Imágenes de páginas



frigate Tartar, captain Joseph Baker, chased shore near Felixberg, on the coast of Courland, a May. danish sloop-privateer of four guns; the crew of Boats which, 24 in number, landed with their muskets, and, of Tarbeing joined by some of the country people, posted Felixthemselves behind the sand-bills near the beach. berg. Captain Baker immediately sent the Tartar's boats, under the orders of lieutenants Thomas Sykes and Frederick Augustus Hargood Parker, to board the vessel and bring off or destroy her. The British boarded the privateer without loss, and, by turning her guns upon the beach, soon dislodged the party posted there. But the Danes, before they abandoned their vessel, had most dishonourably placed a lighted candle in a 12-pounder cartridge in the magazine, where lay several hundred weight of powder. Fortunately one of the Tartar's men discovered the light, and, with wonderful presence of mind, grasped the candle in his hand just as it had burnt within half an inch of the powder. Another minute, and all on board and alongside of the vessel would have been blown to destruction.

On the 23d of May, at 10 h. 30 m. P. M., very dark, Melpothe british 38-gun_frigate Melpomène, now com-attack .. manded by captain Frederick Warren, lying at single ed by anchor in the Great Belt off Omoe island, nearly gunbecalmed, discovered several large boats standing boats towards her. The frigate immediately cleared for action, and at 11 P. M. commenced an engagement with about 20 sail of danish gun-boats. Finding it impossible to bring her guns to bear with any effect while at anchor, and a light air of wind just then springing up, the Melpomène cut her cable, and made sail to close her opponents. In this way the action continued until 1 h. 15 m. A.M. on the 30th; when the Beats gun-boats began to slacken their fire, and presently their pulled away from the frigate with all their strength. The wind still continuing light, the Melpomène was unable to proceed in chase ; and her individually

[ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

and loss.

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

1809. small, but collectively formidable, antagonists got

back to their port. May.

The long 18 and 24 pounders of the Danes had serious produced a very serious effect both upon the mamage tériel and the personnel of the british frigate: her

sails and rigging of every sort were cut to pieces ;
her mizenmast so badly wounded as to require to
be fished; her bumpkin shot away, and her hull,
both above and below water, greatly shattered.
The loss on board the Melpomène amounted to four
seamen and one marine killed, and 29 officers, sea-
men, and marines wounded. What loss was sus-
tained on the part of the Danes, we are unable to
show ; but it was probably of no very great amount,
the darkness of the night concealing the gun-boats
from view, and the calm state of the weather enabling
them to take a position out of the reach of the
frigate's broadside. Captain Warren, his officers,
and crew behaved in the bravest manner; and, as a
proof that their ship was really in the shattered state
we have described, the Melpomène, on her return to
England in two or three months afterwards, was put
out of commission as a cruising frigate.

On the 19th of June the british 74-gun ship Bellelero- rophon, captain Samuel Warren, cruising off the phon at coast of Swedish Finland in company with the Hango.

Minotaur 74, captain John Barrett, was detached by
the latter off Hango. At sunset the Bellerophon
discovered a lugger, apparently armed, and two
other vessels, at anchor within the islands. Deeming
it of importance to get hold of them, captain Warren
anchored, and detached the boats of the Belle-
rophon, under the orders of lieutenant Robert Pilch,
assisted by lieutenants John Sheridan and George
Bentham, lieutenant of marines Alfred Octavius
Carrington, and Mr. Mart the ship's carpenter, all
volunteers. The party met no opposition in getting
possession of the vessels; but, being found of no value,
they were abandoned, especially as they lay within

[ocr errors][merged small]

Boats of Bel

[merged small][ocr errors]

gun-shot of four strong batteries, not before observed, 1809. and of several gun-boats. It was now judged neces- Jaty. şary, to prevent loss in returning, to dash at the nearest battery, which mounted four 24-pounders, and was garrisoned by 103 men. After an obstinate resistance, this battery was carried in the most gallant manner, the Russians retreating to some boats that lay on the opposite side of the island. The guns were spiked and the magazine destroyed, and the British got back to their ship with so comparatively slight a loss as five men wounded.

