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HIGHLANDER A merchantman that fought a noteworthy action under naval command.
  • The HIGHLANDER, a large ship armed with 12 carronades and with a crew of 35 men, was on passage to England from the West Indies in 1807.
    On board was Lieut. George Augustus WESTPHAL who was being invalided home after suffering the effects of the climate while serving in the DEMERARA sloop.
    Lieut. WESTPHAL daily exercised the crew of HIGHLANDER at their guns until they were proficient in their use and, when the ship was attacked by the French ship privateer ALERT of 20 guns and 140 men, they asked him to take command during the action.
    For nearly three and a half hours the ALERT made ineffectual attempts to board and lost a great many killed and wounded.
    Unfortunately the fourth attempt was successful and the British were obliged to surrender with the loss of five killed and eight wounded.
    The latter including Lieut. WESTPHAL and the mate of HIGHLANDER.
  • The prize was carried into Point-a-Pî tre in Guadeloupe where the lieutenant was confined in a prison ship to await transport to France.
    Taking advantage of a dark night Lieut. WESTPHAL, the mate and two other men managed to escape in a small boat and got out of the harbour by pretending to be a fishing boat.
    After suffering from hunger and thirst they were picked up by an American merchant schooner bound for New York from Guadeloupe and the following day transferred to an English privateer and taken to Antigua.

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