On the 23d of April, at 4 a.m., rock Douvre bearing east by south four or five leagues, the Seven islands south-south-west four or five leagues, and Guernsey north-east half-east seven or eight leagues, Sir John's squadron, having just hauled round on the starboard tack with the wind at south-south-west, descried and gave chase to four strange ships approaching on the opposite tack from the south-east. These were a French squadron, composed of the 36-gun frigate, Engageante, Commodore Desgareaux ; 44-gun frigate Pomone, Captain Etienne Pevrieux ; 36-gun frigate Résolue, Captain (we believe) Antoine-Marie-François Montalan ; and 20-gun corvette Babet, Lieutenant Pierre-Joseph-Paul Belhomme.
Daylight discovered the national character of these ships ; which shortly afterwards formed in line of battle in the following order : Engageante, Résolue, Pomone, and Babet. The Flora, which was the leading British ship, as soon as she had reached the wake of the enemy's squadron, tacked, and was followed by the Arethusa, Melampus, and Concorde, in succession ; but the Nymphe was too far astern to be in a situation to change tacks. Fortunately for the British, a change of wind about this time, from south-south-west to south, enabled them to fetch to windward of their opponents.
At 6 h. 30 m. a.m. the Flora, being abreast of the rearmost French ship, opened her fire, and, running on, received the fire of the Babet, Pomone, and Résolue in succession, but particularly of the two former. At 7 h. 30 m, a.m. the Flora's main topmast was shot away, the main top was cut to pieces, and her foremast and all her yards much damaged. In this state, with her standing and running rigging greatly injured by the enemy's shot, the Flora dropped astern, and was succeeded by the Arethusa, who had previously been engaging the Babet.
The French now set every yard of canvass they could spread but the Arethusa, Melampus, and Concorde, being less injured in their sails and rigging than the rearmost French ships, soon approached them, and the Arethusa and Melampus, who were the headmost, renewed the action with the Babet and Pomone. At 8 h. 30 m. a.m. the Babet, having lost her fore topmast, and being otherwise much damaged by shot, surrendered, and was taken possession of by the Flora. By this time the Engageante and Résolue had made sail, and the Pomone alone remained to sustain the fire of the Arethusa and Melampus. The consequence was, that the main and mizen masts of the Pomone, already much shattered by the Flora's broadsides, soon came down ; and the wreck with the sails upon it, catching fire, destroyed a portion of the quick-work, and, for a while, endangered the ship.* In this state, at 9 h. 30 m. a.m., after a
* Some of the brass swivels mounted along the gangways were so hot, that they were obliged to be thrown overboard.
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