1809 - Topaze with Danať and Flore


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1809 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 172

leagues, the British 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Topaze, Captain Anselm John Griffiths, standing close hauled on the starboard tack with a light breeze from the south-south-east, in company with the 18-gun ship-sloop Kingfisher, Captain Ewell Tritton. discovered, and immediately bore up for two strange frigates in the east-north-east. These were the French 40-gun frigates Danaé and Flore. At 6 h. 40 m. a.m., mistaking, we suppose, the Kingfisher for a larger vessel than she was, the two frigate made all sail north by east. At 10 a.m. they were hull down from the Topaze in the east-north-east, and the Kingfisher way in the south-west between four and five miles off, under all sail in light airs, trying her utmost to close. At 11 a.m. the two frigates made sundry signals, and tacked off shore a little to the southward of Pargos. The Topaze then stood within three, miles of the strangers, tacked, and hove to ; the Kingfisher at this time eight or nine miles astern, still under all sail, and sweeping. The Danaé and Flore then wore and stood in shore again, Anti-Paxo at noon bearing from the Topaze west-north-west distant four or five miles.

At 20 minutes past noon the Topaze, with the wind now from north-north-west, wore and again made all sail after the strangers, evidently frigates mounting from 44 to 48 guns each. At 1 p.m. the Danaé and Flore, who were now to windward, passed within hail of each other, and tacked off the main land. At 2 h. 10 m. p.m. they hoisted French colours, and one of them a broad pendant. In five minutes more the Topaze hoisted colours and fired a shot at the headmost ship, which the latter returned ; and the two frigates exchanged broadsides while passing on opposite tacks. The Topaze then stood on and engaged the sternmost frigate in a similar manner and at 3 p.m. tacked from the main. The headmost French frigate the same moment tacked off Paxo, and was presently followed the manoeuvre by her consort. At 3 h. 30 m. p.m. the Topaze and her two opponents engaged in crossing each other, the same as before ; the Kingfisher at the distance of six or seven miles, and to leeward. At 4 h. 30 m. P.M. the Topaze and the two French frigates again commenced firing on opposite tacks, and continued engaging, at the distance of about a mile and a quarter, until nearly 5 p.m., when the Danaé and Flore tacked off Paxo out of gun-shot, and stood up the passage to Corfu under all sail leaving to a single British frigate, with 12-pounders only, credit of having obliged them to do so.

Shortly afterwards the Topaze bore up and closed the Kingfisher ; without, as it appears, having sustained any loss in action with her two very forbearing opponents, although French 18-pound shot had gone through the gig, launch, yawl and the quarterdeck bulwark. Our researches have not enabled us to give the names of the captains of these two French frigates ; not, at least, with that degree of certainty which is requisite in a

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