Sir, The Hopes of falling in with the Spanish Fleet, expressed in my Letter to you of the 13th Instant, were confirmed that Night, by our distinctly hearing the Report of their Signal Guns, and by Intelligence received from Captain Foote, of His Majesty’s Ship the Niger, who had, with equal Judgment and Perseverance, kept Company with them for several Days, on my prescribed Rendezvous, (which, from the strong South-East Winds, I had never been able to reach) and that they were not more than the distance of Three or Four Leagues from us. I anxiously awaited the Dawn of Day, when, being on the Starboard Tack, Cape St Vincent bearing East by North Eight Leagues, I had the Satisfaction of seeing a Number of ships extending from South-West to South, the Wind then at West and by South. At Fourty-nine Minutes past ten, the Weather being extremely hazy, La Bonne Citoyenne made the signal that the Ships seen were of the Line, Twenty-five in Number. His Majesty’s squadron under my Command consisting of the Fifteen Ships of the Line named in the Margin, * happily formed in the most compact Order of Sailing, in Two Lines. By carrying a press of sail I was fortunate in getting in with the Enemy’s fleet at Half past Eleven o’Clock, before it had Time to connect, and form a regular Order of Battle. Such a Moment was not to be lost; and, confident in the Skill, Valour and Discipline of the Officers and Men I had the Happiness to command, and judging that the Honor of His Majesty’s Arms and the Circumstances of the War in these Seas required a considerable Degree of Enterprize, I felt myself justified in departing from the regular System; and passing through their Fleet, in a Line formed with the utmost Celerity, tacked, and thereby separated One-third from the main Body, after a partial Connonade, which prevented their Rejunction till the Evening; and by the very great Exertions of the Ships which had the good Fortune to arrive up with the Enemy on the Larboard Tack, the Ships named in the Margin * were captured and the Action ceased about Five o’Clock in the Evening.
Guns.* Salvador del Mundo, 112 San Josef, 112 San Nicolas, 80 San Ysidro, 74
I enclose the most correct List I have been able to obtain of the Spanish Fleet opposed to me, amounting to Twenty-seven Sail