Royal Naval Biography/Dundas, George Heneage Lawrence
GEORGE HENEAGE LAWRENCE DUNDAS.
A Companion of the most Honorable Military Order of the Bath.
[Post-Captain of 1801.]
This officer is the fourth son of the late Lord Dundas, by Lady Charlotte Wentworth, sister of Earl Fitzwilliam.
On the 17th March, 1800, a most melancholy accident happened to the Queen Charlotte of 100 guns, in which ship Mr. Dundas was then serving as a Lieutenant. Proceeding from Leghorn to reconnoitre the island of Cabrera, and when about three or four leagues distant from the former place, she was discovered to be on fire. Every possible assistance was immediately forwarded from the shore; but a number of boats, it seems, were deterred from approaching her, in consequence of the guns going off when heated, and discharging their contents in all directions. The carpenter, who was one of those saved from that ill-fated ship, gives the following account of the calamitous disaster alluded to:
About twenty minutes after six o’clock in the morning, as he was dressing himself, he heard throughout the ship a general cry of “fire!” on which he immediately ascended from the cockpit, and found the half-deck, the front bulk-head of the Admiral’s cabin, the coat of the main-mast, and the covering of the boats on the booms, all in flames; which from every report, and in all probability, was occasioned by some hay, lying under the half-deck, having been set on fire by a match, which was usually kept there for signal guns. The main-sail at this time was set, and almost instantly caught fire; the people not being able to come to the clue-garnets on account of the flames. He immediately went to the forecastle, and there found Lieutenant Dundas and the boatswain encouraging the people to get water to extinguish the fire. He applied to Lieutenant Dundas, seeing no other officer in the fore part of the ship (and being unable to see any on the quarter-deck, owing to the smoke and flames between them), to give him assistance to drown the lower decks, and secure the hatches, to prevent the fire falling down. Lieutenant Dundas accordingly went down himself, with as many people as he could prevail upon to follow him, opened the lower-deck ports, plugged the scuppers, secured the fore and main hatches, turned the cocks, drew water in at the ports, and kept the pumps going by the people who came down, as long as they could stand to work them. He thinks that by these exertions the lower-deck was kept free from fire, and the magazines preserved for a long time from danger; nor did Lieutenant Dundas or himself quit their station, but remained there with all the people who could be prevailed upon to stay, till several of the guns overhead came through the middle-deck. About nine o’clock, Lieutenant Dundas and himself, finding it impossible to remain any longer below, went out at the bridle-port, and got upon the forecastle, on which, he apprehends, there were then about 150 men drawing water, and throwing it as far aft as possible upon the fire. He continued about an hour on the forecastle; and then finding all efforts to extinguish the flames unavailing, he jumped from the jib-boom, and swam to an American boat approaching, by which he was picked up and put into a tartan, then in the charge of Lieutenant John Stewart, who had come off from Leghorn to the assistance of the ship, and of whom his messmate, the present Captain Archibald Duff, speaks in the following terms:
“To the active and intrepid conduct of that lamented ornament to the British navy, the major part of those who escaped, owe their preservation. Steward had been early in the morning informed of the dreadful situation of our noble ship. The burning of Troy could not have been a more tremendous or awful sight to AEneas. The ship was in one blaze from stem to stern, with her guns going off in all directions. His heroic conduct was followed by two other boats, and, to the honor of some American vessels then at Leghorn, one was directly manned by three of their men; but going alongside of the Queen Charlotte too incautiously, she fell a sacrifice to the impetuosity of the unfortunate crew, who, urged by the flames, flocked in numbers for deliverance. She sunk alongside, with all on board. Lieutenant Stewart’s ardour in the cause of humanity was only equalled by his judgment in affording us relief: when he had reached the Queen Charlotte, he judiciously dropped his tartane under the bows, where almost all the remaining crew had taken refuge. Little more than an hour had elapsed, after this assistance was given, before the ship blew up. All that had been left unburnt, immediately sunk down by the stem; but when the ponderous contents of the hold had been washed away, she for an instant recovered her buoyant property, and was suddenly seen to emerge almost her whole length from the deep; and then turning over, she floated on the surface, with her burnished copper glistening in the sun. Amidst the various wonders of the deep which are beheld by those who go down to the sea in ships, this certainly formed a most sublime and awful sight. I had been roused from sleep by the going off of the guns, and had escaped from the surrounding flames by jumping from the poop, in order to swim to the launch then astern, full of men. I providentially reached her just as they were in the act of casting off the tow-rope; and after some entreaties and consultation I was taken in, and had the happiness of being afterwards conducive to the preservation of several lives. I also witnessed, whilst in the launch, the exertions of the boats under the Queen Charlotte’s bows, directed by Lieutenant Stewart. We had only one oar and the rudder in the launch, and were consequently at the mercy of the wind and sea.”
