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Type: 6th rate ; Armament 26 x 32 pdr
Launched : 6 Apr 1833 ; Disposal date or year : 1862
BM: 952 tons
Circa 1 Jan 1832 ordered to be laid down at Sheerness.
Designed by Sir W. Symonds.
10 Nov 1832 it is rumoured that the building of the Vestal was to be expedited.
16 Mar 1833 The Vestal, 26, now on the stocks at Sheerness, will be launched on the 21st inst.
Jun 1833 is reported to have been fitted with Earle's fire-engine pump, which was trialled on board the Druid.
15 Jul 1833 arrived Deal from Sheerness, and departed for Portsmouth.
18 Jul 1833 arrived Portsmouth from the Sheerness, having tried her rate of sailing with the Serpent and Pantaloon.
7 Sep 1833 At Spithead.
12 Sep 1833 departed Portsmouth for Plymouth.
14 Sep 1833 arrived Plymouth from Portsmouth.
16 Oct 1833 departed Portsmouth bur later returned to Spithead due to the gale.
19 Oct 1833 departed for the West Indies.
3 Dec 1833 arrived Barbadoes from England and Bermuda.
15 Jan 1834 departed Carlisle-bay, Barbadoes for Jamaica.
5 Feb 1834 departed Barbadoes on a cruise.
1 Jul 1834 Refitting at Bermuda.
29 Sep 1834 departed Halifax for Bermuda and the West Indies.
24 Nov 1934 departed from Barbadoes for Port Royal, where she arrived 1 Dec
Jamaica 28 Apr 1835 has departed for Bermuda for the health of her crew, suffering severely from yellow fever : the surgeon is reported to have died along with Messrs. Doswell, Wilson and Macfarlen, mates and midshipmen ; together with Smith, a quarter-master ; Honey and Smith, both boys ; Bridges, Cooper, joy, Butt, Burns, Winch, Peters, and Cousins, all seamen ; and Carpenter, Morrison, Jacques, Sleverley, Gray, and Bratts, Royal Marines. 80 supernumeraries were put on board to take her to sea.
19 Jul 1835 reported to be at Barbadoes.
18 Sep 1835 is reported to have been at Grenada.
7 Oct 1835 seized the Spanish slave-schooner Amalia, José Ramon Manene, master, condemned at Havana on 23 Nov 1835 ; accounts of the proceeds deposited in the Registry of the High Court of Admiralty 4 Jan 1836.
21 Nov 1835 off Havana, writing to His Majesty's Commissioners to the Mixed Court at that place, regarding the nationality of 2 persons who were supposed to have been crew of the Amalia, but with one having left the vessel on the Coast and the other claiming U.S. citizenship, the commanding officer feels he is unable to help without more evidence.
9 Jan 1836 is reported to have passed Portsmouth en route for the West Indies following a refit at Sheerness.
13 Jan 1836 A court martial was held on board the Ocean, tender to the Howe, at Sheerness, of the Captain, William Jones, and the master, Mr. Yule, of the Vestal which grounded on 26 Jul 1835, on the island of Portuga Salada, on the coast of Laguayra, on the coast of South America. They were acquitted, the charts lacking vital information.
14 Apr 1836 conveyed the Governor, Sir L Smith, and his family, from Barbadoes to Granada.
26 Apr 1836 embarked at Barbadoes the 14th regiment, consisting of 412 officers, men, and followers, with their heavy baggage, and landed them at St. Christopher's on the 28th.
1 May 1836 embarked at St. Kitt's the 67th regiment, consisting of 422 officers, men, and followers, with their heavy baggage, and landed them at Demerara on the 10th.
14 May, 1836 embarked at Demerara the 86th regiment, consisting of 472 officers, men, and followers, with their baggage, and landed them on the 17th at Barbadoes.
17 May 1836 at Barbadoes, furnished with instructions under the new Treaty with Spain for the suppression of the Slave Trade by the Flag Officer, North America and West Indies Station.
22 May 1836 at Barbadoes.
Early Jun 1836 employed on a mission to St. Thomas and Port Rico, by which 35 Negro British subjects were redeemed from slavery.
