1816 - Battle of Algiers


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1816 Battle of Algiers 405

minutes did her more serious injury than all she had previously suffered. At 7 p.m. the Leander, being greatly cut up by the fish-market battery and others on her starboard bow, ran out a hawser to the Severn and brought her broadside to bear upon them. About this time, by the incessant and well directed fire of the mortar, gun, and rocket boats, all the ships and vessels within the harbour were burning. The flames subsequently communicated to the arsenal and storehouses on the mole ; and the city also, in several parts, was set on fire by the shells from the bomb-vessels.

The ordnance-sloop, which, fitted as an explosion-vessel, had accompanied the expedition from Gibraltar, for the purpose of being sent against the ships in the mole, was now, as they were all destroyed, placed under the directions of Rear-admiral Milne. Lieutenant Fleming, who during the action had been commanding with great credit a battering-boat stationed close under the stern of the Queen-Charlotte, proceeded, in company with Major Reed of the engineers, to take command of the explosion-vessel, and to place her where an officer, sent by Rear-admiral Milne, should point out. This officer was Captain Herbert Bruce Powell, a volunteer serving on board the Impregnable. In a short time the sloop was run on shore, close under the semicircular battery to the northward of the lighthouse. There, at a few minutes past 9 p.m., the vessel exploded; and, having been charged with 143 barrels of powder, must have operated very successfully as a diversion in favour of the Impregnable.

The whole of the ships kept up a tremendous fire upon the town and forts until about 10 p.m. ; when the upper tiers of the batteries on the mole, being in a state of dilapidation, the fire from the lower tiers nearly silenced, and the ammunition of the attacking ships reduced to a very small quantity, the Queen-Charlotte cut her cables and springs, and stood out before a light air of wind, which, fortunately for the British, had just sprung up from the land. The remaining British ships, by orders of the admiral, began cutting also ; but, owing to their disabled state, they made very slow progress, and the Leander, Superb, and Impregnable suffered much, in consequence, from the raking fire of a fort at the upper angle of the city. Before 2 a.m. On the 28th every British and Dutch ship had come to out of reach of shot or shells, the Algerine fleet and store-houses illuminating by their blaze the whole bay, and greatly assisting the former in picking an anchorage. As if to add to the awful grandeur of the scene, the elements began their war as soon as the ships and batteries had ended theirs. For nearly three hours the lightning and thunder were incessant, and the rain poured down in torrents. We are sensible that a diagram would have been particularly useful in this action, and had hoped to have been able to give one; but, on consulting the logs, we found the positions of very few of the

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