1805 - aptain Owen off Vimereux


 
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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1805 Invasion Flotilla 311

assists in propagating a falsehood, not merely by the publicity of his work, but by the sanction of his name.

Informed of the approach of the Gallo-Batavian flotilla and of the attack made upon it, Admiral Lacrosse, on the 18th, at 4 A, M., ordered several divisions of gun-vessels to get under way from the road of Boulogne, in order, by feigning an attack upon the British vessels at their anchorage, to operate a diversion in favour of Admiral Ver-Huell. The Immortalité, still commanded by Captain Owen, * accompanied by the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Hebe, Captain Macajah Malbon, 20-gun ship Arab, Captain Keith Maxwell, and the remainder of the detached squadron, immediately weighed from their station off the port, and stood to meet the flotilla, many of the brigs of which had worked up abreast of Vimereux. By the time the Immortalité and the leading ships had got within gun-shot, 49 brigs and 64 luggers were under way, and immediately the batteries and the horse-artillery along the shore opened a fire upon the British vessels ; but these reserved their fire until they could bestow it with more effect. At 4 h. 30 m. a.m. having got within half a mile north-west of Vimereux, the Immortalité, Hebe, Arab, and a few other of the British vessels, commenced firing upon the nearest French brigs ; which latter, in a few minutes, reanchored in great confusion, close under the batteries. Without having incurred any loss, and no greater damage than a 9-pounder gun disabled on board the Arab, the British squadron shortly afterwards reanchored also, about five miles to the north-westward of Boulogne, Captain Owen having previously sent one or two gun-brigs to look out off Cape Grinez.

By way of ensuring to Admiral Ver-Huell a safe passage during the remainder of his short but somewhat hazardous voyage, Marshal Davoust, who had long been waiting for him at Calais, had strengthened with men and ammunition all the batteries on the coast between Calais and Ambleteuse ; one of which only, that on the promontory of Cape Grinez, mounted 55 pieces of heavy cannon, besides six immense mortars, placed on a high platform, and where, from its importance as a point of attack, the general of artillery, Lariboissière, commanded in person. This was not all, General Sorbier, commandant of artillery, had been ordered with a strong division of flying artillery and long-range howitzers, " des obusiers à longue-portée, " to follow the flotilla along the coast, and afford to Admiral Ver-Huell the same protection as formerly, when Captain Hancock with the Cruiser and Rattler gave so much annoyance to the latter in his voyage from Flushing to Dunkerque.

On the 18th at 3 p.m., Admiral Ver-Huell, accompanied in his schooner by Marshal Davoust, weighed from the road of Calais, and, with his three remaining prames, and 21 out of his original

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