Admiral Villaret stood on, and succeeded, contrary to, all expectation, in covering and cutting off four of his dismasted ships, the Républicain Mucius, Scipion, and Jemmappes ; a fifth, the Terrible, having previously joined him, by fighting her way through the British fleet. At about 1 h. 15 m. p.m. the general firing ceased ; but it was not until 2 h. 30 m. p.m. that the six dismasted French ships nearest at hand, the Sans-Pareil, Juste, America, Impétueux, Northumberland, and Achille, were secured : and some of these reopened their fire upon the ships that advanced to take possession of them. At a little after 6 p.m. a seventh French ship, the Vengeur, was taken possession of, but in so shattered a state, that in ten minutes afterwards she went down, with upwards of 200 of her crew on board, composed chiefly of the wounded.
Thus ended this memorable engagement ; in which, and in the skirmishes of the 28th and 29th days of May, the British sustained a loss in gross, the details of which will appear presently, of 290 killed and 858 wounded ; including among the killed, Captain Montagu, and among the wounded, Admiral Bowyer, and Rear-admiral Pasley, Captain Hutt, with the loss of a leg, and Captain John Harvey (mortally), of an arm. The total loss on the British side, 1148, * is less, however, than the loss in killed and wounded represented to have been sustained by the six French ships only which were carried into port. †
The six last named French ships became eventually prizes to the British.
† The following statement will show the size in tons, complement, and loss of each of the six captured French ships:
The guns of the prizes were all new, of Swedish manufacture, and chiefly of brass. The Portuguese government made an offer for them ; but the British government, in this instance, became the purchaser at £24,000 ; and many of these beautiful and highly finished guns now ornament the forts in and around Portsmouth.
^ back to top ^