USS Wasp vs. HMS Frolic
October 18, 1812
On October 13, the American ship-sloop "Wasp" sailed from the Delaware with 137 men aboard and captained by Jacob Jones. On October 16, a storm caused the loss of the "Wasp's" jib-boom and the two men who were on it.
The next day the weather was better and the crew of the "Wasp" sighted several sails in the distance. These sails turned out to be a convoy of 14 merchant-men on their way to England, they were escorted by the British brig-sloop "Frolic". The Frolic had 110 men aboard and was captained by Capt. Thomas Whinyates. During the storm on October 16, the "Frolic" had her main-yard damaged and both her top sails had been torn to pieces. The next day was spent making the repairs.
On October 18, the "Wasp" moved toward the british ship. The "Frolic" hoisted Spanish colours, this gave the convoy time to get away. At 11:30 A.M., the 2 ships were sailing no more than 60 yards apart. The "Wasp" fired her port guns, and the "Frolic" fired her starboard guns. The British ship fired rapidly, delivering 3 broadsides to the American's two. Both crews cheered wildly as the battle became heated. The "Wasp" was landing more shot than the British ship. The ocean was very rough, the crew of the "Frolic" fired their cannon when they were on the crest of the waves. The Americans fired their guns on the lower part of the waves. But in spite of the weather both ships fire was well directed.
At 11:36 A.M. the "Wasp's" maintop-mast was shot away and fell with it's yard. At 11:46 A.M. her mizzentop -gallant mast came down and by 11:52 every brace and most of her rigging had been shot away. The British ship however, had been severely damaged in her hull and lower masts.
The "Wasp" gradually moved ahead and raked the "Frolic" with a devastating effect. The American ship fired again, this caused many casualties on the "Frolic". The ships came together, and after one failed attempt because of rough seas the Americans boarded the British ship.
Not one Englishman was there to stop the crew of the "Wasp" from boarding. The man at the wheel was dazed but still at his post. Capt. Whinyates and Lt. Wintle were wounded so severely that they could not stand without support. The crew of the "Frolic" could not fight any longer and Lt. Biddle lowered the flag at 12:15 P.M., just 43 minutes after the battle had started.
The Wasp had been damaged severely in her rigging but only 2 or 3 shots struck her hull.