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Type: French ; Armament 20 long 6-pounders, four swivels
12th of July 1804 (Vol iii - page 270-1)
On the 12th of July the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Aigle, Captain George Wolfe, standing in for the Cordouan lighthouse with a moderate breeze from the north-east, discovered a French ship and brig steering to the southward. These were the Charente, of 20 long 6-pounders, four swivels, and 104 men, commanded by Lieutenant Joseph Samson, and the Joie, of eight " 12-pounders " (if not carronades, more likely 8-pounders), two swivels, and 75 men, commanded by Lieutenant Benjamin Gadobert ; both vessels from Rochefort, but last from the Gironde, bound to Bayonne, the brig laden with cannon and ordnance stores.
At 5 P. M. the Aigle closed with the French ship and brig ; and, from their not having altered their course, and their now exchanging signals and shortening sail, Captain Wolfe expected that they meant to engage. To the surprise, however, of the British, the Charente and Joie, after firing their starboard broadsides without effect, ran upon the strand about 10 leagues to the southward of Cordouan, and within a stone's throw of each other. The French crews then took to the boats ; but, these becoming swamped in the surf, many of the men were drowned. The Aigle immediately anchored about a mile from the beach, for the purpose of endeavouring to get the two vessels afloat ; but the immense surf thrown up in consequence of a recent westerly gale rendered fruitless every effort, although persevered in for a whole night and part of the next day. Captain Wolfe was therefore obliged to destroy the French ship and brig ; a service which was effectually executed, under the personal directions of Mr. Furlonger the master, and Mr. Steel the gunner.