1806 - Caroline and Maria-Riggersbergen


 
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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
by
William James
1806 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 266

which was due to her, that of having, when no ship was at hand to assist her, so boldly engaged a heavy French frigate.

The Despatch had her rigging much cut by the fire of the Présidente, and received one shot in her larboard bow between wind and water, but fortunately had not a man hurt. The French frigate mounted 44 guns, long 18 and 8 pounders, with 36-pounder carronades, and had a crew of 330 men. She did not, as far as appears, sustain any damage or loss from the fire of her tiny antagonist. The Présidente measured 1148 tons, was a remarkably fine frigate, and become a great acquisition to the British navy. The Seringapatam, and several of the large class of 18-pounder frigates still building, are from the draught of this French frigate, which, in the year 1815, was named Piémontaise.

The two remaining ships of M. L'Hermitte's squadron subsequently arrived safe in France ; the Régulus, on the 5th of October, at Brest, and the Cybèle, in the course of the following year, at Rochefort or Lorient.

On the 18th of October, in the morning, as the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Caroline, Captain Peter Rainier, was taking possession of the Dutch 14-gun brig Zeerop, Captain Groot, at anchor between Middleby and Amsterdam islands, off the coast of Java, the Dutch 36-gun frigate Phoenix was seen to slip from Onroost, and run for Batavia road ; where also was lying, as communicated by the officers of the Zeerop, the Dutch 36-gun frigate Maria-Riggersbergen, Captain Jager. The Caroline instantly proceeded in chase, and soon discovered the Maria-Riggersbergen, in company with the 14-gun ship-corvette William and brig Zee-Ploeg, and the Dutch Company's armed ship Patriot of 18 guns. Not at all dismayed by a force apparently so formidable, Captain Rainier, placing springs on both his cables, ran straight for the Maria ; who, on the arrival of the Caroline within gun-shot, opened her fire. No return, however, was made, until the Caroline had got as close as the wind would permit her, which was within half pistol-shot. The latter then opened her fire, and, in half an hour, compelled the Maria, although partially assisted by the three vessels already named and some gun-boats, to strike her colours. Thirty other gunboats lay in-shore, but did not attempt to come out.

The Caroline mounted altogether 42 guns, with a complement, deducting 57 men that were absent, of 204 men and boys. Of these she had three seamen, and four Dutch prisoners who were in the hold, killed, a lieutenant of marines (Zachary Williams, mortally), 16 seamen, and one marine wounded. Not a spar was shot away, and very little damage done either to masts, rigging, or hull. The Maria-Riggersbergen was a frigate similar in size and force to the Pallas, * and therefore mounted 12, and not " 18

*  See p. 252.

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