Lieutenant Stewart had the gratification to find, amongst the number who had been preserved by himself, his most intimate friend, the subject of this memoir, and also Mr. Francis Erskine Loch, a Midshipman, who was under his particular care.
In the course of the same year, Lieutenant Dundas was promoted to the rank of Commander; and at the commencement of 1801, we find him in the Calpe, a polacre-rigged vessel, employed with some gun-boats under his orders on the Gibraltar station, protecting convoys passing through the Gut.
The Calpe was with Sir James Saumarez in the actions of July 6 and 13, 1801; and her commander’s behaviour on those occasions is thus noticed by that most excellent officer, in his official letters:
“Caesar, Gibraltar, July 6.
“The Hon. Captain Dundas, of his Majesty’s polacre the Calpe, made his vessel as useful as possible, and kept up a spirited fire on one of the enemy’s batteries.”
“Caesar, off Cape Trafalgar, July 13.
“My thanks are also due to Captain Hollis, of the Thames, and to the lion. Captain Dundas, of the Calpe, whose assistance was particularly useful to Captain Keats in securing the enemy’s ship, and enabling the Superb to stand after the squadron, in case of our having been enabled to renew the action.”
The prize alluded to in the last extract was the San Antonio of 74 guns, in which ship Captain Dundas soon after returned to England. His post commission bears date Aug. 3, 1801. He subsequently commanded the Quebec and Euryalus frigates.
Early in 1806, the Euryalus sailed from England in company with the Ocean of 98 guns, and several other ships of war, having under their protection a large fleet of merchantmen bound to Oporto, Lisbon, the Mediterranean, &c. On her joining Lord Collingwood off Cadiz, she was ordered to cruise between Capes St. Vincent and St. Mary; and afterwards sent to watch the port of Carthagena; on which latter service she continued about four months, and by means of her boats captured several small vessels. We subsequently find her cruising in the Gulf of Lyons. At the latter end of 1807, in company with the Niger frigate, she escorted several thousand troops, commanded by the late lamented Sir John Moore, from Gibraltar to England.
After docking and refitting his ship at Plymouth, Captain Dundas proceeded to North Yarmouth, from whence he conveyed the Duke d’Angouleme to Gottenburg. On the 11th June, 1808, the boats of the Euryalus, assisted by those of the Cruiser sloop of war, burnt two Danish transports, and captured a gun-vessel, mounting two long 18-pounders, with a complement of 64 men, moored within half pistol-shot of a 3-gun battery, near the entrance of the Naskon, in the Great Belt. Although the enemy’s troops lined the beach, the British had only 1 man wounded. The Danes sustained a loss of 7 men killed, 12 wounded, and several drowned, exclusive of casualties on shore. This gallant exploit was performed under the directions of Lieutenant Michael Head, of the Euryalus.
In the course of the same year, Captain Dundas conveyed his former illustrious guest from Carlscrona to Lebe, a small bay near the Gulf of Dantzic; and there embarked the late consort of Louis XVIII. the Duke de Berri, and other members of the French royal family, the whole of whom he landed at Carlscrona, received on board again at Gottenburg, and finally brought to Harwich.
The Euryalus formed part of the fleet under Sir Richard J. Strachan, during the Walcheren expedition; and on her return from that service, was placed under the orders of Sir Richard King, off Cherbourgh, where she captured l’Etoile, French lugger privateer, of 14 guns and 48 men.
In the spring of 1810, Captain Dundas escorted a large fleet of merchantmen from Spithead to Portugal and the Mediterranean. During the remainder of that year he was attached to the in-shore squadron off Toulon; and early in 1811 appointed to the Achille 74, in which ship he continued until superseded by Captain Hollis, when he resumed the command of his frigate. On the 7th June following, the boats of the Euryalus assisted at the capture of l’Intrepide French privateer, of 2 guns and 58 men, near Corsica.
