A CERTIFIED NOTE REGARDING THE RE-CAPTURE OF A PORTUGUESE MERCHANTMAN IN 1814 FOLLOWING A FRIGATE ACTION. ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT SIGNED BY CAPTAIN GEORGE CHARLES MACKENZIE, R.N.

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MS., 1 side, 22 x 18cm. FINE. On the 3rd October 1813, two 40-gun French frigates, ETOILE and SULTANE sailed from Nantes on a cruise. On the 18th January 1814 they encountered the British 40-gun frigate SEVERN escorting a convoy from England to Bermuda. A running fight between the three frigates ensued, continuing all night, until the Frenchmen gave up the chase and the SEVERN, uninjured, went in search of her convoy. The French frigates sailed to the Cape Verde Islands where they were discovered at anchor on the 23rd January with two captured merchantmen, by the 36-gun frigates CREOLE (Captain George Charles Mackenzie) and ASTREA (Captain John Eveleigh). On being approached by the English frigates, the Frenchmen cut or slipped their cables and were chased until brought to action. All four frigates fought bravely, and a detailed account of the fight can be found in James (Vol. VI). The French frigates finally had had enough and bore away. CREOLE suffered, out of her complement of 284 men and boys, 1 master’s mate, 7 seamen and 2 marines killed & 26 petty officers, seamen and marines wounded. ASTREA had her commander, 8 seamen and marines killed & 37 petty officers, seamen and marines wounded. (A total of 19 killed and 63 wounded). The two French frigates, it was estimated, with a combined complement of 340 men and boys, lost between 20 killed and 30 wounded and 40 killed and 60 wounded. On the 26th March, off the Isle de Bas, the Frenchman ran into His Majesty’s HEBRUS, 36-gun frigate, and SPARROW, 16-gun brig-sloop and after a fierce fight (James, ibid) the ETOILE struck her colours. SULTANE escaped but in a disabled state and was soon taken and carried into Portsmouth. Back in the Verde Islands, CREOLE and ASTREA were able to free at least one of the Frenchmen’s prizes, and in this manuscript Mackenzie states the fact : "These are to certify that the Portuguese ship Emulacione was recaptured on the 23 of January 1814, by His Britannic Majesty’s Ships Creole and Astrea. Given under my hand on-board H.M.Ship Creole this 9 day of February 1814, George Mackenzie, Captain." The certificate was presumably issued for the benefit of the master of the Portuguese vessel. An interesting signed manuscript relating to a celebrated frigate action during the Napoleonic Wars. [For Mackenzie (d.1828) see Marshall, Supplement-Part I, pp. 409-410.]


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