Landing at Palamos

13th December 1810
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Capture of the Mamelouk 10.12.1810
Next action : Action of 1810-12-17 17.12.1810


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Squadron, Thomas Rogers
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Kent (74) Henry GarrettFleet Flagship
Ajax (74) Robert Waller Otway (1770-1846)
Cambrian (40) Richard Budd Vincent (c.1770-1831), Francis William Fane (d.1844)
Minstrel (18) Colin Campbell (1787-?)
Sparrowhawk (16) James Pringle

Notes on Action

One of the most disastrous episodes of the year 1810 occurred on December 13th. Captain Thomas Rogers, of the Kent, 74, having under his orders the Ajax, 74, Captain Robert Waller Otway, Cambrian, 40, Captain Francis William Fane, Sparrowhawk, 18, Commander James Pringle, and Minstrel, 18, Commander Colin Campbell, sent in his boats, with 350 seamen, 250 Marines, and a couple of field-pieces, under Captain Fane, to destroy a convoy lying within the mole of Palamos, in Catalonia. This convoy consisted of eight merchantmen, two 3-gun xebecs, and a 14-gun ketch, covered by a 24-pr. over the mole, and by another 24-pr. and a 13-in. mortar in a battery on a height. The French, who were in possession of the town, made no great resistance when the landing-party seized the batteries and the convoy. The mortar was spiked; the guns were thrown into the sea; the magazine was blown up; and all the vessels, except two, were carried out, burnt or destroyed, with a loss of but 4 or 5 men. In the meantime, however, the French had been reinforced, and the British, who were so ill-advised as to pass through the town on the way back to their boats, were subjected to a very severe fire from men concealed in houses and behind walls. The result was that an enterprise which, at one time, appeared to have been accomplished in a particularly facile manner, terminated in a loss to the attacking force of no fewer than 33 killed, 89 wounded, and 87 missing. Fane himself was among the prisoners. Lieutenants George Godfrey and Matthew Connolly greatly distinguished themselves in taking off the survivors.

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