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And the number of seamen and marines, voted for the service of the same year, was 130,000.*

A new era was commencing in the navy of France. Such had been Napoleon's exertions since the disastrous affair of Trafalgar, that the spring of this year saw him possessed of upwards of 80 sail of the line, including 20 recently ordered to be laid down at Antwerp, Brest, Lorient, Toulon, and other ports. In Brest a squadron of eight sail of the line and four frigates was, in the course of the summer, got ready for sea, and only remained in port because unable to elude the vigilance of the Channel fleet tmder Admiral Lord Gambier, who, since March, had succeeded to the command of it. Early in the year, as will be presently more fully noticed, a French squadron of six sail of the line sailed from the road of Isle d'Aix, and large and powerful frigates were occasionally slipping out of other ports along the French Channel and Atlantic frontier. Of the minor parts of France, Cherbourg was fast rising into importance: the basin there constructing, and nearly finished, would, in a year or two, it was expected, be capable of holding a fleet of line-of-battle ships. If had long been a celebrated port for frigates, and several very fine and powerful ones had sailed from, and were constructing within it. The five French sail of the line and one frigate, so long shut up in the harbour of Cadiz, met a peculiar fate; a fate that was the opening scene of a most interesting era in the annals of freedom, and of which we shall presently give some account.

The French Mediterranean ports were again becoming objects of enticement to British squadrons. Toulon, Venice, and even Spezzia, were in full activity. In the former port a ship of 120

funs, the Commerce-de-Paris, and another of 80, the Robuste, ad recently been launched; and a new 74, the Genois, had arrived there from Genoa. These, with the Boree and Annibal 74s already in the road, made five sail of the line. There were also three or four line-of-battle ships on the stocks, two of which, one a three-decker, were nearly ready for launching. At Genoa" a 74, the Breslaw, was expected to be launched in the autumn, and one or two others were building at Venice; and, in the language of the Expose, Spezzia would soon be a second Toulon. To the five French sail'of the line already at anchor in the lastnamed port, and which were under the command of Vice-admiral Ganteaume, five others were added in the course of the spring. Whence these came we will proceed to relate; but how it happened that they escaped the numerous British cruisers scattered over the ocean, is not so easily to be explained.

The British squadron, which, towards the end of the year 1807, was stationed off Rochefort to watch the motions of the French squadron at anchor in Aix'road, was composed of seven

* See Appendix, No. 4.

sail of the line under the command of Rear-admiral Sir Richard John Strachan in the Caesar. In order the better to enforce the blockade, Sir Richard anchored his ships in Basque roads. On the 29th of November, being short of provisions, the squadron weighed and stood to the offing, in the hope of falling in with some victuallers, which Sir Richard had appointed to meet him at the distance of 10 or 12 leagues south-west of Roche Bonne. Being driven by strong north-east gales rather beyond the rendezvous, and some delay having occurred in the departure of the victuallers from England, the squadron did not get its wants supplied before the 12th of January; nor was it until the 18th that the state of the weather would permit the Mediator to be cleared, and the provisions which she had brought out to be divided among the ships.

In the interim some important occurrences had happened in the port, the entrance to which Sir Richard Strachan's squadron had thus been compelled to leave unguarded. On the 4th of January the French 74-gun ship Patriote, Captain Joseph-Hyacinthe-Isidore Khrom, from Chesapeake bay, as recently as the 16th of December, had anchored in the road of Isle d'Aix; and on the 17th of January, at 8 A. m Rear-admiral Allemand, observing that only a frigate and a brig cruised off the port, took advantage of a moderate breeze at north-east by north, and put to sea with the 120 gun-ship Majestueux, 74 gun-ships Ajax (newly launched), Jemmappes, Lion, Magnanime, and SufFren, one frigate, and one brig-corvette.

