a contention with the French and Spanish fleets, that was surely over-rated, when one lay at Toulon, the other at Carthagena, and neither had evinced the least disposition to act on the offensive.
Light Squadrons and Single Ships.
Captain Sir William Sidney Smith, of the 38-gun frigate Diamond, having sounded the entrance to the port of Herqui, near Cape Fréhel on the coast of France, determined notwithstanding its narrowness and intricacy, to make an attempt upon a French corvette and six smaller vessels, which had previously been chased into it. Accordingly, on the 18th of March, at noon, the Diamond, accompanied by the 14-gun brig Liberty, Lieutenant George M'Kinley, and hired lugger Aristocrat, Lieutenant Abraham Gossett, stood for the port ; the entrance to which was defended by two batteries, one of one, the other of two 24-pounders, erected on a high and rocky promontory, and, on this occasion, by a fourth gun mounted on a commanding point. This gun opened upon the Diamond as she passed, but, in eleven minutes was completely silenced. On rounding the point, the Diamond became exposed to a very galling fire from the three guns on the height, the only practicable way of silencing these guns being to storm them, Lieutenant Horace Pine, first of the Diamond, and Lieutenant Edmund Carter of the marines, were sent with a detachment of men, to effect that object.
The French troops from the batteries having in the mean time, formed on the beach, checked by their fire the approach of the boats ; whereupon Lieutenant Pine, proceeding to a spot, pointed out by Sir Sidney, landed in front of the guns ; then, climbing the steep precipice, reached the heights before the troops from below could regain them. After spiking the guns, the lieutenant and his party descended the hill, and re-embarked, with the loss of only one wounded ; but that one was Lieutenant Carter, mortally. The Diamond, Liberty, and Aristocrat, then proceeded, without further annoyance from the shore, to attack the corvette and the other armed vessels lying near her. Lieutenant M'Kinley, profiting by the Liberty's light draught of water, followed the corvette closely, and engaged her in a very gallant and judicious manner.
Finally, in spite of the fire kept up, as well from the vessels, as from the troops that had mustered on the beach and rock to protect them, the Etourdie corvette, of sixteen 12 (as represented, but more probably 8) pounders on the main deck, four brigs, two sloops, and one out of the two armed luggers, were set on fire and effectually destroyed. At 10 p.m., the wind and tide suiting, the little squadron weighed and repassed the point of Herqui, receiving a few shots from a gun which the enemy had succeeded in restoring to use. The loss of the British in
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