same. He came North and was
appointed to the command of the blockading squadron off Wilmington. He
would have preferred active service, and finally his health broke down
under the exposure and fatigue to which he was subjected, and he was
compelled to return home to recruit. Upon his recovery, he was appointed
to duty in New York, but the war ended without his having another
opportunity to distinguish himself in the service of his country. He
died a few years after the close of hostilities.




CHAPTER XXVI.

John Ancrum Winslow--His Early Life and Training--The Famous Battle
Between the _Kearsarge_ and _Alabama_.


A few weeks ago I had as guests at my house two young men who were
graduates of the West Point Military Academy in 1889. One was my son, at
present an instructor in the Academy, and the other was E. Eveleth
Winslow, of the corps of engineers, who had the honor of being graduated
at the head of his class. During the course of the conversation I asked
Captain Winslow whether he was a relative of the late Commodore John
Ancrum Winslow, commander of the _Kearsarge_ in her famous fight with
the _Alabama_.

"He was my grandfather," replied my friend, with a glow of pride.

It was a pleasant bit of information, but it made me realize how the
years are passing. It seems but a short time ago that the country was
electrified by the news of the great battle, off Cherbourg, France,
which sent to the bottom of the ocean the most destructive cruiser the
Southern Confederacy ever launched. And here was the grandson of the
hero of that fight, already thirty years of age, with the hair on his
crown growing scant. _Tempus fugit_ indeed.

The name Winslow is a distinguished one in the annals of our country,
and especially in Massachusetts, the State from which Captain Winslow
hails. He is the ninth generation from John Winslow, brother of Edward
Winslow, Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, and the founder, as may
be said, of Plymouth Rock itself. John A. Winslow, the subject of this
sketch, however, was a Southerner by birth, being a native of
Wilmington, North Carolina, where he was born November 19, 1811. His
mother belonged to the famous Rhett family of the fiery State of South
Carolina. The father had gone to Wilmington from Boston, to establish a
commercial house, four years before the birth of the son, who was sent
North to be educated. At the age of sixteen he entered the navy, and saw
a good deal of dangerous service in the extirpation of the West Indian
pirates. The exciting experience was exactly to the liking of young
Winslow, whose life more than once was placed in great peril.

After an extended cruise in the Pacific, he returned east in 1833, and
was promoted to past midshipman. His service was of an unimportant
character for a number of years, the rank of lieutenant coming to him
in 1839. His conduct was so gallant in the war with Mexico that he was
publicly complimented by Commodore Matthew C. Perry, a younger brother
of the Lake Erie hero, and given the choice of vessels belonging to the
fleet.

A curious incident is mentioned by his biographer. He went with the
division which set out to capture Tampico, but the city surrendered
without a fight upon the approach of the boats. He remained several
weeks and then went back to the fleet at Vera Cruz. One of the vessels
had been capsized in a squall, and the captain was occupying Winslow's
room, and continued to share it until other arrangements could be made.
The name of this visitor was Raphael Semmes, afterward the commander of
the _Alabama_. The history of our navy is full of such strange
occurrences. When the furnace blast of secession swept over the country,
the most intimate friends--in many cases brothers--became the deadliest
of enemies. For a time two flags were flung to the breeze in the United
States, and the men who fought under each were among the bravest of the
brave, for they were all _Americans_.

In 1855 Winslow was made a commander and was engaged in various duties
until the breaking out of the Civil War. He hurried to Washington and
applied for active service. Captain Foote was busy fitting out a
flotilla at St. Louis, and Winslow was sent to join him. The work
involved great labor and difficulty, and Winslow's aid was invaluable,
although far from congenial. The task of blazing away at the guerrillas
in the bushes and woods along shore, of raking the muddy rivers and
streams for torpedoes, and of managing the awkward, nondescript craft,
was not to the liking of the naval officer, accustomed to the free air
of the deep, blue ocean. Finally his request to be transferred to sea
service was granted, and in the early part of 1863 he was placed in
command of the _Kearsarge_.

This sloop of war had a crew of 163 men, carried two 11-inch pivot guns,
four short 32-pounders and one rifled 30-pounder, the total shot weight
of the seven guns being 430 pounds. In this place it may be well to give
the statistics of the _Alabama_, since the two vessels were so
intimately associated in history. The Confederate cruiser carried one
100-pounder Blakely gun, one 8-inch shell gun and six long 32-pounders,
the eight guns having a total of 360 pounds shot weight, while the crew
consisted of 149 men, of mixed nationalities, nearly all of them being
Englishmen.

England at that time was less friendly to the United States than she
has since become, and she gave most unfair help to the Southern
Confederacy by aiding to fit out and man cruisers for it. When the war
was over she was compelled to pay a good round sum for her dishonest
course, and was taught a lesson she is not likely soon to forget. These
cruisers wrought immense havoc among our shipping, and Commander Winslow
was sent into European waters in quest of them. He was specially anxious
to meet the _Florida_, and followed her from the coast of South America
to that of England and France. The governments of those two countries
threw every possible obstacle in his way. The French pilots were
forbidden to serve the _Kearsarge_, and Captain Winslow had to be his
own pilot--something he was well able to do because of his familiarity
with the coasts.

Finding the _Florida_ in Brest, he blockaded the port. It was in the
depth of winter and the shore was dangerous, but Winslow did his duty so
well that the _Florida_ dared not poke her nose outside, until he was
compelled, because of shortness of provisions, to steam over to Cadiz to
obtain them. He made all haste to return, but when he arrived the
_Florida_ had slipped out and was gone.

There was no telling to what part of the world she had fled, and Captain
Winslow sailed to Calais, where he learned that the rebel
_Rappahannock_ was awaiting a chance to put to sea. He held her there
for two months, when a French pilot purposely ran the _Kearsarge_ into
the piers along shore. It was done by prearrangement with the officers
of the _Rappahannock_, in order to give the latter a chance to put to
sea. The indignant Winslow drove all the French pilots off his ship, and
by vigorous work got her off by daylight the next morning. Meanwhile the
_Rappahannock_, which had greatly overstayed her time, was ordered by
the French authorities to leave. Winslow heard of this, and, without
waiting for some of his men and officers who were on shore, he moved out
of the harbor. When the commander of the _Rappahannock_ saw the
_Kearsarge_ once more off the port of Calais, he knew it was all up and
dismantled his ship.

There was one Confederate scourge that had been roaming the seas for
months which Captain Winslow was anxious, above all others, to meet;
that was the _Alabama_, commanded by his former room-mate, Captain
Raphael Semmes. The _Kearsarge_, like many other vessels of the United
States, had been hunting here and there for the ocean pest, but it
seemed impossible to bring her to bay.

On Sunday morning, June 12, 1864, the _Kearsarge_ was lying off the town
of Flushing, Holland, with many of the officers and men ashore, and
with everything wearing the appearance of a protracted rest for the
crew. Some hours later, however, a gun was fired as a signal for every
member of the ship's company to come aboard at once. The cause of this
sudden awaking was a telegram from Minister William L. Dayton, at Paris,
notifying Captain Winslow that the _Alabama_ had arrived at Cherbourg.
On Tuesday, Winslow appeared off the fort, and saw the cruiser within,
with her Stars and Bars floating defiantly in the breeze. Had Captain
Winslow followed, he would have been compelled by law to remain
twenty-four hours after the departure of the _Alabama_, so he took a
station outside, determined that the cruiser should not escape him
again.

In this case, however, the precaution was unnecessary, for Semmes had
made up his mind to fight the National vessel. He had been charged with
cowardice in running away from armed ships, and he had destroyed and
captured so many helpless merchantmen that he felt something was due to
retrieve his reputation. A comparison of the crews and armaments of the
_Kearsarge_ and _Alabama_ will show that they were pretty evenly
matched, though the slight numerical superiority of the Union ship was
emphasized by the fact that her men were almost wholly American, while
those of Semmes, as already stated, were nearly all English.

Shortly after the arrival of Captain Winslow the following challenge was
brought out to him:



                              Confederate Steamer _Alabama_,
                              Cherbourg, June 14, 1864.

      Sir:--I hear that you were informed by the United States
     Consul that the _Kearsarge_ was to come to this port solely for the
     prisoners landed by me, and that she was to depart in twenty-four
     hours. I desire you to say to the United States Consul that my
     intention is to fight the _Kearsarge_ as soon as I can make the
     necessary arrangements. I hope these will not detain me more than
     till to-morrow evening, or next morning, at the farthest. I beg she
     will not depart before I am ready to go out.

      I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant

                                        R. Semmes, _Captain_.






This note, though couched in seemingly courteous language, contained the
most aggravating sort of sting, in the hope expressed that the
_Kearsarge_ would not leave until the _Alabama_ was ready to go out, and
the intimation--undoubtedly false--that the sole business of the Union
vessel was to take charge of the prisoners brought thither by the
Confederate. Captain Winslow had not spent months in hunting over the
globe for such a chance as this to let it slip.

The _Alabama_ was among friends. She had the sympathies of the
thousands, who hoped to see the Yankee ship sunk by the fearful
commerce-destroyer. Excursion trains were run from Paris and other
points to Cherbourg, and among the vast multitude who gathered on shore
on that warm, hazy Sunday morning--June 19--to witness the coming
battle, it may be doubted whether there were a score who wished to see
the _Kearsarge_ win.

The respective captains were brave men and good officers. Both had
declared that, if they ever met, the battle would not end until one of
the ships went to the bottom, and each knew that the other would keep
his word. Such a thing as surrender was not thought of by either.

Semmes was confident of his ability to sink the _Kearsarge_. Being a
Roman Catholic, and unable to attend service, he requested a friend to
go to mass and have it offered up for him, which was done. His
accumulated sixty chronometers were sent ashore, and the motto displayed
by his ship was "_Aide toi et Dieu t'aidera_," meaning, "Help yourself
and God will help you," another version of the old adage, "God helps
them that help themselves."

The church chimes were sending out their mellow notes on the warm summer
air when the _Alabama_ began slowly steaming out of the harbor. She was
cheered by the sympathetic thousands, who heard the drums beating to
quarters, and fervently prayed that their favorite might return
victorious.

