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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1798 Ambuscade and Baïonnaise 245

into the bow of the Baïonnaise ; an accident which, besides the fatal panic it caused, badly wounded every man at the gun, and blew out a part of the Ambuscade's stern, and shattered the jollyboat that had been hanging there. In the height of all this confusion, the French soldiers, followed by the crew of the Baïonnaise, of whose bowsprit they made a bridge, rushed upon the now near abandoned quarterdeck of the Ambuscade ; and, after a very sort struggle, possessed themselves of the British. frigate.

The loss sustained by the Ambuscade amounted to 10 killed, and 36 wounded ; including, among the former, her first lieutenant and master, and, among the latter, her captain very dangerously, third and only surviving lieutenant, and a lieutenant of marines. The loss on the part of the Baïonnaise appears, by the French accounts, to have amounted to 30 killed, and 30 badly wounded ; including, among the former, the officer in command of the troops, and, among the latter, Captain Richer and his first lieutenant. The number of slightly wounded is not stated ; but the whole wounded, if they bore something less even than in the usual proportion to the killed, could not have amounted to fewer than from 60 to 70 men.

Few actions in the accounts of them, have been worse handled than that of the Ambuscade and Baïonnaise. The English historians have been either too sensitive to touch upon it, or more than usually negligent in supplying themselves with details. Captain Schomberg, who in vol. iii., comprises his account in about 30 lines, calls the Baïonnaise a French "privateer" of 32 guns. It was, however, some excuse, that even the sentence of the court-martial upon Captain Jenkins, as published, avoided naming the ship by which the Ambuscade had been captured. In the dreadfully wounded state of Captain Jenkins and his few surviving officers, it was as much as he and they could do, merely to enumerate the guns mounted by the Baïonnaise. This they did, stating them at 32, but of what calibers, or whether a part of them were not swivels, they left unexplained. Next came a paragraph in the Moniteur, stating in an official manner, that the English frigate Ambuscade, of 40 guns, had been captured by the French corvette Baïonnaise, of 20 guns. Thus was the British public left to decide to which account they would give credit ; one of them not very flattering, the other quite humiliating, to the national pride.

We have now before us a French engraving of this action, underneath which is inscribed, "La Baïonnaise, corvette française; de vingt-quatre canons de huit, prenant â l'abordage l'Embuscade, frégate anglaise, de vingt-six canons de seize, le vingt-neuf Décembre, 1798. Dessinée et gravée par les ordres de Monsieur l'Amiral Bruix, ministre de la marine et des colonies." The statement, that one ship mounted " 24 guns," waits but to be explained until we read that the other mounted " 26 guns." The

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