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1805. Mont-Blanc and Atlas, the Pluton succeeded, and
of the franco-spanish line, the Atlas suffered most
tainly have been captured.
masts, struck; and the San-Rafaël, with the loss of her
did not hold out many minutes longer. At 8 h. 25 m.,
The loss, in gross, sustained by the british feet
wounded; and, as sir Robert Calder, in his official
and Dragon, lost between them but three men killed 1805. and 14 wounded ; nor were the Dragon's four men July, wounded by the enenıy's shot, but by an accidental explosion. No ship had a mast shot away, but the Windsor-Castle and Agamemnon, nor a yard except the Ajax.* The loss on board the two prizes was stated to consist of about 600 in killed and wounded; Loss of but a careful comparison of the number of wounded French and unwounded prisoners, with the number of men and deposed to have been on board each ship at the niards. commencement of the action, has reduced the number considerably. In this amended state, the gross loss sustained by the combined fleet amounts to 476 officers and men killed and wounded.t With respect to damages, the french and spanish ships did not exhibit many marks in their masts and rigging; but some of them, undoubtedly, were much hit in the hull. One ship, we believe the Atlas, had the head of her bowsprit shot away; another, her fore yard and fore topgallantmast; and a third, a topsailyard. Had a court-martial on the french, as was the case with the british, commander in chief, called for a specific statement of each ship's damage, every wounded topgallantmast and spritsail-yard, every cut rope and shot-graze, would have been formally tive daset forth ; and then, and then only, would a fair opportunity have been afforded, of comparing the two relative damage on board the two fleets.
It was extremely natural for the french writers to make the most of the minute statement of damages published along with the proceedings of the courtmartial which sat upon sir Robert Calder; but they evinced very little candour, when they confronted the whole loss on the british side with a part only of the loss on their side, and then drew from it the inference, that their fleet had suffered the least in the action. To have acted impartially, they should have struck out of the british returns the two ships that
* See Appendix, No. 1. :t See Appendix, No. 2.
mage of the fleets.
1805. had sustained the heaviest loss, as a set-off against July. the two prizes, whose united loss, although the French
were unable to enumerate it, they knew amounted to Rela- much more than that of any other two, or any four loss of ships in the combined fleet. This would have made the two the numbers stand thus : british loss in killed and
wounded, except of Windsor-Castle and Malta, 108;
Daybreak on the 23d found the two fleets about day of 17 miles apart, reckoning from their respective ing. centres; but, owing to the hazy state of the morn
ing, neither fleet had of the other more than a partial
larboard tack, but the combined fleet still remained tion of on the starboard. The british advanced squadron, feb. consisting of the Barfleur, Hero, Triumph, and Aga
memnon, lay about five miles to-windward of the main
At 6 h. 30 m. A. M. the Prince-of-Wales, and the
topsails were running to-leeward, to join the 1805. prizes and the ships with them. At 9 A. M., having July. concentrated his feet, the british admiral hauled up on the larboard tack, and steered about northeast; keeping between the franco-spanish fleet and his three disabled ships. Of these the WindsorCastle was in tow by the Dragon, the Firme, by the Sirius, and the San Rafaël, at present by the Egyptienne, who had recently taken charge of her from the Malta.
No sooner had the weathermost british ship bore up to join the prizes, than, imagining that the former, although under topsails only, were flying in disorder, “ fuyant en désordre,” the french admiral went with his staff on board the Hortense frigate, and calling to him all the other frigates, except the Didon, which latter had been sent ahead to reconnoitre, ordered them to inform his captains, that he meant to bring on a decisive action, and that they were to lay their ships as close as possible alongside of the
While the five frigates were hailing the line-of-battle ships successively, to acquaint them, “au porte-voix,” with their chief's intention, the Didon, confiding in her superior sailing, had approached very near to the british fleet; so near, that the Triumph, at ll A.M., for the want of a frigate to perform the office, tacked and chased her
away. Towards noon the wind veered more to the north-Indicaward and got very light, and a heavy swell came of a reon from the same quarter. At a few minutes past newed noon the combined fleet, formed in order of battle, bore up towards the british fleet, then about four leagues off in the east-south-east; but, owing to the distance, and to the extreme lightness of the breeze, it was not until 3 h. 10 m. P.M. that the advance of the French and Spaniards was noticed by the British. Immediately the ships of the latter hoisted their colours, and hauled closer to the wind, awaiting the
* Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xvi. p. 142,
1805, expected attack. At 4 P. m. however, the ships of
the combined fleet, with colours also hoisted, and July.
then distant about three leagues from their oppo.
british ships; thus evidently declining, for the predecline sent, a renewal of the engagement. For a fact so im the of- portant, and so utterly at variance with the statement engage at first given out by the French, some authority may
be requisite. “A midi, toute la flotte prit chasse
A quatre heures, on n'avait
The british admiral resumed his course to the meet- north-east, but was soon driven from it by a change of ing. wind; which, commencing about midnight at north,
became, by 8 A. M. on the 24th, north-north-east, and wind- occasionally north-east, but it was very moderate, but re- amounting almost to a calm. This brought the comfuse to bined fleet nearly astern of the british feet; which
was now to-windward, and might, in all probability, sively. have renewed the action. No attempt of the kind was
made. Sir Robert, for reasons that will appear pre-
ships then edged away and steered south-east by Fleets south. At 4 P. M.
At 4 P. M. one ship only of the francospanish fleet was in sight of the british fleet, and by 6 P. M. the two fleets had wholly disappeared from each other.
* Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xvi.