| Previous Page
| Next Page
Type: Brig ; Armament 12
Launched at Portsmouth : 18 Apr 1840 ; Disposal date or year : 1860
BM: 484 tons
Complement : 81 officers and men, 24 boys, 20 marines.
18 Apr 1840 Portsmouth, was launched here to-day. Just prio to the launch Mr. Hepburn, Master Attendant, was caught in the bight of a warp, and severely injured. He was rescued from drowning by Gillmore, a rigger, who jumped overboard after him. 25 Jul 1840 Portsmouth, is to be commissioned shortly. 29 Aug 1840 Portsmouth, On Wednesday was taken out of the basin. 27 Jan 1841, Portsmouth, being brought forward for commission. 8 May 1841, Commander The Hon. B. C. F. P. Cary, appointed to the Bittern. 11 May 1841, Lieutenant W. J. Lake ; Master W. Jeffery ; Purser J. Mitchell ; Boatswain W. Smith ; Carpenter C. Newton ; Surgeon L. F. Cunningham, M.D., Assistant-Surgeon J. S. Brown, appointed to the Bittern. 29 May 1841, Midshipman A. Ratcliffe, appointed to the Bittern. 5 Jun 1841, Volunteer 1st Class W. F. Congreve, appointed to the Bittern. 12 Jun 1841, Portsmouth, is nearly manned and needs only a few petty officers, and will shortly be ready for sea. 12 Jun 1841, Gunner James Seymour, appointed to the Bittern. 19 Jun 1841, Master G. T. Charles, appointed to the Bittern ; 7 Aug 1841, Portsmouth, is fitting out in the harbour. 2 Sep 1841, Plymouth, sailed for the Cape of Good Hope ; 23 Nov 42 detained the slaver Flor de Verao. Proceeds arising due 23 Mar 1843.
23 Nov 1842 the Bittern when in company with the Grecian detained the slave vessel Sumariva, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, and on 5 Jan 1843 sentenced to be condemned. 15 Aug 1844 the proceeds arising due for payment.
23 Nov 1842 the Bittern when in company with the Grecian detained the slave vessel Flor de Verao, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, and on 5 Jan 1843 sentenced to be condemned.
3 Dec 1842 detained the slave vessel Oriente, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone, and on 15 Apr 1843 sentenced to be restored to her master.
6 Jan 1843 detained the slave vessel Ventura which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 13 Feb 1843 sentenced to be condemned.
13 Jan 1843 detained the Brazilian slave brig Furia, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at the Cape of Good Hope and on 28 Feb 1843 sentenced to be condemned. Prize money due 5 Sep 1844
25 Sep 1843 detained a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 30 Oct 1843 sentenced to be condemned.
28 Sep 1843 detained the slave vessel Attrevida which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 30 Oct 1843 sentenced to be condemned.
11 Sep 1844, arrived Simon's Town, from St. Augustine's Bay.
23 Jun 1844 detained the slave vessel Opio Feliz, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at the Cape of Good Hope and on 28 Sep 1844 sentenced to be condemned.
23 Jun 1844 detained off Quillimane the slave vessel Imperador Don Pedro, J. J. A. de Mattos, master, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned.
11 Nov 1844, arrived off Quillimane from the Cape and anchored with the Cleopatra.
26 Feb 1845, off the River Mariangombe, when the Cleopatra arrived, departing the following day for off Quillimane.
6 Nov 1845-46 paid to the officers and crew £39 17s. 4d. on account of further expenses of prize-master, in prosecuting the Portuguese brig Oriente.
21 Nov 1846 detained a slave brig Name Unknown, supposed L'Adelaide, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned. Proceeds arising due for payment 11 April 1849.
29 Jan 47 detained the slave vessel Phedro, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned. Proceeds of Tonnage Bounty, vessel and stores due for payment 5 June 1849.
11 Aug 1847 detained a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, supposed Tebessero, with 374 slaves on board, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned. Proceeds of Slave and Tonnage Bounties due for payment 11 April 1849
4 May 1848 detained the slaver Josephina, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court, St. Helena and condemned.
5 Aug 1848 detained the slaver Polka, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court, St. Helena and condemned.
Jun-Jul 1848 Off the Slave Coast (Sierra Leone). See the vessel Amphitrite for article from the Morning Chronicle, for 11 Sep 1848.
