1803 - Boats of Osprey at Trinidad, Boats of Merlin and Milbrook off Calais


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1803 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 200

from the shore on board of the other two vessels. Thus frustrated in his plan, the lieutenant cut the cable of the vessel, and then abandoned her to go to the assistance of his coadjutor in the other boat.

In the mean time Mr. Burstal, with a sergeant of marines and five other men, in defiance of a party of 10 soldiers armed with muskets and bayonets, had boarded and carried the French brig ; but not until the former had killed six of the soldiers, hove two overboard, and drove the remainder, with the brig's crew, down her hatchway. Finding that this vessel, besides being light and of no value, was also fast aground upon a ridge of rocks, Lieutenant Hawkins, who had now joined his companion, contented himself with cutting the brig's cable ; not thinking proper, from motives of humanity, to set the vessel on fire, as several people were heard below, supposed to be wounded. In this very dashing little exploit, Mr. Burstal's boat, in boarding the French brig had one man killed and two wounded, the only loss sustained by the British.

On the 26th of October the British 18-gun ship-sloop Osprey, Captain George Younghusband, being off Trinidad, saw and chased a suspicious sail under the land. On arriving within four miles of the stranger the Osprey found herself becalmed, and at the same time discovered, from the number of sweeps rowed by her, that the vessel was a privateer. The Osprey's further progress being checked by the calm, Captain Younghusband despatched three boats, under the command of Lieutenant Robert Henderson, in the cutter, to attempt the capture of the schooner. The unequal speed of the boats being greatly in favour of the cutter, Lieutenant Henderson, apprehensive that if he waited for his companions the privateer would escape, continued to pull ahead, and at length, with his 17 seamen, in the bravest manner, under a heavy fire from the guns and musketry of the vessel, boarded and captured the French privateer-schooner Ressource, mounting four 4-pounders, with a crew of 43 men, of whom two were killed and 12 wounded. On board the cutter, Lieutenant Henderson and four seamen were wounded, one of the latter dangerously.

On the 27th of October the British 16-gun ship-sloop Merlin, Captain Edward Pelham Brenton, and 14-gun schooner Milbrook, Lieutenant Mauritius Adolphus Newton De Starck, discovered the French lugger-privateer Sept-Frères, of two carriage-guns and 30 men, commanded by Captain Pollet, endeavouring to get into Calais. Captain Brenton immediately despatched in pursuit of her the boats of the Merlin, under the orders of Lieutenant Henry Clement Thompson, who had already lost an arm in the service. Finding her retreat effectually cut off by the British boats, the lugger ran herself on shore about half a mile to the westward of Gravelines. In the evening the Milbrook stood in, and anchored within musket-shot of the Sept-Frères;

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