JOURNAL OF SURGEON AMOS EVANS
ON BOARD CONSTITUTION, 1812‑13
Jun 1812 Left
- 12 Jul 1812 Sailed from
15 Jul 1812 Spoke a Spanish privateer schooner.
Jul 1812 1830 Boarded snow Rising Sun (Mayberry, Master), 43 days
Jul 1812 1200 Spoke brig Diana, 47 days from
newspapers reporting Como
Rodgers still pursuing convoy, that
22 Jul 1812 Squally and rain ‑‑ 1630 sighted 5 ships in company; believed to be the recent pursuers; moved out of sight.
Jul 1812 0430 Spoke the brig Triton, 23 days from Puerto Rico for
26 Jul 1812 Light winds ‑ variable ‑‑ beating in to Boston Light ‑‑ "The State house and several of the church steeples are visible a considerable distance down the bay." ‑‑ Mr. Chew, the purser, went ashore to arrange for provisions ‑‑ Mr. Morgan, 6th Lieut., opened a rendezvous for more crewmen.
Jul 1812 Anchored "just below the
fort" ‑‑ Lighters bringing out provisions and water --
"The people of
30 Jul 1812 Foggy with rain.
1 Aug 1812 [Saturday] Damp and very foggy in morning ‑‑ rain in evening. "We are all ready and only awaiting a fair wind…"
2 Aug 1812 Underway at 0500; passed the Light at 6.
5 Aug 1812 Pleasant day ‑‑ very light winds.
10 Aug 1812 Fresh breeze from NNW ‑‑ 1730 took the British brig Lady Warren brought off the 9 man crew and burned her.
11 Aug 1812 1200 Took the British brig Adiona ‑‑ took out the 11 man crew and burned her.
12 Aug 1812 Pleasant breeze from NE ‑‑ 15 sick, mostly minor.
14 Aug 1812 Light winds from NW ‑‑ "Were alarmed about 9 o'clock with the cry of fire in the cockpit ‑‑ Produced by one of the Surgeon's Mates having left a candle burning in his state room with the door locked. We found considerable difficulty in opening the door, in attempting to force which I had my right hand jammd [sic] with a crowbar: in consequence of which I am under the necessity of writing with my left... The surgeon's Mate, who is truly a worthy fellow, was arrested for his negligence.” -- At 3 a man fell overboard from the main chains; was picked up by boat 200 yards astern.
Aug 1812 Pleasant weather ‑‑
light winds from SW ‑‑ 1400 took British prize brig Adeline ‑‑ took out 6 man
prize crew and put in one of our own headed by Midshipman
17 Aug 1812 Cloudy and cold ‑‑ fresh breeze from W ‑‑ 16 sick ‑‑ Injured hand nearly well.
18 Aug 1812 0030 Spoke American privateer Decatur (Captain Nichols) which reported that she had been chased during the night by ship of war and had jettisoned overboard 12 of her 14 guns while escaping
Aug 1812 "Wednesday.‑‑ Cloudy and foggy. Course S. & W. Wind N. by E.
Lat. observed 41‑42 N. Long. by D. R. 55 W. At 2
P.M. discovered a large sail to
Leeward. Made sail and stood down for
her. At 4 discovered her to be a large
Frigate. When we were within about 2 or
2 1/2 miles he
hoisted English colours and fired a Gun.