20 Dec 1848 Coast of Africa
20 Mar 1850 Slave and tonnage bounties and proceeds of chronomter due from Josphina now payable.
6 Jun 1850 Excess of expenses for the capture of the Adelaide and Tebessero now payable.
20 Jul 1850 Tonnage Bounty and proceeds of vessel and stores for Polka, now payable.
5 Apr – 20 Dec 1852, ship's company involved in 2nd Burma War, and annexation of Pegu (now known as Bago, Myanmar), for which they were due prize money for capture of booty.
25 Apr 1855 HM Ships Sybille, Hornet, and Bittern, under Commodore Hon Charles Elliot, lat 37 ° 17 ' 23 " N, long 1331 ° 54 ' 23 " E - island discovered in the Sea of Japan, about a mile in extent, running in a NW by W and SE by E direction and are formed together by a reef of rocks. We could discern no dangers lying off them and the waters appears to be deep close to the shore. They are barren, without exception of a few patches of grass on their sides and landing would be difficult except in very calm weather. The height of the NW island was ascertained to be 410 ft above sea level - Charles C Forsyth, Cdr HMS Hornet
Circa 17 Jul 1855, with the Sybille, Spartan, Hornet, and the FNS Constantine in company, experienced thick fog and came into visual contact with the Barracouta, who joined the squadron, which was en route for the Gulf of Amoor, having already exchanged shots with the Russians in Castries Bay, in the Gulf of Tartary, where due to the lack of charts the squadron withdrew, the Hornet having grounded, albeit briefly.
23 Jul 1855, the squadron sailed down the Gulf of Amoor and anchored about 5 miles from Obman's Bay.
25 Jul 1855, the Hornet and FNS Constantine sailed for the Shantar Isles and Spartan went in chase of a strange sail. In the afternoon the Barracouta raised steam to chase a brig which was attempting to enter the River Amoor, but could not get within 3 miles of her due to shallowness of the water, and returned to the anchorage, as did the Spartan, the strange sail being that of a whaler bound for Ayan.
2 Sep 1855 Report of patrol against pirates off the Coast of China - see also p. 390 at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow
22 Sep and 5 Oct 1855 Further reports of actions against pirates on the Coast of China, along with a list of casualties per the London Gazette..
Oct 1856 Hong Kong ship's boats detached up the river to Canton, where, with other boats of the squadron, the various Chinese forts guarding the river were captured.
8 Jan 1857 British forces commenced withdrawal from off Canton, to Hong Kong.
15 Jan 1857 Hongkong.
25 May 1857 Canton River.
16 Oct 1857 Hongkong.
30 Oct 1857 Canton River.
28 Nov 1857 Hongkong.
15 Jan 1858 Canton River.
16 Feb 1860 Hongkong.
20 Feb 1860 sold at Hongkong.
Transmitting Reports from Commander Vansittart of Conflicts With Piratical Junks.
Winchester, at Hong Kong, 9 Nov 1855.
Sir,- I have the pleasure to transmit herewith a report from Commander Vansittart of her Majesty's sloop Bittern, detailing certain operations against pirates in the Gulf of Leotung, together with a copy of my reply to that officer in acknowledgement of the services above referred to.
I have also the honour to forward the accompanying reports from Commander Vansittart, in relation to a later action between the Bittern and a greatly superior force of junks, in Shiepoo Bay, on which occasion the pirates appear to have commenced hostilities. I also forward my reply to Commander Vansittart's report upon that service ; and I cannot recommend to the notice of their lordships in terms too high, the skill, gallantry and resolution displayed by Commander Vansittart and by the officers, seamen, and marines who were engaged.
I regret to add that success was not achieved without serious loss, and I beg to recommend to the consideration of their lordships the case of the family of Mr. Turner, late Master of the Bittern, who fell in the last named action whilst gallantly conducting the ships towards the pirate junks.
I have, &c., J. Stirling,
Rear Admiral and Commander in Chief.
To the Secretary of the Admiralty.
H.M. Sloop Bittern, Woosung, Sept. 2.
Sir,- I have the honour to report the return this day of Her Majesty's sloop under my command from a successful cruise in search of the pirates referred to in paragraph 5, and enclosures of my letter of proceedings to Your Excellency of the 1st of August ; bad weather and other circumstances detained us until the 7th ult., when we started from Woosung in tow of the Confucius steamer, that vessel manned and armed from the American frigate, having been supplied by the Chinese authorities with necessary officials, pilots, and informers.
