|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
Leviathan and Emerald steered north, in the hope soon to cross the strangers. At midnight three sail were seen; and at 2 a.m. on the 7th, two of them were ascertained to be frigates, standing to the north-north-west, and close together. The British 74 and frigate now steered a parallel course, proportioning their sail to that of the strangers, in order to be ready to commence the attack just before daybreak, the rear-admiral judiciously considering, that a fire commenced in the dark might alarm the convoy and lead to their escape.
At dawn of day the Leviathan and Emerald bore down upon the Carmen and Florentina, who had evidently mistaken them for a part of their convoy. On being hailed by the Leviathan, the weathermost frigate crowded sail to get off; as did also her consort, then close upon her bow. A volley of musketry failing to induce the nearest frigate to strike, the Leviathan gave a yaw and fired all her guns before the gangway, in the hope to bring down some of the frigate's masts and yards, but without effect. In a few minutes, however, the Emerald having in a very spirited as well as judicious manner, closed with the leewardmost frigate, the two became so disabled in their sails and rigging, that after firing a few straggling and ineffectual shot, and just as the Leviathan had gained a position to discharge her broadside into both frigates, they hauled down their colours.
The Emerald immediately proceeded in chase of the third frigate, but, appearing to lose ground in the pursuit, was recalled and ordered to secure as many as she could of the convoy; four of the largest of which, before dark, fell into her hands. In the mean time the Leviathan lay by the two Spanish frigates, until they were in a state to make sail; which was not until two hours after the surrender. The 74 then stood after the remaining frigate; but the latter had by this time so increased her distance, that the Leviathan gave up the pursuit, and proceeded with her prizes to Gibraltar.
As a proof that the Carmen and Florentina had not struck their colours without making an honourable resistance, the first, out of a crew of 390, had one officer and 10 men killed, and 16 men wounded ; the second, out of a crew of 314, one officer and 11 men killed, her captain, first lieutenant, and 10 men wounded. Each frigate was laden with 500 quintals' of quicksilver, for the use of the mines at Lima. The Carmen measured 908, and the Florentina 902 tons, and both were added to the British navy as 12-pounder 36-gun frigates.
On the 12th of April Captain Joseph Baker, of the 16-gun ship-sloop Calypso, being off Cape Tiberon, despatched the master, Mr. William Buckly, in the six-oared cutter, with 10 men, properly armed and provided, and a swivel in her bow, to cruise for two days under the cape, in order, if possible, to intercept some of the small-craft that usually navigate within a mile of the shore. On the following day, the 13th, at 11 A.M., Mr.
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