1800 - Destruction of the Réolaise, Lieutenant Argles in Quiberon bay


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1800 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 58

of Lisbon, Lieutenant Bond received information that a Spanish privateer-schooner was lurking in the neighbourhood, and that the vessels of the Newfoundland convoy, being dispersed, were daily expected to approach the Tagus. Having, in the evening, stood in close to the shore, the Netley, after dark, discovered the above privateer, and a brig-prize which she had that morning made, at anchor. Despatching her boat to take possession of the brig, the Netley gallantly ran on board of, and, dropping her anchor, carried, without the discharge of a shot or the loss of a man, the Spanish privateer San-Miguel, alias l'Alerta, of nine guns, described as 18 and 6 pounders, and 65 men. With these her two prizes, the Netley, on the 8th, anchored in the Tagus.

On the 17th of November the British 74-gun ship Captain, Captain Sir Richard John Strachan, 32-gun frigate Magicienne, Captain William Ogilvy, and hired armed cutter Nile, Lieutenant George Argles, and lugger Soworrow, Lieutenant James Nicholson, cruising off the entrance of the Morbihan, to intercept a French convoy, discovered the French 20-gun ship-corvette Réolaise, the commodore of a convoy, endeavouring to get under the protection of the batteries. The Nile, by her skilful management, prevented the corvette from reaching the north shore ; and the latter, upon the Magicienne's approach, ran into Port Navalo; where she took the ground, and struck her colours.

Captain Ogilvy immediately despatched the boats of the Magicienne, under the orders of Lieutenants George Skottowe and the Honourable Edward Rodney, to endeavour to board and bring off or destroy the corvette; but the Réolaise re-hoisting her colours, and making sail, fired upon the boats and ran further into the port. On seeing this the Magicienne recalled her boats. Lieutenant Rodney, however, being determined not to return empty-handed, gallantly captured, with his single boat, a merchant vessel from under one of the batteries.

Being resolved to attempt the destruction of the corvette, Sir Richard sent the boats of his little squadron, under the orders of Lieutenant William Hennah, assisted by Lieutenants Charles Clyde and Richard William Clarke (the latter, of the Marlborough, a portion of whose men were also present), and also, we believe by the two lieutenants already named of the Magicienne. The enterprise, thus intrusted to Lieutenant Hennah, was conducted with great judgment and gallantry; and, notwithstanding a heavy fire from the shore on all sides, the Réolaise was boarded and destroyed. To add to the value of this exploit, it was performed with no greater loss to the British than one seaman killed and seven wounded.

On the 7th of December the Nile cutter, while cruising off the mouth of the river Vilaine in Quiberon bay, discovered a convoy of 15 or 16 vessels coming round the point of Croisic;

* See p. 6.

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