HMS Detroit (1813)

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HMS Detroit.jpg
Painting of HMS Detroit by E.A Hodgkinson
History
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Detroit
Builder: Amherstburg Royal Naval Dockyard, Amherstburg
Launched: August 1813
Fate: Captured on 10 September 1813
United States
Name: USS Detroit
Acquired: 10 September 1813 by capture
Fate: Sold in 1825
General characteristics
Type: Sloop
Tons burthen: 305 (bm)
Armament: 20 guns

HMS Detroit was a 20-gun sloop of the Royal Navy, launched in August 1813 and serving on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The Americans captured her during the Battle of Lake Erie on 10 September 1813. The vessel was commissioned into the United States Navy as its first USS Detroit. However, she was so damaged that her captors laid her up and eventually sold her in 1825.

Career[edit]

Detroit was a corvette (a ship-rigged flush decked vessel), of approximately 490 tons (though there is much debate regarding measurement of tonnage, due both to differences in British and American measures and ways in which tonnage is measured, either in tonnes burthen or in displacement), and was built at Amherstburg Royal Naval Dockyard in Amherstburg.

Detroit was originally intended to have a main battery of twenty 24-pounder carronades. In late April 1813, these guns were in store at the dockyard in York, the provincial capital of Upper Canada, awaiting shipment to Amherstburg. On 27 April, after the British were forced to retreat at the Battle of York, the Americans under the command of Commodore Isaac Chauncey, commanding the United States squadron on Lake Ontario, captured the carronades. As a result, Detroit was fitted out with nineteen assorted guns, some of which were removed from the defences of Fort Amherstburg. Instead of the short-range carronades, many of these were long guns, firing a lighter shot but with longer range. Most of the guns lacked flintlock firing mechanisms, and even linstocks and slow match to fire them, and could be discharged only by flashing pistols at powder piled in the touchholes.

The Americans used their prizes Detroit and Queen Charlotte as hospital ships. A gale swept the lake on 13 September and dismasted both, further damaging the already battered ships. Once the wounded had been ferried to Erie, the two British ships were effectively reduced to hulks.[1]

Fate[edit]

Detroit and Queen Charlotte were taken into Put-in-Bay, Ohio, to prevent their sinking. In May 1814 USS Ohio assisted in fitting out prizes Detroit and Queen Charlotte at Put-in Bay, and convoyed them to Erie, Pennsylvania. There they were laid up until sold in 1825.

HMS Detroit (1812)[edit]

There had been another HMS Detroit on Lake Erie during this time. This had been the United States brig Adams, fitted out to mount six 6-pounders. She was surrendered to the British on 16 August 1812 with the surrender of Detroit and subsequently used to dominate the lake. The Americans recaptured Detroit on 9 October but could not get the vessel away from shore guns; they burnt her later that day.

See also[edit]

  • Oliver Hazard Perry concerning Battle of Lake Erie and fate of a replica of HMS Detroit (1813).

Citations and references[edit]

Citations
  1. ^ Benjamin J. Lossing (1869). "Field Book of the War of 1812". Retrieved 20 December 2011. 
References

This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.