The British' frigate off the port, which was the Phoenix, Captain Zachary Mudge, lay to about 20 minutes to watch the motions of the French ships; when, finding that the latter were in chase of, her, she signalled the 18-gun brig-sloop Raleigh, Captain Joseph Ore Masefield, to close, and made all sail west by north. At 11 A.m. the Phoenix lost sight of the French squadron, and at noon despatched the Raleigh to England with the intelligence. On the 19th, while in search of Sir Richard's squadron, the frigate fell in with the Attack gun-brig, Lieutenant Thomas Swain, and communicated to her the important information. On the 20th the Phoenix reconnoitred Isle d'Yeu, and discovered lying in the road one line-of-battle ship, partially rigged, and three brigs, two of which appeared ready for sea: she then steered for England, and on the 24th anchored in Cawsand Bay. *

It was only on the day previous to the arrival of the Phoenix in England, that the Attack succeeded in finding Sir Richard Strachan; who was then about 50 miles south-west of Chasseron lighthouse, striving his utmost against a strong north-east wind to regain his station. Scarcely had the squadron made sail in, the direction of Cape Finisterre ere the wind shifted to the westward, from which quarter it blew a tempest during several successive days. The loss of the Caesar's main yard was, however, the principal damage sustained by the squadron; and on the 29th Sir Richard took as a substitute the main yard of the Donegal, who being leaky and very short of provisions, had been ordered to proceed to England. This left with the rear-admiral the

Gunship

80 Caisar • $ Rear-ad. (b.) Sir R. John Strachan, Bart. K.B.

'* ' 't Captain Charles Richardson.

fSpartiate ... „ Sir Francis Laforey, Bart.

Colossus ... „ James Nicoll Morris.

Cumberland . . „ Honourable Philip Wodehouse.

Renown ... „ Samuel Jackson.

L Superb . . . „ Thomas Alexander, acting.

The squadron was unable to clear the bay until the 1st or 2d of February, when Sir Richard crowded sail towards the Straits of Gibraltar, rightly judging that to have been the course steered by the French admiral. On the 4th the rear-admiral spoke Sir Richard King's squadron off Ferrol, consisting, with the Achille, of the 74s Audacious, Captain Thomas Le Marchant Gosselyn, and Theseus, Captain John Poer Beresford; and on the 9th spoke the fleet of Rear-admiral Purvis off Cadiz. On the 10th the squadron passed the rock of Gibraltar, and on the 21st, anchored in Palermo bay, there joining the

Gun-ship

100 Royal Sovereign. { JJJ

98 Formidable.... „ Francis Fayerman.

C Eagle „ Charles Rowley.

741 Kent „ Thomas Rogers.

t Thunderer .... „ John Talbot.

The bad weather, of which Sir Richard Strachan had to complain in the bay of Biscay, had assailed with equal if not greater violence the squadron of M. Allemand. The latter, in consequence, had been obliged to send back to Rochefort one of his ships, the Jemmappes, in a crippled state. With his remaining five sail of the line, the French admiral continued his voyage to the Mediterranean. Passing the Straits on the night of the 26th, unseen from the rock, or, it is believed, by any British cruiser, M. Ganteaume, on the 6th of February, anchored in the road of Toulon, having chased from before the port the 38gun frigate Apollo, Captain Edward Fellowes, and destroyed, during the 20 days' passage, one Portuguese and six English merchant vessels; none of them, however, of any great value.

On the 7th Admiral Ganteaume sailed out of the harbour, with a fleet composed of 10 sail of the line, three frigates, two corvettes, and seven armed transports of 800 tons each, having on board troops, ordnance stores, and provisions. On the 23d the fleet arrived off the island of Corfu. The admiral immediately sent detachments of his smaller vessels to Taranto, Jacente, Brindisi, and other adjacent ports, to afford protection to the trade and bring the vessels to Corfu; where, in the mean time. Vice-admiral Ganteaume landed his troops, stores, and provisions. While lying at Corfu, the fleet experienced very stormy weather; from which the Commerce-de-Paris suffered so much in her masts, that the vice-admiral shifted his flag to Magnanime, and leaving the former ship to be repaired, sailed on the 25th with his remaining nine sail of the line and frigates. He ran down to the latitude of Sicily; thence through the different passages between Zante and the other Ionian islands, and on the 15th of March returned to Corfu.

