92 MEMOIR OF COLONEL TUPPER.
water, it was by mere hazard that they escaped cap- ture by the Achilles, a very large 20-gun brig, in possession of Prieto's party. While commanding at Talcahuano, the seaport of the city of Conception, he attempted to carry by boarding, during the night of the 17th of February, the same Achilles, which was then blockading the harbour, and whose crew were unconscious of the meditated attack. He set out with six boats and about eighty men, but after traver- sing the whole of the extensive bay, the captain of the port was unable to find the object of their search, although she was at anchor. Two of the boats having separated, Colonel Tupper concealed himself all the next day, with the four others, in the small and picturesque cove of Tome,* surrounded by rocks and immense trees, with a little village in the upper corner, almost hid in the foliage. From hence he wrote to Colonel Viel, who was in the neighbourhood, for a reinforcement to be sent to the rendezvous at the small island of Quinquina. This reinforcement of four boats arrived, and on the night of the 18th he returned again to the attack, with eight boats and about one hundred and thirty men ; but the enemy was now perfectly prepared, and he was repulsed with the loss of seven men killed and twenty- three wounded, and one of the boats sunk by a cannon ball. It deserves to be recorded, as an instance of the reckless courage of British sailors, that twelve of the crew of an English whaler in the bay volunteered to accompany him, and on these men he placed his chief dependance, well knowing that soldiers, however brave, are not fitted for such a service. These sailors did not deceive him, — they were in fact almost the
- Captain Basil Hall's Journal contains a description of the bay of Talcahuano.