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´╗┐Title: Stories of Our Naval Heroes - Every Child Can Read
Author: Hurlbut, Jesse Lyman, 1843-1930 [Editor]
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories of Our Naval Heroes - Every Child Can Read" ***

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          COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY


WE live in a land of heroes. If there is any one thing for which a true
son of America is always ready, it is for a deed of heroism. We have
among us heroes of the workshop, of the railroad, of field, forest, and
city, heroes of land and heroes of water, heroes in war and heroes in
peace. When the time comes for any deed of valor to be done, the
American ready and able to do it will not be found wanting. It is not
glory the gallant son of our land is seeking. It is to do his duty in
whatever situation he is placed, whether high or low, on quarter-deck or
forecastle. He does not stop to think of fame. To act bravely for his
fellows or his country is the thing for him to do, and he does it in
face of every peril.

The history of the United States is full of the names of heroes. They
stand out like the stars on our flag. It is not our purpose to boast.
The world has had its heroes in all times and countries. But our land
holds a high rank among heroic nations, and deeds of gallant daring have
been done by Americans which no men upon the earth have surpassed.

This book is the record of our heroes of the sea, of the men who have
fought bravely upon the ocean for the honor of the Stars and Stripes,
the noble tars who have carried their country's fame over all waters and
through all wars. Look at Paul Jones, the most gallant sailor who ever
trod deck! He was not born on our soil, but he was a true-blue American
for all that. Look at Perry, rowing from ship to ship amid the rain of
British shot and shell! Look at Farragut in the Civil War, facing death
in the rigging that he might see the enemy! Look at Dewey in the war
with Spain, on the bridge amid the hurtling Spanish shells! These are
but types of our gallant sailors. They have had their equals in every
war. We have hundreds to-day as brave. All they wait for is opportunity.
When the time comes they will be ready.

If all our history is an inspiration, our naval history is specially so.
It is full of thrilling tales, stories of desperate deeds and noble
valor which no work of fiction can surpass. We are sure that all who
take up this book will find it vital with interest and brimming with
inspiration. Its tales deal with men who fought for their land with only
a plank between them and death, and none among us can read the story of
their deeds without a thrill in the nerves and a stir in the heart, and
without a wish that sometime they may be able to do as much for the land
that gave them birth. This is a book for the American boy to read, and
the American girl as well; a book to fill them with the spirit of
emulation and make them resolve that when the time comes they will act
their part bravely in the perilous work of the world.


  The Burning of the "Gaspee" in Narragansett Bay         1

  Captain Jerry O'Brien Leads the Patriots of 1775       11

  A Novel Fight on Lake Champlain                        21

  The Greatest of America's Naval Heroes                 32

  The First Great Fight of the American Navy             44

  The Pioneer Torpedo Boat and the Battle of the Kegs    60

  A Gallant Naval Hero of Irish Blood                    70

  The Daring Adventures of the Hero of Marblehead        81

  The Heroic Captain Barney in the "Hyder Ali"
      Captures the "General Monk"                        90


  How Our Navy Began and Ended a Foreign War            108

  A Famous Incident of the War of 1812                  126

  "Old Ironsides" Wins New Glory                        140

  The Lively Little "Wasp" and How She Stung the
      "Frolic"                                          155

  His Words, "Do not give up the ship," Become the
      Famous Motto of the American Navy                 166

  "We have met the enemy and they are ours"             176

  The Gallant Fight of the "Essex" Against Great Odds   189

  How General Prevost and the British Ran Away          201

  Fights with the Pirates of the Gulf and the Corsairs
      of the Mediterranean                              210

  A Heroic Deed Without Bloodshed                       220

  Our Navy Upholds the Rights of an American in a
      Foreign Land                                      231

  A Fight which Changed all Naval Warfare               239

  The Hero of Mobile Bay Lashes Himself to the Mast     252

  Admiral Porter Runs by the Forts in a Novel Way       268

  Lieutenant Cushing Performs the most Gallant Deed of
      the Civil War                                     278

  Deadly and Heroic Deeds in the War with Spain         288

  Dewey Destroys a Fleet Without Losing a Man           294

  An Heroic Deed Worthy of the American Navy            304

  The Greatest Sea Fight of the Century                 313




DOES it not seem an odd fact that little Rhode Island, the smallest of
all our states, should have two capital cities, while all the others,
some of which would make more than a thousand Rhode Islands, have only
one apiece? It is like the old story of the dwarf beating the giants.

The tale we have to tell has to do with these two cities, Providence and
Newport, whose story goes back far into the days when Rhode Island and
all the others were British colonies. They were capitals then and they
are capitals still. That is, they were places where the legislature met
and the laws were made.

I need not tell you anything about the British Stamp Act, the Boston
Tea-party, the fight at Lexington, and the other things that led to the
American Revolution and brought freedom to the colonies. All this you
have learned at school. But I am sure you will be interested in what we
may call the "salt-water Lexington," the first fight between the British
and the bold sons of the colonies.

There was at that time a heavy tax on all goods brought into the
country, and even on goods taken from one American town to another. It
was what we now call a revenue duty, or tariff. This tax the Americans
did not like to pay. They were so angry at the way they had been treated
by England that they did not want that country to have a penny of their
money. Nor did they intend to pay any tax.

Do you ask how they could help paying the tax? They had one way of doing
so. Vessels laden with goods were brought to the coast at night, or to
places where there was no officer of the revenue. Then in all haste they
unloaded their cargoes and were away again like flitting birds. The
British did not see half the goods that came ashore, and lost much in
the way of taxes.

We call this kind of secret trade "smuggling." Providence and Newport
were great smuggling places. Over the green waters of Narragansett Bay
small craft sped to and fro, coming to shore by night or in secret
places and landing their goods. It was against the law, but the bold
mariners cared little for laws made in England. They said that they were
quite able to govern themselves, and that no people across the seas
should make laws for them.

The British did their best to stop this kind of trade. They sent armed
vessels to the Bay, whose business it was to chase and search every
craft that might have smuggled goods in its hold, and to punish in some
way every smuggler they found.

Some of these vessels made themselves very busy, and sailors and
shoremen alike were bitter against them. They would bring in prizes to
Newport, and their sailors would swagger about the streets, bragging of
what they had done, and making sport of the Yankees. They would kidnap
sailors and carry them off to serve in the King's ships. One vessel came
ashore at Newport, whose crew had been months at sea, trading on the
African coast. Before a man of them could set foot on land, or see any
of the loved ones at home, from whom they had been parted so long, a
press-gang from a British ship-of-war seized and carried off the whole
crew, leaving the captain alone on his deck.

We may be sure that all this made the people very indignant. While the
rest of the country was quiet, the Newporters were at the point of war.
More than once they were ready to take arms against the British.

In July, 1769, a British armed sloop, the _Liberty_, brought in two
prizes as smugglers. They had no smuggled goods on board, but the
officers of the _Liberty_ did not care for that. And their captains and
crews were treated as if they were prisoners of war.

That night something new took place. The lookout on the _Liberty_ saw
two boats, crowded with men, gliding swiftly toward the sloop.

"Boat ahoy!" he shouted.

Not a word came in reply.

"Boat ahoy! Answer, or I'll fire!"

No answer still. The lookout fired. The watch came rushing up on deck.
But at the same time the men in the boats climbed over the bulwarks and
the sailors of the _Liberty_ found themselves looking into the muzzles
of guns. They were taken by surprise and had to yield. The Americans had
captured their first prize.

Proud of their victory, the Newporters cut the cables of the sloop and
let her drift ashore. Her captives were set free, her mast was cut down,
and her boats were dragged through the streets to the common, where they
were set on fire. A jolly bonfire they made, too, and as the flames went
up the people cheered lustily.

That was not all. With the high tide the sloop floated off. But it went
ashore again on Goat Island, and the next night some of the people set
it on fire and it was burned to the water's edge. That was the first
American reply to British tyranny. The story of it spread far and wide.
The King's officers did all they could to find and punish the men who
had captured the sloop, but not a man of them could be discovered.
Everybody in the town knew, but no one would tell.

This was only the beginning. The great event was that of the _Gaspee_.
This was a British schooner carrying six cannon, which cruised about
the Bay between Providence and Newport, and made itself so active and so
offensive that the people hated it more than all those that had gone
before. Captain Duddingstone treated every vessel as if it had been a
pirate, and the people were eager to give it the same dose they had
given the _Liberty_.

Their time came in June, 1772. The _Hannah_, a vessel trading between
New York and Providence, came in sight of the _Gaspee_ and was ordered
to stop. But Captain Linzee had a fine breeze and did not care to lose
it. He kept on at full speed, and the _Gaspee_ set out in chase.

It was a very pretty race that was seen that day over the ruffled waters
of the Bay. For twenty-five miles it kept up and the _Hannah_ was still
ahead. Then the two vessels came near to Providence bar.

The Yankee captain now played the British sailors a cute trick. He
slipped on over the bar as if there had been a mile of water under his
keel. The _Gaspee_, not knowing that the _Hannah_ had almost touched
bottom, followed, and in a minute more came bump upon the ground. The
proud war-vessel stuck fast in the mud, while the light-footed Yankee
slid swiftly on to Providence, where the story of the chase and escape
was told to eager ears.

Here was a splendid chance. The _Gaspee_ was aground. Now was the time
to repay Captain Duddingstone for his pride and insolence. That night,
while the people after their day's work were standing and talking about
the news, a man passed down the streets, beating a drum and calling out:

"The _Gaspee is aground_. Who will join in to put an end to her?"

There was no lack of volunteers. Eight large boats had been collected
from the ships in the harbor, and there were soon enough to crowd them
all. Sixty-four men were selected, and Abraham Whipple, who was
afterward one of the first captains in the American navy, took command.
Some of the men had guns, but their principal weapons were paving stones
and clubs.

It was about two o'clock in the morning when this small fleet came
within hail of the _Gaspee_. She was fast enough yet, though she was
beginning to lift with the rising tide. An hour or two more might have
set her afloat.

A sentinel who was pacing the deck hailed the boats when they came near.

"Who comes there?" he cried.

A shower of paving stones that rattled on the deck of the _Gaspee_ was
the only answer. Up came the captain and crew, like bees from a hive
that has been disturbed.

"I want to come on board," said Captain Whipple.

"Stand off. You can't come aboard," answered Captain Duddingstone.

He fired a pistol. A shot from one of the guns on the boats replied. The
British captain fell with a bullet in his side.

"I am sheriff of the County of Kent," cried one of the leaders in the
boats. "I am come for the captain of this vessel. Have him I will, dead
or alive. Men, to your oars!"

On came the boats, up the sides of the vessel clambered the men, over
the rails they passed. The sailors showed fight, but they were soon
knocked down and secured. The proud _Gaspee_ was in the hands of the
despised Yankees.

As the captors were tying the crew, a surgeon who was in the boats was
called on deck.

"What do you want, Mr. Brown?" he asked.

"Don't call names, man," cried Brown. "Go into the cabin. There is a
wounded man there who may bleed to death."

The surgeon was needed, for Captain Duddingstone was bleeding freely.
The surgeon, finding no cloth for bandages, tore his own shirt into
strips for this purpose, and soon had the bleeding stopped. The captain
was gently lowered into one of the boats and rowed up to Providence.

The wounded man away, the captors began their work. Rushing through the
vessel, they made havoc of furniture and trappings. There were some
bottles of liquor in the captain's cabin, and some of the men made a
rush for these; but the surgeon smashed them with the heels of his
boots. That was not the time or place for drunken men.

This done, the _Gaspee_ was set on fire, and was soon wrapped in flames.
The men rowed their boats some distance out, and there rested on their
oars, watching the flames as they shot up masts and rigging. Not until
the loaded guns went off, one after another, and in the end the magazine
was reached and the ship blew up, did they turn their prows towards
home. Never again would the _Gaspee_ trouble American ships.

When word of what had been done reached England, there was fury from the
King down. Great rewards were offered for any one who would betray any
of the party, but not a name was told. For six long months a court of
inquiry sat, but it could not get evidence enough to convict a single
man. The Americans were staunch and firm and stood for each other like
brothers tried and true.

Not until the colonies threw off the royal yoke and were battling for
freedom was the secret told. Then the men of the long-boats did not
hesitate to boast of what they had done. It was the first stroke of
America in the cause of liberty, and the work of the men of Providence
gave new heart to the patriots from Maine to Georgia.




HOW would any of you like to go back to the days when people had only
tallow candles to light their houses, and the moon to light their
streets, when they traveled on horseback or by stage, and got their news
only when it happened to come? In these days of the electric light, the
railroad train, and the telegraph that old way of living would not seem
living at all.

Yet that was the way people lived in 1775 when the Revolution began. It
took weeks for news to travel then, where it takes seconds now. Thus the
fight at Lexington, which began the Revolution, took place on April
19th, but it was May 9th, more than half a month later, before the news
of it reached the little town of Machias, on the coast of Maine. We
should hardly call that fast time. It must have taken several naps on
the way.

But when the news came, it found the people ready for it. A coasting
schooner put into the port and brought the story of how the patriots had
fought and bled at Lexington and Concord, and of how the British were
shut up in Boston town, and the country was at war. The news was
received with ringing cheers.

If any of my readers had been at Machias that day I know they would have
felt like striking a blow for liberty. At any rate, that is how the
people of Machias felt, and it did not take them long to show it.

They had some reason not to like the King and his men. All the tall,
straight trees in their woods were kept to make masts for the King's
ships, and no woodman dared set axe to one of these pine trees except at
risk of going to prison. Just then there were two sloops in their harbor
loading with ship-timber, and an armored schooner, the _Margaretta_, was
there as a good looker-on.

When the men on the wharf heard the story of Lexington, their eyes fell
on the _Margaretta_. Here was a chance to let King George know what
they thought about his robbing their woods.

"Keep this a secret," they said to the sailors. "Not a word of it to
Captain Moore or his men. Wait till to-morrow and you will see some

That night sixty of the countrymen and townsmen met at a farmhouse
nearby and laid their plans. It was Saturday. On Sunday Captain Moore
and his officers would go to church. Then they could gather at the wharf
and might take the schooner by surprise.

But it is often easier to make a plot than to keep it a secret, and that
lesson they were to learn. The captain and his officers went to the
little village church at sound of the morning bell; the _Margaretta_ lay
lazily floating near the shore; and the plotters began to gather, two or
three at a time strolling down towards the shore, each of them carrying
some weapon.

But in some way Captain Moore discovered their purpose. What bird in the
air whispered to him the secret we do not know, but he suddenly sprang
to his feet, called to his officers to follow him, and leaped like a cat
through the church window, without waiting to go round by the door. We
may be sure the old-fashioned preacher and the pious people in the pews
looked on with wide-open eyes.

Down the street like a deer sped the captain. After him came his
officers. In their rear rushed the patriots, some carrying old muskets,
some with scythes and reaping-hooks.

It was a hot flight and a hot chase. Luckily for Captain Moore the guard
on the schooner was wide-awake. He saw the countrymen chasing his
captain, and at once loaded and fired a gun, whose ball went whistling
over the head of the men of Maine. This was more than they looked for;
they held back in doubt; some of them sought hiding places; before they
could gain fresh courage, a boat put off from the schooner and took the
captain and his officers on board.

Captain Moore did not know what was wrong, but he thought he would
frighten the people, at any rate. So his cannon thundered and balls came
hurtling over the town. Then he drew up his anchor and sailed several
miles down the bay, letting the anchor fall again near a high bank. Some
of the townsmen followed, and a man named Foster called from the bank,
bidding him surrender. But the captain laughed at him, raised his anchor
once more, and ran farther out into the bay.

It looked as if the whole affair was at an end and the _Margaretta_
safe. But the men of Machias were not yet at the end of their rope.
There lay the lumber sloops, and where a schooner could go a sloop could

Early Monday morning four young men climbed to the deck of one of the
sloops and cheered in a way that soon brought a crowd to the wharf. One
of these was a bold, gallant fellow named Jeremiah O'Brien.

"What is in the wind?" he asked.

"We are going for the King's ship," said Wheaton, one of the men. "We
can outsail her, and all we want is guns enough and men enough to take

"My boys, we can do it," cried O'Brien in lusty tones, after hearing the

Everybody ran off for arms, but all they could find in the town were
twenty guns, with enough powder and balls to make three shots for each.
Their other weapons were thirteen pitchforks and twelve axes. Jerry
O'Brien was chosen captain, thirty-five of the most athletic men were
selected, and the sloop put off before a fresh breeze for the first
naval battle of the Revolution.

It is likely that there were a few sailors among them, and no doubt
their captain knew how to handle a sloop. But the most of them were
landsmen, chiefly haymakers, for Machias lay amid grassy meadows and the
making of hay was its chief business. And there were some woodsmen, who
knew well how to swing an axe. They were all bold men and true, who
cared more for their country than for the King.

When Captain Moore saw the sloop coming with its deck crowded with men
he must have wondered what all this meant. What ailed these countrymen?
Anyhow, he would not fight without knowing what he was fighting for, so
he raised his anchor, set his sails, and made for the open sea. But he
had hardly started when, in going about in the strong wind, the main
boom swung across so sharply that it struck the backstays and broke
short off.

I fancy if any of us had been close by then we would have heard ringing
cheers from the Yankee crew. They felt sure now of their prize, though
we cannot see why, for the _Margaretta_ had twenty-four cannon, four
throwing six-pound balls and the rest one-pound balls. Muskets and
pitchforks did not seem of much use against these. It had also more men
than the sloop.

We cannot see why Captain Moore showed his heels instead of his fists,
for he soon proved that he was no coward. But he still seemed to want to
get away, so he drew up beside a schooner that lay at anchor, robbed it
of its boom, lashed it to his own mast and once more took to flight. But
the sloop was now not far behind, and soon showed that it was the better
sailer of the two. In the end it came so close that Captain Moore was
forced to fight or yield.

One of the swivel guns was fired, and then came a whole broadside,
sending its balls hurtling over the crowded deck of the sloop. One man
fell dead, but no other harm was done.

Only a single shot was fired back, but this came from a heavy gun and
was aimed by an old hunter. It struck the man at the helm of the
schooner. He fell dead, letting the rudder swing loose.

The _Margaretta_, with no hand at her helm, broached to, and in a minute
more the sloop came crashing against her. At once there began a fierce
battle between the British tars and the haymakers of Maine, who sprang
wildly and with ringing cheers for the schooner's deck. Weapons of all
sorts now came into play. Cutlasses, hand-grenades, pistols and boarding
pikes were used by the schooner's men; muskets, pitchforks, and axes
were skilfully handled by the crew of the sloop. Men fast fell dead and
wounded; the decks grew red with blood; both sides fought fiercely, the
men of Machias striving like tigers to gain a footing on the schooner's
deck, the British tars meeting and driving them back.

Captain Moore showed that it was not fear that made him run away. He now
fought bravely at the head of his men, cheering them on and hurling
hand-grenades at the foe.

But in a few minutes the end came. A bullet struck the gallant captain
and he fell dead on his deck. When they saw him fall the crew lost heart
and drew back. The Yankees swarmed over the bulwarks. In a minute more
the _Margaretta_ was theirs.

The battle, though short, had been desperate, for twenty men lay killed
and wounded, more than a fourth of the whole number engaged.

As Bunker Hill showed British soldiers that the Yankees could fight on
land, so the capture of the _Margaretta_, the first naval victory of the
Americans, showed that they could fight at sea. The _Margaretta_ was
very much the stronger, in men, in guns, and in her trained officers and
skilled crew. Yet she had been taken by a party of landsmen, with
muskets against cannon and pitchforks against pistols. It was a victory
of which the colonists could well be proud.

But Captain O'Brien was not yet satisfied. He had now a good sloop under
his feet, a good crew at his back, and the arms and ammunition of his
prize. He determined to go a-privateering on his own account.

Taking the _Margaretta_ to the town, he handed over his prisoners and
put the cannon and swivels of the schooner on his swifter sloop,
together with the muskets, pistols, powder, and shot which he found on
board. Then away he went, with a bold and daring crew, in search for
prizes and glory.

He soon found both. When the news of what he had done reached Halifax,
the British there sent out two schooners, with orders to capture the
insolent Yankee and bring him to port and to prison. But Captain O'Brien
showed that he knew how to handle a sloop as well as a pitchfork. He met
the schooners sent to capture him, and by skilful sailing managed to
separate them. Then he made a bold dash on each of them and in a little
time captured them both.




WAS it not a dreadful pity that Benedict Arnold should disgrace himself
forever by becoming a traitor to his country? To think of his making
himself the most despised of all Americans, when, if he had been true to
his flag, he might have been ranked among our greatest heroes. For
Arnold was one of the best and bravest fighters in Washington's army.
And he could fight as hard and well on water as on land, as you will
learn when you read of what he did on Lake Champlain.

I am sure all my readers must know where this lake is, and how it
stretches down in a long line from Canada far into New York State. Below
Lake Champlain extends Lake George, and not very far from that is the
Hudson River, which flows down to the City of New York.

If the British could only have held that line of water they would have
cut the colonies in two, and in that way they might soon have brought
the war to an end. This was what they tried to do in the fall of 1776,
but they did not count on Arnold and his men.

Let us tell what brought this about. General Arnold and General
Montgomery had marched through the wilderness to Quebec in the winter
before. But there they met with bitter weather and deadly disease and
death from cold and cannon. The brave Montgomery was killed, the daring
Arnold fought in vain, and in the end the invading army was forced to
march back--all that was left of it.

As the Americans went back, Sir Guy Carleton, the British commander,
followed, and made his camp at St. John's, at the north end of Lake
Champlain. The nearest American post was at Crown Point, far down
towards the foot of the lake. Not far south of this, near the head of
Lake George, was the famous old French fort Ticonderoga, which Arnold
and Ethan Allen had captured from the British the year before. I tell
you all this that you may know how the land lay. A glance at a good map
will help.

I think it very likely that some of you may have visited those beautiful
lakes, and seen the towns and villages on their shores, the handsome
dwelling on their islands, and the broad roads along their banks;
everything gay and smiling.

If you had been there in 1776 you would have seen a very different
sight. Look right or left, east or west, nothing but a wilderness of
trees would have met your eyes. As for roads, I fancy an Indian trail
would have been the best to be found. And no man that wished to keep his
scalp on his head would have thought of living on island or shore.

The only good road southward was the liquid one made by nature, and this
road Carleton decided to take. He would build a strong fleet and carry
his army down the lake, while the Indians that came with him could
paddle downward in their canoes.

At this time there was not a vessel on the lakes, but Carleton worked
hard, and soon had such a fleet as these waters had never seen. Three
of his ships were built in England in such a way that they could be
taken to pieces, carried through the wilderness to St. John's, and there
put together again. The smaller vessels were built on the spot,
soldiers, sailors, and farmers all working on them.

It was well on in October before his task was finished. Then he had a
fleet of twenty-five vessels in all, twenty of them being gunboats, but
some of them quite large. Their crews numbered a thousand men, and they
carried eighty-nine cannon.

You may well suppose that the Americans knew what was going on, and that
they did not fold their hands and wait. That is not, and never was, the
American way. If the British could build, so could the Yankees, and
Benedict Arnold was ordered to build a fleet, and to have it ready for
fighting the British when it would be needed.

Arnold had been at sea in his time and knew something of what he was
about. His men were farmers who had taken up arms for their country, but
he sent for a few shipbuilders from the coast and went to work with all
his might.

When October came he had fifteen vessels afloat. There were two
schooners and one sloop, the others being called galleys and
gondolas--no better than large rowboats, with three to six guns each.

Arnold had about as many guns as Carleton, but they were smaller, and he
had not nearly so many men to handle them. And his men were farmers
instead of sailors, and knew no more about a cannon than about a king's
crown. But the British ships were manned by picked seamen from the
warships in the St. Lawrence River, and had trained naval officers.

I fear if any of us had been in Arnold's place we would have wanted to
go home. It looked like folly for him and his men to fight the British
fleet with its skilled officers and sailors and its heavy guns. It was
like meeting a raft of logs with one of chips.

But Arnold was not a man who stopped to count the cost when fighting was
to be had. As soon as he was ready he set sail boldly up the lake, and
on the morning of October 11, 1776, he drew up his little fleet across a
narrow channel between Valcour Island and the west shore of the lake.
He knew the British would soon be down.

It was a fine, clear, cool morning, with a strong wind from the north,
just the kind of day Carleton had been waiting for. So, soon after
sunrise, his fleet came sweeping on past Valcour Island. But all the
sailors saw was a thicket of green trees, and they had got well south of
the island before they looked back and saw the American fleet.

Here was an ugly situation. It would never do to leave the Americans in
their rear. Down went the helms, round swept the sails, out came the
oars, and soon the British fleet was making a struggle against the wind
which had seemed so fair a few minutes before. So strong was the breeze
that ten o'clock had passed before they reached the channel in which the
Americans lay. Arnold came eagerly to meet them, with the _Royal
Savage_, his largest vessel, and three of his gondolas. One of these,
the _Congress_, he had made his flagship. Soon the waters of that quiet
bay rang with the roar of cannon and the shouts of fighting men, and
Arnold, having drawn the fire of the whole British fleet, was obliged to
hurry back.

In doing so he met with a serious loss. The _Royal Savage_, pierced by a
dozen balls, ran ashore on the island. As she could not be got off, the
crew set her on fire and escaped to the woods. They might better have
leaped into the lake, for the woods were full of Indians whom Carleton
had sent ashore; and to be a prisoner to Indians in those days was a
terrible fate.

When he got back to his fleet, Arnold formed his line to meet the
British, who came steadily on until within musket shot. Then a furious
battle began, broadside meeting broadside, grape-shot and round-shot
hurtling through the air, the thick smoke of the conflict drifting into
the woodland, while from the forest came back flame and bullets as the
Indians fought for their British friends.

Arnold, on the deck of the _Congress_, led in the thickest of the fight,
handling his fleet as if he had been an admiral born, cheering the men
at the guns, aiming and firing a gun at intervals himself, and not
yielding a foot to the foe. Now and then a gun was fired at the Indians,
forcing them to skip nimbly behind the trees.

For six long hours the battle kept up at close quarters. This is what
Arnold says about it in few words: "At half-past twelve the engagement
became general and very warm. Some of the enemy's ships and all their
gondolas beat and rowed up within musket shot of us. They continued a
very hot fire with round and grape-shot until five o'clock, when they
thought proper to retire to about six or seven hundred yards distance,
and continued the fire till dark."

Hot as their fire was, they must have found that of the Americans
hotter, for they went back out of range of the Yankee guns, but kept
within range of their own.

Arnold's vessels were in a bad plight. Several of them were as full of
holes as a pepper bottle, and one sank soon after the fight ended. But
two of the British gunboats had been sunk and one blown up. The worst
for the Americans was that nearly all their powder was gone. They could
not fight an hour more.

Perilous as was the situation, Admiral Arnold was equal to it. The night
came on dark and stormy, with a hard gale from the north. This was just
what he wanted. Up came the anchors and away went the boats, one after
the other in a long line, each showing a light to the vessel that
followed, but hiding it from British eyes. In this way they slipped
unseen through the British line, Arnold in the _Congress_ taking the
post of danger in the rear.

When morning dawned the British lookouts gazed for the American fleet,
it was nowhere to be seen. It had vanished in the night and now was ten
miles down the lake, where it was drawn up near shore for repairs.

Two of the gondolas proved to be past mending, and were sunk. The others
were patched up until they could be kept afloat without too much
pumping, and the fleet started on, hoping to gain the shelter of Crown
Point or Ticonderoga. The wind had changed to the south, and they had to
take to their oars. This kept them back, but it gave the British quite
as much trouble. That day passed away and the next day, Friday, dawned
before the pursuers came in sight. And now a chase began with oar and
sail, and continued till noon, when Crown Point was still some leagues
away. By this time the British cannon balls began to reach the American
boats, and the tired rowers were forced to turn to their guns and

Never did sea-hero fight more gallantly than did the soldier Arnold that
day. The first British broadside ruined the gondola _Washington_ and
forced it to surrender. But Arnold in the little _Congress_ drew up
beside the _Inflexible_, a 300-ton ship with eighteen 12-pounder cannon,
and fought the ship with his little gunboat as if they had been of equal
strength. Inspired by his example, the other boats fought as bravely.

Not until a third of his men were dead and his boat a mere wreck did he
give up the fight. But not to surrender--no such thought came into his
mind. By his order the galleys were run ashore in a creek nearby and
there set on fire. With the three guns of the shattered _Congress_ he
covered their retreat until their crews were safe on shore.

Then, reckless of the British shot, he ran the _Congress_ ashore also
and stood guard at her stern while the crew set her on fire. The men by
his orders sought the shore, but Arnold stood by his flag to the last,
not leaving until the flames had such hold that he was sure no Briton's
hand could strike his flag. It would float until it went up in flames.

Then he sprang into the water, waded ashore, and joined his men, who
greeted him with cheers.

The savages were swarming in the woods, eager for scalps, but Arnold was
not troubled by fear of them. Forming his men into order, he marched
them through the woods, and before night reached safety at Crown Point.

Thus ended one of the noblest fights the inland waters of America ever
saw. The British were victors, though at a heavy cost. Arnold had fought
until his fleet was annihilated; and not in vain. Carleton sailed back
to St. John's and made his way to Canada. He had seen enough of Yankee
pluck. Thus Arnold, though defeated, gained by his valor the fruit of
victory, for the British gave up their plan of holding the lake.




ONCE upon a time there lived in Scotland a poor gardener named John
Paul, who had a little son to whom he gave the same name. The rich man's
garden that the father took care of was close by the sea, and little
John Paul came to love blue water so much that he spent most of his time
near it, and longed to be a sailor.

He lived in his father's cottage near the sea until he was twelve years
old. Then he was put to work in a big town on the other side of the
Solway Firth. This town was called Whitehaven. It was a very busy place,
and ships and sailors were there in such numbers that the little fellow,
who had been put in a store, greatly liked to go down to the docks and
talk with the seamen who had been in so many different lands and seas
and who could tell him all about the wonderful and curious places they
had seen, and about their adventures on the great oceans they had sailed

In the end the boy made up his mind to go to sea. He studied all about
ships and how to sail them. He read all the books he could get, and
often, when other boys were asleep or in mischief, he was learning from
the books he read many things that helped him when he grew older. At
last he had his wish. When he was only thirteen years old, he was put as
a sailor boy on a ship called the _Friendship_.

The vessel was bound to Virginia, in America, for a cargo of tobacco,
and the young sailor greatly enjoyed the voyage and was especially
delighted with the new country across the sea. He wished he could live
in America, and hoped some day to go there again.

When this first voyage was over, he returned to Whitehaven and went back
to the store. But soon after, the merchant who owned the store failed in
business, and the boy was out of a place and had to look out for
himself. This time he became a real seaman. For many years he served as
a common sailor. He proved such a good one that before he was twenty
years old he was a captain. This was how he became one: While the ship
in which he was sailing was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, a
terrible fever broke out. The captain died. The mate, who comes next to
the captain, died; all of the sailors were sick, and some of them died.
There was no one who knew about sailing such a big vessel, except young
John Paul. So he took command and sailed the ship into port without an
accident, and the owners were so glad that they made the young sailor
captain of the ship which he had saved for them.

John Paul was not the only one of his family who loved America. He had a
brother who had crossed the ocean and was living in Virginia, on the
banks of the Rappahannock River. This was the same river beside which
George Washington lived when a boy. The young captain visited his
brother several times while he was sailing on his voyages, and he liked
the country so much that, when his brother died, he gave up being a
sailor for a while, and went to live on his brother's farm.

When he became a farmer, he changed his name to Jones. Why he did so
nobody knows. But he ever after bore the name of John Paul Jones. He
made this one of the best known names in the history of the seas.

I doubt if he was a very good farmer. He was too much of a sailor for
that. So, when the American Revolution began, he was eager to fight the
British on the seas. There was no nation at that time so powerful on the
sea as England. The King had a splendid fleet of ships of war--almost a
thousand. The United States had none. But soon the Americans got
together five little ships, and sent them out as the beginning of the
American navy, to fight the ships of England.

John Paul Jones was made first lieutenant of a ship called the _Alfred_.
He had the good fortune to hoist for the first time on any ship, the
earliest American flag. This was a great yellow silk flag which had on
it the picture of a pine tree with a rattlesnake coiled around it, and
underneath were the words: "Don't tread on me!"

Then the grand union flag of the colonies was set. This had thirteen red
and white stripes, like our present flag, but, instead of the stars, in
the corner it had the British "union jack." Thus there was a link on the
flag between the colonies and England. They had not quite cut apart.

[Illustration: JOHN PAUL JONES.]

Jones had first been offered the command of the _Providence_, a brig
that bore twelve guns and had a crew of one hundred men. But he showed
the kind of man he was by saying that he did not know enough to be a
captain, and was hardly fit to be a first lieutenant. That was how he
came to be made first lieutenant of the _Alfred_. Congress took him at
his own price.

But Commodore Hopkins, who commanded the fleet, was wise enough to see
that Jones knew more about his work than most of the captains in the
service. So he ordered him to take command of the _Providence_, the snug
little brig that had first been offered to him.

The new captain was set at work to carrying troops and guarding merchant
vessels along the shore, and he did this with wonderful skill. There
were British men-of-war nearly everywhere, but Jones managed to keep
clear of them. He darted up and down Long Island Sound, carrying
soldiers and guns and food to General Washington. So well did he do his
work that Congress made him a captain. This was on August 8, 1776, a
month and more after the "Declaration of Independence." He had a free
country now to fight for, instead of rebel colonies.