August, 20th. Left Halifax to where, on Sept. 20th captured the Negrinha, a Portuguese schooner, with a cargo of 336 slaves. 21 Aug 1836 departed Halifax for the Barbadoes, and to cruise off Grenada on the lookout for vessels involved in the slave trade.
20 Sep 1836 detained in lat. 11° 47' 20" N. long. 61° 13' 30" W., near Grenada, en route from Gallinas, the Portuguese slave schooner Negrinha, Miguel Soares de Lisboa, master, with 336 slaves on board which was sent for adjudication to the British and Portuguese Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 19 Dec 1836 sentenced to be condemned.
21 Sep 1836 the "Grenada Free Press," announces that HM ship Vestal returned to this port last night, having in company a slave trader, captured after a short chase off Tobago yesterday. The vessel is a schooner, named the ' Negrinha,' under Portuguese colours, bound to Cuba, and having on board 337 Africans, who will thus be relieved from their intended doom of slavery, as the slaver being under Portuguese colours, cannot be sent to Havanna for adjudication; and as she could not, we are assured, with safely to the crew, and the poor pent-up human beings on board, make the voyage to Sierra Leone, we trust that the governor will allow their being landed and located here.
24 Sep 1836 arrived Grenada with the Portuguese slave ship Negrinha, late Norma, under Spanish colours, 139 tons, her prize, with 367 slaves on board. The Vestal has since departed in search of her consort.
28 Sep 1836 detained in lat. 11° 58' 0" N. long. 62° 2' 0" W., near Grenada, en route from Little Popo, the Portuguese slave vessel Phoenix / Fenix, Joze Antonio Barboza, master, with 515 slaves on board, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Portuguese Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 19 Dec 1836 sentenced to be condemned.
28 Sep 1836 captured the Spanish slave brigantine Empresa, which was taken to Havana with 418 slaves on board, which was subsequently condemned, prize money becoming due to payment in 1841.
The Vestal is also reported to have taken the Imprega, sailing under Spanish colours, which she sent to Havannah, and with the large number of men away in the prizes has had to recruit local seamen from Granada.
26 Oct 1836 Empresa arrived at Havana.
1 Mar 1837 cruising ; ships on the Jamaica station are reported to be generally healthy.
4 May 1837 whilst on passage between Port-au-Prince to Santiago de Cuba sent the ship's boats to examine a suspicious schooner sighted at anchor at the entrance to Cumberland Harbour, also well known as Guantanamo Harbour. The boat attempted to escape by sailing further up the harbour, but the ship's boats soon boarded her and discovered that she was fitted out to carry slaves. A Spanish Lieutenant by the name of Cruz arrived on the scene and stated that the vessel, the Matilda, was his prize and that he would be taking her to the appropriate authority in the next day or so. However, by the 25 May it was discovered that she had not been handed over to the Mixed Court, the only body competent to decide what should be done with the vessel, and a report was made by the Commanding Officer to the British Commissioners and members of the Mixed Court to pursue the matter with the Foreign Office. However, subsequent investigations would appear to suggest that nothing further could be done due to the stance taken by the local Spanish authorities.
19 May 1837 arrived at Havana. Is reported to have been in harbour when the infamous slave ship Socorro, re-named the Donna Maria Segunda, recently departed for the coast of West Africa, but the Treaty between Great Britain and Portugal did not permit pursuit under these circumstances, apart from the fact that the Spanish members of the Mixed Court at Havana wouldn't have been permitted, by the Captain-General, to condemn the vessel.
10 Sep 1837 arrived at Spithead from the North America station.
21 Dec 1837 It is reported to London, Viscount Palmerston, by the British Commissioner to the Mixed Court at Havana that the Matilda, mentioned above, has been captured again, on a subsequent trip, this time by the Snake, in lat. 19° 38' N., long. 77° 12' W., with 259 slaves on board and has been condemned by this Court at Havana, and emancipated the surviving prisoners, 4 of whom died following capture.
