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1805. chased the Sirius for nearly two hours, and compelled Dec. her to part company.
Early on the morning of the 16th, when the character of the only squadron now seen by captain Brisbane and his companions became clearly ascertained, 17 of the convoy, by signal from the Arethusa, steered south-west, and the remaining six sail, with the three men of war, tacked and stood to the northwest. The french squadron immediately did the same, and continued the chase throughout the day; but, towards evening, rear-admiral Leissegues tacked, and again stood to the south-west. Since morning captain Brisbane had detached the Wasp to Rochefort, Ferrol, Cadiz, and Gibraltar, to inform the admirals commanding upon those stations, of the situation of the French when last seen; and at 2 P. M. the Boadicea had been sent to admiral Cornwallis off Ushant with similar intelligence.
At midnight, with the six vessels of the convoy in with then in her company, the Arethusa made sail to the
westward. Along with daylight on the 17th, again Duck- appeared M. Leissegues and his squadron, in full worth, pursuit, but at a very great distance. In a few hours
the french admiral gave over the chase, and left the
captain Richard Goodwin Keats.
hon Robert Stopford.
sir Edward Berry.
Richard Dalling Dunn.
James William Spranger.
with five ships of this squadron, by the orders of 1805.
Raising the blockade, sir John, with his six ships
As the british squadron was now working back to the northward, the direction in which the french squadron was when seen by the Arethusa, no immediate alteration became necessary in the course of the former. On the 25th, at 6 h. 45 m. A. M., latitude 30° 52 north, longitude 20° 16' west, when standing close hauled on the starboard tack, with the wind about east half north, the British descried, in the Sir south-east quarter, which was a little abaft the wea- falls in ther beam, nine strange sail standing to the south-with ward. At 7 A. M. the squadron tacked in the same chases direction; and every rag of canvass was presently M.Wil
, upon sir John's six sail of the line and two frigates,
* See p. 215. ,
1805. in chase of the still supposed Rochefort squadron,
of five sail of the line and smaller vessels.
During the whole day and night of the 25th the chase continued, both squadrons still on the larboard tack with a moderate breeze from the eastward. On the 26th, at 8 A. M., it was evident that the Superb, Spencer, and Agamemnon, with the Amethyst frigate, were gaining upon the sternmost french ship. It was also discovered, in the course of this forenoon, that, instead of five, the enemy had six sail of the line. These, as may be conjectured, composed the squadron of rear-admiral Willaumez, numbering, with the absence of the Volontaire, just nine sail, on its way to St. Helena. The chase continued, with increased
advantage to the British, until 1 P. M.; when the
relative distances of the ships, according to the mean
At the time stated, 1 P. M., to the joy of M. Wil-
regret, of such of the british ships as could see it, chase. sir John directed to be hoisted a signal annulling
the chase ; and the Superb, with more awkward-
* Superb's log says
“ nine or ten miles," Spencer's “ five or six, ahead of Superb. We have taken the mean of the two,
+ Brenton, vol. iii. p. 522.
was run up in latitude 28° 35' north, and longitude. 1805. 19° 10' west, after a chase, reckoning until 1 h. 15 m. badan P. M., of 30 hours and a half, during which the leading ships had run about 149 miles in a south-southeast direction.
In July, 1801, without waiting for friends, the Superb dashed alone among the rearmost ships (two of them three-deckers) of an enemy's fleet;* but captain Keats was then the first, not the second, officer in command of her. The alleged motive for sir John's discontinuing the chase was the divided state of the british ships; owing to which the Superb might have got herself surrounded and captured before any assistance could reach her. It appears, however, that the french squadron itself, during the latter part of the chase, was by no means concentrated, and that, had the Superb brought to action, as in the course of a few hours she might, the steromost french ship, the Spencer and Agamemnon were sufficiently advanced to keep in check any other french ships that might have shortened sail to cover their rear. As it is not likely that the french admiral would have abandoned his rearmost ship, a general action would in all probability have ensued; and, as the ships of the two squadrons were equal in number, and all of them two-deckers, (there being but one french frigate, the second british frigate would have compensated for the Agamemnon's inferiority,) the issue, in all reasonable calculation, would have been favourable to the British.
Having, by standing for a short time to the north- Sir north-west, collected his scattered ships, sir John detachdespatched the Amethyst to England with intelli- esAmegence of the strength of the french squadron and of its to Engsupposed destination to the East Indies; and then, land. at about 6 h. 10 m. P. M., bore away west-south-west, Proto get a supply of water at the Leeward islands, to West the stock on board not being likely to last until Indies the squadron could work back to its station. On the 2d of January, 1806, the island of St.-Antonio,
* See vol. iii. p. 182,
1806. bearing north-west half-west distant 10 or 12 miles,
sir John detached the Powerful, first to victual her
self among the Cape de Verds, and then proceed on to taches the East Indies, to reinforce the squadron under ful to rear-admiral sir Edward Pellew.
On the 12th of January, with his remaining five
sail of the line and one frigate, sir John anchored at Bar- in Carlisle bay, Barbadoes, and immediately sent badoes. the Acasta to the island of St.-Christopher, or St.
Kitts, to expedite the preparations for watering the Sails, squadron. On the 14th the squadron weighed from arrives Carlisle bay; and, steering to the westward across
Fort-Royal bay, Martinique, the vice-admiral anopher's chored, on the evening of the 19th, in Basse-Terre
road, St. Christopher's. On the 21st the 74-gun Is join-ship Northumberland, captain John Morrison, bearing North- the flag of rear-admiral the honourable Alexander
Cochrane, and the Atlas, of the same force, captain
Samuel Pym, joined company, but without commuAtlas. nicating a word of intelligence respecting any french
Sir John here commenced watering and refitting intelli- his ships for their homeward passage; when, on the gence Ist of February, the 16-gun ship-sloop Kingfisher, french captain Nathaniel Day Cochrane joined, with intelli
gence, that a french squadron of three sail of the Sails in line had been seen steering towards the city of pursuit Santo Domingo. Immediately the british squadron,
now consisting of seven sail of the line, one frigate, and one sloop, weighed and made sail in quest of the enemy. On the 3d the ships lay to off the island of Saint-Thomas, and were joined by the 14.gun brig Epervier, lieutenant James Higginson. The squadron then ran through the Corvel passage, and at noon on the 4th passed the island of Zacheo in the Mona passage.
On the 5th, at 8 A. M., the east end of the island of Saint-Domingo bore northwest eight or nine leagues ; and shortly afterwards the 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Magicienne, captain Adam Mackenzie, along with a danish schooner which she had detained, joined company, bringing a