The _Providence_ was a little vessel, but it was a fast sailer, and was
wonderfully quick to answer the helm. That is, it turned very quickly
when the rudder was moved. And it had a captain who knew how to sail a
ship. All this brought the little brig out of more than one tight place.

I must tell you about one of these escapes, in which Captain Jones
showed himself a very sharp sea-fox. He came across a fleet of vessels
which he thought were merchant ships, and had a fancy he might capture
the largest. But when he got close up he found that this was a big
British frigate, the _Solebay_.

Away went the _Providence_ at full speed, and hot-foot after her came
the _Solebay_. For four hours the chase was kept up, the frigate
steadily gaining. At last she was only a hundred yards away. Now was the
time to surrender. Nearly any one but Paul Jones would have done so. A
broadside from the great frigate would have torn his little brig to
pieces. But he was one of the "never surrender" kind.

What else could he do? you ask. Well, I will tell you what he did. He
quietly made ready to set all his extra sails, and put a man with a
lighted match at each cannon, and had another ready to hoist the union

Then, with a quick turn of the helm, the little brig swung round like a
top across the frigate's bows. As she did so all the guns on that side
sent their iron hail sweeping across the deck of the _Solebay_. In a
minute more the studding sails were set on both sides, like broad white
wings, and away went the _Providence_ as swift as a racer, straight
before the wind and with the American flag proudly flying. The officers
and men of the frigate were so upset by the sudden dash and attack that
they did not know what to do. Before they came to their senses the brig
was out of reach of their shot. Off like a bird she went, now quite
outsailing her pursuer. The _Solebay_, fired more than a hundred iron
balls after her, but they only scared the fishes.

It was not long before Captain Jones found another big British ship on
his track. He was now off the coast of Nova Scotia, and as there was
nothing else to do, he let his men have a day's sport in fishing for
codfish. Fish are plenty in those waters, and they were pulling them up
in a lively fashion when a strange sail rose in sight.

When it came well up Captain Jones saw it was a British frigate, and
judged it time to pull in his fishing lines and set sail on his little
craft. Away like a deer went the brig, and after her like a hound came
the ship. But it soon proved that the deer was faster than the hound,
and so Captain Jones began to play with the big frigate. He took in some
of his sails and kept just out of reach.

The _Milford_, which was the name of the British ship, kept firing at
the _Providence_, but all her shot plunged into the waves. It was like
the hound barking at the deer. And every time the _Milford_ sent a
broadside, Paul Jones replied with a musket. After he had all the fun he
wanted out of the lumbering frigate, he spread all sail again and soon
left her out of sight.

We cannot tell the whole story of the cruise of the _Providence_. In
less than two months it captured sixteen vessels and burned some others.
Soon after that Jones was made captain of the _Alfred_, the ship on
which he had raised the first flag. With this he took a splendid prize,
the brig _Mellish_, on which were ten thousand uniforms for the British
soldiers. Many a ragged soldier in Washington's army thanked him that
winter for a fine suit of warm clothing.

Let us tell one more fine thing that Captain Jones did in American
waters before he crossed the ocean to the British seas. Sailing along
the coast of Canada he came upon a fleet of coal vessels, with a British
frigate to take care of them. But it was foggy and the coalers were
scattered; so that Jones picked up three of them while the frigate went
on with her eyes shut, not knowing that anything was wrong.

Two days afterward he came upon a British privateer, which was on the
hunt for American vessels. But when the _Alfred_ came up, before more
than a few shots had been fired, down came its flag.

Captain Jones now thought it time to get home. His ship was crowded
with prisoners, he was short of food and water, and he had four prizes
to look after, which were manned with some of his crew.

But he was not to get home without another adventure; for, late one
afternoon, there came in sight the frigate _Milford_, the one which he
had saluted with musket balls. He could not play with her now, for he
had his prizes to look after, and while he could outsail her, the prizes
could not.

So he told the captains of the prizes to keep on as they were, no matter
what signals he made. Night soon came, and the _Alfred_ sailed on, with
two lanterns swinging in her tops. Soon she changed her course and the
_Milford_ followed. No doubt her captain thought that the Yankee had
lost his wits, to sail on with lanterns blazing and make it easy to keep
in his track.

But when morning dawned the British captain found he had been tricked.
The _Alfred_ was in sight, but all the prizes were gone except the
privateer, whose stupid captain had not obeyed orders. The result was
that the privateer was recaptured. But the _Alfred_ easily kept ahead.
That afternoon a squall of snow came upon the sea, and the Yankee craft,
"amid clouds and darkness and foaming surges, made her escape."

In a few days more the _Alfred_ sailed into Boston. There his ship was
given another captain, and for six months he had nothing to do. Congress
was full of politicians who were looking out for their friends, and the
best seaman in the American navy was left sitting at home biting his
thumb nails and whistling for a ship.

I have not told you here the whole story of our greatest naval hero. I
have not told you even the best part of his story, that part which has
made him famous in all history, and put him on a level with the most
celebrated sea fighters of all time.

The exploits of Paul Jones cover two seas, those of America and those of
England, and in both he proved himself a brilliant sailor and a daring
fighter. I think you will say this from what you have already read. His
deeds of skill and bravery on our own coast were wonderful, and if they
had stood alone would have given him great fame. But it was in the
waters and on the shores of England that he showed the whole world what
a man he was; and now, when men talk of the great heroes of the sea, the
name of John Paul Jones always stands first. This is the story we have
next to tell, how Captain Jones crossed the ocean and bearded the
British lion in his den.




YOU have been told how Captain Paul Jones lost his ship. He was given
another in June, 1777. This was the _Ranger_, a frigate carrying
twenty-six guns, but it was such a slow old tub that our captain was not
well pleased with his new craft. He did not want to run away from the
British; he wanted a ship that was fit to chase an enemy.

We have one thing very interesting to tell. On the very day that Jones
got his new ship Congress adopted a new flag, the American standard with
its thirteen stars and thirteen stripes. As soon as he heard of the new
flag, Captain Jones had one made in all haste, and with his own hands he
ran it up to the mast-head of the _Ranger_. So she was the first ship
that ever carried the "Stars and Stripes." Is it not interesting that
the man who first raised the pine-tree flag of the colonies was the
first to fling out to the breeze the star-spangled flag of the American

Captain Jones was ordered to sail for France, but it took so long to get
the _Ranger_ ready for sea that it was winter before he reached there.
Benjamin Franklin and other Americans were there in France and were
having a fine new frigate built for Paul Jones. But when England heard
of it such a protest was made that the French government stopped the
work on the ship, and our brave captain had to go to sea again in the
slow-footed _Ranger_.

He had one satisfaction. He sailed through the French fleet at Quiberon
Bay and saluted the French flag. The French admiral could not well help
returning his salute. That was the first time the Stars and Stripes were
saluted by a foreign power.

What Captain Jones proposed to do was the boldest thing any American
captain could do. England was invading America. He proposed to invade
England. That is, he would cruise along the British coast, burning ships
and towns, and thus do there what the British had done along the
American coast. He wanted to let them find how they liked it themselves.

It was a daring plan. The British channel was full of war-vessels. If
they got on the track of his slow ship he could not run away. He would
never think of running from one ship, but there might be a fleet.
However, Paul Jones was the last man in the world to think of danger; so
he put boldly out to sea, and took his chances.

It was not long before he had all England in a state of alarm. News came
that this daring American warship was taking prize after prize, burning
some and sending their crews ashore. He would hide along the English
coast from the men-of-war that went out in search, and then suddenly
dart out and seize some merchant ship.

The English called Captain Jones a pirate and all sorts of hard names.
But they were very much afraid of him and his stout ship. And this
voyage of his, along the shores of England, taught them to respect and
fear the American sailors more than they had ever done before.

After he had captured many British vessels, almost in sight of their
homes, he boldly sailed to the north and into the very port of
Whitehaven, where he had "tended store," as a boy, and from which he had
first gone to sea. He knew all about the place. He knew how many vessels
were there, and what a splendid victory he could win for the American
navy, if he could sail into Whitehaven harbor and capture or destroy the
two hundred vessels that were anchored within sight of the town he
remembered so well.

With two rowboats and thirty men he landed at Whitehaven, locked up the
soldiers in the forts, fixed the cannon so that they could not be fired,
set fire to one of the vessels that were in the harbor, and so
frightened all the people that, though the gardener's son stood alone on
the wharf, waiting for a boat to take him off, not a man dared to lay a
hand on him. With a single pistol he kept back a thousand men.

Then he sailed across the bay to the house of the great lord for whom
his father had worked as a gardener. He meant to run away with this
nobleman, and keep him prisoner until the British promised to treat
better the Americans whom they had taken prisoners. But the lord whom
he went for was "not at home," so all that Captain Jones's men could do
was to carry off from the big house the silverware of the earl. Captain
Jones did not like this; so he took the things from his men and returned
them to Earl Selkirk, with a letter asking him to excuse his sailors.

Not long afterward one of the British men-of-war which were in the hunt
for Captain Jones, found him. This was the _Drake_, a larger ship than
the _Ranger_ and carrying more men. But that did not trouble Paul Jones,
and soon there was a terrible fight. The sails of the _Drake_ were cut
to pieces, her decks were red with blood, and at last her captain fell
dead. In an hour after the fight began, just as the sun was going down
behind the Irish hills, there came a cry for quarter from the _Drake_,
and the battle was at an end. Off went Captain Jones, with his ship and
his prize, for the friendly shores of France, where he was received with
great praise.

Soon after this the French decided to help the Americans in their war
for independence. After some time Captain Jones was put in command of
five ships, and back he sailed to England to fight the British ships

The vessel in which he sailed was the biggest of the five ships. It had
forty guns and a crew of three hundred sailors. Captain Jones thought so
much of the great Dr. Benjamin Franklin, who had written a book of good
advice, under the name of "Poor Richard," that he named his big ship for
Dr. Franklin. He called it the _Bon Homme Richard_, which is French for
"good man Richard." But the _Bon Homme Richard_ was not a good boat, if
it was a big one. It was old and rotten and leaky, and not fit for a
warship, but its new commander made the best he could of it.

The little fleet sailed up and down the English coasts, capturing a few
prizes, and greatly frightening the people by saying that they had come
to burn some of the big English sea towns. Then, just as they were about
sailing back to France, they came--near an English cape, called
Flamborough Head--upon an English fleet of forty merchant vessels and
two war ships.

One of the war ships was a great English frigate, called the _Serapis_,
finer and stronger in every way than the _Bon Homme Richard_. But
Captain Jones would not run away.

"What ship is that?" called out the Englishman. "Come a little nearer,
and we'll tell you," answered plucky Captain Jones.

The British ships did come a little nearer. The forty merchant vessels
sailed as fast as they could to the nearest harbor, and then the
warships had a terrible battle.

At seven o'clock in the evening the British frigate and the _Bon Homme
Richard_ began to fight. They banged and hammered away for hours, and
then, when the British captain thought he must have beaten the
Americans, and it was so dark and smoky that they could only see each
other by the fire flashes, he called out to the American captain: "Are
you beaten? Have you hauled down your flag?"

And back came the answer of Captain John Paul Jones: "I haven't begun to
fight yet!"

So they went at it again. The two ships were now lashed together, and
they tore each other like savage dogs in a fight.

The rotten old _Richard_ suffered terribly. Two of her great guns had
burst at the first fire, and she was shot through and through by the
_Serapis_ until most of her timbers above the water-line were shot away.
The British rushed on board with pistols and cutlasses, and the
Americans drove them back. But the _Richard_ was on fire; water was
pouring in through a dozen shot holes; it looked as if she must
surrender, brave as were her captain and crew. There were on board the
old ship nearly two hundred prisoners who had been taken from captured
vessels, and so pitiful were their cries that one of the officers set
them free, thinking that the ship was going to sink and that they ought
to have a chance for their lives. These men were running up on deck,
adding greatly to the trouble of Captain Jones; for he had now a crowd
of enemies on his own ship. But the prisoners were so scared that they
did not know what to do. They saw the ship burning around them and heard
the water pouring into the hold, and thought they would be carried to
the bottom. So to keep them from mischief they were set to work, some at
the pumps, others at putting out the fire. And to keep the ship from
blowing up, if the fire should reach the magazine, Captain Jones set men
at bringing up the kegs of powder and throwing them into the sea. Never
was there a ship in so desperate a strait, and there was hardly a man on
board, except Captain Jones, who did not want to surrender.

But the British were not having it all their own way. The American tars
had climbed the masts and were firing down with muskets and flinging
down hand grenades, until all the British had to run from the upper
deck. A hand grenade is a small, hollow iron ball filled with powder,
which explodes when thrown down and sends the bits of iron flying all
around, like so many bullets.

One sailor took a bucketful of these and crept far out on the yard-arm
of the ship, and began to fling them down on the gun-deck of the
_Serapis_, where they did much damage. At last one of them went through
the open hatchway to the main deck, where a crowd of men were busy
working the great guns, and cartridges were lying all about and loose
powder was scattered on the floor.

The grenade set fire to this powder, and in a second there was a
terrible explosion. A great sheet of flame burst up through the
hatchway, and frightful cries came from below. In that dreadful moment
more than twenty men were killed and many more were wounded. All the
guns on that deck had to be abandoned. There were no men left to work

Where was Captain Jones all the time, and what was he doing? You may be
sure he was busy. He had taken a gun and loaded it with double-headed
shot, and kept firing at the mainmast of the _Serapis_. Every shot cut a
piece out of the mast, and after a while it came tumbling upon the deck,
with all its spars and rigging. The tarred ropes quickly caught fire,
and the ship was in flames.

At this moment up came the _Alliance_, one of Captain Jones's fleet. He
now thought that the battle was at an end, but to his horror the
_Alliance_, instead of firing at the British ship, began to pour its
broadsides into his own. He called to them for God's sake to quit
firing, but they kept on, killing some of his best men and making
several holes under water, through which new floods poured into the
ship. The _Alliance_ had a French captain who hated Paul Jones and
wanted to sink his ship.

Both ships were now in flames, and water rushed into the _Richard_
faster than the pumps could keep it out. Some of the officers begged
Captain Jones to pull down his flag and surrender, but he would not give
up. He thought there was always a chance while he had a deck under his

Soon the cowardly French traitor quit firing and sailed off, and Paul
Jones began his old work again, firing at the _Serapis_ as if the battle
had just begun. This was more than the British captain could bear. His
ship was a mere wreck and was blazing around him, so he ran on deck and
pulled down his flag with his own hands. The terrible battle was at an
end. The British ship had given up the fight.

Lieutenant Dale sprang on board the _Serapis_, went up to Captain
Pearson, the British commander, and asked him if he surrendered. The
Englishman replied that he had, and then he and his chief officer went
aboard the battered _Richard_, which was sinking even in its hour of

But Captain Jones stood on the deck of his sinking vessel, proud and
triumphant. He had shown what an American captain and American sailors
could do, even when everything was against them. The English captain
gave up his sword to the American, which is the way all sailors and
soldiers do when they surrender their ships or their armies.

The fight had been a brave one, and the English King knew that his
captain had made a bold and desperate resistance, even if he had been
whipped. So he rewarded Captain Pearson, when he at last returned to
England, by making him a Knight, thus giving him the title of "Sir."
When Captain Jones heard of this he laughed, and said: "Well, if I can
meet Captain Pearson again in a sea fight, I'll make him a lord."

The poor _Bon Homme Richard_ was such an utter wreck that she soon sank
beneath the waves. But, even as she went down, the stars and stripes
floated proudly from the mast-head, in token of victory.

Captain Jones, after the surrender, put all his men aboard the captured
_Serapis_, and then off he sailed to the nearest friendly port, with his
great prize and all his prisoners. This victory made him the greatest
sailor in the whole American war, and the most famous of all American

Captain Jones took his prize into the Dutch port of Texel, closely
followed by a British squadron. The country of Holland was not friendly
to the Americans, and though they let him come in, he was told that he
could not stay there. So he sailed again, in a howling gale, straight
through the British squadron, with the American flag flying at his peak.
Down through the narrow Straits of Dover he passed, coming so near the
English shore that he could count the warships at anchor in the Downs.
That was his way of showing how little he feared them. The English were
so angry at Holland because it would not give up the Americans and their
prizes that they declared war against that country.

When Captain Jones reached Paris he was received with the greatest
honor, and greeted as one of the ablest and bravest of sea-fighters.

Everybody wished to see such a hero. He went to the King's court, and
the King and Queen and French lords and ladies made much of him and gave
him receptions, and said so many fine things about him that, if he had
been at all vain, it might have "turned his head," as people say. But
John Paul Jones was not vain.

He was a brave sailor, and he was in France to get help and not
compliments. He wished a new ship to take the place of the old
_Richard_, which had gone to the bottom after its great victory.

So, though the King of France honored him and received him splendidly
and made him presents, he kept on working to get another ship. At last
he was made captain of a new ship, called the _Ariel_, and sailed from
France. He had a fierce battle with an English ship called the
_Triumph_, and defeated her. But she escaped before surrendering, and
Captain Jones sailed across the sea to America.

He was received at home with great honor and applause. Congress gave him
a vote of thanks, "for the zeal, prudence and intrepidity with which he
had supported the honor of the American flag"--that is what the vote

People everywhere crowded to see him, and called him hero and conqueror.
Lafayette, the brave young Frenchman who came over to fight for America,
called him "my dear Paul Jones," and Washington and the other leaders
in America said, "Well done, Captain Jones!"

The King of France sent him a splendid reward of merit called the "Cross
of Honor," and Congress set about building a fine ship for him to
command. But before it was finished, the war was over; and he was sent
back to France on some important business for the United States.

Here he was received with new honor, for the French knew how to meet and
treat a brave man; and above all they loved a man who had humbled the
English, their ancient foes. Captain Jones had sailed from a French port
and in a French ship, and they looked on him almost as one of their own.
But all this did not make him proud or boastful, for he was not that
kind of man.

In later years Paul Jones served in Russia in the wars with the Turks.
But the British officers who were in the Russian service refused to
fight under him, saying that he was a rebel, a pirate, and a traitor.
This was because he had fought for America after being born in Scotland.
So, after some hard fighting, he left Russia and went back to France,
where he died in 1792.

In all the history of sea fighting we hear of no braver man, and the
United States, so long as it is a nation, will be proud of and honor the
memory of the gallant sailor, John Paul Jones.




MANY of us, all our lives, have seen vessels of every size and shape
darting to and fro over the water; some with sails spread to the wind,
others with puffing pipes and whirling wheels.

And that is not all. Men have tried to go under water as well as on top.
Some of you may have read Jules Verne's famous story, "Twenty Thousand
Leagues under the Sea." That, of course, is all fiction; but now-a-days
there are vessels which can go miles under the water without once coming
to the top.

We call these submarine boats, and look upon them as something very new.
You may be surprised to learn that there was a submarine boat as long
ago as the War of the Revolution. It was not a very good one, and did
not do the work it was built for, but it was the first of its kind, and
that is something worth knowing.

Those of you who have studied history will know that after the British
were driven out of Boston they came to New York with a large army, and
took possession of that city. Washington and his men could not keep them
out, and had to leave. There the British lay, with their army in the
city and their fleet in the bay and river, and there they stayed for

There was an American who did not like to see British vessels floating
in American waters. He knew he could not drive them away, but he thought
he might give them some trouble. This was a Connecticut man named David
Bushnell, a chap as sharp as a steeltrap, and one of the first American

What Bushnell did was to invent a boat that would move under water and
might be made to blow up an enemy's ship. As it was the first of this
kind ever made, I am sure you will wish to know what it was like and how
it was worked.

He called it _The American Turtle_, for it looked much like a great
swimming turtle, big enough to hold a man and also to carry a torpedo
loaded with 150 pounds of gunpowder. This was to be fastened to the
wooden bottom of a ship and then fired off. It was expected to blow a
great hole in the bottom and sink the vessel.

Of course, the boat was air-tight and water-tight, but it had a supply
of fresh air that would last half an hour for one man. There was an oar
for rowing and a rudder for steering. A valve in the bottom let in the
water when the one-man crew wanted to sink his turtle-like boat, and
there were two pumps to force the water out again when he wanted to

There were windows in the top shell of the turtle, air pipes to let out
the foul air and take in fresh air, small doors that could be opened
when at the surface, and heavy lead ballast to keep the turtle level. In
fact, the affair was, for the time, very ingenious and complete.

A very important part of it was the torpedo, with its 150 pounds of
powder. This was carried outside, above the rudder. It was so made that
when the boat came under a vessel the man inside could fasten it with a
screw to the vessel's bottom, and row away and leave it there. Inside it
was a clock, which could be set to run a certain time and then loosen a
sort of gunlock. This struck a spark and set fire to the powder, and
up--or down--went the vessel.

You can see that Dave Bushnell's invention was a very neat one; but, for
all that, luck went against it. He first tried his machine with only two
pounds of powder on a hogshead loaded with stones. The powder was set on
fire, and up went the stones and the boards of the hogshead and a body
of water, many feet into the air. If two pounds of powder would do all
this, what would one hundred and fifty pounds do?

In 1776 the _Turtle_ was sent out against a big British ship named the
_Eagle_, anchored in New York Bay. The man inside rowed his boat very
well under water, and after some time found himself beneath the King's
ship. He now tried to fasten the torpedo to the bottom, but the screw
struck an iron bar and would not go in. Then he moved to another place,
but now he lost the ship altogether. He could not find her again, and he
had to row away, for he could not stay much longer under water.

There is a funny story told about the man in the _Turtle_. He was a
queer fellow named Abijah Shipman, but called by his companions "Long

As he entered the craft and was about to screw down its cover, he opened
it again and asked for a chew of tobacco. All those present felt in
their pockets, but none of the weed was on hand.

"You will have to go without it, old chap," said General Putnam, who was
present. "We Continental officers can't afford even a plug of tobacco.
To-morrow, after you have sent the _Eagle_ on her last flight, we will
try and raise you a whole keg of the weed."

"That's too bad," growled Bige. "Tell you what, Gineral, if the old
_Turtle_ don't do her duty, it's all along of me goin' out without

After he had gone Putnam and his officers watched anxiously for results.
Time passed. Morning was at hand. The _Eagle_ rode unharmed. Evidently
something had gone wrong. Had the torpedo failed, and was "Long Bige"
resting in his wrecked machine on the bottom of the bay? Putnam swept
the waters near the _Eagle_ with his glass. Suddenly he exclaimed.
"There he is." The top of the _Turtle_ had just emerged, some distance
from the ship.

Abijah, fearing that he might be seen, had cast off the torpedo that he
might go the faster. The clock had been set to run an hour, and at the
end of that time there was a thundering explosion near the fleet,
hurling up great volumes of water into the air.

Soon there were signs of fright in the ships. The anchors were raised,
sails were set, and off they went to safer quarters down the bay. They
did not care to be too near such dangerous affairs as that.

Boats were sent out to the aid of the _Turtle_ and it was brought ashore
at a safe place. On landing Abijah gave, in his queer way, the reasons
for his failure.

"It's just as I said, Gineral; it went to pot for want o' that cud of
tobacco. You see, I'm mighty narvous without my tobacco. When I got
under the ship's bottom, somehow the screw struck the iron bar that
passes from the rudder pintle, and wouldn't hold on anyhow I could fix
it. Just then I let go the oar to feel for a cud, to steady my narves,
and I hadn't any. The tide swept me under her counter, and away I
slipped top o' water. I couldn't manage to get back, so I pulled the
lock and let the thunder-box slide. That's what comes of sailing short
of supplies. Say, can you raise a cud among you _now_?"

Later on, after the British had taken the city of New York, two more
attempts were made to blow up vessels in the river above the city. But
they both failed, and in the end the British fired upon and sunk the
_Turtle_. Bushnell's work was lost. The best he had been able to do was
to give them a good scare.

But he was not yet at the end of his schemes. He next tried to blow up
the _Cerberus_, a British frigate that lay at anchor in Long Island
Sound. This time a schooner saved the frigate. A powder magazine was set
afloat, but it struck the schooner, which lay at anchor near the
frigate. The schooner went to pieces, but the _Cerberus_ was saved.

The most famous of Bushnell's exploits took place at Philadelphia, after
the British had taken possession and brought their ships up into the
Delaware River.

One fine morning a number of kegs were seen floating down among the
shipping. What they meant nobody knew. The sailors grew curious, and a
boat set out from a vessel and picked one of them up. In a minute it
went off, with the noise of a cannon, sinking the boat and badly hurting
the man.

This filled the British with a panic. Those terrible kegs might do
frightful damage. They must be some dreadful invention of the rebels.
The sailors ran out their guns, great and small, and began to batter
every keg they saw with cannon balls, until there was a rattle and roar
as if a mighty battle was going on. Such was the famous "Battle of the

This was more of Dave Bushnell's work. He had made and set adrift those
powder kegs, fixing them so that they would explode on touching
anything. But he did not understand the river and its tides. He intended
to have them get among the ships at night, but it was broad day when
they came down, and by that time the eddying waters had scattered them
far and wide. So the powder kegs were of no more account than the
torpedoes. All they did was to give the British a scare.

Philadelphia had a poet named Francis Hopkinson, who wrote a poem
making fun of the British, called "The Battle of the Kegs." We give a
few verses of this humorous poem:

          'Twas early day, as poets say,
            Just as the sun was rising;
          A soldier stood on a log of wood
            And saw the sun a-rising.

          As in amaze he stood to gaze
            (The truth can't be denied, sir),
          He spied a score of kegs, or more,
            Come floating down the tide, sir.

          A sailor, too, in jerkin blue,
            The strange appearance viewing,
          First "dashed" his eyes in great surprise,
            Then said: "Some mischief's brewing.

          "These kegs, I'm told, the rebels hold,
            Packed up like pickled herring;
          And they've come down to attack the town
            In this new way of ferrying."

       *       *       *       *       *

          The cannons roar from shore to shore,
            The small arms make a rattle;
          Since wars began, I'm sure no man
            E'er saw so strange a battle.

          The fish below swam to and fro,
            Attacked from every quarter.
          "Why sure," thought they, "the devil's to pay
            'Mong folks above the water."

          From morn to night these men of might
            Displayed amazing courage;
          And when the sun was fairly down,
            Retired to sup their porridge.

          Such feats did they perform that day,
            Against those wicked kegs, sir,
          That years to come, if they get home,
            They'll make their boasts and brags, sir.

And so it went on, verse after verse, with not much poetry in it, but a
good deal of fun. The British did not enjoy it, for people did not like
to be laughed at then any more than now.




THE heroes of our navy were not all Americans born. More than one of
them came from British soil, but a footprint on the green fields of
America soon turned them into true-blue Yankees. There was John Paul
Jones, the gallant Scotchman. And there was John Barry, a bold son of
green Erin.

I have told you the story of Jones, the Scotchman, and now I must tell
you that of Barry, the Irishman.

John Barry was a merchant captain who was made commander of the
_Lexington_ in 1776. The next year he was appointed to the _Effingham_,
a new frigate building at Philadelphia. The British captured that city
before the ship was ready for sea, and the _Effingham_, the
_Washington_, and some other vessels were caught in a trap. They were
taken up the river to Whitehill, above the city, and there they had to
stay. Captain Barry, you may be sure, was not much pleased at this, for
he was one of the men who love to be where fighting is going on.

Soon orders came from the Navy Board to sink the _Effingham_. This made
Barry's Irish blood very hot. I fancy he said some hard things about the
members of the board, and swore he would do nothing of the kind. If the
British wanted the American ships let them come and take them. He had
guns enough to give them some sport and was disposed to try it.

When the members of the Navy Board heard of what he said, they were very
angry, and in the end he had to sink the ship and had to apologize for
his strong language. But time proved that he was right and the Navy
Board was wrong.

By this time Captain Barry was tired enough of being penned up, and he
made up his mind by hook or crook to get out of his cage. He was
burning for a fight, and thought that if he could get down the river he
might give the British a taste of his mettle.

So, one dark night he set out with four boats and twenty-seven men. He
rowed down the river past the ships in the stream and the soldiers on
shore. Some of the soldiers saw his boats, and a few shots were fired,
but they got safely past, and by daybreak were far down the broad

Barry kept on until he reached Port Penn, down near the bay, where the
Americans had a small fort. Here there was a chance for the work he
wanted, for across the river he saw a large schooner flying the British
flag. It was the _Alert_, carrying ten guns, and with it were four
transports laden with food for the army at Philadelphia.

This was a fine opportunity for the bold Irish captain. It took courage
to attack a strong English vessel with a few rowboats, but of courage
Barry had a full supply.

The sun was up, and it was broad day when the American tars set out on
their daring enterprise. The _Alert_ had a wide-awake name, but it must
have had a sleepy crew; for before the British knew there was anything
wrong, Barry and his men had rowed across the stream and were clambering
over the rail, cutlass and pistol in hand.

The British sailors, when they saw this "wild Irishman" and his daring
tars, cutting and slashing and yelling like madmen, dropped everything
and ran below in fright. All that keep them there.

In this easy fashion, twenty-eight Americans captured a British ten-gun
vessel with a hundred and sixteen men on board. There had been nothing
like that in all the war.

The transports had to surrender, for they were under the guns of the
_Alert_, and Barry carried his five prizes triumphantly to Port Penn,
where he handed his captives over to the garrison.

And now the daring captain made things lively for the foe. He sailed up
and down the river and bay, and cut off supplies until the British army
at Philadelphia began to suffer for food.

What was to be done? Should this Yankee wasp go on stinging the British
lion? General Howe decided that this would never do, and sent a frigate
and a sloop-of-war down the river to put an end to the trouble.

Captain Barry, finding these water-hounds sharp on his track, ran for
Christiana Creek, hoping to get into shallow water where the heavy
British ships could not follow. But the frigate was too fast, and chased
him so closely that the best he could do was to run the schooner ashore
and escape in his boats.

But he was determined that they should not have the _Alert_ if he could
help it. Turning two of the guns downward, he fired through the ship's
bottom, and in a minute the water was pouring into her hold.

The frigate swung round and fired a broadside at the fleeing boats; but
all it brought back was a cheer of defiance from the sailors, as they
struck the land and sprang ashore. Here they had the satisfaction of
seeing the schooner sink before a British foot could be set on her deck.

The war vessels now went for the transports at Port Penn. Here a battery
had been built on shore, made of bales of hay. This was attacked by the
sloop-of-war, but the American sharpshooters made things lively for her.
They might have beaten her off had not their captain fallen with a
mortal wound. The men now lost heart and fled to the woods, first
setting fire to the vessels.

Thus ended Barry's brave exploit. He had lost his vessels, but the
British had not got them. The Americans were proud of his daring deed,
and the British tried to win so brave a man to their side. Sir William
Howe offered him twenty thousand pounds in money and the command of a
British frigate if he would desert his flag. But he was not dealing now
with a Benedict Arnold.

"Not if you pay me the price and give me the command of the whole
British fleet can you draw me away from the cause of my country," wrote
the patriotic sailor.

Barry was soon rewarded for his patriotism by being made captain of an
American frigate, the _Raleigh_. But ill-luck now followed him. He
sailed from Boston on September 25, 1778, and three days afterward he
had lost his ship and was a wanderer with his crew in the vast forests
of Maine.

Let us see how this ill-fortune came about. The _Raleigh_ had not got
far from port before two sails came in sight. Barry ran down to look at
them, and found they were two English frigates. Two to one was too great
odds, and the _Raleigh_ turned her head homewards again. But when night
shut out the frigates she wore round and started once more on her former

The next day opened up foggy, and till noon nothing was to be seen. Then
the fog lifted, and to Barry's surprise there were the British ships,
just south of his own. Now for three hours it was a hot chase, and then
down came another fog and the game was once more at an end.

But the _Raleigh_ could not shake off the British bull-dogs. At about
nine o'clock the next morning they came in sight again and the chase was
renewed. It was kept up till late in the day. At first the _Raleigh_
went so fast that her pursuers dropped out of sight. Then the wind
failed her, and the British ships came up with a strong breeze.

At five o'clock the fastest British frigate was close at hand, and Barry
thought he would try what she was good for before the other came up.

In a few minutes more the two ships were hurling iron balls into each
other's sides, while the smoke of the conflict filled the skies. Then
the fore-topmast and mizzen-topgallantmast of the _Raleigh_ were shot
away, leaving her in a crippled state.

The British ship had now much the best of it. Barry tried his best to
reach and board her, but she sailed too fast. And up from the south came
the other ship, at swift speed. To fight them both with a crippled craft
would have been madness, and, as he could not get away, Barry decided to
run his ship ashore on the coast of Maine, which was close at hand.

Night soon fell, and with it fell the wind. Till midnight the two ships
drifted along, with red fire spurting from their sides and the thunder
of cannon echoing from the hills.

In the end the _Raleigh_ ran ashore on an island near the coast. Here
Barry fought for some time longer, and then set his ship on fire and
went ashore with his men. But the British were quickly on board, put out
the fire, and carried off their prize. Barry and his men made their way
through the Maine woods till the settlements were reached.

In 1781 Captain Barry was sent across the ocean in the _Alliance_, a
vessel which had taken part in the famous battle of the _Bon Homme
Richard_ and the _Serapis_. Here the gallant fellow fought one of his
best battles, this time also against two British ships.

When he came upon them there was not a breath of wind. All sail was set,
but the canvas flapped against the yards, and the vessel lay

          "As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean."

The British vessels were a brig and a sloop-of-war. They wanted to fight
as badly as did Captain Barry, and, as they could not sail, they got out
sweeps and rowed up to the American frigate. It was weary work, and it
took them six hours to do it.

Then came the hails of the captains and the roar of cannon, and soon
there was a very pretty fight, with the _Alliance_ in a dangerous
situation. She was too heavy to be moved with sweeps, like the light
British vessels, so they got on her quarters and poured in broadsides,
while she could reply only with a few guns.

