John Paul Jones: Man of Action

By Phillips Russell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXI
Battles and Letters

I looked upon the rotting sea,
A And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.

ON June 16 the Turkish Pasha made another attempt to break through Jones's line and relieve the garrison of Oczakoff. He had loaded his numerous galleys with fire-balls and converted several vessels into fire-ships. With a fair wind at his back he himself led the grand attack into the Liman, his flagship steering straight for the Vladimir, which carried Jones. With the wind against them, the situation looked alarming for the Russians, but when about a mile and a half distant, the Pasha's flagship ran aground and the whole Turkish fleet halted uncertainly.

This mishap altered the whole situation, and Jones, recognizing his opportunity, called his captains around him and informed them it was now the time to win or die. They agreed enthusiastically, and Jones, masking the real weakness of his squadron, formed his ships into line of battle during the night, praying for a shift in the wind. At daybreak it came, and throwing his right wing forward, Jones, with an enveloping movement, swept down on the anchored enemy. The Pasha's ship had meantime been floated again.

The Turks were frightened by the formidable appearance of the Russian squadron, and in their hasty attempts to raise anchors and cut cables, got in each other's way and fell into con

-242-

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