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<p>His Majesty's Ship Phoebe, Engaging the American Frigate Essex, Off Valparaiso, South America, 1814</p>

USS Essex vs HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub

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USS Essex vs HMS Phoebe and HMS Cherub

From the beginning of the war, Commander David Potter of USS Essex attacked British shipping along the waters of South America. In January 1814, Essex sailed into neutral waters at Valparaíso Chile, and became trapped there for six weeks by the British frigate, HMS Phoebe, under Captain James Hillyar, and HMS Cherub under command of Thomas Tudor Tucker. On March 28th 1814, Porter determined to break free, fearing the arrival of British reinforcements. Upon rounding the point, Essex lost her main top-mast to weather and was attacked just north of Valparaíso.

Essex was armed with powerful but short-range 32-pounder carronades that gave Phoebe, armed with long 18-pounders, a decisive advantage at long range. For ​2.5 hours, Phoebe and Cherub bombarded Essex from long range, where Essex could only resist with her few long 12-pounders. Fires twice erupted aboard Essex, at which point about fifty men abandoned the ship and swam for shore, only half of them land; the British saved sixteen.  Eventually, the hopeless situation forced Porter to surrender. Essex had suffered 58 dead and 31 missing of her crew of 214. The British lost four men dead and seven wounded on Phoebe, and one dead and three wounded on Cherub.