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From the LONDON GAZETTE, November 22.
Admiralty Office, November 21, 1796.
Copy of a Letter from Captain Bowen, of his Majefty's Ship Terpsichore, to Evan Nepean, Efq, dated at Gibraltar, the 23d of October, 1796.
JUDGING it to be proper that my Lords Commiffioners of the Admiralty should be acquainted as foon as poffible with the capture of a Spanish frigate, by his Majefty's fhip under my command, I herewith. inclofe you a copy of my letter to the commander in chief, giving an account of the action; and I request you will be pleased to lay the fame before their Lordships.
Extract of a Letter from Captain Bowen, of his Majesty's Ship Terpsichore, to Admiral Sir John fervis, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Vefleis in the Mediterranean, dated at Gibraltar the 23d of October, 1796.
ON the morning of the 13th inftant, at day-light, we difcovered a frigate to windward ftanding towards us. About eight I could perceive her making every preparation for battle, and was then apparently in chace of us. Our fituation altogether was fuch as to prevent my being over defirous of engaging her. Out of our fmall complement of men, we had left thirty at the hofpital, and we had more than that number still on board in our fick and convalefcent lifts, all of whom were either dangerously ill or extremely weak. We were fcarcely out of fight of the ipot where we knew the Spanish fleet to have been cruizing only two days before; and, in fact, we had stood on to look for them, with a view of afcertaining their movements. A fmall Spanish velel, which we conjectured to be a fort of tender, was pailing us, fteering towards Carthagena, fo that I could hardly flatter myfelf with being able to bring the frigate off in the event of a victory, or of even efcaping myfelf, af difabled. On the other hand, it evidently appeared that nothing but a flight and fuperior failing could enable me to avoid an action; and to do that from a frigate apparently not much fuperior to us, except in point of bulk, would have been committing the character of one of his Majefty's fhips more than I could bring myself to refolve on. I therefore continued ftanding on without any alteration of course.
Having, with infinite fatisfaction and comfort to myself, commanded the Terpsichore's crew for two years and a half, through a pretty confiderable variety of fervices, I well knew the veteran ftuff which I had still left in health to depend upon, for upholding the character of British feamen; and I felt my mind at eafe as to, the termination of any action with the frigate in fight only.
At half past nine fhe came within hale, and hauled her wind on our weather beam; and as I conceived the only waited to place herself to advantage, and to point her guns with exactnefs, and being myself unwilling to lofe the pofition we were then in, I ordered one gun to be fired as a trier of her intention. It was fo inftantaneously returned, and followed up by her whole broadfide, that I am confident they must have done it at the fight of our flash. The action of course went on, and we foon difcovered that her people would not, or could not, refift our fire. At the end of about an hour and forty minutes, during
which time we had twice wore, and employed about twenty of the laft minutes in chace, the furrendered. At this period fhe appeared most entirely difabled, and we had drawn up clofe alongfide, with every gun well charged and well pointed. It was, nevertheless, with confiderable difficulty that I prevailed on the Spanish commander to decline the receiving of fuch a broadfide, by fubmitting; and from every thing which I have fince learned, the perfonal courage, conduct, and zeal of that officer, whofe name is Don Thomas Ayalde, was fuch during the action, notwithstanding the event of it, as reflects on him the greateft honour, and irrefiftibly impreffes on my mind the higheft admiration of his character. After (from the effect of our fire) all his booms had tumbled down, and rendered his wafte guns unferviceable, all the standing rigging of his lower mafts fhot away, and I believe nearly every running rope cut through, and a great number of his people killed and wounded, he still perfevered (though he could rally but few of his men) to defend his ship, almost longer than defence was justifiable. Had there been the finalleft motion in the fea, every mast must inevitably have gone by the board.
Our lofs (which will appear by the enclosed lift) has been lefs than could have been expected; but our mafts, fails, and rigging were found to be pretty much cut up.
