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some, as already mentioned, by falling into the hands of the enemy, and the remainder by foundering in the deep or perishing on the rocks.
Some of the smaller 10-gun class also became the trophies of French privateers; one case is all we shall relate. On the 17th of September, 1807, the Barbara, Lieutenant Edward A. D'Arcey, after a well-contested action of half an hour, was boarded and taken by the French privateer General-Ernouf, Captain Grassin, and carried into Guadaloupe. On the 17th of July, 1808, in the Gulf of Florida, the Barbara, then named Peraty, was recaptured by the 38-gun frigate Guerriere, 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 homeward-bound fleet; "of which," says Captain Skene, "she had obtained most correct information, 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 bearing westnorth-west distant about six miles, the British 18-gun brig-sloop Redwing, of 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long sixes, Captain Thomas Ussher, discovered a Spanish convoy of seven armed and 12 merchant vessels, coming down alongshore. The wind being very light and variable, the Redwing 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; No. 6, one 24 and 40 men, and No. 107, two 6-pounders and 35 men; a mistico four 6-pounders and 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 execution. At 9 A. M. the gun-boats, completely panic-struck and beaten, pushed into the surf, sacrificing their wounded. To save these, if possible, Captain Ussher despatched one of his boats; but the 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, with the 4-gun mistico, were captured, and the remaining one, with gun-boat 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, which last shot had likewise cut asunder the knee of the head. Notwithstanding that her damages 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 Redwing's seven opponents, there were one long 36, and seven long 24 pounders, that the number of men on 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 gunboat operations, the defeat and destruction of this 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-sloop Wizard, mounting fourteen 24-pounder carronades and two sixes, with 95 men and boys, Captain Abel Ferris, being in latitude 40° 30' north, and longitude 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 under all sail. This vessel was the French brig-corvette Requin, mounting also fourteen 24-pounder (French) carronades, with two sixes, and a crew of 110 men and boys, Capitaine de fregate Claude-Rene 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.
On the 11th, at 4 A. M., the wind being light, the Wizard was 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. A. 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 broadside: 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 either came down. The Requin then filled and made sail, followed by the Wizard; who, being to leeward, had the wind taken out of her sails by the former, and, in consequence, dropped astern; but the British brig still maintained a running fight with her antagonist as long as her guns would reach.
In this smart encounter the Wizard had her lower masts and main yard badly wounded, and her boats, booms, rigging, and sails much cut, and had also one man killed and five wounded. The loss on the part of the Requin must have been much more severe, as the Wizard's guns were directed chiefly at her opponent's hull; while those of the French brig were pointed high, as if to disable the rigging of her antagonist. At 6 p. M., by which time the Wizard had fished her lower masts and main yard, repaired the principal part of her rigging, and was again in chase rinder every sail she could spread, the island of Toro bore east by south half-south distant 12 leagues, and the Requin south-east half-east distant a mile and a quarter. At 9 P.m., the breeze having nearly died away, the sweeps of the Wizard were again resorted to, and were unceasingly plied until 11 P.m.; when, a moderate breeze springing up from the westward, the sails again performed their oflice, to the great relief of the fatigued but not disheartened crew, whose hammocks, during the whole of a second night, remained lashed in the nettings.
On the 12th, at 5 A.m., the Requin altered her course from south-east by south to south; and at 6 h. 15 m. A. M. the Wizard got near enough to fire her lee guns, but the former soon increased her distance. At 7 A. M. the Requin was out of gunshot, and at 8 A. M. one mile ahead; the Wizard still sweeping with all her strength, and who, to quicken her progress in the light air that was blowing, knocked away the stanchions from under the beams of her deck and started the wedges of her masts. Notwithstanding all this, the Requin, with her sails alone, increased her distance, at noon, to a mile and a half, and at 4 P. M. to two miles and a half. The Wizard now ran her sweeps across the deck, and got her bow guns amidships, but still could do no more than keep way with her opponent. At 9 h. 30 m. p. M., a light breeze springing up from west by north, the Wizard trimmed sails, and, being near the land, bent the small bower cable, and got a hawser ready for a spring. This done, midnight left the two brigs still two miles and a half apart, the Requin bearing from the Wizard south by west, and the African coast right ahead, distant about seven miles; and again there was no sleep for the British crew.
On the 13th, at 0 h. 30 m. A. m the Requin tacked; and the Wizard, or getting abreast of the latter's lee beam, and nearly within gun-shot, did the same, under all sail. At 5 A. M., the weather becoming foggy, the two vessels lost sight of each other; but at 6 A. M. the Wizard was again cheered with the
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sight of her enemy, about two miles off right ahead, and apparently going a point free. At noon, after an interval of fog, the weather got more clear, and the Requin was seen bearing east by north, distant three miles and a half, and at 4 p. M. south by east three miles. At 8 P. M. the return of thick weather again concealed the two vessels from each other; but at 10 h, 20 m. p. M. the rising of the moon discovered the Requin in the south, three and a half miles off. The Wizard was once more at her sweeps, and at 11 p. M. fired a gun, to excite the attention of any British cruisers that might be off Cape Bon. This she repeated two or three times. At midnight the wind freshened up, and enabled the sailors again to suspend their labours at the sweeps, but still not a hammock could be moved below.
