1804 - America and the Barbary States - Capture and re-capture of Gorée


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 America and the Barbary States 291

On the 18th, at 3 a.m., eight boats from the squadron disembarked 240 troops upon the rocks to the eastward of the town, where the surf happened to be unusually low. An engagement immediately ensued ; when, after a loss of 19 men killed and wounded on the part of the British (most of whom were in a sickly state), and 75 on the part of the French, Colonel Fraser surrendered on a capitulation, and the port was taken possession. of by the troops and seamen of Lieutenant Mahé.

The French remained in quiet possession of their conquest until the 7th of March, in the morning, when the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Inconstant, Captain Edward Stirling Dickson, accompanied by a store-ship and three transports, arrived off the settlement. The appearance of English colour, on the citadel occasioned Captain Dickson to send Lieutenant Charles Pickford on shore in the cutter, to ascertain in whose possession the place was. Not having, by 10 P.M., received any information, Captain Dickson despatched three boats, manned and armed, under Mr. Runciman, midshipman, to cut out a ship in the harbour. The service was executed, under a heavy fire from the batteries, which sank one of the boats and wounded one of the men. The strength of the garrison having by this means been obtained, the Inconstant weighed and stood to the westward, to prevent any succours being thrown in from Sénégal. Having, on the following day, been joined by a fourth merchant ship or transport, the three boats of the latter made the number sufficient to carry the allotted portion of troops ; and Captain Dickson commenced preparations to disembark the men on the following day ; when, at daybreak on the 8th, English colours were seen flying over French at the fort, the French garrison having the night previous capitulated with Lieutenant Pickford. Thus was the settlement of Gorée restored, without the loss of a man, to its former masters.

America and the Barbary States.

From some cause respecting which it would be profitless to inquire, these belligerents * remained comparatively inactive until the latter months of the year 1803, when an adjustment of some differences, which had arisen between the Emperor of Morocco and the United States, left Commodore Preble, who now commanded the American squadron, at liberty to direct his whole attention to Tripoli. Scarcely, however, had the American commodore put his squadron into motion, ere it met with a very serious loss : On the 31st of October, at 9 a.m., the 44-gun frigate Philadelphia, Captain William Bainbridge, being about five leagues to the westward of Tripoli, discovered and immediately chased a

* See p. l70.

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