Action of 1805-04-23

23rd April 1805
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Action of 1805-02-13 13.2.1805
Next action : Action of 1805-06-10 10.6.1805


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Flottila
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Leda (38) Robert Honeyman
Harpy (16) Edmund Heywood
Railleur (16) Valentine Collard
Fury (16) Robert Pearson
Bruiser (12) Thomas Smithies (d.1813), Alexander Davidson
Archer (12) John Price (d.1828)
Locust (12) John Lake, Thomas Swinburne (d.1808)
Tickler (12) John Watson Skinner (d.1808)
Firm (12) Cornelius Collett (d.1832)
Monkey (12) Richard William Simmonds (d.1831)
Gallant (12) Thomas Shirley (d.1818)
Watchful (12) James Marshall (d.1805)

Allied (République Française & Batavian Republic)

Franco-Batavian Flottila
Ship NameCommanderNotes

Notes on Action

At 9 P.M. on April 23rd 1805, the night being dark and a fresh N.E. wind blowing, a division of thirty-three gun-vessels and nineteen transports, which had previously reached Dunquerque road from Ostend, weighed in further pursuance of this plan of concentration. It safely passed Gravelines and Calais without being observed by the British cruisers; but, just before dawn on the 24th, it was thrown into some confusion by a shift of wind, first to S.E. and later to S.S.E., and by the change of tide; and the greater number of the craft made for an anchorage between Capes Blanc-Nez and Gris-Nez, although eight armed schuyts were too far to leeward to be able to follow. At break of day the enemy was discovered by a British squadron, the bulk of which was at anchor off Boulogne. This consisted of the Leda, 38, Captain Robert Honyman, the sloops Harpy, Commander Edmund Heywood, and Railleur, Commander Valentine Collard, the bomb Fury, Commander John Yelland, and the gun-brigs Bruiser, Archer, Locust, Tickler, Firm, Monkey, Gallant, and Watchful, the two last being on guard off Ambleteuse. The squadron chased to the N.E.; and at 8 A.M. the Gallant, Lieutenant Thomas Shirley, and the Watchful, Lieutenant James Marshall, closed with the schuyts, which were aided by some of the gun-brigs and by the shore batteries. The Gallant, struck between wind and water, had to haul off to stop her leaks; but the Watchful took one schuyt, and the Railleur, with the Locust, Lieutenant John Lake, and the Starling, Lieutenant Charles Napier, presently coming up, took six more, after a spirited engagement. On the following morning the Archer, Lieutenant William Price, captured another schuyt which had drifted off the land. The only loss on the British side was one seaman wounded. The rest of the enemy's flotilla reached Ambleteuse, assisted by armed launches sent out from Boulogne by Rear-Admiral Lacrosse, who, on the death of Bruix, had assumed command of the naval force on the coast.

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