Chesapeake vs Shannon

1st June 1813
Part of : The War of 1812 (1812 - 1814)
Previous action : Hornet vs Peacock 24.2.1813
Next action : Action of 1813-06-20 20.6.1813


United States of America

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Chesapeake (36) James Lawrence (1781-1813) Captured

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Shannon (38) Philip Bowes Vere Broke (1776-1841), Provo William Parry Wallis (1791-1892)



Previous comments on this page

Posted by des grant on Saturday 13th of January 2018 14:23

Captain Broke was the Captain and Wallis assumed command after the battle. Lt Charles Falkiner was onboard. and was promoted to commander on his return to the UK.

Posted by des grant on Friday 12th of January 2018 23:25

Captain Broke was the Captain and Wallis assumed command after the battle. Lt Charles Falkiner was onboard. and was promoted to commander on his return to the UK.

Posted by Brian Stephens on Monday 14th of April 2014 16:45

Providence Gazette May 29, 1813 p.6
The following account of the affair we have been requested to publish, as containing the most accurate statement of facts, and sanctioned by the authority of a gentleman, who was near and eye-witness to the whole action.
At 5 P.M. I left the Chesapeake, Boston light-house bearing West about 6 leagues distant. The Shannon then id sight - the Chesapeake prepared for action standing for her - at 6 P.M. the action commenced and in 12 minutes after both vessels were yard-arm and yard-arm along side each other, as if in the act of boarding; at that moment an immense explosion took place on board the Chesapeake, which spread a fire from the foremast to the mizen-mast, an apparently as high as the tops, on which both vessels were enveloped in smoke, and on the smoke clearing away, the English colours were seen flying on board the Chesapeake over the American, and both vessels were standing toward the westward. From every appearance, it was evident to me, that the loss of the Chesapeake, was owing to the unfortunate explosion which took place on her. ROBERT KNOX

Posted by Brian Stephens on Saturday 5th of April 2014 18:14

Official Account of the Capture of the Chesapeake:
Copy of a letter from Lieut. Budd to the Secretary of the Navy dated, Halifax, June 15, 1813

SIR - the unfortunate death of Captain James Lawrence, and Lieut. Augustus C. Ludlow, has rendered it my duty to inform you of the capture of the late U. States Frigate Chesapeake. On Tuesday June 1, at 8, A.M. we unmoored ship, and at meridian got under way from President's Roads, with a light wind from the southward and westward, and proceeded on a cruise. A ship was then in sight in the offing, which had the appearance of a ship of war, and which, from the information received from pilot-boats and craft, we believed to be the British frigate Shannon.
We made sail in chase and cleared ship for action. At half past 4, P.M. she hove to, with her head to the southward and eastward. At 5, P.M. took in the royals and top gallant sail, and at half past 5, hauled the courses up. About 15 m. before 6, P.M. the action commenced with a pistol shot. The first broadside did great execution on both sides, damaged our rigging, killed among others, Mr. White, the sailing master, and wounded Capt. Lawrence. In about 12 minutes after the commencement of the action, we fell on board of the enemy, and immediately after, one of our arm chests on the quarter-deck was blown up by a hand grenade thrown from the enemy's ship. In a few minutes one of the Captains aids came on the gun-deck to inform me that the boarders were called. I immediately called the boarders away, and proceeded to the spar deck, where I found that the enemy had succeeded in boarding us, and had gained possession of our quarterdeck. I immediately gave orders to haul on board the fore tack, for the purpose of shooting the ship clear of the other, and then made an attempt to regain the quarterdeck, but was wounded and thrown down on the gun deck.

I again made effort to collect the boarders, but in the meantime the enemy had gained complete possession of the ship. On my being carried down to the cockpit, I there found Capt. Lawrence and Lieut. Ludlow, both mortally wounded; the former had been carried below previous to the ship's being boarded; the latter was wounded in attempting to repel the boarders. Among those who fell early in the action, was Mr. Edward J. Ballard, the 4th Lieutenant, and Lieut. James Broome, of the marines. I herein enclose to you a return of the killed and wounded, by which you will perceive that every officer, upon who the charge of the ship would devolve, was either killed or wounded previous to her capture. The enemy report the loss of Mr. Watt, their 1st Lieut., the purser, the Captains clerk, and 23 seaman killed; and Captain Broke, a midshipman and 56 seaman wounded.

The Shannon had, in addition to her full compliment, an officer and 16 men belonging to the Belle Poul, and part of the crew belonging to the Tenedos.
I have the honour to be, with the greatest respect, &c. George Budd.
The Hon. William Jones, Secretary of the navy, Washington.

Make a comment about this page

Recent comments to other pages

Date postedByPage
Wednesday 14th of April 2021 09:08CyFrench First Rate ship of the line 'L'Hercule' (1836) (100)
Wednesday 14th of April 2021 04:59Jason M ArcherFrench First Rate ship of the line 'L'Hercule' (1836) (100)
Tuesday 13th of April 2021 04:59Jason M ArcherFrench Third Rate ship of the line 'L'Actif' (1757) (74)
Tuesday 13th of April 2021 04:58Jason M ArcherActif Class
Monday 12th of April 2021 11:28peter moodyBritish Merchant east indiaman 'Duke of Richmond' (1759)