of December the French fleet in Toulon received an accession of force in the new 74-gun ship Colosse ; and the close of the year left Comte Emeriau still at his anchorage in the road.
Light Squadrons and Single Ships
On the 14th of March Lieutenant Francis Banks, of the Blazer gun-brig, commanding the small British force stationed off the island of Heligoland, having received information of the distressed state of the French at Cuxhaven and of the entrance of the Russians into Hamburgh, took the Brevdrageren gun-brig, Lieutenant Thomas Barker Devon, under his orders, and proceeded to the river Elbe, with the hope of intercepting such of the enemy's gun-vessels as might attempt to make their escape. Early on the morning of the 15th the two brigs entered the river, and found the French flotilla of 20 gun-vessels stationed at Cuxhaven in the act of being destroyed. On the 16th, by invitation from the shore, Lieutenant Banks landed, and with a detachment of 32 troops, which he had embarked at Heligoland, took possession of the batteries of Cuxhaven, and on the next day concluded a treaty with the civil authorities, by which it was agreed that the British flag should be hoisted in conjunction with the colours of Hamburgh.
On the 20th, while the two gun-brigs were lying at anchor off Cuxhaven, Lieutenant Devon volunteered, with a boat from each brig, to go up the river in quest of a privateer of which information had just been received. Accordingly, in the night, taking with him the Brevdrageren's gig containing a midshipman and eight men, and the six-oared cutter of the Blazer, containing 11 men, commanded by Mr. William Dunbar, her master, Lieutenant Devon proceeded to execute the service he had undertaken.
On the 21st, at daylight, the two boats found themselves off the Danish port of Brunsbuttel, situated about 30 miles up the river, and close to two large galliots at anchor. Under the supposition that these were merchant vessels, Lieutenant Devon, followed by the cutter at some distance, advanced to examine them. On the near approach of the gig, the two vessels were found to be gun-boats ; the nearest of which instantly hoisted Danish colours, hailed, and opened a fire, which, luckily for the people in the gig, passed over their heads. In this critical situation, Lieutenant Devon considered that there was no safety but in resolutely boarding. He accordingly dashed alongside, and, in the smoke of the second discharge, which passed as harmlessly as the first, and amidst a degree of confusion among the Danes caused by the explosion of some cartridges, Lieutenant Devon, his brother, midshipman Frederick Devon (a youth only 12 years of age), and eight men, captured, without the slightest
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