|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Sir James Saumarez at Algeziras
the Desaix grounded upon a shoal directly in front of the town, and the Indomptable upon one to the north-east of Isla-Verda, with her larboard bow presented to the sea.
Desirous to take advantage of this state of the French ships, as well as of the breeze which had just sprung up, the Cæsar, making the signal for the squadron to do the same, cut her cables ; and, wearing round the Audacious and Venerable, soon brought her broadside to bear upon the Indomptable; into whose bows, with her fore topsail to the mast, the Cæsar poured several destructive fires. At a little before noon the Audacious, having likewise cut, passed between the Cæsar and Indomptable; and shortly afterwards the latter's fore topmast came down. The Venerable and Spencer, in compliance with the signal, cut their cables, and strove their utmost, but with little effect on account of the calm that immediately ensued, to co-operate in the attack upon the southernmost French ships and island battery. The Venerable, indeed, had her mizen topmast shot away just as she was in the act of wearing. The Pompée after remaining nearly an hour without being able, on account of her position, to bring a gun to bear, had also cut, and was now being towed out of action by the boats of the squadron.
Scarcely had the Audacious, in her new station, brought her broadside to bear with effect, ere the calm frustrated her intentions ; and that ship and the Cæsar, without the power of returning a shot, lay exposed to a heavy fire from the guns of the island battery. To add to their perilous state, both ships were drifting upon the reef that was near it. Again, a fine breeze raised the hopes of the British; but no sooner had the ships prepared to take advantage of it, than it again died away.
Frustrated thus, as much by the unfavourable state of the weather as by the serious opposition experienced from the enemy's batteries and shipping, and being prevented, by the destruction of most of the boats and the absence of the remainder in towing the Pompée, to storm the island, as had been intended, with the marines of the squadron, Sir James Saumarez, at 1 h. 35 m. p.m. (by the Cæsar's log, but at 1 h. 20 m. by the log of the Audacious), discontinued the action. The Cæsar and Audacious then cut their cables and springs, and, profiting by a light breeze which had just sprung up from the shore, made sail on the starboard tack, in company with the Venerable and Spencer; leaving, and being compelled to leave, the dismasted and shattered Hannibal as a trophy in the hands of the enemy.
As this action is one in which the want of a diagram is particularly felt, we have done the best in our power to supply the deficiency. The coast, the soundings, and the positions of the French ships, and of the Hannibal when aground, are taken from a French chart; and the positions of the British ships, except that of the Spencer, which we have marked at hazard,
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