Page images



them plain from the deck to be three large ships and a brig; upon which I
made the 'Countess of Scarborough' signal to join me, she being in shore with
the convoy; at the same time I made the signal for the convoy to make the
best of their way, and repeated the signal with two guns; I then brought to,
to let the 'Countess of Scarborough' come up, and cleared ship for action. At
five the 'Countess of Scarborough joined me, the enemy's ships then
bearing down upon us, with a light breeze at S.S.W.; at six tacked and laid
our head in shore, in order to keep our ground the better between the enemy's
ships and the convoy; soon after which we perceived the ships bearing down
upon us to be a two-decked ship and two frigates; but from their keeping end
on upon us, on bearing down we could not discern what colours they were
under. At about twenty minutes past seven the largest of the three brought
to, on our larboard bow, within musket shot. I hailed him, and asked what
ship it was. They answered in English, The Princess Royal.' I then asked
where they belonged to. They answered evasively; on which I told them,
if they did not answer directly, I would fire into them. They then answered
with a shot, which was instantly returned with a broadside; and after ex-
changing two or three broadsides, he backed his top-sails, and dropped upon
our quarter within pistol-shot, then filled again, put his helm a-weather, and
run us on board upon our weather quarter and attempted to board us; but
being repulsed, he sheered off; upon which I backed our top-sails in order
to get square with him again, which as soon as he observed, he then filled, put
his helm a-weather, and laid us athwart hawse; his mizzen shrouds took our
jib-boom, which hung him for some time, till it at last gave way, and we
dropped alongside of each other, head and stern, when the fluke of our spare
anchor hooking his quarter, we became so close fore and aft that the muzzles
of our guns touched each other's sides. In this position we engaged from half-
past eight till half-past ten, during which time, from the great quantity and
variety of combustible matters which they threw in upon our decks, chains,
and in short into every part of the ship, we were on fire not less than ten or
twelve times in different parts of the ship, and it was with the greatest difficulty
and exertion imaginable at times that we were able to get it extinguished. At
the same time the largest of the two frigates kept sailing round us the whole
action and raking us fore and aft, by which means she killed or wounded
every man on the quarter and main decks. About half-past nine, either from
a hand-grenade being thrown in at one of our lower deck ports or from some
other accident, a cartridge of powder was set on fire, the flames of which,
running from cartridge to cartridge all the way aft, blew up the whole of the
people and officers that were quartered abaft the main-mast; from which
unfortunate circumstance all those guns were rendered useless for the remainder
of the action, and I fear the greatest part of the people will lose their lives.
At ten o'clock they called for quarters from the ship alongside, and said they
had struck. Hearing this, I called upon the captain to know if they had
struck, or if he asked for quarters; but no answer being made, after repeating
my words two or three times, I called for the boarders and ordered them to
board, which they did; but the moment they were on board her they dis-
covered a superior number lying under cover, with pikes in their hands ready
to receive them; on which our people retreated instantly into our own ship, and
returned to their guns again till half-past ten; when the frigate coming across
our stern, and pouring her broadside into us again, without our being able to



bring a gun to bear on her, I found it in vain, and in short impracticable, from the situation we were in, to stand out any longer with the least prospect of success; I therefore struck (our main-mast at the same time went by the board). The first lieutenant and myself were immediately escorted into the ship alongside, when we found her to be an American ship of war called the 'Bon Homme Richard,' of 40 guns and 375 men, commanded by Capt. Paul Jones; the other frigate which engaged us to be the Alliance,' of 40 guns and 300 men; and the third frigate, which engaged and took the 'Countess of Scarborough' after two hours' action, to be the Pallas,' a French frigate of 32 guns and 375 men; the 'Vengeance,' an armed brig of 12 guns and 70 men, all in Congress service, and under the command of Paul Jones. They fitted out and sailed from Port L'Orient the latter end of July, and came north about. They have on board 300 English prisoners, which they have taken in different vessels their way round since they left France, and ransomed some others. On my going on board the Bon Homme Richard' I found her in the greatest distress; her quarters and counter on the lower deck entirely drove in, and the whole of her lower deck guns dismounted. She was also on fire in two places, and six or seven feet water in her hold, which kept increasing upon them all night and the next day, till they were obliged to quit her, and she sunk with a great number of her wounded people on board her. She had 306 men killed and wounded in the action; our loss in the 'Serapis was also very great. My officers and people in general behaved well; and I should be very remiss in my attention to their merit were I to omit recommending the remains of them to their Lordships' favour. I must at the same time beg leave to inform their Lordships that Capt. Piercy, in the Countess of Scarborough, was not in the least remiss in his duty, he having given me every assistance in his power, and as much as could be expected from such a ship, in engaging the attention of the 'Pallas,' a frigate of 32 guns, during the whole action. I am extremely sorry for the misfortune that has happened, that of losing his Majesty's ship I had the honour to command; but at the same time I flatter myself with the hopes that their Lordships will be convinced that she has not been given away; but on the contrary, that every exertion has been used to defend her, and that two essential pieces of service to our country have arisen from it: the one, in wholly oversetting the cruise and intentions of this flying squadron; the other, in rescuing the whole of a valuable convoy from falling into the hands of the enemy, which must have been the case had I acted any otherwise than I did. We have been driving about in the north sea ever since the action, endeavouring to make to any port we possibly could, but have not been able to get into any place till to-day we arrived in the Texel. Herewith I enclose you the most exact list of the killed and wounded I have as yet been able to procure, from my people being dispersed among the different ships, and having been refused permission to muster them. There are, I find, many more both killed and wounded than appears on the enclosed list, but their names as yet I find impossible to ascertain. As soon as I possibly can, I shall give their Lordships a full account of the whole.—I am, etc. R. PEARSON.