1838-39, part of a squadron looking after British interests on the coast of Mexico. See p. 305 at at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow 30 Apr 1839 arrived at Jamaica, from Vera Cruz, with 300 000 dollars. 5 May 1839 departed from Jamaica for Barbadoes, 20 Jun 1840 Halifax, departed for the Gulf of St. Lawrence. 3 May 1840 at Barbadoes and about to convey the 76th Regiment to Bermuda. 10 Oct 1840, Halifax, arrived from Quebec. 1 Nov 1840 arrived at Jamaica from Halifax. 5 Dec 1840 Mate M. E. Perceval, appointed from the Vestal, to the Indus. 12 Feb 1841 at Belize. 19 Jun 1841 arrived Halifax, from Vera Cruz, Tampico, and Havanna, via Bermuda, and is reputedly sailing for Quebec shortly. 4 Sep 1841 Volunteer 1st Class Herbert ; Captain John Parker, appointed to the Vestal ; 16 Sep 1841 at St. John's, Newfoundland. 1 Nov 1841 at Kingston, Jamaica. 2 Jul 1841 arrived Spithead from the West Indies with Sir C. Metcalfe, late Gov. of Jamaica and suite on board and with $300,000 on merchant's A/c from Vera Cruz.
1 Jan 1842 was at Santa Martha, when the Pickle departed for Jamaica.
4 Apr 1842 remained 5 days at Santa Martha where all was quiet and at Carthagena where it was rumoured that an insurrection had subsequently taken place at Santa Martha.
23 Apr 1842 arrived at Jamaica from Santa Martha with $210,000.
21 May 1842 departed Jamaica for England with Sir Charles Metcalf and family.
3 Jul 1842 departed Spithead for Sheerness to be paid off.
16 Jan 1844 Departs UK.
27 Feb 1844 New York.
18 May 1844 Rio de Janeiro.
15 Aug 1844 Monte Video.
19 Sep 1844 Cape of Good Hope.
1 Nov 1844 Hobart Town.
6 Nov 1844 Sydney, arrived from Hobart Town, having on board about £10,000 of specie for the Commissariat Department. The Vestal has brought intelligence that, upon the receipt of the late transactions at Tahiti, the Admiral of the South American station immediately despatched H.M.S. Fisgard 42 guns, HMS Modeste, 18 guns, and H. M. second class steamer Cormorant, the purpose of protecting the Tahitians from the French aggressions, until further advices had been received from the Home Government. The Vestal is a fine vessel, and we quote the following description of her from the Hobart Town Advertiser, October 29: This beautiful vessel, which we regret is to make so very short a stay amongst us, is to proceed for Sydney on Thursday, and from thence to Hongkong, for both of which places she will take a mail. She certainly has been scouring her coppers pretty well lately. On the 19th September she was at Monte Video, and since then was detained a fortnight at the Cape ;while there, the Owen Glendower arrived, and had the Vestal been enabled to leave on her arrival, we should have had English news in seventy-six days. So much for speedy and powerful sailing vessels, even in this day of steam. The Vestal had accomplished half her run from the Cape to Hobart Town in fourteen days, when she was met by the S.E. gale which blew here so heavily; had it not been for this, there is little doubt she would have mastered the same rate the whole run. In working up the channel, in smooth water, she went 10½ knots by the land on a bowline. She carries twenty-six guns, but is larger than the old thirty-twos; is built on Symonds's principle, and has always been a crack vessel."
16 Nov 1844 HMS Vestal fired a salute of 12 guns and a military guard of honour with the band of the 99th regiment, escorted His Excellency from the Circular Wharf to Government House.
22 Nov 1844 departed from Port Jackson for Hong Kong.
24 Nov 1844 Passed Lord Howe's Islands.
2 Dec 1844 Passed between Solomon and Queen Charlotte Islands.
4 Dec 1844 Sighted the Stewart's Islands.
9 Dec 1844 Crossed the Equator.
12 Dec 1844 Sighted the Raven Islands and spoke with some natives who came off.
15 Dec 1844 Passed what was thought to be Jane Island and possibly Meaburn Island.
18 Dec 1844 Sighted Rota Island.
25 Dec 1844 arrived off the Bashee Islands.
27 Dec 1844 Passed Pedro Branca and arrived Hong Kong at 10 pm. See http://www.nla.gov.au/ferg/volume/14403897_vol.html for 15 Nov 1845 for a detailed Report of passage from Port Jackson to HK as reported in the Nautical Magazine. http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/Naval_History/Vol_VI/P_390.html
Aug 1845 Vice-Admiral Sir T Cochrane, with HMS Agincourt, HMS Vestal, HMS Daedalus, HMS Wolverine, HMS Cruizer, HMS Royalist, and HMS Vixen, steamer, and the HEIC Steamers Pluton and Nemesis, had gone on to Borneo in the beginning of August - see also p. 329-> at at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow Sep 1845 Attack on pirates at Malloodoo Bay, pirate Seriff Housman.
