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Action of 1805-08-02

2nd August 1805
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : 3rd Battle of Cape Finisterre 22.7.1805
Next action : Action of 1805-08-06 6.8.1805


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Phaeton (38) 1782-1828
British 38 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
George CockburnBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1783-1851
2 Wounded
Harrier (16) 1804-1809
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
William WooldridgeBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1794-1815
Edward RatseyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1786-1841
2 Wounded

Empire Français

Unknown Division
Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Semillante (32) 1791-1808
French 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
  No Casulaties

Notes on Action

Description of the ActionTRN5

On August 2nd 1805, the Phaeton, 38, Captain John Wood, and sloop Harrier, 18, Commander Edward Ratsey (actg.), discovered the French Semillante, 36, Captain L. B. Motard, at anchor in the harbour of San Jacinto in the Philippines. The Semillante had been despatched from Mauritius to warn the Spanish governor of the colony of the outbreak of war, and, after performing that mission,, had been requested by him to proceed to Mexico and obtain funds, which were urgently required in the Philippines, where the Spanish treasury was empty. The Semillante was on her way to Mexico, but had been compelled to anchor at San Jacinto, owing to the feebleness of the wind, which would not permit her to attempt the passage of the San Bernardino Strait. As soon as the British vessels were made out, the Semillante warped to a position where on one side she had a reef of rocks, and on the other two batteries, mounting in all two 12 and two 9-prs. These guns were manned by seamen from the frigate. The Harrier led in and opened fire; the Phaeton followed; and, after an hour's cannonade, the British sloop took fire. The flames were speedily got under, but a little later both British vessels retired, as it was impossible to get at the enemy without warping. Each of the British ships had 2 men wounded, and both were much damaged in sails and rigging.

The Semillante does not seem to have suffered any loss. During the night she landed several guns and prepared for a fresh attack, but the British ships, having reconnoitred her position next day, withdrew. The Semillante, when they had disappeared, retired to Mauritius and abandoned her voyage to Mexico, judging that the enemy would keep a sharp look-out for her.

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