|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
that predecessor's conduct. Thus it has happened, that, to this hour, Captain Baker has received no reward for his meritorious services in capturing the Didon. It is true that, in 10 years afterwards, when the new order was instituted, he was made a companion of the Bath ; but, as every one of the three remaining captains of frigates in Sir Richard Strachan's Action was honoured with it a similar mark of approbation, there cannot be a doubt that Captain Baker would have received the same, even had he, we may judge from an analogous case, run away from, instead of fought and captured, a superior French frigate.
The Didon was built in the year 1797 at St.-Malo, and, just before she sailed for the West Indies in the spring of 1805, underwent a thorough repair. Her sailing qualities were so extraordinary, that, although jury-rigged, she beat the Phœnix on every point. The Didon was purchased for the use of the British navy, but, for some reason with which we are unacquainted, was suffered to lie in ordinary in Hamoaze until taken to pieces in the year 1811. We had almost forgotten to mention, that Mr. Samuel Brown was the first lieutenant of the Phœnix. We wish it was in our power to add, that he became rewarded with the promotion customary upon less important occasions. He was not made a commander until August 1, 1811.
While the British 18-gun ship-sloop Swift, Captain John Wright, was cruising in the bay of Honduras, information reached him of a garda-costa which had taken several vessels trading to that settlement. For the purpose, if possible, of putting a stop to the depredations of this Spanish schooner, Captain Wright detached his second lieutenant, Mr. James Smith, with a party of men, on board a prize schooner in company, the Marianne.
On the 13th of August, having received intelligence, when cruising off the island of Bonacca, that the garda-costa was lying at an anchor under the batteries of Truxillo, Lieutenant Smith proposed to his people a plan to cut her out. This being cheerfully acquiesced in, the Marianne, under cover of the night, stood over for the harbour, and got well into the bay without being discovered. Lieutenant Smith then despatched two small boats with six men in each, one under the command of Mr. Walker, the Swift's boatswain, and the other, of Mr. William Pitt Bowler, one of her midshipmen, with directions to ascertain if the garda-costa was really in the situation described. The Marianne at the same time stood in to cover, if necessary, her two boats.
Shortly afterwards the Marianne obtained a sight of the garda-costa at her moorings. Almost at the same moment Mr. Bowler's boat (Mr. Walker's, from pulling heavy, not being able to get up) gallantly boarded, and after some resistance carried, the Spanish garda-costa Caridad-Perfecta, of 12 (pierced
^ back to top ^