THIS WEEK in the War of 1812 (Oct. 14-Oct. 20)
Pyrrhic Victory at Sea
The American sloop USS Wasp intercepts a British convoy of cargo ships on Oct. 18, 1812. The merchantmen are guarded by a British sloop-of-war, the 20-gun HMS Frolic. The two sloops blast away at each other from a distance of only 50 yards. After a short — but savage — exchange of gunfire, both ships suffer heavy damage to masts and rigging.
However, a boarding party from the Wasp storms the Frolic and takes her. But before either the Wasp or Frolic can be made sail-worthy a 74-gun British ship-of-the-line, the HMS Poictiers, appears on the scene. The master of the crippled Wasp, Jacob Jones, has no choice but to surrender.
The Wasp will be converted to a British warship and re-named HMS Peacock for a British ship taken and sunk in 1813 by another American sloop, the USS Hornet.
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: HMS Frolic, naval warfare, sloop-of-war, USS Wasp, War of 1812 at Sea, War of 1812 Bicentennial.