1803 - Boadicea and Duguay-Trouin, Culloden with Duguay-Trouin and Guerrière


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 Boadicea and Duguay-Trouin 193

west to east-north-east, the Duguay-Trouin and Guerrière again made their appearance, and were now so near as fully to discover that the largest and weathermost ship was a French 74.

This would have justified Captain Maitland in discontinuing the pursuit, except perhaps to watch the enemy's motions and endeavour to ascertain his route. Being aware, however, that French ships, ships, singly and in small divisions, were coming from the island of St.-Domingo; and that they were mostly armed en flûte, and manned with a very sickly, as well as numerically inferior crew, Captain Maitland resolved to have some stronger proof that the two ships to leeward were not of that description. Accordingly the Boadicea stood on ; and at 2 p.m., when passing at the distance of about a quarter of a mile, exchanged broadsides with the Duguay-Trouin. The fire from the latter, although ineffectual, indicated that the ship was fully armed; and the Boadicea found it necessary to make all sail to escape from her opponents so decidedly superior to her. The Duguay-Trouin and Guerrière, who was considerably to leeward of her consort, immediately wore round in pursuit of the British frigate ; but finding, at 2 h. 50 in. p.m., that the Boadicea was gaining ground, the French 74 and frigate gave over the chase: and hauled to the south-east.

It is stated, in a contemporary work, that the Boadicea brought, down the Duguay-Trouin's foretopsail yard, and sent several shot between wind and water; and that, according to the testimony of a prisoner on board the 74, the latter was compelled to keep her pumps incessantly going for three days. * With respect to the fall of the topsail yard, no notice is taken of it in the Boadicea's log ; and the alleged damage to the hull of the Duguay-Trouin rests upon very questionable authority.

On the 2d of September the latter ship and her consort arrived off Cape Prior. Here they fell in with a British squadron, under Commodore Sir Edward Pellew. The only ship of this squadron, in a situation to chase with any effect, was the Culloden 74, Captain Barrington Dacres; and at about 11 h. 50 m. a.m. the latter commenced action with the Duguay-Trouin and Guerrière, both of whom were well to windward. The French 74, being the weathermost ship, got first into Corunna, the forts of which fired at the Culloden as she approached. With the frigate the latter kept up a running fight until 2 h. 30 m. p.m. ; when, being almost in the jaws of the port, the British 74 was obliged to haul off. The Culloden had four men wounded; and the Guerrière, according to the French accounts, six men killed and 15 wounded, including among the latter her captain and first lieutenant. The frigate's masts and rigging were also much cut.

On the 11th of July, in the forenoon, as the British 18-gun. brig-sloop Racoon (16 carronades, 18-pounders, and two long

* Marshall, vol. i., p, 845

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