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16th M. Allemand weighed and put to sea, with his 1805. squadron, consisting of the
July. gun-ship 120 Majestueux*
s rear-adm. Zach.-J.-Théodore Allemand.
captain Etienne-Joseph Willaumez.
ture of the british 18-gun ship-sloop Ranger, captain Charles the Coote;t but the crew, on seeing that their fate was Ranger inevitable, had so damaged the ship, that M. Allemand was obliged to set her on fire. While waiting at his first point of rendezvous, with the additional object in view of intercepting the Illustrious and her convoy, of wbose expected arrival two or three captured stragglers had already apprized him, the french commodore fell in with the Calcutta and her convoy; and to what extent he succeeded there we will now proceed to show,
Having taken the steps already noticed for the security of her convoy, the Calcutta made sail to intercept a french frigate, the Armide, of 40 guns, ca and which lay upon her starboard bow, and was drawing Arup fast with the merchantmen. At 3 P. M., having passed ahead clear of the Calcutta’s broadside, the Armide began firing her stern-chasers, and received, in return, the bow-guns of the british ship. After a while, however, the french frigate shortened sail
* In the english translations of the old french navy-lists this ship rates as a 110. Either there was a mistake in this, or the ship had since been lengthened ; for, to a certainty, the force of the Majestueux in 1805 was precisely that of the 120-gun ship in the small table at p.78 of the first volume, .except that four of her 8-pounders had been withdrawn from the cabin and two brass carronades added to the four on the poop, making her guns in all 122.
† The French say, “ of 24 guns," and that, in reality, was the number, including carronades, which the Ranger mounted.
1905. and allowed the british 50 to get abreast of her; July.
when both ships opened their fire, but without any material effect, owing to the distance preserved by the Armide, and to the Calcutta's leading off to the southward, to favour the escape of her convoy, then in the east-north-east. At the end of an hour, the Armide having hauled out of gun-shot, disabled in her rigging, the firing ceased.
This partial cannonade had brought down the whole french squadron, except the Sylphe brig, which had been detached after, and very soon captured, the creeping Brothers. At 5 P. M. the headmost line-ofbattle ship, the Magnanime, began firing her bowchasers at the Calcutta ; who, still running under all sail to the southward with a light northerly breeze, discharged her stern-guns at the former. Finding that the Magnanime was alone and unsupported upon his starboard quarter, and the 40-gün
frigate Thétis at å somewhat greater distance on ta and the larboard quarter, captain Woodriff resolved, Magine as the only chance of escape left, to attack and
endeavour to disable the 74. With this intent, the Calcutta put her helm a-port, and, as soon as she got within pistol-shot, commenced an action with the Magnanime. The latter promptly returned the fire, and the cannonade continued, without intermission, for three quarters of an hour. By the end of that time, having of necessity begun the engagement
with all sail set, the Calcutta found herself comSur- pletely unrigged and unmanageable. Her escape bandar being rendered impracticable, as well by her discutta. abled state, as by the near approach of the remain
ing ships of the french squadron, the Calcutta hauled down her colours.
The Calcutta had been an indiaman, and, ever since her purchase in 1795, had been employed as a transport, until September, 1804, when she was fitted for sea as a cruiser, and armed with 28 long 18-pounders on the lower deck, and 26 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long 9-pounders on the upper
deck. The Calcutta was a flush ship, and therefore 1805. had no detached quarterdeck.* Her established
July. complement was 343 men and boys : of these she had six killed and the same number wounded. That loss, the loss on board the Calcutta was not greater may Calbe attributed to the high firing of the french ships, cutta. whose object evidently was to disable her rigging. In this they so completely succeeded, that the French were obliged to keep the Calcutta in tow two days, before they could refit her sufficiently to enable her to carry sail. This delay, combined with the course which captain Woodriff had led the squadron in pursuit of him, enabled the Illustrious and her valuable fleet to pass unmolested into the Channel.
It is almost superfluous to state, that the sentence Courtof the court-inartial, subsequently assembled to try the officers and crew of the Calcutta for the loss of captain their ship, contained an honourable acquittal of all on board of her, as well as a high encomium upon captain Woodriff for the skill and bravery he had displayed. The circumstances under which the Calcutta was captured do, indeed, reflect very great credit upon her officers and crew., Captain Woodriff's judgment was as conspicuous as his gallantry; and both united saved all his convoy from capture, except one slug of a vessel which endangered the others, and occasioned, beyond a doubt, the loss of the Calcutta herself.