2. At the port of Tsing-hae-wei, near Staunton Island, the Confucius obtained information of the pirates' movements ; the fleet, numbering by various accounts from 37 to 40, including, as the Chinese said, two European vessels, with Europeans on board, had proceeded northward ; this went to confirm the information I had already received of Englishmen having joined themselves to these villains, rendering them vastly more formidable ; so I decided to prosecute the search, and in tow of the Pavushan followed the Confucius round Shangtung promontory, and she having examined Wei hai Wei, rejoined us in Che-fou Harbour, which we found rudely stockaded, in preparation for the pirates ; they had, however, passed on, and unfortunately the shortness of coal obliged the Confucius to give up the chase.
3. Passing through Mid-Tao Strait and striking northward for Ross Bay in the Gulf of Leotung, at length on the 18th ultimo, the pirates were observed in the unexplored bight, northward of that bay, ending in the sizeable river which leads to the city of Fuchan ; the Pavushan having towed us in, we still found ourselves obliged to anchor between two and three miles outside the pirates, in two and a half fathoms ; the boats returned with soundings that rendered it doubtful if they could be approached, although over the bar of two fathoms, at about half a mile distant from the pirate fleet, we found a hole of three fathoms, which was buoyed after dark.
4. On the following morning the pirates, numbering from thirty to forty, including two lorchas with canvas sails, formed two divisions, and with a leading wind bore down in pretty style and opened a respectable fire on her Majesty's sloop, which weighed and stood off to lead them out. I tacked and returned their fire ; perhaps somewhat too soon, although they had already struck the ship, and continued working their guns with spirit ; for they then began a clever manoeuvre, joined their two divisions, and running for shoal water and a reef, kept is such a position that it was necessary to yaw up to bring our guns to bear, each time increasing our distance, and improving their chances of escape. Owing to the continued down-pour of rain and misty weather, it was difficult to count the exact force opposed to us, but that Europeans served the guns of two of the largest seems highly probable ; for, having obtained their range, they continued firing until they were dismasted and in a sinking state. As one boat was disabled another would take it in tow, and, although surrounded with wreck, I was glad to heave aback and work out of a dangerous corner into which they had led us, without taking possession of any of their vessels. Eight of their number, however, were sunk or abandoned.
5. Having communicated with the authorities, on the following morning we proceeded northward to release the merchant fleets. These we found had taken shelter high up various streams ; upwards of 100 of them in a river leading to the city New Chang, off which we anchored in 4¾ fathoms, in lat. 40 deg., 38 min., N., lon. 122 deg., 0 min., E., eight miles distant from the low entrance to the river. Between two or three miles within the bar is the seaport itself, of respectable size, with large establishments of grain. Here we learnt the pirate had already been, and, disappointed in obtaining their calculated ransom (the junks that had ventured past them having paid 1,200 dollars each, others having been burnt that had not the money), they seized a Chinese of no great rank, and, quartering him, sent his remains on shore in it a basket to the authorities, with a threat that unless 100,000 dollars were immediately forth-coming, they would treat the mandarins in the same way. Having obtained their booty they were loitering on the coast for merchant craft when we fell in with them.
6. Turning to the southward, and searching various corners, we came up with thirteen of the fleet, westward of Mid-Tao Strait, and the day being favourable, secured eleven of them, which I sunk or burnt ; one only surrendering herself, was taken in and given over to the authorities at Tang chow-foo ; this, quite one of the smallest, had a crew of 41. The prisoners assured our interpreter that a lorcha, which was one of the number, this day captured a white man and two Portuguese, a part crew, and that they escaped to the hills on our leaving her stranded to secure others making off with sweeps. She did not, on this occasion return our fire ; but when on shore, after having suffered severely from its effects, opened with her big gun upon the country people, and clearing a lane, a great part of her crew got away, armed with baggage.
7. Finally, on the 30th ultimo, northward of Staunton Island, we overtook another of the fleet, the crew of which must have been prepared to land, and expecting an attack by boats, would have blown the boarders up ; for no sooner did our shot pass through her, than the crew took to the water, and landing with spears made for the hills ; one man remaining aft, threw a fireball forward, and sprung over-board immediately, before the explosion took place. This completed 20, out of a well provided daring fleet that we were enabled to destroy, besides probably having inflicted considerable damage on many that escaped us during the thick weather of the 19th ultimo. On different occasions, when the boats were employed, they were under the command of the second lieutenant Mr. Brooker, master Mr. Turner, and acting mate Mr. Todd, whose names I am glad to bring forward for favourable consideration.
