|Naval history of Great Britain - Vol. IV
||Lieutenant Sibly at Verdon
The receipt of intelligence that a French convoy of 50 sail, laden with stores for Brest, lay in Verdon road, at the entrance of the river Gironde, waiting an opportunity to put to sea, under the escort of two brig-corvettes, determined the British commodore to attempt cutting them out. Accordingly a boat from each line-of-battle ship was despatched to the Iris frigate ; who immediately proceeded with them to the 44-gun frigate Indefatigable, Captain John Tremayne Rodd, then cruising off the Gironde, to prevent the convoy's escape. To the six boats from the line-of-battle ships, commanded as follows:
Centaur: Lieutenant Edward Reynolds Sibly, the commanding officer of the whole;
Conqueror: Lieutenant George Fitzmaurice;
Prince-of-Wales: Lieutenant John Francis;
Revenge: Lieutenant Charles Manners;
Polyphemus: unknown; and
Monarch: Lieutenant Dalhousie Tait,
were now added three from the:
Indefatigable: commanded by Lieutenants Thomas Parker, Thomas Arscott, and Ralph Shepperdson, and three from the
Iris: the commanding officers of which do not appear to have been named in the official letter.
On the evening of the 15th, the time appearing favourable, the 12 boats pushed off from the Indefatigable, and proceeded towards the mouth of the Gironde. Shortly afterwards the wind shifted to the westward, and blew strong. But the persevering ardour of the British overcame all obstacles, and at the dead of the night the boats entered Verdon road. Lieutenant Sibly and his party instantly attacked the French 16-gun brig-corvette César, having on board 86 men, under the command of Lieutenant Louis-François-Hector Fourré, all perfectly prepared. While in the act of cutting away the brig's boarding netting, Lieutenant Sibly was badly wounded by pike and sabre, in the side, arm, and face. The British, however, soon boarded the César ; and, after a few minutes' severe conflict, in which M. Fourré fought most heroically until he fell covered with wounds, they carried the French brig.
Owing to the extreme darkness of the night, and the strength of the wind and tide, the other French brig, which was the Teazer (late British) of 14 guns, moored higher up the river, escaped by slipping her cables, and running before the wind still further up the Gironde. The convoy managed to do the same. Meanwhile the prize, having cut her cables, was standing out, exposed, for some time, to a heavy fire from the Teazer and the batteries on both sides of the river. Notwithstanding this opposition, the César, under the able direction of Lieutenant Parker of the Indefatigable, worked out, and joined the two frigates at anchor off the mouth of the Gironde.
The loss on this occasion was tolerably severe. The British had one lieutenant (Charles Manners), one master's mate (Thomas Helpman), two boatswain's mates, and five seamen killed, four lieutenants (Sibly, Tait, both badly, Parker, and
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