1801 - Boats of Lark at Cuba, Pasley and Spanish xebec of war


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1801 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 158

lord of the admiralty for a post-commission; to which application the following, as we think, very sensible reply was transmitted by Earl St.-Vincent: "I have read your official letter with all the attention such a recital merits ; but until the board receive official information of the force, and the nation to which the vessel belongs, which the Sylph was engaged with, an adequate judgment cannot be formed of the merits of the action." * The circumstances, stated in the official account of the second rencontre, very properly removed all doubt as to the ship engaged having been very superior in force to the Sylph ; and on the 2d of the following November Captain Dashwood, " for his meritorious conduct in the above actions, " was promoted to post-rank. The first lieutenant of the Sylph, upon both these highly creditable occasions, was Samuel Burgess ; but who, although highly commended by Captain Dashwood in each of his letters, remained a lieutenant for 15 years longer.

On the 13th of September, in the afternoon, the British 18-gun ship-sloop Lark, Acting-commander lieutenant James Johnstone, being close off the island of Cuba, fell in with and chased the Spanish privateer-schooner Esperanza, of one long 8 and two 4 pounders, and 45 men; which, for shelter, ran within the Portillo reefs. Lieutenant Johnstone immediately despatched the Lark's yawl and cutter, with 16 men in each, under the orders of Lieutenant James Pasley, assisted by Mr. M`Cloud, midshipman, to attempt to cut her out. At about 10 h. 30 m. p.m. the two boats found the privateer at anchor, waiting the attack ; and, on their near approach, received a fire from her that severely wounded several of the men. In spite of this, however, the British boarded, and, after a short but severe contest, carried the schooner. In this well-conducted and gallant boat-attack, the British sustained a loss of one seaman killed, Mr. M'Cloud, and 12 seamen wounded; within two of half the party. The loss on board the Esperanza was represented to have been 21 killed and six wounded ; including, among the former, the captain, Josef Callie, and all his officers. Considering the unquestionable gallantry of this enterprise, we regret to see the name of James Pasley in the list of lieutenants of the present day.

On the 21st of July, soon after daylight, the island of Cabrera bearing north-east distant six or seven leagues, the British hired brig Pasley, mounting fourteen 12-pounder carronades and two long sixes, with a crew of 54 men and boys, commanded by Lieutenant William Wooldridge, fell in with a Spanish man-of-war xebec, of 22 guns; which at 7 a.m. hailed the Pasley and desired her to send her boat on board. The reply to this was a broadside within pistol-shot distance; and the Pasley continued to engage her superior opponent until 8 h. 15 m. ; when the

* Marshall, vol. ii., p. 454.

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