Capture of L'Epervier, Alderney, December 1797

Extract of a letter from Peter Le Mesurier, Governor of the Island of Alderney, to the Right Hon. Henry Dundas, one of his Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, dated Alderney, the 25th of December 1797. From The European Magazine and London Review, Vol. 33.

For a similar report from John Le Mesurier see The Good Intent.

Alderney, December 25, 1797.

I HAVE the honour of informing you, that yesterday afternoon, at three o'clock, a French cutter privateer had the boldness to chase the Ann cutter, of Hastings, close under one of our batteries, which she was just on the point of boarding with her boat, when the battery opened and obliged the French to sheer off.

Having observed that the English vessel outsailed the enemy whilst there was a breeze, and that the privateer was not of great force, I judged it probable that she might be captured by the troops of the garrison, and therefore ordered a detachment, with an officer, to embark in the same vessel that had been chased, and in another that fortunately happened to be in the Road, having previously promised some gratuity to the owners, and in a few hours I learned, with much satisfaction, that the privateer was brought into our harbour.

She proves to be the Epervier, Captain Tierce, with 24 men, mounting 3 guns, 2 swivels, and small arms, belonging to Dunkirk, but fitted out from Cherburgh, on a fortnight's cruize, from the 17th inst, had, on the 21st, taken the brig Ann, Le Hirrel [Hurel?], master, from Gaspé to Jersey, with fish, and yesterday morning a small vessel bound from hence to England, both which captures had been noticed from this Island.¹

I cannot too much praise the readiness and alacrity shewn by Major Gordon, the officers, and soldiers of the garrison, in the execution of my orders on this occasion; for the day was so far spent, that one quarter of an hour's delay might have frustrated all our exertions; but I am in duty bound to testify my particular obligations to Town-Major Hainell, who solicited to be employed, and instantaneously embarking, effected the capture without any loss.

I am further happy in reporting, that our battery was well served, as out of three shot fired within reach, one passed through the enemy's sails, and another killed a man on board.

P. Le Mesurier, Esq.

¹ On the same cruise, L'Epervier had taken, on the 19 December, the 'small vessel' Troublow, with a crew of three and 200 barrels of gin; the brig Ann, or Anna, on its way to Jersey, had a cargo of cod, dried fish, and salmon.