vice-admiral states in his letter, " brought on a return, and thus very shortly afterwards, the battle became general. "
" The Asia, although placed alongside the capitan bey's ship, was even nearer to Moharem Bey's, the commander of the Egyptian ships, and since his ship did not fire at the Asia, although the action was begun to windward, neither did the Asia fire at her. Moharem Bey, indeed, sent a message, that he would not fire at all, and therefore no hostility took place between Moharem Bey's ship and the English admiral's ship for some time after the Asia had returned the fire of the capitan bey. In the mean time, however, the excellent pilot, Mr. Peter Mitchell, who went to interpret to Moharem Bey, the vice-admiral's desire to avoid bloodshed, was killed by his people, in the boat alongside, whether with or without his orders is not known, but his ship soon afterwards fired into the Asia, and was consequently effectually destroyed by the Asia's fire, sharing the same fate as his brother admiral on the starboard side, and falling to leeward a mere wreck." * The action, now general, was well maintained by the Turks, and for four hours the firing continued, until, at the expiration of that time, the Ottoman fleet had been nearly destroyed : each ship, as she became disabled, was deserted by the crew, after having set her on fire, and the frequent explosions rendered the situation of the allied fleet dangerous in the extreme.
Captain Fellowes soon cleared the fire-ships, and saved the French admiral's ship, the Sirène, from being burnt. " The Cambrian, Glasgow, and Talbot, following the fine example of Captain Hugon of the Armide, who was opposed to the leading frigate of that line, effectually destroyed their opponents and also silenced the batteries."
The smoke was so thick during the action that the guns of the Asia were pointed from the flag at the mast-head of the capitan bey's ship. It was the only object discernible ; occasionally the Asia's fire ceased, in order to allow the smoke to clear away. At this interval her opponent fired single shot until the cable was either shot away or slipped, and she drifted to leeward out of fire. It was during the Asia's engagement with the senior officer's ship, that her stern was exposed to the raking broadside of a frigate, and she received more damage from her than from her regular opponent. About 3 o'clock the Asia, having disposed of the capitan's ship, turned her broadside to Moharem's ship and his second ahead, both of which were soon destroyed. Moharem's ship was sadly disabled, and her second ahead, burning to the water's edge, blew up at her anchors.
The French division, under De Rigny, displayed equal valour and seamanship with their old enemies, the English. The French admiral anchored athwart hawse of the first Egyptian frigate. The three line-of-battle ships were to have filled up the
* Sir Edward Codrington's public despatch.
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