|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
of the 4th ; when, finding the French frigate still in the same place, they made sail, and ran through the Straits of St.-Bernadino.
What loss the Sémillante sustained, in this two hours and a half's engagement, is not recorded in any French account ; but it was afterwards understood at Calcutta, that she had 13 men killed and 36 wounded. With respect to the damage done to her hull and masts, all we know is, that she suffered so much as to prevent her from proceeding on her voyage to Mexico. " La Sémillante avait été très-maltraitée dans ce combat; elle fut forcée de renoncer au voyage du Mexique, " * is an admission that places that fact beyond a doubt
On the 20th of July, in compliance with the repeated request of Vice-admiral Sir Robert Calder, cruising off Cape Finisterre, to be furnished with a few additional frigates, Admiral Cornwallis, the commander-in-chief of the Channel fleet, detached to join the former the 38-gun frigate Niobe, Captain Matthew Henry Scott. On the 29th the 18-pounder 32-gun frigate Æolus Captain Lord William Fitz-Roy, parted company from the Channel fleet upon the same destination ; and Lord William was directed, in his way across the bay of Biscay, " to be very careful to obtain intelligence of the enemy's squadrons, if either of them should have put to sea from Rochefort or Ferrol ; " and, on falling in with any such squadron, his lordship was to continue, if possible, in sight, " until be had ascertained its route, &c.
Scarcely had the Æolus made sail upon her mission when the Nile lugger, with despatches from Sir Robert Calder, joined the fleet. These despatches, besides indicating the exact spot at which Sir Robert would be found, requiring to have their contents acknowledged, the admiral threw out to the Æolus the signal of recal. The frigate accordingly put back. Having received, with Sir Robert Calder's rendezvous (38 leagues northwest from Cape Finisterre), a letter from Admiral Cornwallis to Sir Robert, acknowledging the receipt of the latter's despatches, apprizing the vice-admiral that they had been forwarded to England, and that he had, some days since, sent the Niobe, and was now sending the Æolus, to join him, Lord William sailed again to the westward.
On the 5th of August, very early in the morning, latitude 45° 55' north, longitude 9" 28' west, the Æolus, standing to the westward with the wind at north by west, discovered and bore up for seven strange sail in the south-south-east. At 6 h. 15 m. A.M. one of the seven strangers, evidently a frigate and detached from her consorts, boarded a merchant ship in the south-east, and shortly afterward set her on fire. At 8 A.M., perceiving that the strangers were an enemy's squadron of five sail of the line, one frigate, and one brig, the Æolus hauled to the wind on
* Dictionnaire des Batailles, tome iv., p.5.
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