Barry raged like a wild bull, bidding his men fight, and begging for a
wind. As he did so, a grape-shot struck him in the shoulder and felled
him to the deck. As he was carried below, a shot carried away the
American flag. A lusty cheer came from the British ships; they thought
the flag down and the victory theirs. They soon saw it flying again.

But the _Alliance_ was in sore straits. She was getting far more than
she could give, and had done little harm to her foes. At length a
lieutenant came down to the wounded captain.

"We cannot handle the ship and are being cut to pieces," he said. "The
rigging is in tatters and the fore-topmast in danger, and the carpenter
reports two serious leaks. Eight or ten of our people are killed and
more wounded. The case seems hopeless, sir; shall we strike the colors?"

"No!" roared Barry, sitting bolt upright. "Not on your life! If the ship
can't be fought without me, then carry me on deck."

The lieutenant went up and reported, and the story soon got to the men.

"Good for Captain Barry," they shouted. "We'll stand by the old man."

A minute later a change came. A ripple of water was seen. Soon a breeze
rose, the sails filled out, and the _Alliance_ slipped forward and
yielded to her helm.

This was what the brave Barry had been waiting for. It was not a case of
whistling for a wind, as sailors often do, but of hoping and praying for
a wind. It came just in time to save the _Alliance_ from lowering her
proud flag, or from going to the bottom with it still flying, as would
have suited her bold captain the better.

Now she was able to give her foes broadside for broadside, and you may
be sure that her gunners, who had been like dogs wild to get at the
game, now poured in shot so fast and furious that they soon drove the
foe in terror from his guns. In a short time, just as Captain Barry was
brought on deck with his wound dressed, their flags came down.

The prizes proved to be the _Atlanta_ and the _Trepassy_. That fight was
near the last in the war. At a later date Captain Barry had the honor of
carrying General Lafayette home to France in his ship.




CAPTAIN SAMUEL TUCKER was a Yankee boy who began his career by running
away from home and shipping as a cabin-boy on the British sloop-of-war
_Royal George_. It was a good school for a seaman, and when his time was
up he knew his business well.

There was no war then, and he shipped as second-mate on a merchant
vessel sailing from Salem. Here he soon had a taste of warlike life and
showed what kind of stuff was in him. The Mediterranean Sea in those
days was infested by pirates sailing from the Moorish ports. It was the
work of these to capture merchant ships, take them into port, and sell
their crews as slaves.

On Tucker's first voyage from Salem two of these piratical craft, swift
corsairs from Algiers, came in sight and began a chase of the

What could be done? There was no hope to run away from those
fleet-footed sea-hounds. There was no hope to beat them off in a fight.
The men were in a panic and the captain sought courage in rum, and was
soon too drunk to handle his ship.

Tucker came to the rescue. Taking the helm, he put it hard down and
headed straight for the pirates. It looked as if he was sailing straight
for destruction, but he knew what he was about. The Yankee schooner, if
it could not sail as fast, could be handled more easily than the
Algerines, with their lateen sails; and by skilful steering he got her
into such a position that the pirates could not fire into him without
hurting one another.

Try as they would, Mate Tucker kept his vessel in this position, and
held her there until the shades of night fell. Then he slipped away, and
by daylight was safe in port. You may see from this that Samuel Tucker
was a bold and a smart man and an able seaman.

After that he was at one time an officer in the British navy and at
another a merchant captain. He was in London when the Revolution began.
His courage and skill were so well known that he was offered a
commission in either the army or the navy, if he was willing to serve
"his gracious Majesty."

Tucker forgot where he was, and rudely replied, "Hang his gracious
Majesty! Do you think I am the sort of man to fight against my country?"

Those were rash words to be spoken in London. A charge of treason was
brought against him and he had to seek safety in flight. For a time he
hid in the house of a country inn-keeper who was his friend. Then a
chance came to get on shipboard and escape from the country. In this way
he got back to his native land.

It was not only the English who knew Captain Tucker's ability. He was
known in America as well. No doubt there were many who had heard how he
had served the pirate Moors. He had not long been home when General
Washington sent him a commission as captain of the ship _Franklin_, and
ordered him to get to sea at once.

The messenger with the commission made his way to the straggling old
town of Marblehead, where Tucker lived. Inquiring for him in the town,
he was directed to a certain house.

Reaching this, the messenger saw a roughly-dressed and weather-beaten
person working in the yard, with an old tarpaulin hat on his head and a
red bandanna handkerchief tied loosely round his neck.

The man, thinking him an ordinary laborer, called out from his horse:

"Say, good fellow, can you tell if the Honorable Samuel Tucker lives
here or hereabouts?"

The workman looked up with a quizzical glance from under the brim of his
tarpaulin and replied:

"Honorable, honorable! There's none of that name in Marblehead. He must
be one of the Salem Tuckers. I'm the only Samuel Tucker in this town."

"Anyhow, this is where I was told to stop. A house standing alone, with
its gable-end to the sea. This is the only place I've seen that looks
like that."

"Then I must be the Tucker you want, honorable or not. What is it you
have got to say to him?"

He soon learned, and was glad to receive the news. Early the next
morning he had left home for the port where the _Franklin_ lay, and not
many days passed before he was out at sea.

The _Franklin_, under his command proved one of the most active ships
afloat. She sent in prizes in numbers. More than thirty were taken in
1776--ships, brigs, and smaller vessels, including "a brigantine from
Scotland worth fifteen thousand pounds."

These were not all captured without fighting. Two British brigs were
taken so near Marblehead that the captain's wife and sister, hearing the
sound of cannon, went up on a high hill close by and saw the fight
through a spy-glass.

The next year Captain Tucker was put in command of the frigate _Boston_,
and in 1778 he took John Adams to France as envoy from the United

It was a voyage full of incidents. They passed through days of storm,
which nearly wrecked the ship. Many vessels were seen, and the _Boston_
was chased by three men-of-war.

She ran away from these, and soon after came across a large armed
vessel, which Captain Tucker decided to fight. When the drum called the
men to quarters, Mr. Adams seized a musket and joined the marines.

The captain requested him to go below. Finding that he was not going to
obey, Tucker laid a hand on his shoulder and said firmly:

"Mr. Adams, I am commanded by the Continental Congress to deliver you
safe in France. You must go below."

Mr. Adams smiled and complied. The next minute there came a broadside
from the stranger. There was no response from the _Boston_. Other shots
came, and still no reply. At length the blue-jackets began to grumble.
Looking them in the eyes, Tucker said, in quizzical tones:

"Hold on, lads. I want to get that egg without breaking the shell."

In a few minutes more, having got into the position he wished, he raked
the enemy from stem to stern with a broadside. That one sample was
enough. She struck her flag without waiting for a second. Soon after the
envoy was safely landed in France.

Numbers of anecdotes are told of Captain Tucker, who was a man much
given to saying odd and amusing things.

Once he fell in with a British frigate which had been sent in search of
him. He had made himself a thorn in the British lion's side and was
badly wanted. Up came Tucker boldly, with the English flag at his peak.

He was hailed, and replied that he was Captain Gordon, of the English
navy, and that he was out in search of the _Boston_, commanded by the
rebel Tucker.

"If I can sight the ship I'll carry him to New York, dead or alive," he

"Have you ever seen him?"

"Well, I've heard of him; they say he is a tough customer."

While talking, he had been manoeuvering to gain a raking position. Just
as he did so, a sailor in the British tops cried,--

"Look out below! That is Tucker himself."

The Englishman was in a trap. The _Boston_ had him at a great
disadvantage. There was nothing to do but to strike his flag, and this
he did without firing a gun.

When Charleston was taken by the British, the _Boston_ was one of the
vessels cooped up there and lost. Captain Tucker was taken prisoner.
After his exchange, as he had no ship, he took the sloop-of-war
_Thorn_, one of his former prizes, and went out cruising as a privateer.

After a three weeks' cruise, the _Thorn_ met an English ship of
twenty-three guns.

"She means to fight us," said the captain to his men, after watching her
movements. "If we go alongside her like men she will be ours in thirty
minutes; if we can't go as men we have no business there at all. Every
man who is willing to fight go down the starboard gangway; all others
can go down the larboard." Every soul of them took the starboard.

He manoeuvered so that in a few minutes the vessels lay side by side.
The Englishman opened with a broadside that did little damage. The
_Thorn_ replied with a destructive fire, and kept it up so hotly that
within thirty minutes a loud cry came from the English ship:

"Quarters, for God's sake! Our ship is sinking. Our men are dying of
their wounds."

"How can you expect quarters while your flag is flying?" demanded
Captain Tucker.

"Our halliards are shot away."

"Then cut away your ensign staff, or you'll all be dead men."

It was done and the firing ceased. A dreadful execution had taken place
on the Englishman's deck, more than a third of her crew being dead and
wounded, while blood was everywhere.

And so we take our leave of Captain Tucker. He was one of the kind of
sailors that everyone likes to read about.




YOU must think by this time that we had many bold and brave sailors in
the Revolution. So we had. You have not been told all their exploits,
but only a few among the most gallant ones. There is one more story that
is worth telling, before we leave the Revolutionary times.

If you are familiar with American history you will remember that Lord
Cornwallis surrendered to General Washington in October, 1781. That is
generally looked on as the end of the war. There was no more fighting on
land. But there was one bold affair on the water in April, 1782, six
months after the work of the armies was done.

This was in Delaware Bay, where Captain Barry had taken a war vessel
with a few rowboats. The hero of this later exploit was Captain Joshua
Barney, and he was as brave a man as John Barry.

Captain Barney had seen service through the whole war. Like John Paul
Jones, an accident had made him a captain of a ship when he was a mere
boy. He was only seventeen, yet he handled his ship with the skill of an
old mariner. War broke out soon afterward and he became an officer on
the _Hornet_, though still only a boy. Soon after he had some lively
service in the _Wasp_, and captured a British privateer with the little
sloop _Sachem_.

Then he had some bad fortune, for he was taken prisoner while bringing
in a prize vessel, and was put on the terrible prison-ship _Jersey_. Few
of the poor fellows on that vessel lived to tell the story of the
frightful way in which they were treated. But young Barney managed to
escape, and went to sea again as captain of a merchant vessel. In this
he was chased by a British war-vessel, the _Rosebud_. Shall I tell you
the way that Captain Barney plucked the petals of the _Rosebud_? He
fired a crowbar at her out of one of his cannon. This new kind of
cannon-ball went whirling through the air and came ripping and tearing
through the sails of the British ship. After making rags of her sails,
it hit her foremast and cut out a big slice. The Americans now sailed
quietly away. They could laugh at John Bull's _Rosebud_.

On the 8th of April, 1782, Captain Barney took command of the _Hyder
Ali_. This was a merchant ship which had been bought by the State of
Pennsylvania. It was not fit for a warship, but the State was in a
hurry, so eight gun-ports were cut on each side, and the ship was
mounted with sixteen six-pounder cannon. Then she set sail from
Philadelphia in charge of a fleet of merchant vessels.

On they went, down the Delaware river and bay, until Cape May was
reached. Here Captain Barney saw that there was trouble ahead. Three
British vessels came in sight. One of these was the frigate _Quebec_.
The others were a brig, the _Fair American_, and a sloop-of-war, the
_General Monk_.

Before such a fleet the _Hyder Ali_ was like a sparrow before a hawk.
Captain Barney at once signaled his merchant ships to make all haste up
the bay. Away they flew like a flock of frightened birds, except one,
whose captain thought he would slip round the cape and get to sea. But
the British soon swallowed up him and his ship, so he paid well for his

On up the bay went the other merchantmen, with the _Hyder Ali_ in the
rear, and the British squadron hot on their track. The frigate sailed
into a side channel, thinking it would find a short-cut and so head them
off. Captain Barney watched this movement with keen eyes. The big ship
had put herself out of reach for a time. He knew well that she could not
get through that way, and laid his plans to have some sport with the
small fish while the big fish was away.

The brig _Fair American_ was a privateer and a fast one. It came up with
a fair breeze, soon reaching the _Hyder Ali_, which expected a fight.
But the privateer wanted prizes more than cannon balls, and went
straight on, firing a broadside that did no harm. Captain Barney let her
go. The sloop-of-war was coming fast behind, and this was enough for him
to attend to. It had more guns than his ship and they were double the
weight--twelve-pounders to his six-pounders. As the war sloop came near,
Barney turned to his helmsman, and said:

"I want you to go opposite to my orders. If I tell you to port your
helm, you are to put it hard-a-starboard. Do you understand?"

"Aye, aye!" answered the tar.

Up came the _General Monk_, its captain thinking to make an easy prize,
as the _Fair American_ had been let go past without a shot. When about a
dozen yards away the British captain hailed:

"Strike your colors, or I will fire!"

"Hard-a-port your helm," roared Barney to the man at the wheel. "Do you
want her to run aboard us?"

The order was heard on board the enemy, and the captain gave orders to
meet the expected movement. But hard-a-starboard went the helm, and the
_Hyder Ali_ swung round in front of the enemy, whose bowsprit caught and
became entangled in her fore-rigging.

This gave the American ship a raking position, and in a moment the grim
tars were hard at work with their guns. Broadsides were poured in as
fast as they could load and fire, and every shot swept from bow to
stern. The Englishman, though he had double the weight of metal, could
not get out of the awkward position in which Barney had caught him, and
his guns did little harm. In less than half an hour down went his flag.

It was none too soon. The frigate had seen the fight from a distance,
and was making all haste to get out of its awkward position and take a
hand in the game. Barney did not even wait to ask the name of his prize,
but put a crew on board and bade them make all haste to Philadelphia.

He followed, steering now for the _Fair American_. But the privateer
captain had seen the fate of the _General Monk_ and concluded that he
had business elsewhere. So he ran away instead of fighting, and soon ran
ashore. The _Hyder Ali_ left him there and made all haste up stream. The
frigate had by this time got out of her side channel, and was coming up
under full sail. So Captain Barney crowded on all sail also and fled
away after his prize.

If the frigate had got within gunshot it would soon have settled the
question, for it could have sunk the _Hyder Ali_ with a broadside. But
it was not fast enough, and after a speedy run the victor and her prize
drew up beside a Philadelphia wharf.

Never had the good people of the Quaker City gazed on such a sight as
now met their eyes. Nothing had been done to remove the marks of battle.
The ships came in as they had left the fight. Shattered bulwarks, ragged
rents in the hulls, sails in tatters and drooping cordage told the story
of the desperate battle.

And the decks presented a terrible picture. Blood was everywhere. On the
_General Monk_ were stretched the dead bodies of twenty men, while
twenty-six wounded lay groaning below. The _Hyder Ali_ had suffered much
less, having but four killed and eleven wounded.

In all the Revolutionary War there have been few more brilliant actions;
and his victory gave Joshua Barney a high standing among the naval
commanders of the young Republic.

Shall we take up the story of the gallant Barney at a later date? Thirty
years after his victory over the _General Monk_, there was war again
between Americans and Britons, and Commodore Barney, now an old man,
took an active part.

He started out in the early days of the war with no better vessel than
the schooner _Rossie_, of fourteen guns and 120 men. He soon had lively
times. The _Rossie_ was a clipper, and he could run away from an enemy
too strong to fight, though running away was not much to his taste.

In his first cruise he was out forty-five days, and in that time he
captured fourteen vessels and 166 prisoners.

In a month's time he was at sea again. Now he got among British frigates
and had to trust to the heels of his little craft. But in spite of the
great ships that haunted the seas, new prizes fell into his hands, one
being taken after an hour's fight. In all, the vessels and cargoes taken
by him were worth nearly $3,000,000, though most of this wealth went to
the bottom of the sea.

The next year (1813) he was made commodore of a fleet of gunboats in
Chesapeake Bay. Here for a year he had very little to do. Then the
British sailed up the Chesapeake, intending to capture Washington and
Baltimore, Barney did not hesitate to attack them, and did considerable
damage, though they were much too strong for his small fleet.

At length there came from the frightened people at Washington the order
to burn his fleet, and, much against his will, he was forced to consign
his gunboats to the flames. With his men, about four hundred in all, he
joined the army assembled to defend the capital.

These sailor-soldiers made the best fight of any of the troops that
sought to save Washington from capture; but during the fight Commodore
Barney received a wound that brought his fighting days to an end.
Fortunately there was little more fighting to do, and peace reigned over
his few remaining years of life.




I SUPPOSE all the readers of this book know what a pirate is. For those
who may not know, I would say that a pirate is a sea-robber. They are
terrible fellows, these pirates, who live by murder and plunder. In old
times there were many ship-loads of them upon the seas, who captured
every merchant vessel they met with and often killed all on board.

There have been whole nations of pirates, and that as late as a hundred
years ago. By looking at an atlas you will see at the north of Africa
the nations of Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli. The people of these nations
are called Moors, and they used to be great sea-robbers. They sent out
fast vessels in the Mediterranean Sea, and no merchant ship there was
safe. Hundreds of such ships were taken and robbed. Their crews were not
killed, but they were sold as slaves, which was nearly as terrible.

Would you not think that the powerful nations of Europe would have soon
put a stop to this? They could have sent fleets and armies there and
conquered the Moors. But instead of that, they paid them to let their
ships alone.

Not long after the Revolution these sea-robbers began to make trouble
for the United States. The new nation, you should know, had no navy.
After it was done fighting with the British, it was so poor that it sold
all its ships. But it soon had many merchant ships, sailing to all seas,
which were left to take care of themselves the best way they could.

What did the pirates of Algiers care for this young nation across the
Atlantic, that had rich merchant ships and not a war vessel to protect
them? Very little, I fancy. It is certain that they soon began to
capture American ships and sell their sailors for slaves. In a short
time nearly two hundred American sailors were working as slaves in the
Moorish states.

The United States did not act very bravely. Instead of sending out a
fleet of warships, it made a treaty with Algiers and agreed to pay a
certain sum of money every year to have its vessels let alone. While the
treaty lasted, more than a million dollars were paid to the Dey of
Algiers. If that much had been spent for strong frigates, the United
States would not have had the disgrace of paying tribute to the Moors.
But the natives of Europe were doing the same, so the disgrace belonged
to them also.

The trouble with the Moors got worse and worse, and the Dey of Algiers
became very insolent to Americans.

"You are my slaves, for you pay me tribute," he said to the captain of
an American frigate. "I have a right to order you as I please."

When the other pirate nations, Tunis and Tripoli, found that Algiers was
being paid, they asked for tribute, too. And they began to capture
American ships and sell their crews into slavery. And their monarchs
were as insolent as the Dey.

The United States at that time was young and poor. It had not been
twenty years free from British armies. But it was proud, if it was poor,
and did not like to have its captains and consuls ordered about like
servants. So the President and Congress thought it was time to teach the
Moors a lesson.

This was in 1801. By that time a fleet of war vessels had been built,
and a squadron of these was sent to the Mediterranean under Commodore
Richard Dale. This was the man who had been in Paul Jones's great fight
and had received the surrender of the captain of the _Serapis_. He was a
bold, brave officer, but Congress had ordered him not to fight if he
could help it, and therefore very little was done.

But there was one battle, the story of which we must tell. Commodore
Dale had three frigates and one little schooner, the _Enterprise_. All
the honor of the cruise came to this little craft.

She was on her way to Malta when she came in sight of a low, long
vessel, at whose mast-head floated the flag of Tripoli. When this came
near, it was seen to be a corsair which had long waged war on American

Before Captain Sterrett, of the _Enterprise_, had time to hail, the
Moors began to fire at his ship. He was told not to fight if he could
help it, but Sterrett decided that he could not help it. He brought his
schooner within pistol shot of the Moor, and poured broadsides into the
pirate ship as fast as the men could load and fire. The Moors replied.
For two hours the battle continued, with roar of cannon and rattle of
muskets and dense clouds of smoke.

The vessels were small and their guns were light, so that the battle was
long drawn out.

At last the fire of the corsair ceased, and a whiff of air carried away
the smoke. Looking across the waves, the sailors saw that the flag of
Tripoli no longer waved, and three hearty American cheers rang out. The
tars left their guns and were getting ready to board their prize, when
up again went the flag of Tripoli and another broadside was fired into
their vessel.

Their cheers of triumph turned to cries of rage. Back to their guns they
rushed, and fought more fiercely than before. They did not care now to
take the prize; they wished to send her, with her crew of villains, to
the bottom of the sea.

The Moors fought as fiercely as the Americans. Running their vessel
against the _Enterprise_, they tried again and again to leap on board
and finish the battle with pistol and cutlass; but each time they were
driven back.

The men at the guns meanwhile poured in two more broadsides, and once
more down came the flag of Tripoli.

Captain Sterrett did not trust the traitors this time. He bade his men
keep to their guns, and ordered the Tripolitans to bring their vessel
under the quarter of the _Enterprise_. They had no sooner done so than a
throng of the Moorish pirates tried to board the schooner.

"No quarter for the treacherous dogs!" was the cry of the furious
sailors. "Pour it into them; send the thieves to the bottom!"

The _Enterprise_ now drew off to a good position and raked the foe with
repeated broadsides. The Moors were bitterly punished for their
treachery. Their deck ran red with blood; men and officers lay bleeding
in throngs; the cries of the wounded rose above the noise of the cannon.
The flag was down again, but no heed was paid to that. The infuriated
sailors were bent on sending the pirate craft to the bottom.

At length the corsair captain, an old man with a flowing white beard,
appeared at the side of his ship, sorely wounded, and, with a low bow,
cast his flag into the sea. Then Captain Sterrett, though he still felt
like sinking the corsair, ordered the firing to stop.

The prize proved to be named the _Tripoli_. What was to be done with it?
Captain Sterrett had no authority to take prizes. At length he concluded
that he would teach the Bashaw of Tripoli a lesson.

He sent Lieutenant David Porter, a daring young officer who was yet to
make his mark, on the prize, telling him to make a wreck of her.

Porter was glad to obey those orders. He made the captive Tripolitans
cut down their masts, throw all their cannon and small arms into the
sea, cut their sails to pieces, and fling all their powder overboard. He
left them only a jury-mast and a small sail.

"See here," said Porter to the Moorish captain, "we have not lost a man,
while fifty of your men are killed or wounded. You may go home now and
tell this to your Bashaw, and say to him that in the time to come the
only tribute he will get from the United States will be a tribute of
powder and balls."

Away drifted the wrecked hulk, followed by the jeers of the American
sailors, who were only sorry that the treacherous pirate had not been
scuttled and sent to the bottom of the sea.

When it reached Tripoli the Bashaw was mad with rage. Instead of the
plunder and the white slaves he had looked for, he had only a dismantled

The old captain showed him his wounds and told him how hard he had
fought. But his fury was not to be appeased. He had the white-bearded
commander led through the streets tied to a jackass--the greatest
disgrace he could have inflicted on any Moor. This was followed by five
hundred blows with a stick.

The Moorish sailors declared that the Americans had fired enchanted
shot. This, and the severe punishment of the captain of the _Tripoli_,
so scared the sailors of the city that for a year after the fierce
Bashaw found it next to impossible to muster a ship's crew. They did not
care to be treated as the men on the _Tripoli_ had been.

Such was the first lesson which the sailors of the new nation gave to
the pirates of the Mediterranean. It was the beginning of a policy which
was to put an end to the piracy which had prevailed for centuries on
those waters.




IN the ship _Essex_, one of the fleet that was sent to the Mediterranean
to deal with the Moorish pirates, there was a brave young officer named
Stephen Decatur. He was little more than a boy, for he was just past
twenty-one years of age; but he had been in the fight between the
_Enterprise_ and the _Tripoli_, and was so bold and daring that he was
sure to make his mark.

I must tell you how he first showed himself a true American. It was when
the _Essex_ was lying in the harbor at Barcelona, a seaport of Spain.
The _Essex_ was a handsome little vessel, and there was much praise of
her in the town, people of fashion came to see her and invited her
officers to their houses and treated them with great respect.

Now there was a Spanish warship lying in the port, of the kind called a
xebec, a sort of three-masted vessel common in the Mediterranean Sea.

The officers of this ship did not like to see so much respect given to
the Americans and so little to themselves. They grew jealous and angry,
and did all they could to annoy and insult the officers of the _Essex_.
Every time one of her boats rowed past the xebec it would be challenged
and ugly things said.

The Americans bore all this quietly for a while. One day Captain
Bainbridge, of the _Essex_, was talked to in an abusive way, and said
little back. Another time a boat, under command of Lieutenant Decatur,
came under the guns of the xebec, and the Spaniards on the deck hailed
him with insulting words. This was more than young blood could stand,
and he called to the officer of the deck and asked him what that meant,
but the haughty Spaniard would give him no satisfaction.

"Very well," said Decatur. "I will call to see you in the morning. Pull
off, lads."

The next morning Decatur had himself rowed over to the xebec, and went
on board. He asked for the officer who was in charge the night before.

"He has gone ashore," was the reply.

"Well, then," said Decatur, in tones that every one on board could hear,
"tell him that Lieutenant Decatur, of the frigate _Essex_, calls him a
cowardly scoundrel, and when he meets him on shore he will cut his ears

There were no more insults after that. Decatur spoke as if he meant what
he said, and the officers of the xebec did not want to lose their ears.
But the United States Minister to Spain took up the matter and did not
rest until he got a full apology for the insults to the Americans.

I have told this little story to let you see what kind of a man Stephen
Decatur was. But this was only a minor affair. He was soon to make
himself famous by one of the most brilliant deeds in the history of the
American navy.

In October, 1802, a serious disaster came to the American fleet. The
frigate _Philadelphia_ was chasing a runaway vessel into the harbor of
Tripoli, when she got in shoal water and suddenly ran fast aground on a
shelf of rock.

Here was an awkward position. Captain Bainbridge threw overboard most
of his cannon and his anchors, and everything that would lighten the
ship, even cutting down his foremasts; but all to no purpose. She still
clung fast to the rock.

Soon a flock of gunboats came down the harbor and saw the bad fix the
Americans were in. Bainbridge was quite unable to fight them, for they
could have kept out of the way of his guns and made kindling wood of his
vessel. There was nothing to do but to surrender. So he flooded the
powder magazine, threw all the small arms overboard, and knocked holes
in the bottom of the ship. Then he hauled down his flag.

The gunboats now came up like a flock of hawks, and soon the Moors were
clambering over the rails. In a minute more they were in every part of
the ship, breaking open chests and storerooms and plundering officers
and men. Two of them would hold an officer and a third rob him of his
watch and purse, his sword, and everything of value he possessed. The
plundering did not stop till the captain knocked down one of the Moors
for trying to rob him of an ivory miniature of his wife.

Then the Americans were made to get into the gunboats and were taken
ashore. They were marched in triumph through the streets, and the men
were thrown into prison. The officers were invited to supper by the
Bashaw, and treated as if they were guests. But as soon as the supper
was over, they, too, were taken to the prison rooms in which they were
to stay till the end of the war.

The Tripolitans afterwards got the _Philadelphia_ off the rocks during a
high tide, plugged up the holes in her bottom, fished up her guns and
anchors, and fitted her up for war. The Bashaw was proud enough of his
fine prize, which had not cost him a man or a shot, and was a better
ship than he had ever seen before.

When the American commodore learned of the loss of the _Philadelphia_ he
was in a bad state of mind. To lose one of his best ships in this way
was not at all to his liking, for he was a man who did not enjoy losing
a ship; and to know that the Moors had it and were making a warship of
it was a hard thing to bear.

From his prison Captain Bainbridge wrote letters to Commodore Preble,
which the Moors read and then sent out to the fleet. They did not know
that the letters had postscripts written in lemon-juice which only came
out when the sheet of paper was held to the heat of a fire. In these the
captain asked the commodore to try and destroy the captured ship.

Commodore Preble was a daring officer, and was ready enough for this, if
he only knew how it could be done. Lieutenant Decatur was then in
command of the _Enterprise_, the schooner which had fought with the
_Tripoli_. He asked the commodore to let him take the _Enterprise_ into
the harbor and try to destroy the captured ship. He knew he could do it,
he said, if he only had a chance. At any rate, he wanted to try.

Commodore Preble shook his head. It could not be done that way. He would
only lose his own vessel and his men. But there was a way it might be
done. The Moors might be taken by surprise and their prize burned in
their sight. It was a desperate enterprise. Every man who took part in
it would be in great danger of death. But that danger did not give much
trouble to bold young Decatur, who was as ready to fight as he was to

What was the commodore's plan, do you ask? Well, it was this. Some time
earlier the _Enterprise_ had captured the _Mastico_, a vessel from
Tripoli. Preble gave this craft the new name of the _Intrepid_ and
proposed to send it into the harbor. The Moors did not know of its
capture and would not suspect it, and thus it might get up close to the

Decatur was made commander and called for volunteers. Every man and boy
on the _Enterprise_ wanted to go; and he picked out over seventy of
them. As he was about to leave the deck, a boy came up and asked if he
couldn't go, too.

"Why do you want to go, Jack?"

"Well, Captain, you see, I'd kind o' like to see the country."

This was such a queer reason that Decatur laughed and told him he might

One dark night, on February 3, 1804, the _Intrepid_ left the rest of the
fleet and set sail for the harbor of Tripoli. The little _Siren_ went
with her for company. But the weather proved stormy, and it was not
until the 15th that they were able to carry out their plan.

About noon they came in sight of the spires of the city of Tripoli.
Decatur did not wish to reach the _Philadelphia_ until nightfall, but he
was afraid to take in sail, for fear of being suspected; so he dragged a
cable and a number of buckets behind to lessen his speed.

After a time the _Philadelphia_ came in sight. She was anchored well in
the harbor, under the guns of two heavy batteries. Two cruisers and a
number of gunboats lay near by. It was a desperate and dangerous
business which Decatur and his tars had taken in hand, but they did not
let that trouble them.

At about ten o'clock at night the _Intrepid_ came into the harbor's
mouth. The wind had fallen and she crept slowly along over the smooth
sea. The _Siren_ stayed behind. Her work was that of rescue in case of
trouble. Straight for the frigate went the devoted crew. A new moon sent
its soft lustre over the waves. All was still in city and fleet.

Soon the _Intrepid_ came near the frigate. Only twelve men were visible
on her deck. The others were lying flat in the shadow on the bulwarks,
each with cutlass tightly clutched in hand.

"What vessel is that?" was asked in Moorish words from the frigate.

"The _Mastico_, from Malta," answered the pilot in the same tongue. "We
lost our anchors in the gale and were nearly wrecked. Can we ride by
your ship for the night?"

The permission asked was granted, and a boat from the _Intrepid_ made a
line fast to the frigate, while the men on the latter threw a line
aboard. The ropes were passed to the hidden men on the deck, who pulled
on them lustily.

As the little craft came up, the men on the frigate saw her anchors
hanging in place.

"You have lied to us!" came a sharp hail. "Keep off! Cut those lines!"

Others had seen the concealed men, and the cry of "Americanos!" was

The alarm came too late. The little craft was now close up and a hearty
pull brought her against the hull of the large ship.

"Boarders away!" came the stirring order.

"Follow me, lads," cried Decatur, springing for the chain-plates of the
frigate. Men and officers were after him hot-foot. Midshipman Charles
Morris was the first to reach the deck, with Decatur close behind.

[Illustration: DECATUR AT TRIPOLI.]

The surprise was complete. There was no resistance. Few of the Moors
had weapons, and they fled from the Americans like frightened sheep. On
all sides the splashing of water could be heard as they leaped
overboard. In a few minutes they were all gone and Decatur and his men
were masters of the ship.

They would have given much to be able to take the noble frigate out of
the harbor. But that could not be done, and every minute made their
danger greater. All they could do was to set her on fire and retreat
with all speed.

Not a moment was lost. Quick-burning material was brought from the
_Intrepid_, put in good places, and set on fire. So rapidly did the
flames spread that the men who were lighting fires on the lower decks
had scarcely time to escape from the fast-spreading conflagration.

Flames poured from the port-holes, and sparks fell on the deck of the
smaller vessel. If it should touch the powder that was stored amidships,
death would come to them all. With nervous haste they cut the ropes, and
the _Intrepid_ was pushed off. Then the sweeps were thrust out and the
little craft rowed away.

"Now, lads, give them three good cheers," cried Decatur.

Up sprang the jack-tars, and three ringing cheers were given, sounding
above the roar of the flames and of the cannon that were now playing on
the little vessel from the batteries and gunboats. Then to their sweeps
went the tars again, and drove their vessel every minute farther away.

As they went they saw the flames catch the rigging and run up the masts
of the doomed frigate. Then great bursts of flame shot out from the open
hatchways. The loaded guns went off one after another, some of them
firing into the town. It was a lurid and striking spectacle, such as is
seldom seen.

Bainbridge and his fellow-officers saw the flames from their prison
window and hailed them with lusty cheers. The officers of the _Siren_
saw them also, and sent their boats into the harbor to aid the
fugitives, if necessary. But it was not necessary. Not a man had been
hurt. In an hour after the flames were seen, Decatur and his daring crew
came in triumph out of the bay of Tripoli.

Never had been known a more perfect and successful naval exploit. All
Europe talked of it with admiration when the news was received. Lord
Nelson, the greatest of England's sailors, said, "It was the boldest and
most daring act of the ages." When the tidings reached the United
States, Decatur, young as he was, was rewarded by Congress with the
title of captain.

We are not yet done with the _Intrepid_, in which Decatur played so
brilliant a part. She was tried again in work of the same kind, but with
a more tragic end.

A room was built in her and filled with powder, shot, and shells.
Combustibles of various kinds were piled around it, so that it could not
fail to go off, if set on fire. Then, one dark night, the fire-ship was
sent into the harbor of Tripoli, with a picked crew under another
gallant young officer, Lieutenant Richard Somers.

