|Naval history of Great Britain
||The Halcyon and Three Spanish Vessels
unable to do more than take possession of the abandoned felucca, which proved to be the French privateer Vengeur from Santo-Domingo.
On the same night, while the 12-pounder 32-gun frigate Orpheus, Captain Thomas Briggs, was cruising in Campeachy bay, her barge, commanded by Lieutenant George Ballard Vine, very gallantly boarded and carried, without loss, the Spanish schooner Dolores, mounting one long 9 and two 4 pounder carriage-guns and four swivels, with 34 men ; and which vessel had just been sent out from Campeachy for the express purpose of attacking the frigate's boats.
On the 13th of December, at 8 A.M., Cape San-Martin, coast of Spain, bearing south-south-west six leagues, the British 16-gun brig-sloop Halcyon (fourteen 24-pounder carronades and two long sixes,) Captain Henry W Whitmarsh Pearse, perceived three sail standing towards her from the land. Being on contrary tacks, the two parties closed fast ; and, when about four miles apart, the Halcyon discovered the strangers to be an armed ship, brig, and xebec. At this time, also, five settees were seen from the tops, coming from the same quarter. The object now was, to engage before the reinforcement arrived ; and the Halcyon, accordingly, hastened to close with the three vessels already so confidently approaching her. At 10 h. 30 m. A.M., being within musket-shot, the armed ship, brig, and xebec hoisted Spanish colours, and commenced the action. As soon as she got abreast of the second vessel, the Halcyon tacked, and thus brought her three opponents to closer action ; which lasted until noon, when their fire slackened. At half an hour after noon, it being nearly a calm, the brig and xebec, assisted by their sweeps and boats, hauled off to the southward. The ship, which was nearest to the Halcyon, endeavoured to do the same to the northward ; but the latter swept after her, and in the course of an hour got close alongside, when the Spanish corvette Neptuno, of 14 long 12-pounders and 72 men, struck her colours.
Of her 94 men and boys, the Halcyon was short 16, but had on board four very active passengers. Having fired chiefly at the rigging of the Halcyon, the Neptuno destroyed that effectually, but did not injure a man on board of her. What loss the Neptuno sustained is not stated in the official account ; but it was probably severe. The brig was the Virgine-de-Solidad, of 14 long 12 and 8 pounders, and 78 men, and the xebec, the Vives, of 12 long 8 and 6 pounders, and 65 men, both national vessels. The two latter escaping, their loss in the action, if any, could not be ascertained.
The five settees were about three miles off when the Neptuno was deserted by her two consorts. On observing the circumstance, the former returned towards the shore, and entered the port of Denia. This action between the Halcyon and the above three armed vessels, was one of considerable gallantry on the
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