1804 - Penguin at Sénégal, Osprey and Egyptienne


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 254

blew up, killing one master's mate, three seamen, and one marine, and mortally wounding Mr. Robson, who expired a few hours afterwards, and badly wounding several of the small party belonging to the two boats. In all cases, where a vessel is abandoned in this way, treachery should be suspected, and the magazine be quickly examined. There can be little doubt that the fellow who was behind his comrades, had laid the train which produced the fatal explosion.

On the 17th of March the British 16-gun brig-sloop Penguin, Captain George Morris, cruising off Sénégal bar, chased and drove upon it the French privateer-schooner Renommée of 12 long 6-pounders and 87 men, belonging to Sénégal. Owing to the continuance of the surf, no opportunity occurred of making an attempt to destroy her until the morning of the 24th. At this time the Renommée had shifted her position, from the efforts apparently of two armed schooners, which, since the preceding evening, had dropped down to the mouth of the river, and now lay within 200 yards of her.

Standing as close in as the shoalness of the water would admit the Penguin opened a fire upon the three vessels ; but, although shot were exchanged for an hour and a half, the brig could not get near enough to force the two schooners to retire up the river. At 10 p.m., therefore, Captain Morris despatched the jollyboat, under the command of Lieutenant Charles Williams, with directions to endeavour to destroy the grounded schooner; a service which was executed in the ablest manner before 1 a.m. on the 25th, and that without any loss on the part of the British.

On the 23d of March, the British 18-gun ship-sloop Osprey, Captain George Younghusband, cruising on the Windward-island station, discovered in the south-west quarter, and immediately chased, the French frigate-built privateer Egyptienne, of 36 guns, Captain Placiard, with three merchant ships under her convoy. As soon as the Osprey had arrived within hail, the Egyptienne hoisted her colours and fired her broadside. This was instantly returned, and the two ships continued in close action for one hour and 20 minutes ; at the end of which time the Egyptienne ceased firing, and began to make off, and her convoy to separate on different courses. To the regret of the British officers and crew, it was soon found that the French ship, even with her topsails on the cap, outsailed their vessel. The Osprey, however, continued the chase, until the Egyptienne disappeared in the dark.

The force of the Osprey consisted of 16 carronades, 32-pounders and two sixes, with a complement of 120 men and boys : that of the Egyptienne was 36 guns, French 12 and 6 pounders, with a crew on board of 248 men. The one ship measured 386, * and the other, which was formerly the national

* See Vol. ii., p. 395, note Y *.

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