1801 - Concorde and Bravoure


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 British and French Fleets - Mediterranean 88

on the 8th, got under way, and stood through the passage du Raz ; but here, contrary to his expectation, he was discovered and chased by a division of the Channel fleet under the command of Vice-admiral Sir Henry Harvey. This obliged the French admiral to regain the coast; and he soon afterwards came to an anchor at the mouth of the river Vilaine. Thence, in order that the British might be led to suppose he had no other object in view than the other French squadrons in motion at this time, M. Ganteaume subsequently departed, steering for the road of Brest; where he anchored, as if the service he had been detached upon was executed.

Here lay the French admiral, waiting for a northerly gale of wind, to blow the British blockading force off the coast. On the 23d a storm arose, favourable alike in direction and violence; and late on that night the squadron of M. Ganteaume weighed and put to sea. The only safe passage under such circumstances, that of Iroise, was now entirely free from British cruisers; but such was the violence of the gale that, besides carrying away the topmasts of several of the ships, it separated the Indivisible and Créole from the rest of the squadron..

On the 27th of January, at 9 P.M., Cape Finisterre bearing east half-north distant 25 leagues, the British 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Concorde, Captain Robert Barton, while steering to the eastward, discovered by the light of the moon seven large ships, about two miles to windward, under easy sail, standing to the westward. These were the Indomptable, Formidable, Desaix, Constitution, Jean-Bart, Dix-Août, and Bravoure, under the orders of Commodore Moncousu.

One of the 74s and the frigate immediately bore up in chase; whereupon the Concorde, casting off a Swedish ship she had in tow, made sail ahead. In a little time the line-of-battle ship, hauling up again, steered to rejoin her squadron; while the Bravoure continued bearing away in chase of the Concorde. As soon as she had reached what was considered to be a distance of about six miles from the French squadron, the Concorde hove to, and, by the usual mode of signalling, presently convinced herself that the ship in chase of her was not a friend.

After a mutual hail, an order to strike to a French frigate, and a volley of musketry, the Bravoure ranged up on the Concorde's lee side, and gave and returned a heavy fire; until, passing on, she shot so far ahead as to bring the Concorde on her larboard quarter. In this position the latter kept her opponent warmly and closely engaged, for about half an hour; when the fire of the Bravoure ceased, and almost at the same instant one of her boats and some other wreck fell from her stern and larboard quarter. Captain Barton now concluded that his antagonist, having discontinued the action, had surrendered ; but presently the Bravoure was observed making sail, and soon stood away before the wind. The damaged state of the Concorde's running

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