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|Name : Lion (64)||Manley Dixon (1757-1838)||wounded Mr. Patey Midshipman|
Spain (Armada Real) - Felix O'Neil
|Name : Pomona (34)||Francis Villamil||Fleet Flagship|
|Name : Santa Dorotea (34)||Manuel Gerraro||from 20 to 40 killed and 32 wounded Captured|
|Name : Santa Casilda (34)||Deam. Errara|
|Name : Proserpina (34)||Quaj Bial|
Copy of a Letter from Captain Dixon, of His Majesty's Ship the Lion, to Admiral the Earl of St. Vincent, dated at Sea, the 6th July, 1798.
It is with the greatest pleasure I have the honor to inform your Lordship, that yesterday morning at Nine o'Clock, Carthagena bearing N. 79 W. distant 29 leagues, I had the good fortune to fall in with a Squadron of Spanish Frigates ,as per Margin*, nnd that after having brought them
to close action, about a quarter past Eleven o'Clock, which lasted with great Warmth till 10 minutes past One P. M. the enemy was totally defeated and put to flight, leaving the Dorothea to her fate, having hoisted an English Ensign with the Union downwards; and as I considered her in the greatest distress, I lost not a Moment in taking possession, which was done in the face of the 3 remaining frigates, distant about 2 Miles on my Weather- Bow. In detailing the particulars of the above affair, I have to inform your Lordship, that at the Hour the frigates were descried in the S. E. Quarter, the Lion was steering East with a crowd of sail, the wind moderate at W. S. W and as I soon discovered by their signals and other manoeuvres they were enemies, I immediately cleared ship for action, which being effected in the shortest time .
I ever recollect to have seen, I acquainted the officers and ship's company with my intention of immediately bringing the frigates to the closest action possible ; and observing the chearfulness with which it was received, I determined not to lose a moment to profit thereby, and accordingly took in studding sails and first reefs
of the topsails, in order to secure the fighting of the lower battery, and hauled up towards the frigates which were steering for the Lion. Having secured the weather-gage, I bore down on the enemy, who was forming in a close order of battle on the larboard line of bearing: the third frigate from the Van had lost her fore-top-mast. It immediately occurred to me that the crippled ship was my objectif , in order to secure a general action; supposing that a spaniard (from the nobleness of his character) would never with so superior a force forsake a friend in distress. In this I fortunately succeeded and steering for and closing with the crippled ship, which was now become the sternmost in the line of battle, the other three frigates tacked in succession, and passed the Lion very gallantly within musquet shot : But as their line after tacking was by no means a close one, they each received a well-directed broadside from the lien ; the good effect of which was very visible by their standing a considerable time on that task. I still continued to steer for the crippled ship, who, nearly sailing as well as the Lion, galled her very
considerably in the rigging by her stern chaces. The three frigates made a second close attempt, but not so close as the former, to support her, and were each fully repaid by an exchange of broadsides. At length we closed with the crippled ship, and poured in a destructive fire, the yard-arms being just clear of each other; he nevertheless did not strike for some time after. At this period I found the Lion totally ungovernable, having all her braces, bowlings, clue garnets, &c. shot away, the foresail nearly rendered useless, and the other sails much torn.The three frigates for the third time made a distant and feeble effort to protect and cover the distressed frigate, but in vain ; they did not dare to approach within the distance to do so, and by great exertions being; enabled to wear round; on the fame task with the frigate that had now struck her colours, and substituted the english ensign in its place, I closed with and took possession of her as before related. During the remainder of the day we were lying to, fully employed in repairing the rigging, bending new canvas, and securing the prize, in order to enable me, if possible, to go in pursuit of the three frigates, which were making off close by the wind to the N. W. . Now, my Lord, it is with the greatest and most heartfelt pleasure to me that this service has been effected with the probable loss of only one poor man, who has had his thigh amputated, as likewise Mr. Patey Midshipman, slightly wounded in the shoulder : this youth did not quit his quarters in consequence of the wound, and was; from first to last, particularly active : But, my Lord, there have been several miraculous recoveries in the Lion, owing to the great ability and humane attention of the Surgeon, Mr. Young, I therefore never despair of a man while there is life.I have now the Satisfaction of declaring to your Lordship, that nothing -could exceed the cool and collected bravery and determined resolution of every individual in the Lion; I have taken the Dorothea in tow, as she has her mizen-mast and, fore-top-mast carried away; and sails and rigging cut to pieces her rudder and main-mast much damaged . as well as on account of the necessary attendance of the surgeon to the relief of the wounded men on board, the surgeon of the Dorothea being an inexperienced man and without the necessary instruments.
I can get, my Lord but an imperfect account of the killed on board the Dorothea; their complement at the commencement of the action was called 350 mens, and now there are victualled on board the Lion 351 mens : many volunteers embarked on board at Carthagena; the captain and officers suppose there might be from 20 to 40 killed in the action, and the wounded now on board the Lion are 32.
I am, &c. &c. Sec.
* Pomona, of 43 Guns and 350 Men, Felix O'Neil Commodore,
Don Francis Villamil Captain :
* Dorothea, of 43 Guns and 370 Men, Don Manuel Gerraro
* Casilda, of 43 Guns and 350 Men, Don Deam. Errant Captain
* Proserpine, of 42 Guns and 350 Men, Quaj. Bial Captain:
They all sailed from Carthagena the 8th Instant on a Cruise.