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.

Captain Maxwell was actively employed on the coast of Italy until 1811, when we find him cruizing in the Adriatic, in company with the Active, Captain James Alexander Gordon, and a 36-gun frigate, the Unite, Captain Edward Henry Chamberlain.  On the morning of the 28th of November, the little squadron was lying in Port St. George, Island of Lissa, when signals were made that there were three suspicious sail south.  The three frigates immediately got under weigh, and on the morning of the 29th came within sight of the strange vessels, which proved to be the Pauline, a 40-gun frigate, the Pomone, frigate, and 26-gun ship, Persanne.  The French commodore, finding the English force greater than he expected, bore up to the north-west, and the Persanne separated, and stood to the north-east.  The Unite was then despatched in chase of the Persanne, and the Alceste and Active continued in pursuit of the French frigates.

In the course of a couple of hours the Alceste commenced action with the Pomone, but an unlucky shot soon afterwards brought down the main-topmast of the Alceste, and she was compelled to drop astern.  The Active speedily ranged alongside of the Pomone, and after a spirited conflict, the latter ship was compelled to haul down her colours and surrender.

The Pauline, in the meantime, tacked, and poured her fire into the Alceste, no doubt anticipating an easy victory from her disabled state; but in this she was disappointed, for the fire was returned with such effect, that after a warm conflict of two hours and twenty minutes, the commodore made off to the westward, which, from the crippled state of the Alceste, Captain Maxwell was unable to prevent.  In this action the Alceste lost twenty killed and wounded, the Active thirty-five, and Pomone fifty.  The gallant captain of the Active had the misfortune to lose his leg, and his first lieutenant, William Bateman Dashwood, had his right arm shot away:  the command therefore fell upon the second lieutenant, George Haye, who fought the action, until her opponent surrendered.

In 1813, Captain Maxwell had the misfortune to be wrecked in the Daedalus, and in 1815 was again reappointed to the Alceste.  On his passage home, after the loss of that vessel, he touched at St. Helena, and had an interview with Napoleon Buonaparte, who, reminding him of the capture of the Pomone, said ’Vous etiez tres mechant.  Eh bien! your government must not blame you for the loss of the Alceste, for you have taken one of my frigates.’[16]

Captain Maxwell was nominated a C.B. in 1815, and received the honour of knighthood in 1818.

He died in June, 1831.


The Drake, a small schooner, under the command of Captain Charles Baker, had been despatched by the commander-in-chief on the Newfoundland station, upon special duty to Halifax.

Having accomplished the object of her mission there, she set sail again to return to St. John’s, on the morning of Thursday, the 20th of June, 1822.  The weather was unusually fine, the wind favourable, and everything promised a short and prosperous voyage.

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