1805 - Gipsy and Five Privateers, Arrow and Acheron with Hortense and consort,


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1805 Gipsy and Privateers 117

5th of November. The members would not question the bravery of a French admiral, but they found fault with his tactics. There was some colour for this ; and the question still lies open, " Why did not M. Dumanoir, on the 4th, or on the day preceding the battle, with his four sail of the line, tack and fall upon the three British sail of the line and three frigates then solely in pursuit of him. Not satisfied with the sentence pronounced upon him, M. Dumanoir demanded and obtained a naval court-martial. It was held at Toulon, and honourably acquitted him. M. Dumanoir is now the fifth vice-admiral on the list. Captains Maistral and Epron outlived Napoléon's displeasure ; and the name of the survivor of the two, Captain Epron, is not eclipsed in honorary marks of distinction by that of any officer of the same rank in the " Etat Général de la Marine."

Sir Richard Strachan carried his four prizes in safety to Plymouth, and they were all added to the British navy ; the Formidable, under the name of Brave, the Duguay-Trouin, under that of Implacable, and the remaining two under their own names. The Implacable and Scipion were the only ships that afterwards went to sea. On the 9th of November, two days before his despatches reached the admiralty, and consequently without reference to his recent success over the enemy, Sir Richard was promoted to the rank of rear-admiral. On the 29th of the ensuing January, Sir Richard, for his conduct in the action of the 5th of November, became invested with the order of the Bath ; and, about the same time, the rear-admiral, and the captains and officers who served under him, received the thanks of parliament. Gold medals were also distributed, and the first lieutenants of the line-of-battle ships, we believe, made commanders.

Light Squadrons and Single Ships

On the 21st of January the British schooner Gipsy (tender to the flag ship at Port-Royal, Jamaica), of ten 4-pounders and 45 men and boys, commanded by Lieutenant Michael Fitton, while lying to off Cape Antonio, waiting to deliver despatches from the commander-in-chief to the 36-gun frigate Princess-Charlotte, Captain the Honourable Francis Fayerman Gardner, was chased by two schooners and three felucca privateers from under the land. Lieutenant Fitton immediately filled and stood out to the offing, in the hope that the privateers would separate in the chase, and afford him the chance of capturing one or two of them. In a short time the largest of the two schooners got considerably ahead of her companions. By way of encouraging this vessel to continue the pursuit, the Gipsy paid a cable out of her sternport, which slackened her way, and appeared to produce its intended effect. Having run the leading privateer to a sufficient distance from the rest the Gypsy tacked and stood for her. The

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