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The Argus vs. The Pelican

The American brig-sloop "Argus" was under the command of Lieutenant William Henry Allen. On June 18th 1813 the "Argus" left New York, it's destination was France. Along the way the Americans had captured one merchant ship. On the 11th of July they reached France, by the 14th of July the "Argus" was sailing again. The Americans continued to find, capture and burn ship after ship.

On August 14th 1813 at 5:00 a.m. the Americans spotted the British brig-sloop "Pelican". The "Pelican" was under the command of Captain John Fordyce Maples.

At 6:00 a.m. the ships had positioned themselves for battle. The "Argus" fired first and then the "Pelican" responded. The gun crews of both ships began to fire their guns rapidly. At 6:04 a.m. a shot fired from the British brig-sloop struck Lieutenant William Allen removing his leg. He stayed on deck until he died from the loss of blood. The first lieutenant, Mr. Watson, was wounded in the head with grapshot and carried below deck. The second lieutenant, Mr. U. H. Allen (no relation to the American commander) fought on bravely and with great skill.

British cannon fire had shot away the main braces, main-spring-stay, gaff and try-sail mast of the American ship. The British gunners continued to fire and hit the "Argus" causing the American brig-sloop to lose her spritsail-yard and a great deal of her rigging.

At 6:14 a.m. the American second lieutenant made an excellent maneuver giving his gun crews the opportunity to rake the "Pelican's" deck, in spite of this the "Argus" did very little damage, mostly due to the fact that the gunners missed their targets. Moments later the main braces and top-sail tie of the "Argus" were shot away. At 6:18 a.m. the "Pelican" passed by the "Argus" and raked her deck heavily, this caused rigging and sails to come crashing down leaving the American ship unmanagable. Both ships continued the fight. At 6:35 a.m. The "Pelican" passed the "Argus" and fired a heavy broadside. At 6:45 a.m. the two ships came together, the crew of the "Pelican" were about to board the "Argus" when the American brig-sloop struck her colours ending this battle.

The British lost 2 men killed and 5 wounded.

The Americans lost 10 killed and 14 wounded.