1810 - Boats of Christian VII. &c. in Basque roads


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1810 British and French Fleets 230

Lieutenant Gardener Henry Guion, to cut off the vessels. The boats soon drove the vessels on shore, within grape and musket range of the French battery. Notwithstanding their apparent security Lieutenant Guion and his party succeeded in capturing one chasse-marée, and in destroying a brig, a schooner, and two chasse-marées, all valuably laden ; but which, owing to the fast ebbing of the tide, it was found impracticable to get afloat.

On the 20th, in the evening, another convoy of about 30 sail making their appearance in the Maumusson passage, and the van seeming inclined to push for Rochelle, the boats of the same two ships, still under the orders of Lieutenant Guion, were sent in chase. With their accustomed gallantry, the British attacked the convoy, which ran aground within a stone's throw of the batteries ; when five of them, under a heavy fire of grape and musketry, were burnt, and a sixth was taken : the rest put back. The captured vessels were all chasse-marées, and were laden, as the former had been, with wine, brandy, soap, rosin, candles, pitch, oil, &c. In this affair one of the Armide's seamen was wounded, and two of the French seamen were killed.

On the 13th of February, three deeply-laden chasse-marées, part of a convoy of ten sail which had sailed on the preceding evening from the Charente in thick weather, blowing fresh from the west-south-west, having got on the reef that projects from the point of Chatelaillon between Aix and Rochelle, Sir Joseph Yorke detached, for the purpose of destroying them, three boats from the Christian VII, three from the Armide, and two from the 12-pounder 36-gun frigate Seine, Captain David Atkins, still under the orders of Lieutenant Guion.

As the eight boats of the British, manned and armed in the usual way, advanced towards the grounded chasse-marées, nine French boats, each carrying a 12-pounder carronade and six swivels, and rowing from 20 to 30 oars, pulled out to meet the former and prevent them from fulfilling their object. Lieutenant Guion made a feint of retreating, to decoy the French boats from their shore defences ; and, having got to a proper distance, suddenly pulled round and stood towards them. The French immediately retreated ; but the Christian VII's barge, in which was Lieutenant Guion, being a fleet boat, boldly advanced along the rear of the French line to their third boat. Finding, however, from circumstances, that the rearmost boat was the only one likely to be attacked with any prospect of success, Lieutenant Guion gallantly boarded and carried her, sword in hand. She had two men killed and three wounded, including her commanding officer, severely.

In the mean time Lieutenant Samuel Roberts, of the Armide, had pursued two others of the French armed boats in the direction of the beach ; and, by the steady fire which his men maintained upon them at a pistol-shot distance, they must have

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