Imágenes de páginas


board Favor

making the total loss of the British, in the action, 1811, 45 killed and 145 wounded.

Contrary to what is customary, the british official account makes not the slightest allusion to the loss sustained by the opposite party; a circumstance attributable, no doubt, to the difficulty of ascertaining it, and to the necessity of forwarding the despatch, in all possible haste, to captain Eyre of the Magnificent, the british commanding officer in the Adriatic, in order that he might adopt measures to complete the capture or destruction, of the enemy's squadron. Moreover, when he dictated the despatch, captain Hoste was lying in his cot under severe sufferings from his wounds. Nor, minute as it is in other re- Loss on spects, does the french official account enumerate the killed and wounded on board the Favorite. We may ite. gather, however, that, as 200 of her men were all that remained after the action, about the same number comprised the killed and badly wounded. Among the former were commodore Dubourdieu and captain Meillerie, 'the first lieutenant, and other of the principal officers : so that the command at last devolved upon colonel Gifflenga, with an enseigne de vaisseau to direct the working of the ship.

The Corona had her rigging and sails cut to pieces, Same her masts all badly wounded, and her hull shattered board in every direction; and appears, from subsequent Corona inquiry, to have sustained a loss of upwards of 200, lona, in killed and wounded together. The Bellona and had 70 officers and men killed, and about the same number badly, wounded, including captain Duodo himself, who died of his wounds.' This ship’s masts and yards, at the close of the action, were all standing; but her hull, a mere shell in point of scantling, and at which principally the Amphion had directed her shot, was pierced through and through. The hull of the Flore was also the part in which she had suffered the most; and her loss of men, which was known to include her captain badly wounded, must have been tolerably severe,


ite blows up.


of a



1811. At 4 P. M. the Favorite, having been set on fire by March. her surviving crew, blew up with a great explosion. Favor. Both the Corona and Bellona were very near

sharing her fate, and placed in considerable jeopardy the lives of all that were on board of them. As soon as lieutenant O'Brien arrived on board the Bellona to take possession, he interrogated the gunner as to

the state of the magazine. The latter privately De

informed him, that captain Duodo, at the commence

ment of the action, had ordered to be placed in the plot to small bower-cable tier two or three barrels of

gunup Bel- powder; intending, as soon as all hopes of further re

sistance were at an end, to set fire to the train, and, if not blow up the ship, to intimidate the British from taking possession, and thus enable the survivors of the crew to effect their escape. But captain Duodo's wound came opportunely to prevent the fructuation of his diabolical design; and the officers of the Bellona themselves probably had, for their own safety, watched very narrowly the movements of their captain. Lieutenant O'Brien visited the cable-tier, saw the barrels of gunpowder, and, placing one of his men as sentry over thein, proceeded to the cabin ; where lay the mortally wounded projector, wholly unconscious of the discovery of his plot. Captain Duodo expressed his gratitude, in the strongest manner, for the attention paid by the british officer to a “beaten foe,” but said not a word about the powder; nor were his dying moments disturbed with the slightest allusion to the circumstance,

The Corona was much nearer destruction. At 9 dent to P. M., when in tow by the Active, the prize caught

fire in the main top; and the whole of her mainmast, with its rigging, was presently in flames. The Active immediately cut herself clear, and the Corona continued burning until 11 h. 30 m. P. M.; when, owing to the prompt and energetic exertions of lieutenants James Dickinson of the Cerberus, and George Haye of the Active, and their respective parties of seamen, the flames were got under, but not without the loss

Serious acci

the Corona



of the ship’s mainmast, and, unfortunately, of some 1811. lives. Four seamen and one marine of the Active were drowned, and lieutenant Haye was severely Loss in burnt; as were midshipman Siphus Goode and two conseseamen belonging to the Cerberus.

In reviewing the merits of this action, although we Remight easily show that, in point of force, the Am- marks phion and Cerberus were both inferior, and the characActive herself not more than equal, to any of the time of four 40-gun frigates on the opposite side, and that action. the Bellona and Carolina were either of them a decided overmatch for the Volage, we shall consider that the seven larger ships agreed with each other in force, and that the three smaller ones did the same. There were also, it will be recollected, one venetian 16-gun brig, one armed schooner, one xebec, and two gun-boats, mounting altogether 36 guns, and perhaps equal, in the light winds that prevailed, to a second Bellona or Carolina, or, at all events, to a second Volage. The number of men in the british squadron appears to have been about 880, and the number in the franco-venetian squadron, at the lowest estimate, 2500. Hence the British had opposed to them, a force in guns full one-third, and in men nearly twothirds, greater than their own; and the whole of that force, as far as the number and appearance of the vessels could designate its amount, was plainly discovered, as the Amphion and her three consorts advanced to the attack. But the foe was met, the action fought, and the victory won; and fresh and unfaded will be the laurels, which captain Hoste and his gallant companions gained at Lissa.

