1799 - Clyde and Vestale


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 Lieutenants Slade & Humphreys at Schiermonikoog 341

and the boats, then went on, until the latter grounded within half pistol-shot of ; and under a heavy fire from the schooner and battery.

Having placed their small-craft as advantageously as they could, the British immediately opened a smart fire in return. This soon drove the people from the battery; and the crew of the schooner, just as some of the boats were about to board her, ran on shore, having previously set fire to their vessel so effectually that it could not be extinguished. Some of the British then landed and, of the six guns on the battery, spiked the four iron 12-pounders, and brought off the two brass 4-pounder field-pieces. They afterwards took possession of the row-boat, and of the 12 schuyts that were lying near her. The whole service was executed without the loss of a man on the British side; nor could it be discovered that any loss of lives had been sustained by the Dutchmen.

The Crash, it appears, drawing too much water, had, as well as the Courier, grounded so far from the shore as to be of little service in co-operating with the boats ; but the Undaunted succeeded in getting alongside of the Dutch schooner soon after, as already related, the crew had abandoned and set fire to her. The tide, however, was so rapid, that the Undaunted could not hold on, and the roundness of the sides of the two vessels prevented Lieutenant Humphreys from springing on board. " He therefore seized a rope, and, leaping into the sea, attempted to reach the schooner for the purpose of attaching it to her, but soon found he had no chance against the tide, and was consequently obliged to be hauled back to the Undaunted. Fortunate for him was this failure ; for, scarcely had he obtained a footing on his own deck, when an explosion took place on board the Vengeance, by which she was blown to atoms." *

On the 20th of August, at 8 h. 30 m. a.m., Cordovan lighthouse bearing east by south distant six or seven leagues, the British 38-gun frigate Clyde, Captain Charles Cunningham, having with the wind to the northward just worked off from reconnoitring the port of Rocheforte, descried two sail in the southwest. The Clyde immediately gave chase, and at 11 a.m. made them out to be enemy's cruisers standing towards her. At half an hour after noon the strangers, having then approached within two miles of the Clyde, bore up and made sail, each going away large on a different tack. The Clyde, selecting the one that appeared the more formidable of the two, crowded sail in pursuit At 1 h. 30 m. p.m., having arrived within gun-shot, the Clyde hoisted her colours and fired a gun ; whereupon the French 36-gun frigate Vestale (the Terpsichore's old opponent), Captain Mayor-Michel-Pierre Gaspard, hoisted her colours, and answered with a broadside the gun which had been fired by the Clyde.

* Marshall, vat: ii., 235

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