1804 - Boats of Narcissus &c. at La Vandour


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 270

of the Hippomenes afterwards proved how well they had merited their captain's eulogium; but as to the men - of them, however, enough has been said. Captain Paimpéni himself must have despised the wretches, to whose faint-heartedness he owed the preservation of his ship ; while the mangled bodies of their late comrades, still reeking upon his deck, must have taught him to discriminate between the counterfeit and the genuine British seaman.

On the 11th of July, at 10 p.m., three boats of the British 18-pounder 32-gun frigate Narcissus, Captain Ross Donnelly, three of the 38-gun frigate Seahorse, Captain the Honourable Courtenay Boyle, and four of the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Maidstone, Captain the Honourable George Elliott, under the orders of Lieutenant John Thompson, first of the Narcissus, assisted by Lieutenants John Richard Lumley, of the Seahorse, Ogle Moore, of the Maidstone, and Hyde Parker, of the Narcissus, put off from the last-named frigate, to make an attack upon 12 settees, chiefly with cargoes on board, lying at La Vandour, in the bay of Hyères, distant between four and five miles from the ships. The vessels were moored head and stern, close to the beach, to which also they were completely secured, and were covered by a battery of three guns.

In the face of a tremendous fire of grape-shot and musketry, as well from the settees as from the battery and the houses of the town, Lieutenant Thompson and his party, about midnight, succeeded in boarding and setting fire to most of the vessels. One only was brought off, and a most costly prize she was ; the loss on the part of the British amounting to one midshipman (Thomas Owen Roche), one marine, and two seamen killed, and one lieutenant (John Richard Lumley), one master's mate (Robert Mansell), three midshipmen (Thomas William Bedingfield, Thomas Alexander Watt, and John George Victor), 15 seamen, and three marines wounded, many of them severely. The gallantry of attacks like these no one can dispute ; but who will say that, had all the 12 settees, instead of one of them, been brought off, they would have compensated for the valuable blood which had been spilt ? Lieutenant Lumley's was a dreadful wound, and one from which it was next to a miracle that he ever recovered. His right arm was amputated at the shoulder-joint, and a portion of the scapula removed with it.

On the 12th of July the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Aigle, Captain George Wolfe, standing in for the Cordouan lighthouse with a moderate breeze from the north-east, discovered a French ship and brig steering to the southward. These were the Charente, of 20 long 6-pounders, four swivels, and 104 men, commanded by Lieutenant Joseph Samson, and the Joie, of eight " 12-pounders " (if not carronades, more likely 8-pounders), two swivels, and 75 men, commanded by Lieutenant Benjamin Gadobert ; both vessels from Rochefort, but

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