Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Late War Actions

On 13 January 1815, before the British blockade was lifted, Stephen Decatur tried to slip out of New York Harbor in U.S.S. President in a snowstorm and gale.  His ship ran aground and sustained heavy damage in breaking free.  When the storm lifted, he was unable to escape the British blockaders.  He fought H.M.S. Endymion until it was disabled, but President was so badly damaged that H.M.S. Pomone forced it to surrender after light fire.  Decatur and his surviving crew were taken as prisoners to Bermuda, but news of the end of the war soon came and they were freed. 

Having escaped Boston in December 1814, Constitution, Captain Charles Stewart commanding, headed into the open ocean and began taking merchant prizes.  On 20 Feburary 1815, she encountered H.M.S. Cyane and Levant off Madeira.  The lighter guns of the British ships were no match for Constitution and they were taken. The British prisoners were deposited at the Cape Verde Islands and the ships were manned with American prize crews.  Levant was later re-captured by a British squadron, but Constitution and Cyane sailed on to Boston, where they received word of the cessation of hostilities.  Cyane was taken into the United States Navy and served off the coast of Africa, in the West Indies, and in the Mediterranean until the 1830’s.