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1809 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 158

fired her guns on the larboard side, then wore round on the starboard tack, and steered to the north-west. As soon as she could wear and trim sail, the Amethyst hauled up after her opponent ; and, as the rigging and sails of the Niemen had already received some damage, the Amethyst, at about 1 h. 45 m. a.m., ranged close alongside of her to windward.

After an exchange of broadsides, the Amethyst, having passed ahead, bore round up, raked the Niemen, and then braced sharp up again on the same tack under the French frigate's lee bow. At 2 h. 45 m. a.m. the Niemen fell on board the Amethyst, on her starboard beam and quarter ; but, in a few minutes, the Amethyst shooting ahead, the Niemen got clear, and bore away south-west. At about 3 a.m. the Amethyst, having crossed over, got upon the larboard and weather beam of the Niemen. Scarcely had the mutual cannonade recommenced between the two ships in this position, ere the Niemen caught fire in her larboard hammock-netting. At 3 h. 15m. a.m. the Niemen had her mizenmast and main topmast shot away. The ship had also just caught fire in the main top, and her main yard was lowered halfway down the mast. In this state, the Niemen bestowed little or no return to the animated cannonade maintained by the Amethyst. At 3 h. 25 m. a.m., finding that her antagonist had ceased firing, the Amethyst ceased. also, and bore up under her stern. At about 3 h. 30 m. a.m., as the Amethyst, with her main yard square, was in the act of bringing to to leeward of the Niemen, the mainmast of the British ship, owing chiefly to the quantity of canvass that lay aback against it and the damaged state of the rigging, came down, carrying with it the mizenmast ; and the wreck of the two masts fell over the lee quarter. Almost at the same moment the Niemen mainmast ; or what remained of it, came down by the board ; and the 38-gun frigate Arethusa, Captain Robert Mends, just then announced to the Amethyst, by signal, her approach from the eastward.

The Amethyst meanwhile, in consequence of the great way upon the ship having caused the spread sails over the lee quarter to act as a back-water, disobeyed her helm, and wore with her stern abreast of the Niemen's starboard and lee beam. At 3 h. 45 m. a.m., while the Amethyst was in this unfortunate position, the Arethusa approached within gun-shot on the larboard quarter of the Niemen, who was then going nearly before the wind. The French ship thereupon hoisted a light, and fired one shot at the Arethusa and another at the Amethyst. The Arethusa then gave a small yaw and fired seven or eight of her foremost larboard guns at the Niemen. To this fire, the French frigate made no return, but hauled down her light, and almost instantaneously raised and lowered it again as the signal of submission.

The following diagram will assist in explaining the different movements of the combatants.

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