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rieuse escapes

and a crew of 174 men and boys, and both frigates 1809. laden with a cargo of colonial produce, escaped from July. the road of Basse-terre, Gaudeloupe, bound to France; but not unseen by some of the in-shore sloops and brigs of the blockading squadron, one of which, the gun-brig Haughty, lieutenant John Mitchell, fired several shot at the two frigates. At daylight the whole british squadron went in chase; but, towards the afternoon, the only ships in sight of the enemy were the 38-gun frigate Latona, captain Hugh Pigot, and 18-gun ship-sloop Cherub, captain Thomas Tudor Tucker.

The chase of the two french frigates continued all Félicithe 15th and 16th and during a part of the 17th; when they separated. The Furieuse was pursued by the but FuCherub, and effected her escape; but the Félicité found all her efforts unavailing to get from the Latona; who, on the 18th, overtook and captured her with little or no opposition. The Félicité had be. longed to the french 36-gun class, and measured about 900 tons; but, being old and nearly worn out, she was not considered eligible for the british navy. An agent from Christophe at St.-Domingo purchased her, and, after being refitted, the Félicité sailed for Cape-François. On the 5th of July, at 3 P. M., in latitude 43° 41' Bonne

Citoynorth, and longitude 34° west, the british ship-sloop Bonne-Citoyenne, of 18 carronades, 32-pounders, falls in and two long nines, with a crew, including a fuw and supernumeraries, of 127 men and boys, commanded chases by captain William Mounsey, being on her way euse. from Halifax, Nova-Scotia, to Quebec, steering north-west by west with the wind at south, descried, in the west-south-west, a large frigate, in the act of taking possession of an english merchant ship. The Bonne-Citoyenne went immediately in chase of the ship of war, which was no other than the Furieuse, so far advanced on her way to Europe. On the sloop’s approach, the Furieuse abandoned the merchant ship, and steered, under a press of sail, to


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and hauled close upon a wind; as immediately

1809. the northward, followed by captain Mounsey; who, Jury. from the french ship's inability to answer the private

signal, had already discovered her to be an enemy. At sunset the two ships of war were about five miles apart, striving their utmost to get forward. During the night the Bonne-Citoyenne lost sight of the Furieuse, but, at 3 A. M. on the 6th, again descried her, at a great distance on the larboard quarter. The BonneCitoyenne immediately hauled up on that tack, with the wind now a point or two more easterly than it had been; and, by 4 A. M., got within nine or 10 miles.

of the object of her pursuit, Aetlon! At 9 h. 10 m. A. M. the Furieuse shortened sail,

afterwards did the Bonne-Citoyenne, in eager pursuit. In another 10 minutes the french ship hove to; and in five minutes more the british ship got alongside and commenced the action, within pistolshot distance. cannonade was now mutually kept up; during which the Furieuse fired away more than 70 broadsides, and the Bonne-Citoyenne 129; the latter, alternately from the larboard and the starboard side, as she changed her position to avoid the necessity of slackening her fire from the carronades becoming overheated. This was, however, the case with three, which were dismounted and rendered useless early in the action. Arter the combat had lasted, in this way, for six hours and 50 minutes, and each ship had become greatly crippled in her masts and rigging; and after the Bonne-Citoyenne, in particular, had expended nearly the whole of her

powder, captain Mounsey gallantly took a position surren-close athwart the bows of his antagonist, preparatory

to boarding her with all hands. This bold demonstration decided the affair; and the Furieuse, at 6 h. 16 m. P. M., struck her colours.

The Bonne-Citoyenne had her fore and main topmage, gallantmasts and mizen topmast shot away, her

three lower masts badly wounded in several places, and nearly all the standing rigging, and every part



Mutual da


of the running rigging, sails, boats, and booms, cut 1809, to pieces. With all this serious damage, the Bonne- July. Citoyenne's loss amounted to only one seaman killed, and four seamen and one marine badly wounded. The Furieuse was in a far more disabled condition, Her topmasts and all her yards, except the crossjack and sprit-sail, were shot away, and her lower masts reduced to a tottering state: she had also 14 shot-holes between wind and water, and five feet water in the hold. Her loss consisted of two quartermasters, 27 seamen, and six soldiers killed, her commander, two lieutenants, three midshipmen, four gunner's mates, 19 seamen, one lieutenant of artillery, and seven soldiers, all dangerously wounded ; total, 35 killed and 37 dangerously wounded. The slightly wounded probably amounted to 18 or 20 more.

