World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Battle of La Guaira (1812)

Article Id: WHEBN0031597790
Reproduction Date:

Title: Battle of La Guaira (1812)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Capture of HMS Dominica, Action off James Island, Battle of Hampden, Action off Charles Island, Sinking of HMS Reindeer
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Battle of La Guaira (1812)

Battle of La Guaira
Part of the War of 1812
Battle between Saratoga and Rachel
Battle between Saratoga and Rachel
Date December 11, 1812
Location off La Guaira, Venezuela, Caribbean Sea
Result United States victory
Belligerents
 United States  United Kingdom
Commanders and leaders
Charles W. Wooster Alexander
Strength
1 schooner 1 brig
Casualties and losses
2 wounded
1 schooner damaged
3 killed, 1 wounded, and 31 captured
1 brig captured

The Battle of La Guaira was a naval engagement fought in the Caribbean Sea on 11 December 1812 during the war between Britain and the United States. An American privateer captured a British letter of marque at the Spanish port of La Guaira in Venezuela.[1][2]

Battle

On 10 December while on a commerce raiding cruise, the American schooner Saratoga, of 16 guns and 140 men under Captain Charles W. Wooster anchored off La Guaira. After he arrived the American consul warned Wooster that if he remained in port, the Spanish garrison would sink his ship with their shore batteries. The Americans withdrew out of range but remained off the city. That same day the Saratoga captured a British schooner and sent her as a prize back to the United States.

On the following morning as a heavy fog cleared, the Americans spotted an incoming brig. After the engagement it turned out that she was the letter of marque Rachel, originally commanded by Captain N. Dalmahoy (or Dalmarhoy), of 2379394 tons burthen, mounting fourteen long 9-pounders with a crew of thirty-six men. She had been at sea for 57 days.[3] Dalmahoy had died two weeks before the battle so a first mate named Alexander was in charge.[1]

Immediately after spotting the British, Saratoga sailed to intercept but it took two hours for her to close to firing range.[1][2] The Spanish colonists expected the arrival of the Rachel and so hundreds of the colonists rushed to the beaches to observe the engagement. When the range closed the two vessels began tacking towards land, the Saratoga opened fire while five miles off the port, firing her starboard bow gun. The British answered with shots from their port quarter guns until both ships were side by side. For over half an hour the two vessels dueled but the fighting ended when the Rachel '​s fire weakened. After volleys of small arms fire had driven the British sailors below decks, the Americans closed in and boarded.[3] The British had two men killed, including Alexander, and two men wounded, one of whom died shortly thereafter; only two men from the Saratoga were wounded.[3]

The next day, being short of water, Wooster released twenty-seven of the prisoners and sent them into La Guaira in a longboat. He kept four of the prisoners on Rachel and two on Saratoga.[3]

Aftermath

The next day HMS Fawn, under the command of Captain Thomas Fellowes, encountered Rachel and captured her,[4] together with the 12-man prize crew of Americans. The British took the Americans on board Fawn and put a six-man prize crew on board Rachel, which they sent her into Jamaica, where the Vice admiralty court condemned her as a prize. Fawn went into La Guaira and picked up Rachel '​s crew, all of whom agreed to serve on Fawn, though some apparently deserted shortly thereafter.[5]

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Maclay (1899), pg. 446-447.
  2. ^ a b "War of 1812: UK sources for Privateers". 1812privateers.org. Retrieved 30 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d Dudley (1985), pp.623-4.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 16713. p. 581. 20 March 1813.
  5. ^ 1812 Privateers[1] - accessed 19 December 2013.

References

  • Maclay, Edgar S. (1899). A history of American privateers. D. Appleton and Co. 
  • Dudley, William S. ed. (1985) The Naval War of 1812: a documentary history. (U.S. Naval Historical Center; Government Printing Office).

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.