|Naval history of Great Britain
||Light Squadrons and Single Ships
decks of the Minerve appeared to be deserted by all except Captain Collet and a few of his officers, and three pistol-shot was the only return she made. Such, however, was the quantity of headway in the ships, and such the unequal collision between two bodies so disproportionate in size, that the Pallas had her fore topmast, jib-boom, fore and main topsail yards, spritsail yard, bumpkin, cat-head, chain-plates, fore rigging, foresail and even the bower anchor, by which Lord Cochrane had hoped to hook on, torn away. Yet even this accident, by which the two frigates so unexpectedly separated, would probably not have saved the Minerve if M. Allemand, seeing that the latter's fore yard was gone, and that her rigging was entirely disabled, had not sent two other frigates to her assistance. Upon this the Pallas, being nearly a wreck, bore up towards the offing with what little sail she could set, until, meeting the Kingfisher ; the latter took her in tow.
The loss on board the Pallas, whose complement was 214 men and boys, amounted, notwithstanding the closeness of the action, to only one marine killed and one midshipman (William Andrews, very badly) and four seamen wounded ; while the loss sustained by the Minerve, whose crew amounted to 330 men and boys, was, by the acknowledgment of her officers, seven men killed and 14 wounded. With respect to the damages of the French frigate, all that appears in the French official account is, that her fore yard was cut in two, and a few other injuries done to her. Another account states, that the stopper of her anchor was broken in the concussion of the two ships, and that it was in consequence of its falling to the bottom and bringing the frigate up, that the latter was prevented from pursuing the Pallas. As iron cables were not then in use, we are to conclude from this, that there was no axe on board the French frigate to cut away a hempen one.
The Pallas, a frigate of 667 tons, built of fir in the year 1804, was armed on the main deck with the 26 long 12-Pounders of her class, and upon her quarterdeck and forecastle with 12 carronades, 24-Pounders, total 38 guns. The Minerve, a fine new frigate of 1101 tons, when afterwards captured by the British, was found to mount, besides her 28 long 18-Pounders on the main deck, four long 8-Pounders and 12 iron 36-Pounder carronades on the quarterdeck and forecastle, total 44 guns.
The relative force of these two frigates, unequal as it here appears, does not offer quite so great a disparity as distinguished the case of the Speedy and Gamo ; * but taking into the account the difference in the quality of those with whom the British had to contend, and the hazardous position in which they fought the action, it does not fall far short of it. Lord Cochrane seems to
* vol. iii., p. 145.
^ back to top ^