1811 - Guadaloupe with Tactique and GuÍpe


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1811 Guadaloupe with Tactique and GuÍpe 369

her having mounted, before carronades were so much in use in the French navy, 18 long 8-pounders and two brass 36-pounder carronades, * shows that the Abeille must have been a brig of very large dimensions ; especially when it is considered, that the Alacrity's class, averaging 383 tons, was originally designed to carry 18 long 6-pounders.

On the 27th of June, at 11 h. 30 m. a.m., the British brig-sloop Guadeloupe, of 14 carronades, 24-pounders, and two sixes, with 102 men and boys, Captain Joseph Swabey Tetley, being off Cape Creus at the north-eastern extremity of Spain, with the wind a fresh breeze from south-south-east, discovered and chased two strange sail in the north ; which afterwards proved to be the French brig-corvette Tactique, of 16 carronades, 24-pounders, and two long 8-pounders, with at least 150 men and boys, and the armed xebec Guêpe, of two long 18-pounders and six 18 or 12 pounder carronades, with 65 or 70 men and boys. At about 15 minutes past noon the brig and xebec tacked and stood inshore ; and in another quarter of an hour all three vessels hoisted their colours.

At 0h. 40 in. p.m. the Guadeloupe, who had previously shortened sail, received the Tactique's starboard broadside ; then, passing under the latter's stern, returned it with interest, and immediately afterwards lay her opponent close alongside to leeward. A spirited action now ensued ; in which the xebec took a safe, but at the sane time very effective part, by raking the Guadeloupe astern. At 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Tactique made an attempt to board the British brig, but was repulsed with considerable slaughter. The French brig then passed the stern of the Guadeloupe : on which the latter bore up to close and renew the action. About this time two batteries near the town of Saint-Andre, one of four, the other of nine guns, opened a distant fire upon the Guadeloupe. Shortly afterwards the two brigs again came to close action, and continued engaged until 2 h. 15 m. p.m. ; when the Tactique, having had quite enough of fighting, bore up, set her topgallant-sails, and stood in-shore under the batteries, whither the Guêpe had just before fled for shelter. The Guadeloupe, from whom the town of Vendré at this time bore south-west by south distant not more than two miles, gave the French brig a parting broadside from her larboard guns, then hauled to the wind and stood off-shore.

The Guadeloupe was a good deal cut in her sails and rigging but not materially damaged in her hull : her loss amounted to one man killed, her first lieutenant and nine men severely, and two or three others slightly wounded. Although the Tactique did not appear to have had any of her spars shot away, the damages in her hull may be gathered from the extent of her loss, as it was afterwards reported to the British. The account

* See vol. iv., p. 233.

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