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"The Capture of the Chevrette, 1801" Topic


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247 hits since 14 Jun 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0114 Jun 2018 12:22 p.m. PST

"While leafing through an 1894 book entitled "The British Fleet" by Commander Charles N. Robinson (Assistant Editor of the Army and Navy Gazette) I came on a copy of the engraving above. It shows a cutting-out mission on July 22nd 1801 in which crews from four Royal Navy ships attacked a French ship in small boats, even while it was moored for protection under the guns of a shore battery at Camaret Bay on the Breton coast. Such cutting-out exploits feature frequently in naval fiction, as they often did in real-life during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. This engraving, though an artist's impression, gives an idea of just how brutal and near suicidal such actions could be. (The original painting will be found later in this article) As I had not heard of this action previously I searched for more details and was surprised at just how high a price was paid for capture of so small a prize.

The captain of the 20-gun corvette Chevrette, must have regarded his vessel as invulnerable as he sheltered under shore-battery cover. British ships lying offshore on blockade duty included however the frigates HMS Beaulieu, Doris and Uranie, and the ship of the line HMS Robust (74-guns). The Uranie was originally a French ship, and had been renowned for her capture of a British frigate, HMS Thames, in a spirited action in 1793, prior to being herself captured and taken into British service in 1797…"
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