Contents

Next Page

Previous Page

10 Pages >>

10 Pages <<
Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 328

of some of which he had charge, was killed, by a cannon shot that, nearly severed his body. At this time the fire from the Forte began to slacken, and at 2 h. 30 m. a.m. entirely ceased.

On this the Sibylle discontinued her fire, and hailed to know if her antagonist had struck. Receiving no reply, although the ships were still so close that the voices of the Forte's people were distinctly heard, the Sibylle recommenced firing with renewed vigour. Finding no return, the British frigate a second time ceased, and a second time hailed, but again without effect At this moment, perceiving the Forte's rigging filled with men, and her topgallantsails loose, as if with the intention of. endeavouring to escape, the Sibylle recommenced her firing for the, third time, and set her own foresail and topgallantsails. In five minutes after this the Forte's mizenmast came down, and in another minute or two her fore and main masts and bowsprit. The Sibylle ceased firing ; her crew gave three cheers ; and thus, at 2 h. 28 m. a.m., being about two hours and a half from its commencement, the action ended.

The Sibylle immediately dropped her anchor in 17 fathoms, and all hands began repairing the rigging and bending new sails. At about three p.m. one of the English prisoners on board the Forte, finding that the ship was drifting upon the Sibylle, hailed the latter to request that a boat might be sent on board, as all theirs had been shot to pieces. Although no doubt existed on board the Sibylle, as to the name of the ship of which she had made such a wreck, the question was put, and "The French frigate Forte," was the answer returned. While possession is taking of the prize, we will give some account of the damage and. loss of the ship that had so gallantly captured her.

The Sibylle had most of her standing, and all her running rigging and sails shot to pieces, all her masts and yards, particularly the main and mizen masts, and the yards on them, badly wounded ; but, with all this the Sibylle had only received in the hull and upperworks six shot : one of which, however, had dismounted a gun, and another, a 24-pounder, having entered one of the officer's cabins, had shivered to atoms a large trunk and, a smaller one near it, carried away two legs of a sofa, and passed out through the ship's side.

Before stating the Sibylle's loss of men, it will be necessary for us to show what number were on board at the commencement of the action. Owing to sickness, the Sibylle's original crew, according to a muster taken four days before the action had been reduced to 221 officers and seamen, 10 boys and nine marines ; and many of these were scarcely well enough to go to quarters. To make up the deficiency, the governor-general of India sent on board the Sibylle a detachment of the Scotch brigade ; and some officers and men belonging to the Fox, including Lieutenant James Hingston Tuckey, also joined the Sibylle out

^ back to top ^