Joseph Adams, Seaman, USN, War of 1812, Killed in Action on board USS Constitution.
U.S., Navy Casualties Books, 1776-1941about Joseph Adams
Name: Joseph Adams
Death Date: 29 Dec 1812
Volume Title: Navy Casualties: Enemy Action Deaths, 1776-1937
Constitution vs Java
On 8 September William Bainbridge, senior to Hull, took command of "Old Ironsides" and prepared her for another mission in British shipping lanes near Brazil. Sailing with Hornet on 27 October, they arrived near São Salvador on 13 December, sighting HMS Bonne Citoyenne in the harbor. Bonne Citoyenne was reportedly carrying $1,600,000 in specie to England, but her captain refused to leave the neutral harbor lest he lose his cargo. Leaving Hornet to await the departure of Bonne Citoyenne, Constitution sailed offshore in search of prizes. On 29 December she met with HMS Java under Captain Henry Lambert, a frigate of the same class as the Guerriere, and at the initial hail from Bainbridge, Java answered with a broadside that severely damaged Constitution's rigging. She was able to recover, however, and returned a series of broadsides to Java. A shot from Java destroyed Constitution's helm (wheel), so Bainbridge—wounded twice during the battle—directed the crew to steer her manually using the tiller for the remainder of the engagement. As in the battle with Guerriere, Java's bowsprit became entangled in Constitution's rigging, allowing Bainbridge to continue raking her with broadsides. Java's foremast collapsed, sending her fighting top crashing down through two decks below.
Drawing off to make emergency repairs, Bainbridge re-approached Java an hour later. As in the case with Guerriere, Java lay in shambles, an unmanageable wreck with a badly wounded crew. The British ship surrendered. Determining that Java was far too damaged to retain as a prize, Bainbridge ordered her burned, but not before having her helm salvaged and installed on Constitution. On Constitution's return to São Salvador on 1 January 1813, she met with Hornet and that ship's two British prizes to disembark the prisoners of Java. Being far away from a friendly port and needing extensive repairs, Bainbridge ordered Constitution to sail for Boston on 5 January, leaving Hornet behind to continue waiting for Bonne Citoyenne in the hopes that she would leave the harbor (she did not). Constitution's victory over Java, the third British warship in as many months to be captured by the United States, prompted the British Admiralty to order its frigates not to engage the heavier American frigates one-on-one; only British ships of the line or squadrons were permitted to come close enough to these ships to attack. Constitution arrived in Boston on 15 February to even greater celebrations than Hull had received a few months prior.
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