HOME
The Info List - Action Off Charles Island


--- Advertisement ---



East Coast

Chesapeake Bay Alexandria Baltimore Hampden Fort Peter

Great Lakes / Saint Lawrence River

Lake Ontario 1st Sacket's Harbor York Fort George 2nd Sacket's Harbor Lake Erie Fort Oswego Lake Huron Lake Champlain

West Indies / Gulf Coast

La Guaira 1st Fort Bowyer Action of 13 December 1814 Lake Borgne New Orleans Fort St. Philip 2nd Fort Bowyer

Pacific Ocean

James Island Charles Island Nuku Hiva Downes Expedition Porter Expedition Typee Valley Valparaíso (capture of USS Essex) Seringapatam Mutiny Action of 9 May 1814

The Action off Charles Island was a naval battle fought during the War of 1812 in the summer of 1813 off Charles Island in the Galapagos. An American squadron of three vessels attacked three British armed whalers, and captured them. The engagement was notable for being one of the few to occur in the Pacific Ocean during the war and involved United States Marine Lieutenant John M. Gamble, the first marine to command an American warship.[1]

Contents

1 Background 2 Action 3 Aftermath 4 See also 5 Footnotes

Background[edit] In the war between the United Kingdom and the United States, American Captain David Porter, in the thirty-six gun frigate USS Essex, led a fleet of armed vessels in the South Pacific in a commerce raiding operation. At the time of the action, Essex was accompanied by two smaller vessels, recently captured from the British and classified as sloops-of-war by Captain Porter. They were the 10-gun Greenwich of 338 tons burthen and the 8-gun Georgiana of 280 tons burthen. Porter had sent the rest of his fleet to Valparaiso to be sold while he and the remaining vessels patrolled for British whalers between Tumbes, Peru and the Galapagos. [2][3][4] Because Porter had entered the Pacific with no more than 350 American servicemen under his command, when he took prizes he could only place small skeleton crews in most of his ships. Georgiana had a complement of forty-two men under Mr. Adams, the Essex's chaplain, and Greenwich held only fourteen men under the command of Lieutenant Gamble. Action[edit]

John M. Gamble

There is some confusion as to the date of the battle; in later memoirs, Lieutenant Gamble recalled that it was fought on 12 or 13 July, while Captain Porter's memoir, and letters from Porter to Gamble, state that it occurred on 14 July. Either way at about 11:00 am the Americans were sailing west from Tumbes, Peru, off Banks Bay (Bahia de Bancos) in the Galapagos when they sighted three sets of sails on the horizon. Commodore Porter signaled his ships to prepare for action and a chase began. At the time, the majority of British ships cruising in the South Pacific were whalers sailing under letters of marque, legally permitting them to act as privateers should the opportunity arise.[Note 1] The first British vessel Porter captured was the brig Charlton of ten guns. Charlton was sailing in the center of the three ships, and she surrendered to Essex without a fight as Greenwich and Georgiana went after Seringapatam.[2] Seringapatam was originally built of teak at Bombay as a small man-of-war of 357 tons burthen for Tippoo Sahib of Mysore. However, he died at the Battle of Seringapatam, and the British merchants who bought her used her as a whaler. Seringapatam had made several whaling and sealing voyages to the South Atlantic and this area since 1800. Her commander, Captain William Stavers, had a 41-man crew, and she was armed with fourteen 9-pounder guns. On this voyage she had captured one American whaler on the way to the whaling grounds. When escape seemed unlikely, Seringapatam changed course and appeared to be making an attack run on Greenwich but the latter came to a halt and waited for Georgiana to come up and provide assistance. At this point, four men were transferred from Georgiana to Greenwich so Captain Stavers chose to break off the attack and continue fleeing. Lieutenant Gamble closed the distance between the two ships and he first demanded that the British surrender. But when the Americans came within pistol range, Seringapatam raised her colors and fired a powerful broadside.[2] Greenwich immediately returned fire with small arms and cannon, and for several moments the two vessels exchanged fire. American fire proved to be more accurate, and after taking heavy damage the British struck their colors and Greenwich ceased her firing. Just as Lieutenant Gamble was preparing to board the enemy, Seringapatam attempted another escape. Gamble ordered his men to resume shooting at the sails of the British vessel and eventually brought her to a halt. Meanwhile, Essex had finished pursuing the small 8-gun New Zealander and captured her without difficulty. Captain Porter then assisted in chasing down Seringapatam. [2] Aftermath[edit]

Captain Porter's fleet off Nuku Hiva in October of 1813.

American sources make no mention of casualties on either side though Greenwich sustained some damage and Seringapatam was crippled. Porter took 89 prisoners in all, and the American ships were already filled with captives, so the Americans disarmed Charlton, loaded her with 48 of the prisoners, and sent her to Rio de Janeiro as a cartel with the prisoners under parole with orders to surrender to the first American authority they encountered. Lloyd's List reported that Essex had captured Seringapatam, Stavers, master, New Zealander, Donneman, master, and Charlton, Halcrow, master. Porter then had put the captured crews aboard Charlton.[5] Captain Stavers, when asked to surrender his privateer's commission, revealed that though he had applied for a letter of marque, he had not yet received one, but that it was probably waiting for him in Lima.[Note 2] Captain Porter announced that Stavers would be taken to the United States and be tried as a pirate, and ordered him and his crew to be put in irons. They were given more freedom after some liberated American whalers told Porter that the British had treated them well during their time as prisoners aboard Seringapatam.[2] The American press declared Seringapatm to have been a formidable threat to American commerce in the Pacific, making Lieutenant Gamble famous, with the consequence that he received many letters of congratulations from naval officers. Seringapatam was found to have carried up to 30,000 dollars worth of armaments and provisions. Gamble was promoted to captain and died in 1836 as a lieutenant colonel. However, despite a petition to the U.S. Congress, he never received any prize money for the capture or his subsequent service and suffering.[7] Following the engagement, Captain Porter made for Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas where he built America's first base in the Pacific and repaired his ships. He then sailed off, leaving Greenwich, Seringapatam, and another prize, Sir Andrew Hammond, behind. It was after his departure that the Seringnapatam Mutiny occurred.[8] The mutineers and British prisoners-of-war recaptured Seringapatam and sailed her to Australia, from where she was returned to her owners. Gamble burned Greenwich before leaving Nuka Hiva in Sir Andrew Hammond. See also[edit]

