1809 - Commodore Beresford and M. Willaumez


Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>>

10 Pages <<<

1809 Commodore Beresford and M. Willaumez 95



Ocean Rear-ad. Jean-Bapt.- Philibert Willaumez.
  Captain Pierre-Nicolas Rolland.


Foudroyant Rear-ad. Antoine-Louis Gourdon.
  Captain Antoine Henri.
Varsovie Captain Jacques Bergeret.


Tourville Captain Charles-Nicolas Lacaille.
Jean-Bart Captain Charles Lebozec.
Tonnerre Captain Nicolas Clement de la Roncière
Aquilon Captain Jacques-Remy Maingon.
Régulus Captain Jean-Jacques-Etienne Lucas.


Indienne Captain Guillaume-Marcellin Proteau
Elbe Captain Jacques-François Bellenger

Brig-corvette Nisus ; schooner (late British) Magpie

At 9 a.m. the rearmost ship doubled the Vendrée rock, and the French squadron, in line of battle, stood for the Raz, with a fresh breeze at north-north-east. Just as the headmost ships had cleared the Raz passage, they were descried by the British 74-gun ship Revenge, Captain the Honourable Charles Paget. The latter immediately steered for the Glenans to give information to Captain John Poer Beresford ; who, with the Theseus 74, and the Triumph and Valiant, of the same force, Captains Masterman Hardy and Alexander Robert Kerr, was blockading three sail of the line and three frigates in the road of Lorient At 30 minutes past noon the Revenge lost sight of the French ships, but at 3 h. 15 m. p.m. again discovered them, and a minute or two afterwards exchanged numbers with the Theseus, an the south-west, off Isle Groix.

The instructions to M. Willaumez were to chase from off the port of Lorient the British blockading squadron, stated to be of four sail of the line besides frigates, in order that Commodore Troude, with his three sail of the line and five frigates, might join the former. If, however, the tide should happen not to suit at the moment that he appeared off the port, the rear-admiral was to proceed straight to Basque roads, and dispossess of that anchorage a British squadron, stated also to consist of four sail of the line. M. Willaumez was then to anchor in the road of Isle d'Aix, and there wait for further orders. So far the Moniteur. But those orders had already issued. Adding to his 11 sail of the line the Rochefort squadron of three, and the Calcutta armed en flute and frigates, M. Willaumez was to make the best of his way to Martinique ; and, with his fleet and the troops that were on board of it, he was to save that island from falling into the hands of the British, who, by the last accounts, were on the eve of attacking it.

It was at about 4 h. 30 m. p.m. that the squadrons of Rear-admiral Willaumez and Commodore Beresford fully discovered each other. The latter was then steering about east-south-east, with a fresh breeze at north-north-east, and the former was nearly close hauled on the same tack. Rear-admiral Gourdon's division, consisting of four sail of the line, immediately bore up in chase, and the remaining division soon afterwards did the same. Whereupon the British squadron tacked and steered west-north-

^ back to top ^