ESSEX, PHCEBE AND CHERUB, Battle of the, in the War of 1812. On 28 Oct. 1812, the Essex, under Capt. David Porter (q.v.), passed the Delaware Capes and ran south to meet the Constitution, but failing in this contin ued her voyage and on 12 December, a little south of the equator, captured the British frigate Norton, which was dispatched to the nearest American port but which on the way was recap tured by the Belvidere. Porter then sailed around Cape Horn, arrived at Valparaiso, Chile, 14 March 1813, supplied his ship and in the next few months cleared the seas of British whalers and warships, one of which he turned into a 20-gun ship and renamed the Essex Junior. After numerous adventures the two ships put in at Valparaiso, where on 8 Feb. 1814, they were found and blockaded by the British frigates Phoebe (13 long 18's, 1 long 12, 1 long 9, 7 short 32's and 1 short 18), Capt. James Hillyar, and Cherub (2 long 9's, 2 short 18's and 9 short 32's). The Essex was armed with 17 short 32's and 6 long 12's so that while she could overpower the Phoebe at short range, the latter's long range 18 pounders would en able her completely to destroy the Essex from a position beyond reach of the latter's guns. For a month Porter lay practically idle, hut, on learning of the approach of several other ships, had decided to run the blockade when on 28 March 1814, the Essex parted her port cable; he thereupon attempted to escape but a mishap compelled him to return. As he was anchored in a small hay a short distance from shore, Porter supposed the British would respect the neutrality of the port and had begun to make repairs when the Phoebe and Cherub bore down on him and a few minutes before 4 o'clock opened fire. As the Phoebe was on her stern and the Cherub off her starboard bow, the Essex could not reply effectively with her broadside, but Porter ran two long 12's out of the stern ports and at 4.30 compelled the Phcebe to haul off to repair damages. Since
Porter's long guns could not be brought to bear and his carronades could not reach them, the British ships then proceeded leisurely to pound the Essex to pieces, the Phoebe anchoring and firing her broadsides of long 18's into the quarter of the Essex while the Cherub kept under way and threw solid shot from her bow guns. Porter then attempted to run his ves sel ashore but was prevented by a shift of the wind; accordingly he let an anchor go, brought the head of his vessel around and gave the Phoebe a broadside that crippled her and caused her to drift away with the tide. Unfortunately at this moment the hawser of the Essex parted and, a helpless wreck, she aimlessly floated toward her antagonist; twice she took fire, part of her powder exploded, she had been hulled at almost every shot, and at 6.10 her colors were hauled down, though the British did not cease firing until 6.20. The Essex lost 58 killed and 66 wounded and 28 drowned or missing out of her crew of 255, while the British loss was only five killed and 10 wounded. The Essex Junior was converted into a cartel and Porter and the survivors were sent to New York, arriving in July 1814. Consult Adams, 'United States' (Vol. VIII, pp. 174-181); Barnes, James, 'Naval Actions of the War of 1812' (pp. 171-87) ; Cooper, J. F., 'Naval History' (Vol. II, pp. 76 97) ; James, William, 'Naval Actions' (pp. 78 82) ; Maclay, E. S. 'History of the Navy> (Vol. I, pp. 543-75) ; Mahan, A. T., 'War of 1812' (Vol. II, pp. 24452) ; Porter, 'Journal of a Cruise made to the Pacific Ocean by Capt. David Porter in the United States Frigate Essex' (2 vols., 1815) ; Porter, David D., 'Life of Porter' ; Roosevelt, War of 1812' (pp. 293-309) ; Spears, J. R., 'History of Our Navy' (Vol. III, pp. 1-53) ; Wiley and Rines, 'The United States' (Vol. V, pp. 486-93) ; and biographies of D. G. Farragut, by Loyall Far ragut, J. R. Spears, A. T. Mahan, James Barnes and P. C. Headley.