Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

Notwithstanding that those on board the Grasshopper were themselves in a most precarious position, from the repeated shocks the ship had sustained by striking against the ground, their attention was completely diverted from themselves, in their anxiety for the fate of the Hero.  The waves burst with relentless fury over the doomed vessel, every moment snatching a victim from the now almost deserted decks.

As the night was approaching, and the weather still continued boisterous, Captain Fanshawe, having taken the opinion of the officers, judged that there was no other alternative for saving the lives of his crew than by surrendering to the enemy.  At four o’clock the cable was cut, and they made sail for the Helder Point, where they surrendered to the Dutch Vice-Admiral, De Wintner.

The Hero went to pieces during the night:  in the morning not a vestige of her was to be seen.  Every exertion was made by the Dutch squadron to save the crew, but the weather was so stormy, that all their efforts proved abortive, and thus every soul on board perished.

In the year 1798, Captain Newman distinguished himself by a most gallant action which he fought off the coast of Ireland.  He was then in command of the Mermaid, 32-gun frigate, and was cruising in consort with the Revolutionnaire, of 38 guns, Captain Twysden, and the Kangaroo, gun-brig, commanded by Captain Brace.  On the 15th October, when near Black Cod Bay, two very large French frigates were seen and pursued, but they were lost sight of during the night.  The next morning, however, the Mermaid and Kangaroo made out one of the Frenchmen, and the Kangaroo came up with her the same afternoon, but was speedily disabled by the heavy fire of her opponent, and compelled to drop astern.  The Mermaid kept on in chase, and engaged the French vessel, which proved to be the Loire, 46-gun frigate, on the morning of the 17th October.  Early in the action the French attempted to board, but were frustrated by the skilful handling of the Mermaid, which enabled her to close within pistol-shot of the Loire, when the latter’s foretopmast was soon shot away, and the fire from her great guns nearly silenced, though a continuous storm of musketry was still kept up from her decks.  Upon attempting to rake her opponent, the Mermaid’s mizenmast unfortunately went by the board, so that she fell off, and the maintop-mast almost instantly followed.  By this time the rigging of the English frigate was completely cut to pieces, and her boats destroyed; she was also making a great deal of water, having received several shots between wind and water.  In this crippled condition, Captain Newman had no other alternative but to discontinue the action.  This was done without any attempt on the part of the Loire to renew the engagement, the French being no doubt only too glad to get rid of her spirited antagonist, though she was only half the size of their own vessel.

On the following day the Loire fell in with the Anson and Kangaroo, and surrendered to the British flag.  Subsequently Captain Newman was appointed to the Loire, having the proud satisfaction of commanding the vessel in whose capture he had so gallantly assisted.

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Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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