The Navy Department Library
AN AUTHENTIC NARRATIVE OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF HIS MAJESTY' SQUADRON, UNDER THE COMMAND OF REAR-ADMIRAL SIR HORATIO NELSON, FROM ITS SAILING FROM GIBRALTAR TO THE CONCLUSION OF THE GLORIOUS BATTLE OF THE NILE;
DRAWN UP FROM THE MINUTES OF AN OFFICER OF RANK IN THE SQUADRON.
OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF
HIS MAJESTY' s SQUADRON,
UNDER THE COMMAND OF
REAR-ADMIRAL SIR HORATIO NELSON,
SAILING FROM GIBRALTAR TO THE CONCLUSION
OF THE GLORIOUS
BATTLE OF THE NILE;
DRAWN UP FROM THE MINUTES OF
AN OFFICER OF RANK
IN THE SQUADRON.
THE THIRD EDITION.
PRINTED FOR T. CADELL, JUN. AND W. DAVIES,
(SUCCESSORS TO MR. CADELL), STRAND;
AND T. EGERTON, WHITEHALL.
[PRICE ONE SHILLING.]
To the Public
THE glorious Victory achieved by Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, off the Mouth of the Nile, on the 1st and 2d of August last, has received, and must ever continue to receive, the warmest tribute of admiration and applause. It has not only filled every British Bosom with the proudest exultation, but Foreign Nations have participated in our feelings, and have hailed the British Conqueror as the Hero and Saviour of Europe. No Naval, or perhaps any other Battle, ancient of modern, ever had so much dependant upon its consequences - consequences which have even surpassed the anticipations of the most experienced Statesmen and profoundest Politicians in Europe; and no Battle that ever was fought, was perhaps conducted, in its progress, with so much judgment, or contested, to its issue, with so much ardent and persevering courage.
The account of the general result of this Action, even the best Historians that shall here-
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after record it, will be proud to borrow from the unaffected and eloquent Letter of the Admiral himself; but in every transaction of the kind, after the first tumult of National Exultation shall have in some degree subsided, a thousand circumstances remain to be supplied for the satisfaction of the enquiring mind, and which are essential to gain a just and perfect impression of the actual merit of the great services which have been performed. The Hero, like every other man, is best known and remembered by minute traits of character. Great and brilliant events dazzle and astonish, while the deliberations and turns of mind in a great Man, that produce such events, attract our attention, awaken all our admiration, and permanently fix our esteem.
To supply what the British Nation have long anxiously wished for, An Authentic Detail of all the Operations of the British Squadron, previous to the Battle, and of its particular conduct in the grand crisis which ensued, we are happy that we can, through the kindness and indulgence of an Officer who bore a most distinguished share in that great event, now present a Narrative, at once minutely circumstantial and studiously accurate.
&c. &c. &c.
Sir Horatio Nelson had been detached by Earl St. Vincent into the Mediterranean with the Vanguard, of 74 guns, the Rear-Admiral's Flag Ship, the Orion and Alexander, of 74 guns each, the Emerald and Terpsichore Frigates, and La Bonne Cuoyenne Sloop of War.
Nothing material occurred to the Squadron from the day it sailed from Gibraltar, which was on the 9th of May, till the 22d, when, being in the Gulph of Lyons, at two A. M. a most violent squall of wind took the Vanguard, which carried away her topmasts, and at last her foremast. The other Ships experienced the fury of the gale, but not in the same degree as the Vanguard, a stronger vein of the
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tempest having taken that Ship. The three Line of Battle Ships lost sight of the Frigates on the same day; and at the moment of the misfortune which befell the Vanguard, the British Squadron was not many leagues distant from the French Fleet under Buonaparte, which had on that very day set sail from Toulon.
The Squadron bore up for Sardinia, the Alexander taking the Vanguard in tow, and the Orion looking out a-head to endeavour to get a Pilot, for the purpose of gaining St. Pierre's Road.
On the 24th, with very great difficulty we reached that anchorage, where we were in hopes of meeting with a friendly reception, which our distresses seemed to demand from a Neutral Power; the Governor of St. Pierre, however, had orders from the French not to admit any British Ship; but their utmost hostility could not prevent us from anchoring in the Road. The resources which British Seamen always have within themselves, availed us much upon this occasion. Capt. Berry, with the very able assistance he received from Sir James Saumarez and Capt. Ball, was en-
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abled with great expedition to equip the Vanguard with a jury fore-mast, jury main and mizen top-masts, and to fish the bowsprit, which was sprung in many places; and on the 4th day from our anchoring in St. Pierre's Road, we again put to sea with top-gallant yards across.
The Admiral, eager to execute the orders which he had received, did not think of sailing to Naples, or any other Port where he could have received the most open and friendly assistance, in getting the Ship properly refitted, which her condition evidently required, but immediately steered for his appointed rendezvous; nor did he ever express the smallest intention of shifting his Flag to either of the other Ships, which to many Officers the peculiar circumstances of his own Ship might have seemed to render desirable. --- The Admiral and Officers of the Vanguard indeed had the happiness to find that the Ship sailed and worked as well as the other Ships, notwithstanding her apparently crippled condition.
The Squadron reached the rendezvous on the 4th of June, and on the following day was joined by La Mutine, Capt. Hardy, who was
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charged with orders to the Admiral, and who brought the highly acceptable intelligence, that Capt. Troubridge had been detached with ten Sail of the Line, and a Fifty-gun Ship, to reinforce us. This intelligence was received with universal joy throughout our little Squadron; and the Admiral observed to Capt. Berry, that he would then be a match for any hostile Fleet in the Mediterranean, and his only desire would be to encounter one.
June 6th---The Squadron was spread, anxiously looking out for the expected reinforcement. By a Vessel spoke with on that day, we were informed that several Sail then in sight were Spanish Ships richly laden; but Prize Money was not the object of the Admiral---all selfish consideration was absorbed in his great mind by that of the honour and interests of his Country, and his attention and anxiety were solely engrossed by his desire to meet his promised reinforcement, that he might pursue the Enemy, of the sailing of whom from Toulon he had certain intelligence.---The Alexander being on the look-out, stopped one of these Ships---finding she had on board eighty or ninety Priests, driven by the French persecutions and cruelties from Rome, he thought it
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would be an act of humanity to permit the Ship to pursue her Voyage; and he accordingly released her, and rejoined the Admiral, bringing with him a few Volunteers from the Spanish Vessel, chiefly Genoese, who were desirous of the honour of serving in the British Fleet, expressing at the same time their detestation and resentment at the ill-usage which they had experienced from the French.
On the 8th at noon, we had the happiness to discover from the mast-head Ten Sail, and it was not long before we recognized them to be British Ships of War, standing upon a wind in close Line of Battle, with all Sails set. Private Signals were exchanged, and before sunset the so much wished for junction was formed, an event which was certainly facilitated by the great professional ability, judgment and zeal of Captain Troubridge.
