By several accounts, the British flagship Maria managed to get off a few rounds at the rebel fleer,
bur for most of the barrle Pringle kept her about a mile astern of the gunboats, near the western shore of the lake.
Ar first she hove to under topsails. Then Commodore Pringle gave orders for Lr.
Starke, her commanding officer, to anchor. Starke, furious about being kept so far from the action, refused.
Ir was shameful enough that rheywere making no effort to gee Maria into the fight, bur to actually anchor so far away was,
“How do you like a sea fight?” according to Starke, “an act truly unbecoming on such an occasion.”
In his official report, Pringle wrote that “the Carleton schooner…by much perseverance, at last got up to [the gunboat’s] assistance,
” bur “none of the other vessels of the fleer could then get up.”
This excuse was horly disputed by rhe other officers, who insisted that they had joined in the fight and openly wondered why Pringle had nor.
The flagship, they claimed, “was the best sailor” of all the ships in the British fleer.
Thar is, perhaps, why Pringle chose her over the larger and more powerful Inflexible, which would seem the more obvious choice for a flagship.
Given that, it does seem odd that Carleton was able to work her way wel I up into rhe fight, while Maria never came even close.
The disgrunrled officers reported that Pringle “was the only person in the fleer who showed no inclination to fight.”
“How do you like a sea fight?” The implications are clear-they deemed their leader a coward.
The Hessian Captain Pausch recalled that at about lPM, “this naval barrle began to get very serious.”
Ir was around the same rime that General Carleton, sailing with rhe flagship, commented to Dr.
Knox that Carleton served Britain as the Governor of Quebec and.
The Governor General of Canada during the outbreak of the American Revolution.
In this position, he served as the overall military commander of British forces in the region.
During the Battle of Valcour Is/,and, he sailed aboard the flagship Maria.
Carleton was appointed commander of British forces in North America in 1782 and then governor in chief of British North America in 1786.
Maria was nor close enough to the action.
With the words barely off his lips, an 18- pound round shot came whisrling over the boom on which Knox and Carleton were leaning.
Carleton turned to Knox and asked,
“Well, Doctor, how do you like a sea fight? ” The Maria never moved any closer.
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