« ElőzőTovább »
longs to us. The enemy's squadron was commanded by Monsieur Dubourdieu, 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.
"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.
Iv. _.,,,, ..'. (Signed) "william Hoste.
"George Eyre, Esq. Senior officer in the
.,,, .! Adriatic, fyc."
• :n': ■ ■■
"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 berlieve 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, 50 slain, 150 wounded. time. The ship now presented a most awful spectacle, and I had quite given her up as lost. No possible assistance could be afforded from the squadron, and she had to trust alone to her own exertions; these, however, were not wanting, and by the extraordinary perseverance and coolness of the officers and men, the fire was at last extinguished, with the loss of the main-mast, and the ship of course saved to the service. I have to express my warmest thanks to Lieutenants Dickenson and Haye, and the officers and men employed under their orders, and beg leave to recommend them to the commander-in-chief. "I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed) "W. Hoste.#
"Captain G. Eyre, Src."
The following is a copy of the correspondence between Captain Hoste and the French Commodore, alluded to in the first of the above letters : —
"H. B. M. S. Amphion, at the Island of Lissa, March 15. 1811.
"Sir, — The frigate you commanded in the late action with the British squadron struck her colours to H. B. Majesty's ship Amphion, under my command. I was not able to take possession of you at that moment, being engaged with the Bellona frigate; but I considered you as my own, and as a man of honour you must have thought so yourself: I call on the officers of your own squadron, as well as those I have the honour to command, to witness my assertion. You know, sir, I might have sunk you, had I not considered you as having surrendered, and so might two of my squadron also. By the laws of war the Flore belongs to me; and the purport of my present truce is to demand her restitution, in the same state as when she struck.
"I have the honour to be, &c. (Signed) "William Hoste.
"To Mons. Peridier, Captain, commanding the frigate Flore, off Lessina."
* The French account of the action, written by an Italian colonel, forms a most ludicrous contrast to the British captain's. It will be found at length in the Nav. Chron. vol. xxv. p. 423. et seq., and an analysis thereof in James's Nav. Hist. vol. 5. p. 139. el scq.
.., .#.1.1 ,, • (translation.)
"On board his Imperial and Royal Majesty's frigate I,. t t, ,;i ,'the Danal, in the Roads of Lessina.
"Sir, — In consequence of the wounds received by M. Peridier, Commandant of his Imperial and Royal Majesty's frigate la Flore, I have had the honour to take upon me the command of his Imperial and Royal Majesty's ships, and cannot surrender to you his Imperial Majesty's frigate under the laws to which you refer, because she did not strike her colours, as you are pleased to state. His Majesty's frigate had her flag cut by shot. Her state not allowing her to continue the engagement any longer, her captain thought proper to withdraw from it. If you should not consider my answer satisfactory, I request you will address yourself to my government. "I have the honour to be, &c.
(No signature?) "To M. the Commandant of the Amphion frigate, at Lissa."
( "H. B. M. S. Amphion, Lissa, March 19. 1811.
, "Sir, — The letter I had the honour of receiving to-day was neither signed nor dated (I presume through mistake); I return it for its signature.
"As captain of the Danae, you will not admit that the Flore struck her colours in the late action, nor did I call on you to do so. No, sir, I call on Mons. Peridier, the commander of that ship, as a man of honour, to declare whether she struck her colours or not; and if M. Peridier was so severely wounded as not to have charge of the ship at that time, I look to his next in command for an answer to my letter of the 15th; but I again assert, and ever shall maintain, that, by the laws of war, his frigate belongs to my sovereign, and his sword to me: the world will judge between us. "I have the honour to be, &c.
. (Signed) "W. Hoste.
"To the Captain commanding the frigate Danae." A gold medal in commemoration of the action was^pre-sented to the four captains; and it forms part of the augmentation of the arms of Hoste which will be noticed hereafter. The captured frigates were escorted by the Amphion and Volage to Malta, and from thence to Portsmouth, where the Amphion was paid off August 12. 1811. Captain Hoste was now appointed to the Bacchante, a new thirty-eight gun frigate, and soon after his return to the Mediterranean captured a French privateer and two valuable convoys on the coast of Istria and Apulia; not to mention several other successful enterprises of inferior moment; in one of which some despatches from Corfu were intercepted, and a French general of artillery and his suite, going to Otranto, were captured. Information was brought to Captain Hoste on the 11th of May, 1813, that a number of vessels were lying in the channel of Karlebago. He accordingly sailed without delay for the spot, but owing to adverse winds and a strong current, he did not arrive there till the morning of the 15th. Meanwhile the vessels in question had escaped. The visit of Captain Hoste was, however, not ineffectual; for, as he found that the port afforded excellent shelter to the enemy's convoys, he determined to destroy the works which defended it, and accordingly brought up within pistol shot of the batteries. After a good deal of firing a flag of truce was hung out, and the place surrendered at discretion. A detachment of seamen and marines then landed, under the direction of Lieutenant Hood, blew up the castle, destroyed all the public works, and brought off two twelve-pounders, four nines, and two brass sixes. At the capture of Fiume, by the squadron under RearAdm. Freemantle, July 3. 1813, Captain Hoste served on shore, and landing on the 5th with a party of marines at Porto Re, he blew up the forts which had been deserted by the enemy, and destroyed the artillery. On the 2d of August in the same year, after assisting in silencing the batteries at Rovigno, he placed himself at the head of a detachment of seamen and marines from the Bacchante and Eagle,