Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/17

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1807
7
THE "CHESAPEAKE" AND "LEOPARD"

in the Mediterranean, and the officers of the "Chesapeake" were helpless under the control of the navyyard at Washington.

At length, in the earliest days of June, Gordon dropped down the Potomac. The "Chesapeake" was to carry on this cruise an armament of forty guns,—twenty-eight 18-pounders and twelve 32-pound carronades; but owing to the shoals in the river she took but twelve guns on board at Washington, the rest waiting her arrival at Norfolk. With these twelve guns Gordon tried to fire the customary salute in passing Mount Vernon; and he wrote to the secretary in exasperation at the result of this first experience:[1]

"Had we been engaged in an active war I should suspect the officers of the yard with having a design on my character; but fortunately Mount Vernon drew our attention to the guns before we could apprehend any danger from an enemy. In the act of saluting that place I was struck with astonishment when the first lieutenant reported to me that neither the sponges nor cartridges would go in the guns. I immediately arrested my gunner; but on his satisfying me that he had received them from the gunner of the yard I released him, and hold Mr. Stevenson responsible."

The mistakes were easily corrected, and the ship arrived in Hampton Roads without further incident. Commodore Barron, who first came aboard June 6,

  1. Captain Gordon to the Secretary of the Navy, June 22, 1807; Court-martial, p. 259.