The USS Hornet that was an 18-gun sloop of war began a patrol with the USS Constitution to intercept British ships. The two ships separated and each went to patrol separate areas.
On February 24th the Hornet followed a British merchant ship into the mouth of the Demerara River. Commandant James Lawrence commanded the Hornet. Lawrence spotted to British warship the Brig Espiegle at anchor and the sloop Peacock approaching the Hornet. Captain Peake commanded the Peacock. Lawrence turned windward to gain the advantage of that position. He then turned and the two ships passed each other. Both let loose a broadside. The Hornets gun crews were better trained and its cannons raked the Java while most of Javas cannon balls missed. Lawrence was able to outmaneuver the Peacock and was able to bring his guns to bear while those of the Peacock could not reach the Hornet. It took the Hornet all of four minutes to destroy the Espiegle. The British lost 8 men killed and 30 wounded including the captain of the Espiegle. The Hornet lost only one man killed and two wounded.