Winslow neglected nothing in the way of preparation. While calmly
confident, his experience had taught him that such a contest is often
decided by a chance shot, and he knew that the doom of one of the ships
would be sealed before the set of sun. Having done all he could, he
committed everything to the God of battles, content to abide by His
will, whatever it might be.

It was about ten o'clock that Winslow, with his glass pointed toward
shore, saw the head of the _Alabama_ coming round the point of the mole,
some three miles distant. He immediately beat to quarters. The
_Couronne_ accompanied the _Alabama_ to the limits of French waters, and
then turned back. The English yacht _Deerhound_ had hurried down from
Caen, upon being telegraphed of the impending fight, and the owner, with
his family on board, followed the _Alabama_ at the risk of receiving a
stray shot that would wind up the career of the pleasure craft and all
on board.

Some time before Captain Winslow had arranged his sheet chains for a
distance of fifty feet amidships and over the side of his vessel,
extending six feet down. They were intended as an additional protection
to his machinery, and the practice is common among warships. The chains
were secured by marline to eyebolts protected with one-inch boards. This
natural precaution was the foundation for Captain Semmes' charge that
the _Kearsarge_ was partly armored. During the fight this part of the
ship was hit only twice, so that the protection, if it be considered
such, bore an unimportant part in the battle itself.

Captain Winslow was determined that no question about neutral waters
should be raised. Accordingly, as the _Alabama_ approached, he steamed
out to sea, as if running away from his antagonist. Another object he
had in mind was to prevent the _Alabama_, in case she was crippled, from
escaping by running into the harbor.

When the _Kearsarge_ had reached a point some seven miles from land, she
swung around and made directly for the _Alabama_, although such a course
exposed her to the raking broadsides of the enemy. Reading his purpose,
Semmes slowed his engines and sheered off, thus presenting his starboard
battery to the _Kearsarge_. When the vessels were about a mile apart,
the jets of fire and smoke from the side of the _Alabama_, followed by
the reverberating boom of her cannon, showed that she had fired her
first broadside. It did only trifling damage to the rigging of the
_Kearsarge_. A second and part of a third broadside were delivered, with
no perceptible effect. All the time, under a full head of steam, Winslow
was rushing toward his enemy for the death grapple. Still in peril of
being raked, he now sheered when half a mile distant and fired his
broadside of five-second shells, at the same time endeavoring to pass
under the _Alabama's_ stern, but Semmes defeated the manoeuvre by also
sheering his vessel. The effort of each was now to keep his starboard
broadside presented to the other, the attempt causing the two ships to
describe an immense circle, the diameter of which steadily decreased,
until it was barely a third of a mile.

Ten minutes after the opening of the battle the spanker gaff of the
_Alabama_ and the ensign were brought down by the fire of the
_Kearsarge_, whose crew burst into cheers, but the Confederates quickly
hoisted the colors to their mizzen. When the two ships were within a
third of a mile of each other the fire became terrible; but from the
first that of the _Kearsarge_ was more accurate and did vast damage.
This was impressively shown by the fact that although the _Kearsarge_
fired only 173 shots during the fight, nearly every one struck the
_Alabama_, which fired 370, of which only 28 landed.

One of the _Alabama's_ 60-pound Blakely shells passed through the
bulwarks of the _Kearsarge_, and, bursting on the quarter deck, wounded
three men, of whom William Gowin was mortally hurt. When carried to the
surgeon, the intensely suffering man smiled. "We are whipping the
_Alabama_," he said, "and I am willing to give my life for such a
victory."

Another Confederate shell burst in the hammock nettings and started a
fire, which was easily extinguished. A third lodged in the sternpost,
but failed to explode. Had it done so, its effect would have been
terrific. The damage done by the other shells was insignificant.

A far different story was told on the Confederate cruiser. Winslow's
instructions to his gunners were to fire slowly and to make every shot
tell, and they did so. The men on the _Alabama_ stripped to their shirts
and drawers and fired rapidly, as if the only thing to do was to work
the guns without taking pause to aim. Crashing planks and timber and
exploding shells seemed to be all about them. A single shot from the
_Kearsarge_ killed and wounded eighteen men and disabled a gun. Another
burst in the coal bunks and cluttered up the engine room. Death and
destruction raged on every hand, and still the terrible _Kearsarge_
kept working nearer, the dearest wish of Winslow being to get to close
quarters.

The ships had described seven circles about each other and were starting
on the eighth, when Winslow, all alive and eagerness, saw the _Alabama_
set her fore trysail and two jibs and start for shore. That meant that
it was all up with her, and her captain's only hope now was to get into
the harbor of Cherbourg. Winslow ran across her bow and was on the point
of raking her, when the _Alabama's_ flag came down. Uncertain whether
this was an accident, and suspecting a ruse by which the enemy expected
to reach shore, now only two miles off, Winslow stopped firing, but held
himself ready to open again. A white flag was displayed, and he began
preparations to render assistance to his defeated antagonist. Just then,
however, the _Alabama_ fired again, upon which Winslow answered with
several shots, when the white flag was run up for the second time.

The doom of the _Alabama_ had overtaken her at last. She was fast
settling, and while the only two serviceable boats of the _Kearsarge_
were hurrying to the relief of the crew, the famous cruiser threw her
prow high in air and slid stern foremost into the depths of the
Atlantic.

In the midst of the wild confusion a boat from the _Alabama_, under
charge of the English master's mate, came alongside, announcing that the
_Alabama_ had surrendered and begging for help. On the promise of this
man to return, Winslow allowed him to go back to the aid of the drowning
crew, but instead of keeping his pledge, he took refuge on the yacht
_Deerhound_, which was circling about and doing all it could for the
struggling wretches in the water. Among those picked up was Captain
Semmes, who had flung his sword into the sea and leaped overboard as his
ship was going down. He was suffering from a painful wound in the hand,
and when helped on board of the _Deerhound_ was in an exhausted
condition. The captain of the yacht, after picking up thirty-nine men,
including a number of officers, instead of delivering them to Captain
Winslow, as he was in honor bound to do, edged away from the scene, and,
putting on all steam, did not pause until he reached Southampton. The
_Kearsarge_ picked up the men that remained and took them into
Cherbourg.

In this famous battle the _Kearsarge_ had only 1 killed and 2 wounded,
while Semmes lost 40 killed and 70 taken prisoners. The Confederate
commander and his sympathizing British friends offered all sorts of
excuses for his defeat. Some of them were ingenious, but none was the
true one. The cause of the sinking of the _Alabama_ was the same as that
which gave us so many wonderful naval victories in the War of 1812. Our
vessels were manned by Americans, while the _Alabama_ was really an
English ship, armed with English guns and manned and fought by an
English crew: there's the truth in a nutshell.

Captain Winslow received the promotion to the grade of a commodore which
he had so gallantly won. He died in 1873. It was a source of regret
throughout the country that on the night of February 2, 1894, the
_Kearsarge_ was wrecked off Roncador Reef, while on a voyage from
Port-au-Prince, Hayti, to Bluefields, Nicaragua. None of her crew was
drowned, but the vessel itself was lost, despite every effort to save
her.




CHAPTER XXVII.


An Unexpected Preacher--Andrew Hull Foote--His Character and Early
Career--His Brilliant Services in the War for the Union.


One Sunday morning early in the Civil War a large assemblage had
gathered in a prominent church in a Western city for the purpose of
worship. But the hour for opening the services came and passed and the
preacher, the one indispensable individual, did not appear. The auditors
became uneasy. No one knew the cause of his absence and no word came
from the parsonage, which was at some distance from the church. When the
congregation were about to break up and pass out a stranger, sitting
near the front, quietly arose, walked up the pulpit steps, gave out the
opening hymn, led in prayer and preached a sermon which impressed all by
its plain, practical truths. He held the attention of the people from
the opening to the close, and among the listeners were more than one who
felt that the unexplained absence of the regular pastor had resulted in
a gain, though a brief one, for them.

Naturally there was no little curiosity to learn the name of the
stranger. When approached by some of the leading brethren at the close
of the services, he modestly said he was Captain Foote of the United
States navy. He occasionally preached, when there seemed to be a call
for such work on his part, but preaching was not his profession, and he
would not have thought of entering the pulpit had he not seen that it
was a choice between doing so and allowing the congregation to go home.

Andrew Hull Foote was born in New Haven, Conn., September 12, 1806. He
belonged to a prominent family, his father, Samuel A. Foote, having
served in Congress for several terms, as United States Senator, and as
Governor of his State. The son received the best educational training
and was subjected to the strict religious discipline characteristic of
the Puritan families of old New England. His romantic nature was deeply
stirred by the accounts of the naval exploits of his countrymen in the
War of 1812, and he set his heart upon entering the navy. His mother
opposed, but, when she saw it was useless, wisely yielded. His father's
influence readily procured him the appointment of midshipman, and he was
directed to report on the schooner _Grampus_, under the command of
Lieutenant (afterward Admiral) Gregory.

[Illustration: ANDREW HULL FOOTE.]

The _Grampus_ went to the West Indies in quest of pirates, but never
found any. Young Foote was then transferred to the sloop of war
_Peacock_, which had made such a glorious record in the last war with
Great Britain, his next transfer being to the frigate _United States_,
the flagship of Commodore Isaac Hull, who won the famous victory over
the _Guerriere_ in August, 1812.

The cruise lasted three years, and Foote returned to New York in the
spring of 1837. He made a visit to his home, when he was once more
ordered to the West Indies.

About this time he was brought under religious influence. He read his
Bible and spent many hours in prayer, and finally yielded completely to
God. He made his mother inexpressibly happy by sending her the glad
news, and thenceforward throughout his stirring life he was one of the
most humble, devout and consecrated of Christians.

Like Havelock, he did an amount of good among those placed under his
charge, the full extent of which can never be known in this world. While
on duty at the Naval Asylum in Philadelphia he persuaded the men to give
up their grog rations and sign a pledge of total abstinence, and when
executive officer on the _Cumberland_ he did the same thing with its
crew. He was a voluntary chaplain and gave a religious address on the
berth deck every Sunday evening to those who wished to listen.

Disease of the eyes incapacitated him for duty for a long time, and he
was much disappointed that he was not permitted to take any part in the
Mexican war. One of his most practical temperance addresses was that,
while engaged off the coast of Africa in suppressing the slave trade, he
persuaded the men under him on the _Perry_, of which he was the
commander, to give up the use of liquor. Although exposed to one of the
most pestilential climates in the world, he did not lose a man.

At the breaking out of the Civil War he was in command of the Brooklyn
Navy Yard. He was overwhelmed with work for a time, and was glad when,
early in the autumn of 1861, he was ordered to the West to help in the
building of an inland navy on the Mississippi.

Captain Foote worked with the tremendous energy which he threw into
every task, and succeeded in getting together seven boats, four of which
were partly protected by armor. At the beginning of February, 1862, he
started from Cairo to ascend the Tennessee, his objective point being
Fort Henry, though the Confederates were deceived into thinking it was
Columbus, on the Mississippi. He asked the Government for more men with
which to man additional boats, but they were not furnished, and he went
forward with such as he could get.

On the night preceding the attack on Fort Henry the little fleet
anchored abreast of the army under General Grant, which was encamped on
the bank. The night was cold and tempestuous, but the morning dawned
keen and clear, and no time was lost in preparing the flotilla for the
attack on the fort. He intimated to General Grant that he must not
linger if he wished to cut off the retreat of the enemy. Grant assured
him he would be on time to put his army in motion.

Fort Henry stood on a bend in the river, which it commanded for a long
distance up and down stream. Foote placed his boats behind an island a
mile below the fort, with a view of avoiding the long range rifles of
the Confederates, which were liable to cripple the gunboats before they
could get into close action. The wooden vessels halted upon coming in
view of the fort, and the ironclads, as they were called, moved slowly
up stream abreast of one another, firing their bow guns in answer to the
shots of the rebels. The latter had had the time to practice to acquire
the exact range, while the boats had yet to find it. They fired slowly
and with such accuracy that the infantry stationed outside of the works
hastily fled, though the gunners bravely remained at their posts.

Foote opened fire when not quite a mile from the fort. His instructions
were to fire slowly and with care, the result of which was that guns
were continually dismounted and the earth and sandbags sent flying in
every direction. It was while the attack was being pressed in this
vigorous fashion that a shell pierced the boiler of the _Essex_,
commanded by Lieutenant Porter, and caused so many deaths, as has been
related in a preceding chapter.

This appalling accident was a serious loss to Captain Foote, for Porter
was doing inestimable service when thus driven out of action, but the
daring commander pressed forward in the face of the murderous fire,
encouraged by the visible results of his shots, which were playing
frightful havoc against the defences of the fort. Tilghman, the
Confederate commander, displayed great bravery, fighting until every one
of his guns was dismounted. Then, finding himself powerless to offer
further resistance, he hauled down his flag. Firing immediately ceased
on the part of the Union flotilla, and Foote sent a boat ashore to take
possession.

Despite General Grant's usual promptness, he did not arrive in time to
intercept the flight of the garrison. As a consequence the prisoners
surrendered, including General Tilghman and his staff, numbered less
than a hundred. The others fled overland to Fort Donelson, only to be
compelled to surrender shortly afterward to Grant in what proved to be
the first great Union victory of the war.

The severity of this battle is shown by the fact that Foote's ship was
struck 31 times, the _Essex_ 15, and the _Carondelet_ 6. The total
number of killed, wounded and missing was 48. The success was so
decisive that Foote was applauded throughout the North, sharing the
well-earned honors with General Grant, whose successful career is known
to every boy in the land.

Foote now steamed down the river to Cairo and began the ascent of the
Cumberland, to assist General Grant, who was marching overland to the
attack on Fort Donelson. Dauntless as was the courage of the naval
leader, he knew his task was a hopeless one. He had not only lost the
_Essex_, but Fort Donelson was greatly superior in strength to Fort
Henry. The water assault, however, was deemed a military necessity, and
he did not hesitate.

On February 14 he advanced resolutely to the attack with his two wooden
gunboats and four partial ironclads. The tremendous land batteries
opened on this weak force the moment it came within range, and the
results were of the most destructive nature. As usual, the chief
attention was given to the flagship, which was struck again and again by
the flying shot and shell. Undismayed by the awful tempest, Foote pushed
steadily onward, cool, calm, hopeful and prepared for the worst.

His pilot was a brave man, but under the frightful fire he began to show
a nervousness that caught the eye of Foote. Walking up to him, he placed
his hand in a kindly manner on his shoulder and spoke encouragingly to
him. While he was doing so, the poor fellow was torn into pieces by a
shot, and the captain himself was badly wounded in the foot by a flying
splinter. Paying no heed to the bleeding member, he limped about the
boat, swept by the iron hail, and gave his orders as coolly as before.
But the shot that killed the pilot also smashed the wheel, and the
unmanageable boat began drifting down stream. The tiller ropes of
another boat were also cut about the same time, and she also floated
helplessly with the current. The Confederates increased their fire, and
the other two boats, also greatly damaged, followed the flagship, and
the ferocious fight that had lasted more than an hour was over, with the
Union flotilla badly repulsed.

The flagship had been struck 59 times, and 54 had been killed and
wounded on the different ships; but Foote would have maintained the
fight, with a fair probability of success, but for the destruction of
his steering gear.

Grant and Foote now formed a plan for the capture of Nashville, but on
the eve of starting were stopped by a telegraphic order from General
Halleck not to allow the gunboats to go further up the river than
Clarksville. Foote was greatly disappointed, and, absolutely certain of
capturing the city, telegraphed for permission to do so, but it was
refused. Thus he was left no alternative but to return to Cairo.

While there, he learned that the Confederate force occupying Columbus
had evacuated the town and fortified themselves on Island No. 10. They
numbered about 8,000 and were under the command of General Mackall, from
Beauregard's army. Foote transferred his flag to the ironclad _Benton_
and advanced against the powerful works that had been erected on the
island. The bombardment was continued for three weeks, without
inflicting serious damage, and there was little prospect of capturing
the place from the river, when General Pope arrived with a large land
force; but to reach the fort it was necessary for him to get his troops
across the river, and he had not a single transport to use for that
purpose.

Pope's arrival below made it necessary to send a gunboat down to him,
for until that was done he could make no movement against the rebel
force there. The all-important question was whether any one of the
gunboats could run the terrific gauntlet of the batteries that lined the
shore. It looked as if the attempt must result in the inevitable
destruction of any craft before half the distance could be accomplished.
At a council of the officers it was agreed that it was too hazardous to
try to run one of the gunboats past the batteries. Such was the opinion
of every man except Henry Walke, commander of the _Carondelet_, who
volunteered to try the seemingly impossible task. Captain Foote
reluctantly gave his consent.

It was understood that Walke was to make the attempt on the first rainy
or foggy night. In the event of success, he was to cooperate with Pope,
and, when he moved, to assist in the attack on the fortifications.
Captain Foote closed his instructions to his faithful aide with the
following impressive words:

     On this delicate and somewhat hazardous service to which I assign
     you I must enjoin upon you the importance of keeping your lights
     secreted in the hold or put out, keeping your officers and men
     from speaking at all, when passing the forts, above a whisper, and
     then only on duty, and of using every other precaution to prevent
     the rebels suspecting that you are dropping below their batteries.

      If you successfully perform this duty assigned to you, which you
     so willingly undertake, it will reflect the highest credit upon you
     and all belonging to your vessel, and I doubt not but that the
     government will fully appreciate and reward you for a service
     which, I trust, will enable the army to cross the river and make a
     successful attack in the rear, while we storm the batteries in
     front of this stronghold of the rebels.

      Commending you and all who compose your command to the care and
     protection of God, who rules the world and directs all things, I
     am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                                  A.H. Foote.

      P.S.--Should you meet with disaster, you will, as a last resort,
     destroy the steam machinery, and, if possible, to escape, set fire
     to your gunboat, or sink her, and prevent her falling into the
     hands of the rebels.

The night selected--April 4--was rainy and of inky blackness, relieved
by vivid flashes of lightning. No precaution that could be thought of
was neglected. Chains were twisted around the pilot-house and other
vulnerable parts, and wood was piled against the boilers, with which the
hose was connected, to make the jets of steam available to repel
boarders. On one side was lashed a boat loaded with pressed hay, while a
barge of coal was fastened on the side furthest from the dangerous
batteries, and the escape steam was led into the paddle-wheel house in
order to muffle the sound. Among the fully armed crew were twenty of
the most expert sharpshooters in the army.

It was about ten o'clock when the _Carondelet_ swung round in the stream
and started on its fearful race. The fleet fairly held its breath, as
officers and men listened and peered down the river in the tempestuous
darkness. Now and then the zigzagging lightning gave a momentary glimpse
of the craft moving away, but the straining eye and ear caught no sight
or sound.

But when the _Carondelet_ was close to the batteries a blaze suddenly
shot up several feet above the chimneys. The soot had caught fire and
the reflection was thrown far out on the water. The engineer immediately
opened the flue caps and all was darkness again. So quickly did this
singular glow come and vanish that it must have been mistaken by the
sentinels for a part of the lightning display, for it caused no alarm;
but the turning of the escape steam into the paddle-box had allowed the
soot to get dry, and they flamed up a second time. Though extinguished
as promptly as before, the sentinels knew something was wrong and
signalled to the batteries below that one of the boats of the enemy was
approaching.

It was useless to attempt concealment any longer. Walke ordered the
engine ahead at full speed and ran close to the shore nearest the
batteries, that their shot might pass over him. Aside from the enemy,
this was dangerous work, for there was no telling into what obstruction
the boat would dash. A man stood at the front with lead and line,
quietly calling out in a guarded voice the soundings, which were
repeated by a second man on deck, who forwarded the report aft to Walke,
standing beside the pilot.

