HOME
The Info List - Action Off James Island


--- Advertisement ---



Seventy-five prisoners were taken by the Americans and freed after the battle.

v t e

Naval battles of the War of 1812

Atlantic Ocean

USS Essex vs HMS Alert USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere Capture of HMS Frolic USS United States vs HMS Macedonian USS Constitution vs HMS Java Sinking of HMS Peacock Rappahannock River Capture of USS Chesapeake Capture of HMS Dominica Capture of USS Argus Capture of HMS Boxer Capture of USS Frolic Capture of HMS Epervier Sinking of HMS Reindeer Sinking of HMS Avon Fayal Capture of USS President Capture of HMS Cyane and HMS Levant Capture of HMS Penguin Capture of East India Company ship Nautilus

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 James Island was a naval engagement of the War of 1812. In May 1813 an American frigate captured three British whalers off James Island in the South Pacific. Only one of the whalers resisted and the resultant single-ship action was one of the few fought in Pacific waters during the war.[1][2][3] The British later recovered all the whalers involved.

Contents

1 Background 2 Action 3 Aftermath 4 Note 5 Citations and references

Background[edit] Following Captain David Porter's passage of Cape Horn in USS Essex a year earlier, the United States Navy vessel focused on commerce raiding by attacking British whalers off the coast of South America. After taking several vessels, Captain Porter made a prize of Georgiana, a 280-ton sloop.[4] Georgiana initially carried two guns but Porter increased her armament to six 18-pounders, four swivel guns, and six blunderbusses. He placed Lieutenant John Downes in command and gave him a crew of forty-two navy men and six volunteers, recently captured American sailors. Porter then instructed Downes to harass the British off James Island in the Galapagos chain.[1][3] Action[edit] Leaving Essex on May 12, Downes headed in a southern direction for James. While nearing the island in the afternoon on May 28, lookouts aboard Georgiana sighted a mast and sails on the horizon. In fact the sails belonged to two brigs, the 270-ton whaler Catherine,[5] accompanied by the 220-ton whaler Rose.[6] Downes ordered his men to give chase and raised the Union Jack to trick the whalers into believing that they were not under threat. When the Americans were within range they lowered a few boats filled with men and captured the two sloops without resistance. Later the British captains revealed to Downes that they did not realize they were being attacked until after the Americans were on deck.[1][2][3]

A map of the Galapagos; James island is now known as Santiago.

On board the two vessels were a total of sixteen guns, eight each, and fifty sailors, whom the Americans took prisoner. But just as the capture of Rose and Catherine was completed, a third vessel was spotted, it was the 270-ton Hector,[7] armed with eleven guns and crewed by twenty-five men. Georgiana maneuvered to pursue and after several moments of chasing, the sun had gone down before the Americans were in firing range. In the dark, Georgiana fired a warning shot at Hector, which responded with inaccurate broadsides. The Americans then engaged and began raking the British vessel, ripping off its main mast and most of the rigging. Four more broadsides followed and when it seemed as though the whaler's fire had weakened, Georgiana moved in to board. Just as the Americans drew near, the British lowered their colors and surrendered so the boarding took place without hostilities.[1][2][3] Two British sailors were killed and six others seriously wounded. Apparently all of the British shots passed over Georgiana or fell short. Thus the Americans reported no damage or casualties.[1][2][3] Aftermath[edit] Seventy-five prisoners were taken but because there were fewer than fifty Americans to guard them, Lieutenant Downes disarmed Rose and transferred the prisoners to her. They were then released on parole and ordered to Saint Helena. Georgiana returned to Essex, which was anchored of Tumbez, Peru, on June 24. On the same day as the action, David Porter captured two more whalers without incident, Montezuma of eighteen guns,[8] and Greenwich of ten guns.[9] Captain Porter was now in command of nine armed vessels in the Pacific. Lieutenant Downes was promoted on November 28, 1813, for gallantry in his many actions against the British and the natives of Nuka Hiva.[1][2][3] The British later recaptured all three whalers and returned them to whaling. HMS Barrosa recaptured Georgiana in the Atlantic on 28 November 1813,[10] and sent her into Bermuda.[11] Note[edit] Only Rose was sailing under a letter of marque, which Captain Mark Munro had received on 15 August 1811. It described Rose as of 245 tons (bm), with a crew of 24 men, and armed with eight 12 and 9-pounder guns.[12] By virtue of the letter, she was authorized to engage in offensive action. The other two British whalers, Catherine and Hector, were legally only allowed to use their armament in self-defense. Citations and references[edit] Citations

^ a b c d e f http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wcarr1/Lossing2/Chap.32.html[permanent dead link] ^ a b c d e Porter (1885), p.151. ^ a b c d e f http://www.historynet.com/war-of-1812-commodore-david-porter-and-the-essex-in-the-south-pacific.html[permanent dead link] ^ Clayton (2014), p.128. ^ Clayton (2014), p.83. ^ Clayton (2014), p.209. ^ Clayton (2014), p.138. ^ Clayton (2014), p.176. ^ Clayton (2014), pp.132-3. ^ "No. 17058". The London Gazette. 5 September 1815. p. 1814.  ^ Lloyd's List, n° 4835. ^ Letter of Marque, 1793–1815, p.85; Archived 2015-07-09 at the Wayback Machine.

References

Clayton, Jane M. (2014) Ships employed in the South Sea Whale Fishery from Britain: 1775-1815: An alphabetical list of ships. (Berforts Group). ISBN 978-1908616524 Porter, D. David (1875). Memoir of Commodore David Porter: of the United States Navy. J. Munsell Publishing. p. 151. 

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

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

.