1800 - Captain Hillyar at Barcelona


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 50

the ship; the crew of which had previously cheered, to show that they were prepared. Notwithstanding this, and that the Guépe's commander, Citizen Dupan, had laid over the hatches to keep his men to their quarters, the British resolutely boarded, and in 15 minutes carried the vessel ; with the loss of three seamen and one marine killed, three lieutenants, 12 seamen, and five marines wounded, and one seaman missing, probably drowned.

Among the wounded officers was the gallant leader of the party, Lieutenant Burke, an officer who had previously distinguished himself on more than one similar occasion ; and who, immediately after this additional proof of his gallantry, obtained the rank of commander. The two other wounded Lieutenants were John Henry Holmes and Joseph (misnamed in the Gazette James) Nourse, both of the Courageux. The loss on board the Guépe, as a proof how obstinately she had been defended, amounted to 25 men killed and 40 wounded, including among the mortally wounded, her brave commander. This formidable French privateer had been fitted out at Bordeaux, and was stored and provisioned, in the most complete manner, for a four months' cruise.

On the 3d of September, at about 8 P.M., eight boats from the 74-gun ship Minotaur, Captain Thomas Louis, and armed en flûte (late 12-pounder 32-gun) frigate Niger, Captain James Hillyar, placed under the orders of the latter, assisted by Lieutenants Charles Marsh Schomberg, and Thomas Warrand, Midshipmen James Lowry, and Richard Standish Haly, and Lieutenant of marines John Jewell, proceeded to cut out or destroy two Spanish armed ships, or corvettes, at anchor in Barcelona roads; one, the Conception, alias Esmeralda, the other, the Paz, each described as mounting 22 long 12 and 8 pounders, and laden with stores, reported, but which did not prove to be the case, for the relief of Malta.

At the time these eight boats were detached upon the service, one of them was boarding a Swedish galliot bound into the port; and, to join this boat and give directions to her commander, Captain Hillyar pulled, in the first instance, for the galliot. On arriving alongside the latter, the British boats hooked on, and they and the Swedish galliot of course stood together towards the mole of Barcelona.

Having approached within about three quarters of a mile of the nearest battery, and being reminded, by two shots which passed over the galliot, that it was time to retire from under the shelter of a neutral vessel, Captain Hillyar and his party pulled away towards the object of attack. Shortly afterwards the outermost of the two Spanish armed ships, the Esmeralda, discharged her broadside at the boats, but without effect, her shot falling short. Pushing on with their accustomed alacrity, the British were alongside the Esmeralda before the ship could

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