The fpirited exertions of every officer, man, and boy, belonging to the fhip I command, as well in the action as in the fecuring two dif abled hips, and bringing them inftantly off from a critical fituation, by taking the prize in tow, and by their inceffant labour ever since, will, I truft, when their finall number is confidered, place them in a light fuperior to any praife which I could beftow. I am even un willing to speak of the particular conduct of any of the officers, but the talents difplayed by the first lieutenant (Devonshire) who was but just out of our fick lift, during the action, added to his uncommon fatigue in taking care of the prize, and the very able manner in which he conducted and prepared to defend her, entitles him to this distinction, and proves him highly deferving of the recommendation you gave him, with his appointment in the Weft Indies. And although I had rather any other perfon fhould obferve the conduct of a brother of mine in action, and fpeak of it afterwards, yet I feel it to be my duty, as captain of the fhip, to ftate that I thought Mr. Bowen's (the fecond lieutenant) conduct was particularly animating to the fhip's company, and useful, from the great number of guns which he faw well pointed in the courfe of the action; added to which, from the absence of the first lieutenant on board the prize, the labouring oar of his fhip has fallen on him; and, in my mind, the task we have had since the action has been infinitely more arduous than that of the action itself.
The name of the prize is the Mahonefa, carrying on the maindeck twenty-fix Spanish twelves, (weighing eighteen ounces more than our's) eight Spanish fixes on the quarterdeck, and a number of brass cohorus, fwivels, &c.; had on board two hundred and feventy-five men, befides fix pilots, qualified for the Mediterranean as high as Leghorn, and to be put on board Admiral Langara's fleet, which she had been fent from Carthagena to look for. She was built in 1789 at Mahon, is of very large dimenfions, measuring eleven hundred and fourteen tons and a half Spanish, was before the action in complete good condition, and is confidered by the Spanish officers the fastest sailer, one of the best
conftructed, and, what they attach confiderable importance to, the handfomeft frigate in their navy.
Both the frigates have this moment anchored in fafety.
I am, &c.
An Account of the killed and wounded in the Action between his Majefty's Ship Terpfichore and the Spanish Frigate Mahonefa, on the 13th of October, 1766.
Terpsichore mounts thirty-two twelve and fix-pounders; complement - of men two hundred and fifteen.
Wounded. Mr. Richard Hobbs, (acting boatswain) flightly in the foot; John Roberts (quarter-mafter) loft his left thigh; and two
Mahonefa, by the best accounts I have been able to collect, had about thirty killed or died of their wounds the day of the action, and about the fame number wounded, feveral of whom are fince dead.
Admiralty Office, Nov. 22, 1796.
Extract of a Letter from Vice-admiral King/mill, Commander in Chief of his Majesty's Ships and Veffels at Cork, to Evan Nepean, Efq. dated on board his Majefty's Ship L'Engageante, in Cork Harbour, November 14, 1796.
HIS Majefty's fhips Polyphemus and Cerberus arrived here yefterday afternoon, the former not having feen any thing worth noticing, and the latter having, as intimated in my laft, captured L'Hirondelle flate Sans Culotte) cutter privateer, of ten guns and fixty men, and ehaced the Franklin brig privateer into the fquadron under Sir John Warren, who made a prize of her. These privateers, with the other three taken by the Santa Margarita and Dryad, formed a fmall fquadron which had been fitted out and failed together from Breft to scour the entrance of the English Channel, but have thus happily been all fecüred by our cruizers. Captain Drew has befides recaptured the Jackfon -Junior, Jamaica home-bound fhip, and the Friendship, Blake, from the. Cape of Good Hope. The firft is come hither, and the latter fuppofed gone to Plymouth.
P. S. Inclofed is Captain Drew's letter to me, with an account of his prizes.
Cerberus, Cork Harbour, Nov. 13, 1796.
1 HAVE the honour to inform you, on the ft inftant, in company with his Majefty's fhips Diana and Magnanime, lat. 49, 5. N. long. 8, 36. W. I gave chace to a fail in the S. W. and continued chacing till the next morning, when he was captured by Sir John Warren's fquadron, and proved to be the Franklin, French privateer brig, carrying twelve nine-pounders and eighty men. On the 4th I retook the hip Friendship, from the Cape of Good Hope; the 5th, took the L'Hirondelle, a French cutter privateer, carrying ten fixpounders, and fifty-three men, but had thrown fix of ber guns overe VOL. V.
board in the chace; and on the 6th retook the Jackfon Junior, from Jamaica.
I have the honour to be, &c. &c. &c.
Robert Kingfmill, Efq. Viceadmiral of the Red, Ec.
From the LONDON GAZETTE, November 26, 1796.]
Downing Street, Nov. 26.
DISPATCHES, of which the following are copies, have been received from Robert Craufurd, Efq. by the right hon. Lord Grenville, his Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs.