The Admiral had received no instructions what course he was now to steer, and no certain information respecting the destination of the Enemy's Fleet; he was left, therefore, entirely to his own judgment. He had the happiness, however, to find, that to the Captains of his Squadron he had no necessity to give directions
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for being in constant readiness for Battle. On this point their zeal anticipated his utmost wishes, for the decks of all the Ships were kept perfectly clear night and day, and every man was ready to start to his post at a moment's notice. It was a great satisfaction to him, likewise, to perceive that the Men of all the Ships were daily exercised at the great guns and small arms, and that every thing was in the best state of preparation for actual service.
The Admiral knew that the Enemy had sailed with a N. W. wind, which naturally led him to conclude that their course was up the Mediterranean. He sent La Mutine to Civita Vecchia, and along the Roman coast, to gain intelligence, and steered with the Fleet for Corsica, which he reached on the 12th of June. Several vessels had been spoken with on the passage thither, but no intelligence whatever had been obtained from them. He continued his course on the 13th between Corsica and Elba, and between Planosa and Elba, through the latter of which passages large Ships or Fleets had not been accustomed to pass. We made the Roman Coast, and were rejoined by La Mutine, without gaining any intelligence, notwithstanding the active exertions of Captain
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Hardy. The Admiral now determined to steer towards Naples, in the hope of some satisfactory information. It had been reported that the plundering Algiers was the object of the French Armament; but this account was too vague to warrant the Admiral's implicitly adopting it. We saw Mount Vesuvius on the 16th, and detached Capt. Troubridge, in La Mutine, to obtain what information he could from Sir Wm. Hamilton. He returned with a report only, that the Enemy were gone toward Malta. The Admiral now lamented that even a day had been lost in visiting the Bay of Naples, and determined, by the shortest cut, to make the Faro di Messina, which the Fleet passed through on the 20th, with a fair wind. The joy with which the Sicilians hailed our Squadron, when it was discovered by them to be British, gave the most sincere satisfaction to every one on board of it. A vast number of boats came off, and rowed round it with the loudest congratulations, and the sincerest exultation, as the Sicilians had been apprehensive that the French Fleet was destined to act against them, after the capture of Malta. Here we gained intelligence from the British Consul, that Malta had actually surrendered. We had now hopes of being able to attack the Enemy's Fleet at
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Goza, where it was reported they were anchored, and the Admiral immediately formed a plan for that purpose.
We were now steering with a press of sail for Malta, with a fresh breeze at N.W. On the 22d June, La Mutine, at day-light in the morning, spoke a Genoese Brig from Malta, which gave intelligence that the French had sailed from thence on the 18th, with a fresh gale at N. W. The Admiral was not long in determining what course he should take, and made the signal to bear up and steer to the S. E, with all possible sail. At this time we had no certain means of ascertaining that the Enemy were not bound up the Adriatic.
From the day we bore up, till the 29th of June, only three vessels were spoken with, two of which had come from Alexandria, and had not seen any thing of the Enemy's Fleet; the other had come from the Archipelago, and had likewise seen nothing of them. This day we saw the Pharos Tower of Alexandria, and continued nearing the land with a press of sail, till we had a distinct view of both Harbours; and, to our general surprize and disappointment, we saw not a French Ship in either.
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La Mutine communicated with the Governor of Alexandria, who was as much surprized at seeing a British Squadron there, as he was at the intelligence that a French Fleet was probably on its passage thither.
It now became a subject of deep and anxious deliberation with the Admiral, what could possibly have been the course of the Enemy, and what their ultimate destination. His anxious and active mind, however, would not permit him to rest a moment in the same place, he therefore shaped his course to the Northward, for the Coast of Caramanea, to reach as quickly as possible some quarter where information could most probably be obtained, as well as to supply his Ships with water, of which they began to run short.
On the 4th of July we made the Coast of Caramanea; steering along the South side of Candia, carrying a press of sail both night and day with a contrary wind, on the 18th we saw the Island of Sicily, when the Admiral determined to enter the Port of Syracuse. With this Harbour no person in the Fleet was acquainted; but by the skill and judgment of the Officers, every Ship safely got in, and imme-
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diately proceeded to get in water, &c. with all possible expedition. This was the first opportunity that the Vanguard had had of receiving water on board from the 6th of May, so that not only the stock of that Ship, but of several others of the Squadron, was very nearly exhausted. Although there was no proper or regular watering-place, yet the great exertions of the Officers and Men enabled us to complete this necessary service in five days, and on the 25th the Squadron again put to Sea.
We received vague accounts while at Syracuse, that the Enemy's Fleet had not been seen in the Archipelago nor the Adriatic, nor had they gone down the Mediterranean; the conclusion then seemed to be, that the Coast of Egypt was still the object of their destination; and neither our former disappointment, nor the hardships we had endured from the heat of the climate, though we were still to follow an uncertain pursuit, could deter the Admiral from steering to that point where there was a chance of finding the Enemy.
Now that it is ascertained by events, that Alexandria was the object of the Enemy, it may seem strange that they should have been
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missed by us both in our passage thither, and our return to Syracuse; but it appeared that the French steered a direct course for Candia, by which they made an angular passage towards Alexandria, whilst we steered a straight course for that place, without making Candia at all, by which we of course very considerably shortened the distance. The smallness of our Squadron made it necessary to sail in close order, and therefore the space which it covered was very limited; and as the Admiral had no Frigates that he could detach upon the look-out, added to the constant haze of the atmosphere in that climate, our chance of descrying the Enemy was very much circumscribed. The distance likewise between Candia and the Barbary Coast, about 35 leagues, leaves very sufficient space for more than two of the largest Fleets to pass without mutual observation, particularly under the circumstances described.
On our return to Syracuse, the circumstance of our steering up to the Northward, while the Enemy kept a Southern course for Alexandria, makes it obvious that our chance of falling in with them was still less than before.
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On the 25th of July we left Syracuse, still without any positive information respecting the Enemy; but it occurred to the Admiral, that some authentic intelligence might be obtained in the Morea. We steered for that Coast, and made the Gulph of Coron on the 28th. Captain Troubridge was again employed on that important service of obtaining intelligence, and was dispatched in the Culloden into Coron, off which place, by the great exertions of that able Officer, the Fleet was not detained above three hours. He returned with intelligence from the Turkish Governor, that the Enemy had been seen steering to the S. E. from Candia about four weeks before. Captain Troubridge had had the satisfaction of observing, during his very hurried visit to Coron, that the Inhabitants there entertained the most serious apprehensions from the French Armament, and the most perfect detestation against that People.
