James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

October 18

The Wasp’s Frolic

By From “Naval Songster,” 1815

  • On Oct. 18, 1812, the American ship Wasp fell in with the British brig Frolic and after a short action captured her. Both ships were taken the same day by the British.

  • ’TWAS on board the sloop-of-war Wasp, boys,

    We set sail from Delaware Bay,

    To cruise on Columbia’s fair coast, sirs,

    Our rights to maintain on the sea.

    Three days were not passed on our station,

    When the Frolic came up to our view;

    Says Jones, “Show the flag of our nation;”

    Three cheers were then gave by our crew.

    We boldly bore up to this Briton,

    Whose cannon began for to roar;

    The Wasp soon her stings from her side ran,

    When we on them a broadside did pour.

    Each sailor stood firm at his quarters,

    ’Twas minutes past forty and three,

    When fifty bold Britons were slaughtered,

    Whilst our guns swept their masts in the sea.

    Their breasts then with valor still glowing,

    Acknowledged the battle we’d won,

    On us then bright laurels bestowing,

    When to leeward they fired a gun.

    On their decks we the twenty guns counted,

    With a crew for to answer the same;

    Eighteen was the number we mounted,

    Being served by the lads of true game.

    With the Frolic in tow, we were standing,

    All in for Columbia’s fair shore;

    But fate on our laurels was frowning,

    We were taken by a seventy-four.