1804 - Hippomenes and Egyptienne, Wolverine and Blonde


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 Hippomenes and Egyptienne 255

frigate Railleuse, * since given or sold to some merchants at Bordeaux, 857 tons. The Osprey sustained a loss of one man killed and 16 wounded, and was a good deal damaged in her sails and rigging. The loss on board the Egyptienne, as afterwards ascertained, amounted out of a crew of 248 men and boys, to eight men killed and 19 wounded ; and the ship herself was very much cut by shot in hull, masts, sails, and rigging : a proof that the Osprey's carronades had been discharged with quickness and precision.

It is exploits like these that afford examples of gallantry in the true import of the word. Had Captain Younghusband, on discovering the size and strength of the Egyptienne, forbore to attack her, no imputation would have rested on his professional character. But he had a higher sense of the duties of a British naval commander : he chose to wrestle with his powerful antagonist ; and so vigorous and effective was his attack, that nothing but lightness of heel saved the Egyptienne from becoming his prize. In such a creditable encounter we must not omit to state, that Lieutenant Francis Augustus Collier was second in command of the Osprey.

On the 25th, in the forenoon, this same Egyptienne fell in with the British 14-gun ship-sloop Hippomenes (ten long 12, and 2 long 8 pounders, and two 24-pounder carronades, all Dutch caliber), Captain Conway Shipley, and mistaking her probably, for the ship she had been so beaten by two days before, crowded sail to get off. The Hippomenes pursued, and, after an arduous chase of 54 hours, and a running fight of three hours and 20 minutes more, came up with and captured, the French ship. The Egyptienne struck the moment the sloop got fairly alongside ; and, owing to her feeble resistance, inflicted no greater loss on the Hippomenes than slightly wounding one persona Mr. John Lloyd, a master's mate.

The bold front and rational confidence of the Egyptienne in the beginning of the one action, and her panic-struck behaviour and hasty flight in that of the other, occasion the principal difference in the merits of the two. The conduct of Captain Shipley was much enhanced by his readiness to do justice to the performance of his brother commander of the Osprey, " whose gallantry, " he says, " astonished them. " It is probable that M. Placiard found a difficulty in persuading the merchants of Bordeaux again to place him in the command of one of their privateers.

Being 30 years old and much broken in her sheer, the Egyptienne was purchased into the British service merely as a prison-ship. Her name was changed to Antigua ; and she was stationed at English harbour in the island of that name.

On the 24th of March the British ship-sloop Wolverine, of 13

* See vol. I, p. 381.

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