The Rochefort squadron proceeded straight to Teneriffe, to repair the damages of the Calcutta and quent Magnanime, and to take on board a supply of water pred and provisions. On the 17th it again sailed, and, ings of although sought in every sea, continued cruising fort until the 23d of December. On that day M. Alle- squamand, with his prize the Calcutta, and about 1200 prisoners, the crews of the latter, and of the Ranger sloop, Dove hired cutter, and 43 merchant vessels,
* See this explained, vol. i. p. 24.
1805. which he had destroyed during his 161 days' cruise,
anchored in safety in the road of the Isle of Aix.
Having hitherto paid particular attention to M. of M. Linois and his squadron, we shall continue, as far as at the our limited means will permit, to trace him through Isle of the remainder of his long sojourn in a distant, but
to him not unlucrative, quarter of the world. We left the french adıniral at rather an inglorious moment; just as the Marengo and her two attendant frigates had been foiled in a combined attack upon the 50-gun ship Centurion, in Vizagapatam road.* After this, the squadron and merchant prize (thus making it not quite a bootless enterprise) quitted the Coromandel coast, and steered straight for the Isle of France. Bringing in with him a rich prize which he had captured on the passage, M. Linois, on the 1st of November, arrived at Port-Louis, and found lying there the Belle-Poule, in company also with a prize of some value. One or more of the Centurion's shot having struck the 74's hull under water, and the ship, in other respects, wanting repair, the Marengo was here hove down.
On the 22d of May, 1805, after a stay of nearly on bis six months, during which she had undergone a thocruise. rough refit, the Marengo sailed on her third cruise,
accompanied by the Belle-Poule only, the Atalante having previously quitted port on a cruise off the Cape of Good Hope, and the Sémillante, since the 6th of March, having been detached to the Philippine islands, with the intelligence of the war between England and Spain.
On the 11th of July, off the coast of Ceylon, with having cruised unsuccessfully near the entrance of
the Red Sea, M. Linois fell in with the Brunswick tures indiaman, captain James Ludovic Grant, in company Bruns- with the country-ship Sarah. The latter, being wick. considerably to-windward, made for the land, and,
although pursued by the Belle-Poule, ran on the
* See vol. iii. p. 406.
and is repuls
breakers. The Sarah was totally lost, but her crew 1805, fortunately escaped sharing her fate. The Bruns. wow wick, after a slight and ineffectual resistance, was taken by the Marengo.
Receiving intelligence that a superior british Attacks force was in this quarter, the french admiral steered towards the Cape of Good Hope. On the 6th of ed by August, in latitude 19° 9 south, longitude 81° 22 Bleneast, at 4 P. M., in thick hazy weather, the french heim squadron, then close upon a wind on the larboard tack, standing to the southward and westward, discovered, at about four miles distance on the lee bow, a fleet of 10 indiamen, under convoy of a twodecked ship of war, steering to the northward. This was the british 74-gun ship Blenheim, captain Austen Bissell, bearing the flag of rear-admiral sir Thomas Troubridge, baronet, bound with a convoy to Madras; where, on his arrival, sir Thomas was to supersede rear-admiral sir Edward Pellew as commander in chief to the eastward of Ceylon.
As the Marengo and Belle-Poule, with french colours hoisted, wore astern of the fleet, the Brunswick, hy signal, kept her wind, and soon lost sight of her two companions and the enemy. At about 5 h. 30 m. P, M, the Marengo, ranging up, opened a distant fire upon the lee quarter of the Cumberland indiaman, captain William Ward Farrer, (a participator in commodore Dance's gallant affair,) and, followed by the frigate, engaged, in passing, several others of the indiamen. Observing that the Blenheim was lying by for them, the two french ships then reserved their fire until they came abreast of her, when a smart cannonade ensued. Owing, however, to the great swell that prevailed, the Blenheim could not open her lowerdeck ports :* hence the british 74 had only a battery of 18-pounders, with
* And yet a contemporary dwells upon the effect produced upon M. Linois by the Blenheim's “lowerdeck guns." See Brenton, vol. iii. p. 352. The same writer adds the Atalante frigate to the french admiral's force.