Upon the information obtained by Captain Troubridge, the Admiral determined again to visit Alexandria, and carried all sail steering for that place, which he had the pleasure to descry on the 1st of August at noon;---but not as before, it now appearing full of Vessels of
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various kinds ! and we soon had the satisfaction of seeing the French Flag flying on board some of the Ships. The utmost joy seemed to animate every breast on board the Squadron at sight of the Enemy; and the pleasure which the Admiral himself felt, was perhaps more heightened than that of any other man, as he had now a certainty by which he could regulate his future operations.
The Admiral had, and it appeared most justly, the highest opinion of, and placed the firmest reliance on the valour and conduct of every Captain in his Squadron. It had been his practice during the whole of the Cruize, whenever the weather and circumstances would permit, to have his Captains on board the Vanguard, where he would fully develop to them his own ideas of the different and best modes of Attack, and such plans as he proposed to execute upon falling in with the Enemy, whatever their position or situation might be, by day or by night. There was no possible position in which they could be found, that he did not take into his calculation, and for the most advantageous attack of which, he had not digested and arranged the best possible disposition of the Force which he commanded. With
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the masterly ideas of their Admiral, therefore, on the subject of Naval Tactics, every one of the Captains of his Squadron was most thoroughly acquainted; and upon surveying the situation of the Enemy, they could ascertain with precision what were the ideas and intentions of their Commander, without the aid of any further instructions; by which means Signals became almost unnecessary, much time was saved, and the attention of every Captain could almost undistractedly be paid to the conduct of his own particular Ship, a circumstance from which, upon this occasion, the advantages to the general Service were almost incalculable.
It cannot here be thought irrelevant, to give some idea of what were the plans which Admiral Nelson had formed, and which he explained to his Captains with such perspicuity, as to render his ideas completely their own. To the Naval Service at least they must prove not only interesting, but useful.
Had he fallen in with the French Fleet at sea, that he might make the best impression upon any part of it that should appear the most vulnerable, or the most eligible for at-
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tack, he divided his Force into three Sub-Squadron, viz.
Two of these Sub-Squadrons were to attack the Ships of War, while the third was to purse the Transports, and to sink and destroy as many as it could.
The destination of the French Armament was involved in doubt and uncertainty; but it forcibly struck the Admiral, that, as it was commanded by the man whom the French had dignified with the title of the Conqueror of Italy, and as he had with him a very large body of Troops, and Expedition had been planned, which the Land Force might execute without the aid of their Fleet, should the Transports be permitted to make their escape, and reach in safety their place of rendezvous; it therefore became a material consideration with the Admiral, so to arrange his Force, as at once to engage the whole attention of their Ships of War, and at the same time ma-
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terially to annoy and injure their Convoy. It will be fully admitted, from the subsequent information which has been received upon the subject, that the ideas of the Admiral upon this occasion were perfectly just, and that the plan which he had arranged was the most likely to frustrate the designs of the Enemy.
It is almost unnecessary to explain his projected mode of attack at anchor, as that was minutely and precisely executed in the Action which we now come to describe. These plans, however, were formed two months before an opportunity presented itself of executing any of them, and the advantage now was, that they were familiar to the understanding of every Captain in the Fleet.
It has been already mentioned, that we saw the Pharos of Alexandria at noon on the first of August, The Alexander and Swiftsure had been detached a-head on the preceding evening to reconnoitre the ports of Alexandria, while the main body of the Squadron kept in the Offing. The Enemy's Fleet were first discovered by the Zealous, Capt. Hoon, who immediately communicated, by signal, the number of Ships, Sixteen, laying at anchor in Line of
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Battle, in a Bay upon the larboard bow, which we afterwards found to be Aboukir Bay. The Admiral hauled his wind that instant, a movement which was immediately observed and followed by the whole Squadron; and at the same time he recalled the Alexander and Swiftsure. The wind was at this time N. N. W. and blew what Seamen call a Top-gallant Breeze. It was necessary to take in the royals when we hauled upon a wind.
The Admiral made the Signal to prepare for Battle, and that it was his intention to attack the Enemy's Van and Centre as they lay at anchor, and according to the plan before developed. His idea in this disposition of his Force was, first to secure the Victory, and then to make the most of it, according to future circumstances. A bower cable of each Ship was immediately got out abaft, and bent forward. We continued carrying sail and standing in for the Enemy's Fleet in a close Line of Battle. As all the Officers of our Squadron were totally unacquainted with Aboukir Bay, each Ship kept sounding as she stood in.
The Enemy appeared to be moored in a strong and compact Line of Battle, close in with the
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shore, their Line describing an obtuse angle in its form, flanked by numerous Gun-boats, four Frigates, and a Battery of Guns and Mortars on an Island in their Van. This situation of the Enemy seemed to secure to them the most decided advantages, as they had nothing to attend to but their Artillery, in their superior skill in the use of which the French so much pride themselves, and to which indeed their splendid series of Land Victories are in a great measure to be imputed.
The position of the Enemy presented the most formidable obstacles; but the Admiral viewed these with the eye of a Seaman determined on attack; and it instantly struck his eager and penetrating mind, that where there was room for an Enemy's Ship to swing, there was room for one of ours to anchor. No further Signal was necessary than those which had already been made. The Admiral's designs were as fully known to his whole Squadron, as was his determination to conquer, or perish in the attempt.
The Goliath and Zealous had the honour to lead inside, and to receive the first fire from the Van Ships of the Enemy, as well as from the
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Batteries and Gun-boats with which their Van was strengthened. These two Ships, with the Orion, Audacious and Theseus, took their stations inside of the Enemy's Line, and were immediately in close Action. The Vanguard anchored the first on the outer side of the Enemy, and was opposed within half pistol shot of Le Spartiate, the third in the Enemy's Line. In standing in, our leading Ships were unavoidably obliged to receive into their bows the whole fire of the broadsides of the French Line, until they could take their respective stations; and it is but justice to observe, that the Enemy received us with great firmness and deliberation, no Colours having been hoisted on either side, nor a gun fired, till our Van Ships were within half gun shot.
At this time the necessary number of our men were employed aloft in furling sails, and on deck, in hauling the braces, &c. preparatory to our casting anchor. As soon as this took place, a most animated fire was opened from the Vanguard, which Ship covered the approach of those in the Rear, which were following in a close Line. The Minotaur, Defence, Bellerophon, Majestic, Swiftsure and Alexander, came up in succession, and passing within hail of
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the Vanguard, took their respective stations opposed to the Enemy's Line. All our Ships anchored by the stern, by which means the British Line became inverted from Van to Rear.
Captain Thompson, of the Leander, of 50 guns, with a degree of skill and intrepidity highly honourable to his professional character, advanced towards the Enemy's Line on the outside, and most judiciously dropped his anchor athwart hawse of Le Franklin, raking her with great success, the shot from the Leander's broadside which passed that Ship all striking L'Orient, the Flag Ship of the French Commander in Chief.
The Action commenced at sun-set, which was at 31 minutes past six P. M. with an ardour and vigour which it is impossible to describe.
