1801 - Kangaroo and Speedy at Profeso


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 146

us now add, as the next in chronological order, the Speedy and Gamo.

With so many prisoners in his charge, Lord Cochrane had still an arduous duty to perform, but his judgment and presence of mind overcame every difficulty ; and, in the course of a few days, the Speedy brig and her lofty prize were safe at anchor in the harbour of Port-Mahon. For the gallantry he had so successfully displayed in capturing the Gamo, Lord Cochrane, as soon as the account reached England, was promoted to post-rank ; and the Speedy's only lieutenant, Richard William Parker, was also, we believe, made a commander.

On the 9th of June, in the morning, the British 18-gun brig sloop Kangaroo, Captain George Christopher Pulling, and 14-gun brig-sloop Speedy, Captain Lord Cochrane, discovered a Spanish convoy, lying at an anchor under the battery of Oropeso, a small seaport of Old Castile. The armed vessels protecting it consisted of a xebec of 20 guns, and three gun-boats, and the battery was a large square tower, which appeared to mount 12 guns. The two commanders resolved, at once, to attack this force with their brigs. Accordingly, at noon, the Kangaroo and Speedy came to an anchor, within half-gun shot of the enemy, and a brisk cannonade ensued ; but which, by 2 p.m., had considerably decreased on the part of the vessels and battery. Encouraged, however, by a felucca of 12 guns and two gunboats that came to their assistance, the Spaniards recommenced firing, and by 3 h. 30 m. p.m. had their 20-gun xebec and two of their gun-boats sunk by the fire of the two brigs: in a little while another of the gun-boats shared the same fate. The tower and the remaining three gun-boats continued to annoy the brigs with their shot, until about 6 h. 30 m., when the fire of the tower slackened. The Kangaroo soon afterwards cutting her cable to get to a nearer position, the gun-boats fled ; and, by 7 p.m., the tower was completely silenced.

The Kangaroo and Speedy continued until midnight to be annoyed by a heavy fire of musketry from the shore ; but, in the mean time, the boats of the two brigs, under the orders of Lieutenant Thomas Foulerton, first of the Kangaroo, assisted by Lieutenant Benjamin Warburton, of the Speedy, and by midshipmen the Honourable Archibald Cochrane, William Dean, and Thomas Taylor, had succeeded in bringing out three brigs laden with wine, rice, and bread. On the return of the boats from this service, Lord Cochrane himself; with his wonted zeal, took them under his command, and went in-shore again, in the hope of bringing away more, but found all the remainder either sunk or driven on the beach. It was fortunate for the tower, that the ammunition of the two brigs was by this time expended, or the two enterprising captains would have razed it to its foundation; as indeed, only the day previous, they had the adjacent tower of Almanara, mounting two brass 4-pounders.

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