We stood towards her with reefed topsails without shewing our colours. She then commenced firing, and gave us several
broad sides without much effect before we commenced firing. She kept wearing several times with a view
probably of trying to get the weather gauge of
us, which we avoided by wearing also. We
hoisted our colours and fired the first gun about 15 minutes past 5 o'clock P.M., but did not come
into close action until about 6 o'clock, and after 25 minutes from the time we
were closely engaged she struck, having previously lost all
three of her masts and Bowsprit. Her
hull was much injured. Several of her
guns were dismounted or otherwise rendered useless on the gun deck by our
shot. She had 15 men killed and 62
wounded, most of them very dangerously, immense mischief and destruction having
been done by our grape
& cannister shot. We had Killed Wm
S. Bush, 1st Lt. Marines; and Seamen, Jacob Sago, John Brown, Caleb Smith, James Ashford, Robert
Brice, James Reed. Wounded: Charles
Morris, 1st Lieutenant, Dangerously; J. C. Aylwin, Master, slightly; Richd
Dunn, Seaman, Dangerously;
Danl Lewis, do.do.;
"During the engagement she came against our stern with her bows twice, and carried away her Jib boom and injured our Taffrail. It was when in that situation that Lt. Morris and Lt. Bush were shot. Mr. Morris first jumped on the Taffrail with an intention of boarding her and was instantly wounded in the parietes of the abdomen. Mr. Bush jumpd into his place the instant he fell and immediately one musket shot entered his face and passd into his brain. Little or no other injury was done us at that time, and her quarter deck and forecastle were completely swept. Her Second Lieutenant was killd [sic] the Captain, 1st Lieutenant, Sailing master, and one of the Master's mates wounded. She hoisted 3 or 4 flags at the commencement of the action, and struck immediately after she got clear of our stern. Her foremast and mainmast and mizzenmast fell about the time she was in contact with us. After she struck Capt. Js. Rd Dacres Esq came on board and informed us that it was His Brittanick Majesty's Ship La Guerriere. We sent Lt. Reed on board and finding the ship in a situation that was considered dangerous to attempt getting in we were employd all night getting the men and crew [sic] from on board. She mounted 49 Guns and had about from 260 to 300 men, having sent previously part of her crew in prizes. Capt. Dacres is a pleasant, agreeable young man, 24 years of age.
"Our crew behaved very nobly. They fought like heroes, and gave three cheers when the colours were hoisted. They also cheered when each of her masts went over the side, and when her colours were struck. Whilst she was on our stern one of her forward guns was run nearly into our Cabin window and fired, but did (fortunately) little or no execution. A shot that entered our after port on the starboard side of the gun deck killed 2 men at the after Gun and wounded one. From the firing of the first gun to the close of the action was one hour & ten minutes. The Guerriere had 15 killd and 62 wounded."
20 Aug 1812 Calm ‑‑ day spent transferring prisoners and repairing rigging ‑‑ amputated Richard Dunn's leg ‑‑ about 3 P.M. fired the prize; she blew up ‑ L:ieutenant Bush and a British seaman buried at sea in evening.
21 Aug 1812 Calm ‑‑ repairing rigging and fishing masts ‑‑ making 12 kts in evening.
22 Aug 1812 Calm ‑‑fishing the mainmast ‑‑ spanker boom and gaff had been carried away by collision during action.
23 Aug 1812 Made 11‑13 kts during the previous night in blowing, hard rain.
26 Aug 1812 Calm, damp, foggy ‑‑ caught some cod.
27 Aug 1812 Light airs and cloudy.
Aug 1812 [Sunday] Anchored in Nantasket Roads ‑‑
sent wounded to hospital on
31 Aug 1812 Arrival of Commodore Rodgers' squadron, initially unrecognized, gave a scare; cut anchor cable and ran up the harbor ‑‑ anchored near Navy Yard ‑‑ POWs sent off ship.
1 Sep 1812
4‑5 officers and 60 men from Constitution
volunteered for duty in President
expected to go to sea to meet British rumored to be off
5 Sep 1812 Superb dinner in Faneuil Hall ‑ "...fronting the President's chair, was a model of Constitution Frigate with her masts fished and the Colours as they flew during the action..."
7 Sep 1812 Stripping ship to get in new masts, rigging, etc. ‑‑ Lieutenant Wadsworth sick.
8 Sep 1812 Stripping ship ‑‑ 10 sick.
Sep 1812 Cartel bearing Guerriere survivors to
12 Sep 1812 Learned that Constitution's prize Adeline had been retaken by HMS Statira.
15 Sep 1812 Commodore Bainbridge succeeded Captain Hull in command and hoisted broad red pennant ‑‑ crew openly dissatisfied; Armorer confined for his remarks ‑‑ Hull given 3 cheers as he left ‑‑ several crewmen told Bainbridge they had sailed with him before (including one in Philadelphia) and didn't want to do so again.
