of 286 men and boys, the Minerve had one midshipman and six seamen killed, one lieutenant (James Noble, who had quitted the Captain 74, to serve under Commodore Nelson), the boatswain, and 32 petty-officers, seamen, and marines, or soldiers (a detachment from the 18th regiment), wounded. The Sabina had commenced the action also with 286 men and boys; of whom she lost, in killed and wounded together, according to Commodore Nelson's letter, 164, but, according to a Spanish account of the action published at Carthagena, 10 men killed and 45 wounded, two of them mortally.
The Minerve mounted her 42 French guns,* and the Sabina, 40 guns, 18 and 8 pounders Spanish. The loss and damages of the former show, that the Spaniards pointed the Sabina's guns with more than their accustomed precision. The British, on the other hand, must have felt some disadvantage from the French armament of the Minerve. Upon the whole, the action was very gallantly maintained on both sides ; and it is scarcely necessary to state, that Commodore Nelson, in his official letter, pays the full tribute of praise to his Spanish opponent.
The first and second lieutenants of the Minerve, John Culverhouse and Thomas Masterman Hardy, with 40 petty-officers and seamen, having been placed on board the Sabina, the latter was taken in tow, when, at 4 p.m., a frigate, known by her signals to be Spanish, was seen coming up. The Minerve cast off the prize, which immediately stood to the southward; and, at 4 h. 30 m. p.m. the former came to action with the 34-gun frigate Matilda. In half an hour the Minerve compelled this her second antagonist to wear and haul off, and would, most probably, have captured her, had not three other Spanish ships, the Principe-de-Asturias of 112 guns, and the frigates Ceres of 40, and Perla of 34 guns, hove in sight. At daylight on the 20th these three ships were joined by the Matilda ; and the Blanche also made her appearance far to windward. The Minerve had now her own safety to look to ; and crippled as she was, it required the greatest exertions to get clear. The squadron chased all day, but at dark gave up the pursuit ; leaving the Minerve with much additional damage to her rigging and sails, and with the additional loss of 10 men, including the gunner, wounded.
Lieutenant Culverhouse, now the commander of the Sabina, purposely to draw the attention of the Spaniards from what, on more than one account, would have been by far the more valuable prize of the two, hoisted English over Spanish colours ; and the lieutenant and his few hands, although greatly inconvenienced in having the whole surviving Spanish crew, except the captain, in their custody, manoeuvred the prize with the utmost skill and steadiness, not surrendering the Sabina until her two
* See p. 291.
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