1807 - Weasel and French transports


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Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
William James
1807 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 342

under the orders of Lieutenant Thomas Strong, to intercept a coasting sloop passing along the shore from the westward. As soon as she found the boats in pursuit of her, the sloop ran on shore near Ypont ; where she was defended by a battery, also by two parties of men with musketry, one stationed on the beach, the other on the cliff, and by a field-piece and a mortar. Notwithstanding the opposition thus experienced, Lieutenant Strong and his party boarded and floated the sloop ; and, although the boats were struck in several places, and were forced by the strength of the tide to tow the sloop within point-blank shot of the batteries at Fécamp, not a man of the British was hurt.

On the 23d of August, at 8 h. 30 m. P.M., while the 18-gun brig-sloop Weasel, Captain John Clavell, was lying becalmed within five or six miles of the harbour of Corfu, waiting for one of her boats, which, about an hour before, she had detached to the town, an officer of the Russian navy came on board from Mr. Kirk, the late British consul at Corfu, with information that a French garrison was in possession of the island. This brig thus fortunately apprized of her danger, immediately made the signal of recal to her boat, and repeated it with several guns. At length the boat returned ; and at 10 P.M. the Weasel crowded sail for the north passage, intending to proceed direct to Malta with the intelligence which had reached her at so critical a moment.

On the 24th, at 3 h. 30 m. A.M., the brig observed three trabacculos, working in between Corfu and some adjacent rocks. Supposing the vessels to contain French troops, the Weasel fired a shot at them, and eventually compelled all three vessels to run on shore among the rocks, where they must have been considerably damaged. Observing three other trabacculos just out the rocks, the Weasel made sail after, and at 5 A.M. captured them. The prizes were found to have on board between them 251 French soldiers, commanded by Colonel Devilliers, going as a reinforcement to the garrison of Corfu. Captain Clavell took on board the brig, for their better accommodation, the French colonel and his family, and several other officers ; and, for the safety of the Weasel and her little crew, he caused the arms and ammunition of his numerous prisoners to be also brought on board.

On the same afternoon, having hoisted French colours by way of a decoy, the Weasel captured another small vessel, having on hoard a courier with despatches and a party of 20 French soldiers. This vessel, being of no value, was destroyed ; as, for the same reason, was one of the trabacculos. With the remaining two in tow, the Weasel made sail for Malta, and on the 29th anchored in Valetta harbour.

No small share of credit was due to Captain Clavell for his address as well in capturing the prizes, as in overawing and keeping in subjection, for the space of six days, upwards of 280

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