THIS WEEK in the WAR of 1812 (June 22-June 28, 1814)
U.S. Victory at Sea.
On June 28, at the mouth of the English Channel, the American sloop of war, USS Wasp, captures and destroys the British sloop, HMS Reindeer.
The Wasp, a ship-rigged sloop of war, is the fifth American ship to bear the name — the fourth in two years. The 24-gun Wasp, under the command of Master Commandant Johnston Blakely set sail on May 1 with orders to raid British commerce in the English Channel.
By late June the Wasp has taken seven British merchant vessels and is closing in on two more on the morning of the 28th, when the Reindeer, a 21-gun Cruizer-class brig-sloop, comes on the scene. The Reindeer, sailing out of Plymouth, is under orders to hunt down the Wasp.
The Wasp is the bigger ship with a bigger crew (173 sailors and Marines compared to 118 on the Reindeer) and more powerful guns. Because the winds were light, it took the two vessels half the day to draw close enough to fire effectively. The two ships traded broadsides for 20 minutes before the the Reindeer’s bow came to rest against the Wasp making them close enough for boarding parties to attack. The British boarding party was driven back under heavy fire from Marines in the Wasp’s rigging.
After repulsing the British boarding party, the American sailors and Marines swarmed over the shattered Reindeer, forcing the British to seek shelter below deck. The British commander, Captain William Manners, was killed along with 24 other sailors and Marines, 42 more were wounded. American casualties were nine dead and 15 wounded.
The Reindeer was so badly damaged it couldn’t be salvaged, so Blakely ordered her set afire. The prisoners were taken aboard the Wasp or transferred to a neutral ship. Wasp had to sail to the French port of L’Orient for repairs for her own battle damage.
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War in Quebec.
On the same day, across the Atlantic on the New York-Canadian border, U.S. troops skirmish for second time in two days with British forces at Odelltown, Lower Canada. There have been a series of indecisive skirmishes on the border between New York and Lower Canada (what is now Quebec) during the spring and summer of 1814.
Military records of the time, according to the Website North Country Now, report that U.S. troops from the 30th and 31st U.S. Infantry regiments advance from Plattsburgh to Champlain and Chazy near the border west of Lake Champlain. Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, with 70 riflemen, advances to Odelltown, south of LaColle in Quebec, where they are attacked by about 200 lightly armed British troops. The Americans suffer one killed and five wounded. The British, three killed and five wounded. Forsyth withdraws to Champlain in New York.
But on the 28th, Forsyth is ordered to advance into Canada again to lure the British into attacking the Americans and chasing them back across the border where other U.S. troops are waiting to ambush them. The plan works but as 150 Canadian Indians allied with the British advance toward the ambush site, Forsyth steps up on a log to get a better view and is shot and killed by an Indian. The U.S. troops open fire, driving off the Indians, who suffer 17 dead.
Entry filed under: National Security and Defense, Naval Warfare, Technology, THIS WEEK in the War of 1812, Traditions, Unconventional Warfare, Weaponry and Equipment. Tags: amphibious warfare, Army, Canada, HS Reindeer, naval warfare, Navy, Topics, USS Wasp, War of 1812 at Sea, War of 1812 Bicentennial.