17 Jun 1846 the schooner Privateer departed Hong Kong and was attacked by pirates - on the news reaching Hong Kong the Vestal's barge left for the scene and searched all suspicious boats but no captures were made - see p. 634-5 www.naval-review.org/issues/1925-4.pdf.
29 Aug 1846 The "Daniel Watson" reports that HM Frigate Daedalus, Capt, McQuoid ; Frigate Vestal, Capt Talbot ; Brig Wolverine ; and the steam Vulture were lying at Hong Kong ; the Daedalus was expected to sail for NZ. Orders had been received at Hong Kong to give up Chusan to the Chinese.
6 Feb 1847 It is reported from Aus. that when the Daniel Watson left Hongkong HMS Agincourt, 74, Admiral Cochrane ; Daedalus and Vestal, frigates, Vulture, steam frigate., Ringdove, brig, and the Minden, 74 were present.
4 Mar 1847 departed from Hong Kong to England. Judging from the address given to the Captain by local maritime interests the vessel will be missed as SO China.
Jan 1848 Sheerness, in Ordinary (reserve).
20 Dec 1848 Sheerness.
In 1852 operation against slavers in the Havana - Bahama region, where 3 slavers were captured - see p. 393-4 at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow
17 Dec 1852 detained off Havana the Spanish slave vessel Carloto, Vicente Valero, master, which was sent for adjudication to the Mixed Court at Havana and on 3 Feb 1853 sentenced to be forfeited.
17 Dec 1852 detained off Havana the Spanish slave vessel Cuatro Hermanos, Ramon Albela, master, which was sent for adjudication to the Mixed Court at Havana and on 19 Jan 1853 sentenced to be restored to her master.
17 Dec 1852 detained off Havana the Spanish slave vessel Venus, José Francisco Infante, master, which was sent for adjudication to the Mixed Court at Havana and on 19 Jan 1853 sentenced to be forfeited.
22 Dec 1852 detained off Havana at Lat. 23° 16' 30" N., long. 82° 22' 45" W., the Spanish slave brig Arogante Emilio, José Costa, master, which was sent for adjudication to the Mixed Court at Havana and on 21 Mar 1853 sentenced to be restored to her master.
1 Feb 1853 at Havana. Apparently unnecessarily detained by the Court of Mixed Commission's failure to insist on the supply of information required by Captain Hamilton (of the Vestal), before he can reply to questions asked of him by the Court, as is common practice in the other Mixed Courts established under Treaty with Great Britain, and he thus refuses to respond to the questions from Mr Carrera, representing the defence of the Spanish brig Arogante Emilio and appears to have decided to go to sea, rather than waste his time sitting around in Havana waiting for something which apparently isn't going to materialise, i.e. it would appear that certain Spanish members of the Mixed Court at Havana are playing their silly little games, presumably with the authority of the Spanish authorities ashore : usually those with interests of one sort or another in the Slave Trade.
9 Feb 1853 at Havana.
14 Mar 1853 in lat. 28° 41' N., lon. 64° 39' W., when writing to his flag officer.
1 Nov 1853 at Havana.
Proceedings of the Squadron on the Coast of Borneo, by an Eye-Witness.
(From the Nautical Magazine, for January, 1846).
The squadron left Penang so unexpectedly, that many of the officers, even those of superior rank, narrowly missed being left behind. When assembled at Malacca, a steamer was despatched to Singapore, which shortly rejoined having on board Mr. Brooke and Captain Bethune, RN. These gentlemen having remained a day or two in communication with the Commander-in-Chief, returned to Singapore. It being known that Captain Bethune had been lately with Mr. Brooke at Sarawak, it was inferred that something was in view in that quarter ; and this supposition gained ground when, on the 24th of July, the Admiral received them again on board the Agincourt, the squadron being then at anchor off the Buffalo rock in Singapore Strait. At day light on the 26th, the squadron weighed and proceeded to the east, consisting of Agincourt, Vestal, Daedalus, Cruizer, Osprey, Wolverine, Vixen, Nemesis, and Pluto. In the course of the morning, the Osprey parted company for Singapore and New South Wales.