“P.S.—I am refused permission to wait on Sir Joseph Yorke, and even to go on shore.-Inclosed is a copy of a letter from Capt. Piercy, late of the Countess of Scarborough.'


"Abstract of the list of killed and wounded.
"Killed 49. Wounded 68.


Amongst the killed are the boatswain, pilot, 1 master's mate, 2 midshipmen, the coxswain, 1 quartermaster, 27 seamen, and 15 marines. Amongst the wounded are the second lieutenant Michael Stanhope and Lieutenant Whiteman, second lieutenant of marines, 2 surgeon's mates, 6 petty officers, 46 seamen, and 12 marines."

“Pallas, a French frigate in Congress service. "Texel, Oct. 4th, 1779.

"SIR,-I beg leave to acquaint you, that about two minutes after you began to engage with the largest ships of the enemy's squadron I received a broadside from one of the frigates, which I instantly returned, and continued engaging her for about twenty minutes, when she dropt astern. I then made sail up to the Serapis,' to see if I could give any assistance; but upon coming near you, I found you and the enemy so close together, and covered with smoke, that I could not distinguish one ship from the other; and for fear I might fire into the 'Serapis' instead of the enemy, I backed the main top-sail in order to engage the attention of one of the frigates that was then coming up. When she got on my starboard quarter she gave me her broadside; which as soon as I could get my guns to bear (which was very soon done) I returned, and continued engaging her for near two hours; when I was so unfortunate as to have all my braces, great part of the running rigging, main and mizzen topsail sheets, shot away, 7 of the guns dismounted, 4 men killed, and 20 wounded, and another frigate coming up on my larboard quarter. In that situation I saw it was vain to contend any longer, with any prospect of success, against such superior force; I struck to the 'Pallas,' a French frigate, of 32 guns and 275 men, but in the service of the Congress. I likewise beg to acquaint you that my officers and ship's company behaved remarkably well the whole time I was engaged.-I am, etc. THO. PIERCY.

"To Richard Pearson, Esq.,

late Captain of his Majesty's ship 'Serapis.'"

London, Oct. 21st.-"The Royal Exchange assurance company have this day ordered a piece of plate of one hundred guineas value to be prepared for Captain Pearson of the Serapis,' and one of fifty guineas for Captain Piercy of the 'Countess of Scarborough,' as an acknowledgment for the noble sacrifice they made in protecting the Baltic fleet under their convoy."

A Letter from the British Ambassador to Mrs Burnot, a sailor's wife at Burlington.

"Mrs Burnot.-Hague, Nov. 26th, 1779.—As soon as I received your letter of the 7th instant I lost no time in making inquiries after your gallant husband, Mr Richard Burnot; and have now great pleasure in congratulating you upon his being alive and well, on board the 'Countess of Scarborough' at the Texel. I find he had been burnt with an explosion of gunpowder, but now quite recovered. He sends me word that he, as you know, could not write, and therefore hoped that I would let you know he was well, which I do with

infinite satisfaction. It will still be greater if I can get him exchanged, which I am doing my best endeavours for; but as the people who took him are sometimes French and sometimes rebels as it suits their convenience, that renders this affair more difficult than it would be if they allowed themselves to be French, because I could then settle the exchange at once. I am happy to be able to give such agreeable news to the wife of my brave countryman; and I am, very sincerely, your most faithful humble servant, JOSEPH YORKE."


Biographical Sketches of Distinguished American Naval Heroes in the War of the Revolution. By S. Putnam Waldo. Hartford, 1823.

