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Naval Engagements & Events

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Robert Dodd: Serapis, Bonne Homme Richard
Robert Dodd. "...the Gallant Defense of Captn. Pearson in his Majesty's Ship SERAPIS, and the COUNTESS OF SCARBOROUGH Arm'd Ship Captn. Piercy, against Paul Jones's Squadron, whereby a valuable Fleet from the Baltic were prevented from falling into the hands of the Enemy..." London: John Harris, 1 Decr. 1781. Engraving by J. Peltro. 12 x 17 1/2. Early hand color. Trimmed to platemarks with a small margin added at bottom. Stable. Very good appearance. Not in Cresswell book but in dissertation #526. Olds, item 76; E. Newbold Smith, item 16; Trumpy, Beverley Robinson Collection, item 198.

One of a number of British prints showing the battle between John Paul Jones' Bon Homme Richard and H.M.S. Serapis. The title does not name Jones' ship and calls attention to the fact that Jones led a squadron against the single British war ship. Subsequent historians have agreed that the strategic victory went to Captain Pearson because he prevented the Baltic fleet from being captured. Statistics on either side of the text show that Jones had twice as many ships and twice as many guns as his adversary. American historians counter that fact with the assertion that British shot and powder was a better quality than that had by the poorly funded Americans. This scene, based on Dodd's famous painting, shows the moment when the Alliance, captained by a jealous and half-mad Frenchman, poured a broadside into both ships when the Bon Homme Richard and Serapis were bound together. This print is a re-engraving of an earlier one by Lerpiniere & Fittler which is larger. B.F. Leizalt used the same image to produce a vue d'optique print of this event. A classic image of an important sea battle. $1,800

Serapis and Bon Homme Richard
Prints from Barnard's New Complete and Authentic History of England. London: Edward Barnard, 1781-83. Engravings. On sheets 14 1/2 x 9. Some light stains, but overall very good condition, except as noted.

A series of historical prints from Edward Barnard's History of England. This delightful history was described on one of the prints as "A Work Universally Acknowledged to be the Best Performance of the Kind,-on account of It's Impartiality, Accuracy, New Improvements, Superior Elegance, &c." It was issued at the end of the eighteenth century in response to the growing demand for works on all subjects by a newly educated reading public in England. The history was full of prints on all aspects of English history, including a number of prints on British naval engagements.

Captain Ellison's Action off Guernsey
J.T. Lee. "Captain Ellison's Action off Guernsey with an Enemy Squadron." From The Naval Chronicle. London: J. Gold, 1808. Aquatint by Richards. Ca. 5 x 4. Minor foxing outside of image right hand side. Else, very good condition.

Between 1799 and 1818, The Naval Chronicle, was the preeminent maritime journal reporting news about the British navy. Issued twice a year, it was published during a period in which the British navy fought the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, and came to "rule the waves." This wonderful journal included action reports, intelligence on various matters related to the British and other navies, and biographies of naval officers. Many of the reports were accounts by officers directly involved, such as Lord Horatio Nelson. Included with the articles were portraits, images of naval action, and views of the many ports in which the navy called. These are important, first-hand images of this turbulent period. $150
GoGo to page with listing of other prints from The Naval Chronicle.

Glorious First of June
M. Brown. "This Print of the CELEBRATED VICTORY obtained by the British Fleet under the Command of Earl Howe, over The French Fleet ON THE GLORIOUS FIRST OF JUNE, 1794 " London: Daniel Orme, Oct. 1, 1795. Engraving by D. Orme. 17 x 22 1/2. Some marginal repaired tears and wear, a few light creases in image, but overall condition and impression very good.

A striking and quite scarce engraving showing the British naval victory over the French on the "Glorious First of June, 1794." In early 1793 shortly after the execution of Louis XVI, Revolutionary France declared war on the alliance of the German Empire, Spain, Holland and Great Britain. The first naval battle of the war was fought on June 1, 1794 west of Ushant, off the Brittany Peninsula. A French fleet of 26 warships, under Admiral Louis Villaret de Joyeuse, was escorting a convoy of grain ships across the Atlantic when he was intercepted by a similar British fleet under Admiral, Lord Richard Howe. In this decisive action, six French ships were captured and one was sunk, giving the British a "glorious" victory, despite the fact that the supply ships were able to slip away into the harbor at Brest as the British fleet was too battered to pursue them. The British were quite frightened at the time of the entire Revolutionary movement in France, so the British public was exhilarated by this victory, to the extent that thereafter it was always known as the "Glorious First of June." This excellent engraving is after a painting by M. Brown, "Historical Painter to their R.H. the Duke & Duchess of York," and was engraved and published by Daniel Orme, "Historical Engraver to his Majesty & his R.H. the Prince of Wales." It was issued very shortly after the event and it was a celebration of the victory to be hung in prominent homes in England. $1,200

Tripoli War
"Blowing up of the Fire Ship Intrepid commanded by Capt. Somers in the Harbour of Tripoli on the Night of the 4th. Sept. 1804." From The Port Folio. December 1810. Line engraving. 9 3/4 x 14. Backed with archival tissue. Very good condition. Ref.: E. Newbold Smith, American Naval Broadsides: 43, pl. 29 and Irving Olds, Bits and Pieces: 112.