On the 28th [Jul, 1845] we were off the mouth of the Sarawak, and at daylight the Commander-in-Chief, with a party, went up the river in the Pluto, to pay a visit to Mr. Brooke's capital. The squadron anchored off Tanjong Po, and he returned the following day. The Pluto unfortunately had grounded, and sustained some damage, which rendered it necessary to beach her ; we proceeded to the northward, and had a pleasant run along the coast : we found the charts very erroneous. The flag-ship, however, appeared to view boldly, her master Mr. Ellyet, it was said, having already been on the coast in the Dido. On the 6th of August we were off the Brune River. While running in, the Agincourt touched on a knoll and hung for a short time. She came off without damage, with the exception of running into the Nemeses, which was coming to her assistance, and knocked over her funnel. This accident prevented our entering the river, so coming to an anchor, the next morning we dropped out into deep water. A boat conveying Mr. Brooke was despatched to the town. which returned the following day ; and shortly after a rajah, apparently of high rank, arrived rived to compliment the Admiral. He was received with all the honours, and had a long. interview. What passed I know not, but the result was that the next day, the 7th, a party of 160 marines, the band, &c., was embarked on board the Vixen, and she, the Nemesis and Pluto (which vessels had made good their damages), accompanied by three or four armed pinnaces, proceeded up the river of Brune, having the admiral and a large party of officers on board. At the bar, just below Palo Chesmise, there was found too little water for the Vixen ; the flag and army were, therefore, transferred to the small steamer, which proceeded off the town. The admiral, attended by his suite, paid a visit to the sultan, and active negociations (sic) appeared to be going on.
In the course of the afternoon, the Vixen made her appearance, Commander Giffard having succeeded in forcing her over the bar in her own draft. Up to this time no visible symptoms had offered, and we began to fear that nothing would take place. During the night there was a slight confusion on board the Vixen, where the whole force had re-assembled, owing to some fancy having been entertained that she had been boarded by an enemy. The commander's appearance on deck, however, soon restored order, and on his endeavouring to arrive at the cause of the disorder, a sentry who had been calmly walking his post on the paddle-box, gave it as his opinion that "It was only Mr._______ a-dreaming."
On the forenoon of the next day, the 10th [Aug, 1845], it appeared that the Admiral had demanded that a certain chief, Panquera Usof, should be given up, be having behaved ill in the matter of some slaves. Usof apparently disliked the terms, whatever they were, for about noon his house was pointed out as the object to be attacked, and the steamers moved into position. It was admirably situated for a little practice, being quite isolated from the town, and exposed on all sides; the arrangements were very judicious. The Vixen was laid opposite the principal front ; the Pluto, with the marines, ran up a branch of the river to a point where her fire would cross that of the Vixen at right angles, and a place was found for the Nemesis midway betwixt the two. Had poor Usof's house been of adamant instead of mats, it must have come down in five minutes.
The arrangements being completed, the Vixen fired a 32 lb. shot through the roof of the house, just to give warning we were ready ; this was replied to by some half dozen guns, the shot passing over the Vixen. The three steamers then opened, and in ten minutes the house was riddled. I believe every one ran away on the first discharge, and they acted wisely, for the effect of the Vixen's grape and cannister was terrific. The firing having ceased, the marines advanced, and took possession of the frontier. Twenty-one brass guns were brought off, and a powder magazine (within twenty paces of which a shed fallen behind) destroyed. The houses were handed over to the Sultan. and the party re-embarked: The Sultan then gave permission to the populace to plunder it, and they were not slow in availing themselves of the permission.
