Come and ask, answer or inform.
|Name : Fortitude (74)||Thomas Taylor||Fleet Flagship|
|Name : Bedford (74)||Alexander Montgomerie|
|Name : Censeur (74)||John Gore (1772-1836)|
"Sir,—Be pleased to acquaint my Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, that I left Gibraltar on the 24th Sept. taking the first spirt of an easterly wind after my letter of the 21st, when the wind was westerly.
"In coming through the gut in the night, H. M. ships Argo and Juno, with some of the merchantmen, parted company, and, I conclude, by steering more to the northward than myself with the other men-of-war and the body of the convoy, it being near dusk in the evening before many of them got out of the bay, though the Fortitude was under weigh with the much greater part by 10 A. M. but, on the whole, their separation has turned out a most fortunate circumstance; for, with great regret, I am to inform their lordships, that on the 7th instant, Cape St. Vincent, by account, bearing S. 83° E. 48 leagues, the wind N. by W. standing on the larboard tack, I discovered nine sail of the enemy's ships, six of the line, two of which I judged to be of 80 guns, and three large frigates, who directly gave chase to H. M. squadron under my command under a press of sail. I made every possible disposition for the better security of the convoy by divers signals, through which, had many of them been punctually obeyed, a much greater number would have escaped. I then formed the line, with the Bedford, Censeur, and Fortitude, determined, if practicable, to give them battle, and save as many of the convoy as I possibly could.
"Just as the ships under my command had formed, the Censeur rolled away her fore-top-mast; by which, having only a frigate's main-mast, she was rendered useless. The van line-of-battle ship of the enemy being then but long gun-shot off, and the rest coming fast up, I judged it proper, with the general opinion of my officers, coinciding with that of Captain Montgomery of the Bedford, to bear up, keeping very near together for our mutual support, and cutting down every part of the stern for the chase-guns. I ordered the Lutine frigate directly to take the Censeur in tow; but, from the very heavy fire from the enemy's van ship, it could not be effected.
"Captain Gore, who commanded the Censeur, though his ship was in so disabled a state, not half manned, and with but very little powder, made the most gallant defence; but being at length overpowered, by two sail more of the enemy's line coming up, I had the mortification to see him strike his colours about half-past two o'clock.''