Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The English in the Mediterranean Sea in 1671

Early in the year, a "disgraceful event" happened with Captain John Pearce ran the Sapphire (38 guns) ashore on Sicily, after sighting 4 ships which he supposed were Algerines. Pearce and his lieutenant were court martialed and shot for their trouble. In May, Arthur Herbert (later Lord Torrington), in the Dragon, was in a running fight for three days, chasing two Algerines. Later in May, Sir Edward Spragge lead an attack on Algerine pirates in Bugia Bay. An attempt was made on May 2, but it failed with the futile expenditure of the fireship Eagle. A second attempt was made on May 8th, "in broad daylight". The Little Victory was used as a fireship (under the command of Leonard Harris). Lieutenants Edward Pinn of the Mary and John Pearce of the Dragon, "who commanded the boats" and the survivors on the Little Victory succeeded in destroying all the Algerines. The Algerines sued for peace, and while negotiations proceeded, Captain John Holmes, in the Diamond, took and burnt one Algerine and drove another ashore. Source:
  1. William Laird Clowes, The Royal Navy: A History from the Earliest Times to the Present, Vol.II, 1898.

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