Imágenes de páginas

which we are restricted. The difference in the time, 1808. and the rate at which the ships may


supposed to Nov. have been sailing, will show the impractibility of an adherence to truth in this unessential point.

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

Arrival of Tri

and Shan.

It was not until 45 minutes past midnight, after several prisoners had been received by the Amethyst, that her cable was cut and the Thétis disentangled. In five minutes afterwards the fore and main masts of the Thétis went over the side. At 1 h. 15 m. A. M. on the 11th a light was observed in umph the north-east, and the Triumph soon came up

under a press of sail. In about another quarter of an hour non. the 38-gun frigate Shannon, captain Philip Bowes Vere Broke, joined from the westward, and, after receiving on board several prisoners, took the prize, now wholly dismasted, in tow.

The Amethyst had her rigging and sails cut to Dapieces, and, besides the fall of her mizenmast, had her &c. on fore and main masts greatly injured. She had also three each feet and a half water in the hold from the number of shot-holes in her hull. Her loss, out of a crew of 261 men and boys, amounted to one second lieutenant of marines, (Bernard Kindall,) 10 seamen, and eight marines killed, and one first lieutenant of marines, .(Samuel John Payne, dangerously,) one master's mate, (Richard Gibbings, mortally,) one midshipman, (Lawford Miles, severely,) her boatswain, (Leonard





1808. Taylor,) captain's clerk,(Thomas Gilson,) 32 seamen,

12 marines, and two boys wounded ; total, 19 killed
and 51 wounded. The Thétis was dreadfully shat-
tered as well as dismasted; and, out of a crew,
including 106 french soldiers, of 436 men and boys,
had her captain, and 134 officers, seamen, and
soldiers killed, and 102 wounded.

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



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

Here stands another frigate action, in which the on the comparative statement, in every line of figures on

the french side, exhibits a superiority of force, parforce. ticularly in crew. There is, however, a circum

stance or two, which, fairly considered, will be al-
lowed to bring the odds a little nearer to an equa-
lity. The object of the Thétis, from the first, was to
gain her destination, not to fight; and even, had it
been otherwise, an exchange of night-signals at the
commencement of the chase must have informed
her, that a friend to her antagonist, and consequently
a foe to her, was not many miles distant. Still the
Thétis fought manfully, and did not surrender till
every hope had fled.

The crew of the Amethyst, in the heavy loss and
damage they inflicted upon the Thétis, proved the
high state of discipline to which they had been
brought by their commander and his officers. If
any thing can add to the merits of captain Seymour
on the occasion, it is the modesty of his published
account, and the handsome eulogium he pays to the
gallantry of lieutenant Joseph Dedé, the surviving
commander of the Thétis ; who, he says, acted with
singular firmness, and was the only Frenchman on
the quarterdeck when the British boarded.

Unfortunately lieutenant Dedé lost the esteem of

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

bis generous captor, by uniting with the two officers 1808. who were next to himself in command on board the Nor. Thétis, in swearing before the prize-court, by way Deposi; of making the thing go down better with the french tions of government, that the Thétis was captured by a 74 officers and two frigates. This is easily disproved. When the Thétis had been, not only taken possession of by, but cut clear from, the Amethyst, the appearance of a large ship, coming down under a press of sail from the eastward, occasioned captain Seymour to ask lieutenant Dedé, if he had previously seen any ship, or expected any other to sail from Lorient. The lieutenant answered decidedly, that he had seen no ship, and did not know that any was to sail that night. But a more satisfactory refutation of the sworn assertion of the french officers is contained in the following extract from a letter written by an officer on board the Triumph, and published at or about the same time as captain Seymour's official letter. “At 12 they ceased firing, and at 1 A. M. we saw the two ships close to us." And the Shannon, it is admitted, did not join until a quarter of an hour or 20 minutes after the Triumph.

