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cut out vessels, but to destroy the batteries and to capture the towns of the enemy. In this way, in June 1810, the town of Grao, in the Gulf of Trieste, and a convoy laden with naval stores for the arsenal at Venice, were captured, in gallant style, by the bouts of the Amphion, Active, and Cerberus.
\Ve come now to the mention of the most conspicuous naval victory which had for some time been achieved in the Mediterranean station, we mean the triumphant action maintained, March 13th, 1811, by Captain Hoste against a squadron of the enemy of greatly superior force, off the island of Lissa.
Connected with this event is a little characteristic anecdote, which shows the coolness and courage of Captain Hoste in battle. When the enemy were advancing to break the line in the action off Lissa, our hero hailed his old friend, Captain Gordon, then commanding the Active, the ship immediately astern of the Amphion, in these familiar words: — "I say, Jemmy, pass the word to keep the flying jib-boom over the tafiel, for we must not let these rascals break the line. Half an hour on this tack is worth two on the other." It is needless to say, that "Jemmy" was of all men the most likely to fulfil this injunction.
The battle of Lissa is the only engagement of any extent on record, in which the lines on both sides were formed entirely of frigates and smaller vessels. The following is Captain Hoste's own account of this victory, in which every reader must be struck with the evident reluctance of the writer to speak of his own deeds, and the anxiety he manifests to bring forward, in the best possible way, the merits and bravery of his companions: —
"Amphion, off Lissa, March 14. 1811.
"Sir, — It is with much pleasure I have to acquaint you, that after an action of six hours, we have completely defeated the combined French and Italian squadrons, consisting of five frigates, one corvette, one brig, two schooners, one gun-boat, and one xebec: the force opposed to them was his Majesty's
ships Amphion, Active, Cerberus, and Volage.* On the morning of the 13th the Active made the signal for a strange Heet to windward, and daylight discovered to us the enemy's squadron lying-to off the north point of Lissa; the wind at that time was from the N.W., blowing a fine breeze. The enemy having formed in two divisions, instantly bore down to attack us under all possible sail. The British line, led by the Amphion, was formed by signal in the closest order on starboard tack to receive them. At 9 A.M. the action commenced by our firing on the headmost ships as they came within range. The intention of the enemy appeared to be to break our line in two places; the starboard division, led by the French commodore, bearing upon the Amphion and Active, and the larboard division on the Cerberus and Volage. In this attempt he failed (though almost aboard of us), by the well-directed fire and compact order of our line. He then endeavoured to round the van ship, to engage to leeward, and thereby place us between two fires; but was so warmly received in the attempt, and rendered so totally unmanageable, that in the act of wearing he went on shore on the rocks of Lissa, in the greatest possible confusion.
"The line was then wore to renew the action, the Amphion not half a cable's length from the shore; the remainder of the enemy's starboard division passing under our stern and engaging us to leeward, whilst the larboard division tacked and remained to windward, engaging the Cerberus, Volage, and Active. In this situation the action continued with great fury, his Majesty's ships frequently in positions which unavoidably exposed them to a raking fire from the enemy, who, with his superiority of numbers, had ability to take advantage of it; but nothing, Sir, could withstand the brave squadron I had the honour to command. At II1' 20' A.M. the Flore struck her colours, and at noon the Bellona followed her example. The enemy to windward now endeavoured to make off, but were followed up as close as the disabled state of his Majesty's ships would admit of; and the Active and Cerberus were enabled at 3 P. M. to compel the sternmost of them to surrender, when the action ceased, leaving us in possession of the Corona of 44 guns, and the Bellona 32.* The Favorite of 44 guns, on shore, shortly after blew up with a dreadful explosion, the corvette making all possible sail to the N.W., and two frigates crowding sail for the port of Lessina, the brig making off to the S.E., and the small craft flying in every direction; nor was it in my power to prevent them, having no ship in a state to follow them.
* Favorite, Flore, Danae, and Corona, of 44 guns, and 350 men each; the latter a 24-poundcr frigate; Bellona, of 36 guns, and 224 men; and Carolina of the same force, although described by Captain Hoste as a corvette. The brig and other small ressels carried in the whole 36 guns and 307 men, making, with the addition of 500 troops, a grand total of 284 guns, and 2655 men. The British squadron mounted 156 guns; and being 1O4 short of complement, went into action with only 879 men.