The first Barbary War (1801-1805) was a result of President Jefferson's refusal to pay an increased tribute to Tripoli (now Libya) one of the Barbary States of North Africa along with of Algiers, Tunis and Morocco. These piratical states had been extracting tribute from the European powers since the eighteenth century, in order to ensure the safety of their vessels sailing in the Mediterranean. When the United States became independent, it was deemed prudent to take up this practice, and so the Americans began paying their own tribute in 1784. In 1801, the pasha of Tripoli demanded an increased tribute, to $225,000, from the new President. This Jefferson, who had long argued against the tribute, refused, and the pasha declared war on the United States on May 14, 1801.

The United States sent navy ships to blockade the Barbary ports and they had some success, though in 1803 the frigate USS Philadelphia ran aground in Tripoli Harbor and was captured. In February 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur, Jr., led a small group into the harbor aboard a disguised USS Intrepid, and they managed to destroy the Philadelphia to prevent its use by their enemies. Later that year in the Americans tried to send the Intrepid, under Commandant Richard Somers, into the harbor again, this time as a fire ship to burn the enemy fleet. According to this print the ship were boarded by an overwhelming number of enemies before their plan could be carried out. Rather than be captured, enslaved, and lose the ship, Somers ordered that the magazine be explored, which killed both the boarders and the entire American crew. It is not clear that events took place in this way, for the ship may have been hit by enemy fire or perhaps blown up accidentally, but this version made for a stirring story, which promoted patriotism and increased the reputation of the U.S. Navy. Despite this set back, the continued American blockade and an overland expedition against Tripoli, led to a peace treaty on June 4, 1805. $1,350

Analectic: Consitution, Levant and Cyane
"View of the action between the U.S. Frigate Constitution and the British Ships Levant & Cyane." From The Analectic Magazine. Philadelphia: 1816. 3 7/8 x 7 3/8. Aquatint by William Strickland. Repaired separation at fold and tear at right. Good condition.

In 1812, Philadelphia bookseller and publisher Moses Thomas purchased a monthly magazine entitled Select Reviews, engaged Washington Irving as editor, and renamed the publication The Analectic Magazine. Irving, his brother-in-law J. K. Paulding, Gulian C. Verplanck and, later, Thomas Isaac Wharton wrote much of the material, which concentrated on literary reviews, articles on travel and science, biographies of naval heroes, and reprints of selections from British periodicals. Illustration "was one of the magazine's chief distinctions. Not only were there the usual engravings on copper, but some of the earliest magazine experiments in lithography and wood engraving appeared here. The plates were chiefly portraits, though some other subjects were used." (Mott, A History of American Magazines) In this dramatic view, the U.S.S. Constitution is engaged in battle with H.M.S. Levant and H.M.S. Cyane. $175

Chesapeake & Shannon
M. Corne. "The Chesapeake & Shannon." From The Naval Monument, Containing Official and Other Accounts Of All The Battles Fought Between the Navies of the United States and Great Britain During The Late War. Boston: George Clark, 1836. Wood engraving. 2 3/4 x 6 7/8. Very good condition.

The most stirring and, for the United States, successful action during the War of 1812 were fought by the young U.S. Navy. With glorious victories on Lake Champlain, Lake Erie and on the high seas, the captains and ships of the U.S. Navy were the greatest heroes to come out of this war. The demand by the military and the public for information and illustrations of these battles and figures was satisfied by the publication, in 1816-shortly after the war ended-of The Naval Monument. This included descriptions of the naval battles fought during the war, along with twenty five illustrations of those battles, produced in both copper and wood engravings. These are some of the best contemporary images of these battles and this combined with the scarcity of these prints makes them most desirable. $175
GoGo to list of other War of 1812 prints from The Naval Monument.

Battle of Santiago
S. G. Sebry. "The Naval Battle of Santiago." Boston: James Drummond Ball, 1898. 22 x 42. Chromolithograph. Large margins. Five inch tear, expertly repaired, into image on right hand side. Otherwise, very good condition. With portraits of American and Spanish captains in the bottom margin. With a photocopy of original advertisement for the print.

When was declared against Spain in 1898, Spain's Caribbean Squadron had taken refuge in the harbor of Santiago, Cuba. United States was worried of this fleet raiding the North American coast or endangering the American invasion forces bound for Cuba. Under the Command of Maj. General Williams Shafter, 15,000 American soldiers landed near Santiago and fought the Battles of El Caney and San Juan Hill. With the capture of Santiago by the Americans, Admiral Pascual Cervera and his Spanish Fleet were now within range of American artillery fire, and he considered their position in danger. On July 3 the Spanish Squadron attempted to escape the harbor which was being blockaded by the American Fleet commanded by Admiral Sampson. The Spanish fleet was no match for the American five battleships and two armored cruisers. The campaign was a huge triumph for the modern United States Navy. This print, designed as a panorama to show the scope of the engagement, was issued not long after the battle. Names for both the American and Spanish ships are indicated. Below the image in the bottom margin are numerous oval portraits of the American and Spanish captains of the ships that took part in the battle. This print was originally issued in two editions. One an Artist Proof which was offered on canvas and other the Regular Proof Edition. This print is the latter edition. A copy of the advertisement for the print accompanies this print. A very dramatic and stirring view of the battle. $850


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