1804 - Captain Henniker off Grosnez, Captain Hancock off Ostende


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 British and French Fleets - Channel 234

along the coast of Normandy from the southward, the British 18-gun ship-sloop Albacore, Captain Major Jacob Henniker, slipped and made sail, followed by a gun-brig and cutter ; but who, missing the sloop in the haze, returned to the anchorage. Towards evening the Albacore, being near the Grosnez de Flamanville, compelled five of the luggers to anchor close to the surf, under the corner of a battery to the southward of Grosnez. The wind being dead on shore and a lee tide making, the Albacore lay off until the 9th, at 10 a.m. ; when, with the assistance of the weather tide, Captain Henniker stood in, under a heavy fire from the battery and gun-vessels. At 11 a.m. the Albacore anchored, with springs, close to the gun-vessels, and within about 200 yards of the surf : the sloop then opened her fire, and continued it until all five vessels were driven on shore, and lay broadside to in a heavy surf, which broke with great violence over them. Their men, in great numbers, landed upon the beach ; and some were seen bearing the wounded in their arms. Having, owing to the strength of the wind, dragged he anchor, the Albacore, at the falling of the tide, slipped and hauled off, without any loss, but with her hull struck in several places, her main and maintop masts shot through, and in her rigging of every kind much cut.

On the 23d of October, at 4 p.m., a division of the French flotilla, consisting of two prames, one with a commodore's broad pendant, and 18 armed schuyts, put to sea from Ostende, and steered to the westward, just as the Cruiser, Captain Hancock accompanied by the gun-brigs Blazer, Lieutenant John Hinton, Conflict, Lieutenant Charles C. Ormsby, Tigress, Lieutenant Edward Greensword, and Escort, Lieutenant Joseph Gulston Garland, and hired armed cutters Admiral-Mitchell and Griffin, Lieutenants Richard Williams and James Dillon, was standing in to reconnoitre the port. Chase was given, and the headmost prame, at 5 h. 18 m. P.M., was brought to action by the Cruiser and her consorts. The mutual cannonade continued until 6 h. 35 m. p.m. ; when the prame's fire, which had been confined to musketry for the last half hour, entirely ceased. As, however, the tide was rapidly falling, darkness coming on; and no person on board was acquainted with the shoals to the westward of Ostende, the Cruiser, then in less than three fathoms' water, hauled off and anchored.

Meantime, in her eagerness to close with the prame, the Conflict gun-brig had grounded ; and, although the brig was in two fathoms' water, the prame steered safe in-shore of her. As soon as the prame had passed out of gun-shot, Lieutenant Ormsby commenced lightening his vessel, in the hope to get her off. His endeavours proving fruitless, the lieutenant and his men quitted the Conflict, and pulled for the Cruiser, whose lights were then in view. An attempt to bring away the gun-brig was afterwards made by the Griffin and Admiral-Mitchell cutters, manned in

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