Alert vs Lexington

19th September 1777
Part of : The American War of Independence (1775/04/19 - 1784/01/14)
Previous action : Action of 1777-09-04 4.9.1777
Next action : Encounter between Belle-Poule and two british 74 7.1.1778


Great Britain

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Alert (14)   2 killed, 5 wounded

United States of America

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Lexington (14) Henry Johnson Captured 7 killed, 11 wounded

Notes on Action


On September 19th, a sharp action took place in the Channel between the American brig, Lexington, 16, Captain H. Johnston, and the British cutter, Alert, 10, Lieut. John Bazely. The American was caught unprepared and brought to action early in the morning. She had a short supply of ammunition, and no match ready. After more than two hours' fighting the Lexington crippled the Alert's rigging, and managed to draw off, with scarcely a shot left in her magazines. The Alert, however, was very smartly repaired, and renewed the chase. She came up again with the enemy about 1.30, and, an hour later, was in a position to reopen fire. The Americans could now make no reply, and, after passively enduring the broadsides of the Alert for an hour, were compelled to strike. Cruising in the Channel in company with the Reprisal and Dolphin, the Lexington had in five days captured fourteen prizes.

Amongst the Lexington's killed and wounded were the master, first lieutenant, lieutenant of marines, and gunner. It should be noted that the victory of so inferior a vessel as the Alert was probably due to surprise.

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