The admiral returned to the squadron the following day, and ran over to the island of Labuan. When the steamer had completed taking in the wood. which in the mean- time had been collected by the Cruizer and Wolverine, having the carpenter of the squadron on board, we all moved to the northward; and on the road learned that there was another job in prospect. On the 17th we were assembled in Malluda Bay; in the evening the captains met by signal on board the flag ship, and received the plan of attack on Seriff Housman, a notorious pirate, harbour-ing in one of the rivers at the head of the bay.
Pursuant to these orders, on the morning of the 18th [Aug, 1845] all the small-arm men and marines moved to the Vixen and other steamers, and they taking the Cruizer, Wolverine, and the gun-boats in tow, moved up the bay as far as the depth of water would permit. The Pluto went on to pick out the channel, but shortly got aground. The admiral, whose flag was in the Vixen. anxious not to lose time, then directed Captain Talbot to put what men he could in the boats and proceed. Accordingly, about 300 blue jackets and 200 marines embarked in the boats; the details as follows:- To com-mand the whole, Captain Talbot, Vestal, as-sisted by Commander Fanshawe, Cruizer, to command the landing party, Acting-Commander Lyster, Agincourt, assisted by Com-mander Clifford, Wolverine, and Lieutenant Paynter, Agincourt, as Adjutant, - command-ing H.M. Marines Captain Hawkins, R.N.
H.M. ship Agincourt, second barge Lieutenant Paynter, Mr. May, mate, Mr. Patrick, Assistant-surgeon.- Launch, Lieutenant Lowther, Mr. Burton, midshipman, Mr. Burnaby, midshipman, Mr. Whipple, assistant-surgeon.- Pinnace, Mr. Reeve, mate, in charge of the rocket party.- Second cutter, Mr. Lincoe, midshipman.- In Wolverine, Daedalus and Nemesis cutters, in charge of the first company of small arm men, .Lieutenant Reid, Mr. Young, mate, Mr Hotham, midshipman.
H.M. ship Vestal, barge, pinnace, and cutter, Lieutenant Morritt, Lieutenant Pascoe, Mr. Pym, second master, Mr. Durbin, mate.
H.M. ship Daedalus, pinnace, barge, and cutter, Lieutenant Randolph, Mr. Nolloth, mate. Mr. Wilkinson, second master.,
H.M. steam-vessel Vixen, pinnace and cutter, Lieutenant Wilcox, Mr. Dent, mate, Mr. Sainsbury, midshipman.
H. M. sloop Cruizer, pinnace and cutter, Lieutenant Rodney, Mr. _______ , midshipman.
H.M. sloop Wolverine, pinnace and cutter, Lieutenant Hillyar, Mr. Gibbard, mate.
Lieutenant Heard, senior lieutenant of H.M. ship Samarang (supernumerary on board Agincourt) in the Pluto's boats, in charge of the Agincourt's field piece. Lieutenants Hambly, Dyer, Kennedy, and Mansell, of the Royal Marines, distributed with their parties.
Captain Talbot was accompanied by Mr. Brookes. Malay interpreter, Mr. Williams a volunteer, and two Malay pilots from Brune.
The boats started against a strong breeze ; the channel was so difficult to discover, that they were obliged to anchor outside the bar, at seven p.m. At half-past ten p.m. the tide enabled the boats to pass the bar and anchor at the mouth of the rover for the night. At seven a.m. the next day, the 19th of August, , the boats weighed at quarter flood in two divisions, and proceeded up the river, carrying two fathoms water the whole way, the gigs leading and sounding. The course of the river trends generally to the S.S.W., with small reaches trending to the southward and eastward, with an average breadth of sixty yards, the banks covered with close jungle, lined with mangrove bushes fringing the edges.
Three miles up the river, Captain Talbot went ahead to reconnoitre, and rejoined two miles higher up, with information that the next bend would place the boats in front of the batteries and stockade, and that a boom of large size was thrown across the river 250 or 300 hundred yards below the fort. The launch and second barge of the Agincourt, the barge of the Vestal, and launch of the Daedalus were then, ordered up with directions to form line abreast, to anchor by the stern when close up to the boom, and keep up a fire, whilst the three cutters under Lieutenant Reid, Mr. Young, and Mr. Gibbard, were directed under cover of the fire of the gun-boats to clear away the boom, the Vixen's and Vestal's pinnaces to close up in the interval, and the remainder of the boats to be the reserve, and act as ordered.
