HMS 'Spartan' and French frigates: beginning of the action, 3 May 1810
This shows the beginning of the action on 3 May 1810, between the British ship 'Spartan' and the Neapolitan frigate 'CÃ”Ã²Ã¡â”¬Â«rÃ”Ã²Ã¡â”¬â•�re' with her consort, in the Bay of Naples. On May 1 the British ships 'Spartan' and 'Success' chased a Neapolitan squadron inside the mole at Naples. It consisted of the 'Cerere' the 'Fama' the 'Sparvievo' and the 'Achille'. Captain Jahleel Brenton, captain of the 'Spartan', assuming that the enemy would not come out to fight two British frigates, sent the 'Success' off to rendezvous on the 2 May. In fact the Neapolitan squadron did decide to fight having embarked 400 Swiss troops into the 'Cerere' and 'Fama'. So when the 'Spartan' approached Naples early on 3 May Brenton saw the enemy squadron sailing out to meet him, supported by seven gunboats. In the two hour action that followed, the 'Cerere' and 'Fama' both hauled off, the latter badly damaged, and the 'Sparvieto' was forced to strike. Captain Brenton, conducted the fight standing on the capstan, was hit in a hip by a piece of grapeshot and badly wounded. His First Lieutenant, George Willes, who took over, was also wounded, as were 20 others, with ten men killed.
- Image reference: BHC0594
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
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