1804 - Commodore Dance and Admiral Linois


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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
1804 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 248

Earl-Camden Nathaniel Dance
Warley Henry Wilson
Alfred James Farquharson
Royal-George John Fam Timmins
Coutts Robert Torin
Wexford Wm. Stanley Clarke
Ganges William Moffat
Exeter Henry Meriton
Earl-of-Abergavenny John Wordsworth
Henry-Addington John Kirkpatrick
Bombay-Castle Arch. Hamilton
Cumberland Wm. Ward Farrer
Hope Jas. Pendergrass
Dorsetshire Rob. Hunter Brown
Warren-Hastings Thomas Larkins
Ocean Jno. Christ. Lochner

also 11 country-ships, one Botany-bay and one Portuguese ship and a fast-sailing armed brig, the Ganges, in the company's service ; total, 39 ships and one brig.

On the 14th of February, at 8 a.m. Pulo-Auro in sight and bearing west-south-west, the Royal-George made the signal for seeing four strange sail in the south-west. Commodore Dance immediately signalled the Alfred, Royal-George, Bombay-Castle, and Hope, to go down and examine the strangers: and Lieutenant Robert Fowler, late commander of the British armed store-ship Porpoise (wrecked in the preceding August), and at this time a passenger on board the Earl-Camden, volunteered to go in the Ganges brig, on the same service. The signals of the look-out ships soon apprized the commodore that the strange vessels were a French squadron, consisting of a line-of-battle ship, three frigates, and a brig. They were, in fact, the 74-gun ship Marengo, Captain Joseph-Marie Vrignaud, 40-gun frigate Belle-Poule, Captain Alain-Adélaide-Marie Bruilhac, 36-gun frigate Sémillante, Captain Leonard-Bernard Motard, 22-gun corvette Berceau, Captain Emmanuel Halgan, and the Batavian 16-gun brig-corvette Aventurier, which Rear-admiral Linois whose flag was on board the Marengo, had borrowed from the colonial government at Batavia and commissioned by one of his lieutenants. On the 10th of the preceding December, it will be remembered the Marengo and her three consorts anchored in the road of Batavia. * Thence they sailed on the 28th, accompanied by the Aventurier, and stored with six months' provisions, on purpose to look after the China fleet, of whose strength and time of departure Rear-admiral Linois had, as he declares, been duly informed.

At 1 p.m. the British commodore recalled the look-out ships and formed the line of battle in close order. Admiral Linois, as soon as he could fetch in the wake of the British fleet, which he knew to be that expected from China, put about. The ships of the latter continued their course under easy sail ; and, as the French were now close astern, Commodore Dance expected his rear to be attacked, and prepared to support it ; but, at nightfall, the French ships, preferring a daylight action, hauled close to the wind. The Ganges brig was sent to station the country-ships on the lee bow of the armed Indiamen, and, having done so, returned with some volunteers for the latter.

The British ships lay to all night, the men at their quarters. At daybreak on the 15th the French, having made a proper use, of the intermediate time, were about three miles to windward,

See p. 213.

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