Date format: mm-dd-yyyy
12/04/1812 col 2
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The first intimation that the Rachel had been taken appeared
in the local newspaper.
The Charleston Courier on Februay 6, 1813 printed an extract from a letter from Laguira. Dated December 13, 1812.
On the 9th December the private armed schooner Saratoga, commanded by Captain Charles W. Wooster, made her appearance off this place; the same day the first lieut. came on shore, stated they were 24 days from New York , had seen nothing.
The next day Wooster went ashore and returned with the American Consul for a brief visit. Later that day a Spanish boat came alongside and ordered them out of the harbor, under threat of being fired upon by the fort. The following afternoon, according to the Lieutenant's Journal of the Saratoga:
at 1 past 3 perceived an English Jack at the foretopmast head of a schooner, at 4 Tacked. Stood in shore to endeavor to cut her off; on which.she hauled in for the land. Sent our small boat with six men armed, in order if possible to take charge of her before she could reach the shore. at 4 past 4 the boat boarded her. She hauled down her colours within half Pistol Shot of the beach; took possession of her and stood off Laguira bearing at the same time S.W. 4 Leagues dist. She proved to be the British schooner Mariah belong to St. Thomas 4 days out bound to Laguira with 40 bbls Flour & 50 boxes Trunks of dry goods. retained one prisoner on board. Sent the remainder with their baggage on shore; they being English, French and Spaniards. at request of the american consul took Capt Moncreef and 10 men on board who had been 5 or 6 months on shore at Laguira. -- Put Mr Boggs and F Bergman his mate on board with 4 men.
Wooster had spied a brig and took off after her. At 10 a.m. he gave her a shot which cut away her stern boat.
she returned our fire with her Stern chasers, At t past 10 the action commenced, distant from Each other t mile. at 11 the shot from the Enemy carried away our foretopsail yard at the same time the Axeltree of the after gun gave way which rendered it unfit for service; Torn Breechings of the principal guns in the waist parted; finding She would not Strike made sail to get in shore to windward of her in order to board. 10 minutes past 11 the fireing ceased on both Sides. all hands employed repairing damages, at meridian the Enemy a stern Standing the Same way with us.
The letter from Laquira states: "It was known on shore that the brig was well armed and manned, and was generally believed would take the schooner, or at all events beat her off. The inhabitants all left their business, from the commandant to the beggar, to see the engagement." The Journal of the Saratoga continues the story on December 12th
commences with Strong Breezes E.N.E. Heavy swell on, could not fight with our Lee guns. Sent up a new topsail Yard, f past 12 the Enemy Tacked; at 1 having repaired all damages Tacked and made sail after her. f past one came up to the wind of him Hove too, to send a flag of truce on board to inform him of the force and number of men of the Saratoga with the determination that if they did not haul down her colours Every man on board should be put to death. he heaving too for the space of five minutes then made Sail from our boat, Set our English Jack forward and made Sail after him. f past 2 came up within hail of him. Summoned him frequently to Strike otherwise abide by the consequence, which he refused to do, at the same time having his colours nailed to the Peak.
We stood ready for Boarding. the Enemy shot ahead, we recommenced with round and grape. at 3/4 past 2 Bore up athwart his stern and raked him, rounded too, to board him fired several values of musketry into him which drove all his men below who were able to get there. we ceased fireing she fell off along side of us we-grapld to her the grapling Lanyards parted, one officer Mr Dexter and 2 men Richd Pemberton and Charles Rowland got on board by the Jib guys. found only one man on deck alive who was trying to haul down the colours. at 3 his Colours were hauled down by Mr Dexter one of our own officers. on our part 2 men were wounded (not mortally) the capt. and 2 men of the Enemys ship lay dead and two wounded, one of which died soon after Notwithstanding the careful and humane attendence of our Surgeon. She proved to be the Brig Rachel from Greenock commanded by Capt N. Dalmarhoy mounting 14 Guns with 36 men out 57 days-the damages done the Saratoga were of no great consequence.
Wooster stood off to Repair some minor damages, and took the greatest part of the prisoners on board the Saratoga. He soon after sent 27 of them to Laguira in the long boat, being very short of water on the Saratoga. The next day he sent Capt. Moncreif and Mr. Lewis with all 11 men an 4 prisoners on board the Rachel and ordered them to New York.
source: John A. McManemin Privateers
of the War of 1812 (New Jersey:
Ho-Ho-Kus publishing company, 1992)
The action is reported in more detail:
Saratoga engages Rachel of Greenock
On the 13th the second mate and twenty five seamen arrived at La Guira in the brig's long boat, which Captain Wooster had given them, together with every article belonging to them. The second mate was the only officer alive after the action, there being great slaughter onboard the brig. On board the Saratoga they had but one man slightly wounded. The brig was the Rachel, from Greenock, mounting twelve long nine pounders, and carrying sixty men. She had on board a cargo of dry goods, etc. invoiced at £15,000.
The Rachel was taken to Jamacia and condemned in the Vic-Admiralty court on the 16th January 1813 [Register of shipping Greenock October 1813]
A further action of the Saratoga appears in:
courtesy of US Naval Historical Center