1801 - Capture of Carrère, Recapture of Success


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 British and French Fleets - Mediterranean 96

newly-arrived French general began the most active preparations for reducing the fortress.

On the 1st of August Rear-admiral Sir John Warren, with the Renown and squadron, arrived off the island, and, chasing the Bravoure and Succès into Leghorn, raised the blockade of Porto-Ferrajo.

On the 3d, at 2 h. 30 m. P.M., the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Phœnix, Captain Lawrence William Halsted, 18-pounder 40-gun frigate Pomone, Captain Edward Leveson Gower, and 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Pearl, Captain Samuel James Ballard, cruising off the west side of the island of Elba, discovered the Carrère, on her passage from Porto-Ercole to Porto-Longone, with 300 barrels of powder on board, and a convoy of small vessels in charge laden with ordnance-stores and provisions.

At 8 h. 10 m. P.M., after the interchange of a few shot from bow and stern chasers, and a resistance alongside of about 10 minutes' duration, the Carrère hauled down her colours to the Pomone, the only British ship near enough to open a fire. Out of her complement of about 320 men and boys, the Pomone lost her boatswain (Thomas Cook) and one quartermaster killed, and one lieutenant of marines (Charles Douglas, loss of a leg [by Ed : although a letter from the ship, then at Port Mahon, received by the London Courier and Evening Gazette newspaper 12 Oct advises that, he later died.]) and one seaman mortally, and two other seamen slightly wounded. The loss on board the Carrère is not stated in Captain Halsted's letter; but, according to the French account, it was tolerably severe. The whole of the convoy appear to have escaped, and one or two of the vessels to have got into Longone. [By Ed : The letter advises that 4 other prizes were taken off Elba, one since retaken with Lt Nagle and 7 men on board ; another foundered ; and 2 were taken, safely, to Minorca.] [By Ed : more recently the Pomone engaged 3 batteries near Barcelona for 4 hours, drove part of a convoy on shore and destroyed them. The First Lieutenant got blown up, but is since recovered. Mr Cardew of the Engineers is ashore.]

The Carrère was a fine Venetian-built frigate of 1013 tons, and mounted the same guns as those assigned to her class, in the small table at p. 54, vol. i., except that she had only two carronades, and therefore but 40 guns in all, and that her 8-pounders were brass. Her complement, as deposed to by her officers, was 352. The Carrère became added to the British navy as an 18-pounder 36-gun frigate, but her reign as a cruising ship was a short one.

Finding, towards the end of August, that the Phœnix was at anchor alone off Piombino, a port on the main land of Tuscany, distant about seven miles from the north-east extremity of Elba, General Watrin sent orders to Captain Bretel at anchor in Leghorn mole, to get under way with his two frigates, and endeavour to capture the British frigate. Accordingly, on the evening of the 31st, the Succès and Bravoure put to sea upon that service.

On the 2d of September, very early in the morning, these two frigates, just as they were about to enter the Piombino channel, fell in with and chased the British 38-gun frigate Minerve, Captain George Cockburn ; who, at 6 h. 30 m., made the signal for an enemy to the Phœnix, then at anchor in the south-east in company with the Pomone, who had rejoined two days before. The two last-named frigates, getting quickly under way, bore up

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