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Privateer "Chance" against 'Amiable Maria'
Privateer "Chance" against "Amiable Maria"
On 29 August, 1801, the British privateer "Chance" (16 twelve pounders) commanded by a Captain White, approached a large Spanish trader a few miles from Lima, Peru. This "trader" was, in fact, the "Amiable Maria" armed with 18 and 24 pounder guns. Since "Chance" was by then flying a Spanish flag and so much smaller than the Spaniard, she was not alarmed and continued to prepare to dock, fouling her deck with cables. Both captains were startled to discover the true nature of their opponent. After a vicious fight and boarding by the British crew, the Spaniard struck.
Details: some interesting, some horrific:
It was unusual for a privateer action to appear in the "Gazette" but this one did. [I would dearly love to read the original.]
A Spanish lady passenger became hysterical, evoking pity from both sides when it became clear that a shot had cut her infant in two while in her arms. She was unharmed, at least physically.
"A Chilian, one of the Spanish crew, whose arm was dreadfully shattered, was seen deliberately to cut the limb off, and load his gun with it; but a second shot killed the savage before he had power to fire." [Adrenaline, perhaps?]
Several days later, the Viceroy of Lima sent another man-of-war to take the "Chance." After a nearly three-hour fight, the "Limeno" (18 long nines & 12 brass four-pounders) struck also.
Taken from "Deeds of Naval Daring" by Edward Giffard, section titled "The Private Ship of War"
"Whoever is strongest at sea, make him your friend."
Corcyraeans to the Athenians, 433 BC
Last edited by timoneer on Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:26 am, edited 4 times in total.
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 12:27 am
Admiralty-Office, February 23, s8o2.
Cosy of a Better from Vice-Admiral Sir Roger Curtis^
. Bart. Commander in Chief of His Majestfs Ships
and Vessels at the Cape of Good Hope, 'to Evan Ne°
pean, Esq; dated al the Cape, December 20, a 80X0
S I R , TH E Private Ship of War .the Chance, belonging
to Mr. Hogan, of this Place, and commanded
by Mr. William White, having 'been on a
Cruize on the Coast of Peru, returned on the ntfa
Instant. The Commander of the Chance addressed
a Letter to me containing an Account of bis Pro=
ceedings .during his Ctuize« He appears to have
uniformly acted with great Propriety ; but his .Con-?
duct, and that of his Officers and Men, was, on
Two Occasions,, so highly""creditable to them that
I send his Account of these Occurrences for .their
l a m , &c. ROGER C U R T I S.
Ex trails of a Letter from Mr. William White, Com~
mander of the Chance Private Ship of War,stttedout
at ihe Cape of Good Hope, to Vice-Admiral Site
Roger Curtis, Bart.
" . A T Four P. M. on the 19th df August,
- - i j l the Island 'St. Laurence .bearing N. Eo
Two Leagues, saw a large Ship bearing down
towards us j at Nine brought .her to close Action,
and engaged her within half "Pistol-Shot for
an Hour and :a Hals, but finding iher 'Metal
much heavier.than ours, and full of Men, boarded
her en,the.Starboard Quarter, laffiing the Chance's
Bowsprit to her Mizen-Mast, and after a desperate
Resistance of Three -Quarters of an Hour, beat
them off the Upper Deck, but-they still defendedfrom
the Cabin and Lower Deck with long Pikes
in a most gallant Manner, till they"had Twenty-five
Men killed -and Twenty-eight wounded, of whoni
the Captain.was one.5 getting .final Possession, she
was-so close, to the Island.(snat with-much Difficulty
we-got her*off.Shore, all-her Braces and Rigging
being cut to.Pieces by our Grape Shot. She proved
to: be the new Spanish Ship Amiable Maria, of about
Six Hundred .Tons, :mounting Fourteen Guns
Eighteen, twelve and nine Pounders*,
Brass, -SR-PIcarrying One Hundred and Twenty Men, from
Conception bound to Lima, laden with Corn, Wine,
2 ale Goods, &c. On this Occasion I am much
concerned to state Mr. Bennett, a very valuable and
brave "Officer,-was so dangerously wounded that he
died Three Days after the Action ; the Second and
Fourth Mates, Marine Officer, and Two Seamen
badly wounded by Pikes, but since recovered. On
the 20th, both Ships being much disabled, r.nd
having more Prisoners than Crew, I stood close in
and sent 'Eighty-six on Shore in the large Ship's
Launch to Lima ; we afterwards learned that Seventeen
of the Wounded had died."
" A t Four A. M. on the 24th September, standing
in to cut out from the Roads of Puna, in Guia-
<quill Bay, a Ship that I had Information of, mounti
n g Twenty-two Guns, felKn with a large Spanish
Btig with a Broad Pendant at Main-Top-Mast-
Head ; at Five .she commenced her Fire on us, but
she being at a Distance to windward, and desirous
to bring 'her close to Action, we received Three
•Broadsides before a Shot was returned-; at Halfpast
Five being Yard-Arm and Yard-Arm, .commenced
our Fire with great Effect, and after a very
severe Action of Two Hours and Three Quarters,
during the latter Part she made every Effort to get
away, I had the Honor to fee the Spanish Flag
•struck to the Chance; she proved to be the Spanish
Man of War-Brig Limeno, mounting Eighteen long
Six-Pound Guns, commanded by Commodore Don
Philip de Martinez, the Senior Officer of the Spanish'
Marine on that'Coast, and manned Avith One Hundred
and Forty Men, sent from Guiaquil1,, for the
express Purpose of "taking the Chance, and then to
proceed to the Northward to take Three English
Whalers laying in one of their Ports ; ffie had Fourteen
Men killed and Seven wounded ; the Captain
mortally wounded, who died Two Days after the
Action ;. the Chance had Two Men killed and one
wounded, and had only Fifty Men at the Commencement
of the Action, mounting-Sixteen Gttns
Twelve and Six-Pounders.'-'
Sorry about the errors but I find it difficult to obtain accuracy when copying from these Gazettes -