Act Encouraging and Allowing Americans to Destroy Enemy Vessels

March 3, 1813

Act allowing Americans to destroy enemy vessels. This Act was issued two months after the Battle of the River Raisin and a day before James Madison was inaugurated for his second term as President.  


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that, during the present war with Great Britain, it shall be lawful for any person or persons to burn, sink, or destroy, any British armed vessel of war, except vessels coming as cartels or flags of truce; and for that purpose to use torpedoes, submarine instruments, or any other destructive machine whatever: and a bounty of one half the value of the armed vessel so burnt, sunk, or destroyed, and also one half the value of her guns, cargo, tackle, and apparel, shall be paid out of the treasury of the United States to such person or persons who shall effect the same, otherwise than by the armed or commissioned vessels of the United States.