Head Quarters of his Royal Highness the
I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship, that official accounts were this day received by the Archduke from General Davidovich, ftating his having beaten the corps that was oppofed to him, and taken a thousand prifoners.
His advanced guard has taken poffeffion of Trente, which place, as well as the ftrong pofition behind it, were abandoned by the enemy without reffiftance.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Right Hon, Lord Grenville, &c.
Head Quarters of bis Royal Highness the
I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship, that by a report received by his royal highness the Archduke, from Lieutenant-general Neu, governor of Mayence, it appears, that the corps which had advanced to the Nabe has been obliged to fall back, and take a position behind the Seltz.
This corps confifted merely of detachments from the garrifon of May nc, commanded by Major-generals Simfchaen and Rofemberg. The latter, with the left wing, was pofted on the heights of Bieblefheim and Planig, to obferve Creutznach; the former, with the right wing, on the hil called the Rochufberg, to defend the paffage of Bingen. They had orders, in cafe of being attacked by a very fuperior force, to retire nearer to Mayence.
This pofition on the right bank of the Lower Nahe is well known from the operations of last year. It is not to be maintained against an en my of very fuperior force; for Creutznach lies fo entirely under the fire of the bills, from the left bank of the river, that the enemy is always after of that paffage, as was fufficiently proved by the affair of the ft of December, 1795. On this fide Creutznach, the heights are to diftant from the river, that the enemy has every facility in extending
himself in front, and on each flank of the town; and a corps of very inferior force cannot take poft near enough to prevent this formation.
On the 26th Generals Simpfchaen and Rosemberg were attacked by two, divifions of the army of the Sambre and Meufe. The action lafted feveral hours, and the enemy, notwithstanding so very great an inequality of numbers, was repulfed with confiderable lofs.
Early on the 27th, the French renewed the attack, and advanced in feveral columns from Creutznach, to turn the left of the Auftrians; but the latter, by an exertion of much ability and steadinefs, maintained their pofition. In the evening, however, the generals, in conformity to the order mentioned above, determined on retiring behind the Seltz; and the retreat was executed with perfect order.
The lofs of the Auftrians on this occafion confifts in nineteen killed, one hundred and eighty-four wounded, ninety-fix mifling; on the whole, two hundred and ninety-nine men, and eighty-nine horfes.
The enemy's was certainly confiderable; two hundred of them were taken prifoners, and brought into Mayence.
I am thus circumftantial in ftating the particulars of this, in fact, unimportant affair, because I obferve that the official reports of the, army of the Sambre and Meufe, 1 mean the late ones, contain the most abfurd exaggerations. I fhould confider them perfectly undeferving of notice, were it not that those who have no other means of judging of the events of the campaign, than by comparing the accounts published by the contending armies, would be led into the most erroneous conclufions, if they gave each party credit for only an equal degree of fairnefs in their relations.
In the enemy's official account of the affair of the 21st of last month, near Neuwied, it is reprefented as having been a terious and general attack; whereas it was merely undertaken for the purpose of deftroying his bridge, and fpreading alarm on the left bank of the Rhine. Both the fe objects were effected by a very infignificant force; and there was not the smallest idea of a serious affault on the tete-de-pont of Neuwied. The enemy ftates, that, befides an immenfe number killed and drowned, he actually took one thoufand prifoners, whereas I can affure your Lordship, from the most authentic information, that the whole lofs of the Auftrians did not exceed two hundred and eighty-four men.
After General Moreau's army had croffed the Rhine, two divifions of it were detached towards Landau, and one divifion of the army of the Sambre and Meufe arrived about the fame time in the neighbourhood of Kayflerflautern. General Hotze was ftill at Schweigenheim, on the road from Speyer to Landau: his corps was not of fufficient Strength to have any other object than that of fpreading alarm in Lower Alface; and it was evident that as foon as the Rhine fhould again feparate the main armies, the enemy muft immediately become mafters of the vicinity of Landau.
General Hotze, therefore, on the approach of forces fo infinitely fuperior to his own, retired towards the entrenched camp of Manheim, without being in the fmalleft degree molefted by the enemy. He established the advanced pofts of his left wing on the Reebach, from whence they ran along the Fletzbach towards Franckenthal.
On the 7th the French attacked General Hotze's line. Their principal efforts were directed against the left wing, and the fire of artillery and finall arms continued a great part of the day; but the