1801 - Boats of Andromache at Levita


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Phoebe and Africaine 141

which would have been in the proportion of nearly three to one, could the whole of the Africaine's crew and supernumeraries, in the event of boarding for instance, have been in a situation to act. But, as a combat to be decided by great guns only, an allowance is requisite, and a considerable one too, for that which a mere confrontation of figures can never explain, the lumbered state of the French ship's decks; an inconvenience which the troops themselves, by their valour, their mistaken valour, contributed to increase. Although their musketry could be of little or no avail in the dark, yet, upon the same erroneous principle that so augmented the loss among the soldiers on board one of the British ships at Copenhagen, they considered it as point of honour to remain on deck and be mowed down by scores.

Circumstanced as he was, Commodore Saulnier acted as wisely in endeavouring to avoid a contest, as, when it actually began did the officers, ship's company, soldiers, and all that were board the Africaine, heroically, in defending their ship until she was reduced to a sinking state, and they to half their origin number ; all by the heavy, the searching, the irresistible broadsides of the Phbe.

With ships so damaged in masts and rigging, and with so many prisoners on board, Captain Barlow had still a most anxious duty to perform. To increase the difficulties of his situation, the westerly breeze freshened. For four days the Phbe and her prize persevered in working to windward; but on the fifth day, having made very slow progress and feeling for the sufferings of the wounded, Captain Barlow bore up for Minorca. On arriving off the south end of Majorca, the two frigates got becalmed ; and it was not until a fortnight after the action, that the Phbe and Africaine dropped their anchors in the harbour of Port-Mahon.

For his gallantry and good conduct in capturing the Africaine, Captain Barlow was most deservedly rewarded with the honour of knighthood ; and the Phbe's first lieutenant, already named, was as justly promoted to the rank of commander. Her second and third lieutenants were Frederick Bedford and Edmund Heywood, and her lieutenant of marines, Thomas Weaver; of all whom, as well as of his officers and crew generally, Captain Barlow in his official letter speaks in the highest terms.

The Africaine, a fine new frigate of 1059 tons, was of course, purchased for the use of the British navy ; and, having the ports for the requisite number of guns on the main deck, became classed as a 38-gun frigate. Probably because there was an Africa already in the British service, the name of the Africaine was changed to Amelia ; under which name the Phbe's prize long continued to be an active cruiser. [In fact she retained her French name and was not re-named Amelia, there being one already in service 1796-1816. Transcriber].

On the 22d of March, while the British 12-pounder 32-gun frigates Andromache, Captain Israel Pellew, and Cleopatra,

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