1800 - Boat-attacks at Quimper, and Noirmoutier


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 40

from the Fisgard, by Lieutenant William Dean, and Lieutenant of marines Mark A. Gerrard, two from the Defence, by Lieutenant Thomas Stamp, and two from the Unicorn, by Lieutenant William Price, assembled on board the Fisgard, then at anchor as near as possible to the shore. At 11 P.M., favoured by the darkness, Lieutenant Burke proceeded to execute the service intrusted to him. The freshness of the wind prevented the boats from reaching the enemy's anchorage until after daylight on the 11th; when, in opposition to a heavy battery, three armed vessels, and a constant fire of musketry from the shore, the British captured one gun-boat, Nochette, mounting two long 24-pounders, two chasse-marées, one of six, the other of 10 guns, and eight merchant vessels. The remainder of the convoy, amounting to 20 sail, escaped capture by running upon the rocks.

This spirited little affair cost the British only three seamen and one marine wounded. Among the officers not already named, who distinguished themselves on the occasion, were acting Lieutenant Henry Jane of the Renown, master's mate John Fleming, and Lieutenant Killogrivoff, a volunteer from the Russian service.

On the night of the 23d of June the same British squadron, with the exception of the Unicorn, having anchored off the Glénans, the boats, under the immediate direction of Captain Martin, proceeded to attack a French corvette mounting 28 guns, a brig of 18, lugger of 16, and cutter of 10 guns, lying at anchor, in company with several sail of merchant vessels, in Quimper river. At daybreak on the 24th the boats arrived off the entrance of the river; and, for their protection in ascending it, two divisions of marines were landed, that on the right commanded by Lieutenant Henry Burke of the Renown, and that on the left, by Lieutenant Mark A. Gerrard, of the Fisgard's marines. The boats, under Lieutenant Robert Yarker, in the mean time, pulled with all expedition to the attack, but soon found that the vessels had retired to an inaccessible distance up the river. Lieutenant Yarker then landed, and stormed, carried, and blew up, a battery mounted with two or three 24-pounders. Two other small forts, with their magazines, were also blown up by the British before they returned to their ships, and that without the occurrence of a single casualty.

Having received information that a French corvette, with a large convoy from Sable-d'Olonne bound to Brest, was lying within the island of Noirmoutier, Sir John on the 1st of July anchored in Bourneuf bay, with the intention of detaching the boats of his three ships against this force, consisting of the armed ship Therése, of 20 guns, a lugger of 12 guns, and a cutter and two schooners, each of six guns, moored within the sands at the bottom of the bay, in a strong position of defence, and under the protection of six batteries at the south-east end of Noirmoutier, besides flanking guns at every projecting point.

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