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report of the minister of marine, consisted, on the 9th of November, 1807, of 20 new ships of the line carrying 1588 guns, and 14 frigates and corvettes carrying 426 guns, besides brigs and smaller vessels. Among the line-of-battle ships were three or four three-deckers, and nearly the whole of the others were 74gun ships. Several of the frigates, also, mounted 50 guns.
The Swedish fleet consisted of 11 or 12 sail of the line and six or seven frigates; not more than half the former in an effective state. The following account of the recommended, if not of the actual, gun-force of Swedish ships of war, is extracted from the work of the celebrated naval architect Chapman:
Ships of the line.
Towards the middle or latter end of May the British naval force assembled in the Sound, Great Belt, and Baltic, and which was under the command of Vice-admiral Sir James Saumares, consisted of the
f Vice-ad. (b.) Sir James Saumarez, Bart., K.B.
„ Thomas Byam Martin.
* For the English caliber of the Swedish pounder see vol. i., p. 41.
Upwards of 200 sail of transports, having onboard about 14000 troops under Sir John Moore for the assistance of the Swedes, had accompanied the fleet; but owing to some misunderstanding between the King of Sweden and the general, relative to the particular service allotted to these troops, they were suffered to, return to England without being employed or even debarked.
Early in August the Russian fleet, consisting, besides the following nine sail of the line and three 50-gun ships, of eight frigates and ship-corvettes, two brig-corvettes, and two cutters, in all 24 sail, under the command of Vice-admiral Hanickoff, or Chanikow,* sailed from Cronstadt.
Gunship Gunship Gun-shipl
C Argus. 50 1 Hero. ( Rapid.
On the 19th this fleet arrived in Hango bay, a port in'Swedish Finland, then in the possession of the Russian army; and on the same day the Russian admiral chased the Goliath. At this time the British admiral, with four sail of the line, was at anchor off the island of Langland. Two other British sail of the line were off Copenhagen, and the remaining four off the island of Nyborg, quite at the opposite extremity of the Baltic. The Swedish squadron, consisting of seven sail of the line and four frigates, was at anchor in Oro roads. .
On the 20th of August Rear-admiral Sir Samuel Hood, with the Centaur and Implacable, arrived and anchored in company with the Swedish fleet. On the same afternoon the Russians made their appearance off the road, and presently anchored outside. On the 21st, in the evening, the Russian fleet, numbering, as before, nine sail of the line, three 50-gun ships, eight frigates and ship-corvettes, two brigs, and two cutters, got under way and stood off and on the road. On the 22d four Swedish sail of the line came down from Jungfur sound, and joined their companions in Oro road. Although the force of the Swedish admiral was thus augmented to 11 sail of the line, five frigates, and one brig, yet upwards of a third of the crews were ill in bed with the scurvy, of which many died daily.
On the 23d, in the afternoon, the Russian fleet, making a very formidable appearance, stood close in to Oro road, with a fine west-south-west wind; then tacked, and stood off. On the 25th, at 6 A. M., the Swedish fleet, accompanied by the Centaur and Implacable, got under way, with a fresh breeze at north-east, and made sail in pursuit of the Russian fleet; which, at 9 A. m to the number of 23 sail, was seen in the south-east, off Hango
* The first is according to Sir Samuel Hood's letter in the London Gazette, the second according to a translation of the Russian admiral's letter in the Moniteur.
120 Blagodath. 118 Gabriel. Amgatten. Boreas.
Udd. At about noon, as had been previously arranged, the Swedish 70-gun ship Frederic-Adolph, with a great proportion of the sick on board, parted company from the fleet, and steered for Carlscrona. This left with the Swedish admiral the
76 Uladislaffe . .
Aran .... 74<J Dristigheten
Faderneslandet . Gustav III. Manligheten _ ( Forsigtigheten . ( Tapperheten
f Rear-ad. Nauckhoff.
Frigates, Euridice 46, Chapman M, Camilla and Bellona 42, and Janamas 34, and cutter-brig Dolphin.
The Anglo-Swedish fleet now consisted of 12 sail of the line and five frigates, mounting 1156 guns; while the Russian fleet, of nine sail of the line, three 50s, and eight frigates and corvettes (not reckoning the two brigs), mounted 1118 guns. Here was, no great disparity, especially considering the ineffective state of the Swedish ships; but the Russian admiral not knowing this, or considering the two ships with British ensigns flying, and who soon became the most conspicuous objects, as a host in themselves, made all sail to get away. A windward chase was not the thing for wooden-bottomed ships; nor, where so much nicety was required in trimming sails, for weak and inexperienced crews. Hence the Centaur and Implacable, by 8 p. M., were five miles to windward of the Swedes, notwithstanding the latter carried every stitch of canvass that their ships would bear.
