The name Boxer comes from His Majesty’s Brig Boxer (Captain Samuel Blyth), 14 guns, encountered and captured by the U.S. brig Enterprise (Lieutenant William Burrows), 12 guns, off Portland, Maine, on 5 September 1813.
Enterprise, patrolling the New England coast to “protect the coasting trade to the eastward which has been so much interrupted by small cruisers of the enemy,” was searching the bay around Pemaquid Point when she discovered a brig getting underway that appeared to be a vessel of war, and immediately gave chase. Boxer, however, fired several rounds, and stood for the fight. Lieutenant Burrows, having identified the stranger’s strength and enemy character, ordered Enterprise to stand out to allow room to maneuver. Boxer gave chase, following Enterprise into open waters. At 3:00 that afternoon, Enterprise shortened sail and ran down, intending to draw in her enemy. At twenty minutes past three o’clock that afternoon with the ships within half pistol shot, both ships opened their batteries. The first broadside proved costly to both vessels: Captain Blyth fell almost immediately when a shot struck nearby. Not long after, Lieutenant Burrows fell mortally wounded by a cannon shot to the chest. The fighting raged for over an hour, with both ships exchanging volleys and suffering great damage. By 4:00 p.m., Boxer was a complete wreck, all of her braces and rigging shot away, her main topmast and topgallant mast hanging over the side, fore and main masts virtually gone, three feet of water in her hold, and no surgeon to tend to her wounded. As Enterprise maneuvered for a raking position, Lieutenant McCrery, having assumed command, conferred with his officers and decided to hail Enterprise and concede the battle. The ensigns, having been nailed to the masts by Captain Blyth, could not be hauled down.
The U.S. Navy never put Boxer into service. Sold in Portland, Maine, she sailed from that port for many years as a merchantman.
Tristram Shandy (q.v.), a schooner-rigged, iron-hulled, sidewheel steamer caught on 15 May 1864 trying to run the Union blockade off Wilmington, N.C., was renamed Boxer on 21 June 1865.
Raymond A. Mann
15 December 2005