According to the certificate of two of the surviving french officers, the Furieuse commenced the action with 195 men; but, admitting 35 to be the correct amount of the killed, the ship must have had 213 men, 178 · being the number of prisoners that were received out of her. As there may have been a slight mistake in the number of killed, and especially as several of the soldiers consisted of invalids, we shall consider the Furieuse to have had no more than 200 men,


on the



10 Broadside-guns...; lbs. .


279 Crew...


200 Size.


1085 Few cases occur wherein the usual figure-state- Re· ment requires less to be left without remarks than marks the present case. The Furieuse presented herself, action, at first, in the size and formidable appearance of a full-armed 38 or 40 gun frigate. The BonneCitoyenne made sail in chase; and it was only upon a near approach that she could have discovered, that the 26 maindeck ports of the frigate were but partially filled with guns. After the action had com

Conduct of


1809. menced and the rigging of the Furieuse become July. injured, the frigate's size was rather a disadvantage:

it rendered her unwieldy in comparison with the Bonne-Citoyenne; who, even when disabled in her rigging, could maneuvre much more quickly than her antagonist. With respect, also, to the mutual cannonade, the lowness of the sloop's, and the great height of the frigate's, hull gave a decided advantage to the Bonne-Citoyenne; and to that may be attributed, in a great degree, the comparative impunity with which the latter came out of the action.

In resolving to measure his strength with an antafrench gonist of such apparently superior force, captain

Mounsey displayed a highly commendable zeal for the service; as, in conducting the six hours' engagement to its final, and to him most glorious result, he did an equal degree of skill and intrepidity. On the other hand, when it is considered that the french 1 commander and two of his lieutenants (perhaps the only two) lay dangerously wounded, that more than 70 of his people had been placed hors de combat, and his ship battered until she was totally unmanageable and scarcely seaworthy; that, when thus reduced, a body of british seamen, numerically equal, and, in the sickly state of a portion of the french troops, physically superior, to all his remaining hånds, were ready to rush upon his decks: when all these circumstances are considered, few persons will think that the flag of the Furieuse could have been kept any longer flying.

It was not merely in gaining this victory, that the Citoy

officers and men of the Bonne-Citoyenne displayed and her so large a portion of those qualities, by which british

seamen have attained their admitted preeminence.

Much remained to be done. Two crippled ships, culty reach one with five feet water in the hold, were to be port. : carried from the middle of the Atlantic to a port of

safety. The effective prisoners, too, were more than equal in number to those by whom, during so long a voyage, they were to be kept in subjection. It took the



with diffi


.sey, &c.

Bonne-Citoyenne until 1 h. 30 m. P. M. on the 7th, 1809. and that was by very great exertions, ere she could July. take her prize in tow and make sail for Halifax, Nova Scotia. On the 8th, at 9 h. 30 m. P. M., the main and mizen masts of the Furieuse, no longer able, in their shattered state, to withstand the motion of the sea, fell overboard; and thus was a ship of 500 tons, herself in a crippled condition, compelled to drag after her a dismasted ship of nearly 1100

The Bonne-Citoyenne did so for_25 days, and anchored with her prize in Halifax. The season of the year, no doubt, was much in her favour: had it been winter, one ship, if not both, would in all probability have foundered.

The Furieuse was afterwards purchased for the Promouse of the british navy, and became classed as a captain 36-gun frigate. When subsequently fitted for sea Moun. at Portsmouth, captain Mounsey, who had been promoted to post-rank the moment his exploit reached the admiralty,, was appointed to command her. Lieutenant Joseph Symes, first of the Bonne-Citoyenne at the capture of the Furieuse, gained also, what he justly merited, a step in his profession. Captain Mounsey, in his official letter, makes honourable mention of his second lieutenant, William Sandom, his master, Nathaniel Williamson, and his purser, John Nicholas C. Scott; also of two passengers on board the sloop, Mr. John Black and Mr. Angus M'Auley, who in the handsomest manner volunteered their services, and assisted at the guns, and wherever they could make themselves useful.

Steel's monthly Navy-list, until some correspondent Misre. caused the mistake to be partially corrected, made tation the Furieuse of “ 50 guns;" which exceeds, by two, the number captain Mounsey states the ship to have been pierced for, by six, the number she could have mounted without filling her chase-ports, and, by as many as 30, the number she did actually mount when captured. The French were very sore at this exaggeration of the force of their frigate, but laid the


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