1801 - Capture of the Dédaigneuse, Bordelais with Curieux and consorts


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 136

inability to struggle with the waves. The loss on board the Santa-Maria, as acknowledged by her officers, amounted to five men killed and nine wounded, including her commander, who, poor fellow, had both his hands carried away by a grape-shot.

It took some hours ere the tender, with the help of the prize's anchors and cables (her own having parted in a gale four days before), was again got afloat ; and, before that could be effected, the 12-pounder, then in a disabled state, was obliged to be thrown overboard. The Spanish inhabitants having collected along and opened a fire from the shore, and the prize having grounded too fast to be got off, Lieutenant Fitton set the Santa-Maria on fire; but not until he had taken out of her what was most wanted for his own vessel, and had landed as well the living of her crew, for whom, being without a 'tween-decks, he had no room, as, from a respect to the scruples even of an enemy, the five that were dead. Having thus destroyed a Spanish garda-costa of very superior force, the Abergavenny's tender sailed back to Jamaica, and on the fourth day reached Black-River with scarcely a gallon of water on board.

On the 26th of January, at 8 a.m., in latitude 45' north, longitude 12° west, the British 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Oiseau, Captain Samuel Hood Linzee, fell in with and chased the French 36-gun frigate Dédaigneuse, bound from Cayenne to Rochefort with despatches. The Oiseau continued the pursuit alone until noon on the 27th ; when, Cape Finisterre in sight, the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigates Sirius and Amethyst, Captains Richard King and John Cooke, joined in the chase. But so well did the Dédaigneuse maintain her advantage, that it was not until 2 a.m. on the 28th, that the Sirius and Oiseau got near enough to receive a fire from her stern-chasers.

After a running fight of 45 minutes, and a loss of " several " men killed and 17 wounded, among the latter her captain (not named in the official letter) and fifth lieutenant, the French frigate, when about two miles from the shore near Cape Belem, hauled down her colours. The only British ship struck by the shot of the Dédaigneuse was the Sirius; and she did not have a man hurt, but had her rigging and sails a trifle damaged, and her main yard and bowsprit slightly wounded. The Dédaigneuse, a fine little frigate of 897 tons, was afterwards added to the British navy under the same name as a 12-pounder 36.

On the 29th of January, at noon, the British 24-gun ship Bordelais, Captain Thomas Manby, while cruising to windward of Barbadoes, discovered, in chase of her to windward, two men-of-war brigs and a schooner. The Bordelais immediately shortened sail to comply with their wishes ; and, at sunset, the French national brigs, Curieux, of 18 long 8-pounders and 168 men, Captain Georges Radelet, and Mutine, of 16 long 6-pounders and 156 men, and the schooner Espérance, of six 4-pounders and 52 men, got within gun-shot. At 6 p.m., having wore

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