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1808. Antigua, island of Guadeloupe, bearing south-west, Sept.
the british gun-brig Maria, of twelve 12-pounder Maria carronades and two long fours, with 65 men and chases boys, commanded by lieutenant James Bennett, saw
and chased a sail bearing south-east by south, in the french hope to cut her off from the land, towards which vette. the vessel, supposed to be a french letter of marque,
was then steering Instead, however, of being a
Just as the Maria had got within gun-shot of her by her. opponent, a flaw of wind from the land took the brig
aback. The weather almost immediately afterwards
tered state of the Maria’s masts, yards, rigging, and Death hull. Owing to the latter's ensign-halyards having beneut. been shot away, her colours came down. On this
the french captain asked if she had struck. Lieu-
The action was still maintained with spirit, for ders in several minutes, by the master, Mr. Joseph Dyason;
a sink ing state.
* For her armament in 1805, see vol. iv. p. 200.
when the Maria, being in a sinking state, and having 1808. lost, besides her captain, one midshipman (Robert O'Donnel) and four seamen killed and nine wounded, surrendered. One or two men slightly wounded appears to have been the extent of the loss sustained by the french corvette ; and, considering the unmanageable state of her opponent at the commencement of the action, and her very inferior force, that was as much as could be expected. Scarcely had the Département-des-Landes taken possession of the Maria' and removed the prisoners, than the prize-crew were compelled to run the vessel on shore Is run to prevent her from sinking under them. Nothing could better testify the gallantry with which the Maria had been defended, and that against a ship in every respect but gallantry so decidedly her superior.
Mr. Dyason, who writes the official letter to sir ReAlexander Cochrane, calls, or by the Gazette is made to call, his opponent, “ le Sards.” As the ship’s Département-de-la-Manche french frigate was mostly, for shortness, called Manche ;* so the Départementdes-Landes, we have no doubt, was named by her officers and crew « les Landes." This accounts pretty well for the name given to the corvette in Mr. Dyason's letter; and our contemporary, having no better guide, is excusable for adopting the same name, or rather “ le Sarde," a word, by the by, as here spelt, not french. But how happens captain Brenton to call the Maria's opponent a brig of war,”+ when Mr. Dyason and sir Alexander Cochrane had both officially stated that she was a ship? We know, too, from the french captain's account, that she was the Département-des-Landes. This very corvette, it will be recollected, was one of captain Mudge's “ two frigates ;f and, if any person was justified
in applying that term to the french ship, it was the officer who lay alongside of her in a brig of
Escapes from two british
1808. 172 tons. Nowhere, however, in Mr. Dyason's letter,
nor in sir Alexander Cochrane's, does the word
After carrying his prize into Martinique, captain parte. Raoul sailed again on his voyage to France. On
the 9th of November, in latitude 21° north, lon
gitude (from Paris) 64° west, the Département-desgages a Landes, according to the french accounts, fell in brig.
with an english brig of war, “ carrying 32-pounder
her relief. Captain Raoul states his loss on this ocfrigates casion at only two men killed and a few wounded. and ar. Although we have searched the logs of six or seven France. of the 18-gun brigs at this time cruising in the West
Indies, we have not been so successful as to discover
On the 10th of November, at 6 h. 42 m. P.M., while
The Amethyst immediately wore in chase, and prechases sently fired two muskets to bring to the strange
vessel, now discovered to be a large ship. The
the Thétis to pursue her course, and she did so under 1808. all sail. We may here mention, that it was at this
Nov. ship that the french battery had fired, not having received notice of her intended departure.
At 9 P. M. the Amethyst, having got within a quarter of a mile, discharged her bow gun at the Thétis, who smartly returned the fire from
one of her stern-chasers. Convinced now that the latter was an Makes
signals enemy, captain Seymour, as his duty prescribed, let off one or two rockets, and soon saw them answered by three flashes in the east-north-east. The ship that did this was the Triumph 74, captain Sir Thomas Mastermán Hardy, and who instantly made sail in the direction of the rockets. Shortly after firing her stern-chasers, the Thétis took in her lower studdingsails, and the Amethyst the whole of her studdingşails and her royals. At 9 h. 15 m. the Thétis, then going nine knots, suddenly luffed to on the starboard tack, with the intention of raking the Amethyst, tempt who was advancing upon her weather quarter. To avoid the rake, and yet be ready to close, the rake Amethyst put her helm hard a-starboard ; and, ponent. the instant the Thétis had discharged her starboard broadside, the Amethyst shifted her helm to hard a-port, and, just clearing the french ship’s starboard quarter, shot up (in the wind right abreast of her to-windward. In this way a close' and furious action commenced between the two frigates; who, losing their way, fell round off and stood again to the westward, engaging broadside to broadside.
At 9 h. 40 m. P. M., the Amethyst shooting a little Thetis ahead, the Thétis attempted to cross her opponent's aged in. stern, and rake or gain the wind of her; but, not having room, ran her jib-boom between the Amethyst's main and mizen rigging. After being a few minutes in this position, the two ships separated, and went off in hot action, steering nearly the same course as before. Ame
thyst At 10 h.5 m. P. M., having got sufficiently ahead to
crosses execute the manoeuvre, the Amethyst put her helm Thétis.
Thetis tries to
1808. hard a-starboard, and, crossing her opponent's hawse,
helm hard a-port, and brought the Thétis a little
At 11 P. M., having for the last half hour been graboard. dually sheering closer, the Thétis put her helm a-star
board, and steered to lay the Amethyst on board.
may be partly imagined: one proof of it was, that four Ships
guns only were returned by the Thétis. In a minute
. In this way
set on fire in several places, until about 20 minutes Thetis past midnight ; when, having completely silenced the ed and guns of her antagonist, the Amethyst boarded and carried carried her.
The following diagram will explain the manæuvres that took place in this action; but we must observe, that the straight tracks, as in many other similar cases, are necessarily shortened, to suit the space to