1809 - Expedition to the Scheldt


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1809 Expedition to the Scheldt 135

At 5 h. 30 m. p.m. this brig, one of the small squadron under the command of Captain Edward William Campbell Rich. Owen of the 38-gun frigate Clyde, at anchor in Steen-Diep, weighed, by signal, and stood in to cover the boats of the squadron, which, under the orders of Lieutenant Charles Burrough Strong, had been detached to sound and buoy the channel. In 10 minutes after she had weighed, the Raven became exposed to the fire of the Breskens battery, mounting, according to the French accounts, 20 heavy cannon, and six enormous mortars. The brig returned the fire, and, as she entered the Scheldt, received the fire of four other batteries on the Cadzand side, and of all those forming the sea-front of Flushing, Notwithstanding the shower of red-hot shot and of shells and grape, directed against her from both sides of the channel, the Raven gallantly stood on, and assisted by two or three British gun-boats, drove the boats of the enemy back to the Cadzand shore. It was on her return from executing this service that the brig suffered. One shot cut the main topmast in two just above the cap, and which, in falling, carried away the fore topmast. In this disabled state, the Raven continued exposed to a fire, which cut her sails and rigging to pieces, irreparably injured her mainmast, bowsprit, and main boom, struck her hull in several places, dismounted two of her guns, and wounded Captain Hanchett and eight seamen and marines. At length the tide, and the little sail she could set, drifted the Raven clear of the batteries ; but, so unmanageable was the brig, that she struck on the Elboog sand, and did not get off until the following morning. On this day the communication was renewed without interruption, and by the evening of the 6th, as many as 3143 men had crossed over ; a reinforcement which augmented the garrison of Flushing to 7000 men.

The surrender of the fort of Rammekens having opened to the British the passage of the Sloe channel, immediate measures were taken to get the flotilla, which had acted against Veer, into the western Scheldt ; in order that a portion of it might prevent any further succours from being thrown into Flushing, either from Cadzand or the canal of Ghent, and another portion proceed up the western Scheldt, to co-operate with that under Rear-admiral Sir Richard Keats. Bad weather and the intricacy of

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