- Historic Sites
The Great Sea Battle
Battle can never be civilized, but in a century of total war and almost total barbarism it is refreshing to look back upon chivalrous combat. If it is gallantry and honor, even quixotism, you thirst for in a barren time, they are at their highest in the duel between His Britannic Majesty’s frigate Shannon and the United States frigate Chesapeake , which met off Boston in the calm, early evening of June 1, 1813. Here is an authoritative and totally absorbing description of that famous encounter, together with an account of the principals, Captain P. B. V. Broke and Captain James Lawrence.
December 1968 | Volume 20, Issue 1
In 1815, after peace had been made with the Americans, he settled finally at Broke Hall and took up the duties of country gentleman and fond husband and father, to which he had been so looking forward. He never went to sea again. For the next twenty-six years he and Louisa lived simply at Nacton, visited occasionally by old Shannons, Sir Philip reliving his days of glory through the distinguished naval careers of two of his sons. He died peacefully in his sleep at six in the evening of January 2, 1841. The following day his coffin was borne to the tomb of his ancestors in the little parish church close by. Two years later his beloved Louisa followed him there.
And now, if you make the journey to Nacton on the river Orwell just below Ipswich you will still see the church where they lie; and in the Broke Chapel there is a white marble plaque inscribed: “To the memory of SIR PHILIP BOWES VERE BROKE, Baronet & K.C.B., Rear Admiral of the Red, who died on the 2nd of Jany 1841 in the 05th year of his age. … In his profession which was his choice from infancy he was ardent and persevering. After a long period of service at sea his professional skill was signally exhibited on the ist June, 1813… . Also of SARAH LOUISA his wife.”