Royal Naval Biography/MacDonald, Colin

A Companion of the Most Honorable Military Order of the Bath.
[Post-Captain of 1814.]

This officer was made lieutenant June 3, 1799; promoted to the rank of commander June, 4. 1807; and appointed to the Redpole brig, of 10 guns, in the summer of 1809.

On the 9th Dec. 1809, Beachy Head then bearing N. by E. distant 9 leagues, wind west. Captain Macdonald observed two luggers on his lee bow, to which chase was immediately given. At 10 A.M. he got alongside the weathermost, which had the temerity to engage the Redpole for half an hour, when she surrounded, and proved to be lo Grand Rodeur, Trench privateer, of 16 guns and 80 men. The enemy had one man killed and two wounded.

The Redpole was afterwards very actively employed off Boulogne, where she assisted at the capture of la Ville de Lyons praam, of 12 long 24-pounders and 112 men, Sept. 21, 1811.[1]

Captain Macdonald’s next appointment was, Aug. 13, 1812, to the Scylla brig, of 18 guns and 120 men.

On the 18th Oct. 1813, being in lat. 47° 30' N. and long, 9° 10' W. he fell in with a French frigate under jury main and[errata 1] mizen-masts, apparently making the best of her way for Brest. On the 19th, at day-light, having passed the night in burning blue lights, firing guns, and throwing up rockets, to indicate that he was in chase of an enemy, he found his brig alone, the thick weather obscuring the frigate from his view. Steering, during that day and night, a course deemed the most likely to meet the enemy, he, on the morning of the 20th, had the good fortune to fall in with the Royalist 18-gun brig. Captain James John Gordon Bremer, who, in the handsomest manner, volunteered to join him in attacking the frigate. At 9-30 a.m., she was discovered and instantly pursued. At 3-30 p.m. says Captain Macdonald, “we bore up in close order, the Scylla on her quarter, and the Royalist on her bow, and commenced the action nearly at the same time, which continued for an hour and a half, when our sails and rigging being very much cut, our main-mast severely wounded, and the Royalist nearly in the same predicament, we hauled off to repair damages, the weather being very squally, so as to endanger our masts.”

Since 1-30 p.m., a sail had been observed to leeward, and Captain Bremer was now ordered to reconnoitre her: the Royalist accordingly bore up, while the Scylla continued in pursuit of the enemy. On the 21st, at 3 a.m., the Royalist spoke the Rippon 74, Captain Sir Christopher Cole, and again made all sail on a wind to close the Scylla. At 9-30 a.m., Captain Macdonald recommenced firing at the Frenchman, who, after exchanging two broadsides, bore up and struck his colours, the 74 having arrived nearly within gunshot, and the Royalist being already placed in such a position as to render escape impossible. In this gallant action the British brigs had 2 men killed and 11, including Mr. James Waring, first lieutenant of the Royalist, and Mr. William Wilson, master, wounded.

The prize proved to be le Weser, of 1081 tons, mounting 28 long 18-pounders, and 16 18-pounder carronades, with a complement of 340 men, of whom 4 were slain and 15 wounded. She had sailed from the Texel just three weeks before Captain Macdonald fell in with her, and had lost her main and mizen-masts in a gale on the 16th October. Captain Macdonald was advanced to post rank June 7, 1814, and nominated a C.B. in June, 1815,

Agents.– Messrs. Barnett and King.

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