|Naval history of Great Britain
||Renard and Général-Ernouf
et que lorsqu'il la vit hors de danger, il amena son pavillon: c'est dans ce sans que vous devez en parler. " * The last sentence of this account would lead us to infer, that Buonaparte had, in reality, received no intelligence, but was inventing a story to deceive his minister of marine, and, through him, the public.
Our assertion, that the Cambrian had parted company from the Leander on the night of the 15th, and, at the moment of the Ville-de-Milan's capture, was in the act of coming to an anchor in a harbour of the Bermudas, may not carry conviction to the quarter intended ; but the depositions of the two principal surviving officers, late belonging to the French frigate, probably will. Both of them, have sworn and certified, and the documents are at hand to be referred to, that no other ship than the Leander was present, either at the recapture of the Cleopatra, or at the capture of the Ville-de-Milan. That the Ville-de-Milan's late officers were not the authors of the mistatement is clear from the fact, that the writer in the "Victores et Conquêtes" complains of having no French official account to resort to, and of his consequent inability to specify the loss which the Ville-de-Milan had sustained.
Sir Robert Laurie, in his official letter, rather incautiously stated, that the Ville-de-Milan had " been intended for a 74. " This, as being contrary to the fact, very naturally gave umbrage to the French. The truth is, the Ville-de-Milan was a regular frigate, and, instead of being, as a contemporary states, " 1209 tons, " † was even a trifle smaller than several French frigates which had previously been captured. The ship was afterwards purchased for the British navy, and classed, under the same name, or rather, under that of Milan, as a 38-gun frigate. It affords us pleasure to state, that the first captain appointed to her was Sir Robert Laurie himself ; and that Lieutenant Balfour, late senior lieutenant of the Cleopatra, and already named among her wounded, received the promotion which he had so honourably earned.
On the 20th of March the 18-gun ship-sloop Renard, Captain Jeremiah Coghlan, being in latitude 21° 14' north, longitude 71° 30' west, discovered a ship to leeward, standing under easy sail to the north-west. The Renard immediately chased, and the stranger, which was the French privateer Général-Ernouf, Captain Lapointe, shortened sail to engage. At 2 h. 25 m. P.M., being on the weather-bow of the Général-Ernouf the Renard received her fire ; but the latter reserved hers until she had dropped within pistol-shot of her opponent. The Renard then opened her broadside with such effect, that in 35 minutes the Général-Ernouf was set on fire, and in 10 minutes more blew up with a tremendous explosion. Every exertion was now made by the British to save the lives of their late
* Précis des Evènemens, tome xi., p. 59.
† Brenton, vol. iii., 509.
^ back to top ^