land about 60 or 80 leagues to leeward of Puerto-Cabello, in which port the Hermione was anchored. The orders further instructed Captain Hamilton to remain off the Cape as long as his provisions, wood, and water would allow, and to endeavour to intercept the Hermione, supposed to be bound to the Havana. Accordingly Captain Hamilton proceeded to his station, and there remained several weeks. When finding his provisions growing short, and not certain but that the Hermione might have eluded his vigilance during the night, he resolved before he returned to Jamaica, to ascertain if the frigate was still in Puerto Cabello, and accordingly he worked to windward for that purpose.
On the 21st of October, in the evening, the Surprise arrived off the harbour of Puerto-Cabello, and discovered the Hermione moored head and stern between two strong batteries situated at the entrance of the harbour, said to mount nearly 200 guns, with her sails bent and ready for sea.
Captain Hamilton having stood within gun-shot of the enemy on the 21st of October, continued off and on until the evening of the 24th, he never having mentioned one word of his intentions to any officer onboard the ship until that evening after his dinner, when he detailed his plans to the officers present, and desired them to second his wishes when he addressed the ship's company. After quarters, the hands were sent aft, and Captain Hamilton reminding his crew of the frequent successful enterprises they had undertaken, concluded a stirring address, nearly thus
"I find it useless to wait any longer; we shall soon be obliged to leave the station, and that frigate will become the prize of some more fortunate ship than the Surprise ; our only prospect of success is by cutting her out this night." (Three tremendous cheers convinced Captain Hamilton that his men would follow him and were eager for the service.) " I shall lead you myself," he continued, " and here are the orders for the six boats to be employed, with the names of the officers and men to be engaged in this service."
The crews were instantly mustered, and every thing placed in readiness for the service. Every man was to be dressed in blue, and no white of any kind to be seen. The pass-word was Britannia ; the answer, Ireland. At half-past seven the boats were hoisted out, the crews mustered, and all prepared. The boarders were to take the first spell at the oars, to be relieved as they neared the Hermione by the regular crews, proceeding in two divisions ; the first consisting of the pinnace, launch and jollyboat, to board on the starboard (or inside) bow, gangway and quarter ; the second division, consisting of the gig, black and red cutters, to board on the outside or larboard bow, gangway and quarter. The captain to command in the pinnace, having with him the gunner, Mr. John Maxwell, one midshipman, and sixteen men. The launch, under the orders of Lieutenant
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