His Britannic Majesty’s Brig Bloodhound, July 1812

On July 18, a month after the declaration of war, HM Brig Bloodhound (10 guns), Capt. Charles Rubridge (1787-1873) commanding, entered the Chesapeake having left Plymouth, England on June 28.  On board was a Mr. Shaw, the King’s messenger with dispatches for the England’s Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States in Washington, Mr. Augustus J. Foster (1780-1848).

At anchor in the harbor was the Letter of Marque Cora of  Baltimore, Actg. 1st Officer Richard Weathers, cmdg. He was awaiting the arrival of Captain Joseph Gold and ships owner to board from the city. Arriving in port on July 21, HMB Bloodhound was unaware of the U.S. declaration of war of June 18 having been at sea. As they approached Annapolis under the guidance of a black pilot, she was boarded by the crew of the Cora and placed her under the guns of Fort Madison.

While lying under the guns of Fort Madison, her crew were sequestered in the forts barracks and kept under guard for protection. Mr. Shaw having delivered his dispatches to Washington returned with an order for the Bloodhound and her crew for their immediate release. The U.S. government held the capture and any prize of the Cora to be improper as Capt. Rubridge was unaware of the war declaration. She was released and returned with dispatches to Plymouth. She was the second  British national vessel to be taken in the Chesapeake. The first was on July 10, at Hampton Roads, Va., of  HBM schooner Whiting, Capt. Carroway by the Baltimore privateer Dash, under similar events. HMS Bloodhound was restored to her colors.

Sources: An Autobiographical Sketch by Captain Charles Rubidge, R.N. 1870, pp 4-5; Daily National Intelligence, July 11, 21, 28, 1812.

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Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 11:25 am  Leave a Comment