They were told to take it into the midst of the Moorish squadron, set it
on fire and escape in their boats. It was expected to blow up and rend
to atoms the war vessels of Tripoli.

But the forts and ships began to fire on it, and before it reached its
goal a frightful disaster occurred. Suddenly a great jet of fire was
seen to shoot up into the sky. Then came a roar like that of a volcano.
The distant spectators saw the mast of the _Intrepid_, with blazing
sail, flung like a rocket into the air. Bombs flew in all directions.
Then all grew dark and still.

In some way the magazine had been exploded, perhaps by a shot from the
enemy. Nothing was ever seen again of Somers and his men. It was the
great tragedy of the war. They had all perished in that fearful

       *       *       *       *       *

Now let us turn back to the story of Decatur, of whom we have some more
famous work to tell.

In August, 1804, the American fleet entered the harbor of Tripoli and
made a daring attack on the fleet, the batteries, and the city of the
Bashaw. In addition to the war vessels of the fleet, there were six
gunboats and two bomb vessels, all pouring shot and shell into the city
which had so long defied them.

The batteries on shore returned the fire, and the gunboats of the Bashaw
advanced to the attack. On these the fleet now turned its fire, sweeping
their decks with grape and canister shot. Decatur, with three gunboats,
advanced on the eastern division of the Moorish gunboats, nine in all.

Decatur, you will see, was outnumbered three to one, but he did not stop
for odds like that. He dashed boldly in, laid his vessel alongside the
nearest gunboat of the enemy, poured in a volley, and gave the order to
board. In an instant the Americans were over the bulwarks and on the

The contest was short and sharp. The captain of the Tripolitans fell
dead. Most of his officers were wounded. The men, overcome by the fierce
attack, soon threw down their arms and begged for quarter. Decatur
secured them below decks and started for the next gunboat.

On his way he was hailed from one of his own boats, which had been
commanded by his brother James. The men told him that his brother had
captured one of the gunboats of the enemy, but, on going on board after
her flag had fallen, he had been shot dead by the treacherous commander.
The murderer had then driven the Americans back and carried his boat out
of the fight.

On hearing this sad news, Decatur was filled with grief and rage. Bent
on revenge, he turned his boat's prow and swiftly sped towards the
craft of the assassin. The instant the two boats came together the
furious Decatur sprang upon the deck of the enemy. At his back came
Lieutenant McDonough and nine sturdy sailors. Nearly forty of the Moors
faced them, at their head a man of gigantic size, his face half covered
with a thick black beard, a scarlet cap on his head, the true type of a
pirate captain.

Sure that this was his brother's murderer, Decatur rushed fiercely at
the giant Moor. The latter thrust at him with a heavy boarding pike.
Decatur parried the blow, and made a fierce stroke at the weapon, hoping
to cut off its point.

He failed in this and his cutlass broke off at the hilt, leaving him
with empty hands. With a lusty yell the Moor thrust again. Decatur bent
aside, so that he received only a slight wound. Then he seized the
weapon, wrested it from the hands of the Moor, and thrust fiercely at

In an instant more the two enemies had clinched in a wrestle for life
and death, and fell struggling to the deck. While they lay there, one
of the Tripolitan officers raised his scimitar and aimed a deadly blow
at the head of Decatur.

It seemed now as if nothing could save the struggling American. Only one
of his men was near by. This was a sailor named Reuben James, who had
been wounded in both arms. But he was a man of noble heart. He could not
lift a hand to save his captain, but his head was free, and with a
sublime devotion he thrust it in the way of the descending weapon.

Down it came with a terrible blow on his head, and he fell bleeding to
the deck, but before the Tripolitan could lift his weapon again to
strike Decatur, a pistol shot laid him low.

Decatur was left to fight it out with the giant Moor. With one hand the
huge wrestler held him tightly and with the other he drew a dagger from
his belt. The fatal moment had arrived. Decatur caught the Moor's wrist
just as the blow was about to fall, and at the same instant pressed
against his side a small pistol he had drawn from his pocket.

A touch of the trigger, a sharp report, and the body of the giant
relaxed. The bullet had pierced him through and he fell back dead.
Flinging off the heavy weight, Decatur rose to his feet.

Meanwhile his few men had been fiercely fighting the Tripolitan crew.
Greatly as they outnumbered the Americans, the Moors had been driven
back. They lost heart on seeing their leader fall and threw down their

Another gunboat was captured and then the battle ended. The attack on
Tripoli had proved a failure and the fleet drew off.

I know you will ask what became of brave Reuben James, who offered his
life for his captain. Was he killed? No, I am glad to say he was not. He
had an ugly cut, but he was soon well again.

One day Decatur asked him what reward he should give him for saving his
life. The worthy sailor did not know what to say. He scratched his head
and looked puzzled.

"Ask him for double pay, Rube," suggested one of his shipmates.

"A pocket full of dollars and shore leave," whispered another.

"No," said the modest tar. "Just let somebody else hand out the hammocks
to the men when they are piped down. That's something I don't like."

Decatur consented; and afterwards, when the crew was piped down to stow
hammocks, Reuben walked among them as free and independent as a

That is all we have here to say about the Tripolitan war. The next year
a treaty of peace was signed, and Captain Bainbridge and the men of the
_Philadelphia_ were set free from their prison cells.

In 1812, when war broke out with England, the gallant Decatur was given
the command of the frigate _United States_, and with it he captured the
British frigate _Macedonian_, after a hard fight.

Poor Decatur was shot dead in a duel in 1820 by a hot-headed officer
whom he had offended. It was a sad end to a brilliant career, for the
American Navy never had a more gallant commander.




WHEN did our country win its greatest fame upon the sea? I think, when
you have read the story of the War of 1812, you will say it was in that
war. It is true, we did not do very well on land in that war, but the
glory we lost on the shore we made up on the sea.

You should know that in 1812 England was the greatest sea-power in the
world. For years she had been fighting with Napoleon, and every fleet he
set afloat was badly whipped by British ships. Is it any wonder that the
people of that little island were proud of their fleets? Is it any
wonder they proudly sang--

          "Britannia needs no bulwarks,
             No towers along the steep;
           Her march is o'er the mountain waves,
             Her home is on the deep."

They grew so vain of their lordship of the sea that they needed a
lesson, and they were to get one from the Yankee tars. As soon as war
began between England and the United States in 1812, a flock of British
war-hawks came flying bravely across the seas, thinking they would soon
gobble up the Yankee sparrows. But long before the war was over, they
quit singing their proud song of "Britannia rules the waves," and found
that what they thought was a Yankee sparrow was the American eagle.

There were too many great things done on the ocean in this war for me to
name them all, so I will have to tell only the most famous. And first of
all I must give you the story of the noble old _Constitution_, or, as
she came to be called, _Old Ironsides_.

The _Constitution_ was a noble ship of the old kind. That royal old
craft is still afloat, after more than a hundred years of service, and
after all her companions have long since sunk in the waves or rotted
away. She was built to fight the French in 1798. She was Commodore
Preble's flagship in the war with the Moorish pirates. And she won
undying fame in the War of 1812. So the story of the _Constitution_
comes first in our list of the naval conquerors of that war.

I fancy, if any of you had been living at that time, you would have
wanted to fight the British as badly as the Americans then did. For the
British had for years been taking sailors from American ships and making
them serve in their own men-of-war. Then, too, they had often insulted
our officers upon the seas, and acted in a very insolent and overbearing
way whenever they had the opportunity. This made the Americans very
angry and was the main cause of the war.

I must tell you some things that took place before the war. In 1811 a
British frigate named the _Guerriere_ was busy at this kind of work,
sailing up and down our coast and carrying off American sailors on
pretence that they were British. Just remember the name of the
"_Guerriere_." You will soon learn how the _Constitution_ paid her for
this shabby work.

I have also a story to tell about the _Constitution_ in 1811. She had to
cross the Atlantic in that year, and stopped on some business in the
harbor of Portsmouth, an English seaport.

One night a British officer came on board and said there was an American
deserter on his ship, the _Havana_, and that the Americans could have
him if they sent for him.

Captain Hull, of the _Constitution_, was then in London, so Lieutenant
Morris, who had charge of the ship, sent for the man; but when his
messenger came, he was told that the man said he was a British subject,
and therefore he should not be given up. They were very sorry, and all
that, but they had to take the man's word for it. Morris thought this
very shabby treatment but he soon had his revenge. For that very night a
British sailor came on board the _Constitution_, who said he was a
deserter from the _Havana_.

"Of what nation are you?" he was asked.

"I'm an American, sor," said the man, with a strong Irish accent.

Lieutenant Morris sent word to the _Havana_ that a deserter from his
ship was on the _Constitution_. But when an officer from the _Havana_
came to get the deserter, Morris politely told him that the man said he
was an American, and therefore he could not give him up. He was very
sorry, he said, but really the man ought to know to what country he
belonged. You may be interested to learn that Lieutenant Morris was the
man who had been first to board the _Philadelphia_ in the harbor of

This was paying John Bull in his own coin. The officers in the harbor
were very angry when they received this answer. Next, they tried to play
a trick on the Americans. Two of their warships came up and anchored in
the way of the _Constitution_. But Lieutenant Morris got up anchor and
slipped away to a new berth. Then the two frigates sailed up and
anchored in his way again. That was the way matters stood when Captain
Hull came on board in the evening.

When the captain was told what had taken place, he saw that the British
were trying to make trouble about the Irish deserter. But he was not the
man to be caught by any trick. He loaded his guns and cleared the ship
for action. Then he pulled up his anchor, slipped round the British
frigates, and put to sea.

He had not gone far before the two frigates started after him. They came
on under full sail, but one of them was slow and fell far behind, so
that the other came up alone.

"If that fellow wants to fight he can have his chance," said Captain
Hull, and he bade his men to make ready.

Up came the Englishman, but when he saw the ports open, the guns ready
to bark at him across the waves, and everything in shape for a good
fight, he had a sudden change of mind. Round he turned like a scared
dog, and ran back as fast as he had come. That was a clear case of tit
for tat, and tat had it. No doubt, the Englishman knew that he was in
the wrong, for English seamen are not afraid to fight.

Home from Plymouth came the _Constitution_ and got herself put in shape
for the war that was soon to come. It had not long begun before she was
off to sea; and now she had a remarkable adventure with the _Guerriere_
and some other British ships. In fact, she made a wonderful escape from
a whole squadron of war vessels. She left the Chesapeake on July 12,
1812, and for five days sailed up the coast. The winds were light and
progress was very slow. Then, on the 17th, the lookout aloft saw four
warships sailing along close in to the Jersey coast.

Two hours afterward another was seen. This proved to be the frigate
_Guerriere_, and it was soon found that the others were British ships
also. One of them was a great ship-of-the-line. It would have been
madness to think of fighting such a force as this, more than six times
as strong as the _Constitution_, and there was nothing to do but to run

Then began the most famous race in American naval history. There was
hardly a breath of wind, the sails hung flapping to the masts; so
Captain Hull got out his boats and sent them ahead with a line to tow
the ship. When the British saw this they did the same, and by putting
all their boats to two ships they got ahead faster.

I cannot tell the whole story of this race, but it lasted for nearly
three days, from Friday afternoon till Monday morning. Now there was a
light breeze and now a dead calm. Now they pulled the ships by boats and
now by kedging. That is, an anchor was carried out a long way ahead and
let sink, and then the men pulled on the line until the ship was brought
up over it. Then the anchor would be drawn up and carried and dropped
ahead again.

For two long days and nights the chase kept up, during which the
_Constitution_ was kept, by weary labor, just out of gunshot ahead. At
four o'clock Sunday morning the British ships had got on both sides of
the _Constitution_, and it looked as if she was in a tight corner. But
Captain Hull now turned and steered out to sea, across the bows of the
_Eolus_, and soon had them astern again.

The same old game went on until four o'clock in the afternoon, when they
saw signs of a coming squall. Captain Hull knew how to deal with an
American squall, but the Englishmen did not. He kept his men towing
until he saw the sea ruffled by the wind about a mile away. Then he
called the boats in and in a moment let fall all his sails.

Looking at the British, he saw them hard at work furling their sails.
They had let all their boats go adrift. But Captain Hull had not furled
a sail, and the minute a vapor hid his ship from the enemy all his sails
were spread to the winds and away went the Yankee ship in rapid flight.
He had taught his foes a lesson in American seamanship.

When the squall cleared away the British ships were far astern. But the
wind fell again and all that night the chase kept up. Captain Hull threw
water on his sails and made every rag of canvas draw. When daylight came
only the top sails of the enemy could be seen. At eight o'clock they
gave up the chase and turned on their heels. Thus ended that wonderful
three days chase, one of the most remarkable in naval history.

And now we come to the greatest story in the history of the "Old
Ironsides." In less than a month after the _Guerriere_ had helped to
chase her off the Jersey coast, she gave that proud ship a lesson which
the British nation did not soon forget. Here is the story of that famous
fight, by which Captain Hull won high fame:

In the early morning of August 19, while the old ship was bowling along
easily off the New England coast, a cheery cry of "Sail-ho!" came from
the lookout at the mast-head.

Soon a large vessel was seen from the deck. On went the Yankee ship with
flying flag and bellying sails. The strange ship waited as if ready for
a fight. When the _Constitution_ drew near, the stranger hoisted the
British flag and began to fire her great guns.

It was the _Guerriere_. When he saw the Stars and Stripes, Captain
Dacres said to his men:

"That is a Yankee frigate. She will be ours in forty-five minutes. If
you take her in fifteen, I promise you four months pay."

It is never best to be too sure, as Captain Dacres was to find.

The _Guerriere_ kept on firing at a distance, but Captain Hull continued
to take in sail and get his ship in fighting trim, without firing a gun.
After a time Lieutenant Morris came up and said to him:

"The British have killed two of our men. Shall we return their fire?"

"Not yet," said Captain Hull. "Wait a while."

He waited until the ships were almost touching, and then he roared out:

"Now, boys; pour it into them!"

Then came a roaring broadside that went splintering through the British
hull, doing more damage than all the _Guerriere's_ fire.

Now the battle was on in earnest. The two ships lay side by side, and
for fifteen minutes the roar of cannon and the rattle of musketry
filled the air, while cannon balls tore their way through solid timber
and human flesh.

Down came the mizzen-mast of the _Guerriere_, cut through by a big iron

"Hurrah, boys!" cried Hull, swinging his hat like a schoolboy; "we've
made a brig of her."

The mast dragged by its ropes and brought the ship round, so that the
next broadside from the _Constitution_ raked her from stem to stern.

The bowsprit of the _Guerriere_ caught fast in the rigging of the
_Constitution_, and the sailors on both ships tried to board. But soon
the winds pulled the _Constitution_ clear, and as she forged ahead, down
with a crash came the other masts of the British ship. They had been cut
into splinters by the Yankee guns. A few minutes before she had been a
stately three-masted frigate; now she was a helpless hulk. Not half an
hour had passed since the _Constitution_ fired her first shot, and
already the _Guerriere_ was a wreck, while the Yankee ship rode the
waters as proudly as ever.

Off in triumph went the "Old Ironsides," and hasty repairs to her
rigging were made. Then she came up with loaded guns. The _Guerriere_
lay rolling like a log in the water, without a flag in sight. Not only
her masts were gone, but her hull was like a sieve. It had more than
thirty cannon-ball holes below the water-line.

There was no need to fire again. Lieutenant Read went off in a boat.

"Have you surrendered?" he asked Captain Dacres, who was looking, with a
very long face, over the rail.

"It would not be prudent to continue the engagement any longer," said
Dacres, in gloomy tones.

"Do you mean that you have struck your flag?"

"Not precisely. But I do not know that it will be worth while to fight
any more."

"If you cannot make up your mind I will go back and we will do something
to help you."

"I don't see that I can keep up the fight," said the dejected British
captain. "I have hardly any men left and my ship is ready to sink."

"What I want to know is," cried Lieutenant Read, "whether you are a
prisoner of war or an enemy. And I must know without further parley."

"If I could fight longer I would," said Captain Dacres. Then with
faltering words he continued, "but-I-must-surrender."

"Then accept from me Captain Hull's compliments. He wishes to know if
you need the aid of a surgeon or surgeon's mate."

"Have you not business enough on your own ship for all your doctors?"
asked Dacres.

"Oh, no!" said Read. "We have only seven men wounded, and their wounds
are all dressed."

Captain Dacres was obliged to enter Read's boat and be rowed to the
_Constitution_. He had been wounded, and could not climb very well, so
Captain Hull helped him to the deck.

"Give me your hand, Dacres," he said, "I know you are hurt."

Captain Dacres offered his sword, but the American captain would not
take it.

"No, no," he said, "I will not take a sword from one who knows so well
how to use it. But I'll trouble you for that hat."

What did he mean by that, you ask? Well, the two captains had met some
time before the war, and Dacres had offered to bet a hat that the
_Guerriere_ would whip the _Constitution_. Hull accepted the bet, and he
had won.

All day and night the boats were kept busy in carrying the prisoners,
well and hurt, to the _Constitution_. When daylight came again it was
reported that the _Guerriere_ was filling with water and ready to sink.

She could not be saved, so she was set on fire. Rapidly the flames
spread until they reached her magazine. Then came a fearful explosion,
and a black cloud of smoke hung over the place where the ship had
floated. When it moved away only some floating planks were to be seen.
The proud _Guerriere_ would never trouble Yankee sailors again.




"_OLD IRONSIDES_ was a noble old ship, and a noble old ship was she."
Come, I know you have not heard enough about this grand old ship, so let
us go on with her story. And the first thing to tell is how she served
another British ship as she had served the _Guerriere_.

Four months after Captain Hull's great victory, the _Constitution_ was
in another sea and had another captain. She had sailed south and was now
off the coast of Brazil. And William Bainbridge had succeeded Isaac Hull
in command.

It was almost the last day of the year. Chilly weather, no doubt, in
Boston from which she had sailed; but mid-summer warmth in those
southern waters. It certainly felt warm enough to the men on deck, who
were "spoiling for a fight," when the lookout aloft announced two sails.

The sailors who had been lounging about the deck sprang up and looked
eagerly across the waves, as the cheerful "Sail-ho!" reached their ears.
Soon they saw that one of the vessels was coming their way as fast as
her sails could carry her. The other had sailed away on the other tack.

The vessel that was coming was the _Java_, a fine British frigate. As
she drew near she showed signals. That is, she spread out a number of
small flags, each of which had some meaning, and by which British ships
could talk with each other. Captain Bainbridge could not answer these,
for he did not know what they meant. So he showed American signals,
which the captain of the _Java_ could not understand any better.

Then, as they came nearer, they hoisted their national flags, and both
sides saw that they were enemies and that a fight was on hand.

Captain Bainbridge was not like Captain Hull. He did not wait till the
ships were side by side, but began firing when the _Java_ was half a
mile away. That was only wasting powder and balls, but they kept on
firing until they were close at hand, and then the shots began to tell.

A brave old fellow was the captain of the _Constitution_. A musket ball
struck him in the thigh as he was pacing the deck. He stopped his
pacing, but would not go below. Then a copper bolt went deep into his
leg. But he had it cut out and the leg tied up, and he still kept on
deck. He wanted to see the fight.

Hot and fierce came the cannon balls, hurtling through sails and
rigging, rending through thick timbers, and sending splinters flying
right and left. Men fell dead and blood ran in streams, but still came
the heralds of death.

We must tell the same story of this fight as of the fight with the
_Guerriere_. The British did not know how to aim their guns and the
Americans did. The British had no sights on their cannon and the
Americans had. That was why, all through the war, the British lost so
heavily and the Americans so little. The British shot went wild and the
American balls flew straight to their mark.

You know what must come from that. After while, off went the _Java's_
bowsprit, as if it had been chopped off with a great knife. Five minutes
later her foremast was cut in two and came tumbling down. Then the main
topmast crashed down from above. Last of all, her mizzen-mast was cut
short off by the plunging shot, and fell over the side. The well-aimed
American balls had cut through her great spars, as you might cut through
a willow stick, and she was dismantled as the _Guerriere_ had been.

The loud "hurrahs" of the Yankee sailors proved enough to call the dead
to life. At any rate, a wounded man, whom everyone thought dead, opened
his eyes and asked what they were cheering about.

"The enemy has struck," he was told.

The dying tar lifted himself on one arm, and waved the other round his
head, and gave three feeble cheers. With the last one he fell back dead.

But the _Java's_ flag was not down for good. As the _Constitution_ came
up with all masts standing and sails set, the British flag was raised to
the stump of the mizzen-mast. When he saw this, Bainbridge wore his
ship to give her another broadside, and then down came her flag for
good. She had received all the battering she could stand. In fact, the
_Constitution_ had lost only 34 men, killed and wounded, while the Java
had lost 150 men. The _Constitution_ was sound and whole; the _Java_ had
only her mainmast left and was full of yawning rents. _Old Ironsides_
had a new feather in her cap.

Like the _Guerriere_, the _Java_ was hurt past help. It was impossible
to take her home; so on the last day of 1812, the torch was put to her
ragged timbers and the flames took hold. Quickly they made their way
through the ruined ship. About three o'clock in the afternoon they
reached her magazine, and with a mighty roar the wreck of the British
ship was torn into fragments. To the bottom went the hull. Only the
broken masts and a few shattered timbers remained afloat.

Such is war: a thing of ruin and desolation. Of that gallant ship, which
two days before had been proudly afloat, only some smoke-stained
fragments were left to tell that she had ever been on the seas, and
death and wounds had come to many of her men.

After her fight with the _Java_ the _Constitution_ had a long, weary
rest. You will remember the _Bon Homme Richard_, a rotten old hulk not
fit for fighting, though she made a very good show when the time for
fighting came. The _Constitution_ was much like her; so rotten in her
timbers that she had to be brought home and rebuilt.

Then she went a-sailing again, under Captain Charles Stewart, as good an
officer as Hull and Bainbridge; but it was more than two years after her
last battle before she had another chance to show what sort of a fighter
she was.

It is a curious fact that some of the hardest fights of this war with
England took place after the war was at an end. The treaty of peace was
signed on Christmas eve, 1814, but the great battle at New Orleans was
fought two weeks afterward. There were no ocean cable then to send word
to the armies that all their killing was no longer needed, since there
was nothing to fight about.

It was worse still for the ships at sea. Nobody then had ever dreamed of
a telegraph without wires to send word out over the waste of waters, or
even of a telegraph with wires. Thus it was that the last battle of the
old _Constitution_ was fought nearly two months after the war was over.

The good old ship was then on the other side of the ocean, and was
sailing along near the island of Madeira, which lies off the coast of
Africa. For a year she had done nothing except to take a few small
prizes, and her stalwart crew were tired of that sort of work. They
wanted a real, big fight, with plenty of glory.

One evening Captain Stewart heard some of the officers talking about
their bad luck, and wishing they could only meet with a fellow of their
own size. They were tired of fishing for minnows when there were whales
to be caught.

"I can tell you this, gentlemen," said the captain, "you will soon get
what you want. Before the sun rises and sets again you will have a good
old-fashioned fight, and it will not be with a single ship, either."

I do not know what the officers said after the captain turned away. Very
likely some of them wondered how he came to be a prophet and could tell
what was going to take place. I doubt very much whether they believed
what he had said.

At any rate, about one o'clock the next day, February 20, 1815, when the
ship was gliding along before a light breeze, a sail was seen far away
in front. An hour later a second sail was made out, close by the first.
And when the _Constitution_ got nearer it was seen that they were both
ships-of-war. It began to look as if Captain Stewart was a good prophet,
after all.

It turned out that the first of these was the small British frigate
_Cyane_. The second was the sloop-of-war _Levant_. Neither was a match
by itself for the _Constitution_, but both together they thought
themselves a very good match.

It was five o'clock before the Yankee ship came up within gunshot. The
two British ships had closed together so as to help one another, and now
they all stripped off their extra sails, as a man takes off his coat and
vest for a fight.

Six o'clock passed before the battle began. Then for fifteen minutes the
three ships hurled their iron balls as fast as the men could load and
fire. By that time the smoke was so thick that they had to stop firing
to find out where the two fighting ships were. The _Constitution_ now
found herself opposite the _Levant_ and poured a broadside into her
hull. Then she sailed backward--a queer thing to do, but Captain Stewart
knew how to move his ship stern foremost--and poured her iron hail into
the _Cyane_. Next she pushed ahead again and pounded the _Levant_ till
that lively little craft turned and ran. It had enough of the
_Constitution's_ iron dumplings to last a while.

This was great sailing and great firing, but Captain Stewart was one of
those seamen who know how to handle a ship, and his men knew how to
handle their guns. There were never better seamen than those of the _Old

The _Levant_ was now out of the way, and there was only the _Cyane_ to
attend to. Captain Stewart attended to her so well that, just forty
minutes after the fight began, her flag came down.

Where, now, was the _Levant_? She had run out of the fight; but she had
a brave captain who did not like to desert his friend, so he turned back
and came gallantly up again.

It was a noble act, but a foolish one. This the British captain found
out when he came once more under the American guns. They were much too
hot for him, and once more he tried to run away. He did not succeed this
time. Captain Stewart was too much in love with him to let him go, and
sent such warm love-letters after him that his flag came gliding down,
as his comrade's had done.

Captain Stewart had shown himself a true prophet. He had met, fought
with, and won two ships of the enemy. No doubt after that his officers
were sure they had a prophet for a captain.

That evening, when the two British captains were in the cabin of the
_Constitution_, a midshipman came down and asked Captain Stewart if the
men could not have their grog.

"Why, didn't they have it?" asked the captain. "It was time for it
before the battle began."

"It was mixed for them, sir," said the midshipman, "but our old men said
they didn't want any 'Dutch courage,' so they emptied the grog-tub into
the lee scuppers."

The Englishmen stared when they heard this. It is very likely their men
had not fought without a double dose of grog.

We have not finished our story yet. Like a lady's letter, it has a
postscript. On March 10, the three ships were in a harbor of the Cape de
Verde Islands, and Captain Stewart was sending his prisoners ashore,
when three large British men-of-war were seen sailing into the harbor.

Stewart was nearly caught in a trap. Any one of these large frigates was
more than a match for the _Constitution_, and here were three in a
bunch. But, by good luck, there was a heavy fog that hid everything but
the highest sails; so there was a chance of escape.

Captain Stewart was not the man to be trapped while a chance was left.
He was what we call a "wide-awake." There was a small chance left. He
cut his cable, made a signal to the prize vessels to do the same, and in
ten minutes after the first British vessel had been seen, the American
ship and its prizes were gliding swiftly away.

On came the British ships against a stiff breeze, up the west side of
the bay. Out slipped the Yankee ships along the east side. Captain
Stewart set no sails higher than his top sails, and these were hidden
by the fog, so the British lookouts saw nothing. They did not dream of
the fine birds that were flying away.

Only when Stewart got his ship past the outer point of the harbor did he
spread his upper sails to the breeze, and the British lookouts saw with
surprise a cloud of canvas suddenly bursting out upon the air.

Now began a close chase. The _Constitution_ and her prizes had only
about a mile the start. As quick as the British ships could turn they
were on their track. But those were not the days of the great guns that
can send huge balls six or seven miles through the air. A mile then was
a long shot for the largest guns, and the Yankee cruisers had made a
fair start.

But before they had gone far Captain Stewart saw that the _Cyane_ was in
danger of being taken, and signaled for her to tack and take another
course. She did so and sailed safely away. For three hours the three big
frigates hotly chased the _Constitution_ and _Levant_, but let the
_Cyane_ go.

Captain Stewart now saw that the _Levant_ was in the same danger, and he
sent her a signal to tack as the _Cyane_ had done. The _Levant_ tacked
and sailed out of the line of the chase.

What was the surprise of the Yankee captain and his men when they saw
all three of the big British ships turn on their heels and set sail
after the little sloop-of-war, letting the _Constitution_ sail away. It
was like three great dogs turning to chase a rabbit and letting a deer
run free.

The three huge monsters chased the little _Levant_ back into the island
port, and there for fifteen minutes they fired broadsides at her. The
prisoners whom Captain Stewart had landed did the same from a battery on
shore. And yet not a shot struck her hull; they were all wasted in the

At length Lieutenant Bullard, who was master of the prize, hauled down
his flag. He thought he had seen enough fun, and they might hurt
somebody afterwhile if they kept on firing. But what was the chagrin of
the British captains to find that all they had done was to take back one
of their own vessels, while the American frigate had gone free.

The _Constitution_ and the _Cyane_ got safely to the American shores,
where their officers learned that the war had ceased more than three
months before. But the country was proud of their good service, and
Congress gave medals of honor to Stewart and his officers.

That was the last warlike service of the gallant _Old Ironsides_, the
most famous ship of the American Navy. Years passed by and her timbers
rotted away, as they had done once before. Some of the wise heads in the
Navy Department, men without a grain of sentiment, decided that she was
no longer of any use and should be broken up for old timber.

But if they had no love for the good old ship, there were those who had;
and a poet, Oliver Wendell Holmes, came to the rescue. This is the poem
by which he saved the ship:


          Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
            Long has it waved on high,
          And many an eye has danced to see
            That banner in the sky;
          Beneath it rung the battle shout,
            And burst the cannon's roar;
          The meteor of the ocean air
            Shall sweep the clouds no more!

          Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
            Where knelt the vanquished foe,
          When winds were hurrying o'er the flood
            And waves were white below,
          No more shall feel the victor's tread
            Or know the conquered knee;
          The harpies of the shore shall pluck
            The eagle of the sea!

          O! better that her shattered hulk
            Should sink beneath the wave;
          Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
            And there should be her grave;
          Nail to the mast her holy flag,
            Set every threadbare sail,
          And give her to the god of storms,
            The lightning and the gale.

There was no talk of destroying the _Old Ironsides_ after that. The man
that did it would have won eternal disgrace. She still floats, and no
doubt she will float, as long as two of her glorious old timbers hang




NO doubt most of my readers know very well what a wasp is and how nicely
it can take care of itself. When I was a boy I found out more than once
how long and sharp a sting it has, and I do not think many boys grow up
without at some time waking up a wasp and wishing they had left it

The United States has had three _Wasps_ and one _Hornet_ in its navy,
and the British boys who came fooling in their way found that all of
them could sting. I will tell you about the time one of our _Wasps_ met
the British _Frolic_ and fought it in a great gale, when the ships were
tossing about like chips on the ocean billows.

Not long after the _Constitution_ had her great fight with the
_Guerriere_, a little sloop-of-war named the _Wasp_ set sail from
Philadelphia to see what she could find on the broad seas. This vessel,
you should know, had three masts and square sails like a ship. But she
was not much larger than one of the sloops we see on our rivers to-day,
so it was right to call her a sloop. For captain she had a bold sailor
named Jacob Jones.

The first thing the _Wasp_ found at sea was a mighty gale of wind, that
blew "great guns" for two days. The waves were so big and fierce that
one of them carried away her bowsprit with two men on it. The next
night, after the wind had gone down a little, lights shone out across
the waves, and when daylight came Captain Jones saw over the heaving
billows six large merchant ships. With them was a watch-dog in the shape
of a fighting brig.

This brig was named the _Frolic_. It had been sent in charge of a fleet
of fourteen merchantmen, but these had been scattered by the gale until
only six were left. The _Frolic_ was a good match for the _Wasp_, and
seemed to want a fight quite as badly, for it sailed for the American
ship as fast as the howling wind would let it. And you may be sure the
_Wasp_ did not fly away.

Captain Jones hoisted his country's flag like a man. He was not afraid
to show his true colors. But the _Frolic_ came up under the Spanish
flag. When they got close together Captain Jones hailed,--

"What ship is that?"

The only answer of the British captain was to pull down the Spanish flag
and run up his own standard, stamped with the red cross of St. George.
And as the one flag went down and the other went up, the _Frolic_ fired
a broadside at the _Wasp_. But just then the British ship rolled over on
the side of a wave, and its balls went whistling upward through the air.
The Yankee gunners were more wide-awake than that. They waited until
their vessel rolled down on the side of a great billow, and then they
fired, their solid shot going low, and tearing into the _Frolic's_

The fighting went that way all through the battle. The British gunners
did not know their business and fired wild. The Yankees knew what they
were about, and made every shot tell. They had sights on their guns and
took aim; the British had no sights and took no aim. That is why the
Americans were victors in so many fights.

But I think there was not often a sea-fight like this. The battle took
place off Cape Hatteras, which is famous for its storms. The wind
whistled and howled; the waves rose into foaming crests and sank into
dark hollows; the fighting craft rolled and pitched. As they rolled
upward the guns pointed at the clouds. As they rolled downward the
muzzles of the guns often dipped into the foam. Great masses of spray
came flying over the bulwarks, sweeping the decks. The weather and the
sailors both had their blood up, and both were fighting for all they
were worth. It was a question which would win, the wind or the men.

As fast as the smoke rose the wind swept it away, so that the gunners
had a clear view of the ships. The roar of the gale was half drowned by
the thunder of the guns, and the whistle of the wind mingled with the
scream of the balls, while the sailors shouted as they ran out their
guns and cheered as the iron hail swept across the waves.

In such frantic haste did the British handle their guns, that they fired
three shots to the Yankees' two. The latter did not fire till they saw
something to fire at. As a result, most of British balls went whistling
overhead, and pitching over the _Wasp_ into the sea, while most of the
Yankee balls swept the decks or bored into the timbers of the _Frolic_.

