|Naval history of Great Britain
||Sir Robert Calder's Action
Danish ship, from Lisbon to the Baltic, which had that morning been boarded by the Dragon, and by the latter been informed, that 25 British sail of the line were near her. On gaining this important information from the Dane, the effect of which the Dragon took care to strengthen by firing guns and hoisting signals, the French frigate made several signals, and then tacked towards her fleet ; which, when last seen by the Dragon, at about sunset, was steering north-west. Shortly after this, it is believed, M. Villeneuve altered his course and steered to the southward. That M. Villeneuve first steered a north-west, and then a south course, is indeed admitted by a French writer. "Il mit à la voile le 13 par un bon vent d'est, n'ayant en vue aucune force ennemie; il fit d'abord route au nord-ouest, et changeant tout à coup de direction, il mit le cap au sud, longea hors de vue la côte de Portugal, attéra six jours apres sur le Cap Saint-Vincent, où il s'empara de quelques bâtimens marchands, et entra à Cadix le 21 aoât, le jour même qu'il était attendu à Brest. " * The dates in this account are wrong : those given by us have their correctness proved by the rôles d'equipage of several of the ships belonging to M. Villeneuve's fleet.
Keeping out of sight of the Portuguese coast, the combined fleet, on the 18th, arrived off Cape St.-Vincent, and there captured and burnt three merchantmen, bound from Gibraltar to Lisbon, under convoy of the British 16-gun brig-sloop Halcyon, which vessel, however, managed to effect her escape. On the 20th, at 10 A.M., Cadiz bearing north-east distant about nine leagues, the combined fleet, steering south-east, with the wind at west-south-west, discovered three British sail of the line right ahead. At 1 P.M. the latter, which were the 98-gun ship Dreadnought, Vice-admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, Captain Edward Rotheram, and 74s Colossus and Achille, Captains James Nicholl Morris and Richard King, tacked to reconnoitre. On this, the advanced ships of the combined fleet, which had shortened sail, chased away the British to the southward ; and at 3 P.M. M. Villeneuve and his whole fleet bore up for the harbour of Cadiz. At midnight, having been joined by the 74 gun ship Mars, Captain George Duff, from Tangier bay, Vice-admiral Collingwood, with his four sail of the line, tacked in shore and before daylight on the 21st, gallantly resumed his station off an enemy's port, in which lay, ready for sea, including six Spanish ships previously at anchor in the harbour, 35 French and Spanish sail of the line. A seventh Spanish ship, the Glorioso 74, had formed part of Rear-admiral Alava's squadron ; but, on the 31st of the preceding May, this ship, finding that a frigate and two brigs were the only British force off Cadiz, put to sea, and, after exchanging a few ineffectual broadsides with the
* Précis des Evènemens, tome xii, p. 71,
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