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Thread: History Break!

  1. #1
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    History Break!

    I often take refuge in history, it's one of my favorite hobbies. And I also think it's good to present some tidbits from the past that might, in some small way, generate a little national pride.

    Some time back I posted some history of the named ship Enterprise, "the Big E" as she was called serving as the US flagship, Pacific Fleet during WWII. Before that and afterwards. To add to that story...

    The very first USS Enterprise was built under the leadership of General Benedict Arnold, a gunboat, that served with distinction during the battles on Lake Champlain during the Revolutionary War. She went undefeated in her encounters with British boats.

    The second rendition, the USS Enterprise II, if you will, was built and launched in Baltimore in 1799 as a schooner. She participated in the stunning US Navy defeat of the pirates of Tripoli, Libya and served in various capacities as a scouting vessel, coastal patrol, and quick-strike attack vessel. In 1811 she was brought in to the shipyard for improvements and upgrades. She was launched again, this time as a brig, mounting fourteen 18-pounders and two 9-pounders. She was assigned patrol duty from the Carolinas up to Nova Scotia.

    With the outbreak of war in 1812 between the US and Britain, the captain and crew of the Enterprise knew they would be called on to fight the powerful Royal Navy...at some point. Early on the out-gunned small US Navy held its own against the Brits. That is until a series of defeats, the most disheartening was the loss of USS Chesapeake. The Brits celebrated and sent word to the captains of US warships to stay in port or suffer the same fate. President Madison refused to be intimidated. But, he wanted to assure the Enterprise would not be loss as that would have the most "disquieting effect on the morale of our navy."

    Captain William Burrows and his crew of the Enterprise wanted their chance. And that chance would come in September, 1813. A squadron of brand new British brigs, five ships, under the able command of Captain Samuel Blyth was ordered to interdict commerce in the New England states. Blyth sailed on his flagship, HMS Boxer. Having to cover a large area of ocean and several ports, Blyth divided his force until the Boxer was alone on patrol. Captain Blyth was a decorated officer in the Royal Navy. He had been wounded 6 separate times during battles with the Spaniards and Dutch. He was a true British navy hero and highly respected around the world. To Burrows and the crew of USS Enterprise Blyth and Boxer represented the perfect chance to show what they could do.

    Against orders, Burrows sailed in pursuit of HMS Boxer. On September 5, 1813 at first light that morning, the two ships spotted each other and closed for battle. Captain Blyth recognized the ship, "Oh, the Americans have sent their best against us, that is USS Enterprise boys, what a great prize she will make!"

    They each started seeking to gain an advantage with the wind in their favor, so they circled, changed course, once getting 8 miles apart, only to close again. Blyth was impressed, "this American captain knows what he's doing. He'll make a great adversary." By 3PM that day, the two ships finally got into range and the guns opened up. The Brits were renowned for their gunnery, but it was Enterprise that scored the first significant hits. "Just luck!" Blyth shouted to his men. The ships turned away and closed again. Once again the Americans were smack on with their aim. Brigs have two main masts. One of Boxer's was hit and cut in half. Down to a single sail, the Boxer was now much slower. USS Enterprise, like a shark smelled blood in the water. Now she was not just out-gunning Boxer but out-sailing her too. Another salvo smashed the second mast. HMS Boxer was dead in the water.

    Captain Blyth refused to surrender and joined his gun crews working the guns. Enterprise had passed by and was turning for another pass, her port broadside run out and ready. Blyth did not survive this barrage. He was literally torn in half as a speeding cannonball from an 18-pounder struck him at the waste. Immediately, the Boxer's second in command waved the white flag. Unfortunately for Captain Burrows he would not live to enjoy this victory. A British sharpshooter spotted him on deck and killed him with a perfect shot.

    The Enterprise towed the wrecked Boxer into port. Both captains would be buried together in a joint ceremony. During the battle the Americans suffered 4 killed, 10 wounded, while most of the 80-man British crew had been either killed or wounded. Survivors were treated and taken prisoner.

    This startling victory had a profound effect on naval operations. The British Admiralty sent word to their captains that from now on no British ships were to patrol alone while in American waters. For the fledgling US Navy, USS Enterprise was hailed as a gallant ship. "May her name forever strike fear in the hearts of our enemies!"

  2. #2
    Big Dog tech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of lighttech70 is a glorious beacon of light
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    Re: History Break!

    Thank you for these posts , they are a welcome change from what we see in the media . I enjoy them .

  3. #3
    Champ rabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond reputerabiddawg has a reputation beyond repute
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    Re: History Break!

    Awesome story. Thanks for sharing.

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