Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: The Atlantic campaign of 1806.

  1. #1
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default The Atlantic campaign of 1806.

    Name:  Duckworth's_action_off_San_Domingo,_6_February_1806,_Nicholas_Pocock.jpg
Views: 34
Size:  12.3 KB

    The Atlantic campaign of 1806 was one of the most important and complex naval campaigns of the post-Trafalgar Napoleonic Wars. Seeking to take advantage of the withdrawal of British forces from the Atlantic in the aftermath of the Battle of Trafalgar, Emperor Napoleon ordered two battle squadrons to sea from the fleet stationed at Brest, during December 1805. Escaping deep into the Atlantic, these squadrons succeeded in disrupting British convoys, evading pursuit by British battle squadrons and reinforcing the French garrison at Santo Domingo. The period of French success was brief: on 6 February 1806 one of the squadrons, under Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues, was intercepted by a British squadron at the Battle of San Domingo and destroyed, losing all five of its ships of the line.

    Name:  170px-Amiral_Philippe_willaumez_(1761-1841).jpg
Views: 33
Size:  10.5 KB

    The second French squadron, under Vice-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez, cruised in the South Atlantic and the Caribbean during the spring and summer of 1806, conducting several successful raids on British islands in the West Indies. His ability to affect British trade was hampered by the deployment of British squadrons against him and the disobedience of Captain Jérôme Bonaparte, the Emperor's brother. On 18 August an Atlantic hurricane dispersed his ships, causing severe damage and forcing them to take shelter in friendly or neutral harbours in the Americas. Waiting British ships destroyed one vessel, and several others were so badly damaged that they never sailed again, the four survivors limping back to France individually over the next two years. The various British squadrons deployed against him failed to catch Willaumez, but their presence had limited his ability to raid British trade routes. The campaign included a number of subsidiary operations by both British and French ships, some taking advantage of the campaign to conduct smaller operations while the main enemy forces were distracted, others operating as diversions to the principal campaign to attack undefended areas or lure British ships away from the principal French squadrons. Among these operations was the return of the squadron under Contre-Admiral Charles-Alexandre Durand Linois from the Indian Ocean, which was captured at the Action of 13 March 1806; the raiding cruises of L'Hermite's expedition and Lamellerie's expedition, which captured a number of merchant ships but each lost a frigate breaking through the blockade of the French coast; and the destruction of a convoy of seven French ships destined with supplies for the French West Indies at the Action of 25 September 1806.
    Rochefort blockade squadrons.

    French squadrons.

    Name:  180px-Corentin_de_Leissegues_-_Marine-Offizier.jpg
Views: 32
Size:  11.4 KB

    Admiral Leissègues' squadron.

    Both of the principal French squadrons departed Brest on 13 December, remaining together for the first two days before dividing in pursuit of separate British merchant convoys on 15 December. The squadron under Leissègues clashed with the convoy's escort, before breaking off and sailing south for the French Caribbean, where Leissègues was intending to land the 1,000 soldiers carried aboard as reinforcements for the garrison at Santo Domingo, via the Azores. The voyage was long and difficult, Leissègues struggling through winter storms that divided his squadron and inflicted severe damage to his ships. Arriving at Santo Domingo on 20 January, Leissègues disembarked his troops and began extensive repairs to his ships in preparation for raiding cruises in the Caribbean.
    On 6 February, Leissègues was surprised at anchor by a squadron under Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth, which had been taking on fresh supplies at Basseterre when news of Leissègues' arrival reached him. Joined by ships from the West Indian squadron, Duckworth's force was larger than Leissègues' and also had the advantage of the wind that prevented the unprepared French squadron from escaping. Sailing westwards along the coast in a line of battle, Leissègues' flagship Impérial was the first to be attacked, eventually driving ashore along with the next in line, while three others surrendered at the Battle of San Domingo. Leissègues himself escaped ashore; the only surviving ships of his squadron were the frigates, all of which eventually returned to France later in the spring.

    Admiral Leissègues' squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    Impérial 120 Vice-Admiral Corentin Urbain Leissègues
    Captain Julien-Gabriel Bigot
    Driven ashore and destroyed at the Battle of San Domingo
    Alexandre 80 Captain Pierre-Elie Garreau Captured at the Battle of San Domingo
    Brave 74 Commodore Louis-Marie Coudé Captured at the Battle of San Domingo
    Diomède 74 Captain Jean-Baptiste Henry Driven ashore and destroyed at the Battle of San Domingo.
    Jupiter 74 Captain Gaspard Laignel Captured at the Battle of San Domingo
    Comète 40 Returned to France in 1806
    Félicité 40 Returned to France in 1806
    Diligente 20 Captain Raymond Cocault Returned to France in 1806


    Admiral Willaumez's squadron.


    Name:  Vétéran reaching the French port of Concarneau.jpg
Views: 28
Size:  153.0 KB


    Vétéran reaching the French port of Concarneau, Michel Bouquet
    After separating from Leissègues on 15 December, Willaumez sailed south, capturing a number of vessels from a British troop convoy and sending the prizes, with the frigate Volontaire, to Tenerife. Willaumez's intention was to raid the China Fleet, a large convoy of valuable East Indiamen that sailed from the Far East to Britain every year. However, on 23 December he was pursued by Duckworth and driven far off course, so that by the time he reached the Cape of Good Hope, where he planned to resupply his ships, it had already been captured by a British expeditionary force. Turning westwards, Willaumez raided shipping in the South Atlantic until April, when he anchored at Salvador in neutral Brazil. By early May, Willaumez was at sea again, stopping at Cayenne and then splitting his force to raid shipping in the Leeward Islands prior to reuniting at Fort-de-France on Martinique in June.
    On 1 July, Willaumez sailed again, attacking shipping at Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts before sailing to Tortola in preparation for an attack on the Jamaica convoy. Before he could reach the convoy, Willaumez was intercepted off the Passage Islands by a squadron under Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and driven northwards into the Bahamas. There he waited for the Jamaica convoy to pass, seizing any ship of any nationality that came within sight, in case they should reveal his position. After several weeks of waiting, Captain Bonaparte, the Emperor's brother and commander of the ship Vétéran, decided that he would no longer submit to Willaumez's command and sailed north during the night of 31 July, without orders or even notifying the admiral. Vétéran eventually returned to France on 26 August, after destroying six ships from a Quebec convoy. Panicked by the unexplained disappearance of one of his ships and its illustrious captain, Willaumez struck north in search of the vessel and as a result missed the passage of the Jamaica convoy, also narrowly avoiding an encounter with the squadrons under Warren and Strachan. On 18 August a hurricane dispersed his ships, severely damaging them and scattering them along the Atlantic Seaboard of the Americas. One was destroyed by a British patrol, two others were too badly damaged to be repaired and were broken up, and three of his ships successfully made the journey back to France over the next two years.

    Admiral Willaumez's squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    Foudroyant 80 Vice-Admiral Jean-Baptiste Phillibert Willaumez
    Captain Antoine Henri
    Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Havana. Returned to France in early 1807.
    Cassard 74 Commodore Gilbert-Amable Faure Separated in August hurricane, returned to Brest on 13 October.
    Impétueux 74 Commodore Alain-Joseph Le Veyer-Belair Badly damaged in an August hurricane, driven ashore and destroyed by British ships on 14 September 1806.
    Patriote 74 Commodore Joseph-Hyacinthe-Isidore Khrom Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Annapolis. Returned to France in January 1808.
    Éole 74 Captain Louis-Gilles Prévost de Lacroix Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Annapolis. Eventually broken up as beyond repair.
    Vétéran 74 Captain Jérôme Bonaparte Separated without orders on 31 July, returning to France alone on 26 August.
    Valeureuse 40 Badly damaged in an August hurricane, sheltered in Philadelphia. Eventually broken up as beyond repair.
    Volontaire 40 Captain Bretel Detached in December 1805 to Tenerife. Captured on 4 March 1806 at Cape Town.
    Also two corvettes, names unknown

    Admiral Linois's squadron.

    Name:  linois10.jpg
Views: 33
Size:  55.3 KB
    One of the minor French squadrons that participated in the campaign was the force under Contre-Admiral Linois, who had sailed for the Indian Ocean with a ship of the line and four frigates in March 1803 during the Peace of Amiens. After brief stops at Puducherry and Île de France, Linois sailed on a raiding cruise to the South China Sea only to be driven off by a British merchant convoy at the Battle of Pulo Aura.
    Despite subsequent minor success against merchant ships, including the Battle of Vizagapatam, Linois's failure to inflict significant damage to British trade in the Far East enraged Napoleon, and in late 1805, with supplies running low and his ships in need of repair, Linois began the return journey to Europe with just his flagship and a single frigate remaining.

    By the early morning of 13 March 1806 he was in the Mid-Atlantic when his lookouts spotted sails in the distance. Turning his force around to investigate, Linois hoped to encounter a merchant convoy but instead discovered the large British second rate HMS London looming out of the darkness ahead.
    Unable to escape, Linois fought until his ships were battered and he himself was badly wounded, but he eventually surrendered to the squadron under Admiral Warren that had followed London. Napoleon's fury at Linois was unabated and the French admiral remained a prisoner of war for the next eight years.

    Admiral Linois's squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    Marengo 74 Contre-Admiral Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois
    Captain Joseph-Marie Vrignaud
    Captured at the Action of 13 March 1806.
    Belle Poule 40 Captain Alain-Adélaïde-Marie Bruilhac Captured at the Action of 13 March 1806.

