HMS 'Scourge' capturing the 'Sansculotte', 13 March 1793
On 1 February 1793 France declared war on Britain and Holland and by 11 February Britain had also declared war on France. On the 9 March 1793, the gun-brig 'Scourge' set out to sea from anchorage at Spithead to cruise for a month in the Channel. Having been despatched to sea in a great hurry, after receiving somewhat extensive repairs at the dockyard, she was not fully prepared. Not all her guns were mounted, and she did not have her full complement of crew and some of those she did have were inexperienced. War with France had just been once more declared, the various dockyards were busy night and day preparing and turning out ships for service, and the officers were glad to get hold of almost any class of men for their ships, provided only that they were strong and able-bodied. On 13 March 1793 the British 16-gun brig-sloop 'Scourge' commanded by Captain George Brisac was to the west of Scilly. With a crew of only 70 men and boys instead the usual 90, she was under complement and also light on fire power. She fell in with the French privateer 'Sans-Culotte' which had considerably more guns and a larger crew. After a fight that lasted three hours and in which the French boarded the 'Scourge' but were repelled, the English ship was victorious and took the 'Sans-Culotte' as a prize. The French lost nine men with 20 wounded, but the 'Scourge' lost only one man with one wounded. The next day she sailed it to Plymouth.
Lt. Thomas Yates
- Image reference: BHC0462
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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