The little-known encounter between H.M.S. Belvidera and her pursuers occurred only five days after the formal declaration of War between Great Britain and the United States on 18th June 1812. On the 21st, Commodore Rodgers, flying his flag in the U.S.S. President, sailed from New York in command of a small squadron of five ships under orders to intercept British convoys and to draw British warships away from American ports so as to allow more U.S. merchantmen to make port safely. On the 23rd, Rodgers sighted H.M.S. Belvidera, gave chase and soon engaged her in a running fight. Fortuitously however, when Rodgers' attention was taken by a broken leg caused by the explosion of one of his bow guns, Captain Byron seized his opportunity, dumped nearly all his cannon overboard and managed to escape unscathed into open water.