1799 - Rattlesnake and Camel with Preneuse


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 346

nearly up to co-operate with the Arrow, the Draak struck her colours.

The Arrow, out of her 120 men and boys, had one seaman killed, her commander (slightly), one master's mate (William Wilson), and seven seamen wounded. From the Draak's howitzers langridge had probably been fired ; as, after the action had ceased, several pieces of iron were picked up on the Arrow's decks. The Draak's loss could not be ascertained with any certainty. Two men killed, and three badly wounded, were found on board; but great quantities of blood, attempted to be concealed from view by tarpaulins, were discovered by Captain Bolton. Some of the prisoners also acknowledged that, immediately as the ship struck, several of her killed and wounded were put into a boat, and sent on shore at Harlingen ; close off which place the action had been fought. Moreover the number of prisoners, added to the five killed and wounded by no means agreed with the established complement, 180, as testified by the papers. There were, also, ready to join the two Batavian vessels in the attack, two schooners, and four schuyts, mounting, between them, 16 long 8-pounders, and manned, altogether, by 120 men. But it does not appear that the latter vessels, any more than the Gier brig, offered any resistance.

Having been built for a sheer-hulk, and being extremely old, the Draak was set on fire and destroyed; but the Gier, being a fine new brig, of 324 tons, was carried to England and fitted out as a cruiser.

On the 20th of September, at 4 p.m., as the British armed store-ship, or 44 en flûte, Camel, Captain John Lee, and 16-gun ship-sloop Rattlesnake, Captain Samuel Gooch, with yards and topmasts down and topgallantmasts on deck, were lying at anchor in Algoa bay, near the Cape of Good Hope, the Camel with stores for the use of the army under General Dundas then marching against the Caffres in the interior, a large sail, steering south-west, with the wind fresh from the east-south-east, made her appearance in the east quarter. At this time the two captains were serving on shore with the army; Captain Lee with his first lieutenant, and 30 of the Camel's men, out of her complement of 116 men and boys. The pinnace of the Rattlesnake also, with her second lieutenant, and 15, out of a total of 106 men and boys, was detained on shore by the violence of the surf.

The stranger, which was the French 36-gun frigate Preneuse, Captain L'Hermite, whom, in June of the preceding year we left at Batavia, * continued on her course until 5 p.m. ; when she wore, and, hoisting a Danish jack at her mizen peak, stood in for the bay. At 6 p.m., now nearly dark, the Preneuse handed her sails ; and, having dropped down till within about 800 yards

* See pp. 217.

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