Juan de Cardona, who sailed on the left of the right wing, finding no enemy opposed to him, brought his vessel round to the rear of the Turkish centre.
Continuing The Battle of Lepanto and the Destruction of the Turkish Navy,
our selection from Don John of Austria by Sir William Stirling-Maxwell published in 1883. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in seven easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in The Battle of Lepanto and the Destruction of the Turkish Navy.
Place: Gulf of Patras
Vaniero and Colonna fought with great gallantry and success, and each vanquished the Turk who had engaged him. The brave old Admiral of Venice fairly earned the Doge’s cap, which soon after crowned his hoary brow. He was often in the thickest of the fire; and when, in the absence of many of his men, who had boarded the Turkish flag-ship, his own was also boarded, he repulsed the assailants in person, and, fighting with all the vigor of youth, received a wound in the foot on the deck of the galley of Pertau Pacha, whither he had pursued his advantage. A second Turkish galley, advancing to attack Vaniero, was run into about midships and sunk by Giovanni Contarini. Giovanni de Loredano and Caterino Malipieri were less happy in the enemies whom they encountered, and perished in their sunken vessels. From the flag-ship of Genoa the young Prince of Parma, followed by a single Spanish soldier named Alonso Davalos, leaped into a Turkish galley, fought their way through its defenders without a wound, and might also boast of having, unaided, caused it to strike its flag. Two other Turks afterward surrendered to the Genoese flag-ship, the captain of which, Ettore Spinola, lost his life by an arrow. In the flag-ship of Savoy, under a captain named Leni, of remarkable courage, who was also severely wounded, the Prince of Urbino likewise greatly distinguished himself. The gallant Karacosh was compelled to surrender to Juan Bautista Cortez, a captain of the King of Spain, although his galley was defended by one hundred fifty picked janizaries and was one of the best built and equipped vessels in the fleet. The Eleugina of the Pope had the credit of taking the guard-ship of Rhodes; and the Toscana, also a papal galley, in making a prize of the vessel of the Turkish paymaster recovered to the pontifical squadron the flag-ship of the contingent of Pius IV in the unfortunate battle of Gerbi. The crowning achievement of the central division was performed by the Grand Commander, who attacked and captured after an obstinate and bloody contest, a fine galley, in which were the sons of the deceased Ali Pacha. These lads — Mahomet Bey, aged seventeen years, and Said Bey, aged thirteen — had been brought to sea by their father for the first time. Their capture was of importance, because the mother of one of them was a sister of Sultan Selim.
Juan de Cardona, who sailed on the left of the right wing, finding no enemy opposed to him, brought his vessel round to the rear of the Turkish centre, and attacked Pertau Pacha, with whom Paolo Giordano Orsini was engaged in a somewhat unequal conflict. After a stout resistance the Christians entered the Turkish galley, out of which the Pacha, though wounded, succeeded in escaping in a boat.
The right wing of the Christians and the Turkish left wing did not engage each other until some time after the other divisions were in deadly conflict. Doria and Aluch Ali were, each of them, bent on outmaneuvering the other. The Algerine did not succeed, like Sirocco, in insinuating himself between his adversary and the shore. But the seamen whose skill and daring were the admiration of the Mediterranean were not easily baffled. Finding himself foiled in his first attempt, he slackened his course, and, threatening sometimes one vessel and sometimes another, drew the Genoese eastward, until the inferior speed of some of the galleys had caused an opening at the northern end of the Christian line. Upon this opening the crafty corsair immediately bore down with all the speed of his oars, and passed through it with most of his galleys. This evolution placed him in the rear of the whole Christian line of battle. On the extreme right of the centre division sailed Prior Giustiniani, the commodore of the small Maltese squadron. This officer had hitherto fought with no less success than skill, and had already captured four Turkish galleys. The Viceroy of Algiers had, the year before, captured three galleys of Malta, and was fond of boasting of being the peculiar scourge and terror of the Order of St. John. The well-known white cross banner, rising over the smoke of battle, soon attracted his eye and was marked for his prey. Wheeling round like a hawk, he bore down from behind upon the unhappy prior. The three war-worn vessels of St. John were no match for seven stout Algerines which had not yet fired a shot. The knights and their men defended themselves with a valor worthy of their heroic order. A youth named Bernardino de Heredia, son of the Count of Fuentes, signally distinguished himself; and a Saragossan knight, Geronimo Ramirez, although riddled with arrows like another St. Sebastian, fought with such desperation that none of the Algerine boarders cared to approach him until they saw that he was dead. A knight of Burgundy leaped alone into one of the enemy’s galleys, killed four Turks, and defended himself until overpowered by numbers. On board the prior’s vessel, when he was taken, he himself, pierced with five arrow wounds, was the sole survivor, except two knights, a Spaniard and a Sicilian, who, being senseless from their wounds, were considered as dead. Having secured the banner of St. John, Aluch Ali took the prior’s ship in tow, and was making the best of his way out of a battle which his skilful eye soon discovered to be irretrievably lost. He had not, however, sailed far when he was in turn descried by the Marquess of Santa Cruz, who, with his squadron of reserve, was moving about redressing the wrongs of Christian fortune. Aluch Ali had no mind for the fate of Giustiniani, and resolved to content himself with the banner of Malta. Cutting his prize adrift, he plied his oars and escaped, leaving the prior grievously wounded to the care of his friends, and once more master, not only of his ship, but of three hundred dead enemies who cumbered the deck, a few living Algerine mariners who were to navigate the vessel, and some Turkish soldiers, from whom he had just purchased his life. This struggle cost the order, in killed alone, upward of thirty knights, among whom was the Grand Bailiff of Germany, commander-in-chief of its land forces. A few were also made prisoners, most of them desperately wounded. For one of them, Borgianni Gianfigliazzi, his relations at Florence, supposing him dead, performed funeral obsequies, in spite of which he returned home from captivity, and was afterward ambassador from the Grand Duke to Sultan Amurath. Two other knights, Mastrillo and Caraffa, finding themselves unsupported in an enemy’s brigantine, had given themselves up, and had just bribed their captor to spare their lives and admit them to a ransom, when a Neapolitan galley coming by boarded the brigantine and turned their new master into their slave.
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