1794 - Lord Howe on the 1st of June


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol I


Lord Howe on the 1st of June


the three anchors from the Brunswick's bows, separated. It was now that the Ramillies, who had arrived up a few minutes before, and, having lost but two seamen killed and seven wounded, was quite a fresh ship, commenced her attack upon the Vengeur. While the Ramillies was waiting for the French ship to settle further from the Brunswick, in order to have room to fire at her without injuring the latter, the Brunswick, by a few well-directed shot, split the Vengeur's rudder, and shattered her stern-post ; besides making a large hole in her counter, through which the water rushed in great quantity. At this spot the Ramillies, now only 40 yards distant, pointed her guns, and, assisted occasionally by her consort, reduced the gallant, but at this time overpowered Vengeur, in a very few minutes, to a sinking state ; when suddenly, as if perceiving the Achille making off in the distance, the Ramillies filled and made all sail from the two exhausted combatants, between whom, soon after 1 p.m., all firing ceased.

It was about the same time that the Vengeur, who saw her fate approaching, displayed a union jack over the quarter, as a token of submission and of a desire to be relieved. But the Brunswick, having had all her boats destroyed, could afford her enemy no protection. At about 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Brunswick lost her mizenmast, and, in consequence, became still less able to bestow any assistance upon the Vengeur who had by this time removed the jack from her quarter to the larboard arm of her cross jack yard.

The loss of the mizenmast, the wounded state of the other masts, and the damage done to the rigging, rendering it impossible to haul up for the British fleet, to leeward of which M. Villaret was now leading a fresh line on the starboard tack, to recover as many as he could of his dismasted ships, the Brunswick put her head to the northward, with the intention to make the best of her way into port, should the French fleet, as, fortunately for her, proved to be the case, forbear from molesting her.

All possible sail was therefore made upon the ship, and the effective survivors of the crew began immediately to repair the damaged rigging, fish the masts, and secure the lowerdeck ports, through which the water was rushing at every roll. About 3 p.m. the Brunswick fell in with the Jemmappes, wholly dismasted ; and only under the influence of her spritsail. From this ship the Brunswick had received some annoying shot while engaged with the Vengeur. As the Brunswick luffed up under her lee within hail, the Jemmappes displayed a union jack over her quarter, and signified that she had struck to the English admiral, at the same time pointing to the Queen, then at a considerable distance in the south.

The extent of the damages sustained by the Brunswick will appear by the following detail of them. The mizenmast, as we have seen, was gone ; the bowsprit was cut two-thirds through near the gammoning, the mainmast badly wounded, and the foremast

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