guns, but with only four 12-pounders and 30 men on board ; a fine brig of 245 tons, then on her way to the Isle of France with despatches from the government at home.
Immediately after the surrender of the Isle Bourbon, the Sirius returned to her station off the Isle of France ; and, while standing along the south side, discovered a three-masted schooner making every exertion to haul herself on shore out of reach of the frigate. Captain Pym immediately despatched the cutter and pinnace of the Sirius, with 14 men in each, the former commanded by Lieutenant Norman, and the latter by Lieutenant John Wyatt Watling. The two boats hastened to the beach, and found the schooner fast aground, and under the protection of about 300 regulars and militia, with two field-pieces. Notwithstanding this, Lieutenant Norman and his little party succeeded, without sustaining any loss, in boarding and destroying the vessel, which was partly laden with supplies for the French army. While the service was executing, the tide had ebbed considerably ; whereby the British, in their way back to their boats, were obliged to pass the whole posse militaire within half musket-shot. Unfortunately, too, the pinnace was aground ; and, in the efforts to get her afloat, one seaman was killed and a midshipman badly wounded.
Soon after the boats had returned to the Sirius, the Iphigenia joined from Isle Bourbon ; as, in a day or two afterwards, did the Néréide, and the Staunch gun-brig. On board the Néréide, were 12 Madras artillerymen under Lieutenant Aldwinkle, and 100 choice troops, consisting of 50 grenadiers of the 69th regiment under Lieutenant Needhall, and 50 of the 33d, under Lieutenant Morlett, the whole commanded by Captain Todd of the 69th. This force had been placed on board the Néréide, by Lieutenant colonel Keating, in order to co-operate with Captain Willoughby in an attack, in the first instance, upon Isle de la Passe, a small rocky island, situated upwards of four miles to the eastward of the town of Grand-Port, or Port Sud-Est, * on the south-east side of the Isle of France ; and the narrow and intricate channel to the harbour of which town, one face of the battery on the above small island completely commands.
The main object, in possessing this key to Grand-Port, was to enable Captain Willoughby, by the aid of a black pilot serving with him in the Néréide, to enter the intricate channel to the harbour, and accompanied by an adequate force, to land in the vicinity of the town before the post could be strengthened from head-quarters ; and then to distribute among the inhabitants copies of a proclamation addressed to them by Governor Farquhar of Isle Bourbon. This proclamation, like all others of the same kind, drew as frightful a picture of the present misery
* Called also Port Imperial.
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