|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Sir James Saumarez in the Gut of Gibraltar
considerable distance, could approach within gun-shot. At 8 A.M., just as the mizzenmast of the Venerable had shared the fate of the other masts, the gig of the Cæsar, with Captain Brenton on board, reached the ship (over which the stern-chase shot of the Formidable were still flying), with discretionary orders to captain Hood, to withdraw his crew and destroy the Venerable, should the combined squadron, which appeared so inclined, evince an intention of attacking her; and the Thames had been ordered to close for the purpose of receiving the people. Captain Hood, however, requested the rear-admiral to depend upon his exertions to save the Venerable, notwithstanding her critical and almost hopeless situation. Just as the Cæsar's boat had quitted the Venerable on her return, the appearance of the Audacious and Superb to the southward induced the Spanish admiral to haul up for Cadiz, where he and his ships were soon safely moored.
In her smart encounter with a ship so decidedly superior to her in force as the Formidable, the Venerable had her master (John Williams), 15 seamen, and two marines killed, one lieutenant (Thomas Church), her boatswain (John Snell), two midshipmen (George Massey and Charles Pardoe), 73 seamen, and 10 marines wounded. The Thames does not appear to have had a man hurt; and we do not believe that any of the Formidable's shot even struck her. The loss sustained by the Formidable herself, according to her captain's official report, amounted to 20 men killed, or mortally wounded, but the remaining wounded M. Troude has seemingly omitted to enumerate. The Sabina frigate had also one man killed and five wounded ; but whether from the fire of the British ships, or of the two unfortunate three-deckers that blew up, it is difficult to ascertain.
The British had now leisure to devote the whole of their attention to the only remaining object, the safety of the Venerable. Fortunately for her gallant officers and crew, the weather continued calm; and at 2 p.m., by the assistance of the Thames who had anchored near, and of the boats of the Cæsar and Spencer, the Venerable was hove into deep water. The Thames then took the dismasted 74 in tow, and stood with her towards the flag-ship in the offing. At 6 p.m. the Venerable cast off the Thames, and was taken in tow by the Spencer, who made sail with her towards the Gut. Having cleared away the wreck of her masts, the Venerable now got up a main topgallantmast for a foremast, the driverboom for a mainmast, and a studdingsail-boom for a mizenmast. Soon after dark a main topgallant sail was set for a foresail, and before daylight on the 14th a mizen topsail for a mainsail. So that by 8 a.m., the Venerable had made herself sufficiently manageable to cast off the ship of the line that was towing her, and take again to the frigate. Even this state of comparative seaworthiness had not been accomplished without great exertions on the part of her
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