1809 - Cleopatra and Topaze


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1809 Horatio and Consorts with Junon 149

any time afterwards, get more than half her broadside to bear. At the expiration of 40 minutes from the commencement of the firing, in which the battery on shore had, from the first, taken a part, the Jason and Hazard came up. While the Hazard cannonaded the battery, the Jason brought to on the starboard quarter of the Topaze, and opened a fire from her bow guns. Thus assailed, the French frigate had no chance of escape, and therefore, at 5 h. 20 m. p.m. hauled down her colours.

Neither the Jason nor the Hazard sustained any injury from the frigate or the battery ; and the damages of the Cleopatra, on account of the secure position she had taken and the high firing of her antagonist, were chiefly confined to her rigging. The loss on board the Cleopatra, for the same reason, amounted to only two seamen killed and one wounded. The Topaze was tolerably struck in the hull, especially about the bows, and had, as acknowledged by her officers, 12 men killed and 14 wounded, out of a complement, including 100 soldiers, of about 430 men. One third of these, when the frigates surrendered, took to the water; and several must have been drowned, or killed by the Jason's shot, in attempting to reach the shore. The Topaze, the same that, in July, 1805, captured the Blanche, * was added to the British navy under the name of Alcmène, a Topaze being already in the service.

On the 8th of February, at 2 p.m., the British 16-gun brig-sloop Asp, Captain Robert F. Preston; and 14-gun brig-sloop Supérieure (with only, it appears, four of her carronades, 18-pounders, on board), Captain William Ferrie, cruising to the southward of the Virgin islands, discovered and chased a ship standing to the northward, with the wind at east-north-east. At 3 p.m. the leading brig, the Supérieure having got into the latter's wake, tacked and stood directly for her. The ship, then about seven miles ahead, was the French 40-gun frigate Junon, Captain Jean-Baptiste-Augustin Rousseau, from the Saintes four days, bound to France. At 11 h. 30m. p.m., when distant full four miles to-windward of her consort, and about two astern of the Junon, the Supérieure fired a shot at the latter to bring her to ; but the frigate, very naturally, disregarded the summons and pursued her route to the northward. In the course of the night the Asp dropped completely out of sight, and at daylight on the 9th the Supérieure and Junon were left to themselves. At 8 a.m., just as the Virgin-Gorda bore from the Supérieure north-west by north distant five or six miles, the latter fired several shot at the frigate ; who, at 10 a.m., hoisted French colours and fired two harmless broadsides at the brig, then about twos miles off, on her lee quarter. Even this did not check the ardour of Captain Ferrie. The Supérieure merely tacked to avoid a repetition of the salute, and then again pursued

* See vol., iv. p. 140.

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