|Naval History of Great Britain - Vol III
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
guns, * Captain Henry Gordon, being in latitude 48° 15' north, and longitude 23° 15' west, on her way to Newfoundland with eight merchant vessels under her protection, discovered to the eastward, which was directly to windward, two large sail bearing down for the convoy. At 2 h. 30 m. p.m. the strangers were made out to be vessels of force, and soon afterwards to be enemies. Finding it to be their intention to cut off the rear of the convoy, the Wolverine tacked ; and, as she stood on between the latter and them, signalled the merchantmen to make the best of their way into port.
At 4 p.m., having arrived within half gun-shot of the large vessel, which was the French frigate-privateer Blonde, Captain Aregnaudeau, of 30 guns, including 24 long 8-pounders on the main deck, the Wolverine hove to on the starboard tack ; whereupon the Blonde hauled her wind, and, after firing her broadside, wore, with the intention of raking the Wolverine. To frustrate this manœuvre, and to maintain her leeward position, which, on account of the extreme lowness of her ports, and the consequent necessity of using her weather battery, was more advantageous to her, the Wolverine, before she discharged a gun, wore also. The Blonde then hove to on the Wolverine's larboard beam, within pistol-shot distance, and commenced a heavy and well directed fire with great guns and small arms; which was returned by the British vessel with considerable spirit, although one of her two long 18-pounders, in being shifted from the starboard to the larboard side, got jammed in the groove, and remained utterly useless. In this way the action continued for 50 minutes ; when, having had her rigging and sails cut to pieces, her wheel shot away, and her hull low down, so pierced with shot as to fill the hold with water, the Wolverine hauled down her colours.
Out of her complement of 76 men and boys, the Wolverine had one midshipman, one boatswain's mate, one quartermaster, and two seamen killed, and 10 seamen wounded, one of them mortally. The Blonde, formerly, it is believed, a French national " 24-gun corvette " of 580 or 600 tons, out of a complement of 240 men and boys, did not, according to the admission of her officers, sustain any greater loss than her first lieutenant mortally, and five of her men slightly wounded. The damage done to the Blonde was confined to her rigging and sails, and that comparatively trifling.
In less than a quarter of an hour after the last boat with the prisoners had quitted her, the Wolverine gave a heel and went down ; thereby affording an irrefragable proof that the ship had been defended to the last extremity, and that her officers and crew were barely saved by their surrender, from perishing in the
* For the extraordinary manner in which this sloop was fitted, see vol. ii., p. 314.
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