Whilst Captain Lyster was preparing to carry out these instructions, a flag of truce made its appearance from the fort. The boats were immediately ordered to anchor in two lines, Captain Talbot demanded an unconditional surrender of Seriff Housman in half an hour. The flag of truce urged the wish of Housman to have a consultation with him, it was refused, and the flag left; in the meanwhile the boats had taken up their positions in the following manner: the Agincourt's launch close in on the left bank touching the boom, the Vixen's pinnace next, and the Daedalus' launch next; on the right bank was the Vestal's barge. then the Agincourt's second barge, the Pluto's cutter, and the gigs of the commanding officers. The three cutters with the carpenters, under Captain Lyster, employed themselves trying to unshackle the cable and clear the boom of the shore.
In a quarter of an hour another flag of truce came down the river and stated that Seriff Housman would allow two boats inside the boom during the conference. He was answered that the half hour was nearly up, and that if Seriff Housman did not surrender, action would commence. The flag of truce instantly returned, shot round a small turn of the river, hauled down the flag, and the batteries commenced firing, which was immediately returned. The 12-pound carronades in the gun boats appeared to make little impression on the forts, but the firing on both sides was well sustained. About twenty minutes from the commencement, Lieutenant Paynter obtained permission to land and try the rockets, and in eight minutes a 24, 12, and 3-pound tube were fired on the right bank, about five yards in the rear of the boom, and the first rocket (a 42-pound) was hailed by a loud cheer from all the gun boats. The well sustained fire of guns and rockets, soon rendered the fire of Seriff Housman's defences wild, but the perfect workmanship by which the boom was secured, resisted all efforts to force it. The firing having lasted fifty minutes, and the boom still impassable. the ammunition of the gun-boats was ordered to be husbanded, and the guns to be fired with great precision ; at this time Mr. Reeve of the rocket party was sent to Captain Talbot with information that the forts could be reached by the right bank; but at this moment one end of the boom gave way. The boats were immediately pushed through. and with a loud cheer, led by Captains Talbot, Lyster, Fanshawe, and Clifford; boat after boat passed with the marines under Captain Hawkins to storm the defences. The enemy retreated from the eight-gun battery without making any resistance. The flags were hauled down, and the forts immediately taken possession of. A guard was left in the fort ; parties of marines and small arm men advanced up both sides of the river, burning and destroying the houses, and everything that could be discovered.
The forts were well situated, and commanded a complete view of the river and boom. A floating battery of three long 18-pounders was erected close to the left bank, and the guns laid for the boom. The 8-gun battery, consisting of one 18 pounder, two 12-pounders, three 9-pounders, and two 6-pounders, on the right bank, were laid some for the boom and others above and below it. It was not to be expected that so formidable a position could be taken without a sacrifice of life. Six killed and fifteen wounded, (two mortally,) was the loss on the English side, and the determined manner the pirates worked their guns for the first half hour, secure in their position, and confident in their boom, renders it fortunate the loss was not greater.
The following is a list of the casualties on the occasion
H. M. ship Agincourt. 2nd barge, 3 killed, 2 wounded, (1 severely) ; launch, 1 killed, 2 wounded, (1 severely).
H. M. ship Vestal. Barge, 1 killed; pinnace, 2 wounded, (t severely).
H. M. S. Daedalus, Launch, 1 killed, 2 wounded, (1 mortally, l severely).
H. M. S. Vixen. Pinnace, 2 wounded, (Z severely) ; cutter, 1 wounded.
H. M sloop Wolverine. Cutter, 1 wounded, (mortally); pinnace, 1 wounded (severely).
H. M. sloop Cruizer. Pinnace, 2 wounded.
H. C. steam vessel Pluto. Cutter, 1 wounded.
Officers, wounded. Lieut. Heard, Supr. Agincourt, (slightly,) Mr. Gibbard, mate in Wolverine, (mortally), Mr. Pym, second master Vestal, (severely)
It is impossible to estimate the loss of the enemy; that it was severe, there can be no doubt; bodies were found in various directions - numbers were thrown into the river by their own- people, and the wounded were carried into the jungle as soon as they fell. But the testimony of some Manila men (slaves) who had escaped, amounts to this that Seriff Housman was dangerously wounded in the neck, that two Chiefs (Arabs) were killed, and two severely wounded, that many hundred men were in the forts at the commencement, but after twenty minutes firing numbers fled, and as the loss on the English side was all in the first twenty minutes, it is highly probable that the latter part of the firing was continued by a few desperate men, but without any effect, and who ran away the moment the boom was passed.