But you must not think that the shots of the _Frolic_ were all wasted,
if they did go high. One of them hit the maintopmast of the _Wasp_ and
cut it square off. Another hit the mizzen-topgallantmast and toppled it
into the waves. In twenty minutes from the start "every brace and most
of the rigging of the _Wasp_ were shot away." The _Wasp_ had done little
harm above, but a great deal below.

The _Frolic_ could have run away now if she had wanted to. But her
captain was not of the runaway kind. The fire of the _Wasp_ had covered
his deck with blood, but he fought boldly on.

As they fought the two ships drifted together and soon their sides met
with a crash. Then, as they were swept apart by the waves, two of the
_Wasp's_ guns were fired into the bow-ports of the _Frolic_ and swept
her gun-deck from end to end. Terrible was the slaughter done by that
raking fire.

The next minute the bowsprit of the _Frolic_ caught in the rigging of
the _Wasp_, and another torrent of balls was poured into the British
ship. Then the Yankee sailors left their guns and sprang for the enemy's
deck. The captain wanted them to keep firing, but he could not hold them

First of them all was a brawny Jerseyman named Jack Lang, who took his
cutlass between his teeth and clambered like a cat along the bowsprit to
the deck. Others followed, and when they reached the deck of the
_Frolic_ they found Jack Lang standing alone and looking along the
blood-stained deck with staring eyes.

Only four living men were to be seen, and three of these were wounded.
One was the quartermaster at the wheel and the others were officers. Not
another man stood on his feet, but the deck was strewn with the dead,
whose bodies rolled about at every heave of the waves.

When the men came running aft the three officers flung down their swords
to show that they had surrendered, and one of them covered his face
with his hands. It hurt him to give up the good ship. Lieutenant Biddle,
of the _Wasp_, had to haul down the British flag.

Never had there been more terrible slaughter. Of the 110 men on the
_Frolic_ there were not twenty alive and unhurt, while on the _Wasp_
only five were dead and five wounded. The hull of the _Frolic_ was full
of holes and its masts were so cut away that in a few minutes they both

Thus ended one of the most famous of American sea-fights. It was another
lesson that helped to stop the English from singing

          "Britannia rules the waves."

But the little _Wasp_ and her gallant crew did not get the good of their
famous victory. While they were busy repairing damages a sail appeared
above the far horizon. It came on, growing larger and larger, and soon
it was seen to be a big man-of-war.

The game was up with the _Wasp_ and her prize, for the new ship was the
_Poictiers_, a great seventy-four ship-of-the-line. She snapped up the
_Wasp_ and the _Frolic_ and carried them off to the British isle of
Bermuda, where the victors found themselves prisoners.

A few words will finish the story of the _Wasp_. She was taken into the
British navy; but she did not have to fight for her foes, for she went
down at sea without doing anything. So she was saved from the disgrace
of fighting against her country.

Captain Jones and his men were soon exchanged, and Congress voted them a
reward of $25,000 for their gallant fight, while the brave captain was
given the command of the frigate _Macedonian_, which had been captured
from the British. It was Captain Stephen Decatur, the hero of Tripoli,
that captured her, in the good ship _United States_.

Would you like to hear about the other _Wasps_? There were two more of
them, you know. They were good ships, but ill luck came to them all. The
first _Wasp_ did her work in the Revolution, and had to be burned at
Philadelphia to keep her from the British when they took that city. The
second one, as I have just told you, was lost at sea, and so was the
third. You may see that bad luck came to them all.

The third _Wasp_ was, like the second, a sloop-of-war, but she was a
large and heavy one. And though in the end she was lost at sea and
followed the other _Wasp_ to the bottom, she did not do so without
sending some British messengers there in advance.

I will tell you the story of this _Wasp_, and how she used her sting,
but it must be done in few words.

She was built at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and sailed on May 1, 1814,
her captain being Johnston Blakeley; her crew a set of young countrymen
who were so unused to the sea that most of them were seasick for a week.
Their average age was only twenty-three years, so they were little more
than boys. Yet the most of them could hit a deer with a rifle, and they
soon showed they could hit a _Reindeer_ with a cannon. For near the end
of June they came across a British brig named the _Reindeer_, and in
less than twenty minutes had battered her in so lively a fashion that
her flag came down and she was a prize.

The crew of the _Reindeer_ were trained seamen, but they did not know
how to shoot. The Americans were Yankee farmer-lads, yet they shot like
veteran gunners. I am sure you will think so when I tell you that the
British could hardly hit the _Wasp_ at all, though she was less than
sixty yards away. But the Yankees hit the _Reindeer_ so often that she
was cut to pieces and her masts ready to fall. In fact, after she was
captured, she could not be taken into port, but had to be set on fire
and blown to pieces.

But I must say a good word for the gallant captain of the _Reindeer_.
First, a musket ball hit him and went through the calves of both legs,
but he kept on his feet. Then a grape-shot--an iron ball two inches
thick--went through both his thighs. The brave seaman fell, but he rose
to his feet again, drew his sword, and called his men to board the
_Wasp_. He was trying to climb on board when a musket ball went through
his head. "O God!" he cried, and fell dead.

This fight was in the English Channel, where Blakeley was doing what
John Paul Jones had done years before. Two months after the sinking of
the _Reindeer_ the _Wasp_ had another fight. This time there were three
British vessels, the _Avon_, the _Castilian_, and the _Tartarus_, all of
them brig-sloops like the _Reindeer_. These vessels were scattered,
chasing a privateer, and about nine o'clock at night the _Wasp_ came up
with the _Avon_ alone. They hailed each other as ships do when they meet
at sea. Then, when sure they were enemies, they began firing, as ships
do also in time of war. For forty minutes the fight kept up, and then
the _Avon_ had enough. She was riddled as the _Reindeer_ had been. But
the _Wasp_ did not take possession; for before a boat could be sent on
board, the two comrades of the _Avon_ came in sight.

The _Wasp_, after her battle with the _Avon_, could not fight two more,
so she sailed away and left them to attend to their consort. They could
not save her. The _Wasp_ had stung too deeply for that. The water poured
in faster than the men of all three ships could pump it out, and at one
o'clock in the morning down plunged the _Avon's_ bow in the water, up
went her stern in the air, and with a mighty surge she sank to rise no
more. But the gallant _Wasp_ had ended her work. She took some more
prizes, but the sea, to whose depths she had sent the _Reindeer_ and
_Avon_, took her also. She was seen in October, and that was the last
that human eyes ever saw of her.




THE United States navy had its _Hornet_ as well as its _Wasps_. And they
were well named, for they were all able to sting. The captain of the
_Hornet_ was a noble seaman named James Lawrence, who had been a
midshipman in the war with Tripoli. In the War of 1812 he was captain in
succession of the _Vixen_, the _Wasp_, the _Argus_, and the _Hornet_.

The _Hornet_ was a sloop-of-war. I have told you what that means. She
had three masts, and carried square sails like a ship, but she was
called a sloop on account of her size. She had eighteen short guns and
two long ones. The short guns threw thirty-two pound and the long ones
twelve pound balls.

Of course you have not forgotten the fight of the _Constitution_ with
the _Java_. When the _Constitution_ went south to Brazil at that time
the _Hornet_ went with her, but they soon parted.

In one of the harbors of Brazil Captain Lawrence saw a British ship as
big as the _Hornet_. He waited outside for her, but she would not come
out. He had found a coward of a captain, and he locked him up in that
harbor for two months.

Then he got tired and left. Soon after he came across the _Peacock_, a
British man-of-war brig. The _Peacock_ was as large as the _Hornet_ and
its captain was as full of fight as Captain Lawrence. He was the kind of
man that our bold Lawrence was hunting for. When two men feel that way,
a fight is usually not far off. That was the way now. Soon the guns were
booming and the balls were flying.

But the fight was over before the men had time to warm up. The first
guns were fired at 5.25 in the afternoon, and at 5.39 the British flag
came down; so the battle lasted just fourteen minutes. Not many
victories have been won so quickly as that.

But the _Hornet_ acted in a very lively fashion while it lasted. Do you
know how a hornet behaves when a mischievous boy throws a stone at its
nest? Well, that is the way our _Hornet_ did. Only one ball from the
_Peacock_ struck her, and hardly any of her men were hurt. But the
_Peacock_ was bored as full of holes as a pepper-box, and the water
poured in faster than all hands could pump it out. In a very short time
the unlucky _Peacock_ filled and sank. So Captain Lawrence had only the
honor of his victory; old ocean had swallowed up his prize.

But if Captain Lawrence got no prize money, he won great fame. He was
looked on as another Hull or Decatur, and Congress made him captain of
the frigate _Chesapeake_. That was in one way a bad thing for the
gallant Lawrence, for it cost him his life. In another way it was a good
thing, for it made him one of the most famous of American seamen.

I have told you the story of several victories of American ships. I must
now tell you the story of one defeat. But I think you will say it was a
defeat as glorious as a victory. For eight months the little navy of the
young Republic had sailed on seas where British ships were nearly as
thick as apples in an orchard. In that time it had not lost a ship, and
had won more victories than England had done in twenty years. Now it was
to meet with its first defeat.

When Captain Lawrence took command of the _Chesapeake_, that ship lay in
the harbor of Boston. Outside this harbor was the British frigate
_Shannon_, blockading the port.

Now you must know that the American people had grown very proud of their
success on the sea. They had got to think that any little vessel could
whip an English man-of-war. So the Bostonians grew eager for the
_Chesapeake_ to meet the _Shannon_. They were sure it would be brought
in as a prize, and they wanted to hurrah over it.

Poor Lawrence was as eager as the people. He was just the man they
wanted. The _Chesapeake_ had no crew, but he set himself to work, and in
two weeks he filled her up with such men as he could find.

It was a mixed team he got together, the sweepings of the streets. There
were some good men among them, but more poor ones. And they were all new
men to the ship and to the captain. They had not been trained to work
together, and it was madness to fight a first-class British ship with
such a crew. Some, in fact, were mutineers and gave him trouble before
he got out of the harbor.

But the _Shannon_ was a crack ship with a crack crew. Captain Broke had
commanded her for seven years and had a splendidly trained set of men.
He had copied from the Americans and put sights on his guns, had taught
his men to fire at floating marks in the sea, and had trained his topmen
to use their muskets in the same careful way. So when Captain Lawrence
sailed on June 1, 1813, he sailed to defeat and death.

Captain Broke sent a challenge to the _Chesapeake_ to come out and fight
him ship to ship. But Lawrence did not wait for his challenge. He was
too eager for that, and set sail with a crew who did not know their
work, and most of whom had never seen their officers before.

What could be expected of such mad courage as that? It is one thing to
be a brave man; it is another to be a wise one. Of course you will say
that Captain Lawrence was brave; but no one can say he was wise. Poor
fellow, he was simply throwing away his ship and his life.

It was in the morning of June 1 that the _Chesapeake_ left the wharves
of Boston. It was 5.50 in the afternoon that she met the _Shannon_ and
the battle began.

Both ships fired as fast as they could load, but the men of the
_Shannon_ were much better hands at their work, and their balls tore the
American ship in a terrible manner. A musket-ball struck Lawrence in the
leg, but he would not go below. The rigging of the _Chesapeake_ was
badly cut, the men at the wheel were shot, and in ten minutes the two
ships drifted together.

Men on each side now rushed to board the enemy's ship, and there was a
hand-to-hand fight at the bulwarks of the two ships. At this moment
Captain Lawrence was shot through the body and fell with a mortal wound.
He was carried below.

As he lay in great pain he noticed that the firing had almost ceased.
Calling a surgeon's mate to him, he said, "Tell the men to fire faster,
and not give up the ship; the colors shall wave while I live."

Unfortunately, these words were spoken in the moment of defeat. Captain
Broke, followed by a number of his men, had sprung to the deck of the
_Chesapeake_, and a desperate struggle began. The Americans fought
stubbornly, but the fire from the trained men in the _Shannon's_ tops
and the rush of British on board soon gave Broke and his men the
victory. The daring Broke fell with a cut that laid open his skull, but
in a few moments the Americans were driven below.

The _Chesapeake_ was taken in just fifteen minutes, one minute more than
the _Hornet_ had taken to capture the _Peacock_.

The British hauled down the American flag, and then hoisted it again
with a white flag to show their victory. But the sailor who did the
work, by mistake got the white flag under the Stars and Stripes.

When the gunners in the _Shannon_ saw the Yankee flag flying they fired
again, and this time killed and wounded a number of their own men, one
of them being an officer.

[Illustration: "DON'T GIVE UP THE SHIP!"]

The gallant Lawrence never knew that his ship was lost. He lived until
the _Shannon_ reached Halifax with her prize, but he became
delirious, and kept repeating over and over again his last
order--"_Don't give up the ship!_"

With these words he died. With these words his memory has become
immortal. "Don't give up the ship!" is the motto of the American navy,
and will not be forgotten while our great Republic survives. So Captain
Lawrence gained greater renown in defeat than most men have won in

The capture of the _Chesapeake_ was a piece of wonderful good fortune
for the British, to judge by the way they boasted of it. As Captain
Pearson had been made a knight for losing the _Serapis_, so Captain
Broke was made a baronet for taking the _Chesapeake_. A "baronet," you
must know, is a higher title than a "knight," though they both use the
handle of "Sir" to their names.

The work of the _Shannon_ proved--so the British historians said--that,
"if the odds were anything like equal, a British frigate could always
whip an American, and in a hand-to-hand conflict such would invariably
be the case."

Such things are easy to say, when one does not care about telling the
truth. Suppose we give now what a French historian, who believed in
telling the truth, said of this fight,--

"Captain Broke had commanded the _Shannon_ for nearly seven years;
Captain Lawrence had commanded the _Chesapeake_ for but a few days. The
_Shannon_ had cruised for eighteen months on the coast of America; the
_Chesapeake_ was newly out of harbor. The _Shannon_ had a crew long
accustomed to habits of strict obedience; the _Chesapeake_ was manned by
men who had just been engaged in mutiny. The Americans were wrong to
accuse fortune on this occasion. Fortune was not fickle, she was merely

That is about the same as to say that the _Chesapeake_ was given away to
the enemy. After that there were no more ships sent out of port unfit to
fight, merely to please the people. It was a lesson the people needed.

The body of the brave Lawrence was laid on the quarter-deck of the
_Chesapeake_ wrapped in an American flag. It was then placed in a coffin
and taken ashore, where it was met by a regiment of British troops and a
band that played the "Death March in Saul." The sword of the dead hero
lay on his coffin. In the end his body was buried in the cemetery of
Trinity Church, New York. A monument stands to-day over his grave, and
on it are the words:

"Neither the fury of battle, the anguish of a mortal wound, nor the
horrors of approaching death could subdue his gallant spirit. His dying
words were

          'Don't give up the ship!'"




IN the year 1813, when war was going on between England and the United
States, the whole northern part of this country was a vast forest. An
ocean of trees stretched away from the seaside in Maine for a thousand
miles to the west, and ended in the broad prairies of the Mississippi

The chief inhabitants of this grand forest were the moose and the deer,
the wolf and the panther, the wild turkey and the partridge, the red
Indian and the white hunter and trapper. It was a very different country
from what we see to-day, for now its trees are replaced by busy towns
and fertile fields.

But in one way there has been no change. North of the forest lands
spread the Great Lakes, the splendid inland seas of our northern
border; and these were then what they are now, vast plains of water
where all the ships of all the nations might sail.

Along the shores of these mighty lakes fighting was going on; at Detroit
on the west; at Niagara on the east. Soon war-vessels began to be built
and set afloat on the waters of the lakes. And these vessels after a
time came together in fierce conflict. I have now to tell the story of a
famous battle between these lake men-of-war. There was then in our navy
a young man named Oliver Hazard Perry. He was full of the spirit of
fight, but, while others were winning victories on the high seas, he was
given nothing better to do than to command a fleet of gunboats at
Newport, Rhode Island.

Perry became very tired of this. He wanted to be where fighting was
going on, and he kept worrying the Navy Department for some active work.
So at last he was ordered to go to the lakes, with the best men he had,
and get ready to fight the British there. Perry received the order on
February 17, 1813, and before night he and fifty of his men were on
their way west in sleighs; for the ground was covered deep with snow.

The sleighing was good, but the roads were bad and long; and it took him
and his men two weeks to reach Sackett's Harbor, at the north end of
Lake Ontario. From that place he went to Presque Isle, on Lake Erie,
where the fine City of Erie now stands. Then only the seed of a city was
planted there, in a small village, and the forest came down to the lake.

Captain Perry did not go to sleep when he got to the water-side. He was
not one of the sleepy sort. He wanted vessels and he wanted them
quickly. The British had warships on the lake, and Perry did not intend
to let them have it all to themselves.

When he got to Erie he found Captain Dobbins, an old shipbuilder, hard
at work. In the woods around were splendid trees, white and black oak
and chestnut, for planking, and pine for the decks. The axe was busy at
these giants of the forest; and so fast did the men work, that a tree
which was waving in the forest when the sun rose might be cut down and
hewn into ship-timber before the sun set. In that way Perry's fleet grew
like magic out of the forest. While the ships were building, cannon and
stores were brought from Pittsburgh by way of the Allegheny River and
its branches. And Perry went to Niagara River, where he helped capture a
fine brig, called the _Caledonia_, from the British.

Captain Dobbins built two more brigs, one of which Perry named the
_Niagara_. The other he called _Lawrence_, after Captain Lawrence, the
story of whose life and death you have just read.

Have any of you ever heard the story of the man who built a wagon in his
barn and then found it too wide to go out through the door? Perry was in
the same trouble. His new ships were too big to get out into the lake.
There was a bar at the mouth of the river with only four feet of water
on it. That was not deep enough to float his new vessels. And he was in
a hurry to get these in deep water; for he knew the British fleet would
soon be down to try to destroy them.

How would you work to get a six-foot vessel over a four-foot sand bar?
Well, that doesn't matter; all we care for is the way Captain Perry did
it. He took two big scows and put one on each side of the _Lawrence_.
Then he filled them with water till the waves washed over their decks.
When they had sunk so far they were tied fast to the brig and the water
was pumped out of them. As the water went out they rose and lifted the
_Lawrence_ between them until there were several feet of water below her
keel. Now the brig was hauled on the bar until she touched the bottom;
then she was lifted again in the same way. This second time took her out
to deep water. Next, the _Niagara_ was lifted over the bar in the same

The next day the British, who had been taking things very easily, came
sailing down to destroy Perry's ships. But they opened their eyes wide
when they saw them afloat on the lake. They had lost their chance by
wasting their time.

Perry picked up men for his vessels wherever he could get them. The most
of those to be had were landsmen. But he had his fifty good men from
Newport and a hundred were sent him from the coast. Some of these had
been on the _Constitution_ in her great fight with the _Guerriere_.

[Illustration: OLIVER H. PERRY.]

Early in August all was ready, and he set sail. Early in September he
was in Put-in Bay, at the west end of Lake Erie, and here the British
came looking for him and his ships.

Perry was now the commodore of a fleet of nine vessels,--the brigs
_Lawrence_, _Niagara_ and _Caledonia_, five schooners, and one sloop.
Captain Barclay, the British commander, had only six vessels, but some
of them were larger than Perry's. They were the ships _Detroit_ and
_Queen Charlotte_, a large brig, two schooners, and a sloop. Such were
the fleets with which the great battle of Lake Erie was fought.

I know you are getting tired of all this description, and want to get on
to the fighting. You don't like to be kept sailing in quiet waters when
there is a fine storm ahead. Very well, we will go on. But one has to
get his bricks ready before he can build his house.

Well, then, on the 10th of September, 1813, it being a fine summer day,
with the sun shining brightly, Perry and his men sailed out from Put-in
Bay and came in sight of the British fleet over the waters of the lake.

What Captain Perry now did was fine. He hoisted a great blue flag, and
when it unrolled in the wind the men saw on it, in white letters, the
dying words of Captain Lawrence, "Don't give up the ship!" Was not that
a grand signal to give? It must have put great spirit into the men, and
made them feel that they would die like the gallant Lawrence before they
would give up their ships. The men on both fleets were eager to fight,
but the wind kept very light, and they came together slowly. It was near
noon before they got near enough for their long guns to work. Then the
British began to send balls skipping over the water, and soon after the
Americans answered back.

Now came the roar of battle, the flash of guns, the cloud of smoke that
settled down and half hid everything. The Americans came on in a long
line, head on for the British, who awaited their approach. Perry's
flagship, the _Lawrence_, was near the head of the line. It soon plunged
into the very thick of the fight, with only two little schooners to help
it. The wind may have been too light for the rest of the fleet to come
up. We do not know just what kept them back, but at any rate, they
didn't come up, and the _Lawrence_ was left to fight alone.

Never had a vessel been in a worse plight than was the _Lawrence_ for
the next two hours. She was half surrounded by the three large British
vessels, the _Detroit_, the _Queen Charlotte_, and the brig _Hunter_,
all pouring in their fire at once, while she had to fight them all. On
the _Lawrence_ and the two schooners there were only seven long guns
against thirty-six which were pelting Perry's flagship from the British

This was great odds. But overhead there floated the words, "Don't give
up the ship"; so the brave Perry pushed on till he was close to the
_Detroit_, and worked away, for life or death, with all his guns, long
and short.

Oh, what a dreadful time there was on Perry's flagship during those sad
two hours. The great guns roared, the thick smoke rose, the balls tore
through her sides, sending splinters flying like sharp arrows to right
and left. Men fell like leaves blown down by a gale. Blood splashed on
the living and flowed over the dead. The surgeon's mates were kept busy
carrying the wounded below, where the surgeon dressed their wounds.

Captain Perry's little brother, a boy of only thirteen years, was on
the ship, and stood beside him as brave as himself. Two bullets went
through the boy's hat; then a splinter cut through his clothes; still he
did not flinch. Soon after, he was knocked down and the captain grew
pale with fear. But up jumped the boy again. It was only a flying
hammock that had struck him. That little fellow was a true sailor boy,
and had in him plenty of Yankee grit.

I would not, if I could, tell you all the horrors of those two hours. It
is not pleasant reading. The cannon balls even came through the vessel's
sides among the wounded, and killed some of them where they lay. At the
end of the fight the _Lawrence_ was a mere wreck. Her bowsprit and masts
were nearly all cut away, and out of more than a hundred men only
fourteen were unhurt. There was not a gun left that could be worked.

Most men in such a case would have pulled down their flag. But Oliver
Perry had the spirit of Paul Jones, and he did not forget the words on
his flag--"Don't give up the ship."

During those dread two hours the _Niagara_, under Lieutenant Elliott,
had kept out of the fight. Now it came sailing up before a freshening

As soon as Perry saw this fresh ship he made up his mind what to do. He
had a boat lowered with four men in it. His little brother leaped in
after them. Then he stepped aboard with the flag bearing Lawrence's
motto on his shoulder, and was rowed away to the _Niagara_. As soon as
the British saw this little boat on the water, with Perry standing
upright, wrapped in the flag he had fought for so bravely, they turned
all their guns and fired at it. Cannon and musket balls tore the water
round it. It looked as if nothing would save those devoted men from

"Sit down!" cried Perry's men. "We will stop rowing if you don't sit

So Perry sat down, and when a ball came crashing through the side of the
boat he took off his coat and plugged up the hole.

Providence favored him and his men. They reached the _Niagara_ without
being hurt. The British had fired in vain. Perry sprang on board and
ordered the men to raise the flag.

"How goes the day?" asked Lieutenant Elliott.

"Bad enough," said Perry. "Why are the gunboats so far back?"

"I will bring them up," said Elliott.

"Do so," said Perry.

Elliott jumped into the boat which Perry had just left, and rowed away.
Up to the mast-head went the great blue banner with the motto, "Don't
give up the ship." Signals were given for all the vessels to close in on
the enemy, and the _Niagara_ bore down under full sail.

The _Lawrence_ was out of the fight. Rent and torn, with only a handful
of her crew on their feet, and not a gun that could be fired, her day
was done. Her flag was pulled down by the few men left to save
themselves. The British had no time to take possession, for the
_Niagara_ was on them, fresh for the fray, like a new horse in the race.

Right through the British fleet this new ship went. Three of their ships
were on one side of her and two on the other, and all only a few yards
away. As she went her guns spoke out, sweeping their decks and tearing
through their timbers.

The _Lawrence_ had already done her share of work on these vessels, and
this new pounding was more than they could stand. The other American
vessels also were pouring their shot into the foe. Flesh and blood could
not bear this. Men were falling like grass before the scythe. A man
sprang up on the rail of the _Detroit_ and waved a white flag to show
that they had surrendered. The great fight was over. The British had
given up.

Perry announced his victory in words that have become historic: "We have
met the enemy and they are ours."

This famous despatch was written with a pencil on the back of an old
letter, with his hat for a table. It was sent to General Harrison, who
commanded an army nearby. Harrison at once led his cheering soldiers
against the enemy, and gave them one of the worst defeats of the war.

When the news of the victory spread over the country the people were
wild with joy. Congress thanked Perry and voted gold medals to him and
Elliott, and honors or rewards to all the officers and men. But over the
whole country it was thought that Elliott had earned disgrace instead of
a gold medal by keeping so long out of the fight. He said he had only
obeyed orders, but people thought that was a time to break orders.

Perry was made a full captain by Congress. This was then the highest
rank in the navy. But he took no more part in the war. Six years later
he was sent with a squadron to South America, and there he took the
yellow fever and died. Thus passed away one of the most brilliant and
most famous officers of the American navy.




ANY of you who have read much of American history must have often met
with the names of Porter and Farragut. There are no greater names in our
naval history. There was Captain David Porter and his two gallant sons,
all men of fame. And the still more famous Admiral Farragut began his
career under the brave old captain of the War of 1812.

I am going now to tell you about David Porter and the little _Essex_, a
ship whose name the British did not like to hear. And I have spoken of
Farragut from the fact that he began his naval career under Captain

Captain Porter was born in 1780, before the Revolution had ended. His
father was a sea-captain; and when the boy was sixteen years old, he
stood by his father's side on the schooner _Eliza_ and helped to fight
off a British press-gang which wanted to rob it of some of its sailors.
The press-gang was a company of men who seized men wherever they found
them, and dragged them into the British navy, where they were compelled
to serve as sailors or marines. It was a cruel and unjust way of getting
men, and the Americans resisted it wherever they could. In this
particular fight several men were killed and wounded, and the press-gang
thought it best to let the _Eliza_ alone.

When the lad was seventeen he was twice seized by press-men and taken to
serve in the British navy, but both times he escaped. Then he joined the
American navy as a midshipman.

Young Porter soon showed what was in him. In the naval war with France
he was put on a French prize that was full of prisoners who wanted to
seize the ship. For three days Porter helped to watch them, and in all
that time he did not take a minute's sleep.

Afterward, in a pilot-boat, with fifteen men the boy hero attacked a
French privateer with forty men and a barge with thirty men. Porter,
with his brave fifteen, boarded the privateer and fought like a hero.
After more than half its crew were killed and wounded the privateer
surrendered. In this hard fight not one of Porter's men was hurt.

That was only one of the things which young Porter did. When the war
with the pirates of Tripoli began, he was there, and again did some
daring deeds. He was on the _Philadelphia_ when that good ship ran
aground and was taken by the Moors, and he was held a prisoner till the
end of the war. Here you have an outline of the early history of David

When the War of 1812 broke out, he was made captain of the _Essex_. The
_Essex_ was a little frigate that had been built in the Revolution. It
was not fit to fight with the larger British frigates, but with David
Porter on its quarter-deck it was sure to make its mark.

On the _Essex_ with him was a fine little midshipman, only eleven years
old, who had been brought up in the Porter family. His name was David G.
Farragut. I shall have a good story of him to tell you later on, for he
grew up to be one of the bravest and greatest men in the American navy.

On July 2, 1812, only two weeks after war was declared, Porter was off
to sea in the _Essex_, on the hunt for prizes and glory. He got some
prizes, but it was more than a month before he had a chance for glory.
Then he came in sight of a British man-of-war, a sight that pleased him
very much.

Up came the _Essex_, pretending to be a merchant ship and with the
British flag flying. That is one of the tricks which naval officers
play. They think it right to cheat an enemy. The stranger came bowling
down under full sail and fired a gun as a hint for the supposed
merchantman to stop. So the _Essex_ backed her sails and hove to until
the stranger had passed her stern.

Porter was now where he had wanted to get. He had the advantage of the
wind--what sailors call the "weather-gage." So down came the British
flag and up went the Stars and Stripes: and the ports were thrown open,
showing the iron mouths of the guns, ready to bark.

When the English sailors saw this they cheered loudly and ran to their
guns. They fired in their usual hasty fashion, making much noise but
doing no harm. Porter waited till he was ready to do good work, and then
fired a broadside that fairly staggered the British ship.

The Englishman had not bargained for such a salute as this, and now
tried to run away. But the _Essex_ had the wind, and in eight minutes
was alongside. And in those eight minutes her guns were busy as guns
could be. Then down came the British flag. That was the shortest fight
in the war.

The prize was found to be the corvette _Alert_. A corvette is a little
ship with not many guns. She was not nearly strong enough for the
_Essex_, and gave up when only three of her men were wounded. But she
had been shot so full of holes that she already had seven feet of water
in her hold and was in danger of sinking. It kept the men of the _Essex_
busy enough to pump her out and stop up the holes, so that she should
not go to the bottom. Captain Porter did not want to lose his prize. He
came near losing it, and his ship too, in another way, as I have soon to

You must remember that he had taken other prizes and sent them home with
some of his men. So he had a large number of prisoners, some of them
soldiers taken from one of his prizes. There were many more British on
board than there were Americans, and some of them formed a plot to
capture the ship. They might have done it, too, but for the little
midshipman, David Farragut.

This little chap was lying in his hammock, when he saw an Englishman
come along with a pistol in his hand. This was the leader in the plot
who was looking around to see if all was ready for his men to break out
on the Americans.

He came up to the hammock where the boy lay and looked in at him. The
bright young fellow then had his eyes tight shut and seemed to be fast
asleep. After looking a minute the man went away. The instant he was out
of sight up jumped the lad and ran to the captain's cabin. You may be
sure he did not take many words to tell what he had seen.

Captain Porter knew there was no time to be lost. He sprang out of bed
in haste and ran to the deck. Here he gave a loud yell of "Fire! Fire!"

In a minute the men came tumbling up from below like so many rats. They
had been trained what to do in case of a night-fire and every man ran to
his place. Captain Porter had even built fires that sent up volumes of
smoke, so as to make them quick to act and to steady their nerves.

While the cry of fire roused the Americans, it scared the conspirators,
and before they could get back their wits the sailors were on them. It
did not take long to lock them up again. In that way Porter and Farragut
saved their ship.

The time was coming in which he would lose his ship, but the way he lost
it brought him new fame. I must tell you how this came about. When the
_Constitution_ and the _Hornet_, as I have told you in another story,
were in the waters of Brazil, the _Essex_ was sent to join them. You
know what was done there, how the _Constitution_ whipped and sunk the
_Java_, and the _Hornet_ did the same for the _Peacock_.

There was no such luck for the _Essex_, and after his fellow-ships had
gone north Captain Porter went cruising on his own account. In the
Pacific Ocean were dozens of British whalers and other ships. Here was
a fine field for prizes. So he set sail, went round the stormy Cape Horn
in a hurricane, and was soon in the great ocean of the west.

I shall not tell you the whole story of this cruise. The _Essex_ here
was like a hawk among a flock of partridges. She took prize after prize,
until she had about a dozen valuable ships.

When the news of what Porter was doing reached England, there was a sort
of panic. Something must be done with this fellow or he would clear the
Pacific of British trade. So a number of frigates were sent in the hunt
for him. They were to get him in any way they could.

After a long cruise on the broad Pacific, the _Essex_ reached the port
of Valparaiso, on the coast of Chile, in South America. She had with her
one of her prizes, the _Essex Junior_. Here Porter heard that a British
frigate, the _Phoebe_, was looking for him. That pleased him. He wanted
to come across a British war-vessel, so he concluded to wait for her. He
was anxious for something more lively than chasing whaling ships.

He was not there long before the _Phoebe_ came, and with her a small
warship, the _Cherub_.

When the _Phoebe_ came in sight of the _Essex_ it sailed close up. Its
captain had been told that half the American crew were ashore, and very
likely full of Spanish wine. But when he got near he saw the Yankee
sailors at their guns and ready to fight. When he saw this he changed
his mind. He jumped on a gun and said:--

"Captain Hillyar's compliments to Captain Porter, and hopes he is well."

"Very well, I thank you," said Porter. "But I hope you will not come too
near for fear some accident might take place which would be disagreeable
to you."

"I had no intention of coming on board," said Captain Hillyar, when he
saw the look of things on the deck of the _Essex_. "I am sorry I came so
near you."

"Well, you have no business where you are," said Porter. "If you touch a
rope yarn of this ship, I shall board instantly."

With that the _Phoebe_ wore round and went off. It was a neutral port
and there was a good excuse for not fighting, but it was well for
Porter that he was ready.

A few days later he heard that some other British ships were coming from
Valparaiso and he concluded to put to sea. He didn't want to fight a
whole fleet. But the wind treated him badly. As he sailed out a squall
struck the _Essex_ and knocked her maintopmast into the sea. Porter now
ran into a small bay near at hand and dropped anchor close to the shore.

Here was the chance for the _Phoebe_ and the _Cherub_. They could stand
off and hammer the _Essex_ where she could not fire back. They had over
thirty long guns while the _Essex_ had only six, and only three of these
could be used. The rest of her guns were short ones that would not send
a ball far enough to reach the British ships.

The _Essex_ was in a trap. The British began to pour solid iron into her
at the rate of nearly ten pounds to her one. For two hours this was kept
up. There was frightful slaughter on the _Essex_. Her men were falling
like dead leaves, but Porter would not yield.

