With Porter in the EssexAmanda M. Douglas / Young Adult
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BOOKS BY JAMES OTIS.
+WITH PERRY ON LAKE ERIE.+ A TALE OF 1812. 307 pp. Cloth. $1.50.
+WITH PREBLE AT TRIPOLI.+ A STORY OF OLD IRONSIDES AND THE TRIPOLITAN WAR. 349 pp. Cloth. $1.50.
+WITH PORTER IN THE ESSEX.+ A STORY OF HIS FAMOUS CRUISE IN SOUTHERN WATERS DURING THE WAR OF 1812. 344 pp. Cloth. $1.50.
+THE CRUISE OF THE ENTERPRISE.+ BEING THE STORY OF THE STRUGGLE AND DEFEAT OF THE FRENCH PRIVATEERING EXPEDITIONS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IN 1779. 359 pp. Cloth. $1.50.
IT WAS ONLY NECESSARY THAT THE CREW SHOULD REACH OUT ANDPULL US ON BOARD.]
WITH PORTER IN THE ESSEX
_A Story of his Famous Cruise in SouthernWaters during the War of 1812_
ILLUSTRATED BYWILLIAM F. STECHER
BOSTON AND CHICAGOW. A. WILDE COMPANY
_Copyright, 1901_,BY W. A. WILDE COMPANY._All rights reserved._
WITH PORTER IN THE ESSEX.
CHAPTER PAGE I. INTRODUCING MYSELF 17
II. THE COAST OF CHILI 34
III. OLIVER BENSON'S SCHEME 57
IV. AMONG THE WHALERS 80
V. THE NEW FLEET 103
VI. A CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS 126
VII. AN ISLAND PORT 149
VIII. NUKUHEVA 172
IX. AN OLD ENEMY 195
X. AMONG THE TYPEES 218
XI. A NAVAL STATION 241
XII. AT VALPARAISO 264
XIII. THE BRITISHERS 287
XIV. THE BATTLE 311
XV. ON PAROLE 334
PAGEIt was only necessary that the crew should reach out andpull us on board _Frontispiece_ 28
He forced the iron rods from their sockets in short order 77
Soon we were out of reach of the grape, and then we ranacross the ship's bow 158
The party came in, waving green palm-leaves 244
Nearer and nearer came the _Phoebe_ 295
The manuscript of this story was written by Ezra McKnight, a cousin ofthat Stephen Decatur McKnight of Hartford, Connecticut, who was capturedafter the action between the _Essex_ and the _Phoebe_ and _Cherub_, andwith a companion named James Lyman went to Rio de Janeiro as exchangedprisoners of war. From that port, according to Lossing, these twoshipped for England in a Swedish vessel, and, although the ship arrivedin safety, her captain never gave any account of his prisoners, nor wasit known what had become of them. That they were murdered would be thenatural inference, since in event of their being treacherously sent toEngland some record must have been found regarding them.
He who wrote the story of the cruise of the _Essex_ which follows here,searched long but vainly for some clew to the fate of his brave cousin;in fact, after leaving the United States Navy it was his lifework todiscover the fate of that brave lieutenant who was the only officeruninjured on board the _Essex_ after that unequal conquest was cowardlyforced upon her by Captain Hillyar of the _Phoebe_, whose vessel andlife had once been spared by Captain Porter.
Failing to gain any information concerning the lieutenant, Ezra McKnightset himself down to write the story of that marvellous cruise of the_Essex_, the United States frigate of thirty-two guns, commanded byCaptain David Porter who was born in Boston on the first of February,1780. How this manuscript came into the hands of the editor it is notnecessary to state. Suffice it to say that no change has been made inthe original arrangement of the tale, nor in any of the details; it ishere presented virtually as Ezra McKnight wrote it, with only so much ofediting as seemed necessary in order to bring it within the requirementsof a story of the present day.
To those who may read that which follows for the purpose of learningsomewhat of their country's history, it is well to state a few factswhich would not naturally appear in what was originally intended for anaccount of the adventurous voyage.
