1803 - Bombardment of Calais


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 British and French Fleets - Channel 180

only 16 feet under her keel at low water. In company with the Cerberus were the sloops of war, Charwell and Kite, Captains Philip Dumaresq and Philip Pipon, Ealing schooner, Lieutenant William Archbold, and " Carteret " cutter, with whose commander's name we are unacquainted. As soon as the bomb-vessels Sulphur and Terror, Captains Daniel M'Leod and George Nicholas Hardinge, which were hourly expected, should arrive, it was intended to bombard the port of Granville, in the hope to destroy some of the numerous gun-boats lying within the pier.

At 11 p.m. the Terror came up ; but, having as well as the Cerberus grounded at low water, it was not until 2 a.m. on the 14th, that Captain Hardinge could get to the station assigned him. Being then judiciously placed by her commander, the Terror commenced throwing shells from her two mortars, and received an immediate return from the gun and mortar batteries on the heights near the town, also from some guns mounted upon the pier, and several gun-vessels stationed at the entrance of the harbour. The fire was kept up until after 5 a.m. ; when the Terror was recalled, and, weighing, reanchored at a greater distance from the town, with a loss of only two men wounded by splinters.

Shortly afterwards the Sulphur bomb, whose bad sailing had prevented her from beating up, arrived and anchored in company with the Cerberus and squadron. In the evening both bomb-vessels threw a few shells ; but the tide prevented them from getting near enough to produce much effect.

On the 15th, in the morning, all the ships were enabled to take capital positions ; and soon after 5 a.m. the bombardment recommenced with great spirit and continued until 10 h. 30 m. a.m. ; when the falling tide rendered it necessary for the British ships to withdraw from the attack. Although 22 gun-vessels, which had hauled out of the pier and formed themselves in a regular line, had united with the batteries around the port in replying to the fire of the British, no loss and very little damage was sustained by the latter.

Shortly after getting under sail to remove into deeper water, the Cerberus grounded upon one of the sand-banks. Nine of the French gun-boats, perceiving the situation of the British frigate, attempted to annoy her, and began a heavy cannonade, but were eventually compelled, by the fire of the Charwell, Kite, bomb-vessels, and cutters, to retire for shelter into the harbour. After remaining aground about three hours, the Cerberus floated with the rising tide. The attack upon the French town and gun-vessels then ceased ; nor was it known that any material effect had been produced by it.

On the 27th of September, in the evening, a division of sloops, bombs, and smaller vessels, under the orders of Captain Samuel Jackson of the 16-gun ship-sloop Autumn, anchored off Calais,

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