| American History Stories, Volume III|
|by Mara L. Pratt|
|Anecdotes from the time Washington became president through the War of 1812, the rise of Andrew Jackson, and the sectional differences leading to the Civil War. Numerous black and white illustrations complement the text. Ages 8-12 |
THE FRIENDLY FOES
 Just before the "Wasp" set out on her cruise an American
commodore, named Rogers, put to sea with a number of
ships. One of these named the "United States" and in
charge of the famous Captain Stephen Decatur, started
off alone across the Atlantic to the southeast.
The "United States" was beautifully fitted up, and
captain and lieutenant had spared no pains in training
her crew, that she might be the most strongly manned of
any vessel in the United States service.
As the vessel drew near Maderia report came of a
strange vessel sighted to the southward.
"If it is an English frigate, we know what that means
for us," said the crew, filled with excitement.
How intently the approaching vessel was watched! It
comes nearer now—almost,
almost,—yes,—now her banners can be seen.
Yes, it is an English vessel. A little nearer and her
"The 'Macedonian'!" cried the commander. "Do you say
it is the 'Macedonian'? Are you sure it is the
"Aye, aye, sir," replied the mate; "and a fine frigate
she is said to be—as fine a one as sails the
"The 'Macedonian,' " said the commander, a troubled look
creeping into his eyes. "I would rather it had been
 any English vessel than that," said he, half to
himself, looking sadly out across the water at the
Now it had happened that in times of peace, Decatur,
our American commander, cruising around in his frigate,
had often come across this frigate "Macedonian," and
the two captains had grown to be warm friends. Often
they had said, "What should we do if some time our
frigates should meet as foes?" And as always Decatur
had said, "Let us not think of such a ting; for it is
sure to go hard with any English foe my frigate might
encounter; for I would fight, fight to the last man.
No enemy should haul down her colors as long as I had
left a hulk to raise them from!"
And now here were these two warm friends face to face
in deadly battle. American and England were at war.
"Be ready, every man at his gun!" sternly commanded
Nearer and nearer drew the "Macedonian." Now she is in
range. The command is given; and out blaze the guns.
Such a volley! The United States frigate was wrapped
in smoke. The English frigate was raked from stem to
"She is on fire! She is on fire!" shouted the British
But she was not on fire. Another
 Down went one mast. "That volley made a brig
said Decatur. "Another, boys, and she'll be a sloop!"
How the "Macedonian" creaked and rolled! Down came her
great mizzen mast—and then the "Macedonian"
surrendered. Poor "Macedonian"! Masts all broken, her
sides full of holes—what else was there for the
brave vessel to do?
Now all was quiet. The firing ceased. The smoke
cleared away—there lay the brave "Macedonian," a
poor, broken wreck.
Captain Carden, the commander, the friend of Decatur
came on board the United States frigate, and, as is the
custom, stood before Decatur, surrendering his sword.
It was a hard, bitter moment for both men. Little joy
was there to Decatur in a victory that defeated and
ruined his friend.
"I cannot take your sword," said he to Carden. "I will
take your hand instead."
Then the two friendly foes clasped hands. The contest,
the victory, and the defeat made a strange experience
to them. England said,
"Another frigate lost!" America
said, "Hurrah! Hurrah! another victory over the
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