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HMS SHANNON commencing battle with the CHESAPEAKE

Date: 1828
Overall: 395 x 476 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00004360
Place Manufactured:Halifax

User Terms

    Lithograph dated 1828 of HMS SHANNON commencing battle with the American frigate CHESAPEAKE on 1 June 1813. The SHANNON defeated the CHESAPEAKE in a singularly bloody battle during the War of 1812 between Great Britain and the United States.
    SignificanceThis lithograph is significant in representing the battle between the HMS SHANNON and USS CHESAPEAKE in 1813, one of the bloodiest single ship battles in the age of sail.
    HistoryHMS SHANNON, built by Josiah and Thomas Brindley at Kent and launched on 5 May 1806, was a 38-gun Leda class frigate, one of the largest frigates built by the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. SHANNON spent the first 5 years of its career serving in the Napoleonic Wars by patrolling French ports and taking part in Sir Samuel Hood's expedition against Madeira following the French invasion of Portugal. In 1811 HMS SHANNON was ordered to sail for North America as tensions between Britain and the United States escalated over trade restrictions imposed by Britain and an American desire for expansion into the Northwest. This tension eventually culminated in the War of 1812. Under the command of Captain Philip Broke SHANNON captured a privateer schooner WILY REYNARD on 11 October 1812 and on 31 October captured the American privateer brig THORN. In 1813 Captain Broke, eager to defeat one of the American super frigates, issued a challenge to the USS CHESAPEAKE to engage in single ship combat.

    The USS CHESAPEAKE was a three masted heavy frigate built by Josiah Fox and launched at Gosport Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia on 2 December 1799. It was one of six frigates whose construction was authorised by the United States Naval Act of 1794. CHESAPEAKE'S career began with service in the First Barbary War (1801-1805), a war between the United States and the Barbary States of Morocco, Tripoli and Algiers. On 22 June 1807 the CHESAPEAKE was fired upon by the British vessel HMS LEOPARD for refusing to comply with a search for deserters. At the beginning of the War of 1812, CHESAPEAKE captured five British merchant ships in one patrol.

    Following Broke's challenge, SHANNON and CHESAPEAKE met at half past five on 1 June 1813, 20 nautical miles east of Boston lighthouse. At a range of about 35 metres the two ships opened fire with the SHANNON scoring the first hit. Further fire from the SHANNON caused the CHESAPEAKE to fall onto the SHANNON'S starboard bow, trapping the ship. The British, led by Captain Broke, charged the CHESAPEAKE and engaged in fierce fighting with the Americans. After 11 minutes the British secured the ship and took the CHESAPEAKE's surrender. The casualties totaling 228 dead or wounded from both sides were extremely high and made the battle the single highest body count between two ships during the War of 1812.

    Following the victory, the British installed a prize crew on the CHESAPEAKE and it was escorted by SHANNON into Halifax, arriving on 6 June 1813. CHESAPEAKE'S crew was imprisoned at Halifax and CHESAPEAKE was taken into service as HMS CHESAPEAKE by the Royal Navy. CHESAPEAKE was sold in 1820 and broken up. From 1814 - 1826 SHANNON alternated between being laid up and repaired. It was eventually fitted for sea and recommissioned in 1929. Renamed SAINT LAWRENCE on 1844, the vessel was broken up at Chatham on 12 November 1859.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: HMS SHANNON commencing battle with the CHESAPEAKE

    Assigned title: HMS SHANNON commencing the battle with the American frigate CHESAPEAKE on the 1st June 1813

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