After this went on for some time there came a change in the wind, and
the _Essex_ spread what sail she had and tried to get nearer. But the
_Phoebe_ would not wait for her, but sailed away and kept pumping balls
into her.

Soon the wind changed again. Now all hope was gone. The American crew
was being murdered and could not get near the British. Porter tried to
run his ship ashore, intending to fight to the last and then blow her

But the treacherous wind shifted again and he could not even reach the
shore. Dead and wounded men lay everywhere. Flames were rising in the
hold. Water was pouring into shot holes. The good ship had fought her
last and it was madness to go on. So at 6.20 o'clock, two and a half
hours after the fight began, her flag came down and the battle was over.

The story of the cruise of the _Essex_ and her great struggle against
odds was written for us by her young midshipman--David Farragut.
President Roosevelt, in his Naval History of the War of 1812, says the
following true words about Captain Porter's brave fight:

"As an exhibition of dogged courage it has never been surpassed since
the time when the Dutch Captain Keasoon, after fighting two long days,
blew up his disabled ship, devoting himself and all his crew to death,
rather than surrender to the hereditary foes of his race." Porter was
the man to do the same thing, but he felt he had no right to send all
his men to death.




THE United States is a country rich in lakes. They might be named by the
thousands. But out of this host of lakes very few are known in history,
and of them all much the most famous is Lake Champlain.

Do you wish to know why? Well, because this lake forms a natural
waterway from Canada down into the States. If you look on a map you will
see that Lake Champlain and Lake George stretch down nearly to the
Hudson River and that their waters flow north into the great St.
Lawrence River. So these lakes make the easiest way to send trade, and
troops as well, down from Canada into New York and New England.

Now just let us take a look back in history. The very first battle in
the north of our country was fought on Lake Champlain. This was in 1609,
when Samuel de Champlain and his Indian friends came down this lake in
canoes to fight with the Iroquois tribes of New York.

Then in 1756 the French and Indians did the same thing. They came in a
fleet of boats and canoes and fought the English on Lake George. Twenty
years afterward there was the fierce fight which General Arnold made on
this lake, of which I have told you. Later on General Burgoyne came down
Lakes Champlain and George with a great army. He never went back again,
for he and his army were taken prisoners by the brave Colonials. But the
last and greatest of all the battles on the lakes was that of 1814. It
is of this I am now about to tell you.

You should know that the British again tried what they had done when
they sent Burgoyne down the lakes. This time it was Sir George Prevost
who was sent, with an army of more than 11,000 men, to conquer New York.
He didn't do it any more than Burgoyne did, for Lieutenant Thomas
MacDonough was in the way. I am going to tell you how the gallant
MacDonough stopped him.

MacDonough was a young man, as Perry was. He had served, as a boy, in
the war with Tripoli. In 1806, when he was only twenty years old, he
gave a Yankee lesson to a British captain who wanted to carry off an
American sailor.

This was at Gibraltar, where British guns were as thick as blackbirds;
but the young lieutenant took the man out of the English boat and then
dared the captain to try to take him back again. The captain blustered;
but he did not try, in spite of all his guns.

In 1813 MacDonough was sent to take care of affairs on Lake Champlain.
No better man could have been sent. He did what Perry had done; he set
himself to build ships and get guns and powder and shot and prepare for
war. The British were building ships, too, for they wanted to be masters
of the lake before they sent their army down. So the sounds of the axe
and saw and hammer came before the sound of cannon on the lake.

MacDonough did not let the grass grow under his feet. When he heard that
the British were building a big frigate, he set to work to build a
brig. The keel was laid on July 29, and she was launched on August
16--only eighteen days! There must have been some lively jumping about
in the wildwoods shipyard just then.

The young commander had no time to waste, for the British were coming.
The great war in Europe with Napoleon was over and England had plenty of
ships and men to spare. A flock of her white-winged frigates came
sailing over the ocean and swarmed like bees along our coast. And an
army of the men who had fought against Napoleon was sent to Canada to
invade New York. It was thought the Yankees could not stand long before
veterans like these.

Down marched the British army and down sailed the British fleet. But
MacDonough was not caught napping. He was ready for the British ships
when they came.


And now, before the battle begins, let us give a few names and figures;
for these are things you must know. The Americans had four vessels and
ten gunboats. The vessels were the ship _Saratoga_, the brig _Eagle_,
the schooner _Ticonderoga_, and the sloop _Preble_. The British had
the frigate _Confiance_, larger than any of the American ships, the brig
_Linnet_, the sloops _Chubb_ and _Finch_, and thirteen gunboats. And the
British were better off for guns and men, though the difference was not
great. Such were the two fleets that came together on a bright Sunday on
September 11, 1814, to see which should be master of Lake Champlain.

The American ships were drawn up across Plattsburg Bay, and up this bay
came the British fleet to attack them, just as Carleton's vessels had
come up to attack Arnold forty years before.

At Plattsburg was the British army, and opposite, across Saranac River,
lay a much smaller force of American regulars and militia. They could
easily see the ships, but they were too busy for that, for the soldiers
were fighting on land while the sailors were fighting on water. Bad work
that for a sunny September Sunday, wasn't it?

MacDonough had stretched his ships in a line across the bay, and had
anchors down at bow and stern, with ropes tied to the anchor chains so
that the ships could be swung round easily. Remember that, for that won
him the battle.

It was still early in the day when the British came sailing up, firing
as soon as they came near enough. These first shots did no harm, but
they did a comical thing. One of them struck a hen-coop on the
_Saratoga_, in which one of the sailors kept a fighting cock. The coop
was knocked to pieces, and into the rigging flew the brave cock,
flapping his wings at the British vessels and crowing defiance to them,
while the sailors laughed and cheered.

But the battle did not fairly begin until the great frigate _Confiance_
came up and dropped anchor a few hundred yards from the _Saratoga_. Then
she blazed away with all the guns on that side of her deck.

This was a terrible broadside, the worst any American ship had felt in
the whole war. Every shot hit the _Saratoga_ and tore through her
timbers, sending splinters flying like hail. So frightful was the shock
that nearly half the crew were thrown to the deck. About forty of them
did not get up again; they were either killed or wounded. A few
broadsides like that would have ended the fight, for it would have left
the _Saratoga_ without men.

On both sides now the cannon roared and the shots flew, but the British
guns were the best and the Americans had the worst of it. The commodore
was knocked down twice. The last time he was hit with the head of a man
that had been shot off and came whirling through the air.

"The commodore is killed!" cried the men; but in a trice he was up
again, and aiming and firing one of his own guns.

This dreadful work went on for two hours. All that time the two biggest
British vessels were pelting the _Saratoga_, and the other American
ships were not helping her much. Red-hot shots were fired, which set her
on fire more than once.

At the end MacDonough had not a single gun left to fire back. It looked
as if all was up with the Americans, all of whose ships were being
battered by the enemy. But Commodore MacDonough was not yet at the end
of his plans. He now cut loose his stern anchor and bade his men pull on
the rope that led to the bow anchor. In a minute the ship began to
swing round. Soon she had a new side turned to the foe. Not a gun had
been fired on this side. When the British captain saw what the Americans
were doing he tried the same thing. But it did not work as well with
him. The _Confiance_ began to swing round, but when she got her stern
turned to the Americans she stuck fast. Pull and haul as they might, the
sailors could not move her another inch.

Here was a splendid chance for the men on the _Saratoga_. They poured
their broadsides into the stern of the _Confiance_ and raked her from
end to end, while her position was a helpless one. The men fled from the
guns. The ship was being torn into splinters. No hope for her was left.
She could not fire a gun. Her captain was dead, but her lieutenant saw
that all was over, and down came her flag.

Then the _Saratoga_ turned on the brig _Linnet_ and served her in the
same fashion.

That ended the battle. The two sloops had surrendered before, the
gunboats were driven away by the _Ticonderoga_, and the hard fight was
done. Once more the Americans were victors. Perry had won one lake.
MacDonough had won another.

And that was not the whole of it. For as soon as the American soldiers
saw the British flag down and the Stars and Stripes still afloat, they
set up a shout that rang back from the Vermont hills.

Sir George Prevost, though he had an army of veterans twice as strong as
the American army of militia, broke camp and sneaked away under cover of
a storm.




WE have so far been reading the story of legal warfare; now let us turn
to that of the wild warfare of the pirate ships. Pirates swarmed during
and after the War of 1812, and the United States had its hands full in
dealing with them. They haunted the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean
Sea, and they went back to their old bad work in the Mediterranean. They
kept our naval leaders busy enough for a number of years.

The first we shall speak of are the Lafittes, the famous sea-rovers of
the Gulf of Mexico. Those men had their hiding places in the lowlands of
Louisiana, where there are reedy streams and grassy islands by the
hundreds, winding in and out in a regular network. From these lurking
places the pirate ships would dash out to capture vessels and then hurry
back to their haunts.

The Lafittes (Jean and Pierre) had a whole fleet of pirate ships, and
were so daring that they walked the streets of New Orleans as if that
city belonged to them, and boldly sold their stolen goods in its marts,
and nobody meddled with them.

But the time came when they were attacked in their haunts and the whole
gang was broken up. This was near the end of the war, when the
government had some ships to spare. After that they helped General
Jackson in the celebrated battle of New Orleans, and fought so well that
they were forgiven and were thanked for their services.

When the War of 1812 was over many of the privateers became pirates. A
privateer, you know, is something like a pirate. He robs one nation,
while a pirate robs all. So hundreds of those men became sea-robbers.

After 1814 the seas of the West Indies were full of pirates. There was
no end of hiding places among the thousand islands of these seas, where
the pirates could bring their prizes and enjoy their wild revels. The
warm airs, the ripe fruits and wild game of those shores made life easy
and pleasant, and prizes were plentiful on the seas.

When the war ended the United States gained a fine trade with the West
Indies. But many of the ships that sailed there did not come home again,
though there were no hurricanes to sink them. And some that did come
home had been chased by ships that spread the rovers' black flag. So it
was plain enough that pirates were at work.

For years they had it their own way, with no one to trouble them. The
government for years let them alone. But in time they grew so daring
that in 1819 a squadron of warships was sent after them, under Commodore
Perry, the hero of Lake Erie. Poor Perry caught the yellow fever and
died, and his ships came home without doing anything.

After that the pirates were let alone for two years. Now-a-days they
would not have been let alone for two weeks, but things went more slowly
then. No doubt the merchants who sent cargoes to sea complained of the
dreadful doings of the pirates, but the government did not trouble
itself much, and the sea-robbers had their own way until 1821.

By that time it was felt that something must be done, and a small fleet
of pirate hunters was sent to the West Indies. It included the famous
sloop-of-war _Hornet_, the one which had fought the _Peacock_, and the
brig _Enterprise_, which Decatur had been captain of in the Moorish war.

The pirates were brave enough when they had only merchant ships to deal
with, but they acted like cowards when they found warships on their
track. They fled in all directions, and many of their ships and barges
were taken. After that they kept quiet for a time, but soon they were at
their old work again.

In 1823 Captain David Porter, he who had fought so well in the _Essex_,
was sent against them. The brave young Farragut was with him. He brought
a number of barges and small vessels, so that he could follow the
sea-robbers into their hiding places.

One of these places was found at Cape Cruz, on Porto Rico. Here the
pirate captain and his men fought like tigers, and the captain's wife
stood by his side and fought as fiercely as he did. After the fight was
over the sailors found a number of caves used by the pirates. In some of
them were great bales of goods, and in others heaps of human bones. All
this told a dreadful story of robbery and murder.

Another fight took place at a haunt of pirates on the coast of Cuba,
where Lieutenant Allen, a navy officer, had been killed the year before
in an attack on the sea-robbers.

Here there were over seventy pirates and only thirty-one Americans. But
the sailors cried "Remember Allen!" and dashed so fiercely at the pirate
vessels, that the cowardly crews jumped overboard and tried to swim
ashore. But the hot-blooded sailors rowed in among them and cut fiercely
with their cutlasses, so that hardly any of them escaped. Their leader,
who was named Diabolito, or "Little Devil," was one of the killed.

In this way the pirate hordes were broken up, after they had robbed and
murdered among the beautiful West India islands for many years. After
that defeat they gave no more trouble. Among the pirates was Jean
Lafitte, one of the Lafitte brothers, of whose doings you have read
above. After the battle of New Orleans he went to Texas, and in time
became a pirate captain again. As late as 1822 his name was the terror
of the Gulf. Then he disappeared and no one knew what had become of him.
He may have died in battle or have gone down in storm.

But the pirates of the West Indies and the Gulf were not the only ones
the United States had to deal with. You have read the story of the
Moorish corsairs and of the fighting at Tripoli. Now I have something
more to tell about them; for when they heard that the United States was
at war with England, they tried their old tricks again, capturing
American sailors and selling them for slaves.

They had their own way until the war was over. Then two squadrons of war
vessels were sent to the Mediterranean, one under Commodore Bainbridge,
who had commanded the _Constitution_ when she fought the _Java_, and the
other under Commodore Decatur, the gallant sailor who had burned the
_Philadelphia_ in the harbor of Tripoli.

Decatur got there first, and it did not take him long to bring the Moors
to their senses. The trouble this time was with Algiers, not with
Tripoli. Algiers was one of the strongest of the Moorish states.

On the 15th of June, 1815, Decatur came in sight of the most powerful of
the Algerine ships, a forty-six gun frigate, the _Mashouda_. Its
commander was Rais Hammida, a fierce and daring fellow, who was called
"the terror of the Mediterranean." He had risen from the lowest to the
highest place in the navy, and had often shown his valor in battle. But
his time for defeat had now come.

When the Moorish admiral found himself amid a whole squadron of American
warships, he set sail with all speed and made a wild dash for Algiers.
But he had faster ships in his track and was soon headed off.

The bold fellow had no chance at all, with half-a-dozen great ships
around him, but he made a fine fight for his life. He did not save
either his ship or his life, for a cannon ball cut him squarely in two;
and when his lieutenant tried to run away, he came across the brig
_Epervier_, which soon settled him. But the _Mashouda_ had made a good
fight against big odds, and deserved praise.

After that another Algerian ship was taken, and then Decatur sailed for
Algiers. When he made signals the captain of the port came out. A
black-bearded, high and mighty fellow he was.

"Where is your navy?" asked Decatur.

"It's all right," said the Algerian, "safe in some friendly port."

"Not all of it, I fancy," said Decatur. "I have your frigate _Mashouda_
and your brig _Estido_, and your admiral Hammida is killed."

"I don't believe it," said the Algerian.

"I can easily prove it," said Decatur, and he sent for the first
lieutenant of the _Mashouda_.

When the captain of the port saw him and heard his story, he changed his
tone. His haughty manner passed away, and he begged that fighting should
cease until a treaty could be made on shore.

"Fighting will not cease until I have the treaty," said Decatur,
sternly; "and a treaty will not be made anywhere but on board my ship."

And so it was. The captain of the port came out next day with authority
to make a treaty. But the captain did not want to return the property
taken from the American ships, saying that it had been scattered among
many hands.

"I can't help that. It must be returned or paid for," said Decatur.

Then the captain did not want to pay $10,000 for a vessel that had been
captured, and he wanted tribute from the United States. He told Decatur
what a great man his master, "Omar the Terrible," was, and asked for a
three hours truce.

"Not a minute," said Decatur. "If your ships appear before the treaty is
signed by the Dey, and the American prisoners are on board my ship, I
shall capture every one of them."

The only concession Decatur would make was to promise to return the
_Mashouda_. But this was to be taken as a gift from the Americans to the
Dey, and as such it must not appear in the treaty. The Algerian, finding
that all his eloquence was wasted on the unyielding Yankee, hurried
ashore with the treaty, arranging to display a white flag in case of its
being signed.

An hour after he left an Algerian man-of-war was seen out to sea, and
the American vessels got ready for action. But before anything was done
the captain of the port came out with a white flag. He brought the
treaty and the prisoners. That ended the trouble with Algiers. When the
ten freed captives reached the deck some knelt down and gave thanks to
God, while others hastened to kiss the American flag.

Then Decatur sailed to Tunis and Tripoli and made their rulers come to
terms. From that day to this no American ship has been troubled by the
corsairs of Barbary.




THERE are victories of peace as well as of war. Of course, you do not
need to be told that. Everybody knows it. And it often takes as much
courage to win these victories as it does those of war. I am going now
to tell you of one of the greatest victories ever won by an American
naval hero, and without firing a gun.

Not far away from the great empire of China lies the island empire of
Japan. Here the map shows us three or four large islands, but there are
many hundreds of small ones, and in and out among them flow the smiling
blue waters of the great Pacific Ocean.

The people of Japan, like the people of China, for a long time did not
like foreigners and did not want anything to do with them. But that was
the fault of the foreigners themselves. For at first these people were
glad to have strangers come among them, and treated them kindly, and let
missionaries land and try to make Christians of them. But the Christian
teachers were not wise; for they interfered with the government as well
as with the faith of the people.

The Japanese soon grew angry at this. In the end they drove all the
strangers away and killed all the Christian converts they could find.
Then laws were made to keep all foreigners out of the country. They let
a Dutch ship come once a year to bring some foreign goods to the seaport
of Nagasaki, but they treated these Dutch traders as if they were of no
account. And thus it continued in Japan for nearly three hundred years.

The Japanese did not care much for the Dutch goods, but they liked to
hear, now and then, what was going on in the world. Once a year they let
some of the Dutch visit the capital, but these had to crawl up to the
emperor on their hands and knees and crawl out backward like crabs. They
must have wanted the Japanese trade badly to do that.

When a vessel happened to be wrecked on the coast of Japan, the sailors
were held as prisoners and there was much trouble to get them off; and
when Japanese were wrecked and sent home, no thanks were given. They
were looked upon as no longer Japanese.

The Russians had seaports in Siberia, which made them near neighbors to
Japan, so they tried to make friends with the Japanese. But the island
people would have nothing to do with them. Captain Golownin, of the
Russian navy, landed on one of the islands; but he was taken prisoner
and kept for a long time and treated cruelly. That was the way things
went in Japan till 1850 had come and passed.

It took the Yankees to do what the Dutch and the Russians had failed in
doing. After the war with Mexico, thousands of Americans went to
California and other parts of the Pacific coast, and trading ships grew
numerous on that great ocean. It was felt to be time that Japan should
be made to open her ports to the commerce of the nations, and the United
States tried to do it.

Captain Matthew Calbraith Perry was selected for this great work.
Captain Perry was a brother of Oliver H. Perry, the hero of Lake Erie.
He was a lieutenant in that war, but he commanded a ship in the war with
the pirates and the Mexican war. In 1852 he was given the command of a
commodore and sent out with a fine squadron to Japan. He took with him a
letter from the President to the Tycoon, or military ruler, of Japan.

On the 8th of July, 1853, the eyes of many of the Japanese opened wide
when they saw four fine vessels sailing grandly up the broad Bay of
Yeddo, where such a sight had never been seen before. As late as 1850
the ruler of Japan had sent word to foreign nations that he would have
nothing to do with them or their people, and now here came these daring

These ships were the steam frigates _Mississippi_ and _Susquehanna_, and
the sailing ships _Saratoga_ and _Plymouth_ of the United States Navy,
under command of Commodore Perry.

Have you ever disturbed an ant-hill, and seen the ants come running out
in great haste to learn what was wrong? It was much like that on the Bay
of Yeddo. Thousands of Japanese gathered on the shores or rowed out on
the bay to gaze at this strange sight. The great steamships, gliding on
without sails, were a wonderful spectacle to them.

As the ships came on, boats put out with flags and carrying men who wore
two swords. This meant that they were of high station. They wanted to
climb into the ships and order the daring commodore to turn around and
go back, but none of them were allowed to set foot on board.

"Our commodore is a great dignitary," they were told. "He cannot meet
small folk like you. He will only speak with one of your great men, who
is his equal."

And so the ropes which were fastened to the ships were cut, and those
who tried to climb on board were driven back, and these two-sworded
people had to row away as they had come.

This made them think that the American commodore must be a very big man
indeed. So a more important man came out; but he was stopped too, and
asked his business. He showed an order for the ships to leave the harbor
at once, but was told that they had come there on business and would not
leave till their business was done.

After some more talk they let this man come on board, but a lieutenant
was sent to talk with him as his equal in rank. He said he was the
vice-governor of the district, and that the law of Japan forbade
foreigners to come to any port but that of Nagasaki, where the Dutch
traders came.

The lieutenant replied that such talk was not respectful; that they had
come with a letter from the President of the United States to the
Emperor of Japan; and that they would deliver it where they were and
nowhere else. And it would be given only to a prince of the highest

Then he was told that the armed boats that were gathering about the ship
must go away. If they did not they would be driven away with cannon.
When the vice-governor heard this he ordered the boats away, and soon
followed them himself. He was told that if the governor did not receive
the letter the ships would go up the bay to Yeddo, the capital, and send
it up to the Emperor in his palace.

The next day the governor of the district came. Two captains were sent
to talk with him. He did not want to receive the letter either, and
tried every way he could to avoid taking it. After some talk he asked
if he might have four days to send and get permission of the Tycoon, who
was the acting but not the real emperor of Japan.

"No," he was told. "Three days will be plenty of time, for Yeddo is not
far off. If the answer does not come then, we will steam up to the city,
and our commodore will go to the Emperor's palace for the answer."

The governor was frightened at this, so he agreed upon the three days
and went ashore.

During those three days the ships were not idle. They sent parties in
boats to survey the bay. All along the shores were villages full of
people, and fishing boats and trading vessels were on the waters by
hundreds. There were forts on shore, but they were poor affairs, with a
few little cannon, and soldiers carrying spears. And canvas was
stretched from tree to tree as if it would keep back cannon-balls. The
sailors laughed when they saw this.

The governor said that they ought not to survey the waters; it was
against the laws of Japan. But they kept at it all the same. The boats
went ten miles up the bay, and the _Mississippi_ steamed after them.
Government boats came out, and signs were made for them to go back; but
they paid no attention to these signs.

When the three days were ended the good news came that the Emperor would
receive the letter. He would send one of his high officers for it. An
answer would be returned through the Dutch or the Chinese. Commodore
Perry said this was an insult, and he would not take an answer from
them, but would come back for it himself.

So, on the 14th of July the President's letter was received. It was
written in the most beautiful manner, on the finest paper, and was in a
golden box of a thousand dollars in value. It asked for a treaty of
commerce between the two countries, and for kind treatment of American

So far none of the Japanese had seen the Commodore, and they thought he
must be a very great man. Now he went ashore with much dignity, with
several hundred officers and men, and with bands playing and cannon
roaring. There were two princes of the empire to receive him, splendidly
dressed in embroidered robes of silk.

The Commodore was carried in a fine sedan-chair, beside which walked two
gigantic negroes, dressed in gorgeous uniform and armed with swords and
pistols. Two other large, handsome negroes carried the golden letter

A beautiful scarlet box was brought by the Japanese to receive this. It
was put in the box with much ceremony, and a receipt was given. Then the
interpreter said:

"Nothing more can be done now. The letter has been received and you must

"I shall come back for the answer," said Commodore Perry.

"With all the ships?"

"Yes, and likely with more."

Not another word was said, and the Commodore rose and returned to the
ship. The next day he sailed up the bay until only eight or ten miles
from the capital. On the 16th, the Japanese officials were glad to see
the foreign ships, with their proud Commodore, sailing away. The visit
had caused them great anxiety and trouble of mind.

Commodore Perry did not come back till February of the next year. Then
he had a larger fleet; nine ships in all. And he went farther up the
bay than before and anchored opposite the village of Yokohama. This
village has now grown into a large city.

The Emperor's answer was ready, but there was much ceremony before it
was delivered. There were several receptions, and at one of these the
presents which Commodore Perry had brought were delivered. These were
fine cloths, firearms, plows, and various other articles. The most
valuable were a small locomotive and a railroad car. These were run in a
circular track that was set up, and the Japanese looked on with wonder.
Also a telegraph wire was set up and operated. This interested the
Japanese more than anything else, but they took care not to show any

In the Emperor's reply, he agreed that the American ships should be
supplied with provisions and water, and that shipwrecked sailors should
be kindly treated. And he also agreed to open to American ships another
port besides that of Nagasaki, where the Dutch were received. The
Commodore was not satisfied with this, and finally two new ports were
opened to American commerce. And the Americans were given much more
freedom to go about than was given to the Dutch or the Chinese. They
refused to be treated like slaves.

When it was all settled and the treaties were exchanged, Commodore Perry
gave an elegant dinner on his flagship to the Japanese princes and
officials. They enjoyed the American food greatly, but what they liked
most was champagne wine, which they had never tasted before. One little
Japanese got so merry with drinking this, that he sprang up and embraced
the Commodore like a brother. Perry bore this with great good-humor.

But just think of the importance of all this! For three centuries the
empire of Japan had been shut like a locked box against the nations. Now
the box was unlocked, and the people of the nations were free to come
and go. For treaties were soon made with other countries, and the island
empire was thrown open to the commerce of the world.




NOW I have a story to tell you about how this country looks after its
citizens abroad. It is not a long story, but it is a good one, and
Americans have been proud of Captain Ingraham ever since his gallant

In 1848 there was a great rebellion in Hungary against Austria. Some
terrible fighting took place and then it was put down with much cruelty
and slaughter. The Austrian government tried to seize all the leaders of
the Hungarian patriots and put them to death, but several of them
escaped to Turkey and took refuge in the City of Smyrna. Among these was
the celebrated Louis Kossuth, and another man named Koszta.

Austria asked Turkey to give these men up, but the Sultan of Turkey
refused to do so. Soon after that Koszta came to the United States, and
there in 1852 he took the first step towards becoming an American
citizen. He was sure that the United States would take care of its
citizens. And he found out that it would.

The next year he had to go back to Smyrna on some business. That was not
a safe place for him. The Austrians hated him as they did all the
Hungarian patriots. They did not ask Turkey again to give him up, but
there was an Austrian warship, the _Huszar_, in the harbor, and a plot
was made to seize Koszta and take him on board this ship. Then he could
easily be carried to Austria and put to death as a rebel.

One day, while Koszta was sitting quietly in the Marina, a public place
in Smyrna, he was seized by a number of Greeks, who had been hired to do
so by the Austrian consul. They bound him with ropes and carried him on
board the _Huszar_.

It looked bad now for poor Koszta, for he was in the hands of his
enemies. It is said that the Archduke John, brother of the Emperor of
Austria, was captain of the ship. By his orders iron fetters were
riveted on the ankles and wrists of Koszta, and he was locked up in the
ship as one who had committed a great crime.

But a piece of great good fortune for the prisoner happened, for the
next day the _St. Louis_, an American sloop-of-war, came sailing into
the harbor. Captain Duncan N. Ingraham, who had been a midshipman in the
War of 1812, was in command.

He was just the man to be there. He was soon told what had taken place,
and that the prisoner claimed to be an American, and he at once sent an
officer to the _Huszar_ and asked if he could see Koszta. He was told
that he might do so.

Captain Ingraham went to the Austrian ship and had an interview with the
prisoner, who told him his story, and said that he had taken the first
step to become a citizen of the United States. He begged the captain to
protect him.

Captain Ingraham was satisfied that Koszta had a just claim to the
protection of the American flag, and asked the Austrians to release him.
They refused to do so, and he then wrote to Mr. Brown, the American
consul at Constantinople and asked him what he should do.

Before he could get an answer a squadron of Austrian warships, six in
number, came gliding into the harbor, and dropped anchor near the
_Huszar_. It looked worse than ever now for poor Koszta, for what could
the little _St. Louis_ do against seven big ships? But Captain Ingraham
did not let that trouble him. In his mind right was stronger than might,
and he was ready to fight ten to one for the honor of his flag.

While he was waiting for an answer from Consul Brown he saw that the
_Huszar_ was getting ready to leave the harbor. Her anchor was drawn up
and her sails were set. Ingraham made up his mind that if the _Huszar_
left, it would have to be over the wreck of the _St. Louis_. He spread
his sails in a hurry and drove his sloop-of-war right in the track of
the Austrian ship. Then he gave orders to his men to make ready for a

When Archduke John saw the gun-ports of the _St. Louis_ open he brought
his ship to a standstill and Captain Ingraham went on board.

"What do you intend to do?" he asked.

"To sail for home," said the Austrian. "Our consul orders us to take our
prisoner to Austria."

"You must pardon me," said Captain Ingraham, "but if you try to leave
this port with that American I shall be compelled to resort to extreme

That was a polite way of saying that Koszta should not be taken away if
he could prevent it.

The Austrian looked at the six ships of his nation that lay near him.
Then he looked at the one American ship. Then a pleasant smile came on
his face.

"I fear I shall have to go on, whether it is to your liking or not," he
said, in a very polite tone.

Captain Ingraham made no answer. He bowed to the Archduke and then
descended into his boat and returned to the _St. Louis_.

"Clear the ship for action!" he ordered. The tars sprang to their
stations, the ports were opened, and the guns thrust out. There was many
a grim face behind them.

The Archduke stared when he saw these black-mouthed guns. He was in the
wrong and he knew it. And he saw that the American meant business. He
could soon settle the little _St. Louis_ with his seven ships. But the
great United States was behind that one ship, and war might be behind
all that.

So the Archduke took the wisest course, turned his ship about, and
sailed back. Then he sent word to Ingraham that he would wait till
Consul Brown's answer came.

The Consul's reply came on July 1. It said that Captain Ingraham had
done just right, and advised him to go on and stand for the honor of his

The daring American now took a bold step. He sent a note to the
Archduke, demanding the release of Koszta. And he said that if the
prisoner was not sent on board the _St. Louis_ by four o'clock the next
afternoon, he would take him from the Austrians by force of arms.

A refusal came back from the Austrian ship. They would not give up their
prisoner, they said. Now it looked like war indeed. Captain Ingraham
waited till eight o'clock the next morning, and then he had his decks
cleared for action and brought his guns to bear on the _Huszar_. The
seven Austrian ships turned their guns on the _St. Louis_. The train was
laid; a spark might set it off.

At ten o'clock an Austrian officer came on board the _St. Louis_. He
began to talk round the subject. Ingraham would not listen to him. It
must be one thing or nothing.

"All I will agree to is to have the man given into the care of the
French consul at Smyrna till you can hear from your government," he
said. "But he must be delivered there or I will take him. I have stated
the time at four o'clock this afternoon."

The Austrian went back. When twelve o'clock came a boat left the
_Huszar_ and was rowed in shore. An hour later the French consul sent
word to Captain Ingraham that Koszta had been put under his charge.
Captain Ingraham had won. Soon after, several of the Austrian ships got
under way and left the harbor. They had tried to scare Captain Ingraham
by a show of force, but they had tried in vain.

When news of the event reached the United States everybody cheered the
spirit of Captain Ingraham. He had given Europe a new idea of what the
rights of an American citizen meant. The diplomats now took up the case
and long letters passed between Vienna and Washington. But in the end
Austria acknowledged that the United States was right, and sent an

As for Koszta, the American flag gave him life and liberty. Since then
American citizenship has been respected everywhere.




THE story I am now going to tell you takes us forward to the beginning
of the great Civil War, that terrible conflict which went on during four
long years between the people of the North and the South. Most of this
war was on land, but there were some mighty battles at sea, and my story
is of one of the greatest of these.

You should know that up to 1860 all ocean battles were fought by ships
with wooden sides, through which a ball from a great gun would often cut
as easily as a knife through a piece of cheese. Some vessels had been
built with iron overcoats, but none of these had met in war. It was not
till March, 1862, that the first battle between ships with iron sides
took place.

The _Constitution_, you may remember, was called the _Old Ironsides_,
but that was only a nickname, for she had wooden sides, and the first
real Ironsides were the _Monitor_ and the _Merrimac_.

Down in Virginia there is a great body of salt water known as Hampton
Roads. The James River runs into it, and so does the Elizabeth River, a
small stream which flows past the old City of Norfolk.

When the Civil War opened there was at Norfolk a fine United States navy
yard, with ships and guns and docks that had cost a great deal of money.
But soon after the war began the United States officers in charge there
ran away in a fright, having first set on fire everything that would
burn. Among the ships there was the old frigate _Merrimac_, which was
being repaired. This was set on fire, and blazed away brightly until it
sank to the bottom and the salt water put out the blaze. That was a very
bad business, for there was enough left of the old _Merrimac_ to make a
great deal of trouble for the United States.

What did the Confederates do but lift the _Merrimac_ out of the mud, and
put her in the dry dock, and cut away the burnt part, and build over
her a sloping roof of timbers two feet thick, until she looked something
like Noah's ark. Then this was covered with iron plates four inches
thick. In that way the first Confederate iron-clad ship was made.

The people at Washington knew all about this ship and were very much
alarmed. No one could tell what dreadful damage it might do if it got
out to sea, and came up Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River to the
national capital. It might be much worse than when the British burnt
Washington in 1814, for Washington was now a larger and finer city.

Something had to be done, and right away, too. It would not do to wait
for a monster like the _Merrimac_. So Captain John Ericsson, a famous
engineer of New York, was ordered to build an iron ship-of-war as fast
as he could. And he started to do so after a queer notion of his own.

That is the way it came about that the two iron ships were being built
at once, one at Norfolk and one at New York. And there was a race
between the builders, for the first one finished would have the best
chance. There was a lively rattle of hammers and tongs at both places,
and it turned out that they were finished and ready for service only a
few days apart.

It was necessary to tell you all this so that you might know how the
great fight came to be fought, and how Washington was saved from the
iron dragon of the South. Now we are done with our story of
ship-building and must go on to the story of battle and ruin.

