1804 - Bruiser off Boulogne, Archer and Bloodhound off Cape Grinez


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 Invasion Flotilla 229

port ; and a detached or flying division, of five or six vessels, under the command of Captain Owen, in the frigate Immortalité, generally cruised just out of shell-range of the enemy's batteries, anchoring occasionally, as the state of the tide rendered necessary. It should here be observed, that, in addition to the batteries, masked as well as open, all along the edge of the cliff; there were seven or eight forts erected on the sands at low water; where also lay ready several mortar-beds, over which the tide flowed, and to which the mortars were brought as soon as it left them dry.

On the 25th of August there were lying in the road of Boulogne, moored in line, 146 French gun-vessels, 62 of them brigs, or first-class gun-vessels, the remainder chiefly luggers. Of these gun-vessels, 45 composed the Hâvre-division, which, under Capitaine de vaisseau François-Henri-Eugène Daugier, had since the 16th entered the road. On the same 25th an unusual degree of bustle and activity prevailed in the port, on account of the presence of the French emperor, who had just done presiding at the grand ceremony of distributing to the troops the cross of the legion of honour. This imposing spectacle took place on the 16th of August, the anniversary of the day on which " Saint Napoléon " had usurped in the French calendar the place of " Saint Roch. " Upwards of 80,000 men, taken chiefly from the camps of Boulogne and Montreuil, were present on the occasion.

To amuse the French emperor, probably, Admiral Bruix, of about 1 h. 45 m. p.m., ordered a division of gun-vessels, under Capitaine de vaisseau Julien Le Ray, to weigh, and, with the north-easterly wind then blowing, work up towards Pointe-Bombe ; near to which lay the British gun-brig Bruiser, Lieutenant Thomas Smithies, or, as the French writers have it, " une grande corvette anglaise à trois mâts, " * watching their manœuvres. In a short time a firing commenced between the parties, and soon brought to the spot the Immortalité ; who, at 2 h. 30 m. P.M. opened her broadside upon the gun-vessels, and received in return a heavy fire from the batteries, one shot from which struck her under the main chains, but did no material injury. It now became necessary to haul further from the shore ; and the Immortalité, having done so, lay to about three miles off the port.

Early on the morning of the 26th the Archer and Bloodhound, commanded as before, † fired at some luggers coming

* One would hardly suppose this possible, but it is no less true ; and, as a proof what strange optics the writer was blessed with, he could not discover a single brig in the British squadron: " Leurs forces se composaient, " he says, "de deux vaisseaux de ligne ; " (meaning a 50 and a frigate,) " deux frégates de quarante-quatre, de sept corvettes de guerre à trois mâts, de deux is lougres, et d'un cutter. " - Précis des Evènemens, tome xi., p 45

See p. 227

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