Soon after the return of the Amethyst to port, her first lieutenant, Mr. Goddard Blennerhasset, was promoted to the rank of commander. Captain Seymour, in his official letter, speaks also in high terms of his second and third lieutenants, William Hilland Edward Thomas Crouch; as well as of the master of the Amethyst, Mr. Robert Fair. The prize was purchased for the british navy, and, under the name of Brune, (a Thetis being already in the service,) was subsequently added, as a cruising frigate, to the large class of 38s. . Onthel2th of Novemberthe three new french40-gun French

frigates frigates Vénus, commodore Jacques-Félix-Emmanuel Hamelin, Junon, captain Jean-Baptiste-Augustin from Rousseau, and Amphitrite, with whose captain's name bourg we are unacquainted, accompanied by the brig-cor- for vettes Cigne and Papillon and two armed schooners, Indies: put to sea from the road of Cherbourg; the Vénus


[ocr errors]

and two



1808. bound to the Isle of France, and the remaining two Nov. frigates and smaller vessels to Martinique and GuaCigne deloupe, with ordnance stores and provisions.

Just as this squadron reached the Antilles a sepaschoo- ration, either by accident or design, appears to have perhat taken place. At all events the Cigne, and the two

schooners, at 11 A. M. on the 12th of December, were Pearl discovered at anchor off the Pearl rock, by the gunMarti- brig Morne-Fortunée, lieutenant John Brown; who nique. immediately made a signal to that effect to captain

Francis Augustus Collier, of the 12-pounder 32-gun
frigate Circe, the commodore of a small british
squadron stationed between that rock and the town
of St. Pierre.

Immediately the Circe, accompanied by the 18-
gun ship-sloop Stórk, captain George Le Geyt,
16-gun brig-sloop Epervier, captain Thomas Tudor
Tucker, and advice-schooner Express, lieutenant

William Dowers, made sail towards St.-Pierre's; Circe which one of the french schooners was endeavouring squa- to reach, by being towed alongshore under cover of

a body of troops on the beach. Finding it impos-
sible, owing to the near approach of the Stork, to

get between the port of St. Pierre and the Circe, shore. the schooner ran on shore under a battery of four

guns, flanked by two smaller ones, and defended
also by the troops that had accompanied her from
her anchorage at the Pearl. Immediately the Circe,
followed by the Stork and Morne-Fortunée, stood in
to attack the batteries; and, engaging them within
pistol-shot, soon silenced the two smaller batteries
and drove the troops from the beach.

Observing at this time, that the french brig and Cigue the schooner in her company were unlading, captain batte- Collier directed the Morne-Fortunée to watch the mo

tions of the schooner on shore, and to give similar
orders to the Epervier on her coming up; and then,
with the Circe, Stork, and Express, he made sail to-
wards the Cigne and her consort, now lying well
to-windward, close to the rocks, and under the pro-
tection of four batteries and a considerable number

dron drive one schoo ner on




of troops, with field-pieces, assembled on the beach. 1808. Having manned her barge and two cutters, with 68 officers and men, under the command of lieutenant Charles Henry Crooke, Mr. William Collman the purser, and Mr. William Smith the master, and directed lieutenant Crooke to lie off until the french brig's fire slackened, the Circe, followed by the Stork and Express, stood in and opened a close and well-directed fire upon the brig, the batteries, and the troops on the beach.

As soon as the Circe and Stork, which latter ship Unsuchad manned her boats to assist those of the former, boatbad run past the batteries and brig, lieutenant Crooke, attack. without waiting for the Stork's boats, dashed on, in the most gallant manner, and boarded the Cigne. It happened in this instance, that gallantry did not meet its accustomed reward. The three boats were defeated with dreadful slaughter. One boat was taken, another sunk, and the third entirely disabled; and, out of the 68 men detached from her, the Circe lost nine killed, 21 wounded, and 26 missing : total 56, including, among the badly wounded, lieutenant Crooke, in four places, and Mr. Collman the purser. It being, when the issue of this unfortunate business was known, quite dark, the Circe stood off from the shore ; leaving the 18-gun brig-sloop Amaranthe, captain Edward Pelham Brenton, who had just joined company, to watch the Cigne during the night.

At daylight on the 13th the french brig got under Amaway, and, aided by her sweeps and boats, stood drives alongshore for St.-Pierre’s. Captain Brenton, hav- Cigne ing in the handsomest manner volunteered to bring shore. out the Cigne, the Amaranthe, towed by the boats of the Circe and Stork, used her utmost endeavours to close with her. At 10 A. m. the Cigne grounded near several batteries to the northward of St. Pierre's : whereupon the british brig tacked and worked in, under a heavy fire from the french brig, and particularly from the batteries, by which the Amaranthe had one man killed and five wounded. The Circe

« AnteriorContinuar »