Knights of the Sea: The True Story of the Boxer and the Enterprise and the War of 1812

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Overview

On a September day in 1813, as the Age of Fighting Sail was coming to an end, two maritime warriors faced each other in the waters off Pemaquid Point, Maine...

Samuel Blyth was the youthful commander of His Britannic Majesty's brig Boxer, and William Burrows, younger still, commanded the USS Enterprise. Both men valued honor over life and death, and on this day their commitment would be put to the ultimate test.

The battle between the Boxer and...

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Knights of the Sea: The True Story of the Boxer and the Enterprise and the War of 1812

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Overview

On a September day in 1813, as the Age of Fighting Sail was coming to an end, two maritime warriors faced each other in the waters off Pemaquid Point, Maine...

Samuel Blyth was the youthful commander of His Britannic Majesty's brig Boxer, and William Burrows, younger still, commanded the USS Enterprise. Both men valued honor over life and death, and on this day their commitment would be put to the ultimate test.

The battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise would be the only major sea engagement of the War of 1812 witnessed by people on land, and, though it lasted less than an hour, was a brutal contest whose outcome was uncertain. When the cannon smoke cleared, good men had been lost, and the U.S. Navy's position in the war had changed.

In Knights of the Sea, David Hanna brings to vivid life a lost era-a time when sailing vessels exchanged broadsides and naval officers considered it the highest honor to harness the wind to meet their foes. This history pays tribute to the young commanders on either side, a vanishing breed who would come to be standard bearers of courage and fortitude, and would be immortalized in words by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Includes Illustrations Throughout

The battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise came to represent for those who witnessed it, lived through it, and remembered it something more than a military turning point-it became emblematic of a maritime era that would soon be gone forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Bangor Daily News

"In Hanna’s skilled storytelling, heroic seamen and stout ships come alive in this rousing tale and converge on the Maine coast for a short, bloody sea battle... The well-illustrated Knights of the Sea is a great read for folks interested in Maine or maritime history. Hanna does his heroes and their forgotten war justice."

DownEast magazine

"When wars two hundred years in the past sound eerily like today’s contemporary events, it’s time to sit up and take notice. And even when that history is about a relatively obscure naval engagement off the coast of Maine, the lessons it offers about individual sacrifice can be far-reaching, compelling—and also a bit unsettling. In his newly-published book, David Hanna has taken a potentially dry subject and given it new life with a modern perspective and sympathy for the men directly involved in the forgotten Maine conflict."

History in Review

"This book is academically rigorous, yet the narrative is engaging and thrilling to read. In short, Hanna makes history fun and I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks that history 'has to be' dull and boring. As well, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the War of 1812, maritime history and warfare, or who is simply looking for an interesting and factual story to read."

Library Journal
On September 5, 1813, two relatively small but evenly matched ships of war, the brigs HMS Boxer (12 guns) and USS Enterprise (14 guns), met in action as opponents during the War of 1812. While not an uncommon occurrence during the "Age of Fighting Sail," this episode occurred off the coast of Pemaquid Point, ME, and was actually witnessed by civilians on land. The battle lasted less than one hour but was brutal and bloody, with both commanders themselves becoming casualties. Hanna (history, University Neighborhood H.S., New York), an award-winning teacher, has taken this relatively insignificant event and focused on the lives of the two commanders, the two navies, and the two countries involved in the war. He uses the opinions, principles, and motivations of the two captains, Samuel Blyth of Portsmouth, England, and William Burrows of Philadelphia, to bring to life this second American war of independence. Behind this is the larger discussion of the politics and global events that led to the conflict. VERDICT Highly readable, this book will appeal to those interested in naval warfare and the War of 1812 as well as those with any interest in early U.S. history. Strongly recommended.—David Lee Poremba, Windermere, FL
From the Publisher
"A wonderful read, brings the War of 1812 to life." —Ken Burns

"David Hanna's Knights of the Sea is the finest kind of narrative history—thoroughly researched, informative and a plain good read. Hanna takes a dramatic but little known incident, the battle between the small men-of-war Boxer and Enterprise, and uses that event to explore the lives of two men, the captains of the ships, and two navies, the British navy at the peak of its power and domination, and the nascent navy of the United States, just feeling its oats. Knights of the Sea will not disappoint any who love a good rousing history, or any who are drawn to the fascinating world of combat under sail."  —James L. Nelson, Author of George Washington's Great Gamble

"Through the prism of a single battle between two sailing warships, David Hanna focuses on the stories of the opposing commanders and unearths their opinions, principles and motivations—the very essence of their lives. Woven into this narrative is a skillful exploration of the politics and events behind the War of 1812, alongside a vivid portrait of wartime experiences on land and sea. A fine 1812 anniversary book."  —Roy Adkins, Author of Nelson's Trafalgar, The War for All the  Oceans

"David Hanna establishes his credibility both as a writer and with the quality and depth of his historical research in Knights of the Sea. His capturing of a little-known maritime battle during the War of 1812 is surprisingly relevant in modern-day exploration of military strategy." —Captain Philip Kasky USN (Ret), former commander, USS Suribachi

