This Week in History
HMS Shannon defeats and captures USS Chesapeake
|For the week of Monday May 28, 2012
On June 1, 1813, the British scored a decisive victory when the HMS (His Majesty’s Ship) Shannon defeated and captured the USS (United States Ship) Chesapeake.
The British lost six of the eight naval battles they fought against the Americans between June 18, 1812 and February 24, 1813 because they had under-estimated the American navy. In his determination to avenge this series of earlier defeats, Captain Philip Broke, commander of the Shannon, constantly drilled his crew of about 330 men. His orders were to intercept any ship that tried to enter or leave the Port of Boston. When the Chesapeake raised anchor with some 380 men on board, the confrontation was imminent.
Lieutenant Provo Wallis later returned to England with Captain Broke, who had survived his injuries. The latter was made a baronet in 1813, in honour of his victory against the USS Chesapeake. Philip Broke never served at sea again, but Provo Wallis enjoyed a long and prosperous career in the navy and was knighted in 1860.
The battle between the Shannon and the Chesapeake was designated a national historic event in 1925 and is commemorated in Halifax. In light of his contribution in this battle, Sir Provo William Parry Wallis was designated a person of national historic significance in 1945.
This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812! For more information on the War of 1812, read the articles: The British Lose Ground, Victory at Fort Detroit!, and Repelling the Last American Invasion of Lower Canada: The Battle of Lacolle in the archives of This Week in History. For more information on the War of 1812, please visit Commemorating the War of 1812.
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