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1805; to captain Gardner the despatches with which he T had been charged. Feb. On the 3d of February, at daylight, Cape Caxine Arrow in sight bearing south, as the british ship-sloop Arand row, captain Richard Budd Vincent, and bomb-ship *- Acheron, captain Arthur Farquhar, having in charge with a (except one which had foundered in a squall three .# days before) the whole of a convoy of 35 merchant

chased yo vessels from Malta bound to England, were steering

#:. west by north, with a light breeze from the northeast, two large sail were discovered bearing eastsouth-east of the Acheron, then in the rear of the fleet. At 8 h. 30 m. A. M. the course of the fleet was altered by signal to west-north-west. At 10 h. 30 m. A. M., in obedience to a signal from the Arrow, the Acheron wore and stood towards the strangers, to ascertain their character. At 11 h. 15 m. A. M. captain Farquhar communicated that they were suspicious, and presently afterwards, that they were frigates. The vessels of the convoy on each uarter were now signalled to close. At noon Cape Ibatel bore south by west half-west distant 10 or 11 leagues. Ma- At two minutes past noon the Arrow slipped the joo brig which she had been towing, wore, and hauled

o, to the wind on the larboard tack, for the purpose of tooy.joining the Acheron; who had also wore, and was returning to the convoy, under all sail, with light winds from the eastward. In the course of the succeeding quarter of an hour, the customary signals were made to the convoy for its safety; and the Duchess-of-Rutland, a warlike-looking transport, was directed to lead the fleet on its course. At half past noon the Acheron hoisted her colours and fired a gun. The chasing ships paying no attention to this, not a doubt remained that they were enemies; and a signal to that effect was immediately made to the ships of the convoy, with orders for them to make all possible sail to the appointed rendezvous. At 2 P.M. the Arrow, having tacked to the northward, brought

to for the Acheron. At this time the two strangers, 1805, which were the french 40-gun frigate Hortense, F. captain Louis-Charles-Auguste La Marre-le-Meillerie, and 38-gun frigate Incorruptible, captain Simon Billiet, continued their course about west-north-west, under all sail, with light winds. These frigates, having parted from the Toulon fleet in a violent gale of .. had since cruised near the Straits of . Gibraltar for some days, and not finding their fleet at the appointed rendezvous, were now on their return to Toulon. At 4 h. 30 m. P. M. the Acheron joined the Arrow ; and it was determined by the two commanders, that they would keep between the convoy and the french frigates, who were now about five miles distant. At 5 P.M. it became quite calm; the convoy then bearing from the Arrow and Acheron north-west by French west distant three miles, and the land between Cape " Albatel and Cape Tennis south-south-west half-west, proach. distant 11 leagues. At about 11 P.M. a light air sprang up from the south-west. The body of the convoy at this time bore from the Arrow west-northwest distant four miles, and the french frigates, who were on the larboard tack steering towards the convoy, bore north-north-east distant three miles. The Arrow and Acheron were also on the larboard tack, standing in line ahead in close order. At about 4 h. 15 m. A. M. on the 4th the Hortense, . having tacked, passed to-leeward of and hailed the Arrow, but did not fire. On arriving abreast of the Acheron, the frigate was herself hailed. After hailing in return, the Hortense opened a fire of round Comand grape upon the Acheron; which considerably . damaged her rigging and sails, and carried away the action. main topgallantyard and the slings of the main yard, but did not injure any person on board. The Acheron returned the fire with her starboard guns, and then hove about and discharged the opposite ones.

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1805. . Feb.


The Arrow, who had in the mean tithe bore up, raked the Hortense astern, as the latter stood on to the westward. At 5 h. 30 m. A. M. the Incorruptible, whom the light and baffling winds had somewhat separated from her consort, passed, without firing, under the lee of the Arrow, then lying to on the starboard

tack. Shortly afterwards, in wearing round on the

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Its discontinuance.

Misbehaviour ... of a merchant vessel.

