Knights of the Sea: The True Story of the Boxer and the Enterprise and the War of 1812 (Paperback)
On a September day in 1813, as citizens watched from the rocky shore of Pemaquid, Maine, two of the last and bravest military sailing commanders engaged in a battle that would change the course of the War of 1812...
Samuel Blyth was the youthful commander of His Britannic Majesty’s brig Boxer, and William Burrows, younger still, commanded the USS Enterprise. Both men valued honor above all, and on this day their commitment would be put to the ultimate test.
Though it lasted less than an hour, the battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise was a brutal contest whose outcome was uncertain. When the cannon smoke cleared, good men had been lost, and the U.S. Navy's role in the war had changed.
In Knights of the Sea, David Hanna brings to life a lost era, paying tribute to the young commanders who considered it the highest honor to harness the wind to meet their foes, and would be immortalized by the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The only major naval battle of the War of 1812, the battle between the Boxer and the Enterprise came to represent not only a military turning point, but a maritime era that would soon be gone forever.
INCLUDES PHOTOS AND MAPS
About the Author
David Hanna teaches history at Stuyvesant High School in New York.
“A wonderful read, brings the War of 1812 to life.”—Ken Burns
“Highly readable, this book will appeal to those interested in naval warfare and the War of 1812 as well as those with any interest in early U.S. history. Strongly recommended.”—Library Journal
“David Hanna’s Knights of the Sea is the finest kind of narrative history—thoroughly researched, informative and a plain good read. Hanna takes a dramatic but little known incident, the battle between the small men-of-war Boxer and Enterprise, and uses that event to explore the lives of two men, the captains of the ships, and two navies, the British navy at the peak of its power and domination, and the nascent navy of the United States, just feeling its oats. Knights of the Sea will not disappoint any who love a good rousing history, or any who are drawn to the fascinating world of combat under sail.”—James L. Nelson, author of George Washington’s Great Gamble
“Through the prism of a single battle between two sailing warships, David Hanna focuses on the stories of the opposing commanders and unearths their opinions, principles and motivations—the very essence of their lives. Woven into this narrative is a skillful exploration of the politics and events behind the War of 1812, alongside a vivid portrait of wartime experiences on land and sea. A fine 1812 anniversary book.”—Roy Adkins, author of Nelson's Trafalgar, The War for All the Oceans
“David Hanna establishes his credibility both as a writer and with the quality and depth of his historical research in Knights of the Sea. His capturing of a little-known maritime battle during the War of 1812 is surprisingly relevant in modern-day exploration of military strategy.”—Captain Philip Kasky USN (Ret), former commander, USS Suribachi
“Knights of the Sea is the stirring tale of two warships, one American and one British, that clashed in a legendary battle during the War of 1812. It is also the highly engaging story of the two gallant captains of those ships, both of whom were as intrepid as C.S. Forester’s fictional creation, Horatio Hornblower. The book provides a wonderful blend of fascinating historical detail about the maritime war and the men who fought it. Meticulously researched and thoroughly enjoyable.”—Robert J. Mrazek, author of A Dawn Like Thunder
“Much more than a book about a battle, Knights of the Sea is a fine meditation on the culture, politics, and several key charismatic individuals who shaped the Early Republic.”—Christopher Pastore, author of Temple to the Wind “A fascinating look at a pivot point in naval warfare.”—Time
“In Hanna’s skilled storytelling, heroic seamen and stout ships come alive in this rousing tale and converge on the Maine coast for a short, bloody sea battle...The well-illustrated Knights of the Sea is a great read for folks interested in Maine or maritime history. Hanna does his heroes and their forgotten war justice.”—Bangor Daily News
“Beautifully written, Knights of the Sea delves deeply into the lives and motivations of the two young, but experienced captains who dueled to the death in the famous sea fight between the HMS Boxer and USS Enterprise, shedding new light on the British and American navies during a critical period in their histories.”—George C. Daughan, author of 1812: The Navy’s War
“In a compact, well-organized and carefully illustrated book, Hanna propels the reader both general and scholarly with sure, swift and colorful prose.”—Portland Press Herald
“When wars two hundred years in the past sound eerily like today’s contemporary events, it’s time to sit up and take notice. And even when that history is about a relatively obscure naval engagement off the coast of Maine, the lessons it offers about individual sacrifice can be far-reaching, compelling—and also a bit unsettling. In his newly-published book, David Hanna has taken a potentially dry subject and given it new life with a modern perspective and sympathy for the men directly involved in the forgotten Maine conflict.”—DownEast magazine
“This book is academically rigorous, yet the narrative is engaging and thrilling to read. In short, Hanna makes history fun and I highly recommend this book to anyone who thinks that history ‘has to be’ dull and boring. As well, I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the War of 1812, maritime history and warfare, or who is simply looking for an interesting and factual story to read.”—History in Review