View Full Version : The Escape of a Clean Pair of Keels

12-17-2016, 20:21

Jumada II 2, 1217

The Story

Murad Reis, Grand Admiral of the Eyalet of Tripolitania, found his arch nemesis, the American frigate General Greene, at anchor struggling to repair a leak in their hull. Most of the crew was ashore gathering materials for the repair, as well as food, and water. Meshuda fired one of her chasers across the American’s bow convincing those few left on board to surrender the ship. Those crewmen wishing to join with Tripolitanian cause were welcomed aboard, the rest were sent ashore with their officers.
“Adami, how serious is the damage to the ship?” asked Murad of his chief lieutenant. “Is she seaworthy enough to bring her back to the Pasha?”

“The damage is extensive, I not be sure she can make it home, Excellency, maybe we should just burn her now.”

Bushra, a young protégé of Murad’s interrupted, “Let me try, Excellency.”

“Your exuberance is commendable Bushra, but your experience hasn’t grown enough for such a task,” said the admiral.

“Siyyid Adami, would you be willing to try?”

“Yes Lord,” came the response.

“Good, take young Bushra with you then.”

Almost half of Murad’s crew was transferred to General Greene. Bushra set about making what little repairs he could to the damaged hull and then setting sails and making way. Adami was pleased with the young Egyptian.


The two ships began to move away from the island leaving most of the American sailors stranded.
As the ships picked up speed there came a cry from the masthead, “Sail-ho, coming around the headland.”

“Mufasa, what is she.” called Murad, “friend or foe?’

“She’s an American frigate of at least 40-guns, Excellency. I think that she is that new frigate everyone is talking about.

“Congress, Mufasa?”

“Yes, Excellency.” He called down from above the sails.

The two ships, increased sails knowing that their prize was slowed by the damage below decks. Their adversary would be able to out run General Green.

“Excelllency,” Mufasa called down, “I don’t think she’s seen us, she’s turning away.”


Murad considered lowering sails and waiting for the American to leave, but then, as if she heard the lookout’s report, USS Congress made a sharp turn to port and was bearing down on Meshuda and her prize.


The admiral’s heart sank. Deception was out; he could only run.

Murad Reis ordered Adami to head straight southeast as fast as his ship could safely go. He, on the other hand, would distract the American. Both ships raised sails, increasing speed hoping to make their escape. The wind shifted, bearing due east, helping the Arabs, but also the Americans.

As Meshuda started to pull away from her prize, Congress altered her course to run parallel to the Arab. The adversaries were barely within range when first Meshuda then Congress discharged their weapons. The cannonballs from Meshuda arched through the air, crashing into the Yankee’s bulwark and skidding across the deck. Congress’s aim wasn’t as true, but it was lucky. A great hole appeared in the side of Tripolitanian ship.


Taking advantage of the time it would take for Congress to reload, Murad swung his ship directly toward the American and charged.


Murad misjudged the quickness of the American crew and received a mighty blast from their rear division downing men that Murad could not afford to loose and cracking his hull at the waterline.

“Yusef, hard to port! Now!” he cursed himself for a fool. “Man the pumps! Raise sails! Forget the cannons we must save the ship!”

Congress turned into the wind trying to block Meshuda’s escape.


“Straighten your helm, Yusef, go behind the fool. He had me and he let me go.”


Meanwhile, Adami used the confusion to put himself in position to fire her guns at the American, but accomplishing almost nothing. Congress gave Meshuda her port broadside and General Greene a taste of her starboard guns. General Greene lost her mizzenmast and Murad’s ship lost a sail.

Adami turned sharply to port to resume her southeasterly course which would take her to Tripoli.


Congress used the headwind to make a cutting turn to starboard and taking a final shot at Murad’s prize.

Seeing this, the admiral raced to put himself between Congress and General Greene. His leak mended he took one last shot from the American and sailed for home.





12-18-2016, 05:10
A very brave, but foolish move by Murad taking on the Congress, but a well executed withdrawal.
Did the General Green manage to escape as well?

12-18-2016, 11:05
A very brave, but foolish move by Murad taking on the Congress, but a well executed withdrawal.
Did the General Green manage to escape as well?

But of course. :happy::beer:

12-18-2016, 11:32
A very brave, but foolish move by Murad taking on the Congress, but a well executed withdrawal.
Did the General Green manage to escape as well?

Brave yes, foolish no. Meshuda has a slight advantage in maneuverability and the fore-and-aft sails to sail much farther into the wind. His chances of escape were pretty good and he couldn't leave Adami behind. Once he forced Congress into irons while Meshuda and her prize were to windward, the game was over. Speed was all they needed at that point, even with the reduction in General Greene's speed. :minis::singin:

Union Jack
12-19-2016, 17:16
A well executed maneuver to save the day. As Napoleon might say. A battle lost, a battle won.