On the 7th of July, as a british squadron, composed Boats of the 74-gun ships Implacable, captain Thomas placaByam Martin, and Bellerophon, captain Samuel ble, &c. Warren, 38-gun frigate Melpomène, captain Peter Porcota Parker, and 18-gun ship-sloop Prometheus, captain point. Thomas Forrest, was cruising on the coast of Finland, a russian flotilla of gun-boats and merchant vessels was observed at anchor under Porcola Point. The gun-boats were eight in number, each armed with one long 24 and one long 30 pounder, and manned with 46 men. The position they had taken was of extraordinary strength, being betwixt two rocks, which served as a cover to their wings, and whence a destructive fire of grape could be poured upon any boats that should assail them. Notwithstanding this, it was resolved to attempt the capture or destruction of the flotila; and lieutenant Joseph Boats Hawkey, first of the Implacable, was gratified with lieut. the command of the enterprise, to consist of the boats

key of the four ships, 17 in number, containing about 270 attack officers and men. Among the officers employed, were

eight the following: lieutenants William Houghton and gunFrederick Vernon, and lieutenants of marines James boats Thomas Cracknell and James Clarke, of the Implacable; lieutenants Charles Allen, John Sheridan, and John Shekel, and lieutenants of marines George Kendall and Alfred Octavius Carrington, of the Bellerophon; lieutenant George Rennie, lieutenant of marines Robert Gilbert, and midshipman John B.



ture six of them,

Death of lieut.

1809. Mounteney, of the Melpomène; and lieutenant James July. Stirling, of the Prometheus. Cap

At 9 P. M. the boats proceeded to the attack, and, regardless of the heavy fire opened upon them in their advance, pushed on, not firing a musket until they touched the sides of the gun-boats; when the british seamen and marines boarded, sword in hand, and carried all before them. Of the eight gun-boats, six were captured, one was sunk, and one escaped'; and the whole 12 merchant vessels under their protection, and which were laden with powder and provisions for the russian army, were also captured, together with a large armed ship. The latter was burnt, but the other vessels were brought safe out.

This truly gallant exploit was not accomplished Haw-“ without a serious loss. Lieutenant Hawkey, the key. commanding officer of the detachment, having taken

one gun-boat, was killed by a grape-shot while in the act of boarding the second; and the last words of this gallant young man were:

“ Huzza! push on, England for ever!” Captain Martin, in his letter to vice-admiral sir James Saumarez, thus eloquently touches upon the merits of lieutenant Hawkey: “No praise from my pen can do adequate justice to this lamented young man; as an officer, he was active, correct, and zealous, to the highest degree; the leader in every kind of enterprise, and regardless of danger, he delighted in whatever could tend to promote the glory of his country.” The next officer, lieutenant Charles Allen, of the Bellerophon, assumed the command of the party, and completed the business in the successful manner already described.

The whole of the loss on the british side amounted to two lieutenants, (Messrs. Hawkey and Stirling,) one midshipman, (Mr. Mounteney,) one second master, (Benjamin Crandon,) eight seamen, and five marines killed, and one boatswain, (Matthew Vesey,) 25 seamen, and 11 marines wounded. Among the loss acknowledged to have been sustained by the Russians were 63 killed. A great many of the russian

[ocr errors]

Loss on

each side.

[ocr errors]


russian gun

seamen escaped on shore, and several perished 1809. in the attempt; and, of the 127 prisoners taken, 51 July. were wounded

On the 25th of July captain Charles Dudley Pater, commanding a british squadron, composed of his own ship the Princess-Caroline 74, the Minotaur, of the Capt. same force, captain John Barrett, 18-pounder 32-gun and frigate Cerberus, captain Henry

Whitby, and 18-gun ship-sloop Prometheus, captain Thomas Forrest, per- boats at mitted the latter to lead the boats of the squadron, rick17 in number, to the attack of four russian gun-boats sham. and an armed brig, lying at Fredericksham, near Aspo roads, in the gulf of Finland. After dark the boats, commanded by captain Forrest, who was assisted by, among other officers, lieutenants James Bashford of the Princess-Caroline, John James Callenan, and lieutenant of marines William Wilkin, of the Minotaur, lieutenants Robert Pettet and John Simpson, of the Cerberus, and Gawen Forster and Thomas Finnimore, of the Prometheus, pushed off from the squadron, and at 10h. 30 m. P. M. commenced the attack. After a most desperate and sanguinary conflict, three of the gun-boats, mounting two long 18-pounders each, and having on board between them 137 men, besides an armed transport brig, with 23 men, were captured and brought off.

Costly, indeed, were the prizes. The british loss Heavy amounted to one lieutenant, (John James Callenan,) both one second lieutenant of marines, (William Wilkin,) sides. one midshipman, (Gordon Carrington,) and 16 seamen and marines killed; captain Forrest himself, one lieutenant, (Gawen Forster,) three midshipmen, (George Elvey, Thomas Milne, and John Chalmers,) and 46 seamen and marines wounded. The Russians, on their side, acknowledged a loss of 28 killed and 59 wounded; making a total of 47 men killed and 110 wounded, in obtaining possession of three gunboats. One of these gun-boats, No. 62, .was so obstinately defended, that every man of her crew, 44 in number, was either killed or wounded before she

« AnteriorContinuar »