|Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
On the 26th, in the forenoon, the British 18-pounder 36-gun frigate Pique, Captain Charles Bayne Hodgson Ross, crossing over from St.-Domingo to CuraÁao, fell in with and chased the two French brig corvettes named in the last action ; and which were then upon the starboard tack, with a fresh trade or southeast wind, standing in for the land. At 1 P.M., having got within long range, the Pique commenced firing at, and at 2 P.M. by her superior sailing closed with, the two brigs. When the firing had continued about 20 minutes, the sternmost brig, the PhaŽton, having had her peak and gaff halliards shot away, and being otherwise crippled, fell on board the starboard beam of the frigate ; who, to promote so desirable an object, had taken advantage of a favourable flaw of wind and put her helm down.
In an instant Lieutenants William Ward and Philip Henry Baker, Mr. John Thompson, the master, and Lieutenant William Henry Craig, of the marines, with about 25 petty officers, seamen, and marines, sprang on board the PhaŽton ; and the Pique, clearing herself, stood for the Voltigeur, whose commander, M. Saint-Cricq, although he had, as it appears, agreed to co-operate with the commodore in an attempt to board the frigate, when escape should be found impracticable, and had since been directed to close for the purpose of putting the manúuvre into execution, was crowding sail to getaway.
No sooner had the boarding party stepped upon the decks of the PhaŽton, than a great proportion of her crew, headed by the officers, rushed from under the fore-and-aft mainsail, where they had lain concealed, and, using the boom and the fallen sail both as a rest for their pieces and a shelter for their persons, opened, with comparative impunity, a most destructive fire upon the British ; destructive, indeed, for it killed Mr. Thompson, the master, and eight seamen, and wounded Lieutenants Ward, Baker, and Craig, and 11 seamen and marines.
The Pique, the instant she was aware of what had happened, backed her sails, and sent a boat with a fresh supply of men. These, indignant at the sight of their slaughtered comrades, in a very few minutes compelled the French crew, although greatly superior in numbers, to call for quarter. As, when the PhaŽton fell on board the Pique, the brig's colours, with part of the mainsail, hung over the tafrail in the water, and her crew could neither be seen, nor (a very unusual thing on board a French ship) heard, it was considered that she would surrender quietly. A resistance, therefore, so sudden and fierce, did certainly bear the appearance of treachery.
Having again filled, the Pique crowded after the Voltigeur; who, profiting by all this delay, had advanced considerably ahead, with the intention of running on shore. Before, however, she could effect that object, the French brig was overtaken, and, without further opposition, captured.
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