In the autumn of 1812, Captain Dundas, being senior to all the officers then commanding frigates on the Mediterranean station, was removed into the Edinburgh of 74 guns, that ship having become vacant by the appointment of Captain Rolles to succeed Captain Kent in the Union 98. He shortly after conveyed the late Sir Thomas Maitland from Port Mahon to Palermo, on his way to assume the government of Malta. From this period till the peace of 1814, we find him actively employed on the coasts of Sicily, Naples, Tuscany, and Genoa. The following is a copy of his official letter to Captain Josias Rowley, communicating the capture of twenty-nine French vessels at d’Anzo, Oct. 5, 1813.
“Sir, In obedience to your directions, I put to sea, and joined Captain Duncan, of the Imperieuse, and the ships named in the marginthis morning, off d’Anzo, where he had been watching a convoy for some days, with the intention of attacking them the first favorable opportunity. The necessary arrangements having been made by that officer for the attack, I added the force of this ship to it, and made the signal that those arrangements would be adhered to, and to prepare for battle. The place was defended by two batteries, mounting 3 heavy guns each on a mole; a tower to the northward with 1 gun, and a battery to the southward with 2 guns, to cover the mole. Every thing being prepared, at 1h 30' P.M. the ships bore up and took their stations; the Imperieuse and Resistance to the mole batteries; the Swallow to the tower; the Eclair and Pylades to the southern battery; the Edinburgh supported the last-named ships.
“Shortly after the ships opened their fire, which they did by signal together, the storming party, under Lieutenant Travers, of the Imperieuse, and marines, under Captain. Mitchell, landed in the best order close under the battery to the southward, which Lieutenant Travers carried instantly, the enemy flying in all directions. Lieutenant Mapleton having taken possession of the mole-head, the convoy, consisting of twenty-nine vessels, was brought out without any loss, twenty of which are laden with timber for the arsenal at Toulon. On leaving the place all the works were blown up, and most completely destroyed. I feel the destruction of the defences of this place to be of consequence, as it was a convenient port for shipping the very large quantity of timber the enemy now have on the adjacent coast. The Captains, officers, and ships’ companies, deserve my warm acknowledgments for their exertions on this occasion. A few shot in the hulls and rigging of the ships is the only damage done.
“Captain Duncan informs me, that he gained very material and necessary information respecting this place, by a very gallant exploit performed a few nights ago by Lieutenant Travers, who stormed, with a boat’s crew, a tower of 1 gun, destroying it, and bringing the guard away. I am, &c.
(Signed)“G. H. L. Dundas.”
The following letters contain the details of a gallant enterprise, very ably directed by Sir Josias Rowley, and most zealously executed by the force under his command, in co-operation with the Italian Levy, commanded by Colonel Catanelli:
“H.M.S. America, off Leghorn, Dec. 15, 1813.
“Sir, I have the honor to inform you, that in pursuance of my preceding communication to you from Palermo, I sailed thence on the 29th ult., in company with the Termagant, and anchored at Melazzo on the following night, where, having joined the ships named in the margin, and embarked on board them on the following day the troops of the Italian Levy, amounting to about 1,000 men, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Catanelli, we sailed the same evening, and arrived on the coast of Italy, off Via Reggio, on the 9th inst. Having fallen in with the Armada and Imperieuse off the north of Corsica, I detained them to assist us in getting the troops on shore. Having anchored with the squadron off the town, the troops and field-pieces were immediately landed, a small party of the enemy having evacuated the place, on a summons that had been sent in, and possession was taken of two 18 and one 12-pounder guns, which defended the entrance of the river. The Lieutenant-Colonel proceeded immediately to Lucca, which place was surrendered to him at twelve the same night.
“The following day a detachment of 40 royal marines from this ship, under Captain Rea, was sent to a signal station to the northward, which, on his threatening to storm, surrendered to him, and 11 men who defended it were made prisoners. He found it to be a castle of considerable size and strength, walled and ditched, and capable of containing near 1,000 men. On receiving this report, I sent Mr. Bazelgette, senior Lieutenant of the America, who, with a few barrels of powder, completely destroyed it, bringing off a brass 9-pounder gun, which was mounted in the castle. Parties from the Imperieuse and Furieuse also brought off two other brass guns from the beach to the northward and southward of the town, those at the landing place having also been embarked.
