DEREK GEORGE MONTAGUE GARDNER, RSMA
The Action between United States and Macedonian in the mid Atlantic,
25th October 1812.
The beginning of the engagement.
Oil on canvas
30 x 50 inches
(see Gardner's painting of the conclusion of the battle, also showing on the Gardner web page)
The USS United States was the first of the six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794. Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy's capital ships. United States and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period and became more of a match to the ships of the British navy who had become accustomed to out-gunning the smaller French ships.
The United States declared war against Britain on 18 June 1812 at which time the USS United States was under the command of Commodore Steven Decatur. At dawn, on the 25th October, five hundred miles south of the Azores, lookouts on board United States reported seeing a sail 12 miles to windward. As the ship rose over the horizon, Captain Decatur made out the familiar lines of HMS Macedonian. At 0920 United States fired the first broadside. The British vessel replied, bringing down a small spar of United States but the superiority of the United States under Decatur's command soon became apparent and within 2 hours the Macedonian weas forced to surrender after suffering 104 casualties against just 12 in the American ship.
This painting shows the 2 ships at the beginning of the engagement. After Derek Gardner painted this in 1970 the original owner requested a second painting showing the latter part of the exchange. We are very pleased that we are able to show both paintings available for sale on this website.