"I must now account for the Flore's getting away after she had struck her colours. At the time I was engaged with that ship, the Bellona was raking us; and when she struck, I had no boat that could possibly take possession of her. I therefore preferred closing with the Bellona and taking her, to losing time alongside the Flore, which ship I already considered belonging to us. I call on the officers of my own squadron, as well as those of the enemy, to witness my assertion. The correspondence I have had on this subject with the French captain of the Danae (now their commodore), and which I enclose herewith, is convincing; and even their own officers, prisoners here, acknowledge the fact Indeed, I might have sunk her, and so might the Active: but as the colours were down, and all firing from her had long ceased, both Captain Gordon and myself considered her as our own r the delay of getting a boat on board the Bellona, and the anxious pursuit of Captain Gordon after the beaten enemy, enabled him to steal off, till too late for our shattered ships to come up with him, his rigging and sails apparently not much injured ; but, by the laws of war, I shall ever maintain he belongs to us. The enemy's squadron was commanded by Monsieur Duboimlieu, a capitaine de vaisseau, and a member of the Legion of Honour, who is killed. In justice to a brave man, I must say he set a noble example of intrepidity to those under him. They sailed from Ancona the 11th instant, with 500 troops on board, and every thing necessary for fortifying and garrisoning the island of Lissa. Thanks to Providence, we have this time prevented them.
* The Bcllona miunHeJ 3fi guns.
"I have to lament the loss of many valuable officers and men; but in a contest of this kind it was to be expected. It is now my duty to endeavour to do justice to the brave officers and men I had the honour to command. I feel myself unequal to the task: nothing from my pen can add to their merit. From your own knowledge of Captains Gordon, Whitby, and Hornby, and the discipline of their ships, every thing, you know, Sir, might be expected; and if an officer so near in the same rank as themselves may be permitted to give an opinion, I should say they exceeded my most sanguine expectations; and it is a duty I owe all, to express in the most public manner my grateful sense of the brave and gallant conduct of every captain, officer, seaman, and royal marine, employed on this occasion. From my first Lieute nant, Mr. David Dunn, I received every assistance that might be expected from a zealous, brave, and intelligent officer; and his exertions, though wounded, in repairing our damage, are as praiseworthy as his conduct in the action, particularly as I have been unable to assist him, from a wound in my right arm, and several severe contusions. Captain Moore of the royal marines, of this ship, received a wound, but returned to his quarters immediately it was dressed. The captains of the squadron speak in the warmest terms of their officers and men, particularly of their first Lieutenants, Dickenson, Henderson, and Wolridge; and the behaviour of my own officers and ship's company, who have been with me so long, was every thing I expected from their tried worth; but I must not particularise where all are equally meritorious. The damage the ships have sustained is very considerable,
and I feel will render us totally incapable of keeping the sea. I enclose a statement of the enemy's force, together with a return of the killed and wounded in the squadron, and deeply lament they are so great.*
"I have the honour to be, &c.
(Signed) "William Hoste.
"Geoi-ge Eyre, Esq. Senior officer in the Adriatic, fyc."
"Ampbion, Lissa, March 15. 1811.
"Sir, — On my arrival here this morning, I found the remainder of the French Commodore's crew and troops, 200 in number, had retired to Lissa. They were summoned to surrender by Messrs. Lew and Kingston, two midshipmen of the Active, who had been left in charge of prizes, and several men belonging to privateers. The summons was acceded to; they laid down their arms, and were made prisoners of war. The spirited conduct of these young men deserves every praise; nor can I forbear mentioning the dastardly behaviour of a Sicilian privateer brig of 14 guns, named the Vincitore, and commanded by Captain Clemento Fama, who was lying in this port, and previous to the commencement of the action hauled down his colours to a small one-gun Venetian schooner: this was witnessed by every man in the squadron, and I believe there was but one opinion on the subject. Messrs. Kingston and Lew afterwards went on board, took charge of the brig, beat off the schooner, and prevented her from destroying the vessels in the bay.
"I omitted a circumstance in my former letter respecting the Corona, which, from the meritorious conduct of those officers and men employed, deserves to be mentioned. The Corona caught fire in the main-top shortly after her capture, and the whole of her main-mast and rigging was instantly in flames. Lieutenants Dickenson of the Cerberus, and Haye of the Active, with a party of men, were on board her at the
» Amphion, 15 killed, 47 wounded; the other ships, 35 killed, and 103 wounded. Total, 5O slain, 150 wounded.