The night's chase increased that distance to nearly 10 miles; and at 4 A. M. on the 26th the Implacable had advanced two miles to windward of the Centaur. This brought the former ship within four or five miles of the Russian fleet, then bearing from east-north-east to south-south-east, evidently much scattered, and still crowding sail to escape. At 4 h. 30 m. A. M. the Implacable, then on the larboard tack, observed a Russian twodecker considerably to leeward of her fleet. At 5 h. 30 m. A. M. the latter, which was the74-gun shipSewolod, Captain Rudnew* or Roodneff, being on the starboard tack, passed the bow of the Implacable, who immediately tacked after her. At 6 h. 30 m. A. M. the Sewolod tacked. In about a quarter of an hour the two ships again crossed each other; when the Russian 74 opened her fire, which was quickly returned by the Implacable. The latter again tacked; and at 7 h. 20 m. A. M., having overtaken the Sewolod and closed her within pistol-shot to leeward, the
Implacable commenced the action with the utmost vigour, and with such decided effect, that in less than half an hour the Sewolod, whose colours had been shot away early in the combat, ceased firing and hauled down her pendant. At this moment, observing that the Russian admiral, who with his fleet had bore up since the commencement of the close action, was within two miles of the Implacable, Sir Samuel threw out the signal of recall. The Implacable thereupon made sail to close the Centaur, then upwards of a mile and a half to leeward. This the Implacable effected at 8 A. M., and the two British 74s ran on in company, to join the Swedish fleet; the van-ship of which was nearly 10 miles to leeward when the Implacable compelled the Russian, 74 to make the signal of surrender.
The loss incurred by the Implacable in this short but smart engagement, consisted of six seamen and marines killed, one master's mate (Thomas Pickerwell), the captain's clerk (Nicholas Drew), and 24 seamen and marines wounded. The first lieutenant of the Implacable, and of whom Captain Martin speaks in the highest terms, was Augustus Baldwin. The loss which the Sewolod sustained, as admitted by her captain, amounted to 48 officers, seamen, and marines killed, and 80 wounded; a sufficient proof that the guns of the Implacable had been both quickly fired and well directed.
Admiral Hanickoff sent a frigate to tow the Sewolod, whose rigging and sails were in a terribly shattered state, and then again hauled his wind. About this time, the Implacable having repaired the slight damage done to her rigging, the two British ships again made sail in chase, and soon obliged the Russian frigate to cast off her tow, and the Russian fleet a second time to bear up in support of their friend. It not, however, being the intention of the Russian admiral to bring on a general engagement, he, at about 9 A. M., availed himself of a favourable change of wind to the north-east, and stood for the port of Rogerswick; leaving the Sewolod, who had grounded on a shoal not far from the entrance of the harbour, to take care of herself, although the Swedish fleet, except the Tapperheten and frigates, was still nearly three leagues to leeward.
At about noon the Russian fleet came to an anchor in Rogerswick roads, and the Sewolod soon afterwards got afloat and rode at her anchors. The wind moderating in the afternoon, the Russian admiral sent out a division of boats to tow the disabled 74 into the road. The Centaur, followed by the Implacable, immediately bore up, to endeavour to cut off the ship before the boats could effect- their object. By great activity and perseverance on the part of her officers and crew, the Centaur, at 8 P. me, just as the Sewolod, towed by the Russian boats, was about to enter the port, ran her on board. The starboard fore, rigging of the Centaur was caught, and partly carried away, by the Sewolod's bowsprit; and the latter's starboard bow gradually swept along the Centaur's starboard side, the guns of which, as the Sewolod's bow successively pressed against the muzzles, discharged their contents with destructive effect. As soon as the bowsprit, in its course astern, had reached the Centaur's mizen rigging, it was there lashed, by the joint exertions of Captain Webley, first Lieutenant Paul Lawless, and Mr. Edward Strode, the master, and under a very heavy fire from the Russian musketry, which wounded, among others, Lieutenant Lawless severely. The two ships being in six fathoms' water, Sir Samuel had hopes that he should have been able to tow off the Sewolod while lashed to her; but the Sewolod had previously let go an anchor • which held her fast. Much valour was here displayed on both sides, and each ship tried in vain to board the other. At 8 h. 30 m. p. M. the Implacable arrived up, and anchored at the distance of about 300 yards from her consort; and in another 10 minutes, after affording a proof of courage and perseverance highly creditable to her officers and crew, the Sewolod hauled down her colours.
The Centaur had three seamen and marines killed, her first lieutenant (already named), boatswain (Mr. Morton), and 25 seamen and marines wounded. The Sewolod, whose original complement was 600 men, but to whom the Russian admiral had sent 100 sailors and soldiers to supply the place of those killed or wounded in her action with the Implacable, had 180 killed, wounded, or missing, in her action with the Centaur; making the total loss of the Russian ship, in killed, wounded, and missing, 303, and the total killed and wounded of the two British ships 62.
Both the Centaur and Sewolod took the ground soon after the latter's surrender. This being observed by the Russian admiral, two ships of his fleet were detached to attempt to recover the Sewolod and capture the Centaur; but, owing to the prompt exertions of the Implacable, the Centaur was soon hove into deep water, and the Russian ships returned to their anchorage. No efforts on the part of the British being able to get the prize afloat, the Sewolod, in the course of the ensuing night, after the prisoners and the wounded had all been removed, was set fire to and destroyed.
On the 30th, while still blockading the port of Rogerswick, the Anglo-Swedish fleet was joined by Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, with the Victory, Mars, Goliath, and Africa. In the mean time the Russian admiral, well aware of the enterprising character of the British, was employing himself in mooring his fleet and fortifying his position. The ships were secured by cables to the shore, and strong batteries were erected at BalticPort and at the island of East Raga, the latter of which completely commands the entrance to the harbour.
An attempt to burn the Russian fleet was intended to be made; and the 18-gun ship-sloop Erebus and 14-gun cutter.