1801 - Sailing of Spanish squadron and its arrival at Algeziras


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 British and Franco-Spanish Fleets 124

intends burning us at our anchorage: it is in your power to save for the republic three fine ships of the line and a frigate, by merely ordering the Cadiz squadron to come and seek us. "

Even these urgent calls would in all probability have failed in their effect, had not Rear-admiral Dumanoir been on the spot to unite his solicitations with those of Rear-admiral Linois. Thus pressed, Admiral Massaredo, on the afternoon of the 8th, ordered Vice-admiral Don Juan Joaquin de Moreno, with five Spanish and one Franco-Spanish sail of the line, three frigates, and a lugger, to anchor in the outer road ready for a start by the land-wind of the next morning. This movement was seen by the Superb, then with the Thames and Pasley cruising off the port.

How these vessels happened to be here, when the Superb had been ordered to follow the squadron to Algeziras, may require some explanation. About three hours after the latter ship, still lying nearly becalmed, had lost sight of the rearmost of the ships with Sir James, an American vessel from the Mediterranean gave information that she had seen a French squadron of three sail of the line come out of Algeziras bay, and had left the ships well towards the African shore, standing out of the Straits. Inclining to think that the French admiral, if met by Sir James, as the American master had no doubt would be the case, would run direct for the Mediterranean ; considering that, by the delay which had unavoidably happened, the Superb had lost all chance of joining the admiral in time to be of any service; and having not the slightest apprehension of the result of a contest at sea between three French and six British sail of the line, Captain Keats judged it to be the wisest plan to return off Cadiz, and, with his 74, frigate, and brig, watch the motions of the immeasurably superior force at anchor in that port.

On the 9th, at daylight, the Franco-Spanish squadron put to sea, all except the Saint-Antoine 74, which either got aground, or, not being able to fetch out, came again to an anchor. The remaining five sail of the line, three frigates, and a lugger, made sail towards the Gut, preceded by the Superb, Thames, and Pasley. Early in the afternoon the brig came crowding into Gibraltar with the signal for an enemy flying; and at 3 p.m., while the Spanish squadron was hauling round Cabrita point, the Superb and Thames, by signal from the Cæsar, came to an anchor in Gibraltar bay. Shortly afterwards the squadron from Cadiz was seen from the rock to cast anchor in the road of Algeziras. On the next morning the San-Antonio, or, as her recent change of ownership entitled her to be called, Saint-Antoine, anchored with Rear-admiral Moreno's squadron.

That the object of this reinforcement was to conduct in safety to Cadiz the squadron of M. Linois was well known at the rock; and nothing could surpass the exertions of the British officers and men to get their damaged ships ready for sea. The Pompée

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