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Proserpine surren

1809. Upon this the british crew were ordered to their Feb. quarters; and, while the drum was rolling for that

purpose, the Pénélope opened her broadside upon the Proserpine's larboard quarter. This was at 4 h. 30 m, A, M.; and almost at the same instant the Pauline commenced firing into the british frigate's starboard quarter. The fire was returned by the

Proserpine, but not in so effective a manner as it might have been, the two guns, that had been brought into the cabin, disabling the two aftermost guns on the larboard side. The same untoward circumstance prevented any return to the raking fire, kept up by the Pauline upon the Proserpine's stern and starboard quarter:

At 4 h. 40 m. A. M. the Pénélope ranged up along

side within pistol-shot of her opponent, and several ders. broadsides were exchanged. The Pauline, in the

mean while, preserved her station upon the Proserpine's starboard quarter, and continued to direct her fire chiefly at the latter's rigging and sails: By 5 h. 10 m. A. M. the Proserpine had her maintopsail yard shot away, foremast half cut through nine or ten feet from the deck, main and mizen masts, main yard, and foretopsail yard badly wounded, and her stays, shrouds, braces, bowlines, and the whole of the running rigging destroyed: the Pénélope was also on her larboard bow, and the Pauline on her starboard quarter, each preparing to board. Being in this hopeless situation, the british frigate hauled down her colours.

The proper complement of the Proserpine was Les 251; but, having manned some prizes, she had only

211 men and boys on board. Of these the Proserpine had one seaman killed, and 10 seamen and marines (including one mortally) wounded. As if ashamed of their very indifferent gunnery, the French officially declared, that the Proserpine's loss amounted to 11 killed and 15 wounded. But the guns on the british side appear to have been discharged with even less effect. For, according to the french accounts, neither the Pénélope nor the Pauline had a man killed or wounded; and the latter frigate



martial on


suffered not at all, and the former very slightly, 1809. in the rigging and sails. “ Notre bonheur est tel que, quoique nous avons combattu yergue à vergue et du nuit, la Pénélope et la Pauline n'ont pas eu un seul homme de tué, ni de blessé. La Pénélope a eu quelques avaries dans son gréement, et la Pauline, par la position habile qu'elle a su conserver, n'a nullement souffert."'*

At daybreak, which was just as the two french Courtfrigates had taken possession of their prize, the two 74s were discovered about seven miles in the east-captain north-east, approaching under all sail; and shortly afterwards the Pomone made her appearance in the south-east. Captain Otter continued in France as a prisoner until the conclusion of the war. On the 30th of October, 1814, the captain and late officers and crew of the Proserpine were tried by a courtmartial for the loss of their ship, and most honourably acquitted.

On the 15th of March, early in the morning, the Lieut. british 38-gun frigate Arethusa, captain Robert

Mends, son decruising off the north coast of Spain, detached her stroys boats under the orders of lieutenant Hugh Pearson

Lequito and lieutenant of marines Octavius Scott. At daylight these officers, with the seamen and marines under their command, landed, and destroyed upwards of 20 heavy guns mounted on the batteries at Lequito, defended by a detachment of french soldiers; a sergeant and 20 of whom, when the British forced the guard-house in the principal battery, threw down their arms and begged for quarter. These were made prisoners, but the rest of their comrades effected their escape by running. Notwithstanding a smart fire of musketry from the battery and guardhouse as lieutenant Pearson and his party advanced, this very gallant exploit was performed with so slight a loss as three men wounded. A small chaloupe, laden with brandy, was found in the harbour and brought away.

* Moniteur, March 7, 1809.

guns at


March. As.


Lieut. Steele de

gurs at


On the 16th, in the evening, having received information of two chasse-marées, laden with brandy

for the french army in Spain, being up the river cends Andero, the same party again landed, and found the of An- vessels aground four miles up the river. The car

goes were destroyed; but the vessels, having been forcibly taken from the Spaniards by the French, were restored to their owners.

On the 20th lieutenant Elms Steele, with a party

of seamen and marines, landed and destroyed the stroys, guns at Baigno, and captured a small vessel laden Baigno,

with merino wool, which had run in there for security, and was from San-Andero bound to Bayonne. In the mean time lieutenant of marines John Fennele, accompanied by Mr. John Elliott the purser, and a boat's crew, ascended the mountain and destroyed the signal-posts. On the same evening, also, lieutenant Pearson, with the officers and men who were with him at Lequito, took possession of the batteries of the town of Paissance, without opposition, and destroyed the guns; the small french 'force stationed at all the above places, retiring as the British approached.

