The Lion immediately shortened sail, and hauled up, so as to secure the weathergage ; then bore down upon the four Spanish frigates, formed in close order of battle on the larboard line of bearing, the third frigate from the van, the Dorotea ; with her fore topmast gone. In order to secure a general action, Captain Dixon meditated his first attack on this ship ; which, being left astern by her comrades, the Lion was not long in cutting off. The three remaining frigates tacked in succession, and passed the Lion very gallantly within musket-shot, but, as their line, after tacking, was by no means a close one, they each received a well-directed broadside, the effect of which was evident by their standing a long time on the same tack. Captain Dixon still kept in chase of the Dorotea ; who, notwithstanding the loss of her fore topmast, sailed nearly as well as the Lion, and galled her considerably in the rigging by her stern-chasers.
The three frigates, having at last tacked, made a second attempt, but not so close as the former, to succour their friend, and were each repaid by a broadside in return. At length the Lion closed with the Dorotea, and poured in a destructive fire, the yard-arms of the two ships passing just clear of each other. Still the latter held out. Her consorts made a third, but a distant and feeble effort to cover ; and then hauled close by the wind and stood to the north-west. The Lion, whose rigging and sails were much cut, succeeded, with difficulty, in wearing round on the same tack as the Dorotea ; who, having, in addition to the loss of her fore topmast, had her mizenmast shot away, her mainmast and rudder damaged, and her rigging and sails cut to pieces, and being, besides abandoned by her three comrades, very wisely substituted the British for the Spanish ensign.
As an additional proof that Captain Gerraro had maintained the action with becoming bravery, the loss on board his ship, out of a crew, supernumeraries included, of 371 men and boys, amounted to 20 men killed and 32 wounded. The loss sustained by the Lion was very trifling, amounting to no more than one young midshipman (Joseph Patey), wounded slightly in the shoulder, and who would not quit his quarters, and one seaman wounded dangerously.
It took Captain Dixon during the remainder of the day to repair, the rigging and sails of the Lion, and to place the prize in a state to be conducted to her new destination. The Santa Dorotea measured 958 tons, and was afterwards added to the British navy, under the same name, as a 12-pounder 36-gun frigate.
On the 3d of August while the British 38-gun frigate Melpomene, Captain Sir Charles Hamilton, and 14-gun brig-sloop, Childers, Captain James O'Bryen, were cruising off Isle Bas, on the coast of France, the former determined, with the boats of the two ships, to attempt cutting out from the port of
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