“The Lieutenant-Colonel not judging it advisable to continue at Lucca, had given me notice of his intended return to Via Reggio, where he arrived on the morning of the 12th, and signified his intention to proceed in another direction. Not conceiving my stay with this ship any longer necessary, I had made arrangements for leaving the Edinburgh, Furieuse, and Termagant, under the orders of Captain Dundas, to keep up (if practicable) a communication with the troops, and purposed sailing to rejoin your flag as soon as it was dark; when, towards sunset, we perceived a firing at the town, and found that the troops were attacked by a force of about 600 cavalry and infantry, with a howitzer and 2 field pieces.
“They consisted of a detachment from the garrison of Leghorn, which had been joined on its march by some troops at Pisa. The LieutenantColonel completely routed them, with the loss of their guns and howitzer, and a considerable number of killed, wounded, and prisoners; the remainder retreated in much confusion towards Pisa. Information having been obtained from the prisoners of the weak state of the garrison at Leghorn, the Lieutenant-Colonel proposed to me to intercept the return of the routed troops, by proceeding immediately off Leghorn, in the hopes that by shewing ourselves in as much force as possible, the inhabitants, who it was supposed were inclined to receive us, might make some movement in our favour, and that we might avail ourselves of any practicable opening to force our way into the place.
“I acceded to this proposal, and the troops were immediately embarked in a number of country vessels, which were towsd off by the boats of the squadron; and the whole being taken in tow by the ships, we proceeded the same night for Leghorn Roads, where we anchored about three o’clock on the following day, to the northward of the town. The Imperieuse having previously reconnoitred the best spot for landing, the vessels were immediately towed in-shore, and the troops and field-pieces landed without opposition. The boats then proceeded to land the marines; but the weather, which had been hitherto favourable, in the course of the evening became so bad, that only a part could be got on shore; and I regret to state, that the pinnace of the America was swamped, and Lieutenant Moody (a most valuable officer) and two seamen were drowned. Early in the morning the remainder were landed, and proceeded to the positions assigned them. The corps of the enemy which had been defeated at Via Reggio, was a second time reinforced at Pisa, and at this period made an attack on our marines without the town. I beg to refer you to Captain Dundas’s report for the particulars of their defeat. The LieutenantColonel suggested, as a proper time after this advantage, to summon the commandant, which was accordingly done, but an answer returned that he would defend himself.
The gates of the town had been closely examined during this day and the preceding night, to ascertain the practicability of forcing an entrance; but that, or any other means of immediate attack, not being considered practicable against a place, so strong and regularly fortified, and there not appearing any movement of the inhabitants in our favour, the precarious and threatening state of the weather, a change of which would have prevented all communication with the ships, rendered it expedient to reimbark the whole without delay: by very great exertions this was effected in the best order during the night, and early the following morning, in very severe weather, without any molestation from the enemy.
“On returning from the shore to the America at sunset, I found a deputation from the mayor and inhabitants of the town, who had been permitted by the commandant to come off with a flag of truce, to petition us to cease our fire from the houses, he having threatened to dislodge us by setting fire to the suburbs. As arrangements were already made for embarking, I consented to a cessation of firing on both sides till eight the next morning; a favourable circumstance for us, the troops on their march to the boats being exposed to a fire from the ramparts.
“I have very great satisfaction in reporting to you the zeal and good conduct of all the officers, seamen, and marines, employed on the abovementioned service.
“To Lieutenant-Colonel Catanelli every praise is due, for his able and indefatigable exertions; and I feel thankful for his cordial co-operation. The conduct of the troops of the Italian Levy, both for bravery and discipline in the field, and the cheerfulness with which they endured the constant exposure in boats in the most severe weather, excited our admiration. I am much indebted to Captain Grant, for his able advice and assistance; to the Honorable Captain Dundas, who undertook the direction of the marines and seamen; and to Captain Hamilton, who volunteered his services on shore, my thanks are particularly due, for the gallant manner in which they conducted them; and I feel much indebted to the Honorable Captain Duncan, for the ready and useful assistance he afforded me on every occasion. Captain Mounsey, when the fending was effected, had moved with the Furieuse and Termagant, to watch the motions of three brigs of war lying in the outer mole, but which afterwards moved into the inner one, the crews having landed to assist in the defence of the place.
“Captain Dunn was indefatigable in his exertions at the landing place; and I feel tailed upon to notice the good conduct of the officers and crews of the boats, through a continued and most fatiguing service.