8. I have troubled your Excellency somewhat fully, as the strength of the armaments of these vessels, with their crews averaging not less than 50 men each, and the apparently established fact that Europeans have joined them, proves the extent to which piracy has arisen, and the formidable scale on which it is now conducted. I am convinced a merchant vessel could only have escaped such a fleet by out-sailing it, and the frequent calms of this season would have rendered her fate more certain, for these pirates sweep with ease three and four knots, and with wind free, many of them distanced the Bittern. That they would not hesitate to attack merchantmen is evident from the vigorous manner they opened and maintained their fire upon us ; their guns, six or seven to fourteen and upwards in each, vary from 24 pounders downwards ; perhaps an occasional 32-pounder may be met with, but a nice sort of medium 18 is the most common. This fleet, all of which is called the west coast build, and of from, I would say, 90 to upwards of 200 tons burden (except two, which seemed considerably larger), had a bide [sic] crow's nest (said to be musket ball proof) at the main and foremast beads, capable of sheltering men who sling the stinkpot to a considerable distance ; vast quantities of these were found, and an almost incredible supply of ammunition, pikes, knives, &c., on board those captured.
9, It is impossible to estimate the amount of trade thrown open for the present, if Chinese are to be credited, fully to the value of two or three millions of dollars; the prisoners talked of two hundred thousand dollars having been amongst the fleet, and assured us a considerable portion of it went down in the largest of their vessels which had sustained their fire with such spirit. It would have been well to have brought away the heavier guns, but the delay would have cost us some of the fleet. The officers saw quantities of rich furs and other booty on board these vessels, which they burnt.
10. I am happy to say none of our people were wounded, one only was hurt in a trilling manner ; a round shot took an awkward score between two and three inches deep out of the bowsprit, besides rending the spar. The carpenter tells me it can be rendered permanently secure by a fish we have prepared.-
I have, &c., (Signed) . W. Vansittart, Commander.
His Excellency Rear-Admiral Sir James Stirling, Kt.
Winchester, at Hong Kong, Oct. 30.
Sir,- I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 5th September, in which you report that her Majesty's sloop under your command, accompanied by the Confucius and Pavushan steamers, the former manned and armed from the United States frigate Macedonia, and the latter employed by the parties interested in the object of your intended expedition, and supplied by the Chinese authorities with necessary officials, pilots, and informers, had proceeded to the head of the Gulf of Leotung, and had accomplished the capture or destruction of 20 junks, whose piratical outrages had for some time previously infested the coast of China to the north of the Yang tze Kiang, and greatly obstructed the legitimate channels of trade.
I cannot but express the satisfaction I feel at your report, of the gallant conduct of Lieutenant Brooker and of Messrs, Turner and Todd, nor can I allow the present occasion to pass without conveying to you the expression of my high opinion of your own personal merit in the direction of the expedition, the success of which reflects the greatest credit on all concerned ; and it will afford me great pleasure to forward to the Admiralty a copy of your communication and of this reply.-
I have, &c., (Signed) Js. Stirling, Rear-Admiral, &c.
Commander Vansittart, Her Majesty's sloop Bittern.
Her Majesty's Sloop Bittern,
Sheipoo Harbour, September, 22.
Sir,- It is my painful duty to report the death, at 8.55 a.m., of Mr. Charles Turner, late Master of her Majesty's sloop, under my command. Being in tow of the Pavushan, Mr. Turner on board that steamer had successfully piloted us into port on the 18th instant, and it was some time after, during the heat of the action, whilst altering the position of the steamer, he was led to pass outside of us into the direct line of the piratical fire that went over the Bittern, when he received his death wound from a round shot which tore away part of his right side.
Your Excellency is well aware of the loss her Majesty service sustains in the premature death of this valuable officer. A thorough sailor and a first rate master, doubtless when represented by his commander-in-chief, his services will be favourably considered by the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty in awarding some pension or assistance to his family. His mother, Mrs. Turner, the widow of an old lieutenant who died a retired commander, resides in Parker's place, Exmouth, Devon, and with two daughters, was, I am informed, chiefly dependent on the support she received from the late lamented officer and another son in the merchant service.
