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.
the aid of an experienced pilot.  Into one of these natural harbours, Lieutenant Thomas, by the advice of his pilot, determined to run the Grappler, and succeeded in anchoring her in safety under the Maitre Isle.  There they remained four or five days, keeping a sharp look-out by day from the top of one of the adjacent rocks, to guard against a surprise from the enemy’s cruizers; while for their better security at night, a guard-boat was stationed at the entrance of the harbour.  As the weather still continued too boisterous to trust the brig with safety on a lee shore, her commander determined to return to Guernsey, and offered his prisoners the alternative of returning with him, or remaining with their countrymen at Chaussey.  As they all chose to remain, they were promptly landed, and furnished with a boat and a week’s supply of provisions, in addition to what had already been left for the use of the inhabitants.  To enable his prisoners to land with greater security at Granville, Lieutenant Thomas read aloud and sealed in their presence a letter, addressed by Sir James Saumarez to the Commissary of Marine at that port, containing an explanation of his reasons for liberating these Frenchmen,—­with his hopes that the French authorities would act in the same manner towards any English who might fall into their hands,—­and entrusted it to one of them, with another letter from himself, in which he stated how he had been prevented from conveying them to Granville in his own vessel, and begged that any English prisoners who chanced to be at that place might be sent to one of the Channel Islands.  The sequel will show in what manner this courtesy and generosity were repaid by the French government.

At six, A.M., December 30th, all was in readiness for the Grappler to leave the harbour.  The anchor was up, and the vessel was riding between wind and tide, with a hawser made fast to the rocks.  Unfortunately, the hawser either broke or slipped while they were in the act of close reefing the topsails, and the brig cast to port.  She drifted about three or four hundred yards, and struck at last on a half-tide rock, from which all their efforts were unavailing to haul her off again, and at low water she bilged, and parted in two abreast the chess tree.

Lieutenant Thomas, foreseeing the inevitable loss of the brig, had ordered the master to proceed with the cutter and eight men to Jersey for assistance; and he was directing the crew in their endeavours to mount some guns upon a small rocky islet, to which they had already carried the greater part of the provisions, small arms, and ammunition, when the look-out man, who had been stationed on the summit of the rock, reported that several small craft were steering towards them.  Upon receiving this intelligence, the commander and pilot repaired to the high ground, and after carefully examining the appearance of the vessels, agreed that they were merely fishing boats, and considered that it would be imprudent to let them depart before assistance had been procured from Jersey, as, in case there were no ships of war at that place, these boats might possibly be hired to carry the men and stores to Jersey.  With this object in view, Lieutenant Thomas pushed off in the jolly boat, accompanied by the French fishermen’s small boat which had come to the assistance of the Grappler’s crew.

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