1803 - Elephant and Duguay-Trouin


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 192

At about 9 p.m., when darkness favoured the manœuvre, the French ships separated, the Duguay-Trouin tacking to the eastward, while the Duquesne continued her course alongshore to the westward. The Elephant being the weathermost of the chasing ships, was ordered to tack after the Duguay-Trouin; while the commodore, in the Bellerophon, accompanied by the 18-pounder 32-gun frigates Æolus and Tartar, Captains Andrew Fitzherbert Evans and John Perkins, pursued the Duquesne. At about midnight the Theseus and Vanguard joined in the chase. On the 25th, at 7 A.M., the Theseus was detached, in consequence of a heavy firing being heard to the eastward. At 8 a.m. a brigand battery opened a fire upon the Duquesne, which she returned. The Vanguard and Tartar, towards noon, were fast coming up with the French ship; and at about 3 h. 30 m. P.M., after an exchange of several shot from bow and stern chasers, the Duquesne struck her colours. It appears that the French ship sustained no loss ; nor did the British loss amount to more than one man killed and one wounded on board the Vanguard. The prize, a fine 74 of 1901 tons, was afterwards added to the British navy under her French name ; but being in the following year, carelessly run aground on Morant Keys, went to England only to be broken up.

The Elephant was not so fortunate as to make a prize of her chase. At daylight, when off Cape Picolet, Captain Dundas saw the Duguay-Trouin about a mile from him, and immediately wore in pursuit. At 6 a.m. the French 74 opened a fire from her stern-chasers, and hulled the British ship two or three times. Soon afterwards the Elephant gained a position upon the starboard quarter of the Duguay-Trouin, and there fired into her several distant broadsides. About this time the British 18-gun ship-sloop Snake, Captain William Roberts, made herself known in the north-west quarter; but the appearance of the Guerrière frigate to windward, or some other unexplained cause, prevented the Elephant from maintaining her position. The consequence was, that both the Duguay-Trouin and the Guerrière effected their escape. The Elephant had a few shot in her hull, and one in her bowsprit, and sustained some slight damage in her rigging and sails ; but it does not appear that a single man on board of her was hurt.

The French 74 and frigate steered straight for Europe, and reached latitude 46° 40' north, longitude 11 ° 16' west, without any occurrence worth notice. On the 29th of August, in the afternoon when as near as that to the port to which they were bound, Ferrol, they fell in with the British 38-gun frigate Boadicea, Captain John Maitland. The latter immediately made sail in chase, and before dark ascertained that the strangers were enemies. On the 31st, at daybreak, the weather being foggy, the strange ships were not discernible. At 1 h. 30 m. p.m. however, the fog having dispersed, and the wind shifted from

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