Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Im

[ocr errors]

1808. sequence, suffer a reduction in its strength, caused

18 more of these cock-boats to be constructed ; and
they were all, before the end of the year 1806,
launched, armed, manned, officered, and sent to

take, burn, and destroy” the vessels of war and
merchantmen of the enemy. Of these 18 “men-
of-war” schooners, six only were built at Bermuda,
and, like the others, were named after the piscatory
tribe : Bream, Chubb, Cuttle, Mullet, Porgay, and
Tang. The remaining 12 were built in english
dock-yards, and were given the names of birds :
Crane, Cuckoo, Jackdaw, Landrail, Magpie, Pigeon,
Quail, Rook, Sealark, Wagtail, Wigeon, and
Woodcock.

When the flimsy and diminutive frames, four or ment five in a slip, of these tom-tit cruisers came to be in the viewed amidst the substantial and towering struc

tures standing near them, many a sailor's joke (and
a sailor's joke is a proverbially good one) was cracked
at the projector. "This opened the eyes of the sur-
veyors of the navy, and a slight enlargement of the
class took place. Hence came the Adonis, Alphea,
Barbara, Laura, Cassandra, Sylvia, and half a dozen
of the like pretty names ; schooners (some rigged
as cutters) of 111 tons each, pierced to mount, but
too small conveniently to carry, ten 18-pounder
carronades, with a crew of 50 men and boys. In
the course of the year 1808, the schooner class
received a more decided improvement, in the con-
struction of the Bramble, Holly, Juniper, Missletoe,
Shamrock, and Thistle, of 150 tons each, with the
same guns and complement as the last.

A case or two, which we have now to relate, will
show the propriety of our remarks, as to the unfitness
of any of the first or 4-gun class of these schooners, to
traverse the ocean unattended by a consort to defend
her from the attacks of an enemy, or, should a gale
come on, and the accompanying vessel not be quite
large enough to hoist her in, to take out the crew and
let the worthless hull go to the bottom. Some time

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

a ture

and recap

commander

ture of

and

in the month of January, 1807, the Jackdaw, lieute- 1808, nant Nathaniel Brice, cruising off the Cape de Verd

Capislands, was fallen in with, and captured by, spanish row-boat.” In the following month the prize was recaptured by the 32-gun frigate Minerva, cap- ture of tain George Ralph Collier; and lieutenant Brice, ondack his return to England, was tried by a court-martial Trial and dismissed the service. He was, however, shortly of her afterwards reinstated in his rank. In fact, there was many a row-boat privateer, that was a full match for the Jackdaw; and 18 or 20 smart hands in a frigate's launch, armed with her 18-pounder carronade, would have felt themselves quite equal to the task of capturing her. Steel has made the affair appear worse than it was, by giving the Jackdaw 10 guns instead of four. In April the Pike, lieutenant John CapOttley, cruising off Altavella, was fallen in with and and recaptured by the french privateer Marat, of four times capher force. Shortly afterwards the 18-gun brig-sloop Pike Moselle, captain Alexander Gordon, recaptured the

Kinga Pike, and restored her to the british navy. A simi- fish. lar fate attended the Kingfish, whereby her valuable services were only lost for a time.

On the 18th of August, 1808, the Rook, one Gallant of the 4-gun schooners, commanded by lieutenant James Lawrence, being off the mole of Cape St.- Rook. Nicholas, on her way from Port-Royal, Jamaica, to England with despatches, was fallen in with and attacked by two french schooner privateers, one of 12, the other of 10 guns. After an action of one hour and a half, during which the lieutenant was killed, the next officer, master's mate Thomas Seaward, mortally ture. wounded, and 13 out of the remaining 18 men of the crew killed or mortally wounded, the privateersmen made a prize of the Rook. This very gallant action more than redeemed the fate of the Jackdaw. Three other schooners of this class were captured by privateers, but in later years. In short, the whole 30 cal fate individuals composing this class, except three sold of the out of the service, came to an untimely end; some as

defence of the

Her cap

Gene

[merged small][ocr errors]

ture and

Den ; priksta

bara.

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

1808, already mentioned, by falling into the hands of the May.

enemy, and the remainder by foundering in the deep

or perishing on the rocks. Cap Some of the smaller 10-gun class also became the

trophies of french privateers; one case is all we shall recapr relate. On the 17th of September, 1807, the Barbara, Bar- lieutenant Edward A. D'Arcey, after a well-contested

action of half an hour, was boarded and taken by the
french privateer Général-Ernouf, captain Grassin, and
carried into Guadeloupe. On the 17th of July, 1808,
in the Gulf of Florida, the Barbara, then named
Pératy, was recaptured by the 38-gun frigate Guer-
rière, captain Alexander Skene. The privateer had
sailed from Charleston about a week before, and,

when fallen in with, was in the track of the Jamaica ricama homeward-bound fleet; “ of which," says captain gene- Skene, “ she had obtained most correct information, rosity.

as to their strength, number, and situation, from the
master of an american brig, who had himself claimed
and received the protection of that convoy, which
he betrayed to the enemy in 24 hours after parting
company.

