1801 - Sir James Saumarez at Algeziras


Next Page

Previous Page
Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Sir James Saumarez at Algeziras 113

of Valetta, island of Malta, to revictual, preparatory to his Pursuit of M. Ganteaume, of whom he had just received intelligence. Delayed by head winds, M. Linois was not able, until towards the end of the month, to double Cape de Gata.

On the 1st of July the French ships, then working against a strong west-north-west wind, were seen from Gibraltar; where the only British vessel of war at anchor was the 14-gun polacre-sloop Calpé, Captain the Honourable George Heneage Lawrence Dundas. On the 2d M. Linois captured a small British brig employed as a packet to Minorca; and on the 3d, when more than two thirds through the Straits, the French admiral was so fortunate as to capture, but not until she had resorted to every manúuvre to escape which her skilful commander could devise, the 14-gun brig-sloop Speedy, Captain Lord Cochrane. Learning now that Cadiz was blockaded by a superior force, Rear-admiral Linois, with his squadron and prizes, bore up for Algeziras. On the 4th, at about 10 a.m., he rounded Cabrita point in sight of the Calpé at her anchorage, and at 5 p.m. came to with his ships in front of the town of Algeziras, still in full view of the British at the rock.

At this time the British squadron stationed off Cadiz consisted of the:

Gun Ship  
80 Cæsar Rear-admiral (b.) Sir James Saumarez
Captain Jahleel Brenton
74 Pompée Captain Charles Sterling
74 Spencer Captain Henry D'Esterre Darby
74 Venerable Captain Samuel Hood
74 Superb Captain Richard Goodwin Keats
74 Hannibal Captain Solomon Ferris
74 Audacious Captain Shuldham Peard
Frigate Thames  
Brig Pasley  

On the 5th of July, at 2 a.m., Lieutenant Richard Janvarin, who had been despatched from Gibraltar by Captain Dundas of the Calpé, joined the Cæsar in a boat, and informed Sir James of the appearance off the rock of the squadron of M. Linois, endeavouring to get to the westward. The British squadron in Cadiz bay consisted now of only six sail of the line, the Superb having, since the 1st of the month, been detached to watch the entrance of the Guadalquivir, a river about 18 miles to the northward.

Sir James and the ships with him immediately tacked off shore. At daylight another despatch vessel from Gibraltar boarded the Thames, with intelligence of the French squadron's having put into Algeziras. The frigate was immediately despatched by the Rear-admiral to recall the Superb, then in the north by east with her topgallants just above the horizon, and direct Captain Keats to follow the squadron to Algeziras. At 8 a.m. the Cæsar made the signal to prepare for battle, and for anchoring by the stern; and immediately afterwards bore away for the gut, with a moderate breeze from the northward and westward. In the mean time the Superb, to whom at about

^ back to top ^