|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Blockade of Malta
Perrée, who had been exchanged soon after his capture in the preceding June, 28-gun frigate Badine, two corvette, and several transports, having on board about 3000 troops, with which they had sailed from Toulon on the 7th. To intercept and prevent the disembarkation of this force, Lord Keith, with the Queen-Charlotte, kept as close to the entrance of the harbour of Valetta as the batteries would admit, and directed by signal, the only mode of communication the weather would admit, the Foudroyant, Audacious, and Northumberland to chase to windward or in the south-east, and the Lion to look out off the passage between Goza [Gozo] and Malta, The Alexander, at this time, was under way on the south-east side of the island.
On the 18th, at daylight, the Alexander fell in with and chased M. Perrée's squadron in sight of Lord Nelson's three ships. At 8 a.m. the Alexander fired at and brought to the Ville-de-Marseille armed store-ship. At 1 h. 30 m. the Badine and smaller vessels tacked ; but the Généreux, not being able to do so without coming to an action with the Alexander, bore up. The Success frigate being at this time to leeward, Captain Peard, with great judgment and gallantry, lay athwart the hawse of the French 74, and raked her with several broadsides. Presently afterwards, however, the Success became exposed to a broadside from the Généreux, and by it had one man killed, her master and eight men wounded. At 4 h. 30 m. p.m. the Foudroyant, followed closely by the Northumberland, got near enough to discharge two shots; whereupon the Généreux finding it impossible to escape from her pursuers, fired the usual ceremonious broadside, and struck her colours. Great praise was awarded to Lieutenant Harrington, who, in the absence of Captain Ball, serving with the allied forces on shore, commanded the Alexander, for his excellent management on first descrying the French squadron; and the spirited behaviour of Captain Peard did not escape his lordship's notice. The Success, indeed, had watched M. Perrée's squadron from the moment of its appearance off Sicily, and had immediately apprized Lord Keith of its approach.
One omission we regret to observe in Lord Nelson's letter some notice of the loss sustained by the Généreux just previously to her surrender; and which loss, although of a single man, was, in all probability, the principal cause of that ship's comparatively feeble resistance. Rear-admiral Perrée, having received a severe splinter-wound in the left eye, said to those about him, " Ce n'est rien, mes amis, continuons notre besogne." He then gave an order for some manoeuvre, and had scarcely done so, when a round-shot took off his right thigh. This brave officer immediately fell insensible on the deck, and died a few minutes afterwards; deplored by his countrymen, and highly respected and esteemed by all the British officers, some of them
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