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USS Wasp vs HMS Avon

USS Wasp was in Lorient France, making repairs and acquiring a new crew from the American Privateers after an earlier engagement with HMS Reindeer left her personal depleted. Wasp left Lorient on August 27 1814, and almost immediately was involved in a battle. On the morning of September 1, Wasp encountered a convoy of ten merchant ships escorted by HMS Armada. The Wasp made repeated attacks and succeeded in capturing one ship loaded with iron, brass and arms.

Later that day, Master Commandant Johnston Blakely, commanding Wasp, spotted four other unknown sail, and made for them. The ship was  HMS Avon commanded by James Arbuthnot, Blakely eventually drew up alongside Avon, deliberately selecting a position to prevent Avon escaping. Wasp engaged in battle.

It was dark and the sea was rough, the American gunners were still accurate. Avon had been partly dismasted, one third of her crew were wounded or killed and her guns damaged. Wasp had three sailors wounded.

Three quarters of an hour after the start of the battle, Avon surrendered. While the crew of Wasp were lowering a boat to take possession, another unknown vessel was seen approaching, followed by two more. Wasp made away downwind while the repairs were made. The nearest pursuer was the British brig-sloop HMS Castilian. The brig got close enough to fire an inaccurate broadside over Wasp's quarter, but Avon had been making repeated distress signals, and Castilian broke off to help. Avon's crew was taken off, and the shattered brig sank soon afterwards.

Wasp continued to cruise west of the mouth of the English Channel. On 21 September, it met with a neutral Swedish merchant vessel, on board of which were two officers from the frigate USS Essex, which had been captured the previous year off the coast of Chile. Some of the officers from the prizes taken earlier by Wasp were put aboard the Swedish ship. After the two vessels parted, Wasp vanished, and was presumed lost to bad weather south of the Azores.

The released prisoners brought news of the one-sided nature of the action between Wasp and Avon to Britain. This caused calls for larger, better-armed sloops and brigs.