“I beg that I may be permitted to mention the assistance I received from Lieutenant Bazelgette, senior of this ship, a most deserving officer; and to notice the conduct of Mr. Bromley, the Surgeon, who volunteered his services on shore with the troops.
“I herewith enclose a list of the killed and wounded, and am happy to say our loss is much smaller than might have been expected. I have no account of that of the Italian Levy, but I believe it is not considerable. There have been no correct returns of prisoners; but Captain Dundas informs me, that above three hundred have been taken in the two affairs. I have the honor to be, &c.
(Signed)“Jos. Rowley, Captain.”
“Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, Bart.”
“H.M.S. Edinburgh, off Leghorn, Dec. 15, 1813.
“Sir,– In obedience to your direction, Captain Hamilton aud myself landed on the evening of the 13th, with the marines of his Majesty’s ships named in the margin, to co-operate with Lieutenant-Colonel Catanelli. We pushed on that evening with the advance of the marines and Italian Levy, and got possession of the suburbs of the town of Leghorn. The extreme darkness of the night, and the road being nearly impassable, prevented the body of the troops joining until the morning. The moment a sufficient number had come up, in compliance with the Lieutenant-Colonel’s arrangements, the Italians occupied the suburbs and buildings close to the ramparts: the marines occupied a position on the Pisa road. As soon after day-light as possible, we reconnoitred the town. Just as we had finished, and were returning from the southern part of the town, a firing was heard in the direction of the Pisa road, where we proceeded instantly, and found the marines were at that moment attacked by a considerable body of the enemy’s troops, consisting of at least 700 men, cavalry and infantry, supported by two field-pieces. The charge of the cavalry was received with great coolness by the marines; they opened and allowed them to pass, killing all but about 14, who, with two officers, succeeded in getting through, but who were all killed or wounded, excepting 1 officer, by a small detachment of the Italian Levy, that was formed at the entrance of the suburbs of the town.
“After the charge of the cavalry, the marines instantly closed and charged the enemy’s infantry, and put them entirely to the rout. They lost in this affair the officers commanding their cavalry and infantry, with about from 250 to 300 killed, wounded, and prisoners; the remainder retreated in the greatest disorder to Pisa.
“In this affair my most particular thanks are due fo Captain Hamilton, who, I am sorry to say, is slightly wounded; as well as to Captain Beale, of the Armada, who commanded the marines; as also to Captains Rea and Mitchell, of the America and Edinburgh; to the other officers, non-commissioned officers, and privates, all possible credit is due for repelling the attack, and putting to rout the enemy, who were certainly double their force. The marines lost on this occasion, 1 killed and 7 wounded.
“The Italian Levy, who were on the houses close round the ramparts, as well as those in the advance, were indefatigable in their exertions; and their bravery was truly conspicuous on all occasions. The enemy suffered by the destructive fire they kept up on the ramparts, killing or wounding those who attempted to come near the guns.
“It being arranged between you and the Lieutenant-Colonel that we should re-embark, the wounded and prisoners, with our two field guns and ammunition, were embarked at twelve o’clock last night, matched off in the best possible order, through bad roads and incessant rain.
“I beg to offer my thanks to Lieutenant-Colonel Catanelli, far his attention in pointing out what he wished to be done by us to forward his plan. My thanks are due to Captain Dunn, of the Mermaid, for forwarding every thing from the beach to us in advance; as well as to Lieutenants Mason, of the America, Mapleton and Leach of this ship, and Travers, of the Imperieuse; and to the Midshipmen and small-arm men, and those stationed to a howitzer, for their steady good conduct. I have the honor to be, &c.
(Signed)“G. H. L. Dundas.”
“To Sir Josias Rowley, Bart.”
The subsequent operations against Genoa and its dependencies, in which Captain Dundas bore a principal share, are thus related by Sir Josias Rowley, who commanded the naval force acting in conjunction with Lord William Bentinck:
“H.M.S. America, March 31, 1814.
