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1809.

Sirius.

the command. The following paragraph also appears : “ The Sirius (commanded, it appears, by “captain Corbett,” not captain Pym) anchored with her stern within pistol-shot of the beach, and sustained the fire of the batteries, a frigate, two indiamen, and a brig. She never returned a shot till both her anchors were let go ; the british troops then rushed on; and in 20 minutes every french flag was struck. The grape-shot of the Sirius went over the most distant ships of the enemy; and so severe and well kept up was her fire, that both the French and English expressed their admiration.”*

The principal part of this statement will be best Loss of answered by a short extract from the logs of two of the ships present at the attack. The Sirius herself says: “At 7 A. M. Néréide telegraphed Raisonable,

troops on shore.' Observed a union jack on one of the batteries. At 7 (h. 30 m. meant, it is believed) enemy opened a fire on the Néréide.' At 8 Raisonable opened a fire on the french frigate. At 8, 10, Sirius fired several broadsides. Filled and made sail to-windward. 8, 45, tacked and stood in shore. 9, 15, brought up with the stream and small bower, opened a raking fire on the Caroline, indiamen, and battery. At 10 ceased firing, shipping and batteries in possession of the british troops.” The Otter, by her log, says: “At 8, 45, observed all the batteries in our possession. 8, 50, observed Sirius make signal, Permission to anchor.' Affirmed by the Raisonable. 9, 14, observed Sirius anchor and open a raking fire on the frigate. 9, 20, the frigate hauled down her colours.” Among other misinformation that appears to have reached captain Brenton, is, that captain Feretier, late of the Caroline, and not general Desbrusleys, committed suicide.

In the summer of the present year the french Venus frigates Vénus and Manche, accompanied by the tures 14-gun corvette Créole, were cruising in the bay compaof Bengal, On the 26th of July, off the south brig end of the Great Nicobar island, the Vénus, then Orient,

* Brenton, vol. iv. p. 398,

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1909. alone, captured the honourable company's brig
Oct. Orient, captain Harman, bound with despatches

from Madras to Prince-of-Wales's island. Sending
his prize to the Isle of France, commodore Hamelin
cruised on the same station about a week longer,
and then proceeded to Carnicobar island for water.
He was there joined by the Manche and Créole.
Having completed their water, the two frigates and
corvette made sail for the Preparis isles, and then
for Acheen head.

The french commodore continued cruising, with

very indifferent success, off the north-west coast of Hame- the island of Sumatra until the 10th of October; plun- when he detached the Créole to seize the honourable british company's settlement of Tappanooly, on the small settle island of Punchongcacheel, close to the west side of

Sumatra. On the 12th the Créole arrived off and
Tappa-
nooly. took possession of the settlement. On the 21st the

Vénus and Manche joined the Créole; and com-
modore Hamelin immediately proceeded on the work
of destruction. The few guns on the battery were
disabled, the property, both public and private, con-
fiscated, the buildings of every description set on
fire, the cattle carried off, the horses maimed, and
the plantations on the main destroyed. All the
residents found at Tappanooly were brought on board
the Vénus ; but subsequently the female part of
them were put on board a prize schooner, and
allowed to proceed to Padang. According to a
private letter from one of the sufferers, which ap-
peared in the London papers of the day, the behaviour
of commodore Hamelin, to the female portion of his
unhappy prisoners especially, was of the most dis-
graceful and revolting character. We shall not, how-
ever, enter into the particulars, but merely state, that
on the 23d of October the french squadron, having
thus signalized itself, quitted Tappanooly, and
steered for the bay of Bengal.

On the 18th of November, at daylight, latitude

6° 30' north, longitude 92° 45' east, the honourable con company's outward-bound ships Windham, captain

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Windham and

squadron.

of capt. Stew

John Stewart, United-Kingdom, captain William 1809. Parker D'Esterre, and Charlton, captain Charles Nor. Mortlock, while standing on the larboard tack with sorts a light breeze from the westward, discovered in the fall in east-south-east, about seven miles distant, three french ships close hauled on the starboard tack. At 6 A. M. the strangers, which were no other than the Vénus, Manche, and Créole, tacked and stood towards the indiamen.