All the time the rain was falling in torrents. Suddenly a dazzling gleam
showed the pilot he was speeding straight for a shoal under the guns of
the Confederate battery.

"Hard aport!" commanded the captain, and the heavy craft barely missed
the island, past which it shot at the highest speed. The lightning
flashes helped the _Carondelet_ in more than one way. It not only gave
the pilot the necessary knowledge to avoid running aground, but confused
the Confederate gunners, who sent most of their shots over the boat,
which was not struck once during its remarkable run down the
Mississippi. Two shots had entered the barge at her side, but not a man
was hurt. The boat was received with wild cheers by the expectant
soldiers, who, while hoping for the best, feared the worst.

It had been agreed between Walke and Captain Foote that in case the
former was successful, he was to make it known by firing minute guns.
The captain was listening intently, when through the rain and darkness
the welcome signals reached his ears, and he thanked God that all had
come out so well.

Now that General Pope had received the transport for which he longed,
Captain Foote breathed freely and prepared to give what help he could in
the attack upon the rebel fortifications; but, to his surprise, Pope
sent an urgent request that a second boat should be sent to him on the
next night, adding that the success of the whole movement depended upon
a compliance with this request.

Foote replied that it would be as safe to run the batteries at midday as
on a clear night; for a vessel had to pass not only seven batteries, but
be kept "head on" to a battery of eleven guns, at the upper part of
Island No. 10, and to pass within 300 yards of it. In deference to
Pope's earnest request, Captain Foote consented to prepare another boat,
but would not permit it to start until the night was favorable.

The second night was similar to the one described, and Lieutenant
Thompson, in charge of the _Pittsburg_, started down the river at two
o'clock in the morning. Although exposed to the same fire as the
_Carondelet_, he was equally fortunate, and ran the gauntlet with the
same good fortune.

The passage of these two ironclads sealed the fate of Island No. 10, for
Pope could now cross the river, and, by taking position in the rear of
the Confederate works, cut off the supplies of the garrison. The
crossing was made and the enemy's batteries silenced. On the 8th the
island was surrendered to Captain Foote and General Pope, including the
garrison of 5,000 men.

Captain Foote's next move was to Fort Pillow. All this time he was
suffering so severely from the wound in his foot that it affected his
spirits, usually buoyant and hopeful. Another disturbing cause was the
continual interference of General Halleck, who prevented several
movements that Foote knew must have resulted in important successes.

His health continued to decline till finally the day came when he was
compelled to ask for a leave of absence. He went to his brother's home
in Cleveland, where his condition caused great solicitude throughout the
country. Afflictions crowded upon him. He returned to his home, which
was shadowed by the death of his bright boy at the age of fourteen
years. A few months later two of his daughters died. How hollow sounded
the praises of his countrymen when his head was bowed with such
overwhelming sorrow! He had been made rear admiral, and, though still
weak, was by his own request assigned to the command of the North
Atlantic squadron. He went to New York to complete his preparations, but
while there succumbed to his illness, and died at the Astor House, June
26, 1863.




CHAPTER XXVIII.

A Man Devoid of Fear--William Barker Cushing--Some of His Exploits--The
Blowing Up of the _Albemarle_--His Sad Death.


If ever man lived who knew not the meaning of fear, he was William
Barker Cushing, born in Wisconsin in 1842. He entered the Naval Academy
in 1857, remained four years, received his appointment from the State of
New York, but claiming Pennsylvania as his residence. He was wild and
reckless, and resigned in March, 1861, when even his closest friends saw
little hope of his success in life.

Many heroes are referred to as fearless, but that man is reckoned brave
who knows the full extent of the danger facing him, and yet does not
hesitate to meet it; but Cushing was a youth who really seemed to love
danger for its own sake, and never flinched while death was on every
hand, but went unhesitatingly forward, when it would have been no
reflection upon his courage had he turned about and run.

The breaking out of the Civil War offered so fascinating a field for him
that he could not resist the temptation. The Secretary of the Navy
always had a tender spot in his heart for the daring fellow, and when
Cushing promised that if he would give him a chance he would prove
himself worthy of the Secretary's confidence, that official consented
and attached him to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. At the very
first opportunity Cushing displayed the wonderful personal intrepidity
which was soon to make him the most famous naval officer of his age.

In the expedition against Franklin, Va., in the autumn of the year, he
was placed in command of the gunboat _Ellis_, and showed such skill and
bravery that he was recommended by the acting admiral to the Navy
Department. Some weeks later he steamed into New River Inlet, with the
object of capturing Jacksonville and destroying the salt works. He was
successful, secured three vessels and drove the enemy from two pieces of
artillery with which they were firing on him at short range. All was
going well, but while still close to the abandoned works Cushing's
little steamer ran aground, and, despite every effort, he could not work
her free.

He saw it was useless to try to get the boat off. He therefore took
everything out of her, excepting the pivot gun and ammunition, and,
placing them on board one of the captured schooners, ordered the crew to
leave. Knowing the enemy would soon return in overwhelming numbers, he
asked for six volunteers to stay with him and fight with the single gun
to the last. The response was prompt, for his daring spirit was
infectious, and he instructed the others, in the event of him and his
comrades being attacked, to make no attempt to help them.

Just as he anticipated, the Confederates opened upon the doomed steamer
at daylight, firing from so many different points that the defenders
were helpless. As fast as the gun could be loaded, it was pointed here,
there and everywhere, for, no matter in what direction it was aimed, it
was pretty sure to hit some of the enemy; but a single gun against a
score could accomplish nothing, and the lieutenant had to decide whether
to remain, with the certainty of every man being shot to pieces, of
surrendering, or of rowing in an open boat for more than a mile through
the murderous fire. With scarcely a moment's hesitation, he resolved
upon the last plan, which looked as suicidal as remaining on the
steamer.

The gun was loaded to the muzzle and trained upon the enemy, so as to go
off when heated, the steamer set on fire in several places, and,
dropping into the smaller boat, the men pulled with might and main for
the schooner. Fortune favors the brave, and they reached it in safety,
and soon after arrived at Beaufort.

This exploit won for Cushing the commendation of the Navy Department
for "his courage, coolness and gallantry."

His restless spirit would not allow him to remain idle. He was
continually engaging in some daring enterprise, in which it must not be
supposed he displayed nothing more than headlong recklessness. That
quality was supplemented by coolness and skill, without which he never
could have attained the remarkable success that attended his career.

Among the numerous achievements the following will serve as an
illustration of the young man's disposition:

Lieutenants Lamson and Cushing had command of a number of gunboats that
were sent to the aid of General Peck, stationed at Norfolk. In the
latter part of April it was learned that a Union boat had been decoyed
ashore by the display of a white handkerchief and then fired upon. The
angered Cushing asked for and received the privilege of retaliating for
this treacherous act. In charge of seven boats, manned by ninety
sailors, he set out and landed under the protection of the fire of the
vessels. Leaving a part of his force to protect the boats, he started
inland, taking a 12-pounder howitzer with him.

His objective point was a village three miles away, where several
hundred cavalry were stationed. Advancing boldly, he drove in the
pickets, and coming across a span of mules hitched to a cart, he tied
the rope of the howitzer to the rear, lashed the animals to a gallop and
went clattering into the village to the loud shouts of "Forward, double
quick!"

Just as they entered the formidable body of cavalry were discerned,
galloping down the street toward them, swinging their sabres and
shouting at the top of their voices. In a twinkling the howitzer was
unlimbered, and the charge of grape which was poured into the
approaching horsemen was supplemented by a volley of musketry. The
racket terrified the mules, which broke into a gallop, dragging the cart
and ammunition after them, and never paused until they were among the
ranks of the enemy. With a shout, Cushing was after them, followed by
his men, and mules and ammunition were recovered in a twinkling. By this
time the demoralized cavalry had fled, and Cushing, after retaining
possession of the village until dusk, leisurely made his way back to the
boats.

The war having proven the immeasurable value of ironclads of the
_Merrimac_ type, the Confederates strained every nerve to build them,
often succeeding under the most trying conditions. One of the most
formidable of these craft was the _Albemarle_, upon which work was
begun early in 1863, at Edward's Ferry, several miles up the Roanoke
River. Iron was so scarce that the country was scoured for miles in
every direction for bolts, bars and metal. As stated by Maclay, the keel
was laid in an open cornfield, and an ordinary blacksmith's outfit
formed the plant for building; but the makers persevered and completed a
craft 122 feet over all, with 45 feet beam and drawing 8 feet of water.
The casemate was 60 feet long, constructed of massive timbers, covered
with 4-inch planking, over which were placed two layers of 2-inch iron.
The motive power was furnished by twin screws operated by engines of 200
horse-power each. Her armament consisted of an Armstrong 100-pounder in
the bow and another in the stern, the casemate being so pierced that the
guns could be used at broadside or quarter.

At midnight, April 19, 1864, the _Albemarle_ gave a proof of her
prodigious power of destruction. On the preceding two days the
Confederates had made a determined attack on Plymouth, held by the Union
forces, and the ironclad now set out to render assistance. The wooden
gunboats _Miami_ and _Southfield_ offered just the sort of targets the
monster fancied. Under a full head of steam, the _Albemarle_ rammed her
iron beak clean into the fire room of the _Southfield_. The latter was
skewered upon the projection and began slowly sinking. The snout was so
entangled with the _Southfield_ that the victim could not be shaken off,
and as she sank she carried her foe with her. The bow of the ironclad
dipped below the surface, and a most extraordinary and inglorious end
seemed inevitable, when the _Southfield_ touched bottom, rolled over and
freed itself from the bow of the ram, which popped up again.

Meanwhile the _Miami_ was pounding the iron hide of the monster, which
shed the missiles as the _Merrimac_ shed the broadsides from the
_Cumberland_ and _Congress_. When only a few feet from the _Albemarle_,
Lieutenant Flusser, standing directly behind a gun of the _Miami_, let
fly with a heavy shell, which, striking the armor of the _Albemarle_,
was shivered into a thousand fragments, most of which rebounding,
instantly killed the officer and wounded a dozen men. The _Miami_
retreated, and the next day Plymouth surrendered to the Confederates.

