1806 - British squadrons sent in pursuit of French squadrons


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1806 Escape of a French Squadron 185

This squadron, provisioned for six months, and having on board about 1000 troops, was to proceed direct to Santo-Domingo, and there disembark the troops as a reinforcement to General Ferrand. M. Leissegues was then to cruise two months before the island of Jamaica ; and, if the British were too strong in that quarter, he was to proceed off the bank of Newfoundland ; there "manger jusqu'à son dernier bíscuit," and then steer straight for Rochefort or Lorient.

The other squadron was under the command of Rear-admiral Willaumez, and consisted of the :

Gun Ship  
80 Foudroyant Rear-adm. Jean-Bapt-Phillibert Willaumez.
Captain Antoine Henri.
74 Cassard Commod. Gilbert-Amable Faure.
Impétueux Commod. Alain-Joseph Le Veyer-Belair.
Patriote Commod. Jos.-Hyacinthe-Isidore Khrom.
Eole Captain Louis-Gilles Prévost-de-Lacroix.
Vétéran Captain Jérôme Buonaparte.
Frigates Valeureuse  
Two brig-corvettes, or avisos.

This squadron, provisioned also for six months, was to proceed off St.-Helena or the Cape of Good Hope, at the rear-admiral's option; then to steer for Martinique or Guadaloupe to get supplies. M. Willaumez was then to touch at Cayenne for information, cruise off Barbadoes for a few months, and, having done all the mischief possible to British commerce in that quarter, was to return, by the way of Saint-Helena, to Europe. This cruise, it was supposed, would occupy a period of about 14 months.

It was not until the 24th of December, 1805, that intelligence reached the admiralty, and that was by a cartel from Gibraltar, of the escape from Brest of a French squadron, stated to consist of seven, instead of 11, sail of the line and four frigates. Immediately two British squadrons were ordered to put to sea one of seven sail of the line, under Vice-admiral Sir John Borlase Warren, as follows:

Gun Ship  
98 London Captain Sir Harry Neale, Bart
Vice-adm. (b.) Sir John Borlase Warren, Bart.
80 Foudroyant Captain John Chambers White.
74 Ramillies Captain Francis Pickmore.
Hero Captain Hon. Alan Hyde Gardner.
Namur Captain Lawrence William Halsted.
Repulse Captain Hon. Arthur Kaye Legge.
Courageux Captain James Bissett.

The other, of the following six sail, under Rear-admiral Sir Richard Strachan:

Gun Ship  
98 St.-George Captain Thomas Bertie.
Rear-ad. (b.) Sir Richard John Strachan, Bart.
80 Cæsar Captain Charles Richardson.
74 Centaur Captain Sir Samuel Hood.
Terrible Captain Lord Henry Paulet.
Triumph Captain Henry Inman.
Bellona Captain John Erskine Douglas.

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