[Illustration: DACRES DELIVERING UP HIS SWORD.]
At half past three, P.M., Captain Hull made out his antagonist to be a frigate, and continued the chase till he was within about three miles, when he cleared for action; the chase backed her main-topsail and waited for him to come down. As soon as the Constitution was ready, Hull bore down to bring the enemy to close action immediately; but, on coming within gunshot, the Guerriere gave a broadside and filled away and wore, giving a broadside on the other tack; but without effect, her shot falling short. She then continued wearing and manoeuvring for about three quarters of an hour to get a raking position,—but, finding she could not, she bore up and ran under her topsails and jib, with the wind on the quarter. During this time, the Constitution, not having fired a single broadside, the impatience of the officers and men to engage was excessive. Nothing but the most rigid discipline could have restrained them. Hull, however, was preparing to decide the contest in a summary method of his own. He now made sail to bring the Constitution up with her antagonist, and at five minutes before six P.M., being alongside within half pistol shot, he commenced a heavy fire from all his guns, double shotted with round and grape; and so well directed, and so well kept up was the fire, that in sixteen minutes the mizzenmast of the Guerriere went by the board, and her mainyard in the slings, and the hull, rigging, and sails were completely torn to pieces. The fire was kept up for fifteen minutes longer, when the main and foremast went, taking with them every spar except the bowsprit, and leaving the Guerriere a complete wreck. On seeing this Hull ordered the firing to cease, having brought his enemy in thirty minutes after he was fairly alongside to such a condition, that a few more broadsides must have carried her down.
The prize being so shattered that she was not worth bringing into port, after removing the prisoners to the Constitution, she was set on fire and blown up. In the action, the Constitution lost seven killed, and seven wounded; the Guerriere, fifteen killed, sixty-two wounded—including the captain and several officers, and twenty-four missing.
The news of this victory was received in the United States with the greatest joy and exultation. All parties united in celebrating it, and the citizens and public authorities vied with each other in bestowing marks of approbation upon Captain Hull and his gallant officers and crew.
[Illustration: HYDER ALLY AND GENERAL MONK]
This gentleman was one of the old fashioned commodores, a capital sailor, an intrepid warrior, and a thorough going patriot. He was born in Baltimore, in 1759. He entered the marine early in life. At the age of sixteen he served in the expedition of Commodore Hopkins to the Bahama Islands, and continued in active service through the whole revolutionary war.