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Mediator -> 1788 Camel
|Keel Laid Down||7.1780||BWAS-1714|
|How acquired||Purpose built||BWAS-1714|
|Shipyard||Northam - Devon||BWAS-1714|
|Designed by||Sir Thomas Slade (1703-1771)||BWAS-1714|
|Sailing Rig||Ship Rigged|
You will please to acquaint their Lordships with my Arrival here with the Menagere, one of my Prizes, having left the Alexander to follow Two Days ago. It was my Intention to have returned to England as soon as possible, for the Reasons given in my Letter, dated off Ferrol the 6th Instant; but, having received Intelligence from a Neutral Vessel, that an American Frigate was ready to sail from Bordeaux, the Wind being Easterly, I returned to the Southward to be able to fall into her Track; and on the 12th of December, at Seven A. M. we discovered Five Sail on our Lee Beam, made Sail and gave Chace. At Eight theif Hulls were above Water; they were forming in a close Line of Battle, and shortened Sail to their Topsails to wait for us; the Headmost was L'Eugene
Frigate built, of 36 Guns, 130 Men, commanded by Mons. Le Capitaine Baudin, laden for the French King, and bound to Port au Prince; she lay with a French Pendant and Ensign flying; next to her was an American Brig, of 14 Guns and 70 Men, with American Colours; next to her a Two decked Ship, the Length of a 64, armed en-Flute, called the Menagere, French Pendant and Ensign flying, commanded by Mons. De Foligne, Capitaine de Brutot, of the Department of Rochfort, mounting on her Main-Deck 26 long Twelve-Pounders, and 4 Six-Pounders on her Quarter Deck and Forecastle, with a Complement of 212 Men, laden with Gun-powder, Naval Stores and Bale Goods, for the French King's Service, at Port au Prince; next to her lay the Alexander of 24 Nine-Founders and 102 Men, with a French Pendant and an American Ensign, commanded by a Captain Gregory, who appears to have been an Irishman, but has a Congress Commission, laden with Stores, provisions, &c. for the French King's Use, at Port au Prince ; next to her lay the Dauphin Royal of 28 Guns, 120 Men bound to the East Indies, having a French Pendant and Ensign flying ; And having determined, without losing a Moment's Time, to endeavour to throw their Squadron into Confusion, and, if possible, to take advantage of some of them; and reilyng on the good Sailing of the Mediator to bring her off, if I could not see a Probability of Success after a few broadsides; I continued bearing down, with all sail set, on the Enemy, except such Sails as might be in the Way of quick Manoeuvres: At Ten received a few shot from the Menagere's upper Deck, which convinced me she had no Lower Deck Guns though she had all the Ports compleat to the Eye; continued to approach the Enemy, and receive Fire from their Line, and employed occasionally in tacking, wearing, bearing down, &c. At half past Ten, having very much approached the Rear of their Line, it broke, the Brig and Dauphin Royal crouding sail away from the rest; upon which the Menagere, Eugene, and Alexander wore under an easy Sail. At.Eleven I bore down, and cut off the Alexander from her Consorts, employed fighting both sides occasionally and the first Broadside, when very close to the Alexander, made her strike her American Colours, and let fly her Sheets; the Menagere and Eugene, after firing at us for some Time, crouded all Sail and went away beforfe the wind; boarded the prize, and laid her Head towards the Enemy, under all easy Sail, to permit us to take out 100 Prisoners, meaning to chace the Menagere. At half past Twelve made all Sail in chace, leaving the Prize to follow, or bear away for England if we ran her Hull down. At Three the Eugene hauled her Wind away from the Menagere. At Five began firing at the Menagere, to prevent her aiming at our Masts, by covering ourselves with smoke. At Half past five had gained very considerably on the Menagere, and occasionally fired Broadsides at each other. At Six a sudden Squall caught me, with three of my Lower Decke
guns run out, and obliged me to put before the Wind, the Water rushing in till Knee-deep on the Deck, but with the Chain Pumps we soon cleared our Ship and as soon as she was safe I hauled towards the enemy, crouding Sail to regain her. At Seven began again to fire at each other, and our Main-top-gallant-Maft and fore-top-gallant-yard were shot away: Continued constantly firing at each other till Nine, when I had got within Pistol-Shot of the Menagere's Quarter, and put my Helm a-weather to pour in a Broadside of Round and Grape Shot from all my Guns, which she, being aware of, threw up in the Wind, hauled down her Colours, and hailed that she had struck. I instantly ordered my People to desist firing, shortened Sail, and judging myself then within about Five Miles of the Entrance of Ferrol, where they must have heard our Guns, I hastened to get both Ships from off the land. At Eleven P. M. my Prize the Alexander joined us. The Fore Shrouds and a.great Deal of Running Rigging being shot away, detained us, but in two hours we received Two Hundred Prisoners more, and were able to make a little Sail together to Westward off Shore. At Day-Break we saw the Island Sisargo, distant about Five or Six Leagues, and in the Offing the Dauphin Royal, with her Main-top-Mast gone, and other ways disabled; and the Brig with all her Masts gone, except Part of her Lower Masts: I thought it however improper to risk the King's Ship, by leaving ourselves with fewer Men; for having sent fifty on Board the large ship, and twenty on Board the Alexander, besides manning the Spanish Prize, I had remaining only 190; Half of whom must steep at Nights, and the rest were few to work the Ship and guard 340 Prisoners. For this Reason I hope their Lordships will approve of my not chasing the Dauphin Royal and Brig the former stood in towards the Land, the Brig seemed returning to Bourdeaux, from whence this armed Convoy sailed on the 9th Instant.
