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1806, to the Revenge's boat; which was struck by a large July. shot, and would have sunk but for the proximity of
the shore. The survivors, on landing, were of course made prisoners. The César is represented to have lost, exclusive of her brave commander, 13 of her crew killed or wounded. With a proper appreciation of lieutenant Sibly's gallantry and wounds, the rank of commander was conferred upon him soon after his return to port.
On the 28th of March, early in the morning, a M. Le- french squadron composed of the two 40-gun frigates
Revanche, commodore Amand Leduc, and Guerrière, captain Paul-Mathieu Hubert, 36-gun frigate Syrène, captain Alexandre Lambert, and 16-gun brig-corvette Néarque, sailed from Lorient, on a cruise, off the coast of Iceland, Greenland, and Spitzbergen, for the purpose of destroying british and russian whale-ships; a service intrusted to M. Leduc, because, having himself been a Dunkerque whaler, he was considered to be well acquainted, both with the navigation of the Arctic sea and with the haunts of those who usually resorted thither.
Scarcely had the french commodore got well to sea, ere a fine chance was afforded him of returning to port with a valuable prize. At about 1 P. M. the british 38-gun frigate Niobe, captain John Wentworth Loring, cruising between the Glénans and the isle of Groix, discovered and, hoping to cut off one of them, chased M. Leduc's three frigates and brig. The latter, however, far from evincing any intention to molest the Niobe, continued their course to the southward, under all sail. The british frigate gained in the pursuit. At 9 P. M, the Néarque, who was at some distance astern of her companions, seeing her danger, fired a gun, let off several rockets, and hoisted five lights, one over the other, in the hope to induce the commodore to put about and save her. But the voyage to Greenland presented, in the eyes of M. Leduc, fewer dangers, perhaps, than an action between one english and
Niobe in chase of it.
three french frigates. At 10 P. M. the Niobe got
1806. alongside the Néarque, and, after firing a volley of small arms into her, which fortunately injured no one, Capcarried her off as a prize. The french brig mounted tures 16 guns, with a crew of 97 men, and was victualled que. for five months.
The winter being unusually long, M. Leduc, as a proof that he need not have been in such haste to run from the Niobe, found himself stopped by the ice: he, in consequence, bent his course to a temperate latitude, and, after cruising some weeks off the Azores and Cape Clear, stood again to the northward. On the 21st of May the squadron made the south-east point of Iceland, and, standing on to the northward, met with the ice on the 30th, in latitude 72°. From the 2d to the 8th of June the frigates tried in vain to penetrate the ice in the direction of GuerSpitzbergen. On the 12th they came in sight of the island, but, with all their endeavours, could not get from beyond 76° 10'. About this time the Guerrière duc. parted company in a fog.
It was on the 9th of July that the admiralty re- British ceived intelligence of the havoc which these three sent in french frigates had been committing upon the fish- pursuit eries. Immediately the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate french Phoebe, captain James Oswald, and 12-pounder 32- squagun frigate Thames, captain Brydges Watkins Taylor, lying in Leith roads, were directed to proceed off the Shetland isles ; and the 38-gun frigate Blanche, captain Thomas Lavie, then at anchor in the Downs, was ordered, by telegraph, to hasten to Yarmouth roads. When here, captain Lavie received orders to follow and take under, his command the Phoebe and Thames, and with them endeavour to discover and capture M. Leduc and his squadron.
On the 10th, in the afternoon, the Blanche sailed from Yarmouth roads, and, on the 13th, was at the rendezvous; but the Phæbe and Thames, having ascertained that one of the frigates had parted from
1806, her two consorts, had since proceeded in search of July. the latter. After remaining three days off the Shet
land isles, the Blanche received intelligence, that the Guerrière had been seen alone off the Faro isles,
where she had captured and burnt several english Blanche ships. The Blanche immediately made sail towards Guer- the spot, and on the 18th, at 10 h. 30 m. A. M., saw
from her mast-head, in the east-north-east quarter, the object of her search, standing upon a wind in a direction towards herself. The Guerrière had intended to go into Drontheim in Norway, to land her prisoners and procure a supply of water; but, when off the port, a pilot-boat communicated some intelligence that induced
her to put about and steer for the island of North-Faro, of which she was within a few hours' sail when fallen in with by the Blanche. The mounted force of the two frigates may here be introduced. The quarterdeck and forecastle guns of the Blanche were 16 carronades, 32-pounders, fitted upon the non-recoil principle, and two long 12-pounders ; making her total of guns 46. The Guerrière, in addition to the maindeck force of her class, mounted two brass 36-pounder carronades in the bridle-ports, and two others, and eight iron ones of the same caliber, with 10. long 8-pounders, on her quarterdeck and forecastle; total 50 guns.
