1811 - Alceste and Active with Pauline and consorts


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1811 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 376

port, immediately unmoored the squadron and prepared to go in pursuit of what was supposed to be a French squadron from Triest bound to Corfu, consisting of the 40-gun frigates Danaé and Flore and 32-gun frigate Carolina, the fugitives from Captain Hoste in the preceding March. As a strong French force was at this time assembled at Scisina, for the avowed purpose of making an attack upon Lissa, Captain Maxwell could not leave the island without providing for its defence. Accordingly a lieutenant, midshipman, and about 30 seamen, from the Alceste and Active were embarked on board three prize gun-boats lying in the port ; and the whole of the marines belonging to the Alceste , Active, and, we believe, Unité, were landed as a garrison for the two batteries erected on Hoste island at the entrance of the harbour. Leaving, then, the direction of affairs to Captain Bligh of the Acorn, Captain Maxwell, with the Alceste, Active, and Unite, began warping out of the harbour against a fresh east-north-east wind ; and by 7 p.m., after very great exertions on the part of their officers and crews, the three British frigates were at sea.

At 9 h. 30 m., when close off the south end of Lissa a strange vessel to windward fired two guns, and the Unité boarded her. She proved to be a neutral, on board of which Lieutenant John M'Dougal, of the Unité, had taken his passage to Malta. On that same morning, about 40 miles to the southward, this vessel had discovered three French frigates. Lieutenant M'Dougal instantly obliged the master of the neutral to put back, in order that the squadron might be informed of the circumstance, and the vessel was on her return to Lissa when thus fallen in with by the squadron. With the cheering prospect in view, Lieutenant M'Dougal resumed his station on board the Unité ; and the three British frigates were soon under all the sail they could carry, against the fresh wind that now blew from the east-south-east.

On the 29th, at 9 h. 20 m. a.m., the island of Augusta in sight, the Active made the signal for three strange sail in the east-north-east. At 10 a.m. the strangers were made out to be frigates, and were in fact, not the three French ships already named, but the 40-gun frigates Pauline, Commodore François-Gilles Monfort, aîné, and Pomone, Captain Claude-Charles-Marie Ducamp-Rosamel, and the frigate-built store-ship Persanne, of 26 guns, Captain Joseph-Andre' Satie, from Corfu since the 16th, going to join the French squadron at Triest ; for which, and for the batteries of the place, they had on board a quantity of iron and brass ordnance. At first the three French frigates formed in line on the larboard tack, and stood towards the British ships ; but, on making out the latter to be an enemy's squadron, M. Monfort bore up to north-west, and set studding-sails, followed, under an equal press of canvass, by the Alceste and her two companions.

At about 11 A, M., finding that she could not keep way with the Pauline and Pomone, the Persanne separated from them and

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