Imágenes de páginas




rigged vessels, having assembled

at Languelia and 1812, Allassio, captain Campbell of the Leviathan, having May. under his orders the Impérieuse, captain Duncan, Capt. 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Curaçoa, captain John Owen Tower, and brig-sloop Eclair, detached the marines and under captain Owen, who, covered by the fire of the drives Eclair, effected a landing between the two towns. troops Scarcely had the marines formed on the beach, ere two they were attacked by treble their number; but battenothing could withstand the bravery of the officers and men, whọ dashed at the french troops with the bayonet, and drove them from two batteries into the town, killing many and making 14 prisoners.

After spiking the guns, consisting of nine and a mortar, and destroying the carriages, the marines unable embarked; but, although the three ships had an- french chored within less than musket-shot of the two vessels towns, and the Eclair had kept on her sweeps, going under where she could be of most effect, and although the the launches and other boats, under the command of lieutenant Dobbs, had with their carronades maintained a heavy fire, the french troops could not be expelled from the houses so as to enable the boats, without a very great risk, to bring off any of the vessels; which were made fast to the shore in all manner of ways, and had their sails unbent and rudders unshipped. The loss already incurred was sufficiently severe, amounting to one seaman and three marines killed, and lieutenant William Walpole, one seaman, and nine marines wounded.

On the 1lth of June the french brig-corvette Renard Renard, of fourteen 24-pounder carronades and two and her long sixes, commanded by lieutenant de vaisseau driven Charles Baudin des Ardennes, and schooner Goéland, of twelve 18-pounder carronades and two sixes, Marcommanded by enseigne de vaisseau Belin, along Everite with some gun-boats, and a convoy of 14 vessels british laden with naval stores for Toulon, sailed from the dron. port of Genoa. On the 15th M. Baudin and his charge were driven for shelter under the island of





[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

1812. Sainte-Marguerite by a british squadron, consisting of
June, the America 74, Curaçoa frigate, and brig-sloop

Swallow, of sixteen 32-pounder carronades and two
long sixes, captain Edward Reynolds Sibly. While
the 74 and frigate kept in the offing on account of

the shoal water, the Swallow, by signal, stood in to Swal- reconnoitre the convoy. On the 16th, at daybreak,

the vessels of the latter were observed to be getting noitres under way; and the Renard and Goéland, having a them. light breeze in-shore, soon made all sail in chase of

the Swallow, who lay nearly becalmed. At about
6 A. M., however, finding that the Swallow was
benefiting by a light breeze which had just sprung
up from the south-west, the french brig and schooner
hauled their wind, tacked, and used every exertion,
by sweeps and boats to effect their escape. Having
at last accomplished their object, they and their
convoy stood towards the bay of Fréjus.

Captain Sibly had now very small hopes of bring-
ing on an action; when, at a few minutes past noon,

on the breeze freshening, the Renard and Goéland, Renard having received on board from Fréjus a number of Goé- volunteers, along with a detachment of soldiers, land. again stood off on the starboard tack, the schooner

keeping a little to-windward of her consort. The
Swallow being at this time ahead on the opposite
tack, the two parties neared each other fast. At
1 P. M., finding she could weather the Renard, the
Swallow closed, and, passing her to-windward within
30 yards, gave and received a broadside. Captain
Sibly then wore close under the french brig's stern,
in the hope of keeping her head off shore; but,
having had her own head-braces shot away, the Swal-
low was not able to lie so close to the wind as her
captain intended.

The Renard consequently got round on the larboard tack, and in that position was haul off furiously cannonaded by the Swallow to-leeward. The the fire Goéland, meanwhile, had taken an annoying position of the out of the reach, except occasionally, of the british

brig's guns. After the Swallow had sustained, during

Commences an action with

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Is obliged to




40 minutes, the close and determined attacks of her 1812. two opponents, the larger of whom made several attempts to board, the proximity of the shore, and the strength of the batteries that lined it, compelled captain Sibly to haul off and rejoin his commodore in the offing. The Renard and Goéland then stood on under all the sail they could set, and were presently at anchor with their convoy in the bay of Grimaud.

