1800 - Lieutenant Beaufort at Fuengirola


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Lieutenant Beaufort at Fuengirola 55

Atlantic*) in publicly acknowledging, that " the captain of the Berceau fought his ship gallantly, so long as she was in a situation capable of being defended." Captors, did they but know their true interest, always gain by such acts of fairness. The public places a greater reliance upon their remaining statements ; and, after all, is there not more honour in conquering a brave than a cowardly enemy ?

As soon as she had cleared away the wreck of the Berceau's masts, and properly secured her own, the Boston took her prize in tow, and on the 14th of November anchored with her in Nantucket road. A treaty of peace had, since the 30th of September, been signed at Paris between France and America ; and the Berceau, after being thoroughly repaired and refitted, was restored to the French government.

On the 27th of October, late in the evening, the boats of the British 38-gun frigate Phaëton, Captain James Nicholl Morris, placed under the orders of her first Lieutenant, Francis Beaufort, supported by Lieutenant George Huish, Lieutenant of marines, Duncan Campbell, and midshipmen Augustus Barrington Hamilton and Anthony Collings Stanton, proceeded to attack the Spanish national polacre-ship San-Josef, mounting two long 24-pounders in the bow, two long brass 18-pounders for sternchasers, and four 12 and six 4-pounders, all brass, on her sides, having on board 34 seamen (out of a crew of 49, a boat's crew being absent) and 22 soldiers or marines, and lying moored under the protection of five guns mounted upon the fortress of Fuengirola, near Malaga.

The launch, with an 18-pounder carronade in her, not being able to keep up with the barge and two cutters, Lieutenant Beaufort was proceeding with only the latter, when he was unexpectedly fired at by a French privateer-schooner, which had entered unseen in the night, and lay in a position to flank the ship. The three boats, however, still advanced ; and on the 28th, at 5 A.M., in the face of an obstinate resistance of musketry and sabres, boarded, carried, and brought off the polacre.

In this gallant affair one seaman was killed alongside Lieutenant Beaufort was first wounded in the head, and afterwards received several slugs through his left arm and in his body; Lieutenant Campbell received several slight sabre-wounds ; and Mr. Hamilton was shot through the thigh while in the boat; notwithstanding which he gallantly boarded with the rest. A seaman also was wounded ; making the loss, on the part of the British, one killed and four wounded. Of the San-Josef's crew, six men were found badly, and 13 slightly, wounded.

Being a fine fast-sailing little vessel, the San-Josef was immediately commissioned as a British sloop of war under the name of Calpé, the ancient name of Gibraltar. It would have

* The Boston writers, for instance, in their account of this very action, declared that the two ships were " of nearly equal force,"

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