The American privateer Prince de Neufchatel bedeviled the British in the War of 1812, repeatedly outrunning pursuers and fighting back when cornered.
The British frigate Endymion was coasting through the waters between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard on the afternoon of 11 October 1814 when her lookouts spied what appeared to be a schooner and a ship. The schooner particularly concerned the frigate captain, Henry Hope, because swift-sailing American schooner privateers had visited serious losses to British merchant shipping over the previous two years of the War of 1812. As Hope’s frigate closed with the strange vessels, it fell calm. Undeterred, the captain dispatched his boats to investigate, using the cloak of darkness to mask their approach. The craft, however, were spotted. Moments later, rounds started to fall around the boats, but the men pushed on “in the most determined manner, repeatedly cheering.” 1