1801 - Mercury's boats, Capture of the Sans-Pareille, Boats of Cyane at Guadaloupe, Capture of Eclair


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Capture of the Sans-Pareille 133

mate (Robert Darling), 10 seamen, one corporal and four privates of marines, and Lieutenant Christie of the African corps wounded; total, 11 killed and 18 wounded.

On the 6th of January the British 28-gun frigate Mercury, Captain Thomas Rogers, cruising in the gulf of Lyons, fell in with a convoy of about 20 sail of vessels, bound from Cette to Marseilles, under the escort of two or three French gun-boats. The weather being nearly calm, Captain Rogers despatched his boats (but how commanded does not appear in the gazette-letter) to attack the convoy ; 15 of which, including two ships and four brigs, and all deeply laden with brandy, sugar, corn, wine, oil, and other merchandise, were brought off with very little resistance and no loss, the gun-boats having all fled upon the Mercury's approach.

On the 20th, the island of Sardinia bearing east-south-east, distant 40 leagues, and the wind blowing fresh, the Mercury fell in with, and after a nine hours' chase captured, without loss or resistance, the French 20-gun ship-corvette Sans-Pareille, of 18 brass 8-pounders and two brass 36-pounder carronades, and (the London Gazette says, " fifteen," but the French captain's deposition in the prize-court) 155 men, commanded by Lieutenant Gabriel Renaud, from Toulon the day preceding, bound to Alexandria, with a full cargo of shot, arms, medicines, and supplies of every kind, for the French army. Although described as quite a new vessel, and well-found with stores of every description, the prize does not appear to have been added to the British navy. [She would appear to have been purchased into the Service in the Mediterranean and her name changed to Delight.]

On the 15th of January, while the 20-gun ship Daphne, Captain Richard Matson, 18-gun ship-sloops Cyane and Hornet, Captains Henry Matson and James Nash, and schooner-tender Garland, were at an anchor in the harbour of the Saintes, a convoy of French coasters, in charge of an armed schooner, was observed standing across towards Vieux-Fort, island of Guadeloupe. At midnight the Garland schooner, accompanied by two boats from each of the three ships, under the command of Lieutenants Kenneth Mackenzie and Francis Peachey, was despatched to attempt the capture or destruction of the convoy. The whole of the vessels, however, except one, succeeded in getting under the guns of Basse-terre. That one, having anchored near Vieux-Fort, was boarded and brought off under a heavy but apparently harmless cannonade.

On the 17th in the afternoon, the French schooner Eclair, of four long 4-pounders, twenty 1 pounder brass swivels, and 45 men, the escort of the convoy in question, was observed to put into Trois-Rivières, and anchor under the protection of one principal battery and two smaller flanking ones. Lieutenants Mackenzie and Peachey volunteered to attempt cutting her out. For this purpose the first-named officer, with 25 seamen and marines, went on board the Garland ; and at 5 a.m. on the

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