In May, the _Albemarle_ steamed down into the Sound and attacked the
Union gunboats, which made a heroic defence. The monster received
broadside after broadside and was repeatedly rammed, but suffered no
material damage, while she killed 4, wounded 25 and caused the scalding
of 13, through piercing the boiler of one of her assailants.

It will be seen that this ironclad had become a formidable menace to the
Union arms, not only in the immediate neighborhood, but further north.
It was the intention of her commander to clear out the fleets at the
mouth of the river, and then make an excursion up the coast, somewhat
like that which Secretary Stanton once believed the _Merrimac_ was about
to undertake. General Grant was pressing his final campaign against
Richmond, and the _Albemarle_ threatened to interfere with his plans,
for if she made the diversion of which she was capable, she was likely
to postpone indefinitely the wind up of the war.

Ah, if some daring scheme could be perfected for destroying the
_Albemarle_! What a feat it would be and how vast the good it would
accomplish! There was one young officer in the American navy who
believed the thing could be done, and he volunteered to undertake it.

Well aware that the Unionists would neglect no means of blowing up the
_Albemarle_, the Confederates used every possible precaution. At the
wharf in Plymouth, where she was moored, a thousand soldiers were on
guard, and her crew, consisting of sixty men, were alert and vigilant.
To prevent the approach of a torpedo boat, the ram was surrounded by a
boom of cypress logs, placed a considerable distance from the hull, and
a double line of sentries was stationed along the river. What earthly
chance was there under such conditions of any possible harm coming to
her?

The picket boat in which Lieutenant Cushing undertook to destroy the
rebel ram was built at New York under his supervision, and taken to
Norfolk by way of the canals, and thence to Albemarle Sound again by
canal. He made his preparations with great care, and on the night of
October 27, which was dark and stormy, he started in his picket boat. He
was accompanied by eight men and the following officers: Acting Ensign
William L. Howarth, Acting Master's Mates Thomas S. Gay and John
Woodman, Acting Assistant Paymaster Francis H. Swan, Acting Third
Assistant Engineers Charles L. Steever and William Stotesbury.

Cushing took in tow a small cutter, in which he intended to capture the
Confederate guard, that was in a schooner anchored near the wrecked
_Southfield_, and prevent their sending up an alarm rocket as a warning
to the sentinels above of the approach of danger. He stationed himself
at the stern, his plan being to land a little way below the ram and
board her from the wharf. A sudden dash promised her capture by
surprise, when she could be taken down stream. If this scheme could not
be carried out, he intended to blow her up with a torpedo as she lay at
the dock.

The launch crept along the river bank as silently as an Indian canoe
stealing into a hostile camp. The distance to be passed was fully eight
miles, and the peril began almost from the moment of starting. The
necessary commands were spoken in whispers, and the waiting men scarcely
moved as they peered into the deep gloom and listened to the almost
inaudible rippling of the water from the bow. Speed was reduced as they
drew near Plymouth, in order to lessen the soft clanking of the engine
or the motion of the screw.

They were still a mile below Plymouth when the shadowy outlines of the
wrecked _Southfield_ loomed dimly to view. The Confederates had raised
her so that her hurricane deck was above the surface. Within a few yards
of the wreck a schooner was anchored containing a guard of twenty men
with a field piece and rocket, provided for precisely such danger as now
drew near. But on this night, of all others, the sentinels were dozing,
for had they been vigilant they must have seen the little craft whose
crew saw theirs and were on the _qui vive_ to board on the instant of
discovery.

The good fortune encouraged all hands, and as the schooner and wreck
melted into the darkness the launch swept around a bend in the river and
caught the glimmer of the camp fires along the banks, partly
extinguished by the falling rain. Still creeping cautiously on, the
outlines of the prodigious ram gradually assumed form in the gloom. It
looked as if the surprise would be complete, when a dog, more watchful
than his masters, began barking. He had discovered the approaching
danger, and the startled sentinels challenged, but no reply was made. A
second challenge bringing no response, several muskets flashed in the
night. Other dogs joined in barking, alarm rattles were sprung and wood
flung upon the fires, which, flaring up, threw their illumination out on
the river and revealed the launch and cutter. The hoarse commands of
officers rang out, and the soldiers, springing from sleep, caught up
their guns and rushed to quarters.

Amid the fearful din and peril Cushing cut the tow line and ordered the
cutter to hasten down the river and capture the guard near the
_Southfield_. At the same moment he directed the launch to go ahead at
full speed. He had changed his plan. Instead of landing he determined
to blow up the ram. When close to it he learned for the first time of
the cordon of logs which surrounded the _Albemarle_, but, believing they
were slippery enough from remaining long in the water to be passed, he
sheered off, made a sweep of a hundred yards and again charged under
full steam for the obstruction.

As he drew near the guards fired a volley which riddled Cushing's coat
and tore off the sole of his shoe.

At the same moment he heard the vicious snapping of the primers of the
huge guns, which showed they had missed fire.

"Leave the ram!" he shouted. "We're going to blow you up!"

The Confederates, however, did not follow the advice and the launch
fired her howitzer. Then she glided over the slimy logs and paused in
front of the muzzle of a loaded cannon which could be almost reached
with the outstretched hand. Still cool and self-possessed amid the
horrible perils, Cushing stood erect, lowered the torpedo spar, shoved
it under the overhang, waited a moment for it to rise until he felt it
touch the bottom of the ram, when he gave a quick, strong pull on the
trigger line. A muffled, thunderous explosion followed, an immense
column of water rose in the air and the tremendous tipping of the
_Albemarle_ showed she had received a mortal hurt.

It was accomplished at the critical second, for the rifled gun, filled
with 100 pounds of canister and pointed at the launch ten feet away, was
immediately discharged. The careening of the ram deviated the aim just
enough to prevent the crew from being blown to fragments, but confident
that not a man could escape, the Confederates twice called upon their
assailants to surrender, and several did so, but Cushing was not among
them. With the same marvelous coolness he had displayed from the first
he took off his coat and shoes, flung his sword and revolver aside and
shouted:

"Every man save himself!"

Then he leaped into the water and began swimming with might and main
down stream, the bullets skipping all about him, but he soon passed
beyond sight and was still swimming when he heard a plashing near him.
It was made by one of the acting master's mates, John Woodman, who was
exhausted. Cushing helped him until he himself had hardly an ounce of
strength left, when he was obliged to let go, and the poor fellow,
calling good-by, sank from sight.

When unable to struggle longer, Cushing let his feet drop and they
touched bottom. He managed to reach land, where he sank down so worn
out that he lay motionless until daylight. Then he crawled into a swamp,
where he remained hidden until a friendly negro appeared, who extended
every possible kindness to him. From him Cushing learned that the
_Albemarle_ had been destroyed and was at the bottom of the river. It
was thrilling news, and the following night, after he had thoroughly
rested and been fed by his dusky friend, he moved down the river, found
a skiff and in it made his way to the fleet, bringing the first news of
the success of an exploit which it is safe to say has never been
surpassed in the history of our navy. Even the captain of the
_Albemarle_ declared that "a more gallant thing was not done during the
war."

While conceding to Lieutenant Hobson the full credit for his daring
achievement in sinking the _Merrimac_ in the channel of Santiago harbor,
on June 3, 1898, it was by no means the equal of that of Lieutenant
Cushing, thirty-four years before.

For his superb work Cushing received a vote of thanks from Congress and
was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander. He led a division of
sailors in the second and what proved to be the successful attack upon
Fort Fisher, in January, 1865. It was a desperate fight and none
displayed more heroism than the young officer who had destroyed the
_Albemarle_.

Hon. J.T. Headley, the biographer of Cushing, in an article written
immediately after the close of the Civil War, used these words: "Still a
young man, he has a bright future before him, and if he lives will
doubtless reach the highest rank in the navy. Bold, daring and
self-collected under the most trying circumstances--equal to any
emergency--never unbalanced by an unexpected contingency, he possesses
those great qualities always found in a successful commander. No man in
our navy, at his age, has ever won so brilliant a reputation, and it
will be his own fault if it is not increased until he has no superior."

And yet Commander Cushing's reputation was not increased nor was it
through any fault of his own. It was not long after the war that his
friends were pained to observe unmistakable signs of mental unsoundness
in the young hero. These increased until his brain was all askew, and he
died in an insane asylum in 1874.




CHAPTER XXIX.

The Greatest of Naval Heroes--David Glasgow Farragut.


David Glasgow Farragut was the greatest naval hero of modern times.
There are many honored names connected with the American navy, but his
towers above them all. The highest honors that his country could give
were freely bestowed upon him and no one will deny that he earned them
all.

His father, although a native of Minorca, came to this country in 1776
and lost no time in joining the ragged, starving patriots in their
struggle for independence. His skill and gallantry won him the rank of
major. When the war ended he settled on the western frontier, near
Knoxville, Tenn., where at a place called Campbell's Station his son
David was born in 1801. When only nine years old he was appointed
midshipman under Captain David Porter, the heroic commander of the
_Essex_. Captain Porter and Major Farragut were old friends, to which
fact was due the privilege extended to a lad of such tender years.

In the sketch of Captain Porter the reader will recall the incident in
which young Farragut learned of the conspiracy among the 500 prisoners
on board the _Essex_, and, by giving his commander warning, prevented
the capture of the ship by the savage plotters.

The boy was on the _Essex_ when, disabled and helpless, she was pounded
into a surrender by two British ships while in the harbor of Valparaiso,
in January, 1814. It was one of the most sanguinary battles of the war,
when the decks ran with blood and the dead and dying were stretched on
every hand. Amid the terrible carnage the boy Farragut conducted himself
with such coolness and bravery that he was specially complimented by
Captain Porter in his report. Although wounded, he stood unflinchingly
to his guns, winning the admiration of the grim heroes around him and
demonstrating the wonderful qualities which later were to raise him to
the position of the foremost naval hero of the age.

