1799 - Admirals Bruix and Massaredo anchor in Brest


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 British and Franco-Spanish Fleets 268

We may observe, in passing, that the alleged object of the voyage of M. Bruix to, Mediterranean appears to have been much overrated. He had landed a few soldiers at Savona, and convoyed a fleet of coasters to Genoa ; services which his frigates alone could just as well, have performed. Even when the two fleets had joined, they evinced no intention to act against Minorca and Sicily, or to overpower the British naval force in that sea. The French fleet when alone, and even the two fleets when united, rather shunned than sought an engagement; nor had a single hostile port been visited, nor even threatened. The result was, that the Breast and Cadiz fleets had united, and now lay moored together, to the ridicule of monarchial Spain, in the great naval depot of republican France.

Among the ships that, just before the Brest fleet appeared off Cadiz, had escaped out of port to effect a junction with it, were five ships of the line from Ferrol. It was on the 28th of April that these five sail, consisting of one 112-gun ship (the Real-Carlos) bearing an admiral's flag at the main, one 80 bearing a vice-admiral's flag at the fore, and three 74s, accompanied by one frigate, and one ship and one brig corvette, sailed from Ferrol ; not unseen, however, by the British 44-gun frigate Indefatigable, Captain the Hon. Henry Curzon. The Spaniards, as if expecting to fall in with the Brest fleet, lay to, off Corunna, for the greater part of two days; during which time the Indefatigable kept them in sight. The latter then hastened homewards with the intelligence, and shortly afterwards spoke the Childers brig, on her way to Earl St.-Vincent with despatches from Lord Bridport. On the 8th of May the Indefatigable arrived at Plymouth. In the mean time the Spanish squadron had made sail with the intention of entering Brest, but, finding or fearing some obstruction, had since put into Rochefort.

Towards the latter end of May, while, with 26 sail of the line at anchor in Bear Haven, waiting for the French fleet to come to Ireland, Lord Bridport received intelligence, as well of this Spanish squadron being in Rochefort, as of the Brest fleet having steered for the Straits. Accordingly, on the 1st of June, in pursuance of orders from home, Lord Bridport detached Admiral Sir Alan Gardner with 16 sail of the line as a reinforcement to Earl St.-Vincent, and, with his remaining 10 line-of-battle ships, sailed for Basque road.

On the 4th of June Lord Bridport arrived off the road, and got a sight of the Spanish squadron ; but which immediately afterwards retired to the road of Aix, a small fortified island about 12 miles from Rochefort. On the 8th, taking with him the Royal-George, Atlas, Achille, and Agincourt, the admiral sailed for England, leaving, as a blockading force off the port, the

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