17 Sep 1812 Shears erected preparatory to getting masts out.
22 Sep 1812 Got out mainmast.
2 Oct 1812 "Went to the Theatre in the Evening & saw...a new afterpiece calld 'Guerrier & Constitution,' a very foolish, ridiculous thing."
9 Oct 1812 All hands employed rigging and taking in stores.
Oct 1812 "It is now 12 o'clock at
night. A sick man who is delirious
insists that he will die at 2 o'clock, & is much disturbed when he hears
the bell struck, & counts every half hour. He obstinately refuses to have a blister
applied behind his neck, saying it may be done at 2 o'clock. I have requested the officer of the deck to
omit striking the
14 Oct 1812 The man still lives, and is much better.
Oct 1812 Foggy, disagreeable weather ‑‑
shifted to anchorage off
20 Oct 1812 Shifted to anchorage in President Roads.
22 Oct 1812 Mrs. Bainbridge aboard for dinner.
Oct 1812 1500 Sailed from
5 Nov 1812
Mention of chronometer on board.
1800 Boarded ship Star
(Captain Skinner), 25 days from
8 Nov 1812
While under British colors, boarded American brig
19 Nov 1812 "Threw a bottle overboard...with the intention of ascertaining the current. It contains a piece of paper on which was written the Latitude, Longitude, date, & my name, with a request that the finder would make it public. The paper was oiled. The bottle corked, sealed, & a piece of Tarrd muslin tied over it."
28 Nov 1812 Pleasant weather ‑‑ "Fumigated ship yesterday with muriatic acid gas and whitewashed it to‑day..."
2 Dec 1812 1200 Anchored at Fernando Noronha under English colors.
4 Dec 1812 Sailed for the Brazilian coast.
6 Dec 1812
0600 Sighted the coast, thought to be in the vicinity of
7 Dec 1812
9 Dec 1812
[Wednesday] Private Pershaw given
50 lashes per court martial sentence ‑‑ abreast of
12 Dec 1812 "At dinner time to‑day the men came on deck in a mutinous manner & complained to the Commd that the allowance of bread & water are not sufficient. He spoke in a resolute manner & ordered them below..."
14 Dec 1812 Gentle NE breezes. Hornet sent in to Sao Salvador last evening for bread and water.
17 Dec 1812 "We have been on an allowance of 1/2 Gallon of water since we left Boston; and 3/4 lbs of a ration...a few cases of bilious cholic are the only diseases that have made their appearance for some days. The crew are apparently very much debilitated, & the sick convalesce very quickly..."
18 Dec 1812 NE wind and rain ‑‑ presence of sloop of war HMS Bonne Citoyenne in Sao Salvador bearing $1.6 million in specie reported by Hornet. A quartermaster named McCay, sent ashore in a boat, deserted.
19 Dec 1812 Finished taking on provisions and water from Hornet. Constitution patrolled to the north and Hornet to the south.
24 Dec 1812 Cloudy and squally. Hornet rejoined.
26 Dec 1812 While entering port, Bainbridge received word of Portuguese displeasure at his "blockade" of the port and was advised to remain at sea, which he did.