On the morning of March 8, 1862, the sun came up beautifully over the
broad waters of Hampton Roads. The bright sunbeams lit up the sails of a
row of stately vessels stretched out for miles over the smiling bay.
There were five of these: the steam frigates _St. Lawrence_, _Roanoke_,
and _Minnesota_; the sailing frigate _Congress_; and the sloop-of-war
_Cumberland_. They were all wooden ships, but were some of the best
men-of-war in the United States navy.

All was still and quiet that fine morning. There was nothing to show
that there was any trouble on board those noble ships. But there was
alarm enough, for their captains knew that the _Merrimac_ was finished
and might come at any hour. Very likely some of the officers thought
that they could soon decide matters for this clumsy iron monster. But I
fancy some of them did not sleep well and had bad dreams when they
thought of what might happen.

Just at the hour of noon the lookout on the _Cumberland_ saw a long
black line of smoke coming from the way of Norfolk. Soon three steamers
were seen. One of these did not look like a ship at all, but like a low
black box, from which the smoke puffed up in a thick cloud.

But they knew very well what this odd-looking craft was. It was the
_Merrimac_. It had come out for a trial trip. But it was a new kind of
trial its men were after: the trial by battle.

Down came the iron-clad ship, with her sloping roof black in the
sunlight. Past the _Congress_ she went, both ships firing. But the great
guns of the _Congress_ did no more harm than so many pea-shooters; while
the shot of the _Merrimac_ went clear through the wooden ships, leaving
death in their track.

Then the iron monster headed for the _Cumberland_. That was a terrible
hour for the men on the neat little sloop-of-war. They worked for their
lives, loading and firing, and firing as fast as they could, but not a
shot went through that grim iron wall.

In a few minutes the _Merrimac_ came gliding up and struck the
_Cumberland_ a frightful blow with her iron nose, tearing through the
thick oaken timbers and making a great hole in her side. Then she backed
off and the water rushed in.

In a minute the good ship began to sink, while the _Merrimac_ poured
shot and shell into her wounded ribs.

"Do you surrender?" asked one of the officers of the _Merrimac_.

"Never!" said Lieutenant Morris, who commanded the _Cumberland_. "I'll
sink alongside before I pull down that flag."

He was a true Yankee seaman; one of the "no surrender" kind.

Down, inch by inch, settled the doomed ship. But her men stuck grimly to
their guns, and fired their last shot just as she sank out of sight.
Then all who had not saved themselves in the boats leaped overboard and
swam ashore, but a great many of the dead and wounded went down with the

She sank like a true Yankee hero, with her flag flying, and when she
struck bottom, with only the tops of her masts above water, "Old Glory"
still fluttered proudly in the breeze.

That was the way it went when iron first met wood in naval warfare. The
victor now turned to the _Congress_ and another fierce battle began. But
the wooden ship had no chance. For an hour her men fought bravely, but
her great guns were of no use, and a white flag was raised. She had
surrendered, but the Confederates could not take possession, for there
were batteries on shore that drove them off. So they fired hot shot into
the _Congress_ and soon she was in a blaze.

It was now five o'clock in the afternoon, and the _Merrimac_ steamed
away with the Confederate flag flying in triumph. She had finished her
work for that day. It was a famous trial trip. She would come back the
next and sink the vessels still afloat--if nothing hindered.

For hours that night the _Congress_ blazed like a mighty torch, the
flames lighting up the water and land for miles around. It was after
midnight when the fire reached her magazine and she blew up with a
terrific noise, scattering her timbers far and near. The men on the
_Merrimac_ looked proudly at the burning ship. It was a great triumph
for them. But they saw one thing by her light they did not like so well.
Off towards Fortress Monroe there lay in the water a strange-looking
thing, which had not been there an hour before. What queer low ship was
that? And where had it come from?

The sun rose on the morning of Sunday, March 9, and an hour later the
_Merrimac_ was again under way to finish her work. Not far from where
the _Congress_ had burnt lay the _Minnesota_. She had run aground and
looked like an easy prey. But close beside her was the floating thing
they had observed the night before, the queerest-looking craft that had
ever been seen.

Everybody opened their eyes wide and stared as at a show when they saw
this strange object. They called it "a cheese box on a raft," and that
was a good name for its queer appearance. For the deck was nearly on a
level with the water, and over its centre rose something like a round
iron box. But it had two great guns sticking out of its tough sides.

It was the _Monitor_, the new vessel which Captain Ericsson had built
and sent down to fight the _Merrimac_. But none who saw this little low
thing thought it could stand long before the great Confederate
iron-clad. It looked a little like a slim tiger or leopard before a
great rhinoceros or elephant. The men on the _Merrimac_ did not seem to
think it worth minding, for they came steaming up and began firing at
the _Minnesota_ when they were a mile away.

Then away from the side of the great frigate glided the little
_Monitor_, heading straight for her clumsy antagonist. She looked like
no more than a mouthful for the big ship, and men gazed at her with
dread. She seemed to be going straight to destruction.

But the brave fellows on the _Monitor_ had no such thoughts as that.

"Let her have it," said Captain Worden, when they came near; and one of
the great eleven-inch guns boomed like a volcano. The huge iron ball,
weighing about 175 pounds, struck the plates of the _Merrimac_ with a
thundering crash, splitting and splintering them before it bounded off.
The broadside of the _Merrimac_ boomed back, but the balls glanced away
from the thick round sides of the turret and did not harm.

Then the turret was whirled round like a top, and the gun on the other
side came round and was fired. Again the _Merrimac_ fired back, and the
great battle was on.

For two hours the iron ships fought like two mighty wrestlers of the
seas. Smoke filled the turret so that the men of the _Monitor_ did not
know how to aim their guns. The _Merrimac_ could fire three times to her
one, but not a ball took effect. It was like a battle in a cloud.

"Why are you not firing?" asked Lieutenant Jones of a gun captain.

"Why, powder is getting scarce," he replied, "and I find I can do that
whiffet as much harm by snapping my finger and thumb every three

Then Lieutenant Jones tried to sink the _Monitor_. Five times the great
iron monster came rushing up upon the little Yankee craft, but each time
it glided easily away. But when the _Merrimac_ came up the sixth time
Captain Worden did not try to escape. The _Monitor_ waited for the blow.
Up rushed the _Merrimac_ at full speed and struck her a fierce blow.
But the iron armor did not give way, and the great ship rode up on the
little one's deck till she was lifted several feet.

The little _Monitor_ sank down under the _Merrimac_ till the water
washed across her deck; then she slid lightly out and rose up all right
again, while the _Merrimac_ started a leak in its own bow. At the same
moment one of the _Monitor's_ great guns was fired and the ball struck
the _Merrimac_, breaking the iron plates and bulging in the thick wood

Thus for hour after hour the fight went on. For six hours the iron ships
struggled and fought, but neither ship was much the worse, while nobody
was badly hurt.

The end of the fight came in this way: There was a little pilot-house on
the deck of the _Monitor_, with a slot in its side from which Captain
Worden watched what was going on, so that he could give orders to his
men. Up against this there came a shell that filled the face and eyes of
the captain with grains of powder and splinters of iron, and flung him
down blind and helpless. Blood poured from every pore of his face.

The same shot knocked an iron plate from the top of the pilot-house and
let in the daylight in a flood. When the light came pouring in Captain
Worden, with his blinded eyes, thought something very serious had
happened, and gave orders for the _Monitor_ to draw off to see what
damage was done.

Before she came back the _Merrimac_ was far away. She was leaking badly
and her officers thought it about time to steam away for home.

That was the end of the great battle. Neither side had won the victory,
but it was a famous fight for all that. For it was the first battle of
iron-clad ships in the history of the world. Since then no great warship
has been built without iron sides. Only small vessels are now made all
of wood.

That was the first and last battle of the _Monitor_ and the _Merrimac_.
For a long time they watched each other like two bull-dogs ready for a
fight. But neither came to blows. Then, two months after the great
battle, the _Merrimac_ was set on fire and blown up. The Union forces
were getting near Norfolk and her officers were afraid she would be
taken, so they did what the Union officers had done before.

The _Monitor_ had done her work well, but her time also soon came. Ten
months after the great battle she was sent out to sea, and there she
went to the bottom in a gale. Such was the fate of the pioneer
iron-clads. But they had fought a mighty fight, and had taught the
nations of the world a lesson they would not soon forget.

In that grim deed between the first two iron-clad ships a revolution
took place in naval war. The great frigates, with their long rows of
guns, were soon to be of little more use than floating logs. More than
forty years have passed since then, and now all the great war-vessels
are clad in armor of the hardest steel.




AN old friend of ours is David G. Farragut. We met him, you may
remember, years ago, on the old _Essex_, under Captain Porter, when he
was a boy of only about ten years of age. Young as he was, he did good
work on that fine ship during her cruise in the Pacific and her last
great fight.

When the Civil War began Farragut had got to be quite an old boy. He was
sixty years of age and a captain in the navy. He had been born in the
South and now lived in Virginia, and the Confederates very much wanted
him to fight on their side.

"Not after fighting fifty years for the old flag," he said. "And mind
what I tell you; you fellows will catch much more than you want before
you get through with this business."

And so Farragut reported for duty under the old flag.

Very soon the ships of the government were busy all along the coast,
blockading ports and chasing blockade runners, and fighting wherever
they saw a chance.

One such chance, a big one, came away down South. For there was the
large City of New Orleans, which the British had tried to take nearly
fifty years before; and there was the Mississippi River that led
straight to it. But strong forts had been built along that river and
armed boats were on its waters, and the Yankees of the North might find
it as hard to get there as the British did.

Now I have to speak of another brave man and good seaman, David D.
Porter. He was a son of the captain of the old _Essex_, and a life-long
friend of David G. Farragut.

Porter was sent down to help blockade the Mississippi in the summer of
1861, and while there he found out all about the forts and the ships on
the river. Then he went to Washington and told the Secretary of the Navy
all he had learned, and asked him to send down a fleet to try to
capture the city.

"Where can I find the right man for a big job like that?" asked the

"Captain Farragut is your man," said Porter. "You have him now on
committee work, where a man like him is just wasted, for you have not
half as good a seaman on any of your ships."

And in that way the gallant Farragut was chosen to command the fleet to
be sent to capture the great city of the South. Porter, you see, did not
ask for a command for himself, but for his friend.

When the fleet was got ready it numbered nearly twenty vessels, but most
of them were gunboats, and none of them were very large. The Mississippi
was not the place for very large ships. Farragut chose the sloop-of-war
_Hartford_ for his flagship and sailed merrily away for the mighty
river. He did not forget his friend Porter. For twenty mortar boats were
added to the fleet, and Porter was given command of these.

A mortar, you should know, is a kind of a short cannon made to throw
large shells or balls. It is pointed upward so as to throw them high up
into the air and then let them fall straight down on a fort. Porter's
mortar boats were schooners that carried cannons of this kind.

When Farragut had sailed his fleet into the river, he made ready for the
great fight before him. Of course, he had no iron-clads, for the
_Monitor_ had just fought its great battle and no other iron-clads had
been built. So he stretched iron chains up and down the sides of his
ships to stop cannon balls. Then bags of coal and sand were piled round
the boilers and engines to keep them safe, and nets were hung to catch
flying splinters, which, in a fight at sea, are often worse than

But the most interesting thing done was to the mortar boats. These were
to be anchored down the stream below the forts, and limbs of trees full
of green leaves were tied on their masts, so they could not be told from
the trees on the river-bank. As they went up the river they looked like
a green grove afloat.

Now let us take a look at what the Confederates were doing. They were
not asleep, you may be sure. They had built two strong forts, one on
each side of the river, just where it made a sharp bend. One of these
was named Fort Jackson and the other Fort St. Philip. There were more
than a hundred cannon in these forts, but most of them were small ones.

They had also stretched iron cables across the river, with rafts and
small vessels to hold them up. These were to stop the fleet from going
up the river, and to hold it fast while the forts could pour shot and
shell into it. They had also many steamboats with cannon on them. One of
these, the _Louisiana_, was covered with iron. Another was a ram, called
the _Manassas_. This had a sharp iron beak, to ram and sink other
vessels. And there were great coal barges, filled with fat pine knots.
These were meant for fire-ships. You will learn farther on how these
were to be used.

You may see from this that Farragut had some hard work before him. Even
if he got past the chains and the forts, all his ships might be set on
fire by the fire-ships. But the bold captain was not one of the kind
that mind things like that. Now let us go on to the story of the
terrible river fight, which has long been one of the most famous
battles of the war.

Porter's mortar boats were anchored under the trees on the river-bank,
two miles below the forts. With their green-clad masts they looked like
trees themselves. At ten o'clock in the morning of April 18, 1862, the
first mortar sent its big shell whizzing through the air. And for six
days this was kept up, each of the mortars booming out once every ten
minutes. That made one shot for every half-minute.

Two days after the mortars began, a bold thing was done. The gunboat
_Itasca_ set out in the darkness of the night and managed to get between
the shore and the chain. Then it ran up stream above the chain till it
got a good headway. It now turned round and came down at full speed
before the strong current.

Fort Jackson was firing, and balls were rattling all about the bold
_Itasca_, but she rushed on through them all. Plump against the chain
she came, with a thud that lifted her three feet out of the water. Then
the chain snapped in two and away went the _Itasca_ down stream. The
barrier was broken and the way to New Orleans lay open before the

On the 23d of April Farragut gave his orders to the captains of the
fleet. That night they were to try to pass the forts and fight their way
to New Orleans. At two o'clock in the morning came the welcome order,
"All hands up anchor!" and at three o'clock all was ready for the start.

The night was dark, but on the banks near Fort Jackson there was a
blazing wood fire, that threw its light across the stream. And Porter's
bombs were being fired as fast as the men could drop the balls into
them, so that there was a great arch of fiery shells between the mortar
boats and the forts.

The gunboat _Cayuga_ led the way through the broken barrier. After her
came the _Pensacola_, one of the large vessels. All this time the forts
had kept still, but now they blazed out with all their guns, and the air
was full of the booming of cannon and the screeching of shells from
forts and ships.

Great piles of wood were kindled on the banks, and the fire-ships up
stream were sent blazing down the river as the steam vessels came
rushing up into the fire of the forts. Never had the Mississippi seen so
terrible a night. The blazing wood and flashing guns made it as light
as day, and the roar was like ten thunderstorms.

Soon the _Hartford_ came on, with Farragut on her deck. So thick was the
smoke that she ran aground, and before she could get off a fire-ship
came blazing down against her side, pushed by a tug-boat straight on to
her. In a minute the paint on the ship's side was in a blaze and the
flames shot up half as high as the masts. The men at the guns drew back
from the scorching heat.

"Don't flinch from that blaze, boys," cried Farragut. "Those who don't
do their duty here will find a hotter fire than that."

For a brief time the good ship was in great danger. But a shower of
shells sent the daring tug-boat to the bottom, and the fire-ship floated
away. Then a hose-pipe spurted water on the flames. The fire was put out
and the _Hartford_ was saved.

That was only the beginning of the great battle. From that time on, fire
and flame, boom and roar, death and destruction, were everywhere. The
great shells from the mortars dropped bursting into the forts. The huge
wood piles blazed high on the banks. Ships and forts hurled a frightful
shower of shells at each other. Blazing fire-ships came drifting down.
The foremost boats were fiercely fighting with the Confederate craft.
The hindmost boats were fighting with the forts. The uproar seemed
enough to drive the very moon from the sky.

But soon victory began to hold out her hand to the Union fleet. For all
the ships passed the forts, some of the Confederate vessels were driven
ashore and others fled up stream; and in a little while only three of
them were left, and these were kept safe under the guns of the fort. The
battle had been fought and won, and the triumphant fleet steamed up the
river to New Orleans. The forts were still there, but what could they
do, with Union forces above and below? Four days after the fight they
were surrendered to Porter and his mortar fleet.

There was one final act to the great Mississippi battle. For as
Commander Porter, in his flagship, lay near Fort Jackson, down on him
came the iron-clad _Louisiana_, all in a blaze. But just before she
reached his vessel she blew up; and that was the end of the _Louisiana_
and the fight. The river was open and New Orleans was captured. Thus
ended the greatest naval battle of the Civil War.

Two years and more afterward Farragut fought another great battle. This
was in the Bay of Mobile, then a great place for blockade-runners. These
were swift vessels that brought goods from Europe to the South. The
Union fleet did all it could to stop them, but they could not be stopped
at Mobile from outside, so Farragut was told to fight his way inside the
bay. And that is what he did.

Mobile Bay is like a great bell, thirty miles long and fifteen miles
wide. There are two islands at the mouth, so that the entrance is not
more than a mile wide. And on each of these islands was a strong fort,
which had been built by the government before the war. The Confederates
had taken possession of these forts and had big guns in them.

The first thing to do was to pass the forts. No chain could be put
across the channel here, but there was something worse, for nearly two
hundred torpedoes were planted in the water near the forts. Some of
these were made of beer-kegs and some of tin; and they were planted so
thickly that it was not easy to get in without setting them off. Then,
when the fort and the torpedoes were passed, there were the ships. Three
of these were small gunboats, of not much account. But there was a great
iron-clad ship, the _Tennessee_, which was twice as strong as the
_Merrimac_. It was covered with iron five or six inches thick, and
carried a half-dozen big guns.

Franklin Buchanan, who had been captain of the _Merrimac_, was admiral
of the _Tennessee_.

But Admiral Farragut--he was an admiral now--had his iron-clad vessels,
too. Four monitors like the old _Monitor_ of Hampton Roads, had been
built and sent him, and these, with his wooden vessels, made nearly
twenty ships.

Such was the fleet with which Farragut set out for his second great
victory, early in the morning of August 5, 1864. It was six o'clock when
the ships crossed the bar and headed in for Fort Morgan.

On they went, bravely, firing at the fort. But not a shot came back till
the leading ships were in front of its strong stone walls. Then there
began a terrible roar, and a storm of iron balls poured out at the
ships. If the guns had been well aimed, dreadful work might have been
done, but the balls went screaming through the air and hardly touched a
ship. And the fierce fire from the ships drove many of the men in the
fort from their guns.

But now there is a terrible tale to tell, a tale of death and
destruction, of the sinking of a ship with her captain and nearly all
her crew on board.

This was the monitor _Tecumseh_. It was steered straight out where the
torpedoes lay thick. Suddenly there came a dull roar. The bow of the
iron-clad was lifted like a feather out of the water. Then it sank till
it pointed downward like a boy diving, and the stern was lifted up into
the air. In a second more the good ship went down with a mighty plunge.

But with this there is also one fine story, the story of a gallant man.
This was Captain Craven, of the _Tecumseh_. He and the pilot were in the
pilot-house and both sprang for the opening. But there was room only for
one. The brave captain drew back.

"After you, pilot," he said.

The pilot escaped, but the noble captain, with ninety-two of his men,
sank to the depths.

A boat was sent to pick up the swimmers, with a gallant young ensign, H.
C. Neilds, in charge. Out they rowed where the waters were being torn
and threshed with shot and shell. The ensign was only a boy, but he had
the spirit of a Perry. He saw that his flag was not flying, and he
coolly raised it in the face of the foe, and then sat down to steer.

Brave men were there by the hundreds, but none were braver than their
admiral, their immortal Farragut. The smoke blinded his eyes on deck, so
he climbed to the top of the mainmast, and there, lashed to the rigging,
he went in through the thick of the fire. Shells screeched past him,
great iron balls hustled by his ears, but not a quiver came over his
noble face. He had to be where he could see, he said. Danger did not
count where duty called.

On past the forts went ships and monitors, heedless of torpedoes or of
the fate of the _Tecumseh_. Only one captain showed the white feather.
The _Brooklyn_ held back.

"What is the matter?" screamed Farragut.

"Torpedoes," was the only word that reached his ears.

The gallant admiral then used a strong word. It was not a word to be
used in polite society. But we must remember that battle was raging
about him and he was in a fury.

"Damn the torpedoes!" he cried. "Follow me!"

Straight on the good ship sailed, right for the nest of torpedoes, with
the admiral in the shrouds.

In a minute more the _Hartford_ was among them. They could be heard
striking against her bottom. Their percussion caps snapped, but not one
went off. Their tin cases had rusted and they were spoiled. Only one of
them all went off that dreadful day of battle. That saved many of the

The fort and the torpedoes were passed, but the Confederate ships
remained. It did not take long to settle for the gunboats, but the
iron-clad _Tennessee_ remained. Putting on all steam, this great ship
ran down on the Union fleet. Through the whole line it went and on to
the fort. But it was as slow as a tub and the ships were easily kept out
of its way.

Then, when the men were at breakfast, back again came the _Tennessee_.
They left their coffee and ran to their guns. It was like the old story
of the _Merrimac_ and the wooden ships in Hampton Roads.

But Farragut did not wait to be rammed by the _Tennessee_. If ramming
was to be done he wanted to do it himself. So all the large vessels
steamed head on for the iron-clad, butting her right and left. They hit
one another, too, and the _Hartford_ came near being sunk. Then came the
monitors, as the first _Monitor_ had come against the _Merrimac_. There
were three of these left, but one did the work, the _Chickasaw_. She
clung like a burr to the _Tennessee_, pouring in her great iron balls,
and doing so much damage that soon the great ship was like a floating
hulk. It could not be steered nor its guns fired.

For twenty minutes it stood this dreadful hammering, and then its flag
came down. The battle was won.

"It was the most desperate battle I ever fought since the days of the
old _Essex_," said Farragut.

The figure of the brave admiral in the rigging, fighting his ship amid
a cyclone of shot and shell, made him the hero of the American people.
It was like Dewey on the bridge in Manila Bay in a later war. There was
no rank high enough in the navy to fit the glory he had won, so one was
made for him, the rank of admiral. There was rear-admiral and
vice-admiral, but admiral was new and higher still. Only two men have
held this rank since his day, his good friend and comrade, David D.
Porter, and the brave George Dewey.




OF course you know what a tremendous task the North had before it in the
Civil War. The war between the North and the South was like a battle of
giants. And in this vast contest the navy had to do its share, both out
at sea and on the rivers of the country. One of its big bits of work was
to cut off the left arm of the Confederacy, and leave it only its right
arm to fight with.

By the left arm I mean the three states west of the Mississippi River,
and by the right arm, the eight states east of that great river. To cut
off this left arm the government had to get control of the whole river,
from St. Louis to the Gulf, so that no Confederate troops could cross
the great stream.

You have read how Farragut and Porter began this work, by capturing New
Orleans and all the river below it. And they went far up the river, too.
But in the end such great forts were built at Vicksburg and Port Hudson
and other points that the Confederate government held the river in a
tight grasp.

In this way the Confederacy became master of the Mississippi for a
thousand miles. We are to see now how it was taken from their grasp.

James B. Eads, the engineer who built the great railroad bridge over the
Mississippi at St. Louis, made the first iron-clads for the West. There
were seven of these. They were river steamers, and were covered with
iron, but it was not very thick. Two others were afterward built, making
nine in all.

Each of these boats had thirteen guns, and they did good work in helping
the army to capture two strong Confederate forts in Kentucky. Then they
went down the Mississippi to an island that was called Island No. 10. It
was covered with forts, stretching one after another all along its

A number of mortar boats were brought down and threw shells into the
forts till they were half paved with iron. But all that did no good.
Then Admiral Foote was asked to send one of the boats down past the

That was dreadfully dangerous work, for there were guns enough in them
to sink twenty such boats. But Captain Walke thought he could take his
boat, the _Carondelet_, down, and the admiral told him he might try.

What was the _Carondelet_ like, do you ask? Well, she was a long, wide
boat, with sloping sides and a flat roof, and was covered with iron two
and a half inches thick. Four of her guns peeped out from each side,
while three looked out from the front door, and two from the back door
of the boat.

Captain Walke did not half expect to get through the iron storm from the
forts. To make his boat stronger, extra planks were laid on her deck and
chain cables were drawn tightly across it. Then lumber was heaped
thickly round the boiler and engines, and ropes were wrapped round and
round the pilot-house till they were eighteen inches thick.

After that a barge filled with bales of hay was tied fast to the side
that would catch the fire of the forts. Something was done also to stop
the noise of the steam pipes, for Captain Walke thought he might slip
down at night without being seen or heard.

On the night of April 10, 1862, the boat made its dash down stream. It
started just as a heavy thunderstorm came on. The wind whistled, the
rain poured down in sheets, and the men in the forts hid from the storm.
They were not thinking then of runaway gunboats.

But something nobody had thought of now took place. The blazing wood in
the furnaces set fire to the soot in the chimneys, and in a minute the
boat was like a great flaming torch. As the men in the forts sprang up,
the lightning flashed out on the clouds, and lit up "the gallant little
ship floating past like a phantom."

The gunners did not mind the rain any more. They ran in great haste to
their guns, and soon the batteries were flaming and roaring louder than
the thunder itself.

Fort after fort took it up as the _Carondelet_ slid swiftly past. The
lightning and the blazing smoke-stack showed her plainly to the gunners.
But the bright flashes blinded their eyes so that they could not half
aim their guns. And thus it was that the brave little _Carondelet_ went
under the fire of fifty guns without being harmed.

Soon after that Island No. 10 was given up to the Union forces. Then the
gunboats went farther down the river, and had two hard fights with
Confederate boats, one at Fort Pillow and one at Memphis. Both these
places were captured, and in that way the river was opened all the way
from St. Louis to Vicksburg.

The City of Vicksburg is in the State of Mississippi, about two hundred
miles above New Orleans. Here are high river banks; and these were
covered thick with forts, so that Vicksburg was the strongest place
along the whole stream.

There were also strong forts at Port Hudson, about seventy-five miles
below Vicksburg; and these seventy-five miles were all the Confederates
now held of the great stream. But they held these with a very strong
hand and were not to let go easily.

There were some great events at Vicksburg; and I must tell about a few
of these next.

After New Orleans was taken Farragut took his ships up the river,
running past the forts. He could easily have taken Vicksburg then, if
he had had any soldiers. But he had none, and it took a great army of
soldiers, under General Grant, to capture it a year afterward.

David D. Porter, who had helped Farragut so well in his great fight, was
put in command of the Mississippi fleet. He had a number of iron-clad
boats under him, some of them having iron so thin that they were called

Commodore Porter had plenty to do. Now he sent his boats up through the
Yazoo swamps, then they had a fight on the Arkansas River; and in this
way he was kept busy.

In February, 1863, he sent two of his boats, the _Queen of the West_ and
the _Indianola_, down past the Vicksburg forts. That was an easy run.
There was plenty of firing, but nobody was hurt. But after they got
below they found trouble enough.

First, the _Queen of the West_ ran aground and could not be got off.
Then the _Indianola_ had a hole rammed in her side by a Confederate boat
and went to the bottom. So there wasn't much gained by sending these two
boats down stream.

But a curious thing took place. The Confederates got the _Queen of the
West_ off the mud, and tried to raise the _Indianola_ and stop its

While they were hard at work at this they heard a frightful roar from
the Vicksburg batteries. Looking up stream they saw a big boat coming
down upon them at full speed. When they saw this they put the two big
guns of the _Indianola_ mouth to mouth, fired them into each other to
ruin them, and then ran away. But weren't they vexed afterward when they
learned that the boat that scared them was only a dummy which Porter's
men had sent down the river in a frolic.

After that, the river batteries did not give the ships much trouble.
When the right time came Porter's fleet ran down the river through the
fire of all the forts. One boat caught fire and sank, but all the rest
passed safely through. This was done to help General Grant, who was
marching his army down, to get below Vicksburg.

I suppose all readers of American history know about the great event of
the 4th of July, 1863. On that day Vicksburg was given up to the Union
forces, with all its forts and all its men. Five days afterward Port
Hudson surrendered. Porter and his boats now held the great river
through all its length.

But there is something more to tell about Admiral Porter, who was a
rear-admiral now.

In the spring of 1864 General Banks was sent with an army up the Red
River. He was going to Shreveport, which is about four hundred miles
above where the Red River runs into the Mississippi. Porter went along
with his river fleet to help.

Now, no more need be said about Banks and his army, except that the
whole expedition was only a waste of time, for it did no good; and there
would be nothing to say about Porter and his fleet, if they had not
gotten into a bad scrape which gave them hard work to get out.

The boats went up the river easily enough, but when they tried to come
down they found themselves in a trap. For after they had gone up, the
river began to fall and the water came to be very low.

There are two rapids, or small falls, on this part of the Red River,
which show only at low water. They showed plainly enough now; and there
were twelve of the boats above them, caught fast.

What was to be done? If they tried to run down the falls they would be
smashed into kindling wood. It looked very much as if they would have to
be left for the Confederates, or set on fire and burned.

By good luck there was one man there who knew what to do. He was a
lieutenant-colonel from Wisconsin, named Joseph Baily. He had been a
log-driver before the war and knew what was done when logs got jammed in
a stream.

When he told his plan he was laughed at by some who thought it very
foolish, but Porter told him to go ahead. So, with 2,000 soldiers from
Maine, who knew all about logging, he went into the woods, chopped down
trees, and built a dam below the falls.

The men worked so hard that it took them only eight days to build the
dam; which was wonderfully quick work. A place was left open in the
center, and there four barges loaded with brick were sunk.

When the dam was finished it lifted the water six feet higher, and down
in safety went three of the steamers, while the army shouted and
cheered. But just then two of the sunken barges were carried away, and
the water poured through the break in a flood.

The gunboat _Lexington_ was just ready to start. Admiral Porter stood on
the bank watching.

"Go ahead!" he shouted.

At once the engines were started and the _Lexington_ shot down the
foaming rapid. There were no cheers now; everybody was still.

Down she went, rolling and leaping on the wild waters; but soon she shot
safe into the still pool below. All the other vessels were also safely
taken down.




NOW I am going to tell you about one of the most gallant deeds done in
the navy during the whole Civil War. The man who did it was brave enough
to be made admiral of the fleet, yet he did not get even a gold medal
for his deed. But he is one of our heroes. It is all about an iron-clad
steamer, and how it was sent to rest in the mud of a river-bottom.

The Confederate government had very bad luck with its iron-clads. It was
busy enough building them, but they did not pay for their cost. The
_Merrimac_ did the most harm, but it soon went up in fire and smoke.

Then there were the _Louisiana_ at New Orleans, and the _Tennessee_ at
Mobile. Farragut made short work of them. Two were built at Charleston
which were of little use. The last of them all was the _Albemarle_,
whose story I am about to tell.

The Roanoke River, in North Carolina, was a fine stream for
blockade-runners. There was a long line of ships and gunboats outside,
but in spite of them these swift runaways kept dashing in, loaded with
goods for the people. Poor people! they needed them badly enough, for
they had little of anything except what they could raise in their

But the gunboats kept pushing farther into the river, and gave the
Confederates no end of trouble. So they began to build an iron-clad
which they thought could drive these wooden wasps away.

This iron-clad was a queer ship. Its keel was laid in a cornfield; its
bolts and bars were hammered out in a blacksmith shop. Iron for its
engines was picked up from the scrap heaps of the iron works at
Richmond. Some of the Confederates laughed at it themselves; but they
deserved great credit for building a ship under such difficulties as

It was finished in April, 1864, and nobody laughed at it when they saw
it afloat. It was like the _Merrimac_ in shape, and was covered with
iron four inches thick. They named it the _Albemarle_.

Very soon the _Albemarle_ showed that it was no laughing matter. It sunk
one gunboat and made another run away in great haste. Then it had a
fight with four of them at once and drove one of these lame and limping
away. The others did not come too near. After that it went back to the
town of Plymouth and was tied up at the wharf.

There was another iron-clad being built, and the _Albemarle_ was kept
waiting, so that the two could work together. That was a bad thing for
the _Albemarle_, for she never went out again.

This brings us back to the gallant deed I spoke of, and the gallant
fellow who did the deed. His name was William B. Cushing. He was little
more than a boy, just twenty-one years old, but he did not know what it
meant to be afraid, and he had done so many daring things already that
he had been made a lieutenant.

He wanted to try to destroy the _Albemarle_, and his captain, who knew
how bold a fellow he was, told him to go ahead and do his best.

So on a dark night in October, 1864, brave young Cushing started up the
river in a steam launch, with men and guns. At the bow of this launch
was a long spar, and at the end of this spar was a torpedo holding a
hundred pounds of dynamite. There was a trigger and a cap to set this
off, a string to lower the spar and another to pull the trigger. But it
was a poor affair to send on such an expedition as that.

And this was not the worst. Some of the newspapers had found out what
Cushing was going to do, and printed the whole story. And some of these
newspapers got down South and let out the secret. That is what is called
"newspaper enterprise." It is very good in its right place, but it was a
sort of enterprise that nearly spoiled Cushing's plans.

For the Confederates put lines of sentries along the river, and
stationed a lookout down the stream, and placed a whole regiment of
soldiers near the wharf. And logs were chained fast around the vessel so
that no torpedo spar could reach her. And the men on board were sharply
on the watch. That is what the newspapers did for Lieutenant Cushing.

Of course, the young lieutenant did not know all this, and he felt full
of hope as his boat went up stream without being seen or heard. The
night was very dark and there were no lights on board, and the engines
were new and made no noise.

So he passed the lookout in the river and the sentries on the banks
without an eye seeing him or his boat.

But when he came up to the iron-clad his hopes went down. For there was
the boom of logs so far out that his spar could not reach her.

What was he to do? Should he land at the wharf and take his men on
board, and try to capture her where she lay?

Before he had time to think it was too late for that. A sentry on board
saw the launch and called out:

"Boat ahoy!" There was no answer.

"What boat is that?" Still no answer.