Not wishing to lose the tide, the force was re-embarked and returned to the Vixen. To prevent all chance of the enemy making head again, the Admiral despatched a fresh party under Commodore Giffard, who after a slight resistance from a few stragglers, completed the destruction of the town, and brought away a quantity of brass ordnance. The force having returned to the ship, the squadron moved to the island of Balambangan, and on the 25th departed for Manila and Hongkong ; the Cruizer being detached with Mr. Brooke and Captain Bethune. Thus under one short campaign at Borneo there can be little doubt that a most salutary effect will be produced by the powerful and effectual measures of our Commander-in-Chief.
Destruction Of Pirates. -By a letter from H.M.S. Agincourt, dated Manila, 3rd September, we learn that the squadron, consisting of the Agincourt, Vestal, Daedalus, Cruizer Wolverine Vixen, Pluto, and Nemesis. had attacked, at Malloodoo Bay, the pirate chief Seriff Housman. The boats of the squadron succeeded in taking his forts, being three in number, and mounting altogether fifteen guns; they destroyed his town, and all the goods they came across. The boats were under the fire of the batteries, while forcing the boom, upwards of fifty minutes, at little more than two hundred yards. distance. Our loss was six killed and fifteen wounded-two of the latter since dead. Mr. Pym, of the Vestal, was wounded in the back part of the thigh by a grape shot, but not dangerously. Gibbard, a mate of the Wolverine,, was killed. The loss is the Agincourt alone was four killed and six wounded. 'the loss. of the enemy could not be ascertained, 9s tey carried the bodies immediately into the jungle, but it must have been immense. Two Arab chiefs are known to have been killed, and Seriff Housman himself to have been carried off the field, severely wounded in the neck. The squadron were to sail for Hongkong from Manila the day after, namely, the 4th Sept. - Port Philip Herald, December 11.
9 Nov 1844 Gentlemen.- The Vestal's extraordinary qualifications in sailing perhaps are unparalleled in naval construction. A few particulars of the vessel may be acceptable to your readers, especially those interested in maritime affairs.
The Vestal bears no affinity to the old thirty-twos, either in dimensions or configuration. They are as follow:-
Length on load water line 130 ft 0 in
Length on gun deck 139 ft 0 in
Breadth, extreme, 5-16 of load water line 40 ft 6 in
Depth in hold from timbers amid- ships to main deck 17 ft 6 in
Draught of water-load line, amidships...16ft 6in
Builder's tonnage, O. M..952 tons
Light displacement of the ship, i.e. her own weight...526 tons
Actual weight received on board for sea service, i. e. masts, rig-ging, armament, stores, &c..413 tons
Load displacement, i. e. total weight of ship...939 tons
These cursory statements may be fully de-pended on, as they were given to the writer, with the various dimensions of all the classes of the Symondsian vessels, together with their sections and draughts, by the constructor himself.
The Vestal's metal is very heavy, being the medium thirty-twos, weight 45 cwt. each, which the extension of beam enables her to carry with ease on her main deck, although only rated and carrying 26 guns ; whilst the North Star, of the same rate, same length on load water line, but seven feet six inches lets beam, and registering but 500 tons, carries only gunnades, thirty-twos, about 25 cwt. each, on her main deck.
The North Star's light displacement a 351 tons; dead weight, &c., on board, 350 tons; total displacement, or weight of ship, 701 tons.
The old thirty-twos were about 700 tons register, and carried twenty-two long twelves on main deck ; and were any of these bygone ships, or the later description of twenty-six gun vessels, so well known in the British navy as "donkey or jackass frigates;" placed alongside of the Vestal in action they would surely be blown to atoms ! Hence the superiority of vessels in the British navy. as now constructed on the Symondsian principle, over those of former construction, each class carrying the same number of guns.