View Full Version : The capture of brick "La Liguria" near Gibraltar (August 7, 1798)

12-22-2011, 11:38
it seems to read a feat of Jack Aubrey described in the pages of a book by Patrick O'Brian

From "Virgilio Ilari e Piero Crociani - La Marina ligure di Napoleone 1797-1814" (look at http://sailsofglory.org/showthread.php?107-The-Italian-Navy-of-Napoleon-(1796-1814)-an-online-essay&highlight=ligurian)

A little-known incident was the capture of brick Liguria, remembered almost only by the Naval History of Great Britain. It was an ex-Dutch big brick of 450 tons, armed with, according to english inventory, 26 guns with a carriage, including 16 of eight and twelve pounds on the deck and 10 of six pounds on the poop and forecastle, plus 12 fixed side springalds (wall-pieces) and 4 swivel springalds (swivel guns), with 120 crewmen of various nationality and commanded by Francesco Dell'Orso.

The capture took place on August 7, 4 or 5 leagues from Cape Windmill at Gibraltar. According to the English, the brig had appeared at 5 pm and had showed signs to put away towards a convoy coming from Oran. Although lower for men and weapons, the screen unit

[the 215 displacement tons brig-sloop Espoir commanded by the Lieutenant Loftus Otway Bland, with 14 guns six men and 80] had pointed towards the Liguria to demand explanations

At 7 am, arrived at musket shot, Bland saluted, but Dell'Orso answered with a cannon shot, warning him to go away or he would be sank.

Followed a fierce battle with cannon-shots, until at 11, seriously injured, Dell'Orso surrendered.

The Ligurians loss was 6 killed and 14 injured, against 1 and 6 of the British.


The Naval Chronicle (VI, 277) published afterwards a Pocock's print depicting "L'Espoir sloop of 14 guns and her prize, the Liguria of 44 guns" The Naval History adds that Ligurian were pirates not being at war with England, and that it was fortunate for the Espoir that the Genoese were not, as we noticed before, practised men-of-war’s men”, otherwise the temerity to have accepted a combat with an enemy so formidable would have ended in defeat.