On the 5th of April, at 11 A.M., the Cordouan light

house bearing east by north distant 42 leagues, the Eme- british 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Amethyst, still comChase : manded by captain Michael Seymour, standing about a point free on the larboard tack with the wind

at east, and having in her company, within signal distance to the northward, or nearly astern, the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Emerald, captain Frederick Lewis Maitland, descried, in the east-south-east, a ship steering to the westward ; and which, on discovering the two frigates, hauled up to the south-south-east. This was the french 40-gun frigate Niemen, captain JeanHenri-Joseph Dupotet, two days from Verdon road, with six months' provisions and a quantity of naval stores on board, bound to the Isle of France.

Both british ships made all sail in chase, and at of her. noon the Niemen was about half topsails down from the

Amethyst and

Nie men.

Loses sight

deck of the Amethyst. The chase continued all the 1809. afternoon; so little, however, to the advantage of the

April. Amethyst, although a much better sailer than her consort, that at sunset the line of the Niemen's taffrail was all that could be seen from the lower part of the Amethyst's main rigging, bearing a point and a half on her weather or larboard bow. At 7 h. 20 m., which was just as it was getting dark, the Amethyst lost sight, both of the Emerald that was astern, and the Niemen that was ahead of her.

Concluding that the french frigate, on getting Amerid of her pursuers, would resume her course to alone the westward, captain Seymour, at 9 P. M. bore up found in to south-west. At 9. h. 40 m. P. M., the wind then with blowing in squalls from the east-north-east, the Ame- her. thyst discovered, on her weather beam, the ship she was in search of; and who now, as rightly conjectured by captain Seymour, was steering to the westward. The Amethyst lost no time in giving chase ; and the Niemen, having only in view to execute her mission, wore and made all sail with the wind upon the larboard quarter, steering about south by west. At 11 h. 30 m. P. M. the Amethyst began firing her Overbow-chasers, and was fired at in return by the and enstern-guns of the Niemen. At 1 h. 15 m. A. M, on gages the 6th the Amethyst closed upon the Niemen’s larboard quarter, and opened her starboard broadside. In return, the Niemen fired her guns on the larboard side, then wore round on the starboard tack, and steered to the north-west. As soon as she could wear and trim sail, the Amethyst hauled up after her opponent; and, as the rigging and sails of the Niemen had already received some damage, the Amethyst, at about 1 h. .45 m. A. M., ranged close alongside of her to-windward.

After an exchange of broadsides, the Amethyst, having passed ahead, bore round-up, raked 'the Niemen, and then braced sharp up again on the same tack under the french frigate's lee bow. At 2 h. 45 m. A. m. the Niemen fell on board the Amethyst,



1809. on her starboard beam and quarter; but, in a April.

few minutes, the Amethyst shooting ahead, the Niemen got clear, and bore away south-west. Atabout 3 A. M. the Amethyst, having crossed over, got upon the larboard andweather beam of the Niemen. Scarcely

had the mutual cannonade recommenced between on fire. the two ships in this position, ere the Niemen caught

fire in her larboard hammock-netting. At 3 h. 15 m. A.M. the Niemen had her mizenmast and main topmast shot away. The ship had also just caught fire in the main top, and her main yard was lowered

halfway down the mast. In this state, the Niemen bestowed little or no return to the animated cannonade maintained by the Amethyst. At 3 h. 25 m. A. M., finding that her antagonist had ceased firing, the Amethyst ceased also, and bore up under her stern. At about 3 h. 30 ń. A. M., as the Amethyst, with her main yard square, was in the act of bringing to to-leeward of the Niemen, the mainmast of the british ship, owing chiefly to the quantity of canvass that lay aback against it and the damaged state of the rigging, came down, carrying with it the mizenmast; and the wreck of the two masts fell over the lee quarter. Almost at the same moment the Niemen's main

mast, or what remained of it, came down by the Are board; and the 38-gun frigate Arethusa, captain joins. Robert Mends, just then announced to the Amethyst,

by signal, her approach from the eastward.

The Amethyst meanwhile, in consequence of the great way upon the ship having caused the spread sails over the lee quarter to act as a back-water, disobeyed her helm, and wore with her stern abreast of the Niemen's starboard and lee beam. At 3 h. 45 m, P. M., while the Amethyst was in this unfortunate position, the Arethusa approached within gun-shot on the larboard quarter of the Niemen, who was then going nearly before the wind. The french ship thereupon hoisted a light, and fired one shot at the Arethusa and another at the Amethyst. The Arethusa then gave a small yaw and fired seven or eight of her

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