Digital Repository

Bevan, Chesapeake vs. Leopard, June 21, 1807

The "Chesapeake-Leopard Affair" took place on June 21, 1807, when the British warship HMS Leopard boarded the American USS Chesapeake, which surrendered after firing only one shot. The British, who were looking for deserters from their Navy, took four sailors from the Chesapeake and tried them for desertion, with one of the captured sailors later being hanged. The incident infuriated Americans, who were already angry over the British policy of impressment (forcing Americans into service in the British Navy). The British refusal to stop this practice led to President Jefferson's embargo against Britain and France in 1807.

Irwin John Bevan, Chesapeake vs. Leopard, June 21, 1807, n.d. The Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia.