|Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
||Uranie and Manche
the least resistance, the crews of the vessels, which consisted of brigs, sloops, and chasse-marées, taking to their boats as the British approached.
On the 6th of June the British 14-gun brig Port-d'Espagne, Lieutenant James Pattison Stewart, cruising in the gulf of Paria, detached Lieutenant Hall and 25 men, in a prize schooner disguised as a neutral, to attack a Spanish privateer, which, otherwise, there was no chance of overtaking. After exchanging musketry and receiving the fire from her guns, Lieutenant Hall, in a very cool and brave manner, laid the privateer on board, and quickly carried her, although the Mercedes, as was her name, mounted two carriage-guns and two swivels, and had a crew of 30 men. Out of these, three men were killed, one drowned, and three wounded. On the British side two men only were wounded.
On the 30th of April the British 38-gun frigate Uranie, Captain Christopher Laroche, arrived off the port of Cherbourg, to watch the motions of a French 40-gun frigate and brig-corvette, which had recently come from the arsenal into the road, preparatory to an escape to sea. The frigate was, we believe, the Département-de-la-Manche, or, as for brevity she was called, the Manche, launched on the 27th of the preceding December, a fine frigate, afterwards captured by the British, and found to measure nearly 1100 tons. The brig was either the Cigne or the Papillon, of 16 guns. It is but fair to state, that although rating as a 38-gun frigate, the Uranie, on account of a recent reduction in her armament, was inferior to any ship of her class. Being an old French ship (the same that captured the Thames in 1793, the Uranie had been found too weak to carry long 18-pounders, and a battery of long 12-pounders had been substituted. Her quarterdeck and forecastle armament was, we believe, the same as that of her class, 16 carronades, 32-pounders, and two long nines ; making her total number of guns 46. Her complement, also, appears to have been the same, 281 men and boys ; but the Uranie was at this time between 30 and 40 men short.
On the 5th of May, at 2 h. 30 m. P.M., when the Uranie lay at an anchor between Cape La Hague and Cherbourg, the French brig, came out of the road and stood to the northward, as if to reconnoitre the frigate ; but, just as the latter was preparing to slip and go in chase, the brig put back. On the 15th, at 4 h. 30 m. P.M., when the Uranie, in company with the 12-gun brig Rebuff, Lieutenant John Whiston, was standing towards Cherbourg with the wind at west-north-west, the weather, which had been thick, and hazy, suddenly cleared up and discovered the French frigate and brig, with five launches, standing out. The Uranie cleared for action. At 4 h. 45 m. the French vessels
* See vol. i., p. 107.
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