1803 - Boats of Loire at Isle Bas, Capture of Mignonne


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 Capture of the Mignonne 187

18 long 12-pounders and 200 men, commanded by Lieutenant François-Louis Kerimel; and who persisted so long in his endeavours to escape, that the Endymion's chase-guns killed his first lieutenant and seven seamen, and wounded nine others.

When fallen in with, the Bacchante was on her way to Brest from St.-Domingo, whither she had sailed with despatches about three months previous. The prize was a remarkably fine corvette of 642 tons, and became added to the British navy, under her French name, as a post-ship.

On the 27th of June, at night, three boats belonging to the British 38-gun frigate Loire, Captain Frederick Lewis Maitland, cruising off the Isle of Bas, was despatched, under the orders of Lieutenants Francis Temple and James Bowen, assisted among others by Midshipman Philip Henry Bridges, to attack the French 10-gun brig Venteux, Lieutenant Gilles-François Montfort, lying close under the batteries of the island. Owing to the heavy rowing of one of the boats, two only could get up. These, in the most gallant manner, boarded, and after a severe conflict of 10 minutes carried, the French brig; whose 10 guns consisted of four long 18-pounders, and six 36-pounder brass carronades. The Venteux was perfectly prepared for the attack, and had her deck covered with men. Of these she lost her second officer and two seamen killed, her commander, with her four remaining officers, and eight seamen, wounded. The British loss amounted to the boatswain (Mr. M'Gwier), four seamen, and one marine wounded, two of the seamen dangerously.

Even without reckoning the force of the batteries, the capture, by two boats' crews, of a brig armed and manned like the Venteux, was a truly gallant exploit; and Lieutenant Temple; the leader of the party, well merited the promotion which he in consequence obtained. Mr. Bridges, also, of whose conduct on the occasion Lieutenant Temple spoke in the highest terms, was made a lieutenant.

On the 28th of June, as a British squadron, composed of the 74-gun ships Cumberland, Captain Henry William Bayntun, Goliath, Captain Charles Brisbane, and Hercule, acting captain Lieutenant John B. Hills, was cruising off Cape Nicholas-Mole, two strange sail were discovered in-shore. These were the French 24-pounder 44-gun frigate Poursuivante, Commodore Jean-Baptiste-Phillibert Willaumez, and 16-gun ship-corvette Mignonne, Captain Jean-Pierre Bargeau, neither of them fully armed or manned, two days from Cayes, bound to the Cape on their way to France.

The Goliath by signal went in chase of the Mignonne ; and, carrying up the breeze while the latter lay becalmed close under the land, overtook and captured the corvette after the exchange of a few harmless shot. The Mignonne had landed six of her 16 long 12-pounders (described as 18-pounders in the official

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