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Anchor 49

Capturing a Spanish Privateer

On 3 April 1719, HMS Superb together with HMS Dragon (previously HMS Ormonde), were in the Mediterranean off the island of Minorca when they received orders from Admiral Byng to join Captain Cavendish, who was charged with making peace with the Moors.


The enemy had surrendered the castles of Castellazo in Spain and Mattagrissone in Italy the garrisons yielding themselves prisoners of war.


While en route to rejoin Byng at Naples on 14th August 1719 HMS Superb captured an 8-gun Spanish privateer.


An extract from the London Gazette dated September 8th 1719 reads as follows


       In our passage hither the Superb took a Spanish Privateer of 8 guns,

   12 Pattareroes* and 70 men: she had been but four or five days out of

       Palermo yet had taken a French Saik (small craft) laden with pitch and

     rosin (resin). which Sir George Byng had ordered to be set at liberty,

          as also a sum of money which the captain of the privateer had taken from

the French Master to be returned to him.


*Patteraro is a corruption of an archaic term for a light cannon of small size. Many of these guns seem to have been made as breech loading swivel guns. While a quick check of the returns of British naval ordnance shows these guns still in common usage on small vessels as late as 1703 there was nothing to indicate that any had been manufactured or purchased for many years prior to that. It was a very common sort of ordnance in the late 16th to mid 17th century.


In April 1720, Superb was sent back to Woolwich for substantial repairs and subsequently served under Captain Arthur Field as a guard ship at Sheerness and then at Chatham.

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