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Capture of Senegal

4th July 1809 - 13th July 1809
Part of : The Napoleonic Wars (1803 - 1815)
Previous action : Capture of San Domingo 2.7.1809 - 6.7.1809
Next action : Capture of the Furieuse 5.7.1809 - 6.7.1809


United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

British Flotilla,
Edward Henry ColumbineBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1782-1798
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Ship NameCommanderNotes
Solebay (32) 1785-1809
British 32 Gun
5th Rate Frigate
Edward Henry ColumbineBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1782-1798
Fleet Flagship Sunk
Derwent (16) 1807-1817
British 16 Gun
Unrated Sloop
Frederick ParkerBritish
Naval Sailor
Service 1801-1809
CO Killed

Notes on Action

Early in the summer of 1809, the depredations of numerous small privateers, which used Senegal as their headquarters, drew attention to the importance of that settlement; and, in consequence, Captain Edward Henry Columbine, of the Solebay, 32, who was senior officer at Goree, arranged with Major Charles William Maxwell, commanding the garrison, to attempt to reduce the French colony. The expeditionary force assembled for the purpose consisted of the Solebay, Derwent, 18, Commander Frederick Parker, Tigris, brig, Lieutenant Robert Jones, Agincourt, transport, George, colonial schooner, six other armed schooners and sloops, and several unarmed vessels which were added to give an appearance of force. On board were 166 officers and men under Major Maxwell. The flotilla left Goree on July 4th, and anchored off the bar of Senegal on the 7th. On the following day 160 soldiers, 120 seamen, and 50 Royal Marines were, with much difficulty, got over the bar. This operation, unfortunately, involved the grounding of the George, the total loss of a schooner and a sloop, and the drowning of Commander Parker, of the Derwent. It was then discovered that a French force of about 400 men lay at Babaque, twelve miles above the bar, and five miles below St. Louis. The British troops and Marines were accordingly landed on the left bank, and established in a position where it was purposed that they should await the refloating of the George and the disembarkation of supplies. On the 9th, the enemy advanced to the attack, but retired before Maxwell, who was supported by the boats of the squadron, and again took post at Babaque, an island battery which covered a flotilla of seven armed vessels, mounting thirty-one guns, and which also commanded a boom spanning the whole river. On the 11th, the George being again afloat, the Solebay and Derwent l proceeded to a spot whence they cannonaded Babaque across the intervening land with good effect. In the following night, however, the Solebay took the ground, and she ultimately became a total wreck, though happily no lives were lost, and many of her stores were saved. On the 12th, the forces which had been landed were re-embarked, and the expedition proceeded up the river until within gunshot of Babaque. An attack was postponed owing to the receipt of information that the enemy desired to capitulate; and on the 13th it was found that the boom was broken, and that the battery and vessels were abandoned. Later in the day Senegal was formally surrendered.

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