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Two days afterwards, near midnight, on October 18, she encountered a fleet of vessels which, in the morning, proved to be British merchantmen, some of which were armed, convoyed by the sloop of war Frolic. The Frolic offered an opportunity to Captain Jacob Jones, of the Wasp, to fight, which was immediately accepted. The Wasp being quickly brought under fighting canvass, drew close up to the starboard side of the Frolic, receiving and delivering a broadside. After five minutes of rapid firing on both sides, the main topmast of the Wasp fell, and carried with it the main topsail yard, lodging across the foresail and fore topsail braces, thus making unmanageable the head yards.
Shortly afterward, the gaff and main top gallant mast fell to the deck. In twenty minutes from beginning action, every brace and most of the rigging was disabled. Meanwhile, the shots from the Wasp were doing effective damage to the hull of the Frolic.
In loading for the last broadside, which was fired after the Frolic's bowsprit had passed over the Wasp's quarter
deck, the rammers of the Wasp's gunners hit the Frolic's sides. Only one broadside was fired by the Wasp, after the coming together of the vessels, but its results was terrific. The excitement of the crew, which could no longer be restrained, caused them to abandon the guns
and leap into the rigging; and, led by Lieutenants Biddle, Rodgers, Booth, Claxton and Rapp, they made their way to the deck of the Frolic unopposed. The last broadside. from the Wasp had cleared the deck of active men. The wounded and dead were everywhere. The only man at his station was the helmsman. All others had left the upper deck to escape the Wasp's fire. The wounded threw down their swords, and Lieutenant Biddle hauled down the Frolic's colors. The battle lasted fortyfive minutes, during which every one of the British officers
FROM LOSSING'S HISTORY
were wounded. The estimated killed and wounded on the Frolic numbered ninety-seven, while the Wasp had but five killed and five wounded.
When the vessels separated, the mast of the Frolic fell. Captain Jones had placed Lieutenant Biddle in charge of the captured sloop, with orders to proceed to Charleston, when a strange ship bore down and fired a shot over the Wasp as an intimation to surrender.
Owing to the disabled condition of his vessel, Captain Jones had the humiliation of seeing his prize and his ship taken possession of by the British ship-of-war Poictiers. Captain Jones and his crew were taken to Bermuda, where they were exchanged and sent home.
Captain Jones, on his return to the United States, was received with joyous demonstrations. The Delaware Legislature voted him a sword and piece of silver plate, while the New York council voted him a sword and the freedom of the city. Congress reimbursed Captain Jones and his crew with twenty-five thousands dollars, as compensation for the loss of prize money.
Congress promoted Jones to the command of the Macedonian, which had just been captured from the British.
Lieutenant Biddle received a share of the honors, the Legislature of Pennsylvania giving him a sword, and a number of the leading citizens of Philadephia presented
ronades on her forecastle, with a crew of 108 men, under command of Captain Thomas Whinyates.
The Wasp was one of the newest and finest vessels of her class owned by the United States at the opening of hostilities with England. She was equipped with sixteen. 32-pound carronades and two long 12-pounders.
THE UNITED STATES AND THE MACEDONIAN
A week after the capture of the Frolic by the Wasp, the frigate United States, under command of Captain Stephen Decatur, mounting forty-four guns, which had sailed from New York in Commodore Rodgers' squadron on a second voyage, discovered a sail on the morning of the 25th of October. The stranger was soon made out to be an English-ship-of-war, and Decatur made every effort to overtake her.
The first broadside was fired by the United States, at 9 o'clock in the morning, but the shots fell short. Another discharge, at shorter range, was more successful, several of the cannon balls taking effect. Both vessels maintained a heavy cannonade at long range, but the superior markmanship of the American sailors gave the advantage to the United States. The destruction wrought by the American fire was so great that the British vessel, with damaged spars and sails, closed in with her antagonist, in order to bring into use her carronades and smaller guns. Almost immediately the enemy's mizzenmast fell overboard, and in a little while her main yard was cut in two, her main and fore topmasts fell, the foremast was
ship was badly hurt and was fleeing; but when the United States tacked and came into an advantageous position, the British commander struck his colors. The ship was the British frigate Macedonian, commanded by Captain John S. Carden. During the two hours' battle, the Macedonian had received at least one hundred shot in her hull; only her fore and main masts were standing, and all her boats were rendered useless but one. The number of killed on the Macedonian was thirty-six and sixty-eight were wounded. The United States had but five killed and seven wounded.