The commander of the _Essex_ gained his first experience in the navy onboard the frigate _Constellation_, which vessel he entered as midshipmanin 1798. Concerning him Lossing says that he was in the action betweenthe _Constellation_ and the _L'Insurgente_ in February, 1799, when hisgallantry was so conspicuous that he was immediately promoted tolieutenant. He accompanied the first United States squadron that eversailed to the Mediterranean in 1803, and was on board the _Philadelphia_when she struck on the rock in the harbor of Tripoli. There he sufferedimprisonment. In 1806 he was appointed to the command of the_Enterprise_, and cruised in the Mediterranean for six years. On hisreturn to the United States he was placed in command of the flotillastation near New Orleans, where he remained until war was declared in1812, when he was promoted to captain and assigned to the command of thefrigate _Essex_, taking with him, on this last cruise, his adopted son,David G. Farragut, who, during the War of the Rebellion, was made anadmiral.
Now, in order that the memory of the reader may be refreshed as to thestrength of the United States Navy while this cruise was being made, thefollowing extract is taken from Lossing's War of 1812.
As we take a survey from a standpoint at mid-autumn, 1813, we observewith astonishment only three American frigates at sea, namely, the_President_, 44; the _Congress_, 38; and the _Essex_, 32. The_Constitution_, 44, was undergoing repairs; the _Constellation_, 38,was blockaded at Norfolk; and the _United States_, 44, and _Macedonian_,38, were prisoners in the Thames above New London. The _Adams_, 28, wasundergoing repairs and alterations, while the _John Adams_, 28, _NewYork_, 36, and _Boston_, 28, were virtually condemned. All the brigs,excepting the _Enterprise_, had been captured, and she was not to betrusted at sea much longer. The _Essex_, Commodore Porter, was the onlygovernment vessel of size which was then sustaining the reputation ofthe American Navy, and she was in far distant seas, with a track equalto more than a third of the circumference of the globe between her andthe home port from which she sailed. She was then making one of the mostremarkable cruises on record.
In October, 1812, Captain William Bainbridge was appointed the successorof Captain Hull in the command of the _Constitution_; and, according toLossing, a small squadron, consisting of the _Constitution_, 44,_Essex_, 32, and _Hornet_, 18, were placed in his charge. WhenBainbridge entered upon his duty in the new sphere of flag officer, the_Constitution_ and _Hornet_ were lying in Boston harbor, and the_Essex_, Captain Porter, was in the Delaware. Orders were sent to thelatter to cruise in the track of the English West Indiamen, and at thespecified time to rendezvous at certain ports, when, if he should notfall in with the flagship of the squadron, he would be at liberty tofollow the dictates of his own judgment. Such contingency occurred, andthe _Essex_ sailed on a very long and most eventful cruise in the SouthAtlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The _Essex_ left the Delaware October, 1812, in pursuance with thecommand received by Captain Porter; and he must have already outlined inhis own mind what course to pursue in case he failed to meet the littlesquadron, for Lossing says, Captain Porter took with him a largernumber of officers and crew than was common for a vessel of that size.Her muster roll contained three hundred and nineteen names; and hersupplies were so ample that she sank deep in the water, which greatlyimpeded her sailing qualities.
On Porter's monument, which stands in Woodlawn Cemetery, Pennsylvania,are the following inscriptions:
Commodore David Porter, one of the most heroic sons of Pennsylvania,having long represented his country with fidelity as minister residentat Constantinople, died at that city in the patriotic discharge of hisduties March 3, 1843.
In the War of 1812 his merits were exhibited not merely as an intrepidcommander, but in exploring new fields of success and glory. A careerof brilliant good fortune was crowned by an engagement against superiorforce and fearful advantages, which history records as an event amongthe most remarkable in naval warfare.
His early youth was conspicuous for skill and gallantry in the navalservices of the United States when the American arms were exercised withromantic chivalry before the battlements of Tripoli. He was on alloccasions among the bravest of the brave; zealous in the performance ofevery duty; ardent and resolute in the trying hour of calamity; composedand steady in the blaze of victory.
WITH PORTER IN THE ESSEX.