At about seven o'clock total darkness had come on; but the whole hemisphere was, with intervals, illuminated by the fire of the hostile fleets. Our Ships, when darkness came on, had all hoisted their distinguishing lights, by a signal from the Admiral.
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The Van Ship of the Enemy, Le Guerrier, was dismasted in less than twelve minutes; and, in ten minutes after, the second Ship, Le Conquerant, and the third, Le Spartiate, very nearly at the same moment were almost dismasted. L'Aquilon and Le Souverain Peuple, the fourth and fifth Ships of the Enemy's Line, were taken possession of by the British at half past eight in the evening.
Capt. Berry, at that hour, sent Lieut. Galwey, of the Vanguard, with a party of Marines, to take possession of Le Spartiate, and that Officer returned by the Boat the French Captain's Sword, which Capt. Berry immediately delivered to the Admiral, who was then below in consequence of the severe wound which he had received in the head during the heat of the Attack.
At this time it appeared that Victory had already declared itself in our favour, for although L'Orient, L'Heureux, and Tonnant, were not taken possession of, they were considered as completely in our power, which pleasing intelligence Capt. Berry had likewise the satisfaction of communicating in person to the Admiral.
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At ten minutes after nine, a fire was observed on board L'Orient, the French Admiral's Ship, which seemed to proceed from the after-part of the Cabin, and which increased with great rapidity, presently involving the whole of the after-part of the Ship in flames. This circumstance Capt. Berry immediately communicated to the Admiral, who, though suffering severely from his wound, came up upon deck, where the first consideration that struck his mind, was concern for the danger of so many lives, to save as many as possible of whom, he ordered Capt. Berry to make every practicable exertion. A Boat, the only one that could swim, was instantly dispatched from the Vanguard, and other Ships that were in a condition to do so, immediately followed the example; by which means, from the best possible information, the lives of about seventy Frenchmen were saved.
The light thrown by the fire of L'Orient upon the surrounding objects, enabled us to perceive with more certainty the situation of the two Fleets, the Colours of both being clearly distinguishable. The cannonading was partially kept up to leeward of the Centre till about ten o'clock, when L'Orient blew up
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with a most tremendous explosion. An awful pause and death-like silence for about three minutes ensued, when the wreck of the masts, yards, &c. &c. which had been carried to a vast height, fell down into the water and on board the surrounding Ships. A port fire from L'Orient fell into the main royal of the Alexander, the fire occasioned by which was however extinguished in about two minutes, by the active exertions of Capt. Ball.
After this awful scene, the firing was recommenced by the Ships to leeward of the Centre till twenty minutes past ten, when there was a total cessation of firing for about ten minutes; after which it was revived till about three in the morning, when it again ceased.
After the Victory had been secured in the Van, such British Ships as were in a condition to move, had gone down upon the fresh Ships of the Enemy, which occasioned these renewals of the fight, all of which terminated with the same happy success in favour of our Flag.
At five minutes past five in the morning the two Rear Ships of the Enemy, Le Guillaume Tell and Le Genereux, were the only French
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Ships of the Line that had their Colours flying.
At fifty-four minutes past five a French Frigate, L'Artemise, fired a broadside and struck her Colours; but such was the unwarrantable and infamous conduct of the French Captain, that after having thus surrendered, he set fire to his Ship, and with part of his Crew made his escape on shore.
Another of the French Frigates, La Serieuse, had been sunk by the fire from some of our Ships; but as her poop remained above water, her men were saved upon it, and were taken off by our Boats in the morning.
The Bellerophon, whose masts and cables had been entirely shot away, could not retain her situation abreast of L'Orient, but had drifted out of the Line to the lee side of the Bay, a little before that Ship blew up. The Audacious was in the morning detached to her assistance.
At eleven o'clock Le Genereux and Guillaume Tell, with the two Frigates, La Justice and La Diane, cut their cables and stood out to Sea, pursued by the Zealous, Capt. Hood, who, as
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the Admiral himself has stated, handsomely endeavoured to prevent their escape; but as there was no other Ship in a condition to support the Zealous, she was recalled.
The whole day of the second was employed in securing the French Ships that had struck, and which were now all completely in our possession, Le Tonnant and Timoleon excepted; as these were both dismasted, and consequently could not escape, they were naturally the last of which we thought of taking possession.
On the morning of the third the Timoleon was set fire to, and Le Tonnant had cut her cable and drifted on shore, but that active Officer, Captain Miller, of the Theseus, soon got her off again, and secured her in the British Line.
The British Force engaged consisted of Twelve Ships of 74 guns, and the Leander, of 50.
From the over anxiety and zeal of Captain Troubridge to get into action, his Ship, the Culloden, in standing in for the Van of the Enemy's Line, unfortunately grounded upon
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the tail of a shoal running off from the Island, on which were the Mortar and Gun Batteries of the Enemy; and notwithstanding all the exertions of that able Officer and his Ship's Company, she could not be got off. This unfortunate circumstance was severely felt at the moment by the Admiral and all the Officers of the Squadron; but their feelings were nothing compared to the anxiety and even anguish of mind which the Captain of the Culloden himself experienced, for so many eventful hours. There was but one consolation that could offer itself to him in the midst of the distresses of his situation, a feeble one it is true---that his Ship served as a beacon for three other Ships, viz. the Alexander, Theseus, and Leander, which were advancing with all possible sail set close in his Rear, and which otherwise might have experienced a similar misfortune, and thus in a greater proportion still, have weakened our force.
It was not till the morning of the second that the Culloden could be got off, and it was found she had suffered very considerable damage in her bottom; that her rudder was beat off, and the Crew could scarcely keep her afloat with all pumps going.
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The resources of Captain Troubridge's mind availed him much, and were admirably exerted upon this trying occasion. In four days he had a new rudder made upon his own deck, which was immediately shipped; and the Culloden was again in a state for actual service, though still very leaky.
The Admiral, knowing that the Wounded of his own Ships had been well taken care of, bent his first attention to those of the Enemy. He established a truce with the Commandant of Aboukir, and through him made a communication to the Commandant of Alexandria, that it was his intention to allow all the wounded Frenchmen to be taken ashore to proper Hospitals, with their own Surgeons to attend them; a proposal which was assented to by the French, and which was carried into effect on the following day.
The activity and generous consideration of Captain Troubridge, were again exerted at this time for the general good. He communicated with the Shore, and had the address to procure a supply of fresh provisions, onions, &c. which were served out to the Sick and
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Wounded, and which proved of essential utility.
On the 2d, the Arabs and Mamelukes, who during the Battle had lined the shores of the Bay, saw with transport that the Victory was decisively ours, an event in which they participated with an exultation almost equal to our own; and on that and the two following nights, the whole Coast and Country were illuminated as far as we could see, in celebration of our Victory. This had a great effect upon the minds of our Prisoners, as they conceived that this Illumination was the consequence not entirely of our success, but of some signal advantage obtained by the Arabs and Mamelukes over Buonaparte.