"Knights of the Sea is the stirring tale of two warships, one American and one British, that clashed in a legendary battle during the War of 1812. It is also the highly engaging story of the two gallant captains of those ships, both of whom were as intrepid as C.S. Forester's fictional creation, Horatio Hornblower. The book provides a wonderful blend of fascinating historical detail about the maritime war and the men who fought it. Meticulously researched and thoroughly enjoyable."  —Robert J. Mrazek, Author of A Dawn Like Thunder

"Much more than a book about a battle, Knights of the Sea is a fine meditation on the culture, politics, and several key charismatic individuals who shaped the Early Republic."  —Christopher Pastore, Author of Temple to the Wind

“A fascinating look at a pivot point in naval warfare.” —Time.com

"In Hanna’s skilled storytelling, heroic seamen and stout ships come alive in this rousing tale and converge on the Maine coast for a short, bloody sea battle... The well-illustrated Knights of the Sea is a great read for folks interested in Maine or maritime history. Hanna does his heroes and their forgotten war justice."

Ken Burns

"A wonderful read, brings the War of 1812 to life."

George C. Daughan, author of 1812: The Navy’s War

“Beautifully written, Knights of the Sea delves deeply into the lives and motivations of the two young, but experienced captains who dueled to the death in the famous sea fight between the HMS Boxer and USS Enterprise, shedding new light on the British and American navies during a critical period in their histories.”

Captain Philip Kasky USN (Ret), former commander, USS Suribachi 

"David Hanna establishes his credibility both as a writer and with the quality and depth of his historical research in Knights of the Sea. His capturing of a little-known maritime battle during the War of 1812 is surprisingly relevant in modern-day exploration of military strategy."

Portland Press Herald

“In a compact, well-organized and carefully illustrated book, Hanna propels the reader both general and scholarly with sure, swift and colorful prose.”

Bangor Daily News

"In Hanna’s skilled storytelling, heroic seamen and stout ships come alive in this rousing tale and converge on the Maine coast for a short, bloody sea battle... The well-illustrated Knights of the Sea is a great read for folks interested in Maine or maritime history. Hanna does his heroes and their forgotten war justice."

DownEast magazine

"When wars two hundred years in the past sound eerily like today’s contemporary events, it’s time to sit up and take notice. And even when that history is about a relatively obscure naval engagement off the coast of Maine, the lessons it offers about individual sacrifice can be far-reaching, compelling—and also a bit unsettling. In his newly-published book, David Hanna has taken a potentially dry subject and given it new life with a modern perspective and sympathy for the men directly involved in the forgotten Maine conflict."

Library Journal

"Highly readable, this book will appeal to those interested in naval warfare and the War of 1812 as well as those with any interest in early U.S. history. Strongly recommended."

History in Review

"This book is academically rigorous, yet the narrative is engaging and thrilling to read. In short, Hanna makes history fun and I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks that history 'has to be' dull and boring. As well, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the War of 1812, maritime history and warfare, or who is simply looking for an interesting and factual story to read."

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451235626
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/3/2012
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

David Hanna teaches History at University Neighborhood High School in New York. He lives with his family in Morris County, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Prologue September 5, 1813 1

Chapter 1 Portsmouth, England 11

Chapter 2 Philadelphia 33

Chapter 3 The Boxer 63

Chapter 4 The Enterprise 91

Chapter 5 The War 115

Chapter 6 The Maritime War 139

Chapter 7 Home Front 157

Chapter 8 The Battle 175

Chapter 9 The Brotherhood 201

Epilogue July 15, 2007 211

Appendix A Court-martial of Boxer's Surviving Officers 223

Appendix B Court-martial of William Harper (selected excerpts) 227

Selected Bibliography 241

Endnotes 247

Index 263

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2012

    Thoroughly good read! Too many of these maritime history books b

    Thoroughly good read! Too many of these maritime history books beat you over the head with nautical jargon, and the bigger picture gets lost. After finishing the book I felt like I knew these two naval officers who commanded in the battle (Blyth& Burrows), and how they died in such a stupid war. Kudos to Hanna for bringing light to both.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2012

    Hanna writes with such passion, it's hard not to get swept up in

    Hanna writes with such passion, it's hard not to get swept up in this story. Highly readable.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Find it interesting that the author thinks the British impressme

    Find it interesting that the author thinks the British impressment of U.S. citizens aboard U.S. ships was a necessary good that the British had to undertake in order to "keep the wolves at bay" for the good of the U.S. as well as the British.

    I thought this book was going to be about a specific sea battle between two ships during the war of 1812 but only about 10% of the book was devoted to the actual battle. The author decided to take the book into the pacific, the great lakes and land battles and other subjects for some reason, perhaps to fill up enough pages to publish a book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2012

    Joana

    Oh! Srry i took a while. Lets go bak to our book. Who cares wat ppl say! Meet u at 1D wat makes u beuatiful book!!! Vanessa

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Vanessa

    Hey im sorry i have to go

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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