The extraordinary circumstance, of a naval official Franaccount emanating from the pen of a colonel of in- uetian fantry, would, of itself, justify a slight investigation official of its contents; and really, if every officer, commanding a detachment of troops on board a french frigate, could make up so good a story as colonel Alexandre Giflenga, it would be well for the glory of the french navy that he, and not the captain of the ship, should




1811. transmit the particulars of the action. For instance,

colonel Giffenga says: “At daylight we perceived the Colo- english division, consisting of a cut-down ship of the nel Gif- line and three frigates.” The colonel then wishes to

make it appear that, owing chiefly to the lightness
of the breeze, the attacking ships went into action one
by one. He proceeds: “At half past ten, the masts of
the Favorite having fallen, enseigne Villeneuve an-
nounced to me that he could no longer steer the
ship. We at that moment struck upon the rocks off
the island of Lissa. I ordered the people to be
debarked : I took possession of several vessels, and
I caused the frigate to be blown up.” “Je m'empa-
rai de plusieurs bâtimens et je fis sauter la frégate."
“ The English, in the utmost distress,” adds the
colonel, " entered the port of St.-George, after they
had set fire to the Corona and one of their frigates:
the cut-down line-of-battle ship, after being wholly
dismasted, ran upon the rocks of the island, and in
all probability was lost. The result of this action
is the loss, on our part, of two frigates, and, on the
part of the English, of one frigate and one cut-down
ship of the line. It is the opinion of the sailors, that,
if captain Dubourdieu had kept his squadron toge-
ther, we should have got possession of two english
vessels, although the enemy had two cut-down ships
of the line.” To show that these extraordinary state-
ments really form part of the colonel's letter, we sub-
join the whole of the original passage. “Les Anglais
sont entrés dans le port de Saint-Georges dans le
plus mauvais état, et après avoir mis le feu à la fré-
gate la Couronne et à une de leur frégates : le vais-
seau rasé, démâté de tous ces mâts, était échoué
les roches de l'île. Il doit s'être perdu. Le résultat
de ce combat est, pour nous, la perte de deux fré-
gates qui ont péri, et pour les Anglais la perte d'une
frégate et d'un vaisseau rasé. L'opinion de tous les
marins est que, si le capitaine Dubourdieu avait bien
rallié sa division, nous prendrions deux bâtimens an,
glais, quoique l'ennemi çût deux vaisseaux rasés,"


marks upon

It is not a little extraordinary that colonel Gifflen- 1811. ga’s “ vaisseau rasé” was at this time within five or March. six of being the smallest ship of the numerous class Reof british 38-gun frigates ; but she was larger; undoubtedly, than either of the two 32-gun frigates it. associated with her. The Active measured 1058, the Amphion 914, the Cerberus 816, and the Volage 529 tons. Yet the Active was a smaller ship than the Corona, which measured 1094 tons, and than either the Favorite, Danaé, or Flore; not one of which, we believe, measured less than the Corona. Why, therefore, the Active should have been so avoided during the battle, and so magnified in force after it was over, we cannot conceive. The fire on board the Corona accounts, in some degree, for what is stated respecting that ship; and, had any one of the british ships merely touched the ground, there would have been a pretext for the colonel's assertion on that head; but no accident of the kind occurred. In stating, at the commencement of his letter, that the British had one " cut-down ship of the line,” and at the end of it, that they had two, the writer reminds us of that prince of braggarts Falstaff and his men of buckram.

Leaving the letter of colonel Alexandre Gifflenga to the contempt it merits, we shall make a few admissions, which, even in the opinion of a reasonable Frenchman or Italian, will outweigh all the colonel's rodomontade. Commodore Dubourdieu advanced to the Galattack in a brave and masterly manner; and, had lantry the Favorite escaped being driven on shore, a much momore serious task, in the nature of things, would have dore devolved upon captain Hoste. Captain Péridier also bourdeserves credit, for the gallant manner in which he dien. seconded the views of his unfortunate chief; and, as the captain was badly wounded and below at the time the Flore struck to the Amphion, we should be disposed to exculpate him from the dishonourable act of making sail after his ship had so unequivocally surrendered. Of the Danaé's captain, we are unable

« AnteriorContinuar »