1800 - Capture of the Pallas


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Capture of the Pallas 31

the two sloops, the Pallas was gradually gained upon by the chasing ships, the LoireRailleur, and Harpy especially.

At about 10 h. 30 m. p.m. the Loire had weathered, her opponent so much as to be able to set her topgallant studdingsails, and at 11 p.m. arrived up with the Pallas. The Railleur, being ahead of the Loire, was directed to fire her broadside and drop astern. This the sloop did ; and immediately afterwards, the nearest of the Seven Islands bearing south-west by south distant about 750 yards, the Loire commenced a close action with the Pallas, who opened a spirited fire in return. In a little time a battery upon the island, of several guns and a howitzer, began a smart fire upon the British ships, and did considerable damage to the Loire. In this way the action continued between the French frigate and shore-battery on one side, and the LoireRailleurHarpy, and Fairy on the other; the combatants all on the starboard tack, with the wind, as before, blowing moderately from the south-east.

At about 1 h. 30 m. a.m. on the 6th, the Harpy fetched close under the stern of the Railleur, then engaging the Pallas with great gallantry, and poured her broadside into the French frigate's quarter. This was repeated with such destructive effect, as to induce some one on board the frigate (especially as a man had been shot while ascending the mizen shrouds with a lantern to repeat the signal of surrender) to hail the brig with the exclamation, " Ne tirez pas encore, messieurs, nous sommes à vous." The Harpy then ceased her fire, as about the same time did the Loire, Railleur, and Fairy. The Loire and Harpy each lowered down a boat and sent her first lieutenant (Edmund Rayner and James Watson) to take possession of the prize. Conceiving, from a bustle abaft on board the Railleur, that a man had fallen into the water, Lieutenant Watson yawed out of his course : in consequence of this, the Loire's boat reached the Pallas a few minutes before the Harpy's ; but the latter had the honour of conveying Captain Epron to the Loire.

The established complement of the Loire was 284 men and boys; but she had on board no more than 260, about 100 of whom had " volunteered " from the prison-ships, and ran from their quarters almost as soon as the action commenced. Of those 260 in crew, the Loire lost three seamen killed, and three midshipmen (Watkins Owen Pell, Francis William Eves, and John Allen Medway), 15 seamen, and one marine wounded. The Railleur, out of a complement of 76 men and boys, had one midshipman (William Prothers) and one gunner's mate killed, and three seamen and one marine wounded. The Fairy, out of a complement of 120 men and boys, had, in the day action, four seamen killed, her commander (slightly), purser (Mr. Hughes), and six seamen wounded, four of them badly; but in the night action the Fairy had only one seaman wounded. The Harpy, out of a crew the same as the Fairy's, had one seaman killed

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