« AnteriorContinuar »
broadsides while passing on opposite tacks. The 1809. Topaze then stood on and engaged the sternmost March. frigate in a similar manner; and at 3 P. M. tacked from the main. The headmost french frigate at the same moment tacked off Paxo, and was presently followed in the manoeuvre by her consort. At 3 h. 30 m. P. M. the Topaze and her two opponents engaged in crossing each other, the same as before ; the Kingfisher at the distance of six or seven miles, and to-leeward. At 4 h. 30 m. the Topaze and the two They french frigates again commenced firing on opposite don the tacks, and continued engaging, at the distance of contest about a mile and a quarter, until nearly 5 P. M., when steer the Danaé and Flore tacked off Paxo out of gun-shot, Corfu. and stood up the passage to Corfu under all sail ; leaving to a single british frigate, with 12-pounders only, the credit of having obliged them to do so.
Shortly afterwards the Topaze bore up and closed Topaze the Kingfisher; without, as it appears, having sus-bears tained any loss in her action with her two very for-closes
Kingbearing opponents, although one french 18-pound shot had gone through the gig, launch, yawl, and the quarterdeck (bulwark. Our researches have not enabled us to give the names of the captains of these two french frigates; not, at least, with that degree of certainty which is requisite in a case circumstanced like the present. At all events it is evident, that captain Griffiths, in chasing and attacking two such opponents, evinced a considerable share of gallantry.
On the 31st of May the Topaze, cruising off the Sends coast of Albania, observed nine vessels lying at boats anchor in the road of Demata, situated behind the into reef of rocks under the fortress of St.-Maura. Find ing that the ship could not with safety approach near enough to capture or destroy them, captain Griffiths despatched upon that service the boats of the Topaze, under the orders of the first lieutenant, Charles Hammond, (whose right hand was nearly useless from a previous wound in cutting out vessels,) assisted by the acting master George Garson, ,
1809. lieutenants of marines Edward Smith Mercer and
William Halsted, and master's mates Henry Packhurst May.
Taylor and Robert Bisset Fenwick. Lieut. Being obliged to row along outside the reef, and mond having then to round it, the boats were necessarily
exposed, within a musket-shot distance, to the brings galling fire of the enemy's whole force. Notwithvessels. standing this formidable opposition, lieutenant
Hammond and his party gallantly pushed on; and, with so comparatively slight a loss as one marine killed and one seaman slightly wounded, boarded and brought out the whole nine vessels; among which were,one xebec of eight carriage guns and six swivels, with a crew of 55 men, one cutter of four, and one felucca of three guns, and two gun-boats of one gun each. After this act of gallantry performed by lieutenant Hammond, and the severe wounds which his former services had cost him, we regret to find, by a reference to his name in the list, that he still bears the rank he did 20 years ago.
On the 13th of June, at 8 A. M., Cape Bon bearing
south-west distant seven miles, the british 38-gun tures a frigate Pomone, captain Robert Barrie, captured,
after a short chase, the neapolitan privateer Lucien
Charles, a new bombard, mounting: one long 12, and ed by a two long 6 pounders, with a crew of 53 men, comfrench manded, of all things, by a french adjutant-general,
and no less a man than the chevalier Charles-Lucien Prevost de Boissi; who could also add, to his title of privateer’s-man, that of “ officier de la légion d'honneur.”
On the 24th of June rear-admiral Martin, with the Martin
80-gun ship Canopus, captain Charles Inglis, 74-gun Ischia ships Spartiate and Warrior, captains sir Francis Pro- Laforey, bart., and John William Spranger, 22-gun
ship Cyane, captain Thomas Staines, and 18-gun brig-sloop Espoir, captain Robert Mitford, along with a numerous flotilla of british and sicilian
gunboats, and a fleet of transports with troops, anchored to the northward of the islands of Ischia and Procida,
Pomone capprivateer command
in readiness to make an attack upon them.
On the 25th, at 8 A. M., when lying at anchor two Cyane miles south by east of the island of Procida, in com-Espoir pany with the gun-boats, the Cyane and Espoir dis- chase covered a french frigate, a corvette, and several and gun-boats coming out of Pozzuoli bay. The british Fama. vessels, by signal from the Cyane, immediately got under way, and, having a light air from the northeast, stood to meet the enemy's vessels; with what chance of success, had one party been as daring as the other, some account of the force on each side will best explain. The Cyane mounted on her main Force deck 22 carronades, 32-pounders, and on her quarter- side. deck and forecastle eight carronades, 18-pounders, and two long sixes, total 32 guns; with a complement, if all were on board, of 175 men and boys. The Espoir mounted the usual armament of her class, 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two sixes, with 120 men and boys. The french frigate Cérès appears
to have been of the same class as the francovenetian frigate Carrère, captured in 1801,* and consequently carried 18-pounders : her total number of guns was at least 42, some accounts say 44, and her complement was about 350 men. The corvette was the Fama, mounting 28 or 30 guns,
including 24 long 8, or, according to some accounts, long 12 pounders, with a crew of 260 men. boats on each side were armed much in the same manner; each with a long 18 or 24 pounder.
