'Boyce has lost his right leg': 1815 naval warfare account set for auction


A letter recounting the attack on a British brig by a US warship in the aftermath of the 1812 war is coming to auction in the UK this September.

The collectible document details the attack on Nautilus, a British ship operating for the East India Company, by the USS Peacock, months after peace had been declared.

The letter was written by naval officer J Nutting, who served on the Nautilus, to Lt J Richardson on December 10, 1815, six months after the attack.

"Boyce has lost his right leg," Nutting recalls.

"A one pound grape too passed through his breech; the leg being much shattered he suffered amputation and contrary to every expectation is now quite well."

The 15-minute firefight in the Sunda Strait off Java was the final battle of the 1812 war between the US and Britain, fought over fair trade.

The USS Peacock went on to explore the Antarctic in later years

Having reached a stalemate, the two countries signed the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, but news of peace took two months to reach the US, during which time fighting continued.

The attack on the Nautilus on June 20, 1815, some six months later, proved to be an international incident.

The four page document is among 18 manuscript letters written by Nutting to be sold by Cheshire auctioneer Peter Wilson on September 7 and 8.

They are expected to realise a combined £1,000, with the Nautilus attack account valued at £300.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will bring you results from the auction next month.


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