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On the 9th of March, the British 60-gun ship Rippon, Captain Edward Jekyl, being off Cadiz, gave chase to the French 64-gun ship Achille, and a frigate. At 6h. p.m. the latter bore up for the Rippon, under English colours; but on discovering the character of the British ship, crowded all sail to get away. The chase of the two ships lasted all the night and next day; and at 9h. 30m. p.m., on the 10th, the Rippon brought the Achille to close action ; but the frigate having altered her course, got away. The wind being very strong, and a heavy sea running (both ships before the wind, and going ten knots), the Rippon could with great difficulty fight her lower deck guns, and the men on the lower deck were constantly up to their knees in water.
The fire was slackening on board the Achille, when unfortunately one of the Rippon's lower-deck guns burst, killing eight, and wounding eight men, and extinguishing all the lights. It was then found necessary to close all the ports, except of the four aftermost guns. Having shot away the Achille's fore-topmast and fore-yard, the Rippon passed a-head of her, and hauling her wind across the French ship's bows, raked her as she passed. The Achille then passed under the Rippon's stern; but the confusion was so great on board, that the opportunity of raking the British ship was lost. One gun only was fired, the shot from which cut away the Rippon's main-topsail sheet. The Rippon then endeavoured to put before the wind again, after the enemy ; but having had her jib and staysail halyards shot away, as well as the head braces, this was found impracticable, until the running gear was replaced. In the meantime, a hard squall with heavy rain came on, which adding to the pitchy darkness of the night, the enemy was lost sight of ; and when the Rippon again got her head in the supposed direction of the Achille, all sail was made; but at daybreak she was nowhere to be seen. The Achille reached the Groyne, and her captain published an account of the action, in which he took the credit of beating off an English 74-gun ship.
|Name : Rippon (60)||Edward Jekyll (d.1776)|
|Name : L'Achille (64)|