Renewal of the action.

starboard tack, the Incorruptible exposed her stern
to the Acheron's guns, and received from them, at
too great a distance probably for carronades to be
effective, two rounds of shot. The Incorruptible at
length came to the wind, and then stood after her
consort. -
Daylight, which had been anxiously looked for by
the weaker party, showed the two frigates with their
heads to the southward and their colours flying.
Soon afterwards the Hortense hoisted a broad pen-
dant at the main. At 6 A. M. the Arrow made the
signal “ for action” to the Duchess-of-Rutland, she
being the most effective ship of the convoy; but
although even a show of coming to the assist-
ance of either of the men of war would have been of
service, the Duchess-of-Rutland neither answered
nor obeyed the signal. The Arrow then made sail
on the starboard tack, followed, in close order, by
the Acheron; the wind still very light from the
north-west, and the convoy about four miles to-
windward, mostly on the larboard tack, much scat-
tered, and making all sail to the westward. In a
little while the two french frigates wore to the east-
ward, and hauled on the larboard tack; apparently
with the intention of engaging the british ships to-
leeward. - -
At about 7 h. 25 m. A. M., being abreast of the
Arrow, within half musket-shot distance, the Incor-
ruptible opened her broadside, and received that of
the Arrow in return. In five minutes more this
frigate arrived abreast of and began engaging the
Acheron. The Hortense having, in the mean while,
closed with the Arrow, the action became general

between all four ships. As the french ships were 1805. wearing to renew the action on the opposite tack, T.’ the Arrow put her helm hard a-weather, and raked them; but, the lightness of the wind preventing her from steering, the Arrow, in her turn, became exposed to a heavy fire from both frigates. The Acheron then hauled close to the wind, to clear her consort, and, in passing, became again engaged with the Hortense; who, after having poured a destructive fire into the starboard quarter of the Arrow, hauled after the Acheron. " he Arrow, in her immovable and shattered state, was now left to the Incorruptible, and a warm and close action ensued between these ships. At length, at about 8 h. 30 m. A. M., just one hour and 20 minutes since the two had begun engaging, having had her running rigging shot to pieces, her lower masts badly wounded, her standing rigging, yards, and sails much cut, many shot between wind and water, and the ship leaky in consequence, four guns dismounted, her rudder machinery disabled, and having, moreover, incurred a severe loss in killed and wounded, the Arrow struck her colours. In 20 Sur. minutes more the Acheron, who, on the Arrow's sur- o: render, had made all sail to the southward, having also row been much disabled in masts, sails, and rigging, and

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had a part of her stern-post carried away, and find. *i. ing it in vain to attempt escaping from a ship that of sailed so much faster, hauled down her colours to ..." the Hortense.

The Arrow's guns consisted of twenty-eight 32- Force, pounder carronades, 24 of them on a flush deck;#. and her complement at quarters, including seven side. invalid male passengers, was 132 men and boys. Of these, she had 13 killed and 27 wounded. The

Acheron, exclusive of her two bombs, mounted only

- * See vol. i. p. 566, mote Q*, where the Arrow and her sister-
vessel are described.
t One lady, her female attendant, and a very young child, were
also unfortunately on board.

1805. Feb.

Same on french side.

eight 24-pounder carronades, with a complement of 67 men and boys; of whom (although omitted to be stated in the gazette-letter) she had three men killed and eight wounded.

The Hortense was a fine new frigate, mounting 48 long guns and carronades, 18-pounders on the main deck; with a complement of 340 or 350 men, exclusive of about 300 troops. Her loss cannot be ascertained, but was probably trifling. The Incorruptible mounted 42 guns, the same, we believe, as those specified at No. 7 in the small table at p. 78 of the first volume. Her complement, including troops, extended to 640 men. Of these the Incorruptible doubtless sustained a greater loss than one killed and five wounded, the amount stated in the Moniteur, otherwise her damages would not have detained this frigate in port on the second departure of the Toulon fleet.*

The noble defence made by this sloop and bomb

vessel did something more than display an addi-
tional proof of the bravery and devotedness of
british seamen: it preserved from capture 31 out
of 34 sail of merchantmen, (the Duchess-of-Rutland.
and two others were all that fell into the hands of the
frigates,) and, from any use in the french service,
the captured men of war themselves. Scarcely had
the surviving crew and passengers been removed
from the Arrow, and that by the french boats, her
own having been destroyed by shot, than the ship
settled on her beam-ends and sank; and the shat-
tered state of the Acheron induced the captors, as
soon as her people were removed, to set that vessel
on fire.
Had the Arrow, with her powerful battery and
gallant crew, fallen in with the Incorruptible alone,
under such circumstances of wind and weather, as
would have allowed the former to maintain a close
position, the combat might have resembled, in its

Sinking of Arrow.

DeStruction of AcheTOn.

* See vol. iii. p. 474.

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