Indefatigable's case, the Droits-de-l'Homme appears to have so manúuvred as to avoid the raking fire, and bring both her antagonists on one side. Between them and her the cannonade was maintained, with mutual spirit, until about 7 h. 30 m. p.m.; when both British ships shot ahead, the Amazon, chiefly on account of the quantity of sail she carried, and the Indefatigable, in order to repair her damaged rigging. The Droits-de-l'Homme profited by this interval of non-action, to put herself a little to rights ; and her crew found time to recover from the confusion caused by the recent bursting of one of the 18-pounders. The ship, meanwhile, continued running to the east-south-east; partly because, in her disabled state, and especially since the wind had drawn more to the southward, she could lie no higher, and partly as it would appear, because the haziness of the weather of late had prevented her commander from knowing exactly where he was.
At 8 h. 30 m. p.m. the two British ships, the one having reduced her sails, and the other refitted as well as the time would allow, reapproached, and recommenced the action with great judgment as well as spirit. They stationed themselves one on each bow of the French ship ; and, by regulating their speed, and yawing to starboard and port alternately, raked her by turns. In the mean while the Droits-de-l'Homme, by yawing first on one tack and then on the other, managed to get her two opponents occasionally under her guns. With such disadvantages on her side in the cannonade, the 74, numerously manned as she was, naturally had recourse to boarding whenever an opportunity offered ; but neither frigate was so imprudent, or so inattentive, as to suffer her to come in contact, although, in manoeuvring to get out of the way of their huge antagonist (in reference to the Amazon at least), both ships received an occasional raking fire, not much more effectual, however, than that first received by the Indefatigable.
At 10 h. 30 m. p.m., the mizenmast of the Droits-de-l'Homme, being in a tottering state from the wounds it had received, was cut away to enable it to fall clear of the deck. After this, the two British ships changed their positions, and attacked their opponent on the quarter. Having expended all her round shot but 50, the Droits-de-l'Homme began firing shells ; and if even, as the French state, these kept the British ships at a greater distance, they did not, as far as we can learn, produce any very serious effect either upon their hulls or their crews. Many of the French crew had by this time been killed or disabled at their quarters ; but the ship's fire did not slacken on that account, as fresh hands, out of the numerous party on board, were constantly sent from below to supply the loss. *
At 1. a.m. on the 14th no officer belonging to the Droits-de-l'Homme had been badly hurt : one of her lieutenants, however,
" Victoires et Conquêtes, tome vii., p. 297.
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