1805 - Sir Richard Strachan's Action


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1805 Sir Richard Strachan's Action 109

four ships of M. Dumanoir, bearing from her west-north-west, the British 38 gun frigate Boadicea, Captain John Maitland, and 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Dryad, Captain Adam Drummond discovered and chased them in the east by south. At about 8 h. 45 m. P.M. the Phoenix saw the Boadicea and Dryad, but, as the latter were between herself and the supposed Rochefort squadron, the rockets they threw up failed to produce the desired effect, and the Phoenix continued to stand from them. At about 9 h. 30 m. the Boadicea and Dryad discovered to leeward the same four ships, towards which the Phoenix was hastening, together with three others at no great distance from then, making seven sail in all. These were a British squadron under Sir Richard Strachan, which had been detached from the Channel fleet since the 29th of October, in search of the Rochefort squadron, and consisted of the:

Gun Ship  
80 Cæsar Captain Sir Richard John Strachan, bt.     
73 Hero Hon. Alan Hyde Gardner.
73 Namur Lawrence William Halsted.
73 Courageux Richard Lee
73 Bellona Charles Dudley Pater.
36 Santa-Margarita      Wilson Rathborne.
32 Ĉolus Lord William Fitz-Roy

Having, without getting any answer to their signals, arrived within two miles of the Cæsar, which was the weathermost ship of this squadron, and then standing close hauled on the larboard tack, the Boadicea and Dryad, at about 10 h. 30 m. P.M., tacked to the north-east, and soon lost sight of friends and foes. At 11 P.M. the Phoenix passed under the stern of the Cæsar, steering as before about north by east ; and, after the receipt of a shot and the interchange of a few hails, discovering the ship to be what she was, Captain Baker informed Sir Richard Strachan that the Rochefort squadron, or four ships at least of it, were then not far distant upon his lee bow.

Sir Richard's squadron being at this time very much scattered, the commodore directed Captain Baker to make sail to the south-south-east and hasten forward the ships astern. The Cæsar then bore away under all sail, with the wind at west-north-west, followed at a great distance by the Hero, Courageux, and Ĉolus. Scarcely had the Phoenix stood away from the Caesar before the light of the moon discovered to Sir Richard the objects of his chase, then in the east-north-east, under a press of canvass, in the act of bearing away, closely formed in a sort of bow and quarter line. The Caesar and her three nearest consorts continued the pursuit until the setting of the moon, at about 1 h.30 m. A.M. on the 3d, accompanied by hazy blowing weather, concealed the enemy from view ; they then shortened sail, to await the coming up of their friends astern.

At daylight on the 3d, by which time the wind had veered to

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