1809 - Capture of Anholt, Expedition to the Scheldt


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1809 British and French Fleets 130

an enemy's armed vessel ; but, adds the French officer, whose excellent letters have been so useful to us, " it is first necessary to inspire our sailors with the spirit with which they were animated previous to this unfortunate affair. As it is, the greater part are completely disheartened : every day I hear them lamenting their situation, and speaking in praise of our enemies. This, in my opinion, is the greatest injury the English have done to us." Having now presented the only details, which have appeared, of the destruction of the French ships in the road of Isle d'Aix, we shall proceed to give an account of another important expedition against a French fleet.

Before we enter upon the Scheldt affair, an intermediate expedition in the northern waters, upon a small scale, demands our brief notice. Early in the month of May a British squadron, consisting of one 64-gun ship, one frigate, three sloops, and a. gun-brig, under the command of Captain Askew Paffard Hollis, of the Standard, was detached by Vice-admiral Sir James Saumarez, the British commander-in-chief in the Baltic, to effect the reduction of the Danish island of Anholt. A party of seamen and marines, commanded by Captain William Selby of the 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Owen Glendower, assisted by Captain Edward Nicolls of the Standard's marines, was landed. On the 18th, after a smart but ineffectual resistance, which killed one British marine and wounded two, the Danish garrison, consisting of 170 men, surrendered at discretion, and possession of the island was immediately taken. The principal point gained by this conquest was the power to restore the lighthouse upon the island to the use for which, until the war between England and Denmark, it was formerly kept : a matter of no slight importance to the British Wen of war and merchantmen navigating those dangerous seas,

In our account of the proceedings of the year 1807, we had occasion to advert to the formidable naval preparations carrying on by France in the waters of the Scheldt. * Finding that the port of Antwerp was not quite deep enough to float an 80-gun ship with her guns and stores on board, Napoléon forced his brother Louis, the king of Holland, to cede to France, by treaty, the port of Flushing. By this acquisition, the French emperor became entire master of the entrance of the Scheldt, and possessed a capacious basin or harbour, in which a fleet of 20 sail of the line could lie in perfect readiness for sea. It has been doubted, whether line-of-battle ships, fully armed and provisioned, could pass in and out of the basin of Flushing; but a French writer, when speaking of the advantages of the place to France, expressly says: " Elle était un arsenal supplémentaire où s'armaient les vaisseaux construits à Anvers." Admitting,

* See vol., iv., p. 276.

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