abreast of the disabled Spanish three-decker Salvador-del-Mundo, engaged the latter upon her weather bow for a few minutes ; then passed on to the next Spanish ship in succession, the San-Ysidro, and whose three topmasts had already been shot away. This ship Captain Collingwood engaged closely on the lee beam until about 2 h. 53 m. p.m.; when, after a gallant defence in her crippled state from the fire of former opponent, the San-Ysidro hauled down the Spanish, and hoisted the English flag. The Excellent, then, in obedience to the signal (No. 66) just made by the Prince-George and repeated by the Victory, filled and stood on, first apprizing the admiral, by signal No. 26, that the San-Ysidro was not secured.
Very soon after the Excellent had quitted the Salvador-del-Mundo for the San-Ysidro, the Irresistible and Diadem commenced an attack upon the former ; the 74 stationing herself upon the weather bow, and the 64 upon the lee quarter, of the Spanish three-decker, then with her fore and main topmasts gone, and otherwise much disabled. At 2 h. 35 m. p.m., finding the shot of the Irresistible and Diadem, particularly of the latter, falling near and over her as she advanced to rake the Salvador, the Victory directed her two friends to discontinue the engagement ; but ships are very apt to misunderstand, or not to see, this signal, and, in the present instance, No. 52 required to be repeated three times before it was complied with. Observing the Victory about to pass under her stern, and that the Barfleur was following close, the Salvador-del-Mundo, whose mizen topmast had since shared the fate of the fore and main, very judiciously hauled down her flag as soon as some of the Victory's bow guns began to bear upon her. *
This was just at 3 p.m., and the Diadem and Lively were immediately directed by signal to take charge of the prizes ; the frigate, of the San-Ysidro, and the 64, of the Salvador ; but which latter the Diadem, by signal, afterwards resigned to the Bonne-Citoyenne, in order to attend upon the disabled Captain.
At about 3 h. 15 m. p.m. the Excellent, whom we left standing on from her prize, the San-Ysidro, to seek a fresh opponent among the flying Spaniards ahead, came to close action with the 80-gun ship San-Nicolas, then with her fore topmast gone, and who, until the Excellent arrived abreast of her to leeward, had been in hot action with the Captain. Passing within ten feet of the San-Nicolas's starboard side, the Excellent poured in a destructive fire, and, in compliance with the signal then flying,
* Relying upon the published accounts, we formerly stated that the Victory poured in a destructive fire ; but not a word appears in the Victory's log of her having fired at all at the Salvador-del-Mundo, and many persons present in the action are still of opinion that she did not. Yet the fact has been very differently represented. See Colonel Drinkwater's Narrative, p. 17 ; Marshall, vol. i., p. 26 ; and Brenton, vol. ii., p. 134.
^ back to top ^