Cyane At 8 h. 30 m. the Cyane and her consorts fired several broadsides at the french frigate and her mences consorts; which fire the latter returned, and then action. stood in for the land. At 9 h. 40 m. A. M. the firing ceased; and, on account of the distance at which it
* See vol. iii. p. 138.
Several italian gunboats taken.
1809. had been maintained, with no great effect on either June. side : the Cyane, however, had her main topgallant
yard and some stays shot away. The british ship and brig continued all day cruising between Procida and
the main, and at 9 P. M. reanchored off the island. On Ischia the same evening Procida surrendered without oppoPro- sition; as had Ischia in the morning, except a castle
on the south-east point of the island, which made a demonstration of resistance and did not capitulate till some days afterwards. On the night of the 25th, receiving intelligence that a flotilla of gunboats was on its way from Gaeta to the bay of Naples, rear-admiral Martin detached in that direction the few sicilian gun-boats remaining with him.
On the 26th, at 6 h. 25 m. A. M., the Cyane, Espoir, and the british and sicilian gun-boats in their company, having shortly before weighed, began engaging the french gun-boats, just as they were rounding the point of Baia. By his prompt and vigorous attack upon the gun-boats and batteries, captain Staines checked the progress of the flotilla, and enabled the british and sicilian gun-boats to bring their opponents to close action; whereby, before 10 A. M., 18 french gun-boats were taken and four destroyed. In this smart affair, the Cyane received 23 shot in the hull, had her masts, yards, rigging, and sails a good deal cut, and lost one seaman and one boy killed, one master's mate (David Jones) mortally, and six seamen slightly wounded. The Espoir appears to have escaped without any loss whatever
On the same afternoon, observing a flag of truce on a battery near Point Messino, captain Staines detached the boats to the spot; and, after spiking four 36-pounders on the battery and destroying the carriages, the boats took off 15 deserters. At 7 P. M. the Cyane and Espoir, accompanied by 23. sicilian gun-boats, stood into Pozzuoli bay, where the Cérès, Fama, and 12 gun-boats were lying at anchor. ' Captain Staines continued working and sounding off the
town of Pozzuoli; and at 8 a, m, on the 27th the 1809. Cyane found herself becalmed so near to the shore, June. that a battery of four guns opened upon her. At Capt. 10 A. M., the fire becoming troublesome, captain Staines Staines embarked in one of the gun-boats, and, leading them to the attack, soon silenced the battery. boats He then landed with a party of men, spiked four attack 36-pounders, destroyed the carriages, hove a 10-inch of
battery mortar into the sea, and returned to his ship without carries a casualty
At 5 P. M., finding that the Cyane and Espoir lay Cérès, becalmed in the offing, and considering the gun-boats and in the bight of the bay as no obstacle, the french Cuntis commodore weighed and put to sea with the Cérès, steer Fama, and 20 gun-boats, bound_to Naples. At par
Naples, 5 h. 42 m. the Cyane made the Espoir's signal to prepare for battle and make all possible sail. At 6 h. 23 m. P. M. the sicilian gun-boats began annoying the rear of the french gun-boats. At 6 h. 50 m., finding that the Espoir and sicilian gun-boats were metand now too far astern to be of much service; and ob- chased
by serving that the french frigate was nearly a mile
Cyane. and a half astern of the corvette, and about the same distance from the french gun-boats, the Cyane manned her sweeps and stood towards the Cérès, then not more than three miles from the mole of Naples.
Āt 7 h. 20 m. P. M. the Cyane succeeded in getting Cyane alongside of the french frigate, within half pistol-gages shot distance, and commenced the action with her. french
frigate The Cérés, assisted occasionally by the corvette, and the gun-boats, and the batteries of Naples, within com. gun-shot of which she had by this time arrived, to surreturned the Cyane's fire. At 7 h. 30 m, the Cérés render. was observed to get a reinforcement of men from Naples. Notwithstanding this, at 7 h. 45 m., the frigate hauled down her colours, but rehoisted them on getting a second reinforcement of men. At 8 h. 25 m. P. M. the fire of the Cérès slackened considerably. In two or three minutes more the frigate discontinued firing her maindeck guns ; and at 8 h. 30 m.