The three latter were of the same same size as Galthe Streatham and Europe; and two of them, the lant Windham and Charlton, mounted the same guns on ceeding the main deck, with six medium 9-pounders on the quarterdeck. The United-Kingdom mounted 20 art. medium 12-pounders on the main deck, and six 6-pounders on the quarterdeck. Each ship had a crew of 110 men, including Lascars; and between the three were distributed about 200 recruits going to join the indian army. Opposed to two heavy french frigates and a corvette, the three indiamen would have stood no chance; but, as it would have been equally impossible to escape, and particularly as one of the frigates, the Manche, was considerably detached and to-windward of her two consorts, commodore Stewart considered that a prompt and wellconcerted attack upon her might succeed before she could be supported by the ships to-leeward. He accordingly telegraphed his wishes to the UnitedKingdom and Charlton, and they affirmed the signal. Upon this the Windham bore down under all sail, and was tardily followed by her two consorts.

At 8 A. M., having arrived well up with the wea-Windthermost french frigate, and finding that his two consorts still remained far astern, and were making attacks no efforts to cooperate with him, captain Stewart

frigate. resolved

singly to engage the french frigate, hoping to be afforded a chance of boarding her. His proposal was cheered by the ship's company and troops, and the Windham continued to advance towards the Manche. At 9 h. 30 m. A. M. the latter hoisted french

ham alone

a french

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Makes sail from

, 1809. colours and commenced a heavy fire, but the WindNov.

ham continued to close without returning a shot. Seeing her determination, the french frigate evaded it by wearing round on the starboard tack. The Windham followed the frigate in the manoeuvre and opened her fire; but captain Stewart soon found that, while the shot of the Manche were flying over

him, those of the Windham fell short. The latter little or now backed her main topsail and commenced a close no sup- action with the Manche; who, finding that the Windfrom ham's two consorts kept aloof from the battle, merely her two firing now and then a few distant and harmless shot, sorts. continued engaging the Windham till noon; when

the french frigate wore and made sail to join the Vénus.

Seeing clearly that he should receive no effectual

support from his consorts, and having already had french three cadets and an ensign of foot killed and two squa: cadets wounded, and the ship's rigging and sails

much cut, captain Stewart, with the concurrence of his officers, made sail, in the hope of saving the Windham from the fate which a longer continuance in action would render unavoidable. While the Manche and the corvette attacked and captured

the United-Kingdom and Charlton, the Vénus made three sail in pursuit of the Windham. Every attempt, by

lightening herself and otherwise, was made by the latter to escape; but the superior sailing of the french frigate enabled her, not, however, until 10 h. 30 m. A. M. on the 22d, and that after a smart running fight, to overtake and capture the Windham.

Having received on board the Vénus captain Stewart and nearly the whole of his people, and placed a prize crew in the Windham, the french commodore made sail for the Isle of France. On the 6th of December the two ships fell in with the Manche and

Créole, and their two prizes; but on the 19th, in Vénus thick bad weather, the Vénus parted as well from and in them as from the Windham. Steering now alone distress for the Isle of France, the Vénus on the 27th en

All men captured,

by french

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countered a tremendous gale of wind or hurricane ; 1809. in which the frigate lost all three of her topmasts, Nor. and, owing chiefly to the inattention of the officers and crew in keeping open the gunroom ports and not securing the hatchways, had seven and a half feet water in the hold.

In this extremity, when his crew had given up the Capt. ship as. lost, and his officers had retired to their art cabins to await the result, captain Hamelin sent for placed captain Stewart, and requested that he would en charge deavour, with the men of his late crew, to save the french frigate; but he, at the same time, wished him captain to give a pledge, that his men should not take possession of the frigate. Captain Stewart refused to give the pledge, but replied that M. Hamelin must take his chance of such an event taking place. Having caused all the arms to be removed, the french captain gave up the charge of his frigate to the british captain and crew, his prisoners. By great exertions on the part of the latter, the wreck of the frigate's topmasts, left by the Frenchmen hanging over her side, was cleared, and the water in the hold reduced to a very small quantity. In short, the Saves Vénus was saved, and on the 31st anchored in ship, Rivière-Noire, Isle of France, with scarcely a drop of water for the prisoners or crew, and no provisions rives at except a small quantity of bad rice. In this state of things, it would have been impossible, even could the prisoners have retained possession of the ship, to have conducted her to a british port.

Captain Stewart and his people were marched Manche across the country to Port-Louis ; where they ar- prize rived on the 1st of January, and on the next day rive. the Manche arrived, in company with the UnitedKingdom and Charlton. The Windham, however, was not so fortunate. On the 29th of December, Windwhen close off the Isle of France, she was recaptured recapby the british 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Magicienne, captain Lucius Curtis. The Windham was then sent to the Cape of Good Hope; where, shortly

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