Hippomenes vs Buonaparte

21st June 1804
Part of : The French Revolutionary Wars (1793 - 1802)
Previous action : Action off Cape Cepet 24.5.1804
Next action : Attack on Boulogne 2.10.1804 - 3.10.1804


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Hippomenes (18) John Charles Woolcombe5 killed, 8 wounded, 4 prisoners

République Française

Ship NameCommanderNotes
Le Buonaparte (14) Augustin Paimpeny (d.1807)5 killed, 15 wounded

Notes on Action

On June 21st 1804, the Hippomenes, 14, Captain Kenneth M'Kenzie, was sighted to the east of Antigua by the French privateer Bonaparte, 18, Paimpeni master. The Frenchman boldly bore down, believing the British vessel, from her build, which was peculiar, and from the careful disguise which M'Kenzie had adopted, to be a merchantman. At 1.50 P.M. the two closed and began a close action. In this the Bonaparte had the worst of matters, and she dropped on board the Hippomenes, her bowsprit touching the latter's main mast. M'Kenzie at once had the bowsprit lashed to the mast, and dashed on board the Bonaparte, calling upon his crew to follow him. However, only his officers and about eight men obeyed. The Frenchmen were rapidly driven from their quarters to the poop, where they gathered, and, perceiving the weakness of the British boarding-party, regained heart. Half the boarding-party was cut to pieces, M'Kenzie was badly wounded, and the others were forced back from the Bonaparte's forecastle to the Hippo- menes 's deck. At that critical moment the lashing which had held the privateer parted, and M'Kenzie, wounded in fourteen places, had only just time to leap back on board his ship. The British loss was heavy. Two officers and two men were taken prisoners; five men were killed, and eight, including the Captain and the Master, wounded. In the crew of the Hippomenes, according to the Naval Chronicle, were many foreigners; which may explain, if it cannot condone, the cowardice displayed by the men. The Bonaparte had 5 killed and 15 wounded, besides suffering much damage in her hull and rigging.

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