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through the captains of the frigates, that they were 1805, to break, the enemy's line wherever they conve-Yo...” niently could. This, in effect, discretionary power was particularly beneficial towards the height of the battle, when the enemy's ships, by an irregular movement from the rear to the centre, and, in some instances, from the centre and van to the rear, were every instant shifting their positions, and giving to their line, if line it could be called, a new face.
It was not until full 15 minutes after the Tonnant had . cut the line, that her second astern, the Bellerophon,” owing to her distance from the former and the lightness of the wind, was enabled to do the same. This she accomplished by passing under the stern of the Monarca, as the latter, with colours rehoisted, was dropping away from the Tonnant. In luffing up to lay the Monarca alongside to-leeward, the Foul of Bellerophon, at about 50 minutes past noon, ran *. foul of the Aigle, the latter's main yard locking with her fore yard. The british ship now fired from both sides, having the Monarca on the larboard, and the Aigle on the opposite bow. In a short time three other enemy's ships opened a cannonade upon her, the Montanez, (we believe,) with her aftermost guns on the larboard quarter, the french Swiftsure on the starboard quarter, and the Bahama, with some of her foremost guns, athwart her stern. The first set of figures in the following diagram will perhaps assist in showing the situation of the british ship at this period of the battle.
0/.50am. P.M. 14.40m. PM."
v. Aigs ^*
.1805. At about 1 P.M. the Bellerophon's main and o, mizen topmasts fell over on the starboard side, and the main topsail and topgallantsail immediately caught fire with the flash of the guns, assisted by the hand grenades which the Aigle's people kept o, throwing from her tops. At 1 h. 5 m. P.M. the mas3. ter was killed; and at 1 h. 11 m. captain Cooke, The command now devolved upon lieutenant William Pryce Cumby. Shortly afterwards the Montanez dropped out of gun-shot astern, and the Bahama and french Swiftsure became engaged with the Colossus. The musketry from the Aigle had by this time played sad havoc upon the Bellerophon's quarterdeck, forecastle, and poop. At 1 h, 40 m. P. M. the Aigle, who had once or twice vainly attempted to board her opponent, dropped astern, exposed as she fell off to a raking fire, first from the Bellerophon herself, and then from the Revenge. The Bellerophon, now quite in an unmanageable state, fired a few shot at the Monarca, who instantly hauled down her colours for the last time, and was taken i... possession of by the former; as, nearly at the same der of time, was the Bahama, who had previously struck, .* to relieve herself from the destructive fire of the Colossus. Da- The Bellerophon had her main and mizen top... masts shot away, her fore topmast, all three lower Belle- masts, and most of her yards, badly wounded, and *her standing and running rigging nearly cut to pieces. In hull also she was much injured, having had several knees and riders shot away, and part of her lower deck ripped up, besides other damage. Her loss consisted of her captain, master, (Edward Overton,) one midshipman, (John Simmons,) 20 seamen, and four marines killed, one captain of marines, (James Wemyss,) her boatswain, (Thomas Robinson,) one master's mate, (Edward Hartley,) four midshipmen, (William N. Jewell, James Stone, ... Thomas Bant, and George Pearson,) 96 seamen, board, and 20 marines wounded. A great proportion of this heavy loss unfortunately arose from the explo
sion of a quantity of loose powder spilt about the 805. decks from the cartridges; and which, but for the o water that lay around the entrance of the magazine, must have destroyed the ship and all on board of her. Although no particular account can be given of . the damage or loss sustained by the Aigle, it may : with certainty be stated, that she suffered greatly ... in masts, rigging, and hull, and lost in killed and marca. wounded, from the successive fire of the Bellerophon, Revenge, and Defiance, nearly two thirds of her crew, including among the killed, her captain and first lieutenant, and among the wounded several of her officers. The loss on board the Monarca does not appear to have been recorded ; but it must have been severe, from her first action with the Tonnant, and from the length of time she was exposed to the close and uninterrupted fire of the Bellerophon, one of the best manned, although one of the smallest, 74s in the british fleet. At 1 P.M., or thereabouts, after having, during colos. 10 minutes or so, in her efforts to close, received sus. the fire of two or three enemy's ships, the Colossus ran past the starboard side of the french Swiftsure;* who had just before bore up, as well to avoid being raked by the Colossus, as to bring her larboard guns to bear upon the Bellerophon. The density of the smoke on the starboard side hid from view all the enemy's ships in that direction, until, having run a short distance to-leeward, the Colossus found herself close alongside of the Argonaute, whose larboard yard-arms locked into her starboard ones. A spirited cannonade now ensued between the two ships, and lasted for about 10 minutes, when the Argonaute’s fire became nearly silenced, except from a few of her aftermost guns; a shot from one of which, just as the ships, driven apart by the concussion of the guns, began to settle broadside off, struck captain Morris a little above
* See the diagram at p. 73.
the knee. As soon as, by this lateral movement, she
had cleared her yards, the Argonaute paid off, and
french Swiftsure. Damage, &c. to ColosSuSe
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o r §, * the * ("to § i. * * *
Scriven,) 31 seamen, and eight marines killed, her 805. captain,” two lieutenants, (George Bully and Wil- ‘...." liam Forster,) one lieutenant of marines, (John Benson,) her boatswain, (William Adamson,) one master's mate, (Henry Milbanke,) eight midshipmen, (William Herringham, Frederick Thistlewayte, Thomas G. Reece, Henry Snellgrove, Rawden M'Lean, George Wharrie, Timothy Renou, and George Denton,) 115 seamen, and 31 marines wounded. The Argonaute, the first broadside-opponent of Dathe Colossus, although she lost none of her masts, ... must have suffered severely in the hull, having had, i. according to the french accounts, nearly 160 of her to: crew killed and wounded: she, nevertheless, ef- o fected her escape. Some of the french writers are sure, very severe in their strictures upon the conduct of the french Argonaute. It appears that the Hermione frigate, in compliance with the practice of the french navy, hoisted the signal, for ships unengaged to engage, and, finding no attention paid to it, added the number of the Argonaute, and kept both signal and pendant flying for one hour. H. The Bahama and french Swiftsure, reduced to the state of wrecks, suffered a proportionate loss of men; the first having had nearly 400 killed and wounded, including among the former her captain, and the second very little short of that number. Being close astern of the Colossus and sailing English well, the english Achille became, in a few minutes * after the former, warmly engaged. Having passed close astern of the Montanez, the Achille luffed up and engaged that ship to-leeward. In less than a
* With a truly gallant spirit, captain Morris would not go below, but, applying a tourniquet to his thigh, remained at his post near the head of the poop-ladder until, to avoid the fall of the mizenmast, he descended to the quarterdeck. After the battle was over, and the Agamemnon had come down to take the Colossus in tow, captain Morris, having become faint from loss of blood, was carried below, and was landed in his cot some days afterwards at Gibraltar.
f Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xvi. p. 178.