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1808. ments were presently met' by the principal part of
the pike and bayonet of the British put the French
Lieutenant Bertram now advanced towards the
promoted to the rank of commander.
sea or fitting, and the neighbouring port of Concar-
out of some transports which had lately arrived there Chase from Plymouth.
At about 3 h. 45 m. P. M. the 4-gun schooner frigates Cuckoo, lieutenant Silas Hiscutt Paddon, being
about midway between the island of Groix and the 1808, Glénans, made the signal for an enemy in the southeast. The Aigle, from whose main top the enemy was also visible, got under way and made sail in chase, followed by the Impétueux and Narcissus; but the Saturn was directed by telegraph to remain at anchor and watch the Vétéran in Concarneau.
The strange vessels were the two 40-gun frigates Aigle Italienne and Seine, standing close hauled on the and larboard tack, with the wind from the north-north- drives west, and bound to Lorient. At about 7 h. 30 m. gate P. M., while passing the Cuckoo, captain Wolfe di- under rected lieutenant Paddon to acquaint the commodore, ries. then about two miles astern, that he should run between Groix and the main, in order, if possible, to cut off the two frigates, who were then closing with the island. For this purpose the Aigle made all sail, with the wind on her larboard beam, and, on entering the passage, was fired at by the batteries on both sides. At 8 h. 30 m. P. M. the Aigle got within half gun-shot of the sternmost of the two french frigates, both of which had just then rounded the north-west point of the island. After receiving a fire from the Aigle's starboard guns, this frigate hore up, and anchored under the protection of the batteries on the north-east side of Groix, near Pointe de Billery.
The Aigle immediately stood after the other french Aigle frigate, then standing directly in for Lorient. At a few minutes past 9 P. M., in a very dark night; captain the Wolfe got within 50 yards of this frigate to-windward; and, after burning a blue light to show her own and the enemy's situation to the Impétueux then coming up astern, the Aigle opened her starboard broadside. This the french frigate, who had now the dock-yard's boats on board, and was standing right into the harbour, returned. As the Aigle was already in four fathoms' water, and, by continuing longer on this course, would soon be in Port-Louis road, captain Wolfé resolved to board his enemy,
ed by Impé
1808. and bore up for the purpose. Seeing the Aigle's in-
captain bore round up before the wind. By that
ahead of the Impétueux, captain Wolfe burnt å setueux. sond blue light, in the hope that, upon seeing the
position of the french frigate, the Impétueux would
fired her larboard guns, and then, wearing again, folfrigate lo ved the Aigle through the passage. The french frishore." gate, shortly afterwards, as the only means of escaping
from her persevering antagonist; ran with all sail set
In this her gallant action with the french frigates
having had three guns split and dismounted, a bower-
On the next day, the 23d, at daylight, the Im-
Loss on board
des Chats, with her yards and topmasts struck, and 1808, her mizenmast cut or carried away, heeling very March. much. Several shells were thrown at the british ships from the batteries, but none struck them. In the course of the forenoon the people on board the Aigle saw seven coffins landed from the frigate, and carried to a church that stood on the top of a neighbouring hill: a tolerable proof that the shot of the Aigle had done some execution. By the aid of two Groundlarge vessels and sundry smaller ones from the dockyard at Lorient, this french frigate was at length Avats, got afloat and towed into Lorient. The other fri- both gate, also, on the morning of the 29th, taking advan- enter tage of a shift of wind to the westward, slipped her cable, and in 20 minutes was safe at anchor in the same port. Although it is not in our power to state positively which of these two frigates it was that got on shore, we believe it to have been the Seine, as that frigate did not again go to sea, except as an armée en flûte, or store-ship.
Notwithstanding the fate of the “ sloop of war” ChilLily,* vessels of that denomination, inferior in force sloop to a gun-brig, were still suffered to remain in the of war. british navy. One of the “cruisers” of this class was the Childers, a brig of 202 tons, built as long ago as the year 1778; à vessel so unseaworthy as to have been obliged, on more than one occasion, to throw overboard her guns, 4-pounders, in order to save the lives of her crew. The brig at length became so crazy, that 18-pounder carronades were found too heavy for her, and she was fitted with fourteen 12-pounders. In this state, and manned with a crew, nominally, of 86, but really of 65 men and boys, including only one lieutenant, (there not being accommodation for more,) the Childers, captain William Henry Dillon, in the month of January of the present year, lay in Leith roads, waiting to give her *protection” to the trade proceeding to Gottenburg. But the merchants, the instant they knew the force
* See vol. iii, p. 393.
property to her care.
1808. and qualifications of the Childers, objected to place March. their property under her care; supposing, very naMer- turally, that so small and ill armed a vessel was incachants pable of beating off the privateers that infested the to trust northern waters. Ludicrous as the application would theirer
. have appeared, the merchants, had they wished for a vessel of nearly double the force of the one they had rejected, might have requested the board of admiralty to appoint, instead of the “ sloop of war" Childers, the “gun-brig” Insolent, then cruising on the Downs' station. What vessel the merchants at last obtained we know not; but the Childers proceeded by herself to the Baltic, to effect as much, in the way of annoying the enemy, as her small powers would admit.
On the 14th of March, at 4 P. M., as the Chilgalliot. ders was standing towards the coast of Norway,
with a fresh breeze from the eastward, a sail
Scarcely had the Childers descried the galliot, danish thus taken by her boats, coming out from among the brig of rocks, than she also observed a large brig, evi
dently a vessel of force, sail out of Hitteroe. The latter