“Sir, I have much satisfaction in informing you, that the fortress of Santa Maria, with the forts and defences on the Gulf of Spezia, are in the occupation of his Majesty’s arms. On the 25th instant I anchored with the squardron as per margin (America, Edinburgh, Furieuse, Swallow, Cephalus, and Aurora, the latter a Sicilian Corvette,) off Lerici, the Hon. Captain Dundas having preceded us with the Edinburgh and Swallow, to accompany the movements of the troops under Major-General Montressor, dismantling the batteries as the enemy retired on their advance; a party of them endeavoured to re-occupy the castle of Lerici, but Captain Dundas, with the marines, was beforehand with them, and the enemy, after some firing from the boats of the squadron, retreated from the town. On the following morning, a deputation from the inhabitants of Spezia came on board, when I learned that the French had, during the night, evacuated that town and all the defences of the gulf, except the fortress of Santa Maria, which I sent an officer to summons, but found they were prepared to defend it. We immediately weighed, and anchored the ships in a position between Spezia and the fortress, which, in the evening, on the arrival of the troops, was invested. Strong parties of seamen were landed from the ships, and six 18-pounders from the Edinburgh, by the active exertions of the Hon. Captain Dundas, were got up the heights, through the most difficult places, and three batteries constructed, on which they were mounted. A 36 and 24-pounder, and two 13-inch mortars, were remounted on one of the dismantled forts, with two additional howitzers, under the direction of Lieutenant Bazelgette, of this ship, and a battery of two 36-pounders, under similar circumstances, by Lieutenant Mapleton, of the Edinburgh; and at 5 P.M. on the 29th, on a refusal from the enemy to capitulate, the fire from the whole opened on the fortress. It was kept up occasionally during the night; and renewed at day-light the following morning with such vigor and effect as completely to silence that of the enemy. Preparations were making to storm; but at 11 the enemy shewed a flag of truce, and capitulated. I feel much pleasure in having to report the zealous, able, and indefatigable exertions of the officers and men employed on the above service; to the Hon. Captain Dundas, who undertook the general direction of the seamen on shore, I am particularly indebted; and to Captains Mounsey and Stow, and Captain Staite. of his Sicilian Majesty’s corvette Aurora, my thanks are due for their assistance: to Captain Flin, Lieutenants Bazelgette, Mapleton, Croker, and Molesworth, Mr. Glen, Master of the America, and Mr. Breary, Mate of the Edinburgh, who had the direction of the guns in the batteries, much credit is due; the condition of the fort on its surrender plainly evinced the effect of their fire.
“A division of the Sicilian flotilla of gun-boats was conducted in a gallant and able manner by Lieutenant Le Hunte, and much distinguished themselves. A detachment of royal marines, under Captain Rea, has been landed, to act with the advance of Lieutenant-Colonel Travers, who makes favourable mention of their conduct. I am much indebted to Lieutenant-Colonel Travers, who commanded the troops, for his cordial co-operation, and to Major Pym, of the royal artillery, and Captain Tylden, of the engineers, for their assistance in directing our people at the batteries. I am happy to add that our loss is trifling, considering the means of annoyance possessed by the enemy. I have the honour to be, &c.
“To Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Pellew, Bart.”
“April 18, 1814.
“Sir,– I have the honor to inform you, that in pursuance of my communication of the 31st ultimo from Leghorn Roads, I sailed from thence on the 7th instant, with his Excellency Lieutenant-General Lord William Bentinck on board. After various communications with the troops, at Spezia and other parts of the coast, we anchored off Reece, in the Gulf of Genoa, on the 11th. The Hon. Captain Dundas had, with the Edinburgh, Rainbow, and some of the flotilla, during my absence, co-operated with the advance of the army, with his usual activity and zeal. On the 13th, the transports having arrived from Sicily, the troops were immediately landed, and the ships and gun-boats moved in advance with the army. On the 17th, every preparation having been made for the attack, at day-light the army moved forwards to drive the enemy from their positions, without the town of Genoa. The gun and mortar-vessels, with the ships’ boats, armed with carronades, were advanced along the sea line to attack the batteries; the greater part of the marines, under the command of Captain Rea, were also embarked in the transports’ boats, ready to land as occasion might require. As soon as the troops advanced, the whole of the gun-vessels and boats opened their fire with such effect, that on the landing of the seamen and marines, and preparing to storm, the enemy deserted their batteries, and the whole of the sea line without the walls, which were instantly taken possession of and soon turned on the place; by this means drawing off a considerable portion of the enemy’s fire. The arrival of the Caledonia afforded you, Sir, an opportunity of witnessing the. remaining operations, and the spirited fire which was kept up at the battery, under the direction of Lieutenants Bazelgette and White, against a very superior one of the enemy; by which I regret to state that Lieutenant Bewick, of the Pylades, an officer of much promise, was killed. My warmest thanks are due to the whole of the captains, officers, seamen, and marines I had the honor to have placed under my orders, for their zealous and active co-operation. I was particularly indebted to Captain Brace, for his able assistance; he was so good as to direct the advance of the boats and gun-vessels. Captains Dundas and Hamilton had, as usual, been most assiduous in forwarding the operations of the troops; and my thanks are due to Captains Tower and Wemyss, for their ready assistance. Captain Flin had volunteered to head a party of seamen, landed with scaling ladders, to storm one of the hillforts, had it been necessary. Captain Thompson, in the Aboukir, who, assisted by the ships and vessels as per margin, blockaded the fort, and conducted with much effect a false attack to the westward of the town, which drew off a considerable number of the enemy’s troops. I have again occasion to notice the good conduct of the Sicilian flotilla, which were led by Lieutenant Pengelly. I beg that I may be permitted to bring to your notice Lieutenant Bazelgette, senior of this ship, whose services I have long had reason to appreciate. That active officer, Lieutenant Mapleton, of the Edinburgh, I am sorry to say, has been wounded, while on service with the army. I indebted to Lieutenant Bailey, principal agent of the transports, for the zeal and ability with which he has conducted the service of that department. I beg leave to enclose a return of killed and wounded of the squadron, and have the honor to be, &c.
