ships-of-the-line in the Napoleonic Wars
Alvarez signed them up and sent them on their way. The firstvessel, an 823-ton
merchantman calledWindham, previously licensed for the India and China trades, arrived inValparaiso inMarch 1818 with a crew of four officers and 110 men. She was followed inMay by the regular 1200-ton East Indiaman Cumberland under Captain William Wilkinson with five officers and 100 men. The Chileans were short of cash, but they managed to find $180,000 and $140,000 in order to buy the ships and took both, together with their officers and crews, into the new navy. They were renamed Lautaro and San Martin. Both were substantial, copper plated vessels capable of carrying artillery but, with a crew of 450 men and 64 guns on two decks, theSan Martinwas by far the largest of the two. When painted man-of-war fashion, these 1200-ton East Indiamen had often been mistaken for ships-of-the-line in the Napoleonic Wars, and the logs of vessels of the British South America squadron frequently describedSan Martinas ‘the two-decker’.5 Lautaro, on the other hand, was armed asa standard frigate carrying a crew of 310, a battery of 26 guns on her main deck, and another 14 lighter calibre cannon on her quarterdeck and forecastle.
Aguirre was just as successful in the United States. In November 1817, the 18-gun brig Columbus sailed from New York, fully manned and under Captain Charles W. Worster, aveteran ofthewar of1812 inwhich he had commanded the privateer Saratoga. She reached Valparaiso eight months later to be purchased for $33,000 and renamedAraucano. Then, in July, Aguirre authorised the construction inNew York oftwo fast700-ton corvettes each mounting 28 guns. In keeping with the classical taste of the time, they were called Horatio andCuriato. The two ships were completed quickly and, after last-minute tussles with American neutrality laws, they were registered as the property of their captains Joseph Skinner and Paul Delano and sailed for the River Plate in September 1818. In the event, theChileans were unable tofind the money and could only afford to buy theCuriato. After a delay in Buenos Aires, Delano finally sailed her toValparaiso in June 1819 to be incorporated into the Chilean Navy with the nameIndependencia. Her sister ship, Horatio, remained behind in the River Plate where she was later purchased by the Brazilians and christened Maria da Gloria.