    Commodore L'Hermite's squadron.
    For more details on this topic, see L'Hermite's expedition.
    One of the principal French diversionary operations during 1806 was by a force that had been sent to sea in October 1805 as a diversion during the Trafalgar campaign, which by then was almost over. Sailing from Lorient to West Africa, L'Hermite was supposed to have been reinforced by a squadron under Jérôme Bonaparte and attack and capture British forts on the West African coast, thus forcing the detachment of British forces from the main campaign in pursuit.
    The events of the end of the Trafalgar campaign cancelled these plans, and the scheduled reinforcements were instead attached to Willaumez's squadron. Despite this setback, L'Hermite continued with elements of the original plan and attacked British merchant ships and slave ships off West Africa during the spring of 1806, inflicting some local damage but failing to capture a trading post or to affect the wider strategic situation.
    In June, L'Hermite sailed to Cayenne for supplies and then returned to Europe the following month, encountering part of the British blockade squadron under Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis on his return and losing the frigate Président.

    Commodore L'Hermite's squadron.

    Name:  Jean_marthe_adrien_lhermitte-antoine_maurin.jpg
Views: 32
Size:  163.7 KB
    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    Régulus 74 Commodore Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite Returned to Brest on 5 October
    Président 40 Captain Labrosse Captured by a British squadron in the Bay of Biscay on 27 September 1806
    Cybèle 40 Damaged in a hurricane on 20 August, forced to shelter in Hampton Roads. Returned to Rochefort in 1807.
    Surveillant corvette Returned to France in January 1806
    Favourite 18 Captured off West Africa on 6 January and attached to squadron. Remained in the Caribbean and was captured by HMS Jason on 27 January 1807.
    Commodore La Meillerie's squadron.

    For more details on this topic, see La Meillerie's expedition.
    One of the French squadrons that operated in the Atlantic campaign of 1806 was the result of opportunity rather than strategy. After the Battle of Trafalgar, most of the French survivors had retreated to Cadiz, where they remained until Duckworth's blockade squadron abandoned the port in November 1805. Although Duckworth's ships were replaced by forces under Lord Collingwood, the replacements were inadequate and on 26 February 1806, while the blockade squadron, which had been pulled back in the hope of luring the French out of the port, had been blown off station, four frigates and a brig escaped. Chased by the British frigate HMS Hydra, Commodore Louis La-Marre-la-Meillerie refused battle and abandoned the brig Furet to the British in his haste to escape.
    Sailing to Senegal and then Cayenne, La Meillerie's operations had little effect and by 18 May he was already on the return journey to France, hoping to anchor in the Biscay port of Rochefort. On 27 July, the frigates were spotted by HMS Mars, a ship of the line of the British blockade squadron, and chased with the frigate Rhin rapidly falling behind. Declining to support the straggler, La Meillerie ran on towards France while Mars took possession of Rhin, and the surviving ships found safe ports along the Biscay coast.

    Commodore La Meillerie's squadron.
    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    Hortense 40 Commodore Louis La-Marre-la-Meillerie Returned to Bordeaux on 28 July
    Rhin 40 Captain Michel-Jean-André Chesneau Captured on 28 July by HMS Mars
    Hermione 40 Captain Jean-Michel Mahé Returned to Bordeaux on 28 July
    Thémis 36 Commodore Nicolas Jugan Returned to Rochefort on 28 July
    Furet 18 Lieutenant Pierre-Antoine-Toussaint Demai Captured on 28 February by HMS Hydra


    Commodore Soleil's squadron.
    The final French operation in the Atlantic during the campaign was an attempt to send seven frigates and corvettes to the French West Indies in September, laden with supplies to help maintain the strength and morale of the garrisons.
    With Willaumez believed to be still at sea, September 1806 seemed a good time to send a squadron into the Atlantic, but in fact the force was spotted within hours of leaving Rochefort by the British blockade force under Commodore Sir Samuel Hood. Hood's force gave chase and the large ships of the line soon caught up the frigates in heavy weather. Sending four of his ships off in different directions, Soleil attempted to give them cover with his three largest vessels, but after a hard-fought battle in which Hood lost an arm, four of the French frigates were captured.

    Commodore Soleil's Squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    Gloire 40 Commodore Eleonore-Jean-Nicolas Soleil Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
    Minerve 40 Captain Joseph Collet Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
    Armide 40 Captain Jean-Jacques-Jude Langlois Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
    Infatigable 40 Captain Joseph-Maurice Girardias Captured at Action of 25 September 1806
    Thétis 36 Captain Jacques Pinsum
    Lynx 16
    Sylphe 16

    British squadrons.

