|Naval history of Great Britain
||British and Franco-Spanish Fleets
and being at best a bad-working ship, the Formidable could not get round quick enough to regain her station in the line. The latter thereupon became third instead of second : the French ships, when on the larboard tack, ranging as follows : Duguay-Trouin, Mont-Blanc, Formidable, Scipion ; having the wind about half a point before the beam.
At about 1 h. 20 m. P.M. the Cæsar, being too much disabled in her rigging to tack, wore ; but the Hero and, we believe, the Courageux succeeded in tacking. Finding that the Cæsar, after she had got round, was making but slow progress in the chase, Sir Richard, at 1 h. 40 m. P.M., signalled the Namur, then on the weather bow of the French ships, to attack the enemy's van, and at the same time made the Hero's signal to lead on the larboard tack. The Hero, followed at some distance by the Courageux, and at a much greater distance by the Cæsar, edged away towards the French squadron.
About this time, observing that the Namur was lying to, as it appeared ; out of gun-shot of the enemy, the Cæsar, by way of enforcing attention to the signal she had previously made fired at the former ship " two guns shotted. " * Of this fact we were fully, aware when drawing up the account for our first edition ; but, observing, among the official papers in the gazette a " General Memorandum, " communicating Sir Richard Strachan's thanks to his captains for their " zealous and gallant conduct ; ? " We consider that there might have been some mistake in the log-entry, and refrained, upon a principle which we still feel to be just, from making the slightest allusion to it. We have since learnt that the Namur was fired at in the manner stated ; but that Sir Richard, whose impatience, we believe, is not always of the most discriminative kind, subsequently acknowledged that he had been unnecessarily harsh. Even in this view of the case we should perhaps have withheld the statement ; had not our previous omission been attributed to motives incompatible, with the impartiality which gives to these pages their principal value.
At a few minutes before 2 P.M. while running down to close the Formidable, the Hero recommenced the action by firing her starboard guns at the Scipion who, losing in consequence her main topmast, fell to leeward. Here the Scipion was engaged by the Courageux to windward, and by the Phoenix and Revolutionnaire (which latter had just joined) to leeward. The Hero, in the mean time, had got upon the weather beam of the Formidable, and kept gradually forereaching until she gained a station upon the latter ship's larboard bow. At about 2 h. 45 m. P.M. the Namur arrived up astern of the Hero and began engaging the Formidable. The Hero then made sail to close the Mont-Blanc; which ship, as well as the Duguay-Trouin
* Log of Hero.
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