1801 - Cruise of Admiral Ganteaume, His successes in the Mediterranean, Capture of Success and Sprightly


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 British and French Fleets - Mediterranean 90

that rank until two years and eight months (September 24, 1803) had elapsed since the date of the action upon the merits of which M. Dordelin founded his pretensions.

After this exploit by one of his squadron, Commodore Moncousu pursued his way towards the Straits ; and on the 30th, off Cape Spartel, the first appointed rendezvous, effected his junction with Rear-admiral Ganteaume ; who, on the preceding evening, after a long chase, had captured the British ship-sloop, or fire-ship, Incendiary, Captain Richard Dalling Dunn. Imitating the example of some British admirals and captains, M. Ganteaume described his prize as " of, " when he should have said, " pierced for, " 28 guns. The Incendiary, we believe, mounted only sixteen 18-pounder carronades ; but the Spitfire, and one or two others of the Incendiary's class, were established with 24 guns, for which, by opening their maindeck ports, they had ample room.

After destroying his prize, Rear-admiral Ganteaume stood towards the Straits; and, on the morning of the 9th of February, passed through them into the Mediterranean under a press of sail. The only sea-going ship at this time at Gibraltar, the 12 pounder 32-gun frigate Success, Captain Shuldham Peard, immediately weighed and steered after the French squadron. Having no doubt that M. Ganteaume's destination was Egypt, Captain Peard intended, if he could, to pass him on the passage, and apprize Lord Keith of his expected arrival. On the 10th, in the morning, the Success came up with the French ships off Cape de Gata, where the second rendezvous had been appointed, and passed them in the night. During the whole of the 11th and 12th, owing chiefly to light and variable winds, the French squadron kept sight of the Success. Soon after dark the wind began to blow fresh from the southward ; and, as the Success went occasionally at the rate of nine knots an hour, Captain Peard flattered himself that he should see no more of his pursuers. At daylight on the 13th, however, the leading French ships were close up with the British frigate. Finding escape impossible, Captain Peard, with great judgment, put back to the westward, not only to retard the French admiral in his progress, but to expose him to the risk of meeting any British force that might have been detached in pursuit. At noon the wind fell ; and at 3 P.M., after two or three of the line-of-battle ships had got within musket-shot and opened their fire, the Success hauled down her flag.

Learning from his prisoners, among whom were the officers and crew of the Sprightly cutter, Lieutenant Robert Jump, captured and scuttled on the 10th, that Admiral Lord Keith, and Rear-admiral Sir Richard Bickerton were already, where they did not arrive until more than a fortnight afterwards, upon the coast of Egypt with a great force, and that Rear-admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, with a force about equal to his own,

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