When the Admiralty heard of this they were not amused ! Once again Peter Wessel was brought up on charges of endangering his ship and crew, by placing it under the guns of an enemy to exchange honorable toasts. Peter Wessel, in my opinion simply showed his chivalric nature, and appreciation for another fine seaman, and crew, by toasting them. Was it dangerous ? Yes, of course ! But Peter was a man of honor and daring and saw nothing wrong with his actions. Once again Peter showed his brilliance. He defended himself so admirably, and intelligently, in the Naval Court, that he was acquitted 10 votes to 4.
Peter then went back to his information gathering missions, and watched closely the movements and positions of the Swedish fleet. At one point he boldly entered Lubeck Bay flying the Swedish colors to gain information on the fleet anchored there. This was a very dangerous move because if caught he would have been hung for this deception !
On April 24 - 25, 1715, Peter was sailing then with the Danish / Norwegian fleet, under Admiral Gabel, when they caught up to 6 ships of the Swedish fleet, including the White Eagle, at Kolberg. The Lovendals Galei was in hot pursuit along with some of the other faster ships when they rounded Fehmarn Point. What Peter saw next he could not believe ! All 6 of the Swedish ships of Admiral Wachtmeister' s small fleet had beached themselves on the white sands, including the White Eagle. Smoke rose from Admiral Wachtmeisters flagship as he tried to scuttle his ship. In a bold move Peter sent a lieutenant under a flag of truce to inform the Admiral that if there was any more destruction of his ships he, and his men, would be given no quarter. To send his message home Captain Wessel sent a broadside of grape shot over Admiral Wachtmeister's head as a final warning. Peter could be chivalrous to those he admired, and had respect for, but this act of scuttling would not be tolerated.
Captain Peter Wessel was allowed to salvage the White Eagle off of the beach, and had it brought back and made a ship of the Danish / Norwegian navy under his command. Under the new name Hvide Orn, ( Still White Eagle ), Peter sailed into history. Because this usually is only a one page Scandinavian Germanic Cultural history article, which has now gone to 5 parts I will just quickly describe the Battle of Dynekilen which took place on July 8, 1716.
A Danish / Norwegian light fleet, 2 frigates, and 5 smaller ships, met an equal number of Swedish ships in the Dynekilen Fjord, on the west coast of Sweden. In a tremendous battle which resulted in a resounding victory for the Danish / Norwegian navy, they destroyed an island fort, and decimated the Swedish fleet, capturing or destroying, a barge, 4 full galleys, 6 half galleys, 4 sloops, and several smaller ships. The Danes tried to salvage more of the Swedish fleet that survived but a large Swedish land army arrived, and Peter and his small fleet had to leave. The Danish / Norwegian fleet suffered little or no damage in this action.
For his great victory, and his tremendous service to the Danish and Norwegian peoples, Peter was enobled by Frederick IV, and given the honorary name Tordenskjold, ( Thunderbolt ). In 1717 Peter was made commander of the Kattegan squadron, and in 1719 he was awarded the rank of Vice Admiral in the Danish / Norwegian navy. In June of 1720, a peace treaty was finally reached in Frederiksborg ending the 20 year war. It was officially announced on July 3rd, 1720 when it was signed by all parties involved.
Next : Final - Part 6 : A Tragic End !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !