« AnteriorContinuar »
1810. Stephen Popham, first of the frigate, immediately
the vessel. The Quebec now brought to just with-
The three boats had to pull against a very strong
in that situation received three distinct broadsides of
tain falling in a personal conflict with lieutenant Yates. 194. The british loss on the occasion amounted to one
seaman killed, one wounded, and one drowned : one
A difficult part of the enterprise was still unaccombeanut plished, to get out the schooner from among the sands intri- and shoals by which she was surrounded. This was
at length effected; and at daybreak on the 9th, after a tion. long and anxious night passed by captain Hawtayne
and his officers, their fears were relieved by the sight
we think lieutenant Popham must have been imposed 1910, upon by some of the prisoners; for we can find no Nov. such name as Galien Lafont, among the capitaines de vaisseau of the french navy: there was in 1810 a Mathias Lafond, “an officer of the legion of honour," but he was alive in 1812.
Some allusion has already been made to the im- New mense works going on in the port of Cherbourg, by at the orders of the french emperor. The principal im
bourg provement consisted of a basin capable of holding from 30 to 40 sail of the line, with sufficient water at its entrance to float the largest ship when ready for
About 20 line-of-battle ships could also anchor in the roadstead, sheltered from every wind, as soon as the dike, then constructing at a vast expense, should be finished. From attacks of another sort the ships were also well defended, the three strong fortifications of Pelée, Fort Napoléon, and Querqueville completely commanding the road. No port belonging to France was so well calculated as Cherbourg, for carrying on offensive operations in the Channel ; not only from its centrical and projecting situation, but from the facility with which, with any wind in moderate weather, ships can sail in and out of it. Strong gales from north to north-west would, however, occasion a difficulty in getting out, on account of the heavy swell that such winds usually raise in the principal passage.
But it is scarcely possible for one or two ships cruising outside to prevent vessels sailing in the night from Cherbourg, as strong tides, deep water, and a rocky bottom prevent the ships from anchoring; and they cannot, at all times, keep close enough in, to see a vessel under the land. This accounts for the escape of so many french frigates from Cherbourg, until, on the arrival there in the summer of 1809 of the two french lineof-battle ships Courageux and Polonais,* the port became regularly blockaded.
* See p. 240.
In the autumn of the present year, the british force Nov. cruising off the port of Cherbourg consisted of the British 74-gun ships Donegal, captain Pulteney Malcolm, and force Revenge, captain the honourable Charles Paget; with ading occasionally a frigate and a brig-sloop, to be ready
to meet the new french 40-gun frigate Iphigénie, launched on the 10th of the preceding May, and a 16-gun brig-corvette, which now lay in company
with the two line-of-battle ships, watching an opportunity to sail out. In the middle of October the Alcmène, a second 40-gun frigate from off the stocks in the arsenal, joined the Iphigénie, and was soon in equal readiness for a cruise. In the neighbouring port of Havre, lay also two new 40-gun frigates, the Amazone, captain Bernard-Louis Rousseau, and the Eliza, captain Louis-Henri Freycinet-Saulce; hoping to elude the vigilance of the two british 38-gun frigates, Diana, captain Charles Grant, and Niobe, captain John Wentworth Loring, and, at all events, to get to Cherbourg, as the preferable port, although watched by a british force, for an escape to sea.