Peace came, and, although Farragut was in continual service, promotion
was slow. He became lieutenant in 1825, commander in 1841 and captain in
1851. His first wife, whom he married in Norfolk, became an invalid and
did not live long. His second wife was also a native of Norfolk. Thus he
was not only a Southerner himself, but his wife was a native of that
section. When, therefore, civil war came and it became fashionable for
people to express secession sentiments, it was taken for granted that
Farragut would cast his fortunes with the South; but upon being
approached he indignantly replied: "I would see every man of you damned
before I would raise my hand against that flag!" Being told that it
would be unsafe for him to remain in the South, he added that he wanted
only two hours to find another place of residence. He moved away at once
and with his wife and only son took up his home on the Hudson near
Tarrytown.

[Illustration: COMMODORE DAVID GLASGOW FARRAGUT.]

Being a stranger in that neighborhood, he was regarded with suspicion.
He was fond of taking long walks, and it is said that some of the people
suspected that he belonged to a gang of plotters who intended to cut the
Croton Aqueduct, but the quiet man was simply awaiting the summons of
his country to serve her in any capacity possible.

The call came in the spring of 1861, when he was about threescore years
old. His duty was that of serving on the board appointed by Congress to
retire superannuated officers from the active service. This duty
completed, he was appointed to the command of the expedition organized
for the capture of New Orleans. He sailed from Hampton Roads on the 3d
of February, 1862, in the flagship _Hartford_ and arrived seventeen
days later at Ship Island, the place of rendezvous. There he set to work
to make his arrangements for the great task which was wholly different
from any that had ever engaged his attention. But how well he completed
this grand work, he being the real supervisor and superintendent, has
been referred to in a previous chapter and is told in every history of
our country.

[Illustration: CAPTURE OF NEW ORLEANS--ATTACK ON FORT PHILIP.]

The skill and courage displayed by Farragut in the capture of New
Orleans attracted national attention and added greatly to his
reputation. In the latter part of June he ran the batteries of
Vicksburg, but notified the Government that though he could go up and
down the river as he chose and silence the batteries when he pleased, no
substantial good would result unless a land force of ten or twelve
thousand men attacked the town from the rear. It was this plan which
brought about the capture of Vicksburg by General Grant and the opening
of the Mississippi River. Farragut, who had been made rear admiral,
afforded great aid in taking Port Hudson and cleaning out all rebel
fortifications along the Father of Waters.

This immense work having been accomplished, the Government now gave its
attention to Mobile, another of the Confederate strongholds in the
South. The campaign arranged was to attack it with a land force under
the command of Generals Canby and Granger and a naval force under
Farragut. In January, 1864, he made a reconnaissance of Mobile Bay and
informed the Government that if it would supply him with a slight
additional force he would attack and capture it at once. He knew that
the defences were being strengthened every day and repeatedly urged that
he be furnished with the means of making an immediate assault. But the
ill-advised and disastrous expedition of Banks up the Red River took
away the available troops and the appeal of Farragut remained unheeded
until the summer was well advanced.

By that time the defences of Mobile were well nigh impregnable. Fort
Gaines, on Dauphin Island, had a garrison of 864 men and mounted three
10-inch columbiads, four 32-pounder rifled guns and twenty smoothbore
guns of 32, 24 and 18-pound calibres. The principal pass to Mississippi
Sound was commanded by Fort Powell, with one mounted 10-inch gun, one
8-inch columbiad and four rifled guns. The main fortification was Fort
Morgan, whose heavy guns were placed in three tiers. It mounted seven
10-inch, three 8-inch and twenty-two 32-pounder smoothbore guns and two
8-inch, two 6.5-inch and four 5.82-inch rifled guns. The exterior
batteries were also heavily armed and the garrison numbered 640 men.
The bay was filled with skilfully placed torpedoes, some of them of
stupendous size and power and sufficient, it would seem, if properly
handled, to destroy all the navies of the world.

All arrangements being completed, the signal for the advance was hoisted
at daylight, August 5, 1864. The Union fleet consisted of 21 wooden
vessels and 6 ironclads. The wooden vessels sailed in pairs, the larger
on the starboard, so that if either was disabled the other could carry
it along. Farragut's intention was to lead with the flagship _Hartford_,
but he reluctantly allowed the _Brooklyn_ to take that post, since she
carried four chase guns to the _Hartford's_ one and was provided with an
ingenious apparatus for picking up torpedoes. It was contended further
that the flagship would be the special target of the enemy, a fact that
was likely to cripple her and prevent the employment of the
all-important signals. The last argument bore no weight with Farragut,
who replied that she would be the chief target anyway, no matter what
the position, and exposure to fire was one of the penalties of rank in
the navy. The monitors were to advance in single file, slightly in
advance of the wooden ships, the _Tecumseh_, Commander Tunis A.M.
Craven, in the lead.

[Illustration: IN MOBILE BAY.]

In this order the slow advance was begun and at a few minutes past
seven the _Tecumseh_ fired the first gun. The forts waited twenty
minutes when they replied, and the _Brooklyn_ responded with two
100-pounder Parrot rifles. Under the protection of Fort Morgan nestled
the Confederate rams and ironclads, which directed their fire
principally at the wooden vessels. The great battle was opened.

The enemy's gunboats and the ram _Tennessee_ moved out from behind the
fort and continued firing at the wooden boats, giving principal
attention, as was expected, to the flagship, which was struck several
times. She soon began returning the fire, still advancing, and
repeatedly drove the gunners from the water batteries, but they
immediately returned and kept bravely at work.

Smokeless powder was unknown in those days, and, as the vapor enfolded
the ships, Farragut kept stepping up the rigging almost unconsciously
until he was so high that he was clinging to the futtock shrouds. He had
his spyglass in one hand and kept raising it to his eyes. Captain
Percival Drayton had been closely watching the Admiral and now became
alarmed, lest some damage to the ropes should cause him to fall
overboard. He told Signal Quartermaster Knowles to climb the rigging and
secure Farragut to the shrouds. He obeyed and passed a lead line to one
of the forward shrouds and then drew it around the Admiral to the after
shroud and made it fast. Feeling the faithful officer at work, the
Admiral looked down kindly at him and said: "Never mind me, I am all
right." But Knowles persisted and did not descend until he had completed
his work.

By and by the increasing smoke made it necessary for the commander to
ascend still higher, in order to maintain a clear view of the battle. He
untied the fastenings, and, climbing to the futtock shrouds, passed the
rope once more around his body several times and tied the end to the
rigging. The picture of Admiral Farragut thus lashed to the rigging has
been seen thousands of times in the histories of the Civil War.

While in this perilous position he signalled for closer order. The
bombardment of the fort was terrific and produced great effect.
Commander Craven, with the _Tecumseh_, singled out the ram _Tennessee_,
under the command of Admiral Franklin Buchanan, who had charge of the
_Merrimac_ on the first day of her fight with the _Monitor_. Both were
ironclads and Buchanan was as anxious to fight Craven as the latter was
to fight him. Craven, fearing his adversary would retreat, pressed
forward so eagerly that he paid no attention to the torpedoes over
which his hull was continually scraping. One or more of these suddenly
exploded, the front dipped and the _Tecumseh_ plunged bow foremost to
the bottom of the bay, carrying with her 93 men out of a crew of 114.

This appalling disaster was accompanied by a touching incident. When the
_Tecumseh_ was diving downward Commander Craven and the pilot
instinctively started for the opening through which only one man could
pass at a time. They reached the foot of the ladder at the same moment.
"You first," said Craven, halting. The pilot just succeeded in
scrambling out, when the _Tecumseh_ went down, taking her heroic captain
with her.

The terrible occurrence was witnessed by friends and foes. A boat was
quickly lowered from the _Metacomet_ and sent to the relief of the
survivors. It passed within a hundred yards of Fort Morgan, which could
have easily blown it out of the water. But General Page, the Confederate
commandant, knowing her errand, gave the order not to harm the boat,
which was on its way to save drowning men. His soldiers broke into
cheers, but he sternly stopped them, with the advice to wait till the
_Hartford_ was sunk. The boat picked up ten men and officers, while four
swam to the beach and were made prisoners.

When the lull was over Farragut headed his ship for the fort,
signalling to the remainder of the fleet, which followed close after
him. When warned of the torpedoes the wrathful Admiral came near adding
a little profanity to his contemptuous opinion of them as he passed on.
Wheeling, he launched his whole broadside at the fort, then delivered a
second at the _Tennessee_ and headed for the gunboats _Selma_, _Gaines_
and _Morgan_, all of which were raking him. Casting off his consort, the
_Metacomet_, he sent her after the _Selma_, and, after a hot chase, she
captured her. The other two took to shallow water under the guns of the
fort.

The ships, having passed the latter, were about to anchor when the
_Tennessee_ was perceived coming straight for the fleet, with the
intention of attacking it. Farragut signalled to the vessels to run her
down and ordered the pilot of the _Hartford_ to drive her with full
speed at the ironclad. The _Monongahela_ was the first to reach the
monster, struck her fairly, and, swinging around, let fly with a
broadside of 11-inch shot, which dropped harmlessly from her mailed
side. Undaunted, the _Monongahela_ rammed her again, though she received
ten times as much damage as she inflicted. The _Lackawanna_ passed
through a somewhat similar experience but a gunner drove a 9-inch shell
into one of the shutters, which was shattered and forced within the
casemate. The crews were so close that they taunted each other through
the portholes and even hurled missiles across the brief intervening
space.

At this juncture the _Hartford_ arrived, charging full speed upon the
ram, which so shifted its position that the blow was a glancing one.
Recoiling, the flagship delivered its most tremendous broadside, doing
no harm, while the _Hartford_ itself was pierced again and again by the
exploding shells which strewed her deck with dead and dying. Nothing
daunted, Farragut prepared to ram once more, when his ship was badly
injured by an accidental blow from the _Lackawanna_. But Farragut,
seeing that she still floated, called for a full head of steam that he
might deliver a blow that was likely to send his own ship to the bottom.