“To Vice-Admiral Sir E. Pelew, Bart.”
The war in Europe being now at an end, Captain Dundas quitted the Edinburgh at Genoa, and crossed the continent on his return to England. He was nominated a C.B. in 1815, and has since represented the shires of Orkney and Shetland, in Parliament.
Agent.– Messrs. Cooke, Halford, and Son.
- Thomas Lord Dundas died June 14, 1820.
- Lieutenant Stewart was afterwards promoted to post rank. He died Oct. 26, 1811. A long memoir of him appears in the Naval Chronicle, vol. 28, pp. 1–47.
- Lord Keith, whose flag was flying on board the Queen Charlotte at the time of her destruction, in a state bordering on distraction, had continued, after Lieutenant Stewart’s departure from the shore, to use every possible effort and persuasion with the Tuscans belonging to the country boats at Leghorn, to put to sea; but which, notwithstanding the active interference of the Governor and other authorities, had only an effect on a few. Could the activity, energy, and humanity, possessed by British seamen have been transferred to the drones in the mole of that place, many more valuable lives might have been saved. Among the sufferers were Captain Andrew Todd and his first Lieutenant (William Bainbridge), who remained upon deck to the last moment, giving such orders as appeared most likely to prove beneficial to the crew, without providing, or apparently caring for their own safety; Lieutenants Erskine and Kolecken, the latter a Russian officer; Captain Joseph Breedon, of the marines; the Master, Purser, Surgeon, four Master’s Mates, eighteen Midshipmen, the Boatswain, Captain’s and Secretary’s Clerks, Schoolmaster, and three Surgeon’s Mates. The total loss of lives on this disastrous occasion, according to Schomlerg, was 673, out of a complement (including the Admiral and his retinue, part of whom, together with the Chaplain and three other gentlemen, were on shore at the time), amounting to 840 officers, men, and boys. The Queen Charlotte was one of the finest ships in the British navy. She was launched in 1790, and her first cruise was with the fleet fitted out against Spain in consequence of the dispute respecting Nootka Sound. Earl Howe, who was commander-in-chief of that fleet, was then on board of her; and she also bore his Lordship’s flag on the glorious 1st June, 1794. She was rated at 100 guns, but mounted more than that number.
- See Vol. I. p. 650.
- See Vol. II. p. 122.
- Captain Kent died Aug. 29, 1811, and was buried in the Bay of Rosas on the following day.
- Resistance, Swallow, Eclair, and Pylades.
- See Commander Eaton Travers.
- Edinburgh, Furieuse, and Mermaid.
- America, Armada, Edinburgh, Iraperieuse, Furieuse, Rainbow, Termagant, and Mermaid.
- One killed and two wounded belonging to the Edinburgh. The other ships had not a man hurt.
- See Vol. I. p. 634.
- Aboukir, Iphigenia, Furieuse, Swallow, and Cephalus.
- Total, English 2 killed, 8 wounded, and 1 missing. Sicilian flotilla, 2 wounded. The Berwick and Rainbow, commanded by Captains Brace and Hamilton, had 2 men killed, and 5, including Lieutenant Lyon of the former ship, wounded, when forcing the enemy’s posts near the pass of Rona.