| ||Naval history of Great Britain
||BLANCHE WITH TOPAZE AND CONSORTS || 139
With her guns he obliged the enemy to quit the brig and schooner ; and, after taking possession of them, he turned the fire of all three vessels upon the militia, about 100 in number, drawn up on the bank with a field-piece. These he at length completely routed ; but, owing to adverse winds, was not, until the 21st, able to descend the river with his prizes and rejoin the Cambrian.
The loss sustained by the British in this very gallant affair amounted to two men killed and 14 wounded, including among the latter, Lieutenant Pigot himself, by musket-balls in three places, two in the head and one in the leg. That brave and enterprising officer would not quit the deck, except to have his wounds dressed, during the whole time this arduous service was performing. The 14 wounded also included master's mate William Lawson (severely) and Midshipman Andrew Mitchell. Three other midshipmen, Messieurs Thomas Saville Griffinhoofe, Henry Bolman, and George Williamson, are spoken of, in similar terms of approbation, by Captain Beresford in his despatch. The loss on the Spanish side is represented to have amounted to 25 seamen killed, including five Americans, and 22 seamen wounded. For the gallantry, perseverance, and ability he had displayed, Lieutenant Pigot was justly promoted to the rank of commander.
In the early part of July the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Blanche, Captain Zachary Mudge, quitted the squadron of Commodore Michael de Courcy cruising off the east end of Jamaica, bound to the island of Barbadoes, with despatches for Vice-admiral Lord Nelson. On the 17th, when about 40 leagues to the westward of the island of Sombrero, the Blanche spoke a British merchant ship from Grenada to Dublin, and learnt that the homeward-bound Leeward-island fleet were to sail in three or four days after her departure, under convoy of the 20-gun ship Proselyte.
On the 19th, at 8 A.M., latitude 20° 20' north, and longitude 66° 44' west, being close hauled on the larboard tack, with a fresh breeze at east, the Blanche discovered off the weather cathead four sail, three ships and a brig, standing on the opposite tack, under easy sail ; and which, from the course they steered, and their indistinct appearance through the prevailing haze, were taken for a part of the above-mentioned convoy. The Blanche therefore continued to stand on, until, having hoisted the customary signals without effect, Captain Mudge began to suspect that the strangers were enemies, and, making sail, kept more away. At 8 h. 30 m. A.M., when about three miles distant, the French 40-gun frigate Topaze, Captain François-André Baudin, followed by the ship-corvettes, Département-des-Landes, of 20 long 8-pounders on the main deck, and two brass 6 pounders on the poop or short quarterdeck, Lieutenant René Jacques-Henri Desmontils and Torche, of 18 long 12-pounders,
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