On the 14th, at 4 A. mo Cape Carthage bore west-south-west four miles, and the Requin was right ahead distant about two miles and a half, steering for the bay of Tunis. At 5 A. M. the French brig anchored close under Fort Goleta in Tunis bay; where, as it was a neutral port, the Requin lay as safe as if in the harbour of Toulon. The Wizard now did all she was empowered to do: she ran under the ster n of the fugitive, tacked, and hove to; and, besides reading " Le Requin" upon her stern, observed that the French brig was much cut up by shot about the hull and lower rigging. At 6 A. M. the Wizard filled and made sail out of the bay; and very soon the hammocks were piped down, and her truly gallant crew enjoyed that rest which, during four successive nights, had unavoidably been denied to them.
In this extraordinary chase, the two vessels ran 369 miles in 88 hours, making an average of rather more than four knots per hour; which was as fast as the light and variable state of the wind, during the greater part of the time, would admit. They had run 109 miles when the Requin brought to to engage; and engage she did, till she was beaten, fairly beaten, by a brig a trifle inferior, but say equal, to herself in force. The usual excuse of being charged with despatches cannot seemingly apply to this case; or why did Captain Berard at length become the assailant? The truth is, the Requin would have captured the Wizard if she could, but found herself unequal to the task: nay, more, the French brig found that her own surrender must ensue, if she did not make use of the only available quality in which she excelled, quickness of sailing. This property carried with it, as we have seen, another advantage: the French crew were under no necessity, at every fall of the breeze, to tug at the sweeps; nor were they, night by night, kept from their natural rest. In a pursuit before a light wind, where every inch of canvass is out, and where the chased is only a short distance ahead, the chaser is obliged to be always on the alert, that she may be ready to shorten sail the instant her enemy begins to take in: whereas the chased knows no such alarms; a head wind is all she dreads, and that only until she has trimmed her sails to meet it. This points out another advantage, and no slight one either, which the Requin possessed over the Wizard.
It must have been peculiarly annoying to the tars on board the Wizard, to see a vessel, that had cost them so many hours of toil and anxiety, so many sleepless nights and tantalizing prospects of reward, moored close to the muzzles of their guns, and yet not be allowed to spring on board of, nor even to snap a trigger at her. So it was; and the Wizard had no alternative but to leave the French captain to enjoy, with the possession of his fine brig, his reflections upon the degrading circumstances under which he had preserved her.
The Wizard was obliged to put into Malta, to get herself new lower masts and a new main yard. In 15 days she was again at sea, keeping, no doubt, a sharp look-out for her old antagonist; but the latter fell to the share of another British vessel of war, the 22-gun ship voyage, Captain Philip L. J. Rosenhagen, who captured her on the 28th of July, to the northward of the island of Corsica, after a nine hours' chase. It was confirmed, that the Requin was the brig that had been engaged by the Wizard; but the particulars of her loss were not communicated.
Vice-admiral Lord Collingwood, to evince his opinion of the conduct of Captain Ferris in the arduous and persevering chase and gallant defeat of the Requin, appointed him, on the first vacancy, to the command of the 100-gun ship Royal-Sovereign; but, Captain Ferris's commission as post not being dated until two years afterwards, we may conjecture that the board of admiralty did not sanction the promotion, with which the Mediterranean commander - in - chief had thought fit to reward the Wizard's commander.
On the 11th of May, in the forenoon, the British 20-gun ship Bacchante (18 carronades, 32-pounders, and two nines), Captain Samuel Hood Inglefield, cruising off Cape Antonio, island of Cuba, chased, and at 3 P. M. brought to action, the French brig-corvette Griffon, of 14 carronades, 24-pounders, and two sixes, Lieutenant Jacques Gautier. After sustaining and returning the heavy fire of her superior antagonist for 32 minutes, and persisting in her endeavours to escape until she was within 200 yards of the breakers off the Cape, the Griffon hauled down her colours.
The Bacchante had no man hurt on board; and the Griffon, out of a crew of 105 men and boys, only five men wounded. The brig was afterwards added to the British navy under the same name. The crowd of canvass, under which, owing to the lightness of the breeze, this action was fought by the Bacchante, is somewhat remarkable. She carried sky-sails with the wind abeam, and, above the main sky-sail, a lateen "moon-raker,'* which hoisted 14 feet above the mast-head. It was the inven