During the Anglo-American War of 1812-14, the event which captured the public's imagination more than any other was the celebrated duel between the Royal Navy's frigate H.M.S. Shannon and the new republic's frigate Chesapeake. Cruising off the eastern seaboard, Captain Philip Broke of the Shannon spotted the American frigates Chesapeake and Constitution refitting in Boston. Broke immediately challenged Captain Lawrence of the Chesapeake to come out and fight and, at about noon on 1 June 1813, the latter weighed anchor and stood out of Boston Roads accompanied by a small flotilla of pleasure craft crowded with spectators anxious to witness the fight. A furious action followed lasting a mere fifteen minutes; Captain Broke was wounded leading his boarding party and casualties on both vessels were very high. Soon overwhelmed, Chesapeake surrendered and Shannon took her as a prize into Halifax, Nova Scotia, where, on the 6 June, the captors were given a heroes' welcome.
The apparently easy capture of the Chesapeake, a ship of the same nominal force, but larger, with more men and a heavier armament than the Shannon, created a sensation in America and in Britain. The success of the engagement (which made Broke famous) was due to his care, forethought, and skill, and honours and congratulations were showered upon him. He was made a baronet on 2 November 1813, and K.C.B. on 3 January 1815; but, with the exception of taking the Shannon home in the autumn of 1813, his brilliant exploit was the end of his active naval service.