Then came a musket shot, and then a rattle of musketry from the river
bank. A minute after lights flashed out and men came running down the
wharf. The ship's crew tumbled up from below. All was haste and

Almost any man would have given it up for lost and run for safety. But
Cushing was not of that kind. It did not take him a second to decide. He
ran the launch out into the stream, turned her round, and dashed at full
speed straight for the boom.

A storm of bullets came from the deck of the _Albemarle_, but he heeded
them no more than if they had been snowflakes. In a minute the bow of
the launch struck the logs.

They were slippery with river slime and the light boat climbed up on
them, driving them down under the water. Over she went, and slid into
the water inside the boom.

Cushing stood in the bow, with the trigger-string in his hand. He
lowered the torpedo under the hull of the iron-clad, lifted it till he
felt it touch her bottom, and then pulled the string.

There came two loud reports. A hundred-pounder gun was being fired from
the ship's side right over his head. Along with it came a dull roar from
under the water. The dynamite torpedo had gone off, tearing a great
hole in the wooden bottom. In a minute the ill-fated _Albemarle_ began
to sink.

The launch was fast inside the boom, and the wave from her torpedo was
rushing over her, carrying her down.

"Surrender," came a voice from above.

"Never! Swim for your lives, men," cried Cushing, and he sprang into the
flowing stream.

Two or three bullets had gone through his clothing, but he was unhurt,
and swam swiftly away, his men after him.

Only Cushing and one of the men got away. The others were captured,
except one who was drowned. Boats were quickly out, a fire of logs was
made on the wharf, which threw its light far out over the stream, but he
reached the shore unseen, chilled to the bone and completely worn out.

A sentry was pacing on the wall of a fort over his head, men passed
looking for him, but he managed to creep to the swamp nearby and hide in
the mud and reeds.

There he lay till the break of day. Then he crawled on till he got into
a cornfield nearby. Now for the first time he could stand up and walk.
But just as he got to the other side of the field he came face to face
with a man.

Cushing was not afraid. It was a black face. In those days no Union
soldier was afraid of a black face. The slaves would do anything for
"Massa Linkums' sojers." The young lieutenant was almost as black as the
slave after his long crawl through the mud.

Cushing told him who he was, and sent him into the town for news,
waiting in the cornfield for his return. After an hour the messenger
came back. His face was smiling with delight.

"Good news, Massa," he said. "De big iron ship's gone to de bottom suah.
Folks dar say she'll neber git up agin."

"Mighty good," said Cushing. "Now, old man, tell me how I can get back
to the ships."

The negro told him all he could, and with a warm "Good-bye" the fugitive
took to the swamp again. On he went, hour by hour, forcing his way
through the thick bushes and wading in the deep mud. Thus he went on,
mile after mile, until at length, at two o'clock in the afternoon, he
found himself on the banks of a narrow creek.

Here he heard voices and drew back. Looking through the bushes he saw a
party of seven soldiers just landing from a boat. They tied the boat to
the root of a tree and went up a path that led back from the river. Soon
they stopped, sat down, and began to eat their dinner. They could see
their boat from where they sat, but they were too busy eating to think
of that.

Here was Cushing's chance. It was a desperate one, but he was ready to
try anything. He lowered himself quietly into the stream, swam across,
and untied the boat. Then he noiselessly pushed it out and swam with it
down stream. As soon as he was out of sight of the soldiers he climbed
in and rowed away as fast as he could. What the soldiers thought and
said when they missed their boat nobody knows. He did not see them

It was a long journey. The creek was crooked and winding. Night came on
before he reached the river. Then he paddled on till midnight. Ten hours
of hard toil had passed when he saw the dark hull of a gunboat nearby.

"Ship ahoy!" he cried.

"Who goes there?" called the lookout.

"A friend. Take me up."

A boat was lowered and rowed towards him. The officer in it looked with
surprise when he saw a mud-covered man, with scratched and bleeding

"Who are you?" he asked.

"Lieutenant Cushing, or what is left of him."

"Cushing!--and how about the _Albemarle_?"

"She will never trouble Uncle Sam's ships again. She lies in her muddy
grave on the bottom of the Roanoke."

Cheers followed this welcome news, and when the gallant lieutenant was
safe on board the _Valley City_ the cheers grew tenfold.

For Lieutenant Cushing had done a deed which was matched for daring only
once in the history of our navy, and that was when Decatur burned the
_Philadelphia_ in the harbor of Tripoli.




IF you look at a map of the country we dwell in, you will see that it
has a finger pointing south. That finger is called Florida, and it
points to the beautiful island of Cuba, which spreads out there to right
and left across the sea of the South.

The Spaniards in Cuba were very angry when they found the United States
trying to stop the war which they had carried on so mercilessly. They
thought this country had nothing to do with their affairs. And in
Havana, the capital city of the island, riots broke out and Americans
were insulted.

Never before in the history of the United States navy had there been so
terrible a disaster as the sinking of the _Maine_ by a frightful and
deadly explosion in the harbor of Havana, Cuba, on February 15, 1898,
and never was there greater grief and indignation in the United States
than when the story was told.

Do you know what followed this dreadful disaster? But of course you do,
for it seems almost yesterday that the _Maine_ went down with her
slaughtered crew. Everybody said that the Spaniards had done this
terrible deed and Spain should pay for it. We all said so and thought
so, you and I and all true Americans.

Before the loss of the _Maine_ many people thought we ought to go to war
with Spain, and put an end to the cruelty with which the Cubans were
treated. After her loss there were not many who thought we ought not to.
Our people were in a fury. They wanted war, and were eager to have it.

The heads of the government at Washington felt the same way. Many
millions of dollars were voted by Congress, and much of this was spent
in buying ships and hiring and repairing ships, and much more of it in
getting the army ready for war.

For Congress was as full of war-feeling as the people. President
McKinley would have liked to have peace, but he could no more hold back
the people and Congress than a man with an ox-chain could hold back a
locomotive. So it was that, two months after the _Maine_ sank in the mud
of Havana harbor, like a great coffin filled with the dead, war was
declared against Spain.

Now, I wish to tell you how the loss of the _Maine_ was avenged. I am
not going to tell you here all about what our navy did in the war. There
are some good stories to tell about that. But just here we have to think
about the _Maine_ and her murdered men, and have to tell about how one
of her officers paid Spain back for the dreadful deed.

As soon as the telegraph brought word to the fleet at Key West that "War
is declared," the great ships lifted their anchors and sped away, bound
for Cuba, not many miles to the south. And about a month afterward this
great fleet of battleships, and monitors, and cruisers, and gunboats
were in front of the harbor of Santiago, holding fast there Admiral
Cervera and his men, who were in Santiago harbor with the finest
warships owned by Spain.

There were in the American fleet big ships and little ships, strong
ships and weak ships; and one of the smallest of them all was the little
_Gloucester_. This had once been a pleasure yacht, used only for sport.
It was now a gunboat ready for war. It had only a few small guns, but
these were of the "rapid-fire" kind, which could pour out iron balls
almost as fast as hailstones come from the sky in a storm.

And in command of the _Gloucester_ was Lieutenant Wainwright, who had
been night officer of the _Maine_ when that ill-fated ship was blown up
by a Spanish mine. The gallant lieutenant was there to avenge his lost

I shall tell you later about how the Spanish ships dashed out of the
harbor of Santiago on the 3d of July and what happened to them. Just now
you wish to know what Lieutenant Wainwright and the little _Gloucester_
did on that great day, and how Spain was made to pay for the loss of the

As soon as the Spanish ships came out, the _Gloucester_ dashed at them,
like a wasp trying to sting an ox. She steamed right across the mouth of
the harbor until she almost touched one of the great Spanish ships, all
the time firing away like mad at its iron sides.

The brave Wainwright saw two little boats coming out behind these big
ones. These were what are called torpedo-boats.

Do you know what this means? A torpedo-boat is little, but it can dart
through the water with the speed of the wind. And it carries
torpedoes--iron cases filled with dynamite--which it can shoot out
against the great warships. One of these could tear a gaping hole in the
side of a battleship and send it, with all on board, to the bottom. A
torpedo-boat is the rattlesnake of the sea. It is little, but it is

But Lieutenant Wainwright and the men of the _Gloucester_ were not
afraid of the _Furor_ and the _Pluton_, the Spanish torpedo-boats. As
soon as they saw these boats they drove their little vessel toward them
at full speed. The _Gloucester_ came under the fire of one of the
Spanish forts, but she did not mind that any more than if boys were
throwing oyster-shells at her.

Out from her guns came a torrent of balls like water from a pump. But
the water drops were made of iron, and hit hard. The _Furor_ and
_Pluton_ tried to fire back, but their men could not stand that iron
rain. For twenty minutes it kept on, and then all was over with the
torpedo-boats. They tried to run ashore, but down to the bottom they
both went. Of all their men only about two dozen were picked up alive.
The rest sank to the bottom of the bay.

Thus Wainwright and his little yacht avenged the _Maine_, and the
dreadful tragedy in Havana harbor was paid for in Santiago Bay.




GEORGE DEWEY was a Green Mountain boy, a son of the Vermont hills. Many
good stories are told of his schoolboy days, and when he grew up to be a
man everybody that knew him said that he was a fine fellow, who would
make his mark. And they were right about him, though he had to wait a
long time for the chance to show what he would do.

Dewey was sent to the Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, and when the
Civil War began he was a lieutenant in the navy. He was with Farragut on
the Mississippi, and did some gallant deeds on that great river.

When the war with Spain began Dewey was on the Chinese coast with a
squadron of American ships. He had been raised in rank and was
Commodore Dewey then. A commodore, you should know, was next above a
captain and next below an admiral.

Commodore Dewey had four fine ships, the cruisers OLYMPIA, BALTIMORE,
RALEIGH, and BOSTON. He had also two gunboats and a despatch-boat,
making seven in all.

These vessels were at Hong Kong, a British seaport in China. They could
not stay there after war with Spain was declared, for Hong Kong was a
neutral port, and after war begins fighting ships must leave neutral
ports. But Dewey knew where to go, for under the ocean and over the land
there had come to him a telegram from Washington, more than ten thousand
miles away, which said, "Seek the Spanish fleet and capture or destroy
it." Dewey did not waste any time in obeying orders.

He knew where to seek the Spanish fleet. A few hundred miles away to the
east of China lay the fine group of islands called the Philippines,
which then belonged to Spain. In Luzon, the biggest of these islands,
was the fine large City of Manila, the centre of the Spanish power in
the East. So straight across the China Sea Dewey went at all speed
towards this seaport of Spain.

On the morning of Saturday, April 30, 1898, the men on the leading ship
saw land rising in the distance, green and beautiful, and farther away
they beheld the faint blue lines of the mountains of Luzon. Down this
green tropical coast they sped, and when night was near at hand they
came close to the entrance of Manila Bay.

Here there were forts to pass; and the ships were slowed up. Dewey was
ready to fight with ships, but he did not want to fight with forts, so
he waited for darkness to come before going in. He thought that he might
then pass these forts without being seen by the men in them.

They waited until near midnight, steaming slowly along until they came
to the entrance to the bay. The moon was in the sky, but gray clouds hid
its light. They could see the two dark headlands of the harbor's mouth
rising and, between them, a small, low island. On this island were the
forts which they had to pass.

As they came near, all the lights on the ships were put out or hidden,
except a small electric light at the stern of each ship, for the next
one to see and follow.

Steam was put on, and the ships glided swiftly and silently in, like
shadows in the darkness. All was silent in the Spanish forts. The
sentinels seemed fast asleep.

Some of the ships had passed before the Spaniards waked up. Then a
rocket shot up into the air, and there came a deep boom and a flash of
flame. A shell went whizzing through the darkness over the ships and
plunged into the water beyond.

Some shots were fired back, but in a few minutes it was all over and
Dewey's squadron was safe in Manila Bay. The gallant American sailors
had made their way into the lion's den.

The Bay of Manila is a splendid body of water, running many miles into
the land. The City of Manila is about twenty miles from the harbor's
mouth, and the ships had to go far in before its distant lights were
seen, gleaming like faint stars near the earth.

But it was not the city Dewey was after. He was seeking the Spanish
fleet. When the dawn came, and the sun rose behind the city, he saw
sails gleaming in its light. But these were merchant vessels, not the
warships he had come so far to find.

The keen eyes of the commodore soon saw the ships he was after. There
they lay, across the mouth of the little bay of Cavite, south of the
city, a group of ships-of-war, nine or ten in number.

This brings us to the beginning of the great naval battle of the war.
Let us stop now and take a look around. If you had been there I know
what you would have said. You would have said that the Americans were
sure to win, for they had the biggest ships and the best guns. Yes, but
you must remember that the Spaniards were at home, while the Americans
were not; and that makes a great difference. If they had met out on the
open sea Dewey would have had the best of the game. But here were the
Spanish ships drawn up in a line across a narrow passage, with a fort on
the right and a fort on the left, and with dynamite mines under the
water. And they knew all about the distances and soundings and should
have known just how to aim their guns so as to hit a mark at any
distance. All this the Americans knew nothing about.

When we think of this it looks as if Dewey had the worst of the game.
But some of you may say that the battle will tell best which side had
the best and which the worst. Yes, that's true; but we must always study
our players before we begin our game.

George Dewey did not stop long to think and study. He was there to take
his chances. The minute he saw the Spanish ships he went for them as a
football player goes for the line of his opponents.

Forward went the American squadron, with the Stars and Stripes floating
proudly at every mast-head. First of all was the flagship _Olympia_,
with Dewey standing on its bridge. Behind came the other ships in a long

As they swept down in front of the city the great guns of the forts sent
out their balls. Then the batteries on shore began to fire. Then the
Spanish ships joined in. There was a terrible roar. Just in front of the
_Olympia_ two mines exploded, sending tons of water into the air. But
they had been set off too soon, and no harm was done.

All this time the American ships swept grandly on, not firing a gun; and
Dewey stood still on the bridge while shot and shell from the Spanish
guns went hurling past. He was there to see, and danger did not count
just then.

As they drove on an old sea-dog raised the cry, "Remember the _Maine_!"
and in a minute the shout ran through the ship. Still on went the
_Olympia_, like a great mastiff at which curs are barking. At length
Dewey spoke,--

"You may fire when you are ready, Captain Gridley," he said. Captain
Gridley was ready and waiting. In an instant a great eight-inch shell
from the _Olympia_ went screaming through the air.

This was the signal. The _Baltimore_ and the _Boston_ followed, and
before five minutes had passed every ship was pouring shot and shell on
the Spanish squadron and forts. Great guns and small guns, slow-fire
guns and rapid-fire guns, hand guns and machine guns, all boomed and
barked together, and their shot whistled and screamed, until it sounded
like a mighty carnival of death.

Down the Spanish line swept the American ships. Then they turned and
swept back, firing from the other side of the ships. Six times, this
way, they passed the Spanish ships, while the air was full of great iron
balls and dense clouds of smoke floated over all.

You will not ask which side had the best of the battle after I tell you
one thing. The Americans had been trained to aim and fire, and the
Spaniards had not. Here overhead flew a Spanish shell. There another
plunged into the water without reaching a ship. Hardly one of them
reached its mark. Not an American was killed or wounded. A box of powder
went off and hurt a few men, and that was all.

But the Spanish ships were rent and torn like deer when lions get among
them, and their men fell by dozens at a time. It was one of the most
one-sided fights ever seen.

Admiral Montojo, of the Spanish fleet, could not stand this. He started
out with his flagship, named the _Reina Cristina_, straight for the
_Olympia_, which he hoped to cut in two. But as soon as his ship
appeared all the American ships turned their guns on it, and riddled it
with a frightful storm of iron.

The brave Spaniard saw that his ship would be sunk if he went on. He
turned to run back, but as he did so a great eight-inch shell struck his
ship in the stern and went clear through to the bow, scattering death
and destruction on every side. It exploded one of the boilers. It blew
open the deck. It set the ship on fire. White smoke came curling up. The
ship fought on as the fire burned, but she was past hope.

Two torpedo-boats came out, but they could not stand the storm any
better than the _Reina Cristina_. In a few minutes one of them was cut
through and went like a stone to the bottom. The other ran in faster
than she had come out and went ashore.

For two hours this dreadful work went on. Then Dewey thought it was time
to give his men a rest and let them have some breakfast, so he steamed
away. Three of the Spanish ships were burning like so much tinder, and
it was plain that the battle was as good as won.

A little after eleven o'clock the American ships came back fresh as
ever, all of them with the Stars and Stripes afloat. The Spanish flag
was flying too, but nearly every ship was in flames. But the Spaniards
were not whipped yet. They began to fire again, and so for another hour
the fight went on. At the end of that time the guns were silenced, the
flags had gone down, and the battle was won.

That was the end of the most one-sided victory in the history of the
American navy. All the Spanish ships were on fire and had sunk in the
shallow bay. Hundreds of their men were dead or wounded. The American
ships were nearly as good as ever, for hardly a shot had struck them,
and only eight men were slightly hurt. The Spaniards had fired fast
enough, but they had wasted nearly all their shot.

When the people of the United States heard of this great victory they
were wild with delight. Before that very few had heard of George Dewey;
now he was looked on as one of our greatest naval heroes. "Dewey on the
bridge," with shot and shell screaming about him, was as fine a figure
as "Farragut in the shrouds" had once been.

Congress made him a rear-admiral at once, and soon after they made him
an admiral. This is the highest rank in the American navy. Only Farragut
and Porter had borne it before.




SOME of us know what a dark night is and some of us don't. Those who
live in cities, under the glare of the electric light, hardly ever see
real darkness. One must go far into the country, and be out on a cloudy
night, to know what it means to be really in the dark. Or to be out at
sea, with not a light above or below.

It was on such a night that a great black hulk moved like a sable
monster through the waters off the coast of Cuba. This was the night of
June 3, 1898. There was a moon somewhere in the sky, but thick clouds
lay over it and snuffed out its light. And on the vessel not a light was
to be seen and not a sound could be heard. It was like a mighty beast
gliding on its prey.

This vessel was the _Merrimac_, which had carried a load of coal to the
American fleet that lay outside of Santiago de Cuba. Inside the harbor
there were four fine Spanish ships-of-war. But these were like foxes run
into their hole, with the hunters waiting for them outside.

The harbor of Santiago is something like a great, mis-shipen
water-bottle, and the passage into the harbor is like the neck of the
bottle. Now, if you want to keep anything from getting out of a bottle
you drive a cork into its neck. And that is just what the Americans were
trying to do. The _Merrimac_ was the cork with which they wanted to
fasten up the Spanish ships in the water-bottle of Santiago.

The captain of the _Merrimac_ was a young officer named Richard P.
Hobson, who was ready to give his life, if he must, for his country.
Admiral Sampson did not like to send anyone into such terrible danger,
but the daring young man insisted on going, and he had no trouble in
getting seven men to go with him.

Most of the coal had been taken out of the _Merrimac_, but there was
enough left to sink her to the bottom like a stone. And along both
sides there had been placed a row of torpedoes, filled with gunpowder
and with electric wires to set them off when the right time came.

Hobson was to try to take the ship to the right spot, and then to blow
holes in her sides with the torpedoes and sink her across the channel.
Would not he and his men sink with her? Oh, well, they took the chances
on that.

Lieutenant Hobson had a fine plan laid out; but the trouble with fine
plans is that they do not always work in a fine way. He was to go in to
where the channel was very narrow. Then he was to let the anchor fall
and swing the ship round crossways with the rudder. Then he would touch
the button to fire the torpedoes. When that was done they would all jump
overboard and swim to the little boat that was towed astern. They
expected the _Merrimac_ would sink across the channel and thus cork it

That was the plan. Don't you think it was a very good one? I am sure
Lieutenant Hobson and Admiral Sampson thought so, and felt sure they
were going to give the Spaniards a great deal of trouble.

It was about three o'clock when the _Merrimac_ came into the mouth of
the channel. Here it was pitch dark and as still as death. But the
Spaniards were not asleep. They had a small picket-boat in the harbor's
mouth, on the lookout for trouble, and its men saw a deeper darkness
moving through the darkness.

They thought it must be one of the American warships and rowed out and
fired several shots at it. One of these hit the chains of the rudder and
carried them off. That spoiled Hobson's plan of steering across the
channel. You see, as I have just told you, it does not take much to
spoil a good plan.

The alarm was given and the Spaniards in the forts roused up. They
looked out and saw this dark shadow gliding swiftly on through the
gloom. They, too, thought it must be an American battleship, and that
the whole fleet might be coming close behind to attack the ships in the

The guns of Morro Castle and of the shore batteries began to rain their
balls on the _Merrimac_. Then the Spanish ships joined in and fired down
the channel until there was a terrible roar. And as the _Merrimac_ drove
on, a dynamite mine under the water went off behind her, flinging the
water into the air, but not doing her any harm.

The cannonade was fierce and fast, but the darkness and the smoke of the
guns hid the _Merrimac_, and she went on unhurt. Soon the narrow part of
the channel was reached. Then the anchor was dropped to the bottom and
the engines were made to go backward. The helm was set, but the ship did
not turn. Hobson now first learned that the rudder chains were gone and
the ship could not be steered. The little picket-boat had spoiled his
fine plan.

There was only one thing left to do. He touched the electric button. In
a second a dull roar came up from below and the ship pitched and rolled.
A thousand pounds of powder had exploded and blown great jagged holes in
the ship's sides.

Hobson and his men leaped over the side into the water. Those who were
slow about it were flung over by the shock. Down plunged the _Merrimac_
beneath the waves, while loud cheers came from the forts. The Spanish
gunners were glad, for they thought they had sunk a great American


But it does not matter to us what the Spaniards thought. All we want to
know is what became of Lieutenant Hobson and his daring men. Their
little boat had been carried away by a Spanish shot, and they were
swimming in the deep waters without knowing what would be their fate. On
one side was the sea; on the other were the Spaniards: they did not know
which would be the worst.

"I swam away from the ship as soon as I struck the water," said Hobson,
"but I could feel the eddies drawing me backward in spite of all I could
do. That did not last long, however, and as soon as I felt the tugging
cease I turned and struck out for the float, which I could see dimly
bobbing up and down over the sunken hull."

The float he spoke of was a sort of raft which lay on the ship's deck,
with a rope tied to it so as to let it float. The rope pulled one side
of it a little under the water, so that the other side was a little
above the water.

This was a good thing for Hobson and his men, for Spanish boats were
soon rowing out to where the ship had gone down. The eight men got under
the high side of the raft, and held on to it by putting their fingers
through the crevices.

"All night long we stayed there with our noses and mouths barely out of
the water," says Hobson.

They were afraid to speak or move, for fear they would be shot by the
men in the boats. It was that way all night long. Boats kept rowing
about, some of them very close, but nobody thought of looking under the
raft. The water felt warm at first, but after a while it felt cold, and
their fingers ached and their teeth chattered.

One of the men, who thought he could not stand this any longer, left the
raft and started to swim ashore. Hobson had to call him back. He came at
once, but the call was heard on the boats and they rowed swiftly up. But
they did not find the hiding place of the men and rowed away again.

After daylight came Hobson saw a steam-launch approaching from the
ships. There were officers in it, and when it came near he gave it a
hail. His voice seemed to scare the men on board, for they backed off in
great haste.

They were still more surprised when they saw a number of men clamber out
from under the float. The marines in the launch were about to fire, but
the officers would not let them.

Then Hobson swam towards the launch and called out in Spanish:

"Is there an officer on board?"

"Yes," came the reply.

"I have seven men to surrender," said Hobson.

He now swam up and was seized and lifted out of the water. One of the
men who had hold of him was Admiral Cervera, the commander of the
Spanish fleet.

The admiral gave an odd look at the queer kind of fish he had caught.
Hobson had been in the engine-room of the _Merrimac_ and was covered
with oil, coal-dust, and soot. But he wore his officer's belt, and when
he pointed to that the admiral smiled and bade him welcome.

Then the men were taken on board the launch, where they were well
treated. They had come very near death and had escaped.

Of course, you want to read the rest of this story. Well, they were
locked up in Morro Castle. This was a fine old fort on the cliff at the
harbor's mouth, where they could see the great shells come in from the
ships and explode, and see the Spanish gunners fire back.

Admiral Cervera was very kind to them and sent word to Admiral Sampson
that they were safe, and that he would exchange them for Spanish

They were not exchanged until July 7, and by that time Admiral Cervera's
ships had all been destroyed and he was a prisoner himself.




I HAVE told you what Hobson did and what Wainwright did at Santiago. Now
it is time to tell all about what the ships did there; the story of the
great Spanish dash for liberty and its woeful ending.

Santiago is the second city of Cuba. It lies as far to the east as
Havana does to the west, and is on the south of the island, while Havana
is on the north. Like Havana, it has a fine harbor, which is visited by
many ships.

Well, soon after the war with Spain began, our naval captains were in
trouble. They had a riddle given them for which they could not find the
answer. There was a squadron of Spanish warships at sea, and nobody knew
where to look for them. They might fire into the cities along the coast
and do no end of damage. Maybe there was not much danger of this; but
there is nothing sure in war, and it does not take much to scare some

The navy wanted to be on the safe side, so one part of the fleet was put
on the lookout along our coast; and another part, under Commodore
Schley, went around the west end of the island of Cuba; and a third
part, under Admiral Sampson, went to the east. They were all on the hunt
for the Spanish ships, but for days and days nothing of them was to be

After they had looked into this hole and into that hole along the coast,
like sea-dogs hunting a sea-coon, word came that the Spanish ships had
been seen going into Santiago harbor. Then straight for Santiago went
all the fleet, with its captains very glad to have the answer to the

Never before had the United States so splendid a fleet to fight with.
There were five fine battleships, the _Iowa_, the _Indiana_, the
_Massachusetts_, the _Oregon_, and the _Texas_. Then there was the _New
York_, Admiral Sampson's flagship, and the _Brooklyn_, Commodore
Schley's flagship. These were steel-clad cruisers, not so heavy, but
much faster than the battleships. Besides these there were monitors,
and cruisers, and gunboats, and vessels of other kinds, all spread like
a net around the mouth of the harbor, ready to catch any big fish that
might swim out. Do you not think that was a pretty big crowd of ships to
deal with the Spanish squadron, which had only four cruisers and two

But then, you know, the insider sometimes has a better chance than the
outsider. It is not easy to keep such a crowd of vessels together out at
sea. They run out of coal, or get out of order, or something else
happens. If the insider keeps his eyes wide open and waits long enough
his chance will come.

Admiral Cervera, the Spanish commander, was in a very tight place.
Outside lay the American ships, and inside was the American army, which
kept pushing ahead and was likely to take Santiago in a few days. If he
waited he might be caught like a rat in a trap. And if he came outside
he might be caught like a fish in a net. He thought it all over and he
made up his mind that it was better to be a fish than a rat, so he
decided to come out of the harbor.

He waited till the 3d of July. On that day there were only five of the
big ships outside--four of the battleships and the cruiser _Brooklyn_.
And two of the battleships were a little out of order and were being
made right. Admiral Sampson had gone up the coast with the _New York_
for a talk with the army general, so he was out of the way.

No doubt the Spanish lookouts saw all this and told their admiral what
they had seen. So, on that Sunday morning, with every vessel under full
steam, the Spaniards raised their anchors and started on their last

Now let us take a look at the big ships outside. On these everybody was
keeping Sunday. The officers had put on their best Sunday clothes, and
the men were lying or lounging idly about the deck. Of course, there
were lookouts aloft. Great ships like these always have their lookouts.
A war-vessel never quite goes to sleep. It always keeps one eye open.
This Sunday morning the lookouts saw smoke coming up the harbor, but
likely enough they thought that the Spaniards were frying fish for their
Sunday breakfast.


And so the hours went on until it was about half-past nine. Then an
officer on the _Brooklyn_ called to the lookout aloft:

"Isn't that smoke moving?"

The answer came back with a yell that made everybody jump:

"There's a big ship coming out of the harbor!"

In a second the groups of officers and men were on their feet and
wide-awake. The Spaniards were coming! Nobody now wanted to be at home
or to go a-fishing. There were bigger fish coming into their net.

"Clear the ship for action!" cried Commodore Schley.

From every part of the ship the men rushed to their quarters. Far down
below the stokers began to shovel coal like mad into the furnaces. In
the turrets the gun-crews hurried to get their guns ready. The news
spread like lightning, and the men made ready like magic for the
terrible work before them.

It was the same on all the ships as on the _Brooklyn_, for all of them
saw the Spaniards coming. Down past the wreck of the _Merrimac_ sped
Cervera's ships, and headed for the open sea. First came the _Maria
Teresa_, the admiral's flagship. Then came the _Vizcaya_, the
_Oquendo_, and the _Cristobal Colon_, and after them the two

"Full speed ahead! Open fire!" roared the commodore from the bridge of
the _Brooklyn_, and in a second there came a great roar and a huge iron
globe went screaming towards the Spanish ships.

It was the same on the other ships. Five minutes before they had been
swinging lazily on the long rolling waves, everybody at rest. Now clouds
of black smoke came pouring from their funnels, every man was at his
post, every gun ready for action, and the great ships were beginning to
move through the water at the full power of the engines. And from every
one of them came flashes as of lightning, and roars as of thunder, and
huge shells went whirling through the air toward the Spanish ships.

Out of the channel they dashed, four noble ships, and turned to the west
along the coast. Only the _Brooklyn_ was on that side of the harbor, and
for ten minutes three of the Spanish ships poured at her a terrible

But soon the _Oregon_, the _Indiana_, the _Iowa_, and the _Texas_ came
rapidly up, and the Spanish gunners had new game to fire at.

You might suppose that the huge iron shells, whirling through the air,
and bursting with a frightful roar, would tear and rend the ships as
though they were made of paper.

But just think how it was at Manila, where the Spaniards fired at the
sea and the sky, and the Americans fired at the Spanish ships. It was
the same here at Santiago. The Spaniards went wild with their guns and
wasted their balls, while the Americans made nearly every shot tell.

It was a dreadful tragedy for Spain that day on the Cuban coast. The
splendid ships which came out of the harbor so stately and trim, soon
looked like ragged wrecks. In less than half an hour two of them were
ashore and in a fierce blaze, and the two others were flying for life.
The first to yield was the _Maria Teresa_, the flagship of the admiral.
One shell from the _Brooklyn_ burst in her cabin and in a second it was
in flames. One from the _Texas_ burst in the engine-room and broke the
steam-pipe. Some burst on the deck; some riddled the hull; death and
terror were everywhere.

The men were driven from the guns, the flames rose higher, the water
poured in through the shot holes, and there was nobody to work the
pumps. All was lost, and the ship was run ashore and her flag pulled

In very few minutes the _Oquendo_ followed the flagship ashore, both of
them looking like great blazing torches. The shells from the great guns
had torn her terribly, many of her crew had been killed, and those who
were left had to run her ashore to keep her from going to the bottom of
the sea.

In half an hour, as you may see, two of the Spanish ships had been half
torn to pieces and driven ashore, and only two were still afloat. These
were the _Vizcaya_ and the _Cristobal Colon_. When the _Maine_ was sent
to Havana, before the beginning of the war, a Spanish warship was sent
to New York. This was the _Vizcaya_. She was a trim and handsome ship
and her officers had a hearty welcome.

It was a different sort of welcome she now got. The _Brooklyn_ and the
_Oregon_ were after her and her last day had come. So hot was the fire
that her men were driven from their guns and flames began to appear.

Then she, too, was run ashore and her flag was hauled down. It was just
an hour after the chase began and she had gone twenty miles down the
coast. Now she lay blazing redly on the shallow shore and in the night
she blew up. It was a terrible business, the ruin of those three fine

There was one more Spanish ship, the _Cristobal Colon_. (This is the
Spanish for Christopher Columbus.) She was the fastest of them all, and
for a time it looked as if Spain might save one of her ships.

But there were bloodhounds on her track, the _Brooklyn_, six miles
behind, and the _Oregon_, more than seven miles away.

Swiftly onward fled the deer, and swiftly onward followed the
war-hounds. Mile by mile they gained on the chase. About one o'clock,
when she was four miles away, the _Oregon_ sent a huge shell whizzing
from one of her great 13-inch guns. It struck the water just behind the
_Colon_; but another that followed struck the water ahead.

Then the _Brooklyn_ tried her eight-inch guns, and sent a shell through
the _Colon's_ side, above her belt of steel. For twenty minutes this
was kept up. The _Colon_ was being served like her consorts. At the end
of that time her flag was pulled down and the last of the Spanish ships
ran ashore. She had made a flight for life of nearly fifty miles.

This, you see, is not the story of a sea-fight; it is the story of a
sea-chase. Much has been said about who won the honor at Santiago, but I
think any of you could tell that in a few words. It was the men who ran
the engines and who aimed the guns that won the game. The commanders did
nothing but run after the runaway Spaniards, and there is no great honor
in that. What else was there for them to do? They could not run the
other way.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 45, "Quileron" changed to "Quiberon" (fleet at Quiberon Bay)

Page 119, "one" changed to "on" (set it on fire)

Page 123, "scimetar" changed to "scimitar" (scimitar and aimed a)

Page 132, "breadth" changed to "breath" (hardly a breath)

Page 148, "a" changed to "to" (how to handle)

Page 172, "know" changed to "knew" (Lawrence never knew)

Page 204, "McDonough's" changed to "MacDonough's" (MacDonough's Victory)

Page 206, "Afew" changed to "A few" (A few broadsides like)

Page 207, "shot" changed to "shots" (Red-hot shots were)

Page 242, "necesary" changed to "necessary" (was necessary to tell)

Page 261, "torpedos" changed to "torpedoes" (hundred torpedoes were)

Page 296, "and, and" changed to "and" (and, between them, a small)

Page 311, "rom" changed to "room" (the engine-room of the)

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