1800 - Capture of the Concorde and Médée


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Capture of the Concorde and Médée 45

the aid of the two other boats, the British towed out their prize, under a heavy but ineffectual fire from the batteries.

The language of Sir Edward Pellew, in his letter to Earl St.-Vincent, describing the affair, is so very energetic and appropriate, that we cannot do better than transcribe his words : " I trust I shall stand excused by your lordship for so minute a description, produced by my admiration of that courage, which, hand to hand, gave victory to a handful of brave fellows over four times their number, and of that skill which formed, conducted, and effected so daring an enterprise." The officers and men of Sir Edward's squadron, to mark their sense of such distinguished bravery, gave up the Cerbère as a prize to the conquerors ; and Earl St.-Vincent was so much pleased with Mr. Coghlan's intrepidity, that he presented him with a handsome sword. Moreover, the young man obtained, what his aspiring mind valued above all other gifts, a confirmation of his rank as lieutenant ; and that, although he had not quite served the time, which the regulations of the navy required, and which had never been dispensed with, we believe, previous to this gallant affair.

On the 4th of August, soon after daylight, the British 64-gun ship Belliqueux, Captain Rowley Bulteel, being off the coast of Brazil with a fleet of outward-bound Indiamen under her protection, discovered four sail in the north-west or leeward quarter, steering about north by east. These were the French 40-gun frigate Concorde, Commodore Jean-François Landolphe, 36-gun frigates Médée, Captain Jean-Daniel Coudin, and Franchise, Captain Pierre Jurien, and a captured American schooner fitted out as a tender. This squadron had sailed from Rochefort on the 6th of March, 1799; and, after committing serious depredations, upon the coast of Africa, had refitted at Rio de la Plata.

At 7 a.m., hoping to pick up a prize or two, the French commodore hauled his wind, tacked, and stood towards the convoy; which, to facilitate the junction, bore down. At noon, when a nearer approach brought into full view the China ships with their two tiers of ports and warlike appearance, the French ships bore up under a press of sail, and by signal separated.

The Belliqueux immediately steered for the Concorde as the largest ship ; and at 5 h. 30 m. p.m., after a partial firing of about 10 minutes' duration, by which no one on either side appears to have been hurt, compelled the French commodore, with a crew, as asserted, of 444 men, to haul down his colours. In the mean time four of the Indiamen, the Exeter, Captain Henry Meriton, Bombay-Castle, Captain John Hamilton, Coutts, Captain Robert Torin, and Neptune, Captain Nathaniel Spens, all 1200-ton ships, had been ordered by signal to proceed in chase; the first two, of the Médée, and the other two, of the Franchise.

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