I am, &c., (Signed) E. W. Vansittart, Commander.
His Excellency Rear-Admiral Sir Jas. Stirling, Kt., Commander-in Chief &c., &c.
Her Majesty's sloop Bittern, Shanghai, Oct, 5.
Sir,- I have the honour to report the return last evening of her Majesty's sloop, under my command, from the contemplated cruise mentioned in my letter of proceedings of 11th ultimo. On clearing the Yang-tze-kiang the following day, instead of steering for Ningpo, as intended, we were induced by information that morning received, to make direct for Chusan, and in Tinghai harbour found five doubtful looking, well armed, west coast boats, a part of the Ningpo batch in Imperial Bay. We then learnt how a strong squadron of piratical craft had lately blockaded the inland of Potoo, on which some English ladies were at the time, and in Sinkeamoon Channel, only a few miles distant, captured an Englishman's boat, with European passengers, bound from Ningpo for Potoo ; and further, that the pirates had just gone southward, as supposed, to their favourite haunt of Sheipoo ; so hurrying across to Ningpo, we anchored off Chinhae on 16th ultimo, and found there the Pavushan merchant steamer, which vessel had again been placed at my disposal. This was most fortunate, for the information received from the Chinese at Chusan proved correct ; the ladies were in great danger ; some of their friends, with a Mr. Russel, had already been taken within sight of Potoo, making the case far too urgent to await the assistance of the much hoped for steamers-of-war, and the towing power of the Pavushan, little as it is, enabled us to proceed to Sheipoo with more confidence.
2. Taking the time of slack water, we entered the secure and beautiful harbour of Sheipoo by its N.E. pass, on opening which the piratical craft were seen, bearing many different banners, moored in an excellent defensive position close off the village of Sheipoo, with crowded decks, men at their guns pointed for the passage. I ordered Mr. Turner, the Master, who on board the Pavushan, was towing a-head and piloting us in, to keep her at fullest speed, and with sail on the Bittern to the last moment, we were still exposed far more than ten minutes to a heavy raking fire before a shot was returned, and the ship could be brought up and sprung into position ; then we found our port broadsides engaged at about 500 yards with a line of 22 west coast boats, lashed head and stern, the left wing of which was sufficiently advanced to cross their fire ; this they kept up with astonishing spirit for some time, and it took more than an hour to silence them altogether ; fortunately, being much within their first range, we suffered less than might have been expected.
3. On deserting their vessels the remains of the crews collected in bodies, with gingalls, spears, and other arms, and made for heights overlooking the village. A body of forty or fifty tried to escape in one of their captured vessels. This we dismasted and drove on shore ; the pirates, scrambling up some rocks, were seized or destroyed by country people. Another body attempted to escape in a like boat, by passing round the small islands, opposite Sheipoo village. The Pavushan chased her out of the harbour and drove them on shore. On taking possession only one of the whole twenty-two vessels was found uninjured enough to move ; she had eleven guns bearing on us, which had evidently been well served. A larger craft, pointed out to me early in the action as working fourteen guns, was singled out for our best shots, and was quickly sunk. I cannot resist bringing to your Excellency's notice the beautiful practice and cool management of his gun by a young able seaman, John E. Matless, who had been raised to the situation of captain of a gun, from my experience of his proficiency when exercising on a target. We removed all the guns practicable from such of the squadron as had not been sunk or blown up, and burnt the whole of the remains of the hull at low water.
4. The only prize I have brought into port was saved by the pirates having lashed a merchant vessel on her engaged side, laden with mud, coals, &c., sunk deep enough just to admit of their firing over her. A double tier of bales of cotton on the deck completed this perfect fender and battery, through which our shot could not penetrate. A shell had fired part of her upper works. Two other merchant craft moored in like manner, but not laden, had proved useless as fenders. Vast quantities of powder, stinkpots, iron pointed rocket arrows, &c., were destroyed, and about 100 guns brought away, these varying from long 18 pounders downwards, some larger could not be removed, and many were lost in vessels sunk or blown up. From the country people and a prisoner whom I have kept, as he volunteered information, we learn that the fleet had about 200 guns, with about 1,000 men, chiefly Cantonese ; that 12 of them had met us to the northward, and that their chiefs had given out some days before they expected the arrival of a war brig and steamer ; that it would be seen how they, the pirates, would handle them.
