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

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Naval campaigns of the War of 1812
War of 1812

ATLANTIC OCEAN

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

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EAST COAST

* Chesapeake Bay * Alexandria * Baltimore * Hampden * Fort Peter

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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

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WEST INDIES / GULF COAST

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

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PACIFIC OCEAN

* James Island * Charles Island * Nuku Hiva * Downes Expedition * Porter Expedition * Typee Valley * Valparaiso (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. The British later recovered all the whalers involved.

CONTENTS

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

BACKGROUND

Following Captain David Porter 's passage of Cape Horn
Cape Horn
in USS Essex a year earlier, the United States
United States
Navy vessel focused on commerce raiding by attacking British whalers off the coast of South America
South America
. After taking several vessels, Captain Porter made a prize of Georgiana , a 280-ton sloop . Georgiana initially carried two guns but Porter increased her armament to six 18-pounders, four swivel guns , and six blunderbusses . He placed Lieutenant
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
Galapagos
chain.

ACTION

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 , accompanied by the 220-ton whaler Rose . Downes ordered his men to give chase and raised the Union Jack
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. 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 , 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.

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.

AFTERMATH

Seventy-five prisoners were taken but because there were fewer than fifty Americans to guard them, Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Downes disarmed Rose and transferred the prisoners to her. They were then released on parole and ordered to Saint Helena
Saint Helena
. Georgiana returned to Essex, which was anchored of Tumbez , Peru
Peru
, on June 24. On the same day as the action, David Porter captured two more whalers without incident, Montezuma of eighteen guns, and Greenwich of ten guns. Captain Porter was now in command of nine armed vessels in the Pacific. Lieutenant
Lieutenant
Downes was promoted on November 28, 1813, for gallantry in his many actions against the British and the natives of Nuka Hiva .

The British later recaptured all three whalers and returned them to whaling. HMS Barrosa recaptured Georgiana in the Atlantic on 28 November 1813, and sent her into Bermuda.

NOTE

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. 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

CITATIONS

* ^ A B C D E F http://freepages.history.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~wcarr1/Lossing2/Chap.32.html * ^ 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 * ^ 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
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
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
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
War of 1812

Battles of the War of 1812
War of 1812

UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, D.C.

* Burning of Washington
Burning of Washington

GEORGIA

* Battle of Fort Peter
Battle of Fort Peter

LOUISIANA

* Battle of New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
* Siege of Fort St. Philip

MARYLAND

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

MASSACHUSETTS

* Battle of Hampden
Battle of Hampden

NEW YORK

* Battle of Big Sandy Creek
Battle of Big Sandy Creek
* Battle of Buffalo * Battle of Ogdensburg * Battle of Plattsburgh
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
Battle of Craney Island
* Raid on Alexandria * Skirmish at Farnham Church
Skirmish at Farnham Church
* Battle of Rappahannock River
Battle of Rappahannock River

U.S. TERRITORIES

ALABAMA

* Battles of Fort Bowyer
Fort Bowyer

ILLINOIS

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

INDIANA

* Battle of the Mississinewa * Battle of Tippecanoe
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 Frenchtown
* Battle of Mackinac Island * Battle of Maguaga * Siege of Detroit
Siege of Detroit
* Siege of Fort Mackinac

MISSISSIPPI

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

MISSOURI

* Battle of Credit Island
Credit Island
* Battle of the Sink Hole

BRITISH NORTH AMERICA

LOWER CANADA

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

UPPER CANADA

* Battle of Beaver Dams
Battle of Beaver Dams
* Battle of Chippawa
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 Longwoods
* Battle of Lundy\'s Lane * Battle of Malcolm\'s Mills * Battle of Queenston Heights
Battle of Queenston Heights
* Battle of Stoney Creek
Battle of Stoney Creek
* Battle of the Thames
Battle of the Thames
* Battle of York
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 Boxer
* Capture of HMS Cyane
Capture of HMS Cyane
* Capture of HMS Epervier
Capture of HMS Epervier
* Capture of HMS Frolic
Capture of HMS Frolic
* Capture of HMS Penguin
Capture of HMS Penguin
* Capture of HMS Dominica
Capture of HMS Dominica
* Capture of USS Argus
Capture of USS Argus
* Capture of USS Chesapeake
Capture of USS Chesapeake
* Capture of USS President
Capture of USS President
* Chesapeake Bay Flotilla
Chesapeake Bay Flotilla
* USS Constitution vs HMS Java * Sinking of HMS Avon
Sinking of HMS Avon
* Battle of Fayal
Battle of Fayal
* Sinking of HMS Peacock
Sinking of HMS Peacock
* Sinking of HMS Reindeer
Sinking of HMS Reindeer
* USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere
USS Constitution vs HMS Guerriere
* USS United States
United States
vs HMS Macedonian

CARIBBEAN SEA

* Battle of La Guaira

GREAT LAKES

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

GULF COAST

* Action of 13 December 1814 * Battle of Lake Borgne
Battle of Lake Borgne

PACIFIC OCEAN

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

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

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