The Naval history of Great Britain:
from the declaration of war by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV
On the 8th October the American Commodore Rodgers, with three frigates and a brig-sloop under his command, sailed from Boston upon his second cruise against British men-of-war and merchantmen.
On the 12th of October the frigate United-States parted company; and we shall at present follow her fortunes.
Satisfied now, that her opponent was more than half beaten, and that there was little danger in closing with her, the United-States backed her main topsail, and, coming to the wind, opened a rapid and most destructive fire from the whole of her broadside; receiving in return the main-deck fire alone of the Macedonian, and that too ill-directed to be of much effect.
Out of her 270 men at quarters and twenty-two boys, the Macedonian had her boatswain, one master's mate, her schoolmaster, twenty-three seamen, two boys, and eight marines killed, her first lieutenant, (severely,) third lieutenant, (slightly,) one master's mate, one midshipman, one first-class volunteer, fifty seamen, (two mortally,) four boys, (two with each leg amputated,) and nine marines wounded; total, thirty- six killed and sixty-eight wounded.
The United-States is represented to have had her masts and rigging not materially injured, and to have received only nine shots in her hull: her loss, from the same authority, amounted to no more than five seamen killed, lieutenant John Funk and one seaman mortally, and five others badly wounded. The slightly wounded, as in all other American cases are omitted.
Comparative force of combatants
A greater disparity, in broadside weight of metal, than even in the Guerrière's case: what then must have been the disparity, when the Macedonian's carronades had become disabled? There was, however, in this case, no deteriorated powder to weaken the effect of the remaining guns; and yet the shots from them made very little impression upon the hull or masts of the United-States. A captain, where he knows that his men, for want of practice, are deficient in gunnery, should strive his utmost to close with his antagonist: especially, when he also knows, that the antagonist excels in an art, without some skill in which, no American ship of war would trust herself at sea. no imputation rests upon the ship's company of the Macedonian, for, even to the very boys, they behaved well; nor could anything exceed the gallantry of the first lieutenant, David Hope: he was severely wounded in the head towards the close of the battle, and taken below, but was soon again on deck, filling his post as became a gallant officer.
With respect to the crew of the United-States, they were the finest set of men ever seen collected on board a ship, that was not an American cruiser: had Captain Decatur and his five lieutenants been below in the hold, there were officers enough among the ship's company to have brought the action to the same successful issue. As it was, however, the American captain and the American officers gained all the credit and pocketed the principle part of the cash, while the poor silly Britons, whose prompt attention to the sails and steady perseverance at the guns had contributed so mainly to the victory, slunk away in the back-ground, disowned by those whom they had so effectually served, and scorned and scouted by those, against whom they so traitorously fought.
With the profusion of stores of every sort which was to be found on board the American frigate, and with so many able seamen that could be spared from her numerous crew, Captain Decatur was not very long in placing his prize in seaworthy state. That service accomplished, the two frigates, the Macedonian under the command of lieutenant William Allen, late first of the United-States, made sail towards the coast of America. Owing to adverse and baffling winds, it took the ships until noon on the 4th December, before they came in sight of the London lighthouse, on their way through the Sound of New York. Singular, indeed, was it, that these two frigates, one so crippled in her masts, should, after more than five weeks passage, have reached their destination, not merely unmolested, but, as far as we know, unseen, by a single British cruiser.