|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||British and French Fleets - Channel
Sidney Smith's squadron consisting, besides the Antelope, of the 36-gun frigate Penelope, Captain William Robert Broughton, and 32-gun frigate Aimable, Captain William Bolton, hove in sight of the two sloops ; and which squadron had weighed from the Schonevelde since between 10 and 11 a.m., in consequence of an announcement by one of the in-shore ships, that the Gallo-Batavian flotilla was making sail from the Inner Wieling.
At about 1 h. 30 m. p.m. the Cruiser came up with, fired at, and compelled to strike, one of the rearmost vessels, a schuyt mounting one long 36-pounder, and carrying five Dutch seamen and 25 French troops. Making the signal for the Rattler to take possession, the British brig continued to stand on, in the hope to close with one of the prames. Feeling himself, as the French accounts state, somewhat nettled at having one of his vessels captured by a force so comparatively insignificant, Admiral Ver-Huell, took advantage of a slight change of wind in his favour, and stood back towards Ostende with all his remaining flotilla except eight schuyts, which continued their route. towards the Inner Wieling. At about 1 h. 45 m. p.m. the Ville-d'Anvers fired a shot at the Cruiser, which passed over her, and fell close under the bows of the Rattler. Shortly afterwards, the wind shifting six points, both sloops fell off in their course, and found themselves nearly abreast of the leading prame, and upon the lee beam of the flotilla, then crowding sail to get inshore. At a few minutes before 2 p.m. the Ville-d'Anvers commenced a heavy fire upon the Cruiser and Rattler, and several of the schooners and schuyts also opened their fire. In a short time the two sloops were in the midst of the flotilla, engaging on both sides, and frequently assailed by shot and shells from the batteries of Blanckenberghe. Notwithstanding all this the Cruiser and Rattler gallantly drove on shore the Ville-d'Anvers prame, and four of the schooners.
At 3 h. 45 m. p.m. the Aimable arrived up with, and opened her fire upon, a portion of the flotilla close under the batteries of Blanckenberghe. At about 4 h. 30 m. p.m. the Penelope and Antelope also got into action, and, by their heavy fire, drove several other schooners and schuyts on shore. At 7 p.m. the Aimable found herself near to the grounded prame, and received from her a very destructive fire ; several artillerymen from the shore having got on board the Ville-d'Anvers, and replaced her crew, most of whom had fled upon her first grounding : at which time, too, her colours were either hauled down or shot away. At about 7 h. 45 m. p.m., the tide having fallen and left the British ships in little more water than they drew, the Antelope made the signal to discontinue the engagement ; and the squadron drew off into deeper water. The Gallo-Batavian flotilla, or what remained of it, took this opportunity of getting into the basin of Ostende; whither they were accompanied by
^ back to top ^