1813 - Boats of Bacchante and Weasel near Cape Otranto


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1813 Boat Attacks, &c. in the Adriatic 171

vessels cut the oars from the men's hands as the boats were pulling towards them. For his gallantry on the above and several other occasions, Lieutenant O'Brien was promoted to the rank of commander.

The Weasel not being able to overtake her two gun-vessels, two of her boats under Lieutenant Thomas Whaley and midshipman James Stewart, and a boat belonging to the Bacchante under master's mate Edward Webb, proceeded in chase. The Bacchante's boat, taking the lead, soon overtook, and, although she carried only a 3-pounder in the bow with 18 men, captured, in spite of a warm opposition, the sternmost French gun-boat, armed the same as that already described, and having 40 men actually on board. Leaving the captured vessel to be taken possession of by the boats astern, Mr. Webb pushed after the remaining gun-boat, and carried her in the same gallant manner, and with equal impunity as to loss.

On the 14th of February, early in the morning, the Bacchante sent her barge, armed with a 12-pounder carronade and manned with 23 officers and men under Lieutenant Hood, in chase of a vessel seen by the night-glass to be sweeping and steering for Otranto. After pouring in a destructive fire of round shot and musketry, Lieutenant Hood, assisted by Lieutenant of marines William Haig and master's mates William Lee Rees and Charles Bruce, boarded and carried the French gun-vessel Alcinous,, of two long 24-pounders and 45 men, last from Corfu. The only person hurt on the British side was Lieutenant Hood, who received a severe contusion on the loins by a fall ; so severe, indeed, that this gallant young officer became eventually deprived of the use of both his legs. The loss on the French side amounted to two killed and nine wounded, and the gun-boat was so shattered by the carronade, that she had three feet water in her hold. As soon, therefore, as the prisoners were removed, it was found necessary to set the prize on fire.

Notwithstanding that an officer of acknowledged merit is now walking on crutches, in consequence of an incurable lameness produced by the wound he received in this truly gallant enterprise, no other notice was taken in the London Gazette of Captain Hoste's letter on the subject, than a statement, that two letters, dated on the 14th of February, had been received : " One, reporting the capture, off Otranto, of l'Alcinous French gunboat, carrying two guns and 32 men, and of eight trading vessels under her convoy from Corfu ; the other, stating the capture of la Vigilante French courier gun-boat, from Corfu to Otranto with despatches, and having on board, as passenger, the general of artillery Corda and his staff. "

On the 11th of May, receiving information that a convoy of enemy's vessels were lying in the channel of Karlebago, Captain Hoste proceeded thither ; but, on account of a contrary wind and strong current, the Bacchante did not arrive there until the

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