On the 7th of May, at daylight, Cape Trafalgar Fans in bearing west-north-west distant about six miles, the with a british 18-gun brig-sloop Redwing, of 16 carronades, escore 32-pounders, and two long sixes, captain Thomas ed by Ussher, discovered a spanish convoy of seven armed

and 12 merchant vessels, coming down alongshore.
The wind being very light and variable, the Red-
wing was not able to close with the enemy until 7
A. M. ; when, the two parties being within point-
blank shot of each other, the spanish gun-vessels,
seven in number, handed their sails, formed a close
line, and swept towards the Redwing, indicating an
intention to board. That the Spaniards had good
reason to hope for success, will be seen when the
force of their vessels is described. The Diligente
and Boreas mounted each two long 24 and two long
8 pounders, with a crew of 60 men; gun-boats, No.
3, two long 24 and one long 36 pounder and 35 men;

sev

tured.

Red

[merged small][ocr errors]

gunboats,

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

&c.

No.6, one 24 and 40 men, and No. 107, two 6-pound- 1808. ers and 35 men; a mistico four 6-pounders and May, 20 men; and a felucca four long 3-pounders, and 20 men ; total 22 guns and 271 men. Nowise daunted, notwithstanding, the Redwing endeavoured also to close, in order to decide the business quickly, and, if possible, secure the merchantmen.

As soon as her opponents had advanced within musket-shot, the brig opened upon them a quick and well-directed fire, her guns evidently doing great ex- Atecution. At 9 A. M. the gun-boats, completely panic-and struck and beaten, pushed into the surf, sacrificing drives their wounded. To save these, if possible, captain on Ussher despatched one of his boats; but the shore, Redwing’s men, notwithstanding all their exertions, were unable to rescue a single Spaniard. Seeing the fate of their protectors, two of whom only remained afloat, the merchant vessels attempted to disperse.

Four of the latter were sunk by the Redwing's shot, seven, along with the 4-gun mistico, were captured, and the remaining one, along with gunboat No. 107 and the felucca, effected their escape, the Redwing being in too crippled a state to pursue them. The brig, indeed, had received two 24-pound shot through her foremast, one through the mainmast, and one through the gammoning of the bowsprit, dar which last shot had likewise cut asunder the knee mage of the head. Notwithstanding that her damages masts. were so serious, the Redwing had only one seaman hurt on board. In her boats, however, she had one seaman killed, and her master, (John Davis,) slightly, purser, (Robert L. Horniman,) and the same seaman who had been wounded slightly on board, severely, wounded.

Considering that, among the 22 guns of the Red- Force wing's seven opponents, there were

one long 36, and ea to seven long 24 pounders, that the number of men on her. board of them almost trebled the number in the brig, who had only 98 men and boys on board, and that the weather was in every respect favourable for gun

Serious

in her

Wizard chases

[ocr errors]

1,808, boat operations, the defeat and destruction of this May. spanish flotilla afforded an additional proof of the prowess of british seamen, and of how much

may

be accomplished by gallantry and perseverance.

On the 10th of May, at 1 P. M., the british brig-
Requin sloop Wizard, mounting fourteen 24-pounder carron-

ades and two sixes, with 95 men and boys, captain
Abel Ferris, being in latitude 40° 30' north, and lon-
gitude 6° 34' east, standing to the north-east, with
a fresh breeze at west, descried and chased a brig
in the east-north-east, steering to the southward un-
der all sail. This vessel was the french brig-cor-
vette Requin, mounting also fourteen 24-pounder
(french) carronades, with two sixes, and a crew of
110 men and boys, capitaine de frégate Claude-René
Berard. In size also, the two brigs nearly agreed,
the Wizard measuring 283, and the Requin 332 tons.
The pursuit continued throughout the day and night;
the Wizard shifting her provisions aft, and using
every other means to get her trim and improve her
sailing, and her crew passing the night at their

quarters.
Requin On the 11th, at 4 A. M., the wind being light, the

at her sweeps; and the Requin, trusting to her sails alone, was about two miles distant in the south-south-east. At 7 h. 45 m. Ai M. the Requin fired her stern-chasers, and hoisted french colours; and at 8 h. 10 m. A. M. the Wizard, bringing up a fresh breeze from west-north-west, fired her bow guns at the former, and hoisted british colours. At 9 A. M. the Requin brought to, with studding sails set, and fired her broadlside: on which the Wizard, who was nearing fast, ran close under her opponent's stern, and, having raked the Requin with guns double-shotted, hove to under her lee quarter. In this position the two brigs fought, at close quarters, from 9 A. m. to 10 h. 30 m. A. M.;

and yet, as was a little extraordinary, no spar of tempts either came down. The Requin then filled and made cape. sail, followed by the Wizard; who, being to-leeward,

brings Wizard was

to and engages.

Ata

« AnteriorContinuar »