On the 23d, the day on which the French admiral arrived at Corfu, he was fallen in with by the British 22-gun ship Porcupine, Captain the Honourable Henry Duncan, then on her way to join the 64-gun ship Standard, Captain Thomas Harvey, stationed off Corfu. Having, at the great risk of capture by one of the 74s, staid until he had clearly ascertained that the ships were enemies, Captain Duncan made sail to join Lord Collingwood at Syracuse. On the 24th at noon, the Porcupine fell in with the 38-gun frigate Active, Captain Richard Hussey Moubray; who, knowing that the Standard had gone to the admiral, took the Porcupine under his orders, and stood back to look after the French fleet. From the 26th of February to the 13th of March, amidst some severe gales of wind, the Active and Porcupine kept company with M. Ganteaume's fleet; and, for several successive days, the Porcupine alone performed this bold and perilous service.

On the 16th, the day after the admiral's return to Corfu, having rehoisted his flag on board the Commerce-de-Paris, M. Ganteaume again set sail with his whole fleet: he ran along the «coast of Africa, Sicily, and Sardinia, watched, for a part of the time, by the 38-gun frigate Spartan, Captain Jahleel Brenton, and on the 10th of April reanchored in the road of Toulon. Since the 23d of February the Spartan, accompanied by the 40gun frigate Lavinia, Captain John Hancock, had been detached to gain intelligence respecting the Rochefort squadron, by Viceadmiral Thornborough, just before the latter, with the 11 ships of the line in his company, weighed from Palermo, and made sail in search of Lord Collingwood.

On the 3d of March, having received intelligence from a Maltese privateer of the sailing of the Toulon fleet, Captain Brenton joined Lord Collingwood off Maritimo. The vice-admiral immediately sent the Lavinia for further intelligence, and stood with the fleet towards the bay of Naples; whence his lordship detached the Spartan to Palermo. On arriving at Palermo,the Spartan was ordered by Rear-admiral Martin, at anchor there with three sail of the line, to cruise between Cape Bon and Sardinia j "where," says Captain Edward Brenton, "on the 1st of April, she discovered the French fleet carrying a press of sail to get to the westward. Captain (now Sir Jahleel) Brenton, placing his ship about two leagues on the weather beam of the French admiral, under an easy sail, watched his motions during the day; the enemy chased, but without gaining on him; in the evening, having previously prepared his launch with a temporary deck, he hove to, and sent her under the command of Lieutenant Coffin with despatches to Trepani, then 130 miles distant. This officer narrowly escaped capture by the enemy's fleet, which, before he had got two miles from the ship, came close upon him; he very j udiciously lowered his sails and lay quiet until they had passed. He reached Trepani on the following evening, whence, despatching the launch agreeably to his orders to Malta, he^set off for Palermo, and gave the intelligence to Rear-admiral Martin. The launch reached Malta on the third day, and vessels were detached in every direction in search of the British fleet; the enemy in the mean time continued in chase of the Spartan, dividing on opposite tacks, to take advantage of any change of wind,'so frequent in the Mediterranean. Confident in the sailing qualities of his ship, the captain at night again placed himself on the weather beam of the French admiral, and at daylight made sail from him on the opposite tack, to increase the chance of falling in with the British fleet. The enemy tacked in chase: the Spartan was becalmed, whilst they were coming up with the breeze, and for a short time her capture appeared almost inevitable; but as she caught the breeze, she again took her position on the admiral's weather beam. This was the close of the third day; when a frigate was seen to run along the French line, and speak all the ships in succession: soon after the whole of them bore up, steering with the wind a-beam; and the captain of the Spartan concluding that the French admiral had shaped his course for the gut of Gibraltar, and had given up the chase, steered the same way with a strong breeze at N. N.W. The night was excessively dark, and a most anxious look-out was kept for the enemy: at half-past seven they were discovered on the lee quarter, close hauled, and very near: this was evidently a stratagem of Ganteaume's to get to windward of his enemy; but the manoeuvre failed. All hands were on deck, and at their stations; the Spartan wore and crossed the enemy within gunshot, before they could take any advantage of their position; the French squadron also wore in chase, and the next morning were hull down to leeward. The fourth day was passed in the same manner; the Spartan keeping a constant and anxious look-out for the British fleet, while the enemy crowded every sail in pursuit of her; in the evening a shift of wind brought them to windward, and the night being very squally and dark, Captain Brenton lost sight of them, &C."*

Upon his return to Toulon, as we have stated, on the 10th of

* Brenton, vol. K., p. 239.

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