|Naval history of Great Britain
||Last Cruise of M. Linois
companion, the French admiral decided to return home, and on the 17th of February crossed the equinoctial line for the twelfth time since his departure from Brest in March, 1803. In less than four weeks more he reached the spot which, as we will now proceed to show, proved the bane of his hopes.
At 5 h. 30 m. A.M. the London got alongside of the Marengo ; and the two ships commenced the action, yard-arm and yard-arm. At 6 A.M. the Marengo, unable longer to withstand the London's heavy and well-directed fire, hauled off, and made sail ahead. At 6 h. 15 m. A.M. the Belle-Poule opened her fire upon the lee bow of the London, and received a fire in return, until out of gun-shot ahead. At 7 A.M. the Amazon came up ; and, passing the London, overtook, and at 8 h. 30 m. A.M. began engaging, the Belle-Poule. All this while the London had been keeping up a running fight with the Marengo, and she continued it until 10 h. 25 m. A.M. ; when, seeing the Foudroyant coming fast up, the Marengo struck her colours to the London ; as, about the same time, did the Belle-Poule to the Amazon.
The London, out of her 740 men and boys, sustained a loss of one midshipman (William Rooke) and nine seamen and marines killed, and one lieutenant (William Faddy, dangerously), one midshipman (J. W. Watson), and 20 seamen and marines wounded. Her sails, rigging, and masts were also a good deal damaged by shot. The loss on board the Amazon amounted to her first lieutenant (Richard Seymour), one lieutenant of marines (Edward Prior), one seaman, and one marine killed, and five seamen wounded.
The gun-force of the Marengo and Belle-Poule was precisely that of their respective classes, as particularized at Nos. 4 and 5 of the small table at p. 54 of the first volume. The former, when she commenced the action, had a crew, as certified by the captain and his two senior lieutenants, of 740 men and boys ; of whom the Marengo had two officers and 61 men killed, and eight officers and 74 men wounded, including among the latter the admiral and his son, severely, and Captain Vrignaud, with the loss of his right arm ; total 63 killed, and 82 wounded. The Belle-Poule, out of a crew of 330, similarly certified, lost six men killed and 24 wounded. It may seem singular that these two ships should be so well manned at the end of a three years' cruise, especially when the Marengo, if not the frigate, had sent away two or three prizes. But it is believed that they each had on board a proportion of the crew of the Atalante, the loss of whose ship near the Cape of Good Hope has already been noticed.
Between a British
12 32-pounder 98, and a French 74-gun ship, the relative broadside weight of metal is not so unequal as might be supposed to exist between a three and a two decked ship, the one, in long guns only, being 958, the other 907 lbs. ; but the
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