|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
had her commander and one seaman killed, and one seaman and one marine wounded.
Admitting the active interference of the battery on shore to be a fair set-off to the mere appearance of the Mermaid to leeward, this affair was very creditable to the officers and crew of the Peterel. Lieutenant Pelabond, had he lived, would doubtless have expressed his sentiments on the premature flight of his two consorts. As it was, the conduct of Captain Raccord, although among the members of his court-martial we observe the fighting names of Bombart and Infernet, was pronounced "irreproachable." One thing we are bound to state : the Cerf is there described as " une demie-chebeck," and not as a ship-corvette. The vessel, whatever may have been her rig or force, was, we believe, totally wrecked ; but the Lejoille afterwards got off and reached Marseille.
The Ligurienne was a fine vessel of her class, well equipped with stores of all kinds, in excellent repair, and not two years old. She was built in a very peculiar manner, being fastened throughout with screw-bolts, so that she might be taken to pieces, and set up again, with ease ; and was originally in tended, according to the account given by the prisoners, to follow Buonaparte to Egypt. Screw-bolts were not qualifications required in a British cruiser; and therefore the Ligurienne being found unadapted in other respects, was not purchased into the service.
Before quitting Captain Austen, we shall relate another instance of his good conduct; and in which, without coming to actual blows, he performed an important, and not wholly imperilous service. On the 13th of August, at 10 a.m. as the Peterel, being then attached to the squadron of Sir Sidney Smith on the coast of Egypt, was standing in towards Alexandria, with the wind at north-north-west, a ship of the line, totally dismasted, was perceived aground between Aboukir island and the fort or castle. The Peterel immediately hauled to the wind, and stood in the direction of the grounded vessel; which was a Turkish 80-gun ship, of remarkable beauty commanded by Indjee-Bey.
At noon the Peterel anchored in four fathoms, about a mile and a half to the south-east of Aboukir island; and a number of djerms were seen to put off from the ship and pull towards the shore. At half-past noon three Turkish corvettes, that had come from the eastward, anchored about a mile outside of the Peterel. By this time the latter had hoisted out her pinnace; and in it was immediately despatched the master, Mr. John Thompson, with nine men, to endeavour to set the ship on fire, and prevent the French from obtaining any of the stores, guns, or ammunition.
The master was soon on board; and by 2 h. 30 m. P.M., he and his active party had completely set the ship in flames. In
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