1803 - Princess Augusta with Union and Wrack, Boats of Atalante off Pennerf


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 Princess Augusta with Union and Wrack 199

On the 20th of September, at 5 p.m., the British hired cutter Princess-Augusta, of eight 4-pounders and 26 men, commanded by Lieutenant Isaac William Scott, being off the Texel, saw two schooners in the south-west, bearing down under British colours. The cutter, however, suspected them to be enemies, and cleared for action. At 6 h. 30 in. p.m. the schooner hauled down the English and hoisted Dutch colours. The largest, which was the Union, Lieutenant St.-Faust, mounting 12 guns, and stated to have had on board 70 men, hailed from to-windward, and then opened her broadside, which killed the cutter's gunner and boatswain, and mortally wounded Lieutenant Scott. The cutter was not slow in returning the fire, and successfully repulsed several attempts to board. Meanwhile the other schooner, the Wraak, Lieutenant Doudet, mounting eight guns, and manned with about 50 men, had ranged up under the cutter's lee, and now poured in her broadside. This schooner also made a vain attempt to board. After an hour's engagement, during which the large schooner's bowsprit was several times over the cutter's stern, the latter beat off both her opponents, with the additional loss of two seamen wounded, making a total loss of three, including her commander, killed, and two wounded.

In his dying moments, Lieutenant Scott recommended the master to fight the cutter bravely, and desired him to tell the admiral (Lord Keith) that he had done his duty. The lieutenant certainly had done so, in a manner that became a British officer; and Mr. Joseph Thomas, the master, fully acted up to his commander's injunctions : he, and the few hands about him, fought their vessel heroically, and by so doing brought her off in safety. The same Dutch newspaper, from which we have extracted the names of the two schooners, states, that the carpenter of the Wraak was killed, and her first lieutenant and several of her men badly wounded.

On the 9th of October, in the evening, the British 16-gun brig-sloop Atalante, Captain Joseph Ore Masefield, chased and drove on shore off the mouth of the river Pennerf, near St.-Guildas, two French ketches and one brig. The wind blowing directly off shore, Captain Masefield conceived it practicable to cut the vessels out ; and accordingly, soon after dark, the six oared cutter under Lieutenant John Hawkins, and the five-oared cutter under Mr. Richard Burstal, the master, were despatched upon that service, the Atalante standing in, as close as the shoals would permit, to protect them.

At 9 h. 30 m. p.m. the two boats reached the French vessels, when Lieutenant Hawkins, with his boat, boarded and took possession of the in-shore vessel, then fast aground within 120 yards of the beach ; but the British could not succeed in getting her afloat, owing to a heavy fire of musketry from a number of troops drawn up on the beach, assisted by two field pieces and a party of troops, which had previously embarked

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