1801 - Sieqe of Porto-Ferrajo


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Sieqe of Porto-Ferrajo 95

wounded. M. Ganteaume manned his prize by detachments from the ships of his squadron ; and, after labouring at her for six days, in the most favourable weather (a tolerable proof of the state to which she had been reduced), succeeded in placing her in a condition to accompany him to Toulon: where, on the 22d of July, the squadron safely arrived.

In his public letter, Captain Hallowell, much to his credit, as well as to the credit of his captors, speaks in the highest terms of the treatment which himself, his officers, and men, experienced from the officers of M. Ganteaume's squadron, and from the French admiral in particular. On the other hand, M. Ganteaume's report of the conduct of the Swiftsure's captain, has called forth the following panegyric from a French naval writer, " Le capitaine Hallowell, se défendit avec opiniâtreté, et n'amena son pavillon que lorsqu'il se vit en danger de couler bas." * It is almost unnecessary to state, that Captain Hallowell and the late officers and crew of the Swiftsure, on their return to England, were most honourably acquitted for the loss of their ship.

Having, by a treaty concluded on the 28th of March, upon his own terms, got Naples to cede to him Porto-Longone, and the whole of the Neapolitan part of the isle of Elba, the first consul of France determined to possess himself of the remaining or Tuscan portion of the island, including the strong fortress of Porto-Ferrajo, but the garrison of which did not exceed 400 men.

On the 2d of May General Tharreau, with about 1500 men, disembarked at Porto-Longone from the opposite port of Piombino ; and, after vainly summoning, and as vainly trying to corrupt, Carlo de Fisson, the Tuscan governor, the French general commenced his investment of the place. The only British force off the port at this time were two frigates, the Phnix and Mermaid, under the orders of Captain Lawrence William Halsted, of the former. But these soon afterwards departed on some other service, and the harbour of Porto-Ferrajo was blockaded by the French 28-gun frigate Badine, and subsequently by the following French squadron

Gun

Frigate

 
38 Carrère Captain Claude-Pascal Morel-Beaulieu.
36 Bravoure Captain Louis-Auguste Dordelin.
32 Succès Captain Jac.-Fr.-Ignace Bretel, senior officer.

Towards the latter end of July, to render still more critical the state of the small garrison of Porto-Ferrajo, General Watrin, at the head of 5000 men, landed on the island to supersede General Tharreau in the command ; and, in pursuance of the orders he had received from General Murat in Tuscany, the

* Victoires et Conquêtes, tome xiv., p. 157.

Captain Hallowell defended himself with obstinacy, and surrendered only when all would be lost

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