The Marie Galante, brig, was a vessel carrying a cargo of rice bound from New Orleans to Bordeaux when she was attacked and taken as a prize by HMS Indefatigable, Captain Sir Edward Pellew commanding. Hornblower was assigned command to take her to England. The incoming water due to a shot hole below the waterline wasn't noticed, as the rice absorbed it, and sounding the ship's well showed no problems. After a few days the ship was felt settling in the water, and a sail fothered over the hole to slow the leak, but by then the swelling cargo had burst her seams, and attempts to offload the swollen sacks were in vain, so she foundered, and Hornblower lost his first command.
- Mr. Midshipman Hornblower: The Cargo of Rice