Although it is natural to suppose that the time and attention of the Admiral, and all the Officers of his Squadron, were very fully employed in repairing the damages sustained by their own Ships, and in securing those of the Enemy, which their Valour had subdued, yet the mind of that GREAT and GOOD Man felt the strongest emotions of the most pious gratitude to the SUPREME BEING, for the signal
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Success which, by His Divine Favour, had crowned his endeavours in the Cause of his Country, and in consequence, on the morning of the 2d, he issued the following Memorandum to the different Captains of his Squadron:
"Vanguard, off the Mouth of the Nile,
"2d Day of August, 1798.
"Almighty God having blessed His Majesty's Arms with Victory, the Admiral intends returning Public Thanksgiving for the same at two o'clock this day, and he recommends every Ship doing the same as soon as convenient.
"To the respective Captains
"of the Squadron."
At two o'clock accordingly, on that day, Public Service was performed on the Quarterdeck of the Vanguard, by the Rev. Mr. Comyn, the other Ships following the example of the Admiral, though perhaps not all at the same time.
This solemn act of gratitude to Heaven seemed to make a very deep impression upon several of the Prisoners, both Officers and Men, some of the former of whom remarked, "that it was no wonder we could preserve such order and discipline, when we could impress the minds of our Men with such sentiments after a
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Victory so great, and at a moment of such seeming confusion."
On the same day the following Memorandum was issued to all the Ships, expressive of the Admiral's sentiments of the noble exertions of the different Officers and Men of his Squadron:
"Vanguard, 2d Day of August, 1798,
"off the Mouth of the Nile.
"The Admiral most heartily congratulates the Captains, Officers, Seamen and Marines of the Squadron he has the honour to command, on the Event of the late Action; and he desires they will accept his most sincere and cordial Thanks for their very gallant behaviour in this glorious Battle. It mush strike forcibly every British Seaman, how superior their conduct is, when in Discipline and Good Order, to the riotous behaviour of lawless Frenchmen.
"The Squadron may be assured the Admiral will not fail, with his Dispatches, to represent their truly meritorious conduct in the strongest terms to the Commander in Chief.
"To the Captains of the Ships
"of the Squadron."
The praise expressed in this Memorandum could not fail to be highly acceptable and gratifying to every individual in the Squadron; and the observation which it endeavoured to impress upon the minds of all, of the striking advantages derived from Discipline and good Order, was so much the effect of recent expe-
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rience, that every heart immediately assented to its justice.
The benefit of this important truth will not, we trust, be confined to any particular branch of the British Navy: the sentiment of the Hero of the Nile must infuse itself into the heart of every British Seaman, in whatever quarter of the Globe he may be extending the glory and interests of his Country, and will there produce the conviction, that Courage alone will not lead him to Conquest, without the aid and direction of exact Discipline and Order. Let those who desire to emulate (as every British Seaman must) the glory acquired upon this signal occasion, pursue the same means which principally led to its acquisition. Let them repose the most perfect reliance in the courage, judgment, and skill of their Superior Officers, and let them aid the designs of these by uniformly submissive obedience and willing subordination --- so shall the British Navy continue to be the admiration of the World, till time shall be no more!
Immediately after the Action, some Maltese, Genoese, and Spaniards, who had been serving
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on board the French Fleet, offered their services in ours, which were accepted; and they expressed the greatest happiness at thus being freed, as they themselves said, from the tyranny and cruelty of the French.
On the fourth day after the Action, Captain Berry, of the Vanguard, sailed in the Leander, of 50 guns, with the Admiral's Dispatches to the Commander in Chief, Earl St. Vincent, off Cadiz, containing intelligence of the Glorious Victory which he had obtained.
[Here ends the Journal from which this Narrative has been compiled; and we are of opinion it cannot be better closed than by the Letter of the Admiral himself, published in the London Gazette Extraordinary of the 2d of October, 1798, which we therefore subjoin.
It would to us, however, appear a want of just feeling and sentiment, were we to send a Narrative into the World, so authentic and circumstantial, without attempting to express, however inadequately, our homage for the splendid talent and heroic energy by which the
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rious Event of which it is descriptive, was achieved. The daring enterprize of the Attack could only be rivalled by the persevering courage with which it was supported, and the unparalleled success with which it was crowned.
When the Services of ALL upon this great occasion were so eminently marked by the most animated gallantry, it would not only be invidious, but perhaps impossible, to make a selection of individual pre-eminence. If every man had not done his duty to the utmost stretch of his ability, it seems impossible that an inferior force should have obtained so signal a Victory over one so very considerably superior. The different situations, however, of the different Ships, certainly placed some in circumstances of more arduous and unequal combat than others. The undaunted magnanimity with which the Bellerophon was placed alongside L'Orient, excited at the moment the highest admiration, and the perseverance with which she retained her situation, must ever be the theme of eulogium with every Officer and Man in the British Squadron. Other instances which gave room for a more peculiar display of heroism might be but where the merit
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merit of ALL was so conspicuous, the praise of Heroism is justly due to all.
In the Chief Commander upon this occasion, it is evident that the high gallantry of his spirit is the least striking qualification for the command with which he had so judiciously been invested. To fight and to conquer had been familiar to him; but he was now called upon for the exercise of qualities which raise the true Hero above the level of the general mass of mankind, and constitute the Character of a great Commander. These, it has been seen, he not only fully possessed, but most admirably exerted. He pursued to every point in which there seemed the best chance of finding his Enemy---he suffered incertitude and disappointment with unshaken firmness; and the delay which occurred in the gratification of his wishes, only added to the heroic feeling from which they arose.
An idea has gone abroad, that the Attack in Aboukir Bay was directed by accident. No idea can be more unfounded, or more injurious to the Professional Character of the gallant Admiral. It is proved from this Narrative, that his mode of Attack was the result of deep and
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deliberate cogitation, and so clearly had he explained himself to those who were to bear their respective shares in the execution of his plans, that when they discovered their Enemy, little remained to be done but to commence the premeditated Attack. How well the plan for the Attack at Anchor was concerted, the Event has fully proved; and there is certainly every just ground for the conclusion, that wherever, or in whatever situation the British Squadron under Rear-Admiral Nelson, had fallen in with the Enemy, the result would have been successful and glorious in a superlative degree.
As it was---certainly no battle was ever more desperately fought---no Victory was ever more complete in itself, or more important in its consequences;---and when the superiority in force of the Enemy, and his advantages of situation are considered, it must be pronounced to be the most daring Enterprize, under the conduct of reason and skill, that ever was attempted; and the Battle of the Nile, which now fills all Europe with sensations of astonishment and admiration, must continue to be our favourite theme of panegyric, our Pride and our Boast, while generous and heroic feelings shall continue to be cherished by the British Nation.