Mr. Maclay, in his "History of the Navy," compares the forces and losses of the two vessels as follows:
FOREIGN NAVAL CORRESPONDENCE (Special Correspondence of THE Navy)
LETTER FROM LONDON
The End of the Powerful
The Powerful, which only a few years ago was the world's wonder cruiser, has now been prepared for her new duties a hulk for training purposes. Her 9.2-inch guns the first electrically maneuvered guns in the British navy-have been allowed to remain, but all the 6-inch guns have been removed and the casements converted into bow windows. The ship has also been repainted in old-style fashion - black hull, white upperworks, and red waterline. By a curious coincidence, just when the Powerful was completed for her new duties, the "Army and Navy Gazette," which prints extracts from its issues of "fifty years ago," recorded a similar end to the Powerful of that era.
In connection with the present Powerful, it is of interest to note that the training ship Implacable, which she replaced, once the French Doguay-Trouin of the Nelson period, was sold out of the service and taken to Falmouth, where she is moored alongside Nelson's old ship, the Foudroyant.
Except, of course, the Victory, these three are generally believed to be the last of the veterans; but probably many of the odd hulks in British naval harbors once "made history." Hulks get re-named so often that sooner or later their identity is lost. Nor is this by any means. confined to ships of the Nelson era. For example, comparatively few people are aware that the hulk known as Vernon III was, fifty years ago, the Warrior, the first sea-going iron-armored ship ever built, and the parent ship of the modern British navy.
the lack of authority exercised by petty officers. Of late years alterations have been made with a view to improvements. Originally there were two classes of petty officers, first-class and second-class. Some time ago it was announced that the second-class ratings would be abolished altogether, the idea being to make a greater gulf between the petty officer and the men below him. At about the same time an order was issued that in the future the men were forbidden, in speaking to petty officers, to address them by their nicknames.
-F. T. Jane.
LETTER FROM PARIS
FRENCH Naval MANEUVERS OF 1912
This year there was no concentration of the French naval forces of the two seas. The Northern and Southern fleets maneuvered separately; the Southern fleet during the latter half of July, the Northern one from August I to August 15.
In the Mediterranean, the maneuvers presented greater interest than in the North, owing to the numerous vessels composing the three groups of the first naval fleet, not counting the flotillas recently attached to the squadrons.
The program was a very complete one, owing to the important problems studied: among them, the problems of combat and formation; evolutions in close order, which demand a keen and vigilant eye at every instant in the game; getting under way at night with all lights screened, and steaming under the same conditions, which are those of war; blockading; closing on the enemy and maintaining contact, during night.
During the maneuvers, the scouting question was once more placed in evidence. It is a question of the greatest importance in France, where we are almost destitute of intermediary units between the armored cruiser and the destroyer. Now the question of destroyers used as scouts is no longer an undecided one. Those small vessels are too feeble for scouting duty in all weathers in the Mediterranean, and would be still more so in the tumultuous seas of the Atlantic. The situation is not likely to change for some time to come, since we are directing all our efforts to constructing battleships, which are the basis of naval strength. Scouts will come later.
On the other hand, armored cruisers are very costly units whose task rather consists in operating raids at great distances, in closing in, in order to observe the strength of the adversary, the course he is steering, and his probable intentions.
The scouting operations this year brought out the same
facts they did last year: clouds of black smoke reveal the presence of squadrons under way, at thirty and sometimes even fifty kilometers, a circumstance which singularly facilitates and simplifies extremely such operations. The destroyers, when operating against squadrons, spread great volumes of smoke over the assembled ships, to the point of interfering with the gun fire.
The flotillas displayed great activity during the maneuvers and proved their efficiency in conjunction with the main divisions of the naval forces. While cruising, the destroyers were generally separated in two divisions and placed at the ends of the general line. Those groups that attacked en mass were dangerous, not only on account of their own torpedoes, but also of the mines they could lay. Hence the presence of hostile flotillas in front of the squadrons caused the latter to make movements of 180° in order to avoid them.
The flotillas having a determined value, the natural question is how to fight those groups. The most effective means seems to be to oppose flotillas to flotillas. But this is a costly process. A destroyer is subject to frequent breakdowns. Moreover, its cost ton for ton is much higher than that of a big ship. That cost will be still further increased by the increase in displacement in those small units (the French do not exceed the maximum of 750 tons), if they are to accommpany squadrons and to render under all conditions of wind and sea the service expected of them.
The submarines executed several attacks against the squadrons at sea. In one such instance, the offensive submarines of Ajaccio, in an attack against the second squadron at more than one hundred miles from land, fired sixteen torpedoes, ten of them under the most favorable conditions. At the end of the operation, which lasted half an hour, the submarines had still eight torpedoes left.
At sea, the squadrons in lines having to cross a zone occupied by submarines, interposed themselves between four cruisers, with groups of destroyers in front and on their flanks. Those attacks have once more demonstrated that submarines operating to windward emit an odor of petroleum which can be detected at a considerable distance.
Finally, the wireless telegraphy gave occasion to several remarks, the most serious of which is the length of communications. There should be a way of signaling brief orders, as is done by means of flags; and protracted conversations, which often prevent operating messages being received at the opportune time, should be prohibited.