From Gauss' Children
Jump to: navigation, search

The Thirteenth Earl of Cassillis p212

{212} This same Captain Biddle was in command of the Hornet in 1815 when it made a thrilling escape, April 29-May 1, in company with the Peacock under Captain Warrington, from a British 74. The name of the vessel, Peacock, and the names of the two captains -- Biddle and Warrington -- not being at all strangers to this story, it is not inappropriate that an account of that escape should be given. Unquestionably all the sea-going characters in this history -- Captain Rinker, Lieutenant Rinker, Lieutenant Leib, Lieutenant Long and Commander Neville -- had experiences somewhat similar in one way or another, experiences as trying and exciting as those of young Robert Kennedy when a prisoner of the Mexicans. It may be speculative, of course, but it is not at all unlikely that the reason for young Leib wishing to leave the Congress was a desire to continue to serve under Captain Biddle. Thomas I. [J.] Leib was appointed midshipman on September 11, 1811, on the Franklin 74. He may therefore, have been one of the crew of the Hornet in 1815 when the British brig Penguin was captured and sunk, and a month later when, upon the appearance of a British 74, under a rear admiral's flag, both the Hornet and the Peacock took to their heels.


Narrative of the escape from a British 74 after a chase of 42 hours, extracted from a private journal of one of the officers on board the Hornet.

April 27, 1815. -- At 7 p. m. the "Peacock" made a signal for a strange sail bearing S. E. by S. We immediately made all sail in chase. Friday (28th) commenced with light breezes and pleasant weather; all sail set in chase; at sundown we had neared the stranger considerably, when it fell perfectly calm and remained so during the whole night, the stranger ahead, and could just discern his top-sails out of the water. At 5 a. m. (29th) a breeze sprung up from the N. W. We immediately crowded on all sail in order, if possible, to get a sight of the chase again. Soon after descried him standing to the northward and eastward on a wind. At 3/4 past 2 p. m. the "Peacock" was about 10 miles ahead of the "Hornet". We observed Captain Warrington approaching the stranger with much precaution. We hauled up for the "Peacock" still under the impression the sail in sight was an English Indiaman. From the conduct of the commander of the "Peacock" we were under the impression (as the ship looked very large) that Captain Warrington was waiting until we came up with him to make a joint attack. At half past 3 the "Peacock" made the signal that the chase was a line-of-battle ship and an enemy. Our astonishment may easily be conceived. We took in all steering sails and hauled upon the wind, bringing the enemy on our lee-quarter about 3 leagues distant, with the "Peacock" on his weather bow not more than 3 miles away. At sundown the enemy bore E. 1/2 S. and the "Peacock" E. by N. We soon perceived the enemy sailed remarkably fast, but the "Peacock" left him, running off to the eastward. At 8 we discovered the enemy weathered upon us fast and that there was every


This page is from John Seitz Beck's book about the Kennedy family. It was written after his retirement in the 1930s. The original manuscript is typed on a 1930s typewriter with 5 carbons!!! It has been transcribed and added to this site by Peggy Tarrant Robinson. The page numbers, done in red correspond with the original page numbers on the 1930s typed copy.

Personal tools

Gauss Index