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The Compiler of this Narrative is happy in the opportunity which another Edition affords him, of presuming to direct the tribute of National Gratitude to those who were concerned in the projection of the plan of sending a Squadron into the Mediterranean, to dispute with the Enemy the Mastery of that Sea. At a time of such apparent danger from the gigantic threats of the Enemy, it might justly have been deemed an enterprize peculiarly daring and hazardous; but it was conceived with the dignified deliberation becoming the Rulers of a great People, and executed with the promptitude and energy which so prominently characterize the Officers of the British Navy.
Could any praise that could here be offered to the high Professional Reputation of the Earl of St. Vincent, be acceptable to that Nobleman, or add to his Fame, it would be tendered with sincerity and respect; but it was only characteristic of the general tenor of his Command, that the Captain of every Ship which he destined to compose the Squadron of Reinforcement to Rear-Admiral Nelson (under the intermediate orders of Captain Troubridge), should be apprized of the service upon which he was to sail, and that of course
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every Ship was ready to put to sea from Cadiz Bay at a moment's notice; and it is a fact which is worthy of permanent record, as illustrative of the energy and activity of British Seamen, that as soon as Sir Roger Curtis, with the Squadron of Re-inforcement under his command from England, was visible from the mast-head of the Admiral's Ship, Commodore Troubridge with his Squadron put out to sea, and was actually out of sight on his course to the Straits of Gibraltar, before the former cast anchor at the British Station off Cadiz Bay.]
N. B. This Narrative, now re-published in the form of a Pamphlet, was first printed in The True Briton and The Sun Newspapers, and there read with a degree of approbation which the subject itself must ever ensure. It is now re-printed in its present form, for the purpose of satisfying the eager anxiety of the Public to possess it.
In the present Edition a short Paragraph is omitted, in which mention was made of the Governor of St. Pierre. This omission is the consequence of an observation from High Au-
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thority, that the remark might endanger the person of whom it was made, as he was considered as subject to the dispensations of Republican Justice. While all due deference is chearfully shewn to the Authority alluded to, it is some consolation now to know, that the Governor of St. Pierre is certainly exonerated from all responsibility to the French, in consequence of the unjustifiable and unprovoked Declaration of War by the French Directory against his Master the King of Sardinia.
LONDON GAZETTE EXTRADORDINARY.
Admiralty-Office, October 2, 1798.
The Honourable Captain Capel, of His Majesty's Sloop Mutine, arrived this Morning with Dispatches from Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, K. B. to Evan Nepean, Esq. Secretary of the Admiralty, of which the following are Copies.
Vanguard, Mouth of the Nile,
August 7, 1798.
HEREWITH I have the honour to transmit you a Copy of my Letter to the Earl of St. Vincent, together with a Line of Battle of the English and French Squadrons, also a List of Killed and Wounded. I have
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the pleasure to inform you, that Eight of our Ships have already top-gallant yards across, and ready for any service; the others, with the Prizes, will soon be ready for sea. In an event of this importance, I have thought it right to send Captain Capel with a Copy of my Letter (to the Commander in Chief) over land, which I hope their Lordships will approve; and beg leave to refer them to Capt. Capel, who is a most excellent Officer, and fully able to give every information; and I beg leave to recommend him to their Lordships' notice.
I have the Honour to be, &c.
P. S. The Island I have taken possession of, and brought off the two thirteen-inch mortars, all the brass guns, and destroyed the iron ones.
Evan Nepean, Esq.
Vanguard, off the Mouth of the Nile,
August 3, 1798
ALMIGHTY GOD has blessed His Majesty's Arms in the late Battle, by a great Victory over the Fleet of the Enemy, whom I attacked at sun-set on the 1st of August off the Mouth of the Nile. The Enemy were moored in a strong line of battle, for defending the entrance of the Bay (of Shoals), flanked by numerous Gun-boats, four Frigates, and a battery of guns and mortars on an Island in their Van; but nothing could withstand the Squadron your Lordship did me the honour to place under my Command. Their high state of discipline is well known to you, and with the judg-
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ment of the Captains, together with their Valour, and that of the Officers and Men of every description, it was absolutely irresistible.
Could any thing from my pen add to the characters of the Captains, I would write it with pleasure; but that is impossible.
I have to regret the loss of Captain Westcott of the Majestic, who was killed early in the Action; but the Ship was continued to be so well fought by her First Lieutenant, Mr. Cuthbert, that I have given him an order to command her, till your Lordship's pleasure is known.
The Ships of the Enemy, all but their two rear Ships, are nearly dismasted; and those two, with two Frigates, I am sorry to say, made their escape: nor was it, I assure you, in my power to prevent them. Captain Hood most handsomely endeavoured to do it; but I had no Ship in a condition to support the Zealous, and I was obliged to call her in.
The support and assistance I have received from Captain Berry cannot be sufficiently expressed. I was wounded in the Head, and obliged to be carried off the Deck, but the Service suffered no loss by that event. Captain Berry was fully equal to the important service then going on, and to him I must beg leave to refer you for every information relative to this Victory. He
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will present you with the Flag of the Second in Command, that of the Commander in Chief being burnt in the L'Orient.
Herewith I transmit you Lists of the Killed and Wounded, and the Lines of Battle of ourselves and the French.
I have the Honour to be, &c.
To Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent,
Commander in Chief, &c. &c. &c.
LINE OF BATTLE
- Culloden, T. Troubridge, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Theseus, R. W. Miller, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Alexander, Alex. J. Ball, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Vanguard, Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, K. B. Edw. Berry, Captain, 74 Guns, 595 Men.
- Minotaur, Thomas Louis, Captain, 74 Guns, 640 Men.
- Leander, T. B. Thompson, Captain, 50 Guns, 343 Men.
- Swiftsure, B. Hallowell, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Audacious, Davidge Gould, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Defence, John Peyton, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Zealous, Samuel Hood, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Orion, Sir James Saumarez, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Goliath, Tho. Foley, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Majestic, Geo. B. Westcott, Captain, 74 Guns, 590 Men.
- Bellerophon, Henry D. E. Darby, Captain, 74 Guns, 520 Men.
La Mutine Brig.
Vanguard, off the Mouth of the Nile,
August 31, 1798.
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FRENCH LINE OF BATTLE.
- Le Guerrier, 74 Guns, 600 Men. - Taken.
- Le Conquerant, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Taken.
- Le Spartiate, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Taken.
- L'Aquilon, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Taken.
- Le Souverain Peuple, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Taken.
- Le Franklin, Blanquet, First Contre Admiral, 80 Guns, 800 Men. - Taken.
- L'Orient, Brueys, Admiral and Commander in Chief, 120 Guns, 1010 Men. - Burnt.
- Le Tonant, 80 Guns, 800 Men. - Taken.
- L'Heureux, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Taken.
