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Action of 1814-01-23

23rd January 1814
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Action of 1814-01-18 18.1.1814
Next action : Surrender of Ragusa 28.1.1814

 

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Astraea (36) 1810-1851
British 36 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
John EveleighBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1795-1814
,
Benjamin AshleyBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1793-1844
,
John BulfordBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1796-1815
9 killed, 37 wounded CO Killed
Creole (36) 1813-1833
British 36 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Robert ForbesBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1796-1816
,
George Charles MackenzieBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1796-1815
10 killed, 26 wounded
 

Empire Français

 
Ship NameCommanderNotes
La Sultane (44) 1813-1814
French 44 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Abel Aubert du Petit-ThouarsFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1804-1858
L'Étoile (44) 1813-1814
French 44 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Pierre Henry PhilibertFrench
Naval Sailor
Service 1774-1824
 

Notes on Action


DescriptionTRN5

The Etoile and Sultane proceeded to the Cape de Verde Islands, and anchored in English Harbour, Ma'io. On January 23rd, they were found there by the Creole, 36, Captain George Charles Mackenzie, and Astraea, 36, Captain John Eveleigh, which, making them out to be enemies, wore, and made sail for the anchorage. When the British vessels were about a mile distant, the Frenchmen cut or slipped, and made sail free on the port tack, with a strong N.E. wind. Thereupon the Creole and Astraea set their topgallant sails and chased. At about 12.45 the Creole, then leading, fired a shot ahead of the Sultane, which was on her starboard bow, and somewhat astern of the Etoile; and she continued firing occasionally until, at 1 P.M., she ranged up on the Sultane' s starboard beam, and exchanged broadsides. Soon afterwards the Astraea crossed the Sultane's stern, passed between the latter ship and the Creole, poured in and received two broadsides at close quarters, and stood on to engage the Etoile, which was half a mile ahead, with her mizen topsail aback.

Twice was the Creole set on fire in the two hours during which her action with the Sultane lasted. At the expiration of that time, being cut to pieces aloft, and having 10 people killed and 26 wounded, Mackenzie abandoned the contest, put his helm a-lee, and steered for Sao Thiago.

The Astraea had quitted the Sultane at 2.15. She got alongside of the Etoile a quarter of an hour later, exchanging broadsides, ranging ahead, luffing up, and raking her enemy; but, losing her wheel, she fell round off; and the Etoile, wearing, raked her very destructively. The Astraea, however, backed round, and got her starboard guns to bear; and a yard-arm to yard-arm action began. In a few minutes Eveleigh was mortally wounded, and the command devolved on Lieutenant John Bulford. In spite of the discouragement caused by the retirement of the Creole, by a fire in the Astrcea' s mizen top, and by the approach of the Sultane, Bulford fought on gallantly, and tried, though without success, to board his immediate opponent. The Sultane, passing to leeward, raked him, but then, fortunately, stood away before the wind. At 3.45 the Etoile had had enough of it, and wore round, subsequently standing after her consort, while the Astraea's mizen mast, in flames, went by the board. Bulford, of course, could not follow. When he had partially refitted, he made after the Creole, which he joined at about 5.15 P.M. in Porto Praya Bay. The Astrcea had lost 9 killed, including Eveleigh, and 37 wounded; so that the total loss in the two British frigates was 19 killed and 63 wounded. The enemy had about 40 killed and 60 wounded between them. It was, all things considered, a tolerably well matched struggle, ending in a draw.




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