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1814 Light Squadrons and Single Ships 266

It had been nearly calm since the commencement of the action, but at 3 a.m. a light breeze sprang up from the land. Taking advantage of this, the Hebrus succeeded in pouring several raking fires into her antagonist, and at 3 h. 45 m. shot away her mizenmast by the board. At 4 a.m. the Etoile ceased firing ; and, after a close and obstinate combat of two hours and a quarter, hailed to say that she had struck. No sooner was possession taken of the prize, than it became necessary to turn the heads of both ships off the shore, as well to prevent them from grounding, as to get beyond the reach of a battery, which, having been unable in the darkness of the morning to distinguish one frigate from another, had been annoying them both with its fire. The tide fortunately set the ships round Pointe Jobourg, and at 7 a.m. they anchored in Vauville bay, about five miles from the shore.

Although the principal damages of the Hebrus were in her masts and rigging, her hull had not wholly escaped, as is evident from her loss ; which, out of a crew of about 284 men and boys, amounted to one midshipman (P. A. Crawley) and 12 seamen killed, and 20 seamen, two marines, and three boys wounded ; four of the number dangerously, and six severely. The Etoile's principal damages lay in her hull, which was extremely shattered, leaving her at the close of the action with four feet water in the hold : her loss, in consequence, out of 327 men and boys (including the wounded in the former action), amounted to 40 killed and 73 wounded.

The guns of the Hebrus, one of the new yellow-pine frigates, were the same as those of the Belvidera. * The Etoile mounted 44 guns, including 14 carronades, 24-pounders, and two 8-pounders on the quarterdeck and forecastle. Of her acknowledged crew of 327, we shall allow 12 for the badly wounded, and not yet recovered, of the action of the 26th of January.

COMPARATIVE FORCE OF THE COMBATANTS.

   

HEBRUS

ETOILE

Broadside-guns

No

21

22

lbs  

467

463

Crew

No

284

315

Size

tons

939

1060

As the crew of the Hebrus was quite a new ship's company, with scarcely a single draught from any other ship, while the crew of the Etoile had been formed out of the united ships' companies of the Aréthuse and Rubis, and had even since fought a creditable, if not a victorious, action with an equal force, a great share of credit is due to Captain Palmer, his officers, and crew, for the successful result of this action;

* See p. 83

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