5. On the 19th ultimo, the morning after the action, I landed a strong party, under the second lieutenant, to dislodge a body of some 300 of the escaped pirates that had established themselves in a gorge overlooking the town of Sheipoo, which they threatened. The mandarins, greatly alarmed, were powerless, and explained through Mr. Interpreter Sinclair the evils that must befall all honest people in the neighbourhood, should I leave these men, then become desperate, at large. I desired the officials to be in attendance to receive prisoners, and the force turning the pirate flank escaped a fire of gingalls which were pointed down a causeway leading into the town, and overpowered them without any serious casualties. The excessive heat, however, told : one marine has since died from its effects, and the second lieutenant is suffering. This town of Sheipoo it about a mile further south than the village off which the pirates were moored, and in which many of them resided. I much fear the village is thoroughly piratical ; but seeing crowds of children, women, and old men about during an armed expedition, I agreed with Mr. Sinclair that it would be impossible to deal severely upon the doubtful evidence collected, so warning them of the risk all incurred who had anything to do with pirates, we required them to deliver up all guns and munitions of war, and continued the search of suspected spots on either side of the harbour.
6. We received three European anchors, the smallest fitted for an iron stock, of about 16 cwt., without mark, and the two others of from 25 cwt. to 28 cwt. each, one marked "Tom Bowline," Newcastle, the other 3.185, this latter confirming the statement of an American, Eli M. Boggs, a copy of whose deposition was enclosed in my letter of proceedings to your Excellency of the 11th ultimo. Besides three merchant vessels, we recaptured the Ningpo boat taken from Mr. Russel, but could find nothing of the lost property beyond an umbrella and a letter addressed to Mrs. Martin, Potoo ; so, with the boat in tow, we proceeded direct for the channel of Sinkeamoon, where the outrage had taken place, and sending armed boats to examine it and Potoo, saw nothing of any more pirate craft, and learnt that the ladies, hearing the coast was clear, had escaped three days before, and I am happy to say we found them the following day in safety at Ningpo ; indeed, news of the complete success of her Majesty's sloop at Sheipoo had already reached the Chusan archipelago, and doubtless frightened many smaller villains into good behaviour for the time. We should find great difficulty in dealing with this class of boats, generally with white sails and the Ningpo rig. I examined one; the officer could find nothing European on board, and we had no information against her. The Chinese official sent with us from Ningpoo pronounced her a pirate at first, then thought her honest. Within an hour of allowing her to proceed, fishing boats pulled alongside and declared she was a pirate.
7. I beg to bring conspicuously forward for your Excellency's favourable consideration the name of the Second Lieutenant George A. C. Brooker, who was slightly wounded on the 18th ultimo, carried the heights the following morning, and who, besides conducting a laborious and hazardous work in destroying the deserted fleet of piratical craft, within musket range of the shore, on which some hundred of their crew had collected, was again employed in the boats in Sinkeamoon Channel, and at Potoo on the 24th ultimo. Mr. Todd, acting mate, and the assistant surgeon, Mr. Newton, were under the second lieutenant on these occasions, and of whom he speaks highly. Mr. Interpreter Sinclair, from Shanghai, accompanied the expedition, and was of the greatest service throughout, occasionally at personal risk ; and besides that of the seaman John E. Matless (who was a boy in the Excellent), it becomes me to bring forward the name of Henry Hurneyman, quartermaster, captain of a gun, a good and cool shot, and at whose gun the men's legs were taken off. The enclosed list of wounded is large, and painfully distressing to us all as including the death of a valuable officer - -the master, already reported to your Excellency from Sheipo Harbour, where he was buried. But considering the number of guns bearing upon us, and the determined way the pirates served them for the first half hour, it is wonderful the casualties were not much more numerous. The greater part of the fire passed over us, and the rigging, sails, &c., were much cut up ; besides twenty-five shot in the hull, the boomboats, fore-yard, fore-topsail yard, &c., were shot through.-
I have, &c., (Signed) E. W. Vansittart, Commander.
His Excellency Rear-Admiral Sir James Stirling, Kt.
A list of men who have received wounds or hurts on board her Majesty ship Bittern, Sept. 18, 1855:
M. 3. C. 20. William Hanvey, aged 24, private, R.M., wound of right leg by round shot, amputation below the knee.
S. Co. 74. Thomas Ellis, aged 21, ordinary seaman, wound of left leg by round shot, amputation below the knee.
B. 2nd C. 22. James Brownlee, aged 15, boy 2nd C., wound of left leg by a splinter from round shat, amputation below the knee.
