1809 - Boats of Bellerophon at Hango, Boats of Implacable off Porcola


Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>>

10 Pages <<<

1809 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 180

the Melpomène was unable to proceed in chase ; and her individually small, but collectively formidable, antagonists got back to their port.

The long 18 and 24 pounders of the Danes had produced a very serious effect both upon the materiel and the personnel of the British frigate : her sails and rigging of every sort were cut to pieces; her mizenmast so badly wounded as to require to be fished ; her bumpkin shot away, and her hull, both above and below water, greatly shattered. The loss on board the Melpomène, amounted to four seamen and one marine killed, and 29 officers, seamen, and marines wounded. What, loss was sustained on the part of the Danes, we are unable to show ; but it was probably of no very great amount, the darkness of the night concealing the gun-boats from view, and the calm state of the weather enabling them to take a position out of the reach of the frigate's broadside. Captain Warren, his officers, and crew behaved in the bravest manner ; and, as a proof that their ship was really in the shattered state we have described, the Melpomène, on her return to England in two or three months afterwards, was put out of commission as a cruising frigate.

On the 19th of June the British 74-gun ship Bellerophon, Captain Samuel Warren, cruising off the coast of Swedish Finland in company with the Minotaur 74, Captain John Barren, was detached by the latter off Hango. At sunset the Bellerophon discovered a lugger, apparently armed, and two other vessels, at anchor within the islands. Deeming it of importance to get hold of them, Captain Warren anchored, and detached the boats of the Bellerophon, under the orders of Lieutenant Robert Pilch, assisted by Lieutenants John Sheridan and George Bentham, Lieutenant of marines Alfred Octavius Carrington, and Mr. Mart the ship's carpenter, all volunteers. The party met no opposition in getting possession of the vessels ; but, being found of no value, they were abandoned, especially as they lay within gun-shot of four strong batteries, not before observed, and of several gun-boats. It was now judged necessary, to prevent loss in returning, to dash at the nearest battery, which mounted four 24-pounders, and was garrisoned by 103 men. After an obstinate resistance, this battery was carried in the most gallant manner, the Russians retreating to some boats that lay on the opposite side of the island. The guns were spiked and the magazine destroyed, and the British got back to their ship with so comparatively slight a loss as five men wounded.

On the 7th of July, as a British squadron, composed of the 74-gun ships Implacable, Captain Thomas Byam Martin, and Bellerophon, Captain Samuel War Warren, 38-gun frigate Melpomène, Captain Peter Parker, and 18-gun ship sloop Prometheus, Captain Thomas Forrest, was cruising on the coast of Finland, a Russian flotilla of gun-boats and merchant vessels was observed at anchor under Porcola Point. The gun-boats were eight in

^ back to top ^