Sunday, February 24, 2013

Seafaring Sunday: USS Hornet vs HMS Peacock

By the middle of February 1813 the U.S. Sloop of War Hornet (Master Commandant James Lawrence) had been cruising the Atlantic for nearly four months, sometimes in company with the big frigate Constitution, but by herself since early January. She had spent half of December and most of January off Bahia, Brazil, blockading the British sloop of war Bonne Citoyenne, and subsequently captured a couple of merchantmen.

On the 24th, still operating off northern South America, Hornet encountered HMS Peacock, a somewhat smaller and less powerful brig-rigged sloop of war. The two warships closed from opposite directions and, shortly before half-past five in the afternoon, opened fire on each other. Hornet's gunnery was so much more effective that Peacock surrendered within fifteen minutes, having lost her commanding officer and seven men killed or mortally wounded. The Royal Navy brig-sloop was so badly shot up that she sank in shallow water shortly after the end of the action.

Hornet, which had suffered one fatality among her crew, took aboard Peacock's survivors (except for a few who escaped to shore) and quickly repaired her own damages. Badly overcrowded, she the sailed for the United States, arriving at Martha's Vineyard on 19 March.

~ via the Naval History and Heritage Command website where you can find more information about USS Hornet, MC James Lawrence, and the etching above

3 comments:

Timmy! said...

Huzzah! for the Hornet, Pauline.

Pauline said...

Indeed!

Charles L. Wallace said...

Rough weather at sea, this last time out... mainly sat around and read (got started on Patrick O'Brian, thank you :-) (He seems to be a proponent of excellence in naval gunfire, it seems to me).