of the Rattlesnake, brought up, with her broadside bearing upon the latter's larboard beam and bow. At this time the Camel's boat, which was rowing guard, pulled towards the Preneuse, with the intention of boarding her ; but, when the boat had got nearly alongside, two men with cutlasses in their hands were observed getting out of the ship's ports. On this, and the additional discovery that the ship was a large frigate, the boat hastened back to the Camel with the intelligence.
In the mean while an English prize-schooner, the Surprise, which, while working out of the bay, had passed close to and been hailed by the Preneuse, had since put back and informed the Rattlesnake, that the stranger was a French frigate. Lieutenant William Fothergill, first of the Rattlesnake, and upon whom, in the absence of both captains and of the Camel's first lieutenant, the command of the two vessels had devolved, made the private signal for an enemy to the Camel, and fired a shot under the stern of the Preneuse, as did also the Camel ; but of which shots the French frigate took not the slightest notice. Shortly after the firing of these two shots, which took place at about 6 h. 30 m. p.m., the Camel's boat reached the Rattlesnake with the intelligence previously communicated to her by the Surprise ; and it was settled that the Camel, when ready to engage, should hoist a light at her mizen peak. Both British ships cleared for action and got springs on their cables.
At 8 h. 30 m. p.m., although the signal of being ready had not been made by the Camel, Lieutenant Fothergill, suspecting by the manúuvres of the Preneuse, in veering away until within about 500 yards of the two British ships, that she intended to board the Rattlesnake, got the broadside of the latter to bear on the French frigate, and immediately opened it upon her. The Camel quickly did the same ; and, towards 9 p.m., the Preneuse, substituting a French ensign for the Danish jack, returned the fire of her two opponents, but directed nearly the whole of her guns at the Camel.
In this way the action continued until midnight; when the wind suddenly shifting to north-west, the three ships canted, whereby the Camel, in order to bring her broadside again to bear, was obliged to slip her small-bower cable and veer to two cables on the best bower. Scarcely had this been done, when the carpenter reported that, from a shot received under the magazine, the ship had six feet water in the hold and was making more. In consequence of this the Camel's crew broke off from the guns and manned the pumps.
Fancying, from this suspension of firing on the part of the Camel, that he had effectually silenced her, Captain L'Hermite now devoted his principal attention to the Rattlesnake ; upon whom the Preneuse continued a heavy cannonade until 3 h. 30 m. a.m. on the 21st. The French frigate, then, to the surprise of the British both afloat and on shore, ceased firing, cut or slipped
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