By George C. Daughan
In The Shining Sea, award-winning historian George C. Daughan tells the total tale of Porter’s exciting, action-packed voyage, revealing the heights of Porter’s hubris and the real depths of his failure in this fateful cruise. rationale on attaining own glory, Porter made the treacherous trip round Cape Horn and into the Pacific Ocean, the place he deliberate to trap a British man-of-war. From Valparaiso to the Galapagos to the Marquesas, the Essex roamed the South Seas, seizing British whaling and service provider ships, wreaking havoc on British trade, and incomes Porter and his males wealth and acclaim. Flush together with his victories, Porter welcomed the scoop British frigate—the HMS Phoebe—was on his tail, and he resolved to seize her. yet Porter couldn't triumph over the Phoebe’s better firepower. Over the process a determined, bloody conflict, he misplaced the Essex and over two-thirds of her crew—a surprising finish to a bold journey.
A swashbuckling story of threat and smash at the excessive seas, The Shining Sea brings to lifestyles the monomaniacal quest of 1 of the main misunderstood commanders of the warfare of 1812. Porter’s singular voyage, Daughan indicates, stands as a cautionary story for any chief who could placed own glory and ambition prior to reason and countrymen.
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Extra resources for The Shining Sea: David Porter and the Epic Voyage of the U.S.S. Essex during the War of 1812
Prisoners at the seashore have been to grab canoes, row out to the send, board, take her, and positioned to sea. If entire shock used to be accomplished, no different send will be able to pursue them, and the Essex, without powder aboard, will be helpless to forestall them. The plan was once conceivable, yet Porter knew approximately it nearly from the instant it was once hatched. sentinels, who have been guarding the rum, have been supporting Lawson, and Porter had came upon their actions. Disturbed through what he chanced on, he punished the sentinels significantly. He then positioned the crews and marines on excessive alert, and warned the marines that if the subsequent forget of accountability merited loss of life, he wouldn't hesitate to shoot the criminal. They knew he intended it. the subsequent night, Porter chanced on simply the sort of forget and reacted angrily. He used to be in mattress (but now not asleep) on the time, and didn't listen the marine within the bake apartment name out “all’s good” as he must have. Porter requested why, and the sergeant of the shield, upon investigating, stumbled on the marine quick asleep together with his musket beside him. with no demanding the hapless fellow, the sergeant suggested again to Porter who grabbed a pistol. With the sergeant and a defend, he strode to the bake residence, gripping his weapon. whilst he arrived, the unlucky marine used to be nonetheless asleep with the musket by way of his part. Porter had him seized up and shot him within the fleshy a part of the thigh. regardless of the fracas, Lawson nonetheless deliberate to flee on Sunday evening, November 14. yet as success might have it, at the afternoon of the day past, lookouts had noticeable an unidentified send on the mouth of the harbor, and Porter despatched Lieutenant Downes in Essex Junior to determine who she was once. ahead of Downes left, Porter took Lawson without warning, seized him and the opposite conspirators, placed them in chains, and set them to paintings development a wall round castle Madison. at the afternoon of November 15, Downes arrived again and stated that the unusual send used to be the Albatross, an American dealer looking for sandalwood for China. She had on board beads and different trinkets to exchange with the Marquesans. The Albatross proceeded into port, anchored, after which bought a shipload of the valuable wooden for essentially not anything. whilst her captain, William Smith, had got all his send may possibly carry, he offered his leftover trinkets at exorbitant costs to Porter’s males for funds. LAWSON AND HIS friends have been A SMALL challenge in comparison to one other, a lot greater one. The phrases of enlistment of many Essex males had expired or have been approximately to. Of the entire problems that Porter confronted, this one prompted him the main uneasiness. He knew the problem will be raised a method or one other, and it had the capability to smash his project. He used to be no longer taken thoroughly all of sudden while hassle arose presently sooner than the Albatross arrived. for instance, whilst the officer of the watch threatened Robert Dunn, a quartermaster, with punishment for forget of accountability, Dunn responded that the time for which he enlisted had expired, and if he was once punished he could by no means do accountability within the send. considering the fact that lots of the group have been in comparable conditions, Porter knew he needed to care for Dunn decisively.