On the 14th of December, at Ten P. M. Captain Stephen Gregory, of the Alexander, bid a Plot to occasion the Prisoners to rise, and hoped to have taken the Mediator from me; but through the indefatigable Attention of Lieutenant Rankin, of the Marines, in the Disposal and Regulation of Sentries, &c. as a Guard, and the lucky Precaution we had taken of ordering the Gratings of all the Hatches in the Lower Gun Deck to be battoned
down with Capstan Bars, leaving Room for only One Man at a Time to come up abaft, where, in case of an Alarm, we had fixed our Rendezvous, the desperate Scheme of Gregory was prevented without Bloodshed, the Prisoners finding no Passage where they could get up. The Alarm he fixed on was to fire an Eighteen Pounder Gun in the Gun-Room were he lay, for he messed with my Lieutenants, and had received every friendly attention. At Ten at Night i felt a terrible Shock from some Explosion, and heard a Cry of Fire:.I was soon after informed, that the Lee Port was blown away by the Gun into the Sea, and the Water making in. As soon as I had wore Ship on. the other Tack to get the Port Hole covered with Tarpaulins, and secured, I went down, found the Gun-Room on Fire, and every Thing shattered that was near the Explosion; Gregory, with his accomplice, dressed, though they had pretended to go to Bed ; and in their Cot was found Gunpowder, which they had provided to prime the Gun with and, in short, every Proof necessary for a Conviction of Gregory's having fired it for an Alarm to make the Prisoners rise : He had also endeavoured to provide himself with a Sword, but being disappointed in his Project, he begged his Life. A Cry of fire forwards was heard among the Prisoners when the Signal gun was fired; but all being discovered and settled, I ordered Gregory, together with those of his Officers and Men, whom I suspected concerned in the Plot, to be put in Irons and kept on Bread and Water. I think it my Duty to trouble their Lordships with this Narrative, in Justice to His Majesty's Colours, under which no prisoners are undeservedly treated with Rigour. The Officers of the Menagere having always conducted themselves like Men of Honour, I was happy to have the Pleasure of continuing them at my table, with the usual Confidence in their Parole and the Prisoners in general have had every Mark of Humanity and Attention shewn to them that our own Safety would admit of. When their Lordships consider the Force offering us Battle, and at first united to oppose us, they will, I trust, be convinced, that our Success was chiefly owing to the exertions and activity of the Officers and Men in working the Ship, as well as in fighting her. The Enemy's Shot having been entirely aimed with a View to dismast us, fortunately prevented my Officers and Men from receiving any Hurt my Lower Rigging forward and some abaft was shot away, also the Main-top-gallant-mast, Studding Sail and Yard, and Fore-top-galIant-yard,Topmast, Rigging, Sails, and Running Rigging in general much cut, which with a few Shot in the Bows, is all the Damage we have as yet discovered to have happened to His Majesty's Ship Mediator in the Action.
Mons. Darmaignac, a Gentleman of Property in the Island of St. Domingo, killed.
Three Seamen killed.
Seven or Eight ditto wounded.
Six Seamen killed.
Eight or Nine ditto wounded.
This List is taken from the Report of their Officers, not having had Time as yet to examine the Prisoners by List