By Jamie Bruce Lockhart
Clapperton was once born in Annan within the Scottish borders in 1788. Like many Scots of his iteration, he observed carrier at sea because the route to repute and riches within the British Empire. in the course of the Napoleonic Wars he served within the Mediterranean and the East Indies, and at the nice Lakes of Canada within the warfare with the U.S..
After his discharge as a lieutenant in 1817, boredom and thirst for event spurred him to exploration in Africa. He participated in expeditions to map the Niger and the tremendous unexplored hinterland of the Guinea coast, and had command of the second one of those - an entire scale diplomatic venture to a zone of big significance to Britain's burgeoning political and advertisement imperial pursuits.
Jamie Bruce Lockhart has retraced Clapperton's footsteps and takes the reader via wooded area, barren region and extremes of weather. during this brilliant and sympathetic biography the reader witnesses Clapperton's adventures, hopes, fears, misfortunes and his finally lonely fate.
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Extra info for A Sailor in the Sahara: The Life and Travels in Africa of Hugh Clapperton, Commander RN
Clapperton’s new shipmates had recently been in action off the coasts of Spain and Majorca; all operations had been carried out without loss of life and with few men wounded, prize money had been won and morale on board was high. In May 1807, Clapperton finally got his chance to see action when the frigate participated in the capture of a Spanish brig; and a few days later she seized a number of Spanish fishing boats. The dash and clash of cutting‐out actions in company with other British ships, and the pride and satisfaction afforded by swift, well‐executed manoeuvres in the relatively calm waters of the Mediterranean littoral were exhilarating experiences for the young Scottish able seaman.
Their commanding general came forward to agree terms of surrender, and the British troops entered the town; Clapperton was among those first through the breach in the walls to haul down the French colours at Port Louis. And always there were sailors to command and control, both on board and ashore (a small number took the opportunity to desert). Briggs was also charged with diplomatic liaison both with the allied commands and with the influential committee of supercargoes in Canton. Answerable to him were the captain of the foretop and a captain of the maintop, each with his own crew.
Briggs ran a tight ship and a lieutenant of Marines and a purser were brought before courts martial; the first was reprimanded, the second dismissed from the service. The combined invasion force was divided into two wings, each carrying a battalion of infantry. Briggs had command of the right wing. The site chosen for the landing, the small beach at Mapou Bay three miles to the west of Grand Bay and well away from the French gun emplacements, required the negotiation of a narrow channel through the reef, and its entrance had already been surveyed and buoyed.