1st list 2. Mr. Charles Turner, aged 32, master ; very severe lacerated wound of right side of abdomen, by a round shot ; died on the 22d September.
Mr. G. A. C. Brooker, aged 25, lieutenant, slight splinter wound of right cheek.
S. Co. 18. John Ridley, aged 26, A.B., slight contused wound of right hand.
43. John Flynn, aged 23, A.B., contusion of scrotum and testicles
B. 1 C. 15. George Scott, aged 19, boy 1st C., slight splinter wound of right foot.
M. 3 C. 5. Elijal Mordey, aged 30, corporal, R.M., contused wound of left shin.
16. John Claw, aged 23, private, R.M., contused wound of right heel by a shot.
M. not C. 1. Benjamin Matthews, aged 42, sergeant, R.M., splinter wound of scalp, back of head.
19th September.- Wounded on shore:
S. Co. 72. Robert Funnell, aged 32, A.B., lacerated wound of left cheek and face (slight).
29. Andrew Carfral, aged 21, ordinary seaman, contused wound of left hand (slight).
S. L. W. and V. 1. Robert Livingstone, aged 22, ordinary seaman, contused wound of fingers of left hand (slight).
S. Co. 65 John Bennett, aged 28, A.B., contusion of left arm by bullet (slight).
19. Henry Fordhan, aged 25, A.B., wound of left foot (slight).
Men who suffered from the Sun whilst on Shore, Sept. 19.
S. Co. 27. James James, aged 24, A.B., severe headache and fever.
B. 1 C.18. William Woodley, aged 19, boy, 1st C., severe headache and fever.
S. Co. 8. Peter Pinkerton, aged 21, ordinary seaman, severe headache and fever.
M, 3. C. 21. George Tweedale, aged 23, private, R.M ,severe headache and fever.
18. Thomas Stevens, aged 30, private, R.M., very great pain of head, and fever; died on 24th September.
19. John Wallis, aged 28, private, R.M.. severe headache and fever.
S. Co. 14. Charles Wichelo, aged 24, A.B., severe headache and fever.
(Signed) George Gordon, Acting Surgeon.
Approved, (Signed) E. W. Vansittart, Commander.
Winchester, at Hong Kong, October 30.
Sir,- I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the 22nd of September and of the 5th October in relation to your operations against the pirates in the neighbourhood of Sheipoo ; in the course of which, with the aid of your well-trained and efficient ship's company you appear to have accomplished one of the most remarkable exploits within my knowledge.
It will afford me the greatest pleasure to bring to the notice of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty your transactions above mentioned, and to point their attention to the excellent conduct of all who were engaged in the occurrences referred to, and more especially to the cases of Lieutenant Brooker and of the late lamented Mr. Turner, and of Messrs. Todd, Newton, and Sinclair, and of the captains of the guns Matless and Hurneyman.
The satisfaction caused by the good conduct thus evinced would indeed be without alloy, if it were not accompanied by deep regret at the losses and injuries sustained. Although personally but little known to me, I was well aware of Mr. Turner's merits, and I trust the Admiralty may, with its usual liberality, consider the position in which his family are left by his death. To the other cases reported in your return of casualties I shall give my earliest attention on the arrival of the Bittern at this port, with the hope of alleviating in some small degree the fate of those severely wounded, by an early transmission to their native country.
With reference to the part which fell to your own share is these operations, it will be highly gratifying to me to bear testimony to the zeal, skill, and intrepidity you have displayed in this, as well as on two previous occasions within the present year, and I feel assured their lordships will feel so much pleasure in receiving, as I shall have in communicating so favourable a representation of your conduct in your present command.
I have, &c., (Signed) Js. Stirling,
Rear-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief.
Commander Vansittart, her Majesty's sloop Bittern.
In consideration of the services mentioned in the above despatches:-
Commander Edward Westby Vansittart and Commander William Abdy Fellowes have been promoted to the rank of captain.
Lieutenant George Augustus Cooke Brooker has been promoted to the rank of commander; and
Mr. John James, boatswain of the Rattler, has been advanced to the second class.
Mr. Richard Brownsdon, paymaster of the Rattler ; Mr. George Gordon, acting surgeon of the Bittern ; and Mr. George B. Newton, assistant surgeon of the Bittern, have been noted for favourable consideration.