At noon the Blanche bore up under alì sail, with a light breeze from the south-west; but the Guerrière, as if mistaking the Blanche for one of her consorts, continued to stand on until 3 P. M., when she also bore up, spreading all her canvass. The superior sailing of the Blanche enabled her to gain rapidly in the chase, and at about 45 minutes past midnight the british frigate opened her fire, pouring
into her antagonist two whole broadsides before the Action latter returned a shot. A warm action now commences menced, one ship pointing her guns chiefly at the
hull, the other at the rigging. Still the Blanche maintained her position in the chase, and at. 1 h. 30 m. A. M. on the 19th compelled the Guerrière,
whose mizen topmast had previously fallen, to haul 1806. down her colours.
July The loss on board the Blanche, whose damages Guerwere of the most trifling description, amounted, out fière of her 265 men and boys, (being 16 men short,) to ders. only one lieutenant (Robert Bastin) and three marines wounded; while that sustained by the Guerrière, whose lower masts were all badly wounded, and hull shattered above and below water, amounted, out of the 317 men and boys, which the scurvy had left out of a complement on quitting port of 350, to 20. officers, seamen, and marines killed, and 30 wounded, 10 of them dangerously.
COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS.
23 520 265 1036
24* 516 317 1092
According to this statement, the Blanche and Guerrière were tolerably well matched. But it was only in appearance; for a great proportion of the latter's crew were ill in their cots, and the remainder, to judge by the impunity with which the Ineffibritish frigate escaped, seemed to have been very state of indifferent marksmen. During this running fight of 45 the minutes' duration, not one round shot struck the hull of the Blanche. The three marines were wounded by a single 'discharge of grape, while standing on the fore part of the gangway near the forecastle; and the second lieutenant, M. Bastin, was wounded through both thighs with a musket-ball at bis
quarters on the main deck. The chief object of the french frigate appears to have been to cripple her antagonist, in order that she herself might escape. Failing in this, the Guerrière protracted the defence, until she could no longer withstand the vigorous and well-directed fire of the Blanche. We must
* Carronade in the bow-port not included.
in justice to M. Hubert, who, at this very July. time, was a member of the legion of honour, that
his men were really in a deplorable state, or he would not, from the first, have fled from a frigate, not superior in size, as he might see, nor in force, as he might conjecture, to the one he commanded.
The Blanche, along with her prize, arrived on the 26th in Yarmouth roads; and the Guerrière, on being transferred to the british navy, became a valuable acquisition to the class of large 38s. Shortly after his return, captain Lavie received the honour of knighthood, and Mr. Henry Thomas Davies, the first lieutenant of the Blanche, the promotion which was due to him.
With his two remaining frigates, M. Leduc continued to harass the fisheries, unseen, though diligently sought, by the Phoebe and her consort. On the 13th of July the two french frigates put into
Patris-Feorden, a port in Iceland, and, on their search departure a few days afterwards, were chased, it M. Le appears, by two english frigates, (whose names we
cannot learn,) but escaped by concealing themselves within the small island of Rodesand. M. Leduc then cruised off Cape Farewell, for ships coming out of Davis's Straits, and afterwards proceeded to the northern extreinity of Ireland. Here he remained till chased off on the 28th of August. He then made sail
for Cape Clear, and, after cruising there till the 17th A rives of September, steered for a french port. On the rient. 22d M. Leduc reanchored in Lorient; having taken
and sunk, during his six months' cruise, one russian and 28 english merchantmen, chiefly whalers, and having lost, by capture, one 40-gun frigate and one 16-gun brig, almost half his original squadron.
On the 25th of July, in the evening, as the british 12. pounder 32-gun frigate Greyhound, captain Edward Elphinstone, and 18-gun brig-sloop Harrier, (16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two sixes,) captain Edward Thomas Troubridge, were cruising in the Java sea, four sail of ships were descried, passing through the