1800 - Nereide with Bellone and consorts


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Capture of the Heureux 33

Although, owing to some omission in Captain Newman's letter, a little delay occurred in doing justice to the claims of Captain Bazely, that officer, as well as his brother commander, Captain Horton, was at length promoted to post-rank.

On the 1st of March, in the middle of the night, the British 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Néréide, Captain Frederick Watkins, cruising off the Penmarcks, discovered to windward five ships and a schooner. As soon as she had made the necessary preparation for battle, the Néréide hauled up for the strangers ; which, at daylight on the 2d, were seen to be all armed vessels, and were then lying to, as if determined to have a contest with the British frigate. Nor will it be considered that the French commodore had formed a very rash resolve, when the force of his squadron is stated.

The largest ship was the Bellone, of Bordeaux, measuring 643 tons, and mounting 24 long 8-pounders on the main deck, and six brass 36-pounder carronades on the quarterdeck and forecastle ; total 30 guns, with a complement of at least 220 men.* The three remaining ships, also from Bordeaux, were the Vengeance, of 18 long 8-pounders and 174 men, Favorite, of 16 long 6-pounders and 120 men, and Huron, of 16 long 4-pounders and 87 men ; and the schooner was the Tirailleuse, of 14 long 4-pounders and 80 men; making a total of 94 guns and 681 men.

Just as the Néréide arrived within gun-shot of these seemingly pugnacious privateersmen, their hearts failed them, and the four ships and schooner made all sail on different courses. The British frigate went in immediate chase, and continued the pursuit until night shut out the fugitives from her view. On the 2d, however, at daylight, the Néréide regained a sight of one of the ships ; and, after a 12 hours' chase and a run of 123 miles, captured the Vengeance.

On the 5th of March, at 8 a.m., in latitude 50 2' north, longitude 14 43' west, the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Phoebe, Captain Robert Barlow, was borne down upon, and fired at, by the French ship privateer Heureux, of 22 long brass 12-pounders and 220 men. The latter, as it appeared, mistook the Phoebe for an Indiaman, and did not discover her mistake until she had arrived within point-blank musket-shot. The Heureux then wore upon the Phoebe's weather bow, and hauled to the wind on the same tack; hoping, by a well-directed fire, to disable the Phoebe's masts, rigging, and sails, and thereby effect her escape. The fire from the British frigate, however, was too powerful to be withstood by so comparatively inferior a foe, and the Heureux struck her colours.

* In Captain Watkins's letter in the Gazette, 420 ; probably a typographical mistake.

Ibid. ; 12-pounders, but we know they were only 8-pounders,

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