Action between HMS 'Venus' and the 'Semillante', 27 May 1793
An incident from the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars, 1793-1815. The British ship 'Venus' commanded by Captain Jonathan Faulkner, sighted a strange sail at 03:00 when 120 miles south-west of Cape Finisterre. About 07:00 the ship put out blue colours and the 'Venus' answered by signalling a private code to which the other ship made no reply. The first shots were fired about 07:30 and then a close action from 08:00 to about 10:00. By this time the French frigate 'Semillante' was almost silenced, her captain and first lieutenant were killed and she had five feet of water in her hold. The 'Venus' was trying to close her to take possession when she bore away towards another ship that had appeared and which proved to be another French frigate. The sails, rigging and spars of the British frigate had taken the brunt of the enemy fire and were extremely cut up so that a further engagement was inadvisable. Indeed she was lucky to escape an encounter with a fresh opponent.
- Image reference: BHC0463
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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