Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Buraimi Oman, on the border with the UAE
Originally Posted by CutlassCollector
The Shannon v. Chesapeake duel is also well described by Gilkerson in 'Boarders Away'.
He also includes the casualty list from the Shannon which lists the frequency and the cause of each death and wound.
This makes for interesting reading.
First place is taken by small calibre ball wounds - 33, followed by larger calibre ie: grapeshot, 22. Cutlass wounds were surprisingly few at 5 with two more attributed to pike or bayonet. The remainder were wounds caused by splinters or impact damage.
Unfortunately the much lengthier list for the American ship has not survived but there were reportedly many more cutlass and pike wounds. Presumably, at least in part, due to the boarding action where the Brits were on the offensive.
The excellence in gunnery by the Shannons skipper showed up well in contact. He was the innovator of several methods of coordinating and directing the guns. As you say the Brits were devastating at close range with the Cutlass and many casualties ensued. Arguably this was the fiercest engagement where boarding parties were used at sea in history! The Captain also introduced stick fighting in preparation for Cutlass training...A ploy that also seems to have worked. He also stopped a sword or cutlass with his head, unfortunately, but survived though he would be unable to command again. He was obviously an officer imbued with the right leadership
spirit of Leadership from the Point of the Spear