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1813 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 186

Irby tacked to the south-south-west, with the wind from the westward. At 6 h. 45 m. A.M. on the 7th the Amelia discovered the Aréthuse about eight miles off in the south-east; but a calm, which came on at 8 a.m., kept both frigates stationary. At noon a light breeze sprang up from the west-north-west : whereupon the Aréthuse stood towards the Amelia, on the larboard tack, under all sail ; the latter making sail also, in the hope to draw the Aréthuse from her consort, still supposed to be in a condition to follow and assist her.

At 5 p.m., finding the wind beginning to fall, and conceiving that he had drawn the Aréthuse to a sufficient distance from her consort, Captain Irby shortened sail, wore round, and, running under his three topsails with the wind on the starboard quarter, steered to pass, and then to cross the stern of the Aréthuse; who was standing, under the same sail, close hauled on the larboard tack. To avoid being thus raked, Captain Bouvet, at 7 h. 20 m. p.m., tacked to the south-west, and hoisted his colours ; as the Amelia previously had hers. It was now a fine moonlight night, with the wind very moderate, and the sea nearly as smooth as a millpond. At 7 h. 45 m., just as the Amelia had arrived within pistol-shot upon her starboard or weather bow, the Aréthuse opened her fire ; which was immediately returned. After about three broadsides had been exchanged, the main topsail of the Amelia, in consequence of the braces having been shot away, fell aback. Owing to this accident, instead of crossing her opponent as she intended, the Amelia fell on board of her; the jib-boom of the Aréthuse carrying away the Amelia's jib and stay, and the French ship's bumpkin or anchor-flook, part of the British ship's larboard forecastle barricade.

The Aréthuse now opened a heavy fire of musketry from her tops and mast-heads, and threw several hand-grenades upon the Amelia's decks, hoping, in the confusion caused by such combustibles, to succeed in an attempt to board ; for which purpose several of the Aréthuse men had stationed themselves in her fore rigging. A man was now, seen on the spritsail yard of the Aréthuse, making strenuous efforts to get on board the Amelia. Scarcely had the poor fellow called out, " For God's sake ! don't fire, I am not armed," when a musket-ball from a British marine dropped him in the water. It was afterwards ascertained, that one of the crew of the Aréthuse, a Hamburgher, had formerly belonged to the Amelia, having been taken out of one of her prizes on the coast of Spain and forced to enter on board the French frigate. It appears that the man was so desirous to get back to his ship, that he requested a settler at the Isle de Los to secrete him till an opportunity offered of his reaching Sierra-Leone. The probability therefore is, that the man so shot, while upon the spritsail yard of the Aréthuse, was the unfortunate Hamburgher.

Finding that, owing in a great degree to the steady and well

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