1808 - Childers and Lougen

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1808 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 28

long ago as the year 1778 ; a vessel so unseaworthy as to have been obliged, on more than one occasion, to throw overboard her guns, 4-pounders, in order to save the lives of her crew. The brig at length became so crazy, that 18-pounder carronades were found too heavy for her, and she was fitted with fourteen 12-pounders. In this state, and manned with a crew, nominally, of 86, but really of 65 men and boys, including only one lieutenant (there not being accommodation for more), the Childers, Captain William Henry Dillon, in the month of January of the present year, lay in Leith roads, waiting to give her " protection " to the trade proceeding to Gottenburg. But the merchants, the instant they knew the force and qualifications of the Childers, objected to place their property under her care ; supposing, very naturally, that so small and ill armed a vessel was incapable of beating off the privateers that infested the northern waters. Ludicrous as the application would have appeared, the merchants, had they wished for a vessel of nearly double the force of the one they had rejected, might have requested the board of admiralty to appoint, instead of the " sloop of war " Childers, the " gun-brig " Insolent, then cruising on the Downs' station. What vessel the merchants at last obtained we know not ; but the Childers proceeded by herself to the Baltic, to effect as much, in the way of annoying the enemy, as her small powers would admit.

On the 14th of March, at 4 p.m., as the Childers was standing towards the coast of Norway, with a fresh breeze from the eastward, a sail was discovered in-shore, and immediately chased. The stranger hauled in among the rocks, out of sight, for the purpose of taking shelter in the small port of Midbe. Immediately a number of boats came out, with the apparent intention of removing the vessel's cargo. To prevent this, Captain Dillon despatched the cutter, well armed, under the command of William Wilson, the master, accompanied by master's mate Thomas Edward Knight, also the jollyboat, with Robert Nicholl the gunner, and Augustus William Henry Le Neve the purser a volunteer. The near approach of these two boats was the signal for the shore boats to disperse ; and, although opposed by the inhabitants with musketry, as well as with stones hurled from the top of the precipice under which the vessel lay, the British boarded and carried her. She proved to be a Danish galliot, partly laden with oil and fish.

Scarcely had the Childers descried the galliot, thus taken by her boats, coming out from among the rocks, than she also observed a large brig, evidently a vessel of force, sail out of Hitteroe. The latter soon bore down towards the Childers, with the apparent design of fighting her and rescuing the prize. At about 6 p.m. the stranger, which was the Danish brig-corvette Lougen, mounting 18 long 18-pounders, and two long 6-pounders through the stern-ports, with a crew of 160 men and boys, commanded. by Captain Wulff, got upon the weather beam of the Childers, at about gun-shot distance.

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