1800 - Lark and French privateer, Boat-attacks at St.-Croix


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Boat Attacks at St.-Croix, Quimper, &c. 39

Buckly perceived, and immediately pulled towards, a schooner lying becalmed under the land. As the boat approached within hail, the schooner desired her to keep off, and, finding the order not attended to, opened upon her a fire of musketry. Heedless of this, the British in the boat boarded, and after a short but smart conflict on the deck carried, the French privateer-schooner Diligente, of six carriage-guns, 30 stands of arms, and 39 men actually on board. In this very gallant boat-attack, the British had only one man wounded ; the French, seven, and those dangerously.

On the 21st of April, at 6 h. 30 m. A.M., the British hired lugger Lark, of 14 guns (twelve 12-pounder carronades and two fours), and 50 men and boys, Lieutenant Thomas Henry Wilson, cruising off the Vlie passage into the Texel, discovered and chased a French cutter-privateer, which, after the exchange of a few broadsides, ran herself on shore ; but, as the Lark was unable to get near enough to destroy her, this privateer eventually got off and reached in safety the Texel road.

On the 25th, at 2 P.M., the Lark chased and soon came up with another French cutter-privateer, which, after engaging the lugger for some time, ran on shore upon the Vlie island. Here the cutter, which was the Imprenable, Captain Sparrow, of 12 long 3, and two long 8 pounders, and a crew of 60 men, defended herself pretty well for nearly an hour; at the end of which her men began escaping to the shore, under the cover of a party of troops estimated at about 100.

Seeing this, Lieutenant Wilson put off in the Lark's small boat, and directed the master, Mr. Thomas Geltins, to follow in the large boat. With his handful of men, and in the face of a smart fire of musketry from the shore, to which by this time all the French crew had escaped, Lieutenant Wilson boarded the Imprenable. Finding his endeavours to get the cutter afloat greatly impeded by the musketry from the troops, the lieutenant detached the master in the large boat to dislodge them from the sand-banks behind which they had taken shelter. This done, the British succeeded, without the slightest loss, in getting off the privateer, and carried her into Yarmouth roads. To add to the value of this gallant exploit, the Imprenable had been a great pest to British commerce in the North Sea.

On the 10th of June Rear-admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, cruising off the Penmarcks with the Renown and Defence 74s, Captains Thomas Eyles and Lord Henry Paulet, and Fisgard and Unicorn frigates, Captains Thomas Byam Martin and Philip Wilkinson, detached the boats of the squadron to attempt to cut out or destroy a convoy of brigs and chasse-marées lying at St.-Croix, a small harbour within the Penmarck rocks, and known to be laden with wine and provisions for the Brest fleet.

In the evening the boats, eight in number, namely, two from the Renown, commanded by Lieutenant Henry Burke, two

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