1808 - Seagull with Lougen and consorts

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1808 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 30

After bearing up to join her prize, the Childers lay to all night on the starboard tack, to stop eight shot-holes between wind and water. This done, and being in too shattered a state to keep the sea, the Childers put back to Leith. In the mean time the merchant vessels from that port, having had the Lougen driven out of their track, and that by the very vessel whose services their owners had despised, passed in safety to their destination.

The gallantry of the Childers in this affair, obtained for her officers and crew the thanks of the admiralty, and for Captain Dillon himself the grand desideratum of a commander, post-rank. Of his first and only lieutenant, Thomas Edmunds, Captain Dillon speaks in the highest terms. What honours fell to the share of Captain Wulff, for his conduct on the occasion, depended very much, no doubt, upon the story he told when he got safe into port.

On the 19th of June, at 2 p.m., the Nase of Norway bearing west-north-west seven or eight leagues, the British 16-gun brig-sloop Seagull (fourteen 24-pounder carronades and two sixes), Captain Robert Cathcart, discovered in-shore, running to the eastward, with a fresh breeze at west-south-west, the same Danish 20-gun brig Lougen, of whom mention has just been made. The Seagull crowded sail in chase ; and at 4 h. 30 m. p.m., having arrived within gun-shot, hoisted her colours. The Lougen did the same, and, knowing that a long range suited her best, immediately opened a fire from her starboard guns. It now falling nearly calm, the Seagull was obliged to use her sweeps, in order, by getting between her antagonist and the shore, to prevent the latter from entering Christiansand harbour, off the mouth of which she lay ; and more particularly, that the former might gain a position near enough for her carronades to produce effect.

At 5. p.m. the British brig got within musket-shot of the Dane and commenced the action, but soon had most of her sweeps, and the greater part of her rigging, shot away by the Lougen's fire. After the engagement had continued in this way for 20 minutes, six Danish gun-boats, each armed with two long 24-pounders, and manned with from 60 to 70 men, and which until now had been concealed behind the rocks, pulled towards the Seagull. They soon swept up, and, taking a position on each quarter, raked the Seagull at every shot ; while the Lougen was doing the same on the British brig's larboard bow. By 6 h. 30 m. p.m. five out of seven of the Seagull's carronades on the larboard side were dismounted. Every effort was now used to get the brig round ; but, as her sweeps were all destroyed, and her rigging and sails, even had there been a breeze to use them, cut to pieces, that object could not be effected. After sustaining the heavy fire of her numerous antagonists until 7 h. 30 m. p.m., at which time she had five feet water in the hold, the Seagull struck her colours.

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