|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
the Ville-de-Milan boarded and took possession of her shattered and defenceless antagonist. Almost immediately afterwards till Cleopatra's fore and main masts went over the side, her bowsprit soon followed ; and she lay almost in a foundering state under the bows of the Ville-de-Milan.
Being 10 able seamen short of her complement, the Cleopatra mustered at quarters, including one supernumerary lieutenant, only 200 men and boys and several of these were so sick as to be of very little service. Of this comparatively small crew the Cleopatra had 16 seamen, three marines, and one boy killed, her first and second lieutenants (William Balfour and James Crooke) ; one acting lieutenant (Charles Mitchell), one supernumerary lieutenant (William Bowen), one lieutenant of marines (Thomas Appleton), her master (John Bell), boatswain (John McCarthy), one midshipman (Robert Standly), 23 seamen, and seven marines (two of the latter mortally) wounded : total, 22 killed and dead of wounds, and 36 wounded.
The loss on board the Ville-de-Milan, out of a crew, as deposed to by her officers, of 350, although admitted to have been severe, has not been enumerated. The last shot fired by the Cleopatra killed Captain Renaud ; and a previous shot had badly wounded the frigate's second in command, M. Guillet. The surviving crew of the Ville-de-Milan, after the action had ceased, amounted to 340, including the wounded. This would give 10 as the number killed, which is perhaps near the amount. As a proof that the Cleopatra's shot had done considerable execution on board the Ville-de-Milan, the latter's main and mizen masts went over the side in the course of the night succeeding the action.
|COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS
Had it not been for the carronades of the Cleopatra, more than a twofold disparity in weight of metal would here have been exhibited ; and, in crew and size, the relative proportion still stands nearly as seven to four. Moreover the Cleopatra's was quite a young ship's company, many of the men being under 20 years of age ; and of the marines, three only had joined that corps more than two weeks before they embarked in the summer of 1804.
A less ardent mind than Sir Robert Laurie's might have suggested some reasons, and those of a substantial kind, for not persisting to bring to action a ship so decidedly superior. It will not take a particle from the gallantry displayed upon this
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