His Majesty’s ship Banterer, of 22 guns, under the command of Captain Alexander Shephard, was lost on the 29th October, 1808, between Port Neuf and Point Mille Vache, in the River St. Lawrence, whilst in the execution of orders, which Captain Shephard had received from Sir John Borlase Warren, directing him to proceed to Quebec, with all possible despatch, to take a convoy to England.
The following is the account of this disastrous affair, as given by Captain Shephard:—
’Being as far as the Island of Bie in pursuance of orders, through rather an intricate navigation, with foul winds the greater part of the time, where the charge of the ship devolved upon myself, and the only chart I could procure of the navigation in question being on a very small scale, I felt myself relieved from much anxiety by receiving a branch pilot on board on the 28th October last, on which night at eight P.M. we passed between that island and the south shore, with the wind north by west, and very fine weather; at nine, the wind coming more round to the westward, we tacked for the north shore, in order, as the pilot said, not only to be ready to avail himself of the prevailing northerly winds in the morning, but because the current was there more in our favour. At midnight we tacked to the southward, and at two A.M. again laid her head to the northward; and at four A.M. the pilot having expressed a wish to go about, the helm was accordingly put down, and on rising tacks and sheet, it was discovered that the ship was aground. As we had then a light breeze at west, the sails were all laid aback, the land being in sight from the starboard-beam, apparently at some distance, I immediately ordered the master to sound round the ship, and finding that the shoal lay on the starboard quarter and astern, ordered the sails to be furled, the boats hoisted out, the stream anchor and cable to be got into the launch, and the boats to tow her out two cables’ length, south-west from the ship, where we found the deepest water; but by this time the wind had suddenly increased to such a degree that the boats could not row ahead, and latterly having lost our ground, we were obliged to let the anchor go in fifteen fathoms, about a cable’s length W.S.W. from the ship, on which, having got the end of the cable on board, we hove occasionally as the flood made, and in the meantime got our spare topmasts over the side, with the intention of making a raft to carry out a bower anchor should it moderate; but the intense cold, and the still increasing gale rendered it impossible.
’About half-past eleven A.M. the stream cable being then taut ahead, the wind W.S.W., with a very heavy sea, the ship canted suddenly with her head to the southward, where we had deep water; we immediately set our courses, jib and driver, and for some time had the must sanguine hopes of getting her off, but were unfortunately disappointed, and as the ebb made we were obliged again to furl sails.