|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||British and Franco-Spanish Fleets
5 h. 15 m. a.m. the Thames had made the signal of recall, lay nearly becalmed, in company with the Pasley brig.
Towards 10 a.m. the squadron also became becalmed ; but, having got into the strength of the current, the ships continued drifting so fast to the eastward, as very soon to be entirely out of sight of the Superb, Thames, and Pasley.
At about 4 p.m. a light air sprang up from the west-north-west; and the Cæsar and squadron, recently joined by the Plymouth lugger from Gibraltar, took immediate advantage of it. At 9 p.m. the weather again fell calm, and continued so until 3 a.m. on the 6th. A light breeze then sprang up from the same quarter as before, and the ships crowded sail through the Straits. Owing to the local experience of Captain Hood, it had been arranged that the Venerable should lead to the attack; but it was not, we believe, intended that any of the ships should anchor, unless, from a sudden fall in the wind, or any other circumstances, compelled to do so. At 4 a.m., the ships then standing on in line ahead thus, Venerable, Pompée, Audacious, Cæsar, Spencer, and Hannibal, Cape Tariffa bore from the Pompée north-east distant three miles. At 7 a.m. the Venerable, opening Cabrita point, made the signal for seeing the French ships, which were then warping further in shore, to get completely under the protection of the batteries that defended the road. The signal was immediately made by the Cæsar, to engage the enemy on arriving up with him in succession.
Of the defensive means possessed by the French admiral, we will now endeavour to give a description. The road of Algeziras is open and shallow, with sunken rocks in different parts of it. Upon a point of the coast, at the distance of rather more than a mile and a half south-east of the town, stands Fort Santa-Garcia ; and about the third of a mile from the town, in the same direction another tower or fort. Directly in front of the point on which this latter tower stands, and at the distance from it of rather more than a quarter of a mile, is a small island, named Isla-Verda, upon which is a battery mounting seven long 24-pounders. About three quarters of a mile, or rather less, to the northward of the town, stands the battery of San-Iago, mounting five long 18-pounders, and close to the northern extremity of this battery, near the water's edge, is the tower of Almirante, but in what manner mounted we are unable to say. There are also several forts on the northern shore of Gibraltar bay, but at too great a distance to afford any protection to the road of Algeziras, except perhaps by throwing shells. The road, however, is admirably protected by the flanking fire of the San-Iago and the island batteries. There were also, at this time in the road, 14 heavy gun-boats; a description of force peculiarly advantageous, where an enemy is likely to be baffled by light and variable winds, and perplexed with an intricate and dangerous navigation.
In a road thus defended by nature and art, M. Linois moored
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