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

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

In 1808, our officer received the command of the unfortunate Hero, which ship, in 1810, formed part of the squadron under Sir James Saumarez, employed for the protection of commerce in the North Sea.  Here he continued in the unpleasant duty of convoying merchant vessels backwards and forwards from Dar’s Head, the south entrance of the Great Belt, to Sproe Island.  On the 25th of September, Captain Newman, in company with the Mars, 74, arrived off Yarmouth, having in charge between five and six hundred merchantmen, the largest convoy that had ever sailed from the Baltic.  He again returned to his former station in March, 1811, where he remained until the latter end of the year, when his ship was selected, with others, to convoy the homeward-bound fleet.  On this occasion, he appears to have had sad misgivings as to the prudence of sending ships home at so late a period of the year, through the dangerous navigation of the northern seas.  On the day previous to the sailing of the squadron from Wingo Sound, he observed, ’I cannot help thinking that we have been detained too long, and it is well if some of us do not share the fate of the Minotaur.’[14] His words were but too prophetic; and, ere long, he and two thousand of our brave defenders perished on a foreign strand.

FOOTNOTES: 

[14] Naval Chronicle.

THE DAEDALUS.

His Majesty’s ship Daedalus, of 38 guns, Captain Murray Maxwell, sailed from Spithead on the 27th of January, 1813, in charge of an East Indian convoy, and made the island of Ceylon, near the Pointe de Galle, on the 1st of July.  She passed Dondra Head at sunset, and then steered east by north during the night, in order to pass well outside the Basses.  In the morning, the ship’s head was pointed to the north, to get near land, a good look-out being kept both from the deck and mast-head for rocks and breakers.  The atmosphere was so clear that a ripple might have been seen upon the water for miles around.  Nothing appeared to indicate danger; the vessel was supposed to be seven or eight miles off the land, and the master was pointing out to Captain Maxwell her position upon the chart, when they felt her take the ground abaft; but so very easily, that many people on board were not aware that she had touched.  Signals were immediately made to warn the convoy of their danger, but before the signals could be answered, the Daedalus swung off into deep water.  All sail was set, and strong hopes were entertained that she was not materially injured; but her frame was too slight to sustain any shock whatever without damage, the lower part of the stern-post had given way, occasioning a leak of such magnitude, that although the pumps were instantly manned; and worked with unceasing energy, the water could not be kept under.  A signal was made for the convoy to bring to, and to send all their carpenters on board the Daedalus, which was immediately

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