Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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USS United States vs HMS Macedonian

USS United States versus HMS Macedonian was a naval battle fought near Madeira on October 25th 1812 between the heavy frigate USS United States, commanded by Stephen Decatur, and the frigate HMS Macedonian, commanded by John Surman Carden.

On 25 October, five hundred miles south of the Azores, lookouts on United States sighted a sail. Captain Decatur recognized HMS Macedonian, which was on its way to its station in the West Indies.

The battle commensed. Captain Carden choose not to risk crossing the bows of United States to rake her, but chose instead to haul closer to the wind on a parallel course with the American ship. As his ship was at a disadventadge, Decatur intended to engage Macedonian from long range.

The battle developed according to Decatur's plan. United States began by firing a broadside. This was answered immediately by the British vessel, bringing down a small spar of United States. Decatur's next broadside destroyed Macedonian's mizzen top mast, so giving the maneuvering advantage to the American frigate. United States next took up position off Macedonian's quarter and proceeded to riddle the frigate methodically with shot. Macedonian became a dismasted hulk. When United States closed for another broadside, Carden was forced to surrender. Macedonian had over 100 round shot lodged in her hull and suffered over one hundred casualties, one third of her crew, while United States only suffered 12. Because of the greater range of the guns aboard United States, the ship emerged from the battle relatively unscathed.