- Le Timoleon, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Burnt.
- Le Mercure, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Taken.
- Le Guillaume Tell, Villeneuve, Second Contre Admiral, 80 Guns, 800 Men. - Escaped.
- Le Genereux, 74 Guns, 700 Men. - Escaped.
- La Diane, 48 Guns, 300 Men. - Escaped.
- La Justice, 44 Guns, 300 Men. - Escaped.
- L'Artemis, 36 Guns, 250 Men. - Burnt.
- La Serieuse, 36 Guns, 250 Men. - Dismasted and Sunk.
Vanguard, off the Mouth of the Nile,
August 3, 1798.
A Return of the Killed and Wounded in His Majesty's Ships under the Command of Sir Horatio Nelson, K. B. Rear-Admiral of the Blue, in Action with the French, at Anchor, on the 1st of August, 1798, off the Mouth of the Nile.
Theseus - 5 Seamen killed; 1 Officer, 24 Seamen, 5 Marines, wounded. -- Total 35.
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Alexander - 1 Officer, 13 Seamen, killed; 5 Officers, 48 Seamen, 5 Marines, wounded. -- Total 72.
Vanguard - 3 Officers, 20 Seamen, 7 Marines, killed; 7 Officers, 60 Seamen, 8 Marines, wounded. -- Total 105.
Minotaur - 2 Officers, 18 Seamen, 3 Marines, killed; 4 Officers, 54 Seamen, 6 Marines, wounded. -- Total 87.
Swiftsure - 7 Seamen killed; 1 Officer, 19 Seamen, 2 Marines, wounded. -- Total 29.
Audacious - 1 Seamen killed; 2 Officers, 31 Seamen, 2 Marines, wounded. -- Total 36.
Defence - 3 Seamen, 1 Marine, killed; 9 Seamen, 2 Marines, wounded. -- Total 15.
Zealous - 1 Seamen Killed; 7 Seamen wounded. -- Total 8.
Orion - 1 Officer, 11 Seamen, 1 Marine, killed; 5 Officers, 18 Seamen, 6 Marines, wounded. -- Total 42.
Goliath - 2 Officers, 12 Seamen, 7 Marines, killed; 4 Officers, 28 Seamen, 9 Marines, wounded. -- Total 62.
Majestic - 3 Officers, 33 Seamen, 14 Marines, killed; 3 Officers, 124 Seamen, 16 Marines, wounded. -- Total 193.
Bellerophon - 4 Officers, 32 Seamen, 13 Marines, killed; 5 Officers, 126 Seaman, 17 Marines, wounded. -- Total 197.
Leander - 14 Seaman wounded.
Total -- 16 Officers, 156 Seamen, 46 Marines, killed; -- 37 Officers, 562 Seamen, 78 Marines, wounded. -- Total 895.
Vanguard - Captain Taddy, Marines; Mr. Thomas Seymour, Mr. John G. Taylor, Midshipmen.
Alexander - Mr. John Collins, Lieutenant.
Orion - Mr. Baird, Captain's Clerk.
Goliath - Mr. William Davies, Master's Mate; Mr. Andrew Brown, Midshipman.
Majestic - George B. Westcott, Captain; Mr. Zebedee Ford, Midshipman; Mr. Andrew Gilmore, Boatswain.
Bellerophon - Mr. Robert Savage Daniel, Mr. W. Launder, Mr. George Joliffe, Lieutenants; Mr. Thomas Ellison, Master's Mate.
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Minotaur - Lieutenant J. S. Kirchner, Master; Mr. Peter Walters, Master's Mate.
Vanguard - Mr. N. Vassal, Mr. J. Adye, Lieutenants; Mr. J. Campbell, Admiral's Secretary; Mr. M. Austin, Boatswain; Mr. J. Weatherston, Mr. George Antrim, Midshipmen.
Theseus - Lieutenant Hawkins.
Alexander - Alexander J. Ball, Esq. Captain; Capt. J. Creswell, Marines; Mr. W. Lawson, Master; Mr. G. Bully, Mr. Luke Anderson, Midshipmen.
Audacious - Mr. John Jeans, Lieutenant; Mr. Christopher Font, Gunner.
Orion - Sir James Saumarez, Captain; Mr. Peter Sadler, Boatswain; Mr. Phil. Richardson, Mr. Ch. Miell, Mr. Lanfesty, Midshipmen.
Goliath - Mr. William Wilkinson, Lieutenant; Mr. Law, Graves, Midshipman; Mr. P. Strachan, Schoolmaster; Mr. James Payne, Midshipman.
Majestic - Mr. Charles Seward, Mr. Charles Royle, Midshipmen; Mr. Robert Overton, Captain's Clerk.
Bellerophon - H. D. Darby, Esq. Captain; Mr. Ed. Kirby, Master; Captain John Hopkins, Marines; Mr. Chapman, Boatswain; Mr. Nicholas Bettson, Midshipman.
Minotaur - Mr. Thomas Irwin Lieutenant; Lieutenant John Jewell, Marines; Mr. Thomas Foxten, 2d Master; Mr. Martin Wills, Midshipman.
Swiftsure - Mr. William Smith, Midshipman.
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THE CAPTURE OF THE LEANDER.
AS the Capture of the Leander, of 50 guns, commanded by Captain Thomas Thompson, and in which Ship Captain Berry had sailed from Aboukir Bay with the Dispatches of Sir Horatio Nelson to the Earl of St. Vincent, containing Advices of the glorious and important Victory which had been obtained, is intimately connected with the Battle of the Nile, it has been deemed proper to add the account of that Event to the foregoing Narrative. The idea, indeed, was suggested by a Gentleman (John Julius Angerstein, Esq.) who, with the most active Patriotism unites the warmest feelings of Benevolence---who is ever foremost in acts of justice and humanity, and who, upon many signal occasions, has conspicuously proved himself to be the Seaman's Friend. Such a recommendation, the Writer of the Narrative feels to be imperative---but he at the same time trusts he may be allowed to express his very sincere satisfaction in the opportunity of joining the general voice in praise of the gallantry of Capt.
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Thompson, his Officers, and Men. Could a better account of the Action which they so nobly sustained, disabled as the Leander was from the Battle of the Nile, and against a Force so very superior, be procured, it would have now been presented; but Capt. Thompson himself has so circumstantially and ably described it, that nothing remains for the Editor of the present Work, but to copy the Official Letter to the Admiralty of that gallant and excellent Officer.
Admiralty-Office, November 24, 1798.
Copy of a Letter from Captain Thomas Thompson, of His Majesty's late Ship the Leander, to Evan Nepean, Esq. dated on board the Lazarette, at Trieste, the 14th October, 1798.
UPON my arrival at this place, I immediately acquainted Sir Horatio Nelson with the Capture of His Majesty's Ship Leander under my Command, and beg leave to inclose you a Copy of my Letter to the Rear-Admiral, for the quicker information of my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty.
