|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
carronades of the London increased the preponderance in her favour. In point of complement, the two ships were equal ; but in tonnage, the French ship had slightly the advantage, the Marengo measuring 1926, the London 1894 tons. The two frigates, if we overlook a superiority of 40 or 50 men in the French one, were well matched ; and Captain Parker and his officers no doubt regretted that the Amazon had not met the Belle-Poule single-handed.
The determined resistance of the French ships was creditable to them ; and that on the part of the Marengo tended much to remove any ill impression, which Commodore Dance's, the Centurion's, or the Blenheim's affair might have cast upon Rear admiral Linois. The only ship of the latter's late Indian squadron, left cruising at the date of his capture, was the Semillante; and we shall soon have occasion to recur to the proceedings of that fortunate frigate.
On the 21st of March the British hired armed brig Colpoys, of 16 guns (14 carronades, 12-pounders, and two long fours) and 121 men and boys ; commanded by Lieutenant Thomas Ussher, chased into the port of Avillas, under the protection of a battery of six long 24-pounders, three Spanish luggers. Having a fine commanding breeze, the Colpoys stood in after them ; when, just as she got within range of the battery, and before her carronades could be worked with effect of the wind died away.
Lieutenant Ussher immediately manned two boats, and, stepping into one himself, dashed through a heavy fire of grape from the battery and of musketry from a party of soldiers that had been sent on board the vessels to defend them. His boat, containing, besides himself, only six men ; " soon out-pulled the other boat. Without waiting for the latter, Lieutenant Ussher gallantly boarded and carried the three luggers, the captains and crews, all but 13 men, leaping over on one side, as the lieutenant and his little party entered on the other.
The second boat then came up, and assisted in getting off the prizes ; one, named Santa Buena-Ventura, of two guns, laden with flax and steel ; the second, named San-Antonio, of the same force and lading ; and the third, the San-Real in ballast. The latter was given up to the enemy, with 11 of the prisoners. Notwithstanding the heavy fire of the battery, this truly gallant exploit was effected with the loss of only two men wounded, one of them severely.
On the 19th of April, as the Colpoys, commanded by the same enterprising officer, was standing along-shore between the Glénans and Isle Groix, in company-with the gun-brig Attack, Lieutenant Thomas Swaine, two chasse-marées were perceived at anchor at the entrance of the river Douillan ; but which, on the approach of the two brigs, got under way and stood up the river.
Finding it necessary to silence a two-gun battery before the
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