Imágenes de páginas

Are chased by


1809. began to get under way, and at 9 h. 30 m. P. M. sailed April.

out through the windward passage; but, although favoured by an unusually dark night, not unseen by the british in-shore squadron of sloops and brigs, under the orders of captain Hugh Cameron, of the 18-gun ship-sloop Hazard; and who immediately made the preconcerted signal to the admiral outside.

At this time the Neptune was off the south-west

passage at some distance, and the Pompée about a british mile and a half to the westward of Terre d'en Bas,

or the Lower Sainte. In a very few minutes the Pompée discovered the three french ships bearing down under a press of canvass, followed by the Hazard and other vessels belonging to the in-shore squadron. At 10 P. M. the Pompée closed with the sternmost french ship, and endeavoured to stop her by the discharge of two broadsides; but, having a strong breeze in her favour, the latter continued her course to the west-south-west without returning a shot. At 10 h. 15 m. P. M. the 18-gun brig-sloop Recruit, captain Charles Napier, got up and opened her fire at the enemy's sternmost ship. At 11 P. M. the Neptune joined in the chase, and at 30 minutes past midnight crossed so near to the same ship, that the latter fired into her and killed one and wounded four of her men.

On the 15th, at 4 A, M., the Recruit, by her superior lant be- sailing, again got near enough to discharge a broadof Re- side at the d'Haupoult, now the rearmost french ship; cruit." and the Pompée was very soon in a situation to open

a distant fire from her bow-chasers; all three french ships as they steered in line abreast, returning the fire with their stern-chasers. At 10 h. 30 m. A., M. captain Napier had his sergeant of marines wounded by a shot from one of the french ships; but the Recruit still persisted to harass them with her attacks. So annoying were those attacks, that at 10 h., 45 m. A. M. the d’Haupoult broached to and discharged her main and quarter deck guns, cutting away two of the brig's fore shrouds on the larboard side and doing other damage to her rigging, but



fortunately, wounding no one. Even this did not 1809 intimidate captain Napier; for, no sooner had the w

April. d'Haupoult resumed her course before the wind, than the Recruit ran across her stern, and poured in one or two broadsides, receiving in return a fire from the 74's stern-chasers,

The Pompée also joined occasionally in the running fight; and thus the day passed. At 8 P. M. the french ships separated, the® d'Haupoult altering her course to west-north-west, while her two consorts continued steering west-south-west. The Pompée imme- French

ships diately hauled up after the d'Haupoult, and was at this time about three miles to the eastward of the rate. latter, full five miles to the east-north-east of the Courageux and Polonais, and about the same distance ahead of the Neptune; who, since the forenoon, had detached the Hazard and Supérieure, and was now in company with only the Hawk brig. At midnight the Pompée could no longer see the two french ships in the west-south-west, but still kept sight of the d’Haupoult.

On the 16th, at daylight, the wind still from the eastward, the d'Haupoult was about three miles north-west half-west, and the Neptune about nine miles south-east half-east, of the Pompée. The Re- Chase cruit, having dropped astern, on account probably nued of her damaged rigging, was not now in sight. In after the course of the forenoon the british 38-gun frigate poult. Latona, captain Hugh Pigot, and 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Castor, captain William Roberts, made their appearance in the north-east, and soon joined in the chase. At 5 P. M. the Neptune was no longer visible from the Pompée's mast-head ; and the latter ship and the d’Haupoult sailed so nearly alike, that no apparent alteration had taken place in the distance between them since the preceding day. At 5 h. 30 m. P. M. the high land of Porto-Rico was seen from the Pompée, bearing north-north-east, about nine leagues distant. The night shut in extremely dark, and the ships, as they approached the land, were baffled with

Castor fires at

and com

to strike.

1809. light and variable winds from the northward and westApril. ward. By midnight the Castor had got so far ahead

as to be on the starboard bow of the Pompée, but the Latona had not been able to advance beyond the latter's starboard quarter.

