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Extract of a letter from Port Glasgow 27th April 1778


Last night Capt. Crawford, of the Cumbraes Wherry, arrived in town from cruising, confirms all the newspaper intelligence concerning the rebel privateer on the coast, and further adds that, on Friday last, the same rebel privateer of 24 nine-pounders, and 140 stout men, intending some mischief in Belfast loch, went in; but, finding the Drake sloop of war there, stood out again. The Drake, not knowing what she was, sent her boat and gang to press her hands, which the Revenge took and carried along with them, and the Drake followed her, and on that evening engaged, but night coming on, nothing was done till Saturday morning, when they again engaged, and after a very hot fight for one hour and five minutes, the Drake was obliged to strike: the captain and the first lieutenant killed, 22 men killed and wounded ; she had also one of her topmasts carried away. They were so close on the Galloway coast that Captain Crawford, lying in Lochgair, heard the firing, made loose, and stood out; but before she got in sight, the Drake was going away with the privateer. She had taken some fishing boats on the coast of Ireland, whose crews were all put in irons during the engagement, but when it was over they were all put on boats again and sent away, and on their passage to the shore Captain Crawford intercepted them and got all the intelligence. The fishermen also told Captain Crawford that the privateer was wishing much to fall in with him and Campbell's cutter. Captain Crawford made all sail he could for Clyde, and on Sunday morning fell in with the Thetis frigate off Pladda, went on board, and gave Captain Gillies all the intelligence, pointed out the course, and he, after giving Captain Crawford an express for the Admirality, crowded all sail for them. Captain Crawford thinks the Thetis may fall in with them, as the privateer seemed not in a hurry leaving the coast, and as if she intended more mischief. A report is also current here that she also took a brig, the Elizabeth of Glasgow, after she had taken the Drake. I hope she will not get away unpunished.

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Last revised: 16th December 2010