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The highest praise is due to Captain Hood, the officers, and men of (he Venerable, for their spirit and gallantry in the action, which entitled them to better success. The French ship was an eighty-four, with additional guns, on the gunwale.
This action was so near the shore, that the Venerable struck on one of the shoals, but was soon after got off, and taken in tow by the Thames; but with the loss of her masts.
The enemy's ships are now in sight, to the westward, standing in for Cadiz. The Superb and Audacious, with the captured ship, are also in sight, with the Carlotta, Portuguese frigate, commanded by Captain Crawford Duncan, who very handsomely came out with the squadron; and has been of the greatest assistance to Captain Keats, in staying by the enemy's ship captured by the Superb.
I am proceeding with the squadron for Rosier-bay, and shall proceed the moment the ships are refitted, to resume my station. No praises, that I can bestow, are adequate to the merits of the officers, aud ships' companies of all the squadron, particularly for their unremitted exertions, in refitting the ships at Gibraltar; ia which, in a great degree, is to be ascribed the success of the squadron against the enemy.
Although the Spencer and Audacious had not the good fortune to partake of this action, I have no doubt of their exertions, had they come up in time to close with the enemy's ships.
My thanks are also due to Captain Holies, of the Thames; and to the Honourable Captain Dundas, of the Calpe, whose assistance was particularly useful to Captain Keats, in securing the enemy's ship, and enabling the Superb to stand after the squadron, in case of having been enabled to renew the action.
I herewith enclose the names of the enemy's ships.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c.
Evan Nepean, Esq.
List of the Spanish squadron, which arrived at Cadiz from Ferrol, on the 25th of April, under the command of Don Joaquin De Moreno (Lieutenantgeneral), as Vice-admiral, and which proceeded to Algeziras-bay, the 9th of July, 1801.
Ships. Commanders. Guns.
Real Carlos • • • Capt. Don J. Esquerra - 112 } Durn.
San Hermenegildo- • Don J. Emparar • 112 J
San Fernando • • • Dou J. Malina • • 80
Argonauta • ... ■ Don J. Harrera • 8t)
San Augustina • - • Don R. Jopete • 74
San Antonio (under French colours) • • • • 74 -J by the
Wanton (French lugger) 12
The Spaniards, flattered by the French Admiral and their own vanity, gave themselves a large share of credit for the capture of the Hannibal; and when the squadron of Moreno was ordered to Algeziras to conduct the fatal prize to Cadiz, the young aristocracy of Spain, crowded on board of the Hermenegildo and Real Carlos to share in the honour of another victory. The sudden conflagration on board of these ships, produced a scene of horror which no pen can describe. The agonized screams of the unhappy crews, deserted by their own countrymen and allies in that dreadful hour, pierced the hearts of their brave conquerors, but to assist them was impossible, while a hostile flag was in sight. Seven sail of the line, besides the Hannibal, still flying before a squadron of not half their force, it was the duty of the British Admiral to leave the burning ships to their fate, and pursue the others till their destruction was completed. Out of two thousand four hundred men, of which the crews of the ships consisted, only forty escaped in one of their launches.
In August, the squadron of frigates, under Vol. nr. E
the orders of Captain Halsted, of the Phoenix, captured, off Port Longone, the French frigate La Carrere, of forty-four guns (eighteen pounders), and three hundred and fifty-six men: the first ship that brought her to action, was the Pomone, which had two killed and four wounded.
Captain Cockburn, in the Minerve, having joined this squadron on the 2nd of September, with the signal flying for some enemy's frigates, running towards Leghorn; the British ships pursued them so closely, that one of the enemy ran on shore, on the rocks of Vada: she was taken and brought off; her name was the Success, of thirty-two guns, which had been captured by Gantheaume, in February. Another frigate was driven on shore by the Minerve, near the batteries of Leghorn: she struck her colours, and her masts fell over the side. Captain Cockburn boarded her, under a heavy fire, brought away many prisoners, and would have set the ship on fire, but for the wounded men, with which her decks were covered: she was called La Bravoure, an eighteen pound frigate, mounting forty-four guns, and having two hundred and eighty-three men. The capture of this squadron which had been employed in the attack on Porto Ferrajo, reduced the enemy to great distress, and caused their ultimate surrender to our land and sea forces.
The little island of Elba, at this time, had upon it both French and English garrisons. Sir John Warren, on the 12th of September, landed a body of seamen and marines, who, in conjunction with some land forces, under Lieutenant-colonel Airey, entirely dispossessed the French of their part of the island, taking fifty prisoners, and a great quantity of ammunition.
Captain Rogers, of the Mercury frigate, sent Lieutenant Mather with the boats into the mole of Ancona, to cut out the Bull Dog sloop of war, which had been recently taken by the enemy. Mr. Mather boarded her; drove the Frenchmen below and secured them; then cut her cables, which were made fast to the shore, and towed her out under a heavy fire of round, grape, and musketry from the batteries. But fortune was not favourable to his valour: it fell calm; the vessel drifted by the current back to the shore, and was retaken by a swarm of gun-boats. Lieutenant Mather was more fortunate shortly after, in boarding a pirate among the rocks of Turmite in the Adriatic. She was called Le Tigre, of eight guns and sixty men; lay aground, and was defended by a fort. This being silenced by Lieutenant Wilson of the marines, with a party of his men, and the boats of El Corso, sloop of war, the vessel was hove off and taken out, without loss on our side.
In the month of September following, the Bull Dog was boarded under the batteries of Gallipoli, by the boats of the Champion, commanded by Lord William Stewart, and was brought out in triumph.
Lieutenant W. Wooldridge, in the Pasley, armed brig, boarded off Cape de Gatt, a Spanish privateer polacre, called the Virgine del Rosario, pierced for twenty guns, mounting only ten, two of which were long twenty-four pounders, and eight long twelves, with ninety-four men. The Spanish captain, first and second lieutenants, with eighteen men were killed, and thirteen wounded: the Pasley had three killed and seven wounded; among the latter was Lieutenant Wooldridge, who for this action was deservedly promoted to the rank of commander.
Captain Newcome was honourably acquitted by the sentence of a court-martial, for the loss of the Albanaise, a bomb-ketch, the crew of which had risen upon him and carried the vessel into an enemy's port. Captain Newcome, after being severely wounded, was overpowered, and his officers were confined below. In the course of the trial Lieutenant Kent refused to give his evidence on oath from some religious scruples, and the court expressed an opinion that he was unfit to hold a commission in his Majesty's service.
*„* In the Precis des Evenemens Militaires, vol. 5.p. 70. and vol. 7. p. 117, there are scandalous misstatements of Hillyar's affair at Barcelona, and that of Sir James Saumarez at Algeziras and off Trafalgar; indeed so utterly false that we disdain to transcribe them. No Englishman will believe them we know, and the French must believe what their government bids them.