1800 - Gipsy and Quidproquo


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 52

 Spanish schooner Santa-Ritta, mounting 10 long 6-pounders and two English 12-pounder carronades, with about 85 men, and accompanied by three gun-boats also under Spanish colours, and which, as well as the schooner, had the day before been equipped by the governor of Puerto-Caballo, on purpose to capture the Rover, came out from near the land to fulfil their orders. The light breeze which had been blowing having died away, the schooner and two of the gun-boats, by the aid of a number of oars, gained fast upon the brig ; keeping up as they advanced a steady fire from their bow-guns, which the Rover returned with two guns pointed from her stern, and, as her opponents drew near, with her small-arms also.

Apprized, by their motions, that the schooner intended to board on the starboard quarter, and the two gun-boats (the third appeared to keep aloof) on the opposite bow and quarter, the Rover suffered them to advance until they got within about 15 yards of her: she then manned her oars on the larboard side, and, pulling quickly round, brought her starboard broadside to bear right athwart the schooner's bow ; upon whose decks, then filled with men ready for boarding, the brig poured a whole broadside of round and grape. Immediately after this, her active crew passed over to the guns on the opposite side, and raked the two gun-boats in a similar manner. The Rover then commenced a close action with the Santa-Ritta, and continued it for an hour and a half ; when finding her opponent's fire grow slack, the Rover, by the aid of a light air of wind, backed her head-sails, and brought her stern in contact with the schooner's side. The British crew then rushed on board of, and with scarcely a show of opposition carried, the Santa-Ritta. The two gun-boats, seeing the fate of their consort, sheered off, apparently in a very shattered state.

Notwithstanding this long and hard-fought action, the Rover had not a man hurt; while, on board the Santa-Ritta, every officer, except the commander of a detachment of 25 soldiers, was killed: the whole of the killed, as found on the deck, amounted to 14, and the wounded to 17. The prisoners including the latter, numbered 71. These, being too many to be kept on board, were all, except eight, landed ; the Rover's captain having previously taken from them the usual obligation not to serve again until exchanged. This was an achievement that did great honour to Captain Godfrey, his officers, and crew ; and proved how well the hardy sons of British America could emulate their brother-tars of the parent country.

On the 8th of October, at 8 A.M., the British schooner Gipsy (tender to the 74-gun ship Leviathan, Captain James Carpenter, bearing the flag of Rear-admiral Duckworth), of 10 long 4-pounders and 42 men, commanded by Lieutenant Coryndon Boger, cruising off the north end of Guadeloupe, chased and soon overtook an armed sloop; which, on the schooner's firing a

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