Actions of December 1809
|13th December 1809 - 18th December 1809|
|Blonde||38||Volant Vashon Ballard|
|Junon||38||John Shortland†||Captured 20 killed, 40 wounded|
|Notes on Action|
On December 13th, to the east of Antigua, the Junon, 38, Captain John Shortland, and Observateur, 16, Commander Frederick Augustus Wetherall, sighted the Renommee, 40, and Clorinde, 40, convoying the two flutes, Loire, 40, and Seine, 40 (then mounting 20 guns apiece only). The British vessels boldly gave chase and closed. The strangers showed the Spanish flag, and made the correct answer to the private signal. This led the Junon to approach within a quarter of a mile of her antagonists, whereupon the French hoisted their national colours, and the Renommee fired a broadside. The Clorinde ran almost foul of the Junon' s starboard side; the Renommee closed yard-arm to yard-arm on the port side; and the two flutes opened a raking fire ahead and astern of the British frigate. Thus circumstanced, and though her deck was swept by the enemy's small-arms fire, she fought heroically for half an hour, and did not haul down her flag till more than a quarter of her crew had been placed hors de combat, and her gallant captain wounded no fewer than five times. Of those wounds he died on January 21st following. Out of 224 officers and men, she lost 20 killed and 40 wounded. Her enemies had among them 21 killed and 18 wounded. The Junon's hull was in such a shattered state that, as soon as the prisoners had been transferred, the frigate was set on fire by the French.
The Observateur, seeing that her aid would be fruitless, escaped as soon as her consort was surrounded. She made sail for Guadeloupe, and there warned the Blonde, 38, Captain Volant Vashon Ballard, Thetis, 38, Captain George Miller, Hazard, 18, Commander Hugh Cameron, and Cygnet, 18, Commander Edward Dix. All these vessels took post in the channel between the Saintes and Guadeloupe, where they were joined on the 16th and 17th by the Scorpion, 18, Commander Francis Stanfell, Ringdove, 18, Commander William Dowers, and Castor, 32, Captain William Roberts, the latter having been chased by the Frenchmen off Desirade. The Scorpion and Ringdove were detached to reconnoitre Basseterre. It was still early on the 17th when the Loire and Seine were made out by the squadron, steering down the west of Guadeloupe towards Basseterre.
|TRN5||The Royal Navy : a history from the earliest times to the present Vol V||William Laid Clowes||Digital Book|