proper opponent, his own ship would have had such fresh way that, in hauling up to get alongside, she would have shot far ahead, and thereby have done less execution, than if the Cæsar had taken a position on the Trojan's weather quarter.*
Undoubtedly, the farther distant a ship is from an enemy's line, provided she is within shot of it, the more she exposes her self to damage, simply because two or more ships can then fire at her : whereas, by closing with one ship, that ship alone becomes her opponent, and no other, while the two lines remain parallel, can bring her broadside to bear. Unfortunately practical proof of this was wanted, and the state of the Cæsar's hull, masts, yards, and rigging soon afforded it. Anxious to retrieve his error, and act in obedience to the signal which had long been flying on board the Bellerophon, his flag-officer's ship, Captain Molloy now attempted to wear and make sail ; but, a shot having driven a splinter and three parts of the fore-tackle fall into the starboard quarter-block of the tiller-rope, the latter had become jammed in the sheave, and the rudder would not move. † During half an hour the accident remained unremedied, and, nearly the whole of the time undiscovered. It appears, also, that the use of the relieving-tackles or of the rudder-pendants, as substitutes for the tiller, did not occur. All this while the ship was dropping further astern ; and, when she did bear up to reengage, her powerful battery, equal in weight of metal to a 98 gun ship's, came too late into play to be of any decided effect. In the mean time the French van-ship, the Trojan, with no other visible injury than a few shot-holes in her sails, and no other loss, as subsequently proved, than three men killed and about half a dozen wounded, had set her jib and wore out of the line.
The Cæsar had no spars shot away ; but her mizenmast, mizen yard, cross jack yard, and mizen-topsail yard were much cut ; and so were many of the shrouds, backstays, &c. She received 64 shot in the starboard side of her hull, and had seven guns disabled by shot, exclusive of one which burst. The disabled guns were, one 32-pounder, one 24-pounder, and five 12-pounders. The bursted gun was a 24-pounder ; which, in exploding, killed two, and wounded three of her men. The loss which the Cæsar sustained by the enemy's fire appears to have been, 14 seamen killed, and about 52 or 53 wounded.
The next ship in the British line to the Cæsar was the Bellerophon, bearing the flag of Rear-admiral Pasley. This ship, with the signal for close action at her mast-head, bore down to within musket-shot of the weather quarter of the Eole, the second ship in the French line; and, at about 8 h. 45 m. a.m., opened her broadside with good effect. In her approach, the
* Minutes of the Court-martial on Captain Molloy, published in 1796, p. 142.
† Ibid. pp. 175, 193.
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