I have the Honour to be, &c.
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Admiralty-Office, November 24, 1798.
Copy of a Letter from Captain Thompson, late Commander of His Majesty's Ship Leander, to Rear-Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, K. B. dated Trieste, the 13th October, 1798.
IT is with extreme pain I have to relate to you the Capture of His Majesty's Ship Leander, late under my Command, by a French Seventy-four Gun Ship, after a close Action of six hours and a half. On the 18th August last, being within five or six miles of the West end of Goza, near the Island of Candia, we discovered at day-break a large Sail on the S. E. quarter, standing directly for the Leander; we were then becalmed, but the Stranger bringing up a fine breeze from the Southward, we soon made him to be a large Ship of the Line. As the Leander was in Officers and Men upwards of Eighty short of Complement, and had on board a number which were wounded on the 1st, I did not consider myself justified in seeking an Action with a Ship that appeared of such considerable superiority in point of size; I therefore took every means in my power to avoid it: I however soon found that our inferiority of sailing made it inevitable; and I therefore, with all sail set, steered the Leander a Course which I judged would receive our Adversary to the best advantage, should he bring us to Battle. At eight o'clock the strange Ship (still continuing to have the good fortune of the wind) had approached us within a long random shot, and had Neapolitan Colours
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hoisted, which he now changed to Turkish; but this deception was of no avail, as I plainly made him to be French. At nine he had ranged up within a half Gun-shot of our Weather Quarter; I therefore hauled the Leander up sufficiently to bring the Broadside to bear, and immediately commenced a vigorous Cannonade on him, which he instantly returned. The Ships continued nearing each other until half past ten, keeping up a constant and heavy firing. At this time I perceived the Enemy intending to run us on board; and the Leander being very much cut up in Rigging, Sails, and Yards, I was unable, with the light air that blew, to prevent it. He ran us on board on the Larboard Bow, and continued alongside us for some time. A most spirited and well-directed Fire, however, from our small Party of Marines (commanded by the Serjeant), on the Poop and from the Quarter-deck, prevented the Enemy from taking advantage of his good fortune, and he was repulsed in all efforts to make an impression on us. The firing from the Great Guns was all this time kept up with the same vigour; and a light Breeze giving the Ships way, I was enabled to steer clear of the Enemy, and soon afterwards had the satisfaction to luff under his Stern, and passing him within ten yards, distinctly discharged every Gun from the Leander into him.
As from henceforward was nothing but a continued series of heavy firing within pistol-shot, without any wind, and the sea as smooth as glass, I feel it unnecessary to give you the detail of the effects of every
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shot, which must be obvious from our situation; I shall therefore content myself with assuring you, that a most vigorous Cannonade was kept up from the Leander, without the smallest intermission, until half past three in the afternoon. At this time, the Enemy having passed our Bows with a light breeze, and brought himself on our Starboard-side, we found that our Guns on that side were nearly all disabled by the wreck of our own spars, that had all fallen on this side. This produced a cessation of our fire, and the Enemy took this time to ask us if we had surrendered? The Leander was now totally ungovernable, not having a thing standing but the shattered remains of the Fore and Main-masts and the Bowsprit, her Hull cut to pieces, and the Decks full of killed and wounded; and perceiving the Enemy, who had only lost his Mizen-top-mast, approaching to place himself athwart our Stern; in this defenceless situation, I asked Captain Berry if he thought we could do more? He coinciding with me that further resistance was vain and impracticable, and, indeed, all hope of success having for some time vanished, I therefore now directed an answer to be given in the affirmative, and the Enemy soon after took possession of His Majesty's Ship.
I cannot conclude this account without assuring you how much advantage His Majesty's Service derived during this Action from the gallantry and activity of Captain Berry of the Vanguard; I should also be wanting in justice, if I did not bear testimony to the steady bravery of the Officers and Seamen of the
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Leander in this hard contest, which, though unsuccessful in its termination, will still, I trust, entitle them to the approbation of their Country. The Enemy proved to be the Genereux, of 74 Guns, commanded by M. Lejoille, Chef de Division, who had escaped from the Action of the 1st of August, and, being the rearmost of the French Line, had received little or no share of it, having on board 900 men, about 100 whom we found had been killed in the present contest, and 188 wounded. I inclose a List of the Loss in Killed and Wounded in the Leander, and have the Honour to be, &c.
A Return of Officers and Men Killed and Wounded on board His Majesty's Ship Leander, on the 18th August, 1798.
Officers killed - Mr. Peter Downs, Midshipman; Mr. Gibson, Midshipman of the Caroline; Mr. Edward Haddon, Midshipman.
24 Seamen killed.
Marines killed - Serjeant Dair, and 7 Privates.
Total - 3 Officers, 24 Seamen, 1 Serjeant, 7 Marines killed.
Officers Wounded - Captain Thompson, badly; Lieutenant Taylor; Lieutenant Swiney; Mr. Lee, Master; Mr. Mathias, Boatswain, badly; Mr. Lacky, Master's Mate; Mr. Nailor, Midshipman.
Total - 7 Officers, 41 Seamen, 9 Marines, wounded.
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COURT-MARTIAL ON CAPT. THOMPSON.
THE following is the Sentence of the Court-Martial held on Capt. Thompson, of the Leander:
At a Court-Martial, assembled and held on board His Majesty's Ship America, at Sheerness, on Monday December 17th, 1798,
GEORGE TRIPP, Esq. President,
|Captain Thomas Parr,
Captain John Dilkes,
Captain William Mitchell,
Captain George Brusac,
Captain William Taylor,
Captain Richard King,
|Captain John Bazeley,
Captain Charles White,
Captain George Dundas,
Captain Richard Dacres,
Captain Samuel Sutton.
|William Finch, Esq. Judge Advocate.|
The Court, in pursuance of an Order from the Commissioners for executing the Office of Lord High Admiral of Great Britain and Ireland, dated the 13th of this present month December, proceeded to enquire into the conduct of Capt. Thompson, Commander of His Majesty's late Ship Leander, and such of the Officers and Ship's Company as were on board her at the time she surrendered to the Genereux, a French Ship of 74 guns, and to try them for the same, respectively, accordingly:
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And the Court having heard the Evidence brought forward in support of Captain Thompson's Narrative of the Capture of the said Ship, and having very maturely and deliberately considered the whole, is of opinion, that the GALLANT and ALMOST UNPRECEDENTED Defence of Captain Thompson, of the Leander, against so superior a Force as that of the Genereux, is deserving of every praise his Country and this Court can give; and that his Conduct, with that of the Officers and Men under his command, reflects not only the highest Honour on himself and them, but to their Country at large; and the Court does therefore most honourably acquit Captain Thompson, his Officers, and Ship's Company - and he, and they, are hereby most honourably acquitted accordingly.