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Action of 1805-02-08

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 4 months ago

The Action of 8th February 1805


The British Ship

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes

Curieux16George Edmund Byron Bettesworth
The French Ship

Ship's NameGunsCommanderNotes

Madame Ernouf16


Description of the action taken from Naval History of Great Britain by William James

On the 8th of February, at daybreak, the British 16-gun brig-sloop Curieux, Captain George Edmund Byron Bettesworth, being about 20 leagues to the eastward of Barbadoes, discovered on her lee bow a large brig, that immediately bore up and made all sail. Chase was given; and, after a run of 12 hours, during which the brig tried every point of sailing to escape, the Curieux got within point-blank shot. The former, which was the French privateer Dame Ernouf, then took in her studding-sails, brought to on the starboard tack, hoisted French colours, and commenced a brisk fire of great guns and small arms. As soon as she had arrived within musket-shot upon the privateer's weather-quarter, the Curieux opened her fire. The action continued with great obstinacy for 40 minutes; when the Dame Ernouf ceased firing, and, after three cheers had been given by her crew, steered for the Curieux's lee-quarter. Aware of the intent, Captain Bettesworth put his helm a-starboard, and caught his opponent's jib-boom between the Curieux's after fore-shroud and foremast. In this exposed situation the Dame Ernouf remained until her decks were completely cleared by the guns of the Curieux; when, just as the latter was about to board the former, the two vessels parted, the fore topmast of the Dame Ernouf falling over the side just as she dropped clear. The privateer continued a short time firing musketry, and then hauled down her colours.


Both ships mounted 16 long French 6-pounders. The Curieux had a complement of 67 men and boys; of whom she lost five, including the purser, Mr. Maddox (who, in the absence of the first-lieutenant, gallantly volunteered his services, and was killed at the head of the small-arm men), killed, and four, including her commander, by a musket-ball in the head, wounded. The Dame Ernouf commenced action with 120 men, of whom she had 30 killed and 40 wounded: a sufficient proof that her officers and crew persevered in their resistance while any hope remained. In his modest account of an action so creditable to himself and his brig's company, Captain Bettesworth omits not to pass a very handsome encomium on the gallantry of his antagonist.




See here for more single ship actions



W005Naval History of Great BritainWiliam James

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