By this time the slower going monitors had arrived and were getting in
their fine work. The _Tennessee's_ smokestack was shot away, her stern
port shutter was disabled, making the gun useless, while her steering
chains were smashed. Like a stag beset by a pack of hounds, she was
brought to her knees. The white flag was raised, and the sorely battered
_Tennessee_ became the captive of the Union fleet. The forts were
passed and the victory of Mobile Bay was secure.

[Illustration: BURNSIDE'S EXPEDITION CROSSING HATTERAS BAR (1862).]

But it had cost dearly. In addition to the men lost on the _Tecumseh_,
there had been 25 killed and 28 wounded on the _Hartford_, 11 killed and
43 wounded on the _Brooklyn_, the total of all, including those lost on
the _Tecumseh_, being 145 killed and 170 wounded. The Confederate loss
was 12 killed, 20 wounded and 280 prisoners.

Fort Powell was subjected to a severe bombardment that afternoon and on
the following night was abandoned and blown up. Fire being opened on
Fort Gaines, it also surrendered. Fort Morgan, the only fort in the
possession of the enemy, surrendered August 23, before an attack of the
navy and the land forces under General Granger from New Orleans.

Soon after this splendid victory Admiral Farragut went North, where he
was received with all possible honors. The war ending soon after, his
inestimable services came to a close. That no reward might be lacking,
the office of vice-admiral was specially created for him in December,
1864, and that of admiral in 1866. He died in 1870.




THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR.

CHAPTER XXX.

The Movement Against Cuba--The Destruction of Cervera's Fleet--Admiral
Sampson--Admiral Schley--"Fighting Bob" Evans--Commodore John C.
Watson--Commodore John W. Philip--Lieutenant Commander Richard
Wainwright.


Since the war with Spain was undertaken for the liberation of Cuba from
the most frightful atrocities that mind can conceive, it was natural
that the chief attention of our Government should be directed to the
expulsion of the Spaniards from that island. Neither the Ladrones nor
Philippines entered into the question; but, inasmuch as they were
valuable possessions of Spain, their conquest was a natural and
effective blow against the nation with which we were at war.

In view of what subsequently occurred, we can smile at the general
uneasiness and fear which prevailed in this country at the opening of
hostilities regarding the fleets of Spain. She was known to have a
formidable navy and a great many believed it was superior to our own.
There was no telling where it would strike the first blow. Boston, New
York, Philadelphia, Washington and other seaboard cities made powerful
preparations against the dread fleet, which in truth was no more to be
feared than the ferryboats on the North River, and yet but for the
preparations referred to it is more than probable we should have
suffered.

The most formidable fleet was under the command of Admiral Cervera. Our
own squadrons were engaged for weeks in hunting for it, and it was
reported in a dozen different places. Finally it was learned that it had
taken refuge in the harbor of Santiago, the city of that name being
besieged by the land forces under General Shafter. Immediately the
American fleet of Admiral Sampson blockaded the ships of the enemy,
determined to hold it powerless inside the broad harbor, for it
followed, as a matter of course, that so long as it was bottled up there
it could do nothing to help Spain.

No one could know his weakness better than the Spanish Admiral. He had
fine ships and fine guns, but his crews were undisciplined. They were
wretched marksmen and in no respect to be compared with our gunners, who
demonstrated in the War of 1812 that they have no equals in the whole
world. Knowing all this, Admiral Cervera was loth to venture out of
the harbor of Santiago, and the days and weeks passed in idleness while
the monotonous blockade continued.

[Illustration: ADMIRAL CERVERA.]

It was the fear that the Spanish ships would make a dash on some dark,
stormy night and escape that led to one of the most striking and
brilliant exploits of the war. That is the sinking of the collier
_Merrimac_ in the channel of the harbor by Lieutenant Richmond Pearson
Hobson, on the night of June 3. That the effort was not wholly
successful does not detract from the glory of the brave men who went
unflinchingly to what looked like almost certain death.

The companions of Lieutenant Hobson in this remarkable achievement were
Osborn Deignan, George F. Phillips, Francis Kelly, George Charette,
Daniel Montague, J.C. Murphy and Randolph Clausen. The last named was
not one of the original six chosen, but he had been at work on the
_Merrimac_ preparing her for the attempt and hid himself away on the
lumbersome craft and they were obliged to take him.

As soon as the Spaniards discovered the approach of the _Merrimac_, in
the darkness, they opened upon her with their batteries from both
shores, and she was subjected to a fire which it would seem must riddle
her like a sieve and kill every man. But under the direction of the
cool-headed and daring Lieutenant the collier was swung into the right
position, and, but for the shooting away of the rudder, would have been
sunk directly across the channel, which would have been effectively
blocked. The position of the wreck as a consequence was diagonal and
left the passage partly open.

[Illustration: LIEUTENANT RICHMOND PEARSON HOBSON.]

Having accomplished as nearly as possible the perilous task the brave
party were obliged to remain clinging to a raft until morning, when the
Spaniards discovered and made them prisoners. Admiral Cervera himself
helped to take Hobson out of the water and was so filled with admiration
of the extraordinary daring of himself and companions that he sent a
flag of truce to Admiral Sampson with the welcome news that all the men
were safe in his hands. They were confined first in Morro Castle and
later in the city of Santiago. They were treated with the respect their
heroism deserved and on July 6 were exchanged for a number of prisoners
held by our forces.

[Illustration: ADMIRAL WILLIAM T. SAMPSON.]

Just one month after this exploit, that is on the morning of July 3,
1898, Admiral Cervera attempted to escape from the harbor of Santiago.
The smoke of his vessels was discerned over the hills, and the watchful
ships outside signalled the fact to the other members of the squadron. A
few minutes later the bow of one of the Spanish steamers came into sight
from behind the Estrella Battery. The _Brooklyn_, _Iowa_ and _Oregon_,
some two and a half miles distant, crowded on all steam and headed for
the harbor. The first Spanish cruiser to show itself was the _Infanta
Maria Teresa_, followed by the _Vizcaya_, the _Almirante Oquendo_ and
the _Cristobal Colon_, with the torpedo boats _Pluton_ and _Furor_
bringing up the rear. The _Infanta Maria Teresa_, leading the
procession, was the flagship of Admiral Cervera. He sent a shell toward
the American vessels, but, in accordance with the rule, it went wide of
the mark. The _Texas_ opened with her big guns and her companions
quickly joined in the thunderous chorus.

No sooner were the Spanish ships clear of the harbor than they turned
westward and strained every nerve to escape, firing at their pursuers,
who were equally determined to overtake or destroy them. The _Brooklyn_,
further away from shore, changed her course so as to follow a parallel
direction, and, as soon as she attained a fair range, opened a
tremendous and well directed fire. The _Texas_, whose course was
somewhat diagonal, singled out the _Vizcaya_, and, unable to outspeed
her, pounded her savagely with her shells.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN JOHN PHILIP, OF THE "TEXAS."]

Every movement of the splendid battleship was directed by her Captain,
John W. Philip. The _Texas_ was struck several times, but did not
receive any material damage, while she wrought frightful havoc on the
_Vizcaya_.

The _Oregon_, the finest ship in our navy, which had come more than
14,000 miles from the Pacific coast, was ploughing forward under forced
draught, and, with a tremendous burst of speed, shot past the _Texas_
and drew up on the _Brooklyn_ in the effort to head off the leading
fugitive, while the _Iowa_ was doing her utmost to maintain her killing
pace and was firing her great guns with splendid precision. Suddenly the
_Vizcaya_ broke into flames and headed for shore. Knowing that she was
doomed, the _Brooklyn_ and _Oregon_ gave her a few parting shots and
kept up their furious pursuit of the _Almirante Oquendo_ and the
_Cristobal Colon_.

Just then the torpedo boat destroyers _Pluton_ and _Furor_ were
discovered speeding also to the westward. Lieutenant Commander Richard
Wainwright, who was an officer on the _Maine_ when she was destroyed,
was now in command of the auxiliary cruiser _Gloucester_, and, without
hesitation, he dashed after the destroyers, though for a part of the
time he received the fire of Morro Castle, the _Vizcaya_ and both of the
dangerous craft he was chasing. But the _Gloucester_ seemed to bear a
charmed life, or, more truthfully speaking, the Spanish gunners didn't
know how to shoot.

Unfortunately for Admiral Sampson, he had gone some miles away to hold a
conference with General Shafter when the Spanish fleet made its attempt
to escape, but he now came up with the _New York_, eagerly rushing
forward to bear a hand in the fight. The _Pluton_ and _Furor_ fled
before her, while the _Indiana_ shelled the first destroyer so
mercilessly that she turned and headed for the mouth of the harbor,
several miles distant. The vigilant _Gloucester_ joined the _Indiana_
and one of the destroyers displayed a flag of truce. She was ablaze from
bow to stern and her crew ran her ashore, where she blew up. The second
was also beached and deserted by her crew. Meanwhile the _Vizcaya_ ran
up the white flag and the _Texas_ stopped firing. She, like the _Infanta
Maria Teresa_, was on fire and her crews could do nothing but take to
the shore in the desperate effort to save themselves.

The _Almirante Oquendo_ and the _Colon_ were still fleeing for life,
with the _Iowa, Oregon, Brooklyn_ and _Texas_ hard after them. Suddenly
the _Almirante Oquendo_ turned toward shore. The _Brooklyn_ and _Oregon_
kept after the _Cristobal Colon_, leaving the _Texas_ to dispose of the
_Almirante Oquendo_. But the latter was in flames and the flag at her
stern was pulled down. The _Texas_ was approaching when the Spanish ship
was torn by a tremendous explosion. The Americans broke into cheers.
Captain Philip threw up his hand and called:

"Don't cheer, boys; the poor fellows are dying!"

It was chivalrous and thoughtful on the part of the American commander
and will never be forgotten.

The _Cristobal Colon_ steamed along the coast with the speed of a race
horse, but the _Brooklyn_, _Texas_ and _Oregon_ seemed to feel the prick
of the spur and ran as never before and as their captains did not
believe them capable of doing. The _Brooklyn_ gradually drew ahead and
the Spaniard, seeing that escape was out of the question, hauled down
his flag. Thus the victory became complete.

