1809 - Capture of the d'Haupoult


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Light Squadrons and Single Ships 164

a.m. ; when the d'Haupoult ranged ahead, steering before the wind, and became again engaged with the Castor. Before many shot had been exchanged between these unequal antagonists, the Pompée putting her helm a-port, fired her bow guns at, and was preparing with her broadside to rake, the d'Haupoult ; when the French ship, now a complete wreck in rigging and sails, lowered her topsails, hove to, and hauled down her colours. This was a measure which could no longer have been delayed ; for the opening daylight discovered the Neptune, York, and Captain, with the sloops Hazard, Ringdove, and Hawk, about nine miles to the eastward, and the Polyphemus, Ethalion frigate, and sloops Tweed and Recruit, within less than that distance to the westward ; all, under a press of canvass, standing for the Pompée, Castor, and their prize, and whom the Latona was now also in the act of joining. Thus terminated a running fight, which had commenced to the southward of Vieux-Fort, Guadaloupe, at 10 p.m. on the 14th of April, and had ended within eight leagues north-east by north of Cape Roxo, Porto-Rico, at 5 h. 15 m. a.m. on the 17th.

The Pompée was nearly in as disabled a state, especially in rigging and sails, as the d'Haupoult herself, and had her gaff ; mizenmast, main yard, and bowsprit badly wounded, besides having received a number of shot in her hull. The Pompée's loss consisted of her boatswain (Edward Casey), seven seamen, and one marine killed, her captain, first lieutenant (William Bone), one lieutenant of marines (Charles Edward Atkins), 22 seamen, and five private marines wounded. The damages of the Castor were comparatively trifling, and her loss amounted to only one seaman killed and six wounded. The loss of these two ships, added to that of the Neptune and Recruit already stated, makes the total loss on the British side, 10 killed, and 35 wounded. The hull of the d'Haupoult, as is usually the case against British opponents, had suffered more than the appearance of her sails and rigging indicated ; and the French ship lost, out of a crew of 680 men and boys, between 80 and 90 in killed and wounded, including several officers.

In this case there was nothing that could cast the slightest imputation upon the French ship : the d'Haupoult retreated from a superior force, manoeuvred skilfully, and, when at last overtaken, fought bravely. There were periods, probably, when Commodore Troude might have shortened sail and engaged to advantage ; but, doubtless, he considered that, long before he could bring the contest to a favourable issue, Rear-admiral Cochrane and his squadron would be close at his heels ; not merely to retake his prize (admitting the French commodore to have taken the Pompée), but to capture one or more of his ships, disabled as, in all likelihood, they would have been. The conduct of the Pompée was such as was expected of her, and the Castor gave proofs of a commendable zeal in closing with so

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