Dec 1812 "At 8 A.M. discovered two
ships to windward of us. At 9 one of
them stood along the shore, the other towards us. At 10.30 min. within 8 or 9 miles coming up with
us. At 11.30 The Commd supposed the
strange sail to be a two decker and made sail away from her: made the private
signal of the day which was not
answered. The strange sail hoisted a tri‑coloured
signal flag at her main topgallantmast head & kept it flying a long
time. At 12 the sail gaining on us going 10 k. Lat. ob. 13‑6 S. Long. by chron. 37‑38W. Hoisted our Ensign & pendant. The strange ship then hoisted an English Ensign at the peak. At 1.25 the strange sail gaining on us
discovered her to be a Frigate. At 1.37
took in part of the sail & stood for the enemy, having previously
had all clear [sic] for action. At 1.45
she bore down intending to rake us which we avoided by wearing. At 4 minutes before 2 P.M. we fired a broadside
at her, when she bore up & returned it: she was at that time distant about
1 mile. She was standing bows on but had hauld down her peak
with an intention of wearing, when an order was given to the 3d Division to
fire one Gun in order to make her hoist her colours ‑‑
but the whole broadside was fired without stopping. The action then commenced warmly on both
sides. At 3.15 her maintopmast & foremast went over the
side. At 4 her mizzenmast went about 10
or 15 feet from the deck. At this time
her fire was stopped & we hauld aboard our fore & main tack
[sic] & stood from her to repair our braces, &c. At 4.25 her mainmast went nearly by the
board. the colours still flying at the stump of the mizzen
mast. At 4.50 wore & stood for the Enemy. At 5.25 got ahead of her in a raking position
& were about giving the order to fire when she struck her
colours, at which our crew gave 3 hearty cheers, as they had done when we first
beat to quarters & several times during the action. At 6 sent the cutter with Lieut. Parker on
board, which returned with the 1st Lieut Chadds [sic] (the Capt being mortally wounded)
who delivered his sword,
together with His Majesty's Ship Java rated 38 but mounting 47 Guns ‑‑
Henry Lambert Esq. Capt. Employd during
the night in taking the officers &
crew from the Ship. She had about ___
killed & ___ wounded. The exact
number could not be ascertained. Their
own account was ___ killed
& 105 wounded. She had on board
Supernumeraries & all were about 450.
She was six weeks from
"On our part
there were "Killed.‑
Jonas Angrau, Joseph Adams, Patrick Connor, Barney Hart, John Chevers [sic],
Seamen; Mark Snow, Jno D. Allen, Wm Cooper, Ord. Seamen; Thos Hanson,
Private of Marines. "Wounded.‑
Wm Bainbridge, Commd, Severely; Jno C.Aylwin, Lt. Dangerously; Chs F. Waldo, M.
M., Amptd Thigh; Lewis German,
Midn, Slightly; Peter Woodbury,
QrM, Severely; Jno Clements, Seaman, Amptd Leg; Joseph P. Chevers [sic],
Seaman, Amptd arm; Joseph Ward, Seaman, Amptd Thigh;
Philip Brimblecomb, Seaman, Amptd arm; Nich. Wextram, Seaman, Slightly; Wm
Long, Seaman, Dangerously; Stephen Webb, Seaman, Mortally;
Reuben Sanderline, Seaman, Mortally; Wm Weeden, Seaman, Slightly; Enos Bateman,
Seaman, Dangerously; Js D. Hammond, Seaman,
Slightly; Peter Furnace, Seaman, Severely; Stephen Sheppard, Seaman, Slightly; Abijah Eddy, Seaman, Slightly; Philip Cook,
Seaman, Slightly; Saml
Brown, Ord. Seaman, Severely; Danl Hogan, Ord. Seaman, Severely; Th. Williams
3d, Ord. Seaman, Slightly; Jno. Vogel, Ord. Seaman, Severely;
Anthony Reeves, Private Marines, Slightly; Jno. Elwell, Private Marines,
30 Dec 1812 Repairing damages, "which were trifling..." ‑‑ getting baggage out of Java.
31 Dec 1812 1500 Fired Java and blew her up: "...not so grand as that of the Guerriere..."
1 Jan 1813
11.50 Dropped kedge anchor outside Sao Salvador harbor ‑‑
"...Hornet ran alongside, mannd the top & saluted us with three cheers
which we returned..." ‑‑
1900 anchored in harbor ‑‑ began landing prisoners, which were paroled
on the condition that they return to
3 Jan 1813 Captain Lambert died, as did Stephen Webb.
5 Jan 1813 [Tuesday] Sailed from Sao Salvador.
6 Jan 1813 Parted company with Hornet ‑‑ Reuben Sanderline died.
26 Jan 1813 In evening, Joseph P. Chevers [sic] died "of malignant intermittent caused by his wounds.".
29 Jan 1813 0100 Lieutenant Aylwin died "of malignant intermittent caused by his shoulder wound" ‑‑ buried at sea that evening.
6 Feb 1813 2200 Peter Furnace died.
Feb 1813 Boarded the brig Venus, bound from
15 Feb 1813
Note: The present location of this journal, apparently in private hands, is unknown.