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Naval History of Great Britain - Vol II
1799 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 372

to have been present. The "sang-froid" of Victor Hugues is much praised, and so is the gallantry of the French, and the shyness of the British commodore; in which, however, is meant, not Captain Duff of the Glenmore, but Captain Raper of the Aimable, as appears by the following passage in the accounts : "Un combat s'engagea entre la Sirène et une frégate anglaise qui, après quelques volées de canons et de mitraille, et quoique soutenue par plusieurs autres frégates qui étaient en vue, quitta la partie," &c. We need only to remind the reader, that it was a Commodore Jean-Marie Renaud who, about five years before, when commanding the French 36-gun frigate Prudente, behaved in so discreditable a manner off the Isle of France.* There, too, the French account contained several mistatements, and bestowed very great praise upon monsieur the commodore.

On the 21st of December, in the evening, the British hired 10-gun cutter Lady-Nelson, while off Cabrita point, was surrounded and engaged by two or three French privateers and some gun-vessels, in sight of the 100-gun ship Queen Charlotte and 36-gun frigate Emerald, lying in Gibraltar bay. Vice-admiral Lord Keith, whose flag was flying on board the former ship, immediately ordered the boats of the two to hasten towards the combatants, in the hope that it might encourage the Lady-Nelson to resist, until she could approach near enough to be covered by the guns of the ships.

Before the boats could get up, however, the Lady-Nelson had been captured, and was in tow by two of the privateers. Notwithstanding this, Lieutenant William Bainbridge, in the Queen-Charlotte's barge, with 16 men, ran alongside of, boarded with the greatest impetuosity, and after a sharp conflict carried, the Lady-Nelson ; taking as prisoners seven French officers and 27 men : six or seven others had been killed or knocked over board in the scuffle.

In the mean time the two privateers, having cut the towropes and made off towards Algesiras, were pursued by Lord Cochrane in the Queen-Charlotte's cutter. The darkness of the night prevented the boats from acting in concert, otherwise both privateers would probably have been taken. Lieutenant Bainbridge was severely wounded in the head by the stroke of a sabre, and slightly in other places. Some of his men were also wounded. These boat attacks are desperate affairs, and few have exhibited more gallantry than that which ended in the recapture of the British cutter Lady-Nelson.

On the 26th of December, at 10 h. 15 m. a.m., the Dodman bearing north distant seven or eight leagues, the British cutter Viper, of fourteen 4-pounders and 48 men and boys, Lieutenant John Pengelly, perceiving a suspicious-looking vessel to windward, tacked and stood after her. At 10 h. 45 m. a.m. the Viper brought the stranger to close action, which continued for three

* See vol, i., p. 213.

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