After having, as already stated, ranged ahead of the Queen-Charlotte, the Montagne, setting her topgallantsails, continued to stand on, followed by the Jacobin, until nearly abreast of her own van ; when, being joined by such of her friends as had no leeward opponents to keep them in check, she wore round on the starboard tack, and, with eleven sail in her train, stood in the direction of the Queen, then lying about a point upon her starboard or weather bow in a crippled condition.
The perilous situation of the Queen attracted Lord Howe's attention ; and, having by signal ordered the ships of the fleet to close and form in line ahead or astern of her, the Queen-Charlotte slowly and with difficulty wore round on the starboard tack. All the sail that could be set was presently spread, and, followed by the Barfleur, Thunderer, (as fresh as when the action began), Royal-Sovereign, Valiant, Leviathan, and a few others, the Queen-Charlotte stood away, with the wind a little abaft the beam, to protect the disabled and gallant ship, that, on the present as on the former occasion, had performed so admirably. Seeing this, the French admiral relinquished his design on the Queen, merely cannonading her with a part of his line, as he stretched on to the support of five crippled French ships towing towards him in the east ; two of which in particular, being wholly dismasted, ought previously to have been secured by those British ships, of which there were several that had taken but little part in the action.
The battle of the 1st of June may thus be summarily described. Between a quarter and half past 9 a.m. the French van opened its fire upon the British van. In about a quarter of an hour the fire of the French became general, and Lord Howe and his divisional flag-officers, bearing the signal for close action at their mast-heads, commenced a heavy fire in return. A few of the British ships cut through the French line, and engaged their opponents to leeward ; the remainder hauled up to windward, and opened their fire, some at a long, others at a shorter and more effectual distance. At 10 h. 10 m. a.m., when the action was at its height, the French admiral, in the Montagne, made sail ahead, followed by his second astern, and afterwards by such others of his ships as, like the Montagne, had suffered little in their rigging and sails. At about 11 h. 30 m. a.m, the heat of the action was over, and the British were left with 11, the French with 12, more or less dismasted ships. None of the French ships had at this time struck their colours; or, if they had struck, had since rehoisted them: they, for the most part, were striving to escape, under a spritsail, or some small sail set on the tallest stump left to them, and continued to fire at every British ship that passed within gun-shot. *
After failing, as already stated, in his attempt upon the Queen,
* The following is a list of those dismasted ships, according to the best information now to be obtained .[See next page]
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