The Swallow was much cut up in sails, rigging, Losson masts, and hull; and, of a crew of 109 out of 120 Swallmen and boys, lost six seamen and marines killed, low. and 17 wounded, including the purser, Mr. Eugene Ryan, who had gallantly volunteered to serve on deck. The Renard was much injured in her masts Also on and most severely shattered in her hull; especially Renard on the starboard side. Her loss, out of the 94 men and that constituted, as it appears, her regular crew, was land. 14 men killed and 28 wounded ; including among the latter her gallant commander, who was struck by a splinter upon the stump of the arm which some years before he had honourably lost. The total number of persons on board the Renard at the commencement of the action, consisting partly of troops

as already mentioned, is represented to have been 180. Theloss sustained by the Goéland,whose crew is stated to have consisted of 113 men, does not appear in M. Baudin's letter; and yet, as the schooner, at one time in particular, was exposed to a close and welldirected fire from five of the Swallow's carronades, loaded each with 64 pounds of double canister and 32 of musket-balls, making 96 pounds in all, a considerable slaughter must have ensued. That this was an affair very creditable to captain Re

marks, Sibly, the officers, and crew of the Swallow, cannot admit a doubt; and that the latter would have Du

pin's made a prize of the Renard, had she not run for protection to the batteries, is, from a review of all count the circumstances, equally clear. And yet some action. dozens of cases have been passed over, to celebrate

on M.


of this

Minstrel and

[ocr errors]

1812, this as an action glorious, in the extreme, for the Aug. navy of France.

“ The Renard,” says a well-known french writer on english subjects,

66 of the same force as the Abeille, escorting a convoy in the gulf of Genoa, meets the Swallow, of the same force as the Alacrity. A frigate and an english ship of the line are in view; it matters not: the Swallow must fly, or be taken, before she can be succoured. A furious combat ensues between the two brigs, and the Swallow avoids her inevitable capture, only by flying for protection, under all sail, to the two large vessels, who are also crowding sail to save her."* This is M. Dupin; who reads english, and writes liberally, except where national self-love sways his pen,

On the 10th of August the british 20-gun ship

Minstrel, captain John Strutt Peyton, and 18-gun milo- brig-sloop Philomel, captain Charles Shaw, observed block- three small french privateers in the port of Biendom,

near Alicant; where they were protected by a castle french mounting 24 guns. As a further security, two of the priva

vessels were hauled on shore, and a battery formed in Bien- with six of their guns, which were manned with their

united crews, amounting to 80 men, chiefly Genoese.
Under these circumstances the british ship and brig
could only blockade the privateers; and, to do this
more effectually, a boat was sent from one or the
other of them every night, to row guard near the

On the 12th of August a boat, with midshipman wirker (or rather lieutenant, for he had been promoted since

the 21st of the preceding March, but had not yet attacks received his appointment) Michael Dwyer and seven

seamen, departed from the Minstrel upon this service. a bat. Considering that, if he could take the battery on the tery. beach, he might succeed in capturing the privateers,

the midshipman questioned the Spaniards, who came
off in boats from the town; and they all agreed in the

ade three




and carries

* For the original passage see Appendix, No. 4.


relation, that the French had retreated, leaving but 1812. 30 men in the battery and 20 in the castle. Relying Aug. upon the tried courage and steadiness of his seven men, Mr. Dwyer resolved, notwithstanding the numbers of the enemy, to attempt carrying the battery by surprise. With this view, at 9 h. 30 m. P. M., he and his little party landed at a spot about three miles to the westward of the town; but scarcely had they done so, than they were challenged by a french sentinel. The midshipman, with much presence of mind, answered in spanish, that they were peasants. The British were suffered to advance, and, arriving at the battery on the beach, attacked it without hesitation. After a smart struggle, the garrison, consisting not of 20, but of 80 Genoese, abandoned the battery to Mr. Dwyer and his seven seamen.

The British were a few minutes only in possession, is onebefore they were surrounded by 200 french soldiers. ed by Against these Mr. Dwyer and his seven men de-200 fended themselves until one of the latter was killed, and the midshipman shot through the shoulder, and a

pelled seaman through the eye, and all their ammunition to surexpended. The moment the firing ceased, the render. French rushed upon the garrison with their bayonets. Mr. Dwyer was too weak, from loss of blood, to sustain a hand-to-hand fight; and, after he had been stabbed in 17 places, and all the men except one severely wounded, the French recovered possession of the battery. The gallant fellow who was wounded in the eye, on recovering from the stupefaction caused by the wound in his head, deliberately took his handkerchief from his neck, and, binding it over the wound, said, “ Though I have lost one eye, I have still one left, and I'll fight till I lose that too.

The admiration of captain Foubert and his troops, bebas a detachment from the 117th regiment of voltigeurs, viour at the invincible courage of the little band of British, of the was unbounded; , and when the latter, in their comwounded state, were conveyed to the head-quarters mandi of general Goudin, the french commanding officer in cer.



« AnteriorContinuar »