1808 - Wizard and Requin


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1808 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 48

Four of the latter were sunk by the Redwing's shot, seven, with the 4-gun mistico, were captured, and the remaining one, with gun-boat No. 107 and the felucca, effected their escape, the Redwing being in too crippled a state to pursue them. The brig, indeed, had received two 24-pound shot through her foremast, one through the mainmast, and one through the gammoning of the bowsprit, which last shot had likewise cut asunder the knee of the head. Notwithstanding that her damages were so serious, the Redwing had only one seaman hurt on board. In her boats, however, she had one seaman killed, and her master (John Davis) slightly, purser (Robert L. Horniman), and the same seaman who had been wounded slightly on board, severely, wounded.

Considering that, among the 22 guns of the Redwing's seven opponents, there were one long 36, and seven long 24 pounders, that the number of men on board of them almost trebled the number in the brig, who had only 98 men and boys on board, and that the weather was in every respect favourable for gunboat operations, the defeat and destruction of this Spanish flotilla afforded an additional proof of the prowess of British seamen, and of how much may be accomplished by gallantry and perseverance.

On the 10th of May, at 1 p.m., the British brig-sloop Wizard, mounting fourteen 24-pounder carronades and two sixes, with 95 men and boys, Captain Abel Ferris, being in latitude 40 30' north, and longitude 60 34' east, standing to the north-east, with a fresh breeze at west, descried and chased a brig in the east-north-east, steering to the southward under all sail. This vessel was the French brig-corvette Requin, mounting also fourteen 24-pounder (French) carronades, with two sixes, and a crew of 110 men and boys, Capitaine de frégate Claude-René Berard. In size, also, the two brigs nearly agreed, the Wizard measuring 283, and the Requin 332 tons. The pursuit continued throughout the day and night ; the Wizard shifting her provisions aft, and using every other means to get her trim and improve her sailing, and her crew passing the night at their quarters.

On the 11th, at 4 a.m., the wind being light, the Wizard was at her sweeps ; and the Requin, trusting to her sails alone, was about two miles distant in the south-south-east. At 7 h. 45 m. a.m. the Requin fired her stern-chasers, and hoisted French colours; and at 8 h. 10 m. a.m. the Wizard, bringing up a fresh breeze from west-north-west, fired her bow guns at the former, and hoisted British colours. At 9 a.m. the Requin brought to, with studding sails set, and fired her broadside : on which the Wizard, who was nearing fast, ran close under her opponent's stern, and, having raked the Requin with guns double-shotted, hove to under her lee quarter. In this position the two brigs fought at close quarters, from 9 a.m. to 10 h. 30 m, a.m. ; and

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