1801 - Destruction of Bravoure


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Sieqe of Porto-Ferrajo 97

in chase under all sail; and at 9 A.M. descried the Succès and Bravoure to the northward, steering back towards Leghorn, pursued by the Minerve.

At about 10 h. 30 m. A.M., finding herself dropping astern of her consort, the Succès ran aground on the shore of Vada ; and, upon receiving a shot from the Minerve in passing, hauled down her colours without firing a single gun in return. While the Minerve stood on in chase of the Bravoure, the Pomone took, possession of the Succès, or, as now again entitled to be called, the Success. The wind, shifting to the northward, frustrated, every attempt of the Bravoure to reach Leghorn ; and the French frigate, after missing stays, and vainly attempting to wear, got on shore under the Antignano battery, about four miles to the southward of the mole. Here the three masts of the Bravoure soon went by the board, and the ship became totally lost. Owing to the height of the surf and the approach of night, and to the enemy on shore firing upon the boats, Lieutenant William Kelly, first of the Minerve, who had been sent to board the Bravoure, was not able to bring away more than a few prisoners.

By the exertions of Lieutenant Charles Thompson of the Phnix, and the officers and men under his orders, the Success was at length got afloat without receiving any material injury, and was restored to her rank in the British navy. This capture of one, and destruction of a second French frigate, was performed without any loss on the part of the British. A contemporary, with his accustomed inaccuracy in regard to the force of ships, calls the Bravoure " an 18-pound frigate," * although Captain Halsted, in his letter to Sir John Warren, expressly states that the Bravoure mounted " twenty-eight 12-pounders on the main deck, with 283 men." In adding that the Bravoure was " of 46 guns, " Captain Halsted must of course have adopted the report of Captain Cockburn; but, according to a document now before us, the Bravoure was pierced, exclusive of two pairs of bow-chase ports, for no more than 40 guns ; although, by filling every port on her main deck, we have elsewhere assigned her 42.

Shortly after these French frigates, hitherto so annoying to the garrison of Porto-Ferrajo, had thus been disposed of, Lieutenant-colonel George Airey, whom General Fox had recently sent to supersede Captain Gordon in the command of the few British troops in the fortress, applied to Rear-admiral Sir John Warren, who had arrived off Porto-Ferrajo on the 12th of September, for a detachment of marines and seamen from the squadron, to assist in an attack upon some of the French batteries, those especially which shut up the port. This was acceded to, and arrangements were forthwith made for an active co-operation on the part of the squadron, which consisted of the

*Brenton, vol. iii., p. 50. See p. 89.

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