On the 12th of November, at 10 P. M., favoured frigates by a strong north-east wind, the Amazone and Eliza
sailed from Havre, and steered to the north-west. Havre. At half past midnight, by which time the wind had
shifted to north by east, the two french frigates and the Diana and Niobe gained a sight of each other, the two latter to-leeward and in-shore of the former. Captain Rousseau, doubtful probably of the force of the two ships in chase of him, continued his course, but could not, on account of the change in the wind, weather Cape Barfleur, nor, without some difficulty, the isles of St.-Marcouf. At 4 A. M. on the 13th the two french frigates tacked off shore. The Diana,
who lay on the starboard bow of the Amazone, the driven leading' frigate, tacked also ; while the Niobe, as Diana' she came up ahead of the Diana on the starboard Niobe tack, passed to-windward of the two frigates, and
pushed on to endeavour to cut them off, particularly hougue the Eliza, from the narrow passage at the west end
of Marcouf. In the mean time the Diana had also 1810. tacked to the westward, and, passing close to-windward of the two french frigates, exchanged with them two ineffectual broadsides. The latter then bore
up, and, being better acquainted with the navigation of the spot, succeeded in entering the passage of Marcouf; under the batteries of which island they anchored. At 11 A. M. the Amazone and Eliza weighed, and kept under sail between Marcouf and the main until 3 P. M.; when, observing that the Diana and Niobe had been drifted by the ebb-tide to the northward of Cape Barfleur, they steered for the road of Lahongue. Here the two french frigates anchored, under the protection of a strong battery.
On the 14th, in the morning, captain Grant despatched the Niobe to captain Malcolm of the Donegal, cruising off Cherbourg, with intelligence of the situation of the enemy's ships, and then made all sail to the anchorage of Lahougue. In the mean time, owing to a strong gale from the southward in the night, the Eliza had dragged her anchors, and had been obliged to strike her topmasts, and throw overboard a part of her stores and provisions, to save herself from being lost on the rocks. At 1 P. M. Diana the Diana came to an anchor, and on the morning of Amathe 15th, at the first of the flood, weighed and zone stood in to attack the Amazone; who, in her present anchorposition, appeared more assailable than her consort. age. But the Amazone quickly got under way, and proceeded close to the shoals of St.-Vaast; where she again anchored between the batteries of Lahougue and Tatillou. Captain Grant, being resolved nevertheless to make the attack, stood in twice close alongside of the Amazone ; but, having to sustain, not only the frigate's fire, but the fire of two powerful Niobe batteries, the Diana was compelled to abandon the attempt. Shortly afterwards the Donegal, Revenge, join in and Niobe arrived, and renewed the attack; the the atfour ships successively opening their broadsides while going
about. In this way they stood in three effect.
and two 74s
1810. times, bringing their guns to bear only when head Nov. to wind. At 1 P. M. the 'british ships, having been
drifted to-leeward by the ebb-tide, desisted from the attack, and anchored out of gun-shot. All four ships suffered more or less in masts, sails, rigging, and hull: the Diana had one man wounded, the Donegal three, and the Revenge seven, two of them mortally. On board the Amazone, the French acknowledged only one man killed, and none wounded.
Having on board the Donegal some of colonel tempt Congreve's rockets, captain Malcolm, the same evenon the ing, sent the boats, under the orders of lieutenant frigates Joseph Needham Taylor to try their effect
the two french frigates. Although, at daylight on the 16th, the latter were observed to be aground, and one, the Eliza, to heel considerably, neither frigate, according to the french accounts, sustained any injury from the rockets. Both frigates afterwards got afloat; and on the night of the 27th, just as captains Malcolm and Grant were meditating to send in a
fire-ship, the Amazone gave them the slip, and, Ama- before the dawn of day on the 28th, was safe at an
chor in the port of Havre. The Eliza was watched with increased attention, and on the 6th of December was attacked by a bomb-vessel. This compelled
the frigate to move further in; and she eventually Eliza got aground. Here the Eliza lay a wreck until the stroyed night of the 23d, when the Diana sent her boats,
under the command of lieutenant Thomas Rowe, and effectually destroyed her.
On the 15th of November, at a little before mid
night, the british 14-gun brig-sloop Phipps, captain lugger Christopher Bell, standing across from the Downs under to the coast of France, fell in with and chased a Calais, french lugger-privateer; who led the Phipps close
under Calais, and so near in-shore, that the brig was obliged, although firing grape-shot into the lugger, to discontinue the chase. Observing, while in chase of this lugger, two others lying to-windward, captain
zone returns to Havre.