Action off Rota

4th April 1808
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Capture of Desirade 30.3.1808
Next action : Attack on the Garotta 23.4.1808


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Squadron, Murray Maxwell
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Alceste (38) Murray MaxwellFleet Flagship
Mercury (28) James Alexander Gordon (1782-1869)
Grasshopper (16) Thomas Searle (1777-1849)

Notes on Action

On April 4th 1808, a small British squadron, consisting of the Alceste, 38, Mercury, 28, Captain James Alexander Gordon, and Grasshopper, 18, Commander Thomas Searle, under Captain Murray Maxwell, of the Alceste, discovered a large Spanish convoy to the north of Cadiz, under the convoy of about twenty gunboats. When off Rota, the British vessels attacked, the Grasshopper especially distinguishing herself by drawing close to the Spanish batteries at Rota, and silencing them with grape from her guns, at the same time holding in check a division of gunboats which came out from Cadiz. The AIceste and Mercury opened fire on the convoy, destroyed two gunboats, and drove several others ashore. Then the boats were sent in, under Lieutenants Allan Stewart and Watkin Owen Pell, and brought off seven small craft from under the Spanish guns, though all the barges and pinnaces of the combined Franco-Spanish fleet lying in Cadiz had come up to the help of the convoy. The British lost only 1 mortally and 2 less severely wounded.

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