During January and February the Proserpine, 32, Captain Charles Otter, acted as look-out ship close inshore for the British squadron off Toulon, and showed such boldness that the French determined to trap her. During the night of February 27th, whilst she was becalmed to the south of Toulon, the Penelope, 40, Captain Bernard Dubourdieu, Pauline, 40, Captain F. G. Montfort, and Pomone, 40, worked out to the west under Cape Sicie, hidden from view by the deep shadow cast by the moon. They then turned before an E.N.E. wind, and bore down upon the Proserpine. The British cruiser saw them too late, attempted escape, and was quickly brought to action by the Penelope and Pauline, one on each quarter.
Against such a superiority of force she had no chance of success, especially as the Pomone, with the Ajax, 74, and Suffren, 74, was coming up astern. After 40 minutes\' firing, in which she inflicted no loss whatsoever upon the enemy and had her own rigging cut to pieces, she hauled down her flag, with 1 killed and 10 wounded. The French vessels suffered some slight damage to their rigging.