    Admiral Warren's squadron.


    Name:  large.jpg
Views: 32
Size:  184.5 KB


    The London Man of War capturing the Marengo Admiral Linois, 13 March 1806, Contemporary engraving by "W. C I"
    The squadron under Admiral Warren prepared at Spithead in December 1805 included one second rate, one 80-gun ship of the line and five 74-gun ships of line, but no frigates or smaller vessels to operate as scouts. Prevented from sailing during December by high winds, Warren remained off St Helens on the Isle of Wight until the middle of January, when the winds lifted and he set a course for Madeira. There he was to search for information of the French squadrons and, if no information was forthcoming, to sail for Barbados and augment the squadrons in the Caribbean. For the next two months, Warren remained in the central eastern Atlantic Ocean, aware that Willaumez was cruising to the south and that Leissègues had been destroyed off San Domingo. During February his force was joined by the independently sailing frigate HMS Amazon.
    On 13 March 1806, Warren's squadron sighted and pursued two sails to the northeast, which were eventually recognised as the squadron under Admiral Linois, returning to France from an extended cruise in the Indian Ocean. In the ensuing Action of 13 March 1806, London and Amazon were able to defeat and capture the French ships Marengo and Belle Poule, the resulting damage and prizes prompting Warren to return to Britain. During the return journey his squadron was struck by a spring storm and several ships suffered damage and were separated, eventually rejoining Warren's main force and returning to Spithead. In Britain, Warren's ships underwent repairs and London and Repulse were detached, replaced by HMS Fame under Captain Richard Bennet. In late June Warren's squadron sailed again, under orders to intercept Willaumez off the Bahamas. Arriving in the Caribbean on 12 July, Warren narrowly missed intercepting Willaumez's squadron, which had sailed to the north in search of Vétéran.

    Admiral Warren's first squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS London 98 Captain Sir Harry Burrard Neale Engaged at the Action of 13 March 1806
    HMS Foudroyant 80 Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren
    Captain John Chambers White
    HMS Ramillies 74 Captain Francis Pickmore Badly damaged in the storm of 23 April 1806
    HMS Hero 74 Captain Alan Gardner
    HMS Namur 74 Captain Lawrence Halsted
    HMS Repulse 74 Captain Arthur Kaye Legge
    HMS Courageux 74 Captain James Bissett
    HMS Amazon 38 Captain William Parker Joined the squadron during February. Engaged at the Action of 13 March 1806.

    Admiral Warren's second squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS Foudroyant 80 Rear-Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren
    Captain John Chambers White
    HMS Ramillies 74 Captain Francis Pickmore
    HMS Hero 74 Captain Alan Gardner
    HMS Namur 74 Captain Lawrence Halsted
    HMS Fame 74 Captain Richard Bennet
    HMS Courageux 74 Captain James Bissett
    HMS Amazon 38 Captain William Parker

    Admiral Strachan's squadron.
    Admiral Strachan's squadron was ordered to prepare for sea during December at Plymouth, but like Warren's force, Strachan was trapped by strong winds in Cawsand Bay and could not sail until mid-January. Strachan's orders were to sail for Saint Helena and search for signs of the French squadrons. If their whereabouts could not be discovered, Strachan was to join the squadron under Admiral Sir Home Riggs Popham detailed to invade the Dutch colony at the Cape of Good Hope.
    During February and March Strachan searched in vain, eventually receiving the news that Willaumez had anchored in neutral Salvador in Brazil during April. Steering northwest in the hope of intercepting the French squadron, Strachan was hampered by the presence of HMS St George, which proved too slow for a flying squadron. Returning to Plymouth, Strachan detached St George and Centaur, which had been made the flagship of the Rochefort blockade squadron and was given HMS Belleisle, HMS Audacious and HMS Montagu as replacements, as well as two frigates.
    Departing Plymouth on 19 May, Strachan sailed for the Caribbean, passing Madeira and the Canary Islands before anchoring at Carlisle Bay, Barbados on 8 August. Five days later Strachan sail northwards in pursuit of Willaumez and on 18 August was caught in the same hurricane that dispersed Willaumez's squadron slightly to the north. During August and September, Strachan's scattered ships gathered off the rendezvous point at Chesapeake Bay in the hope of intercepting any French vessels seeking shelter in American ports. On 14 September, Belleisle, Bellona and Melampus sighted the limping French ship Impétueux off Cape Henry and drove her ashore, burning the wreck in violation of American neutrality.

    Admiral Strachan's first squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS St George 98 Captain Thomas Bertie Detached in May at Plymouth
    HMS Caesar 80 Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan
    Captain Charles Richardson
    HMS Centaur 74 Captain Sir Samuel Hood Detached in May at Plymouth
    HMS Terrible 