Armed merchantmen

Footnotes[edit]

Notes

^ All the vessels that Porter captured had crews whose size was more consistent with their being letters of marque than privateers. Vessels intending to engage in privateering had large crews, larger even than those of similarly-sized naval vessels, in order to be able to put prize crews on board their captures, while continuing to hunt for more prey. Porter himself suffered from having too few men to man adequately all his prizes. ^ One had been issued on 12 December 1812.[6]

Citations

^ Hearn, G. Chester (2007). Marines: An Illustrated History: the United States Marine Corps from 1775 to the 21st Century. MBI Publishing Company. p. 21.  ^ a b c d e Gamble, M. John (1828). The memorial of Lieut. Colonel J.M. Gamble, of the United States' Marine Corps, to Congress, 1828. Geo. F. Hopkins & Son. pp. 3–9.  ^ "Sound off". Leatherneck Magazine. p. 2.  ^ "War of 1812: Commodore David Porter and the Essex in the South Pacific". HistoryNet.com. September 1, 2006.  ^ Lloyd's List, 11 January 1814 [1] - accessed 11 November 2013. ^ Men of Marque - Seringaptam.[2] Accessed 5 March 2012. ^ United States Senate (1871). Index to the Miscellaneous Documents of the Senate of the United States. p. 84.  ^ "USS Seringapatam". Navyhistory.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-06. 

v t e

Conflicts of the War of 1812

Battles of the War of 1812

United States

Washington, D.C.

Burning of Washington

Georgia

Battle of Fort Peter

Louisiana

Battle of New Orleans Siege of Fort St. Philip

Maryland

Battle of Baltimore Battle of Bladensburg Battle of Caulk's Field Battle of North Point Battle of St. Michaels Raid on Havre de Grace

Massachusetts

Battle of Hampden

New York

Battle of Big Sandy Creek Battle of Buffalo Battle of Ogdensburg Battle of Plattsburgh Capture of Fort Niagara Raid on Black Rock Second Battle of Sacket's Harbor

Ohio

Battle of Fort Stephenson Copus massacre Siege of Fort Meigs

Virginia

Battle of Craney Island Raid on Alexandria Skirmish at Farnham Church Battle of Rappahannock River

U.S. territories

Alabama

Battles of Fort Bowyer

Illinois

Battle of Fort Dearborn Battle of Rock Island Rapids Siege of Prairie du Chien

Indiana

Battle of the Mississinewa Battle of Tippecanoe Battle of Wild Cat Creek Siege of Fort Harrison Siege of Fort Wayne

Michigan

Battle of Brownstown Battle of Frenchtown Battle of Mackinac Island Battle of Maguaga Siege of Detroit Siege of Fort Mackinac

Mississippi

Battle of Burnt Corn Battle of Callabee Creek Canoe Fight Battle of Holy Ground Battle of Horseshoe Bend Battle of Talladega Battle of Tallushatchee Battles of Emuckfaw and Enotachopo Creek Fort Mims massacre Kimbell–James Massacre

Missouri

Battle of Credit Island Battle of the Sink Hole

British North America

Lower Canada

Battle of the Chateauguay First Battle of Lacolle Mills Second Battle of Lacolle Mills

Upper Canada

Battle of Beaver Dams Battle of Chippawa Battle of Cook's Mills Battle of Crysler's Farm Battle of Fort George Battle of Frenchman's Creek Battle of Longwoods Battle of Lundy's Lane Battle of Malcolm's Mills Battle of Queenston Heights Battle of Stoney Creek Battle of the Thames Battle of York Capture of Fort Erie Raid on Elizabethtown Raid on Port Dover Raid on Gananoque Siege of Fort Erie

Spanish Empire

Spanish Florida

Battle of Pensacola

Naval battles

Atlantic Ocean

Capture of HMS Boxer Capture of HMS Cyane Capture of HMS Epervier Capture of HMS Frolic Capture of HMS Penguin Capture of HMS Dominica Capture of USS Argus Capture of USS Chesapeake Capture of USS President Chesapeake Bay Flotilla USS Constitution vs HMS Java Sinking of HMS Avon Battle of Fayal Sinking of HMS Peacock Sinking of HMS Reindeer USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere USS United States vs HMS Macedonian

Caribbean Sea

Battle of La Guaira

Great Lakes

Battle of Lake Erie Battle of Fort Oswego Engagements on Lake Huron Engagements on Lake Ontario First Battle of Sacket's Harbor

Gulf Coast

Action of 13 December 1814 Battle of Lake Borgne

Pacific Ocean

Action off James Island Action off Charles Island Nuku Hiva Campaign Battle of Valparaiso (Capture of USS Essex)

See also: American Indian Wars, Creek War, Napoleonic Wars, and Tecumseh's War

Category Portal

 definition  textbooks  quotes  source texts  media  

.

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in D:\Bitnami\wampstack-7.1.16-0\apache2\htdocs\php\PeriodicService.php on line 61