A Relic of the Revolution, . . . also an Account of the several Cruises of the Squadron under the command of Paul Jones. By Charles Herbert. Boston, 1847.

Diary of Ezra Green, M.D., Surgeon on board the Continental Ship of War ‘Ranger' under Paul Jones, 1777-78. Reprinted with additions from the Historical and Genealogical Register for January and April 1874. Boston, 1875. American Historical and Literary Curiosities

By Smith and Watson. Contains

a fac-simile of a letter from Paul Jones.

Frost's Book of the Navy.

Poole's Index to Periodical Literature.

Paul Jones. By A. C. Buell. New York, 1900, 2 vols.

Paul Jones. By Hutchins Hapgood. Boston and New York, 1901.*
Life and Adventures of Paul Jones. By J. S. C. Abbott. New York.
United States House of Representatives. Reports of Committees, 29th

Congress, 1st Session, on "Memorial and other Papers of the legal
Representatives of John Paul Jones."

Article in American Catholic Historical Researches, to prove that John Barry,

and not Jones, was the "father of the American Navy."

"Life and Character of Paul Jones," by Rear-Admiral George E Belknap, a

paper read before the New Hampshire Historical Society, 1902. Library of Congress: A Calendar of Jones' MSS.

Washington, 1903.

Memorial to justify Peter Landais' conduct during the late war.
Life, Travels, Voyages, and Daring Engagements of Paul Jones.
of this published: Albany, 1809; New York, 1809;
Philadelphia, 1817; Norwich, 1836, etc.

Life and Correspondence of J. P. Jones, including his narrative of the Campaign of the Liman. From original letters and MSS. in the possession of Miss Janette Taylor. New York, 1830.

By C. H. Lincoln.

Boston, 1784. Several editions Hartford, 1813;

Memoirs of Paul Jones, now first compiled from his original Journals and Correspondence. London, 1843, 2 vols.

Life of Paul Jones. By A. S Mackenzie. Boston, 1841; New York, 1845 ; 2 vols.

Life of Paul Jones, from original documents in the possession of John Henry Sherburne. London, 1825; 2nd edition, New York, 1851; Washington,


Het leven van Paul Jones. Groningen, 1829. A translation of the above, with pirate portrait.

Commodore Paul Jones. By Cyrus Townsend Brady. New York, 1900.
Paul Jones. By Molly Elliot Seawell. New York, 1901.
The Rebel Commodore. By J. Lawson Johnstone. Edinburgh, 1894.
G. H. Preble's Our Flag refers to the flag-raising incident.

Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution. By Dr Francis Wharton.
Published by Act of Congress.

Life of Paul Jones. Anonymous. Edinburgh, 1826.

American Edition of the Edinburgh Life of Paul Jones. Gregg & Elliott. Philadelphia, 1846.

Life of Paul Jones. By Edward Hamilton. Aberdeen and London, first

edition, 1842. Murray's edition (second edition), 1848. Recollections of Nathaniel Fanning. Pamphlet. New London, 1806; New and enlarged edition, 1826.

Narrative of Henry Gardner. Pamphlet. Portsmouth, N.H., 1782; reprint

New Bedford, 1826, enlarged.

Life of Paul Jones. Anonymous. Lippincott, Philadelphia, 1875.
By Marchand. Paris edition of 1818.

History of French Privateering.
Batailles Navales. By Troude.
Tooke's Life of Catherine the Great. London, 1789; 2nd edition 1798.
Mémoires de Paul Jones par le Citoyen Andre, with portrait by Renaud.
Mémoire du Combat. Pierre Gerard. Paris, 1781. Pamphlet.
Mémoire de l'Amiral Paul Jones. Edited by Benoit André. Paris, 1798.
Mémoires, Journaux et Lettres de l'Amiral Paul Jones. Anonymous. Paris,

1799, 1800. Imprimé par ordre du Premier Consul.

Letters of an Englishwoman in Paris during the American War.

Edes-Herbert. Edinburgh, 1809.

By Miss Chap-book History of Paul Jones the Pirate. London, Newcastle, and Glasgow. Campbell's Naval History. Glasgow, 1841.

Beatson's Naval and Military Memoirs. London, 1804.

History of Scotland. Buchanan. Glasgow, 1848.

Richard Carvel. Winston Churchill.

Waverley. Sir Walter Scott. (Appendix.)

Lives of Remarkable Characters. Anonymous. Glasgow, 1804.

Dictionary of National Biography.

Biography of Eminent Scotsmen.

Leith and its Antiquities. J. Campbell Irons. Edinburgh, 1897.

« PreviousContinue »