1816 - Battle of Algiers


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1816 Battle of Algiers 401

20 feet long. So that the different batteries on the mole mounted at least 220 guns ; consisting, except in the case just mentioned, of 32, 24, and 18 pounders. South-west of the small pier that projects from the city to form the entrance of the mole, or harbour, and bearing, at the distance of about 300 yards, due west from the south mole-head, was the fish-market battery, of 15 guns, in three tiers. Between that and the southern extremity of the city, were two batteries of four or five guns each. Beyond the city, in this direction, was a castle and two or three other batteries, mounting between them 60 or 70 guns. Besides all the batteries we have enumerated, and which constituted the sea-defences of the port, there were various others at the back of the city, and on the heights in its environs : indeed, the whole of the guns mounted for the defence of the city of Algiers, on its sea and land frontiers, are represented to have exceeded 1000.

Having to beat against a head wind until towards midnight on the 24th, when it shifted to south-west, the fleet did not make Cape Cazzina, a high promontory about 55 miles to the westward of Algiers, of the bay of which it forms the northern point, until noon on the 26th ; nor gain a sight of the city until daybreak on the 27th. The ships at this time lying nearly becalmed, Lord Exmouth took the opportunity of despatching Lieutenant Samuel Burgess, in one of the Queen-Charlotte's boats, towed by the Severn, to demand of the dey certain conditions, of which the following is the substance: The abolition of christian slavery ; the delivery of all christian slaves in the kingdom of Algiers; the repayment of all the money that had recently been exacted for the redemption of Neapolitan and Sardinian slaves ; peace with the king of the Netherlands ; and the immediate liberation of the British consul and the two boats' crews of the Prometheus. At 9 a.m., the calm retarding the progress of the frigate, the boat, by signal from the Queen-Charlotte, pulled for the shore, carrying a flag of truce. At 11 a.m., on arriving opposite to the mole, the boat was met by one from the shore, in which was the captain of the port. The demand was presented, and an answer promised in two hours. Meanwhile, a breeze having sprung up from the sea, the fleet stood into the bay, and lay to about a mile from the city.

At 2 p.m., no answer returning, Lieutenant Burgess hoisted the signal to that effect, and pulled out towards the Severn. The Queen-Charlotte immediately asked, by signal, if all the ships were ready. Almost at the same moment every ship had the affirmative flag at her mast-head, and the fleet bore up to the attack in the prescribed order. At 2 h. 35 m. p.m. the Queen-Charlotte anchored with springs about 50 yards from the molehead. Just as the British three-decker was in the act of lashing herself to the mainmast of an Algerine brig fast to the shore at the mouth of the mole or harbour, and towards which Lord

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