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Thrilling Incidents In American History

• Title
• Preface

Revolutionary War
• Opening Of The Revolution
• The Boston Massacre
• Affair of the Sloop Liberty
• Affair of the Gaspee
• The Tea Riot
• The Boston Port Bill
• The First Continental Congress-Consequent Parliamentary proceedings
• Organization of the Minute-Men
• Patrick Henry-Second Provincial Congress-First Military Enterprise
• Battles of Lexington and Concord
• Battle of Bunker's Hill
• Capture of Ticonderoga
• Second Continental Congress-Washington's Appointment
• Siege of Boston
• Incidents at the Evacuation of Boston
• Burning of Falmouth
• Arnold's Expedition to Quebec
• Siege of Quebec, and Death of Montgomery
• Scenes at Quebec during the Siege
• Expedition against Charleston
• The Declaration of Independence
• The Battle of Long Island
• Washington's Retreat through New Jersey-Capture of General Lee
• Battle of Trenton
• Battle of Princeton
• Capture of General Prescott
• Battle of Brandywine
• Battle of Germantown
• Battle of Red-Bank
• Attack on Fort Mifflin-Retirement of the Army to Valley Forge
• Battle of Bennington
• Murder of Miss M'Crea
• Battle of Stillwater
• Battle of Bemis' Heights, and Retreat of Burgoyne
• Capture of Forts Clinton and Montgomery
• Surrender of Burgoyne
• The Treaty with France
• Attack on Savannah, and Death of Pulaski
• Storming of Stony Point
• General Sullivan's Campaign against the Mohawks
• Tarleton's Quarters
• Battle of Camden, and Death of De Kalb
• Arnold's Treason
• The Loss of the Randolph
• The British Prison-Ships
• Capture of the Serapis
• Putnam's Feat at Horseneck
• Battle of Eutaw Springs
• Wayne's Charge at Green Spring
• Capture of the General Monk
• The Mutinies
• Battle of the Cowpens
• Capture of New London
• Massacre of Wyoming
• Surrender of Cornwallis

War With France
• Capture of L'Insurgente
• The Constellation and Vengeance

War With Tripoli
• Burning of the Philadelphia
• Bombardment of Tripoli
• Loss of the Intrepid
• Expedition of General Eaton

Second War With England
• Battle of Tippecanoe
• Capture of the Guerriere
• Tragical Affair of an Indian Chief
• Battle and Massacre at the River Raisin
• Captain Holmes's Expedition
• Capture of the Caledonia and Detroit
• The Wasp and Frolic
• Gallant Conduct of Lieutenant Allen at the Capture of the Macedonian
• Capture and Destruction of the Java
• Siege of Fort Meigs
• Capture of York, and Death of General Pike
• Defence of Sackett's Harbour
• Defence of Fort Stephenson
• Battle of Lake Erie
• Battle of the Thames
• Gallant Action of Commodore Chauncey under the guns of Kingston Citadel
• The Sacking of Hampton
• Capture of the Peacock
• Massacre at Fort Mimms
• Surrender of Weatherford
• Battle of Niagara
• BattIe of New Orleans

War With Mexico
• Battle of Palo Alto
• Battle of Resaca de la Palma
• Capture of Monterey
• Battle in the Streets of Monterey
• Thrilling Scenes in the Battle of Buena Vista
• Bombardment of Vera Cruz
• Battle of Cerro Gordo
• Battles of Contreras and Churubusco
• Storming of Chapultepec


THE name of Capt. Nicholas Biddle will ever stand conspicuous on our military journals, not only as that of a man among the first of our patriotic seamen, but as distinguished alike for his brilliant sucesses, and his tragic end. During the early part of the Revolution, he performed the greatest service in capturing British merchantmen; and for the rapidity and success with which he manag~d all such affairs, he had acquired a decided superiority among all our naval officers.

In February, 1777, he sailed from Charleston with three hundred and five men, in the frigate Randolph, of thirty-six guns, and accompanied by the smaller vessels Polly, Fair American, General Moultrie, and Notre Dame. On the evening of the 7th of March, he was descried by the British ship Yarmouth, of seventy-four guns, commanded by Captain Vincent. At nine o'clock the latter came up with the Randolph, and ordered her to hoist colors, or he would fire. Biddle ran up the American flag, and poured a broadside into his enemy, which was immediately returned. The stirring scene of a naval action by night now commenced. Not knowing the strength of his adversary, Captain Biddle poured forth one broadside after another of heavy ordnance, which the British commander, confident of victory, answered. It was a sight wild and imposing. The thick, curtain-like darkness, would suddenly be broken by a quick sheet of flame, then a dazzling meteor flew from ship to ship, sparkling and whizzing in the air, and then crashing through masts, spars, and timber. The surges dashed and foamed under the stunning reports, and each vessel reeled heavily amid the pitchy night. Then one low, stifled wail would come riding through the interim of confusion, with a strange unearthly tone, that jarred discordantly with the uproar of battle.

Soon after the commencement of the action, Captain Biddle was wounded in the leg. Instead of retiring, he called for a chair, and seating himself amid the havoc around, exhorted his men to their duty. Nobly did they fulfil it. Three broadsides were fired by the Randolph to one of the Yarmouth, and during the greater part of the action she appeared in an entire blaze. For a few minutes the captain and crew of the Fair American believed that the enemy were on fire, and bore down to salute their commander.

This brilliant commencement was succeeded by a fearful end. The Randolph blew up with an explosion that shook the air for miles around, scattering deck, spars, and mangled limbs, far abroad among the waters. Of that gallant captain and his crew nothing more was ever seen. Four men clung to a piece of wreck, on which they floated for four days, subsisting on rain-water, which they sucked from a piece of blanket. These men were picked up by Captain Vincent, and treated by him with the greatest attention and kindness.

The Yarmouth was so much injured in the action, as to be unable to pursue the small ships of the squadron, which accordingly made their escape.

Captain Biddle was twenty-seven years old at the time of his daath, and had given ample promise of one day becoming a bright ornament to his profession. Notwithstanding his disparity of force, he would probably have escaped, but for the unfortunate explosion; for the British ship was in a shattered condition at the close of the action. But one of the other ships took an active part, and it was placed in so unfavourable a position as to inflict as much injury upon the Randolph, as upon her adversary.