On the 17th, at 2 h. 45 m. A. M., the Castor d'Hau- shortened sail; and at 3 A. M., when within little poult. more than half a mile of the d’Haupoult's starboard

quarter, commenced a fire with her larboard guns, In this way the action was maintained between an english 12-pounder frigate and a french 74 until 4A.M.; when, owing to the latter having had frequently to yaw to bring her

guns to bear, the Pompée got up. Pom- Passing between the Castor and her opponent, the closes Pompée engaged the d’Haupoult within musket-shot

distance, gradually closing until 5 h. 15 m. A. M.; pels her when the d'Haupoult ranged ahead, steering before

the wind, and became again engaged with the Castor. Before many shot had been exchanged between these unequal antagonists, the Pompée, putting her helm a-port, fired her bow guns at, and was preparing with her broadside to rake, the d'Haupoult; when the french ship, now a complete wreck in rigging and sails, lowered her topsails, hove to, and hauled down her colours. This was a measure which could no longer have been delayed; for the opening daylight discovered the Neptune, York, and Captain, along with the sloops Hazard, Ringdove, and Hawk, about nine miles to the eastward, and the Polyphemus, Ethalion frigate, and sloops Tweed and Recruit, within less than that distance to the westward; all, under a press of canvass, standing for the Pompée, Castor, and their prize, and whom the Latona was now also in the act of joining. Thus terminated a running fight, which had commenced to the southward of Vieux-Fort, Guadeloupe, at 10 P. M. on the 14th of April, and had ended within eight leagues north-east by north of Cape Roxo, Porto-Rico, at 5 h. 15 m. A. M. on the 17th.

The Pompée was nearly in as disabled a state,

especially in rigging and sails, as the d'Haupoult 1809. herself, and had her gaff

, mizenmast, main yard, and more bowsprit badly wounded, besides having received a Danumber of shot in her hull. The Pompée's loss con- magen sisted of her boatswain, (Edward Casey,), seven each seamen, and one marine killed, her captain, first side. lieutenant, (William Bone,) one lieutenant of marines, (Charles Edward Atkins, 22 seamen, and five private marines wounded. The damages of the Castor were comparatively trifling, and her loss amounted to only one seaman killed and six wounded. The loss of these two ships, added to that of the Neptune and Recruit already stated, makes the total loss on the british side 10 killed and 35 wounded. The hull of the d'Haupoult, as is usually the case against british opponents, had suffered more than the appear. ance of her sails and rigging indicated; and the french ship lost, out of a crew of 680 men and boys, between 80 and 90 in killed and wounded, including several officers.

In this case there was nothing that could cast Rethe slightest imputation upon the french ship: the d’Haupoult retreated from a superior force, action, manoeuvred skilfully, and, when at last overtaken, fought bravely. There were periods, probably, when commodore Troude might have shortened sail and engaged to advantage; but, doubtless, he considered that, long before he could bring the contest to a favourable issue, rear-admiral Cochrane and his squadron would be close at his heels; not merely to retake his prize, (admitting the french commodore to have taken the Pompée,) but to capture one or more of his ships, disabled as, in all likelihood, they would have been. The conduct of the Pompée was such as was expected of her, and the Castor gave proofs of a commendable zeal in closing with so powerful an antagonist; but what shall we say of the Recruit? Her behaviour was gallant in the extreme, and was well calculated to efface the stain which, not many weeks before, nor many degrees


on the


1809. from the same spot, the Driver's conduct had, seemApril. ingly, put upon the sloop-class. * Next to the

pleasure of recording acts of intrepidity like that performed by the Recruit, is the pleasure of being able to announce that they were appreciated in the quarter possessing the power to reward them. Sir Alexander Cochrane, with feelings highly honourable to him, appointed captain Napier to the command of the d’Haupoult. The admiral did this on the spot, and then detached the York and Captain, with two frigates and a sloop of war, in quest of M. Troude; but who evaded all his pursuers and reached Europe in safety, anchoring, about the middle of May, in the road of Cherbourg. The d'Haupoult was a tolerably fine ship of 1871 tons, and, under the name of Abercromby, cruised for three or four years in the british service.

The two armées en flûte, Furieuse and Félicité, with which we left at anchor in the road of the Saintes, did Furi- not get under way until 9 A. M. on the 15th : they and re- then, accompanied by a brig-corvette, stood over for licité. Gaudeloupe, chased by the 64-gun ship Intrepid,

captain the honourable Warwick Lake, one of the Acasta's squadron. At 10 A. M. the Intrepid commenced action with the two french ships, and also with the batteries on shore ; under the protection of which both her opponents soon obtained shelter, leaving the british ship with her masts, yards, rigging, and sails much wounded, and one boat cut from her quarter, chiefly by the heavy shot from Fort-Matilda, but, as far as we can gather, with no loss of men.

On the night of the 14th of June these two french

frigates, the Furieuse, armed with two long 18, and from six long 8 pounders, and 12 carronades, 36-pounders,

with a crew, including some military passengers, loupe. of about 200 men and boys, commanded by lieu

tenant Gabriel-Etienne-Louis Le Marant-Kerdaniel, and the Félicité, armed with 14 long 12-pounders

The latter sail de

[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »