Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Philadelphia, 24 July 1824:
A number of our ship carpenters who recently 'turned out' for higher wages and a few sail makers, with 'drink in hand', hired a small sloop for the purpose of celebrating the 4th of July at the Capes of Delaware. Upon reaching the place, however, they were unable to realize their anticipated enjoyment, so being full of independence, and gin, after weighty deliberations, resolved upon a cruise in pursuit of adventure. Their 'stores' were ample and having appointed a 'Commodore', they set sail with "buoyant hearts and spirits free as air". After cruising for sometime with out success, the U.S.Schooner Wessel hove into view and gave to the 'Commodore' a hope of accomplishing something worthy of himself. I shall not pretend to describe the soul piercing flash that darted through the mist of the liquor from his half bungled eye, when he first beheld his designed prey nor shall I describe the shouts of of which arose from the gallant crew, when orders were given to "bear down on her" and make he yield submissive to our power. The order was promptly obeyed, up went the sails, each man at his post, and as the belligerent forces floated toward each other, there was
"A Calm as Still as Death; And The Boldest Held His Breath; For a Time".
But when within musket shot, the Commodore with a degree of promptness which distinguishes our American Commanders, ordered the schooner to send her papers aboard immediately or dread impending ruin. Captain Zanisloger, who was at the loss of understanding the nature of the demand, manifeasted, as the Commodore thought, some reluctance in complying, when in order to enforce obedience to his modest request, a musket was fired from the sloop.
Captain Zanisloger, unwilling that the commodore should have all the fun on his side, ordered a 12 pounder to be fired over them and squared off to give a second broadside if necessary, but upon the clearing up of the smoke , the valour of our Commodore evaporized, and he, with half his crew were discovered on their knees exclaiming, "as you are brave, be mericifal".
The sloop was then set aboard, not with papers, but with orders to bring the Commodore and his crew aboard the schooner, where they were examined and Captn. Z having satisfied himself that they were true and loyal citizens of this commonwealth, in pursuit of pleasure, after a few sobering hours of detainment, permitted them to return to their sloop , on their promising that they would never attempt to catach "a Wessel" asleep again.

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