The news was just in time to help in the universal rejoicing and
celebration of the Fourth of July. The Spanish fleet on the other side
of the globe had been destroyed and now the second fleet was wiped out.
In the former instance not a life was lost and in the latter only one
man was killed on our side, while the loss of the enemy was severe.
Never was a more decisive victory gained by one nation over another in
the whole history of the world.

All my readers are familiar with the events that immediately followed,
but perhaps they would like to know something concerning the naval
heroes who did so much to contribute to the grand naval victory off
Santiago.

William T. Sampson was born in Palmyra, N.Y., February 9, 1840. He was
the son of an ordinary day laborer and had few early educational
advantages, but he was appointed to the Naval Academy and was graduated
at the head of his class. He was on the frigate _Potomac_, with the rank
of master, when the war broke out, but was too young to secure a command
during the war. He became a lieutenant in July, 1862, and served with
that rank on the practice ship _John Adams_ at the Naval Academy and on
the ironclad _Patapsco_. On January 15, 1865, the _Patapsco_ attempted
to force an entrance into the harbor of Charleston, which was one
network of mines. Sampson exposed himself fearlessly and the ship met
with a fearful disaster by being blown up by a submarine mine. Seventy
went down to death as did those on the _Maine_, while Sampson and more
than a score of others, after being blown a hundred feet through the
air, saved themselves by swimming until they were picked up. Sampson was
commissioned as lieutenant commander in 1866, was at the Naval Academy
from 1868 to 1871, cruised for two years in European waters and first
commanded the _Alert_ in 1874. Appointed to the superintendency of the
Naval Academy in 1888, he held the situation for four years.

With the construction of the new navy, Sampson commanded in turn two
modern ships, the cruiser _San Francisco_ and the battleship _Iowa_. He
was a close student of ordnance matters, gave special attention to
torpedo work and was chief of the Bureau of Naval Ordnance from 1893 to
1897. There can be no question of his fine ability nor that, had the
opportunity presented, Rear Admiral Sampson, as he had become, would
have proven himself among the foremost officers in our navy. It was a
great personal misfortune that he happened to be absent from the front
of Santiago when the Spanish fleet made its venture, but it must not be
forgotten that, in anticipation of such action, he had planned the
battle that was fought by the American ships.

[Illustration: VIEW OF CHARLESTON HARBOR, SHOWING THE SUNKEN VESSELS.]

Winfield Scott Schley was born in Frederick, Md., October 9, 1839, and
was graduated from the Naval Academy at the beginning of the Civil War.
After brief service on the storeship _Potomac_ he was promoted to master
in 1861, and served on the _Winona_, of the West Gulf blockading
squadron, 1862-63. He there gained a taste of real war and performed a
number of exploits which proved his coolness and daring. He received
honorable mention for his services in the engagements which led to the
capture of Port Hudson. He was commissioned lieutenant in July, 1862,
and was executive officer of the _Wateree_ from 1864 to 1865, having
been made lieutenant commander in July, 1866, after which he spent three
years again at the Naval Academy, serving as instructor of modern
languages.

Admiral Schley has done brilliant service outside of what is generally
considered the routine duty of his profession. When he was in Eastern
waters in 1864 he landed 100 men, who protected the American consulate
when threatened during a native insurrection among the natives of the
Chin-Chi Islands. His most famous exploit was the rescue of the Greely
Arctic expedition. In 1881 Lieutenant Adolphus W. Greely commanded an
expedition of twenty-five men, which established an observation station
at the farthest point in the polar regions then attained. The
expedition, when in a starving condition and with only seven men alive,
was rescued at Cape Sabine, Grinnell Land, in 1884 by Captain Schley. He
was rewarded for this service by a gold medal from Congress and promoted
by President Arthur to chief of the Bureau of Equipment and made captain
in 1888.

[Illustration: COMMODORE WINFIELD SCOTT SCHLEY.]

After resigning this position Captain Schley commanded the cruiser
_Baltimore_, which bore the remains of Ericsson, the great Swedish
inventor, to his native land, whose king presented Schley with a gold
medal in recognition of this service. He won the commendation of the
Navy Department for his tactful success in settling threatened trouble
over the stoning of a number of American sailors from the _Baltimore_ by
a party of Chilians at Valparaiso. Commodore Schley is a fine tactician,
possesses a winning personality and his work with the _Brooklyn,_ off
Santiago, on July 3, was neither more nor less than his friends expected
of him.

Robley D. Evans, known everywhere as "Fighting Bob," was born in
Virginia in 1846. When his father died he made his home with his uncle
in Washington, D.C., where he attended Gonzaga College. In 1859 a
Congressional Representative from Utah appointed him to the Naval
Academy. It was necessary for the boy to take up a nominal residence in
that distant territory, and on the journey thither and back he
encountered many personal dangers through all of which he conducted
himself with the pluck and bravery which afterward distinguished him in
the service of his country. He entered the academy in 1860 and upon his
graduation became a midshipman and ensign, first on the frigate
_Powhatan_, and before he had attained his majority took part in the
desperate assault on Fort Fisher. He was stretched on the ground,
dreadfully wounded and with so many dead men piled upon him that he
barely escaped suffocation. He was wounded twice in the body and shot
through both legs. It seemed scarcely possible for him to live, and he
lay in the hospital for months. But when a surgeon prepared to amputate
one of his legs Evans, who had managed to procure a revolver, warned him
that upon his first attempt to do so he would shoot him. The leg was
saved, but Evans was lamed for life.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN ROBLEY D. EVANS, OF THE "IOWA."]

As soon as he was able to get about he applied for active service and
his application was granted. He was engaged in various duties and in
October, 1891, he arrived in command of the _Yorktown_ at Valparaiso,
directly after the attack of a mob of Chilians upon the sailors of the
_Baltimore_. When some of the refugees fled for safety to the _Yorktown_
and the Chilians demanded their surrender "Fighting Bob" replied that he
would defend them until the _Yorktown_ went to the bottom. Some time
later the captain's launch was stoned, for the Chilians hated the
Americans as intensely as did the Spaniards. Captain Evans placed a
rapid fire gun in the bow of the launch, filled her with armed men and
went ashore. Hunting out the authorities, he notified them that if any
more stones were thrown at his launch he would make life a burden for
every Chilian within reach of the Yorktown's guns. The launch was not
stoned again.

It is a mistaken though general impression of "Fighting Bob" that he is
simply a headlong and reckless fighter. Such is far from being the case,
for he is deliberate, thoughtful and tactful. He is a fine scholar,
possesses a thorough knowledge of international law and is simply
resolute in protecting the rights of himself and countrymen. This was
proven by his conduct when in charge of the American fleet in the Bering
Sea, placed there to prevent the illegal killing of seals. There was a
good deal of friction at that time between this country and England and
had Captain Evans been the reckless "scrapper" that many supposed he
could not have failed to involve us in trouble with that country. There
was not a word of censure upon his course. Out of 108 vessels engaged in
the illegal trade he captured 98 and of the several hundred seals
unlawfully killed he captured every one. Like all the other officers and
sailors who took part in the destruction of Cervera's fleet, he was
energetic, skilful, brave and chivalrous, for when Captain Eulate, of
the captured _Vizcaya_, offered his sword to the Captain of the _Iowa_
that gentleman kindly waved him back and told him to keep the weapon he
had used so well.

Captain Evans does not like the name "Fighting Bob", for he feels he has
no more claim to the distinction than the rest of his associates. Many
of the stories told of his roughness of speech and profanity are not
true, though it cannot be denied that he has a habit of expressing
himself very vigorously when his feelings are stirred. By his own
request, Captain Evans was relieved, September 15, 1898, of the command
of the _Iowa_, he having served more than his regular term of sea
service. At present he is a member of the Board of Inspection and
Survey.

John C. Watson was born in Frankfort, Ky., August 24, 1842, and is a
member of one of the leading families of the State. He entered the Naval
Academy at the age of fourteen and was graduated near the head of his
class in June, 1860. He was a midshipman on the _Susquehanna_ in Europe,
at the breaking out of the war, and was made master in August, 1861.

It is proof of the worth of the man that he was assigned as navigator of
the flagship _Hartford_, commanded by the lion-hearted Farragut. He
became lieutenant in June, 1862, and flag lieutenant to Farragut in
January, 1864.

The reader of these pages has learned something of the great battles of
New Orleans, Mobile Bay, Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Watson took part in
all of them and none acquitted himself better. In a letter to his son,
Admiral Farragut wrote: "I am almost as fond of Watson as I am of your
own dear self." In his report of the battle of Mobile Bay, where Watson
was wounded, Farragut wrote: "Lieutenant Watson has been brought to your
attention in former times. He was on the poop attending to the signals
and performed his duty, as might be expected, thoroughly. He is a scion
worthy of the noble stock he springs from, and I commend him to your
attention."

A squadron of invincible power was made up for Watson in the summer of
1898, with which it was intended Commodore Watson should pay a hostile
visit to the coast of Spain. But for the signing of the peace protocol,
that visit under its gallant and distinguished commander would have
proved one that the decrepit monarchy would remember to the end of time.

Captain John W. Philip, promoted to the rank of commodore for his superb
work with the _Texas_ off Santiago, is brave, modest, devout and fond of
practical joking. He is genial, exceedingly popular with his associates
and men and one of the finest officers in the navy. The little incident
well illustrates his character, when, in the midst of the wild rejoicing
of his men over the destruction of the Spanish fleet, he checked them
with the words: "Don't cheer, boys; the poor fellows are dying!"

Lieutenant Commander Richard Wainwright performed an unequalled exploit
when in command of the _Gloucester_, formerly the yacht _Corsair_, he
wiped out the two torpedo boat destroyers _Pluton_ and _Furor_. At the
time of that exploit he was only forty-eight years old and the youngest
man of his grade in the navy. He is a fine officer and is a son of the
late Commodore Wainwright, who died in the service of his country during
the Civil War. Like many of our naval heroes, he seems to inherit his
fine fighting qualities, though it would not be far from the truth to
say that such is the rightful heritage of every American soldier and
sailor.

[THE END.]




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