1811 - Alceste and Active with Pauline and consorts


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1811 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 378

Neither of the two British frigates being now in a condition to make sail in pursuit, the Pauline effected her escape.

The Alceste, whose crew, after deducting those left on shore at Lissa, amounted to only 218 men and boys, had one midshipman (Charles Nourse) and six seamen killed, one lieutenant (Andrew Wilson), 11 seamen, and one marine wounded. The Active, who had about the same number of men absent as her consort, lost one midshipman (George Osborne), five seamen, and two marines killed, her captain (leg amputated), two lieutenants (William Bateman Dashwood, arm amputated, and George Haye), 21 seamen (one mortally), and three marines wounded. It was about the middle of the action that Captain Gordon received his wound : he was standing on a shot-bag and leaning on the capstan, giving his orders in his usual collected manner, when a 36-pound shot came in through a port-hole, grazed the carriage of a carronade, took off a seaman's leg, and struck the captain on the knee-joint; carrying all off as if it had been done with a knife, and leaving the leg hanging by the tendons. Although, of course, he instantly fell, Captain Gordon did not become insensible, but calmly directed the first lieutenant, Mr. Dashwood, to fight the ship ; and, as he was being carried below, told the second lieutenant, Mr. Haye, who commanded on the main deck, to do his best, should any mischance befall his senior officer. Shortly afterwards Lieutenant Dashwood had his right arm shot away ; and Lieutenant Haye, taking the command, fought the Active, although himself wounded, until her opponent's colours came down.

The damaged state of the Pomone at her surrender clearly proved, that her colours had not come down until all further resistance was vain. Her main and mizen masts fell, as we have stated, during the action, and her foremast very soon shared their fate. The hull of the Pomone was so shattered by the Active's quick and well-directed fire, that the ship had five feet water in the hold ; and her loss, out of a crew of 332 men and boys, amounted, as acknowledged by her officers, to 50 in killed and wounded, including Captain Rosamel himself by a grapeshot in the mouth. With respect to the damage or loss of the Pauline, nothing can be stated with certainty; but it was afterwards understood, that she entered Ancona in a very disabled state from her sufferings in the action.

Here were two pairs of combatants, as equally matched, all circumstances considered, as could well have been brought together ; and here was an action gallantly fought, we were going to say, on both sides. As, however, the French commodore certainly abandoned the action before the fall of his consort's masts had given the British a superiority, we feel disposed to concur in opinion with Captain Rosamel, that his commodore shamefully deserted him ; and that, at one time, there was every probability, that a spirited co-operation on the part of the Pauline

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