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Britain's Senior Admiral: Victoria Daily Colonist, February 16, 1892, page 2

Britain's Senior Admiral

Death of the Surviving Hero of the Duel Between the Shannon and Chesapeake.

London, Feb. 14.—Admiral Sir Provo Wallis, K. C. B., aged 100 years, senior Admiral of the British Navy, is dead. In 1812 he was appointed to the Shannon, which captured the United States frigate Chesapeake off Boston harbor in June, 1813, after gallant Captain Lawrence had lost his life. Wallis was Second Lieutenant on this occasion, and his Captain, Broke, having been terribly wounded and the First Lieutenant killed, the command devolved on him. The old Admiral had years of experience afterward, and rose by slow degrees to the rank of admiral in 1864, when he left active service. In 1877 he was made admiral of the fleet. He fought 88 years ago as a "middy" of fourteen on the blood-stained deck of the Cleopatra, in the battle of the Nile, receiving the news of the victory at Trafalgar whilh cruising in the Canadian off Antigua. He tells the story of the capture of the Chesapeake, thus:—"Every officer on the Chesapeake, down to the officiating chaplain, was slain (or desperately wounded) the courageous Lawrence, shot through the body, died four days afterward in his cabin. Broke was dangerously wounded, and Watt, our first lieutenant, was killed by a bullet from the foretop. It thus came to pass, at the age of 22, I took command of the Shannon, put my junior, Mr. Falkner, in charge of the prize, placed their own fetters on the wrists of our prisoners, and set sail for Halifax. It was Sunday when we arrived there and everybody was in church. We were concealed by a fog till close to the harbor; the yards of both ships were manned and the British flag floated proudly over the American ensign. The rumor of our coming spread like wildfire; the worshippers abandoned their clergymen and rushed down to the quays, followed in quick order by the choir boys in their robes, and finally by the clergymen himself, who did not even wait to divest himself of his surplice. In passing up the bay there was a great shout from the people, for they thought our prize was the forty-four gun frigate President, which had incurred their cordial dislike, but when they heard that it was the Chesapeake, and that Lawrence, her commander, was dead, not a huzza was heard, except, I believe, from a brig lying at anchor. Captain Lawrence was highly respected for his humanity to the crew of the Peacock, and marks of real grief were seen in the countenances of all the inhabitants I had a chance to see. I heard several say that they considered the blood which had been shed on the Chesapeake's deck as being as dear to them as that of their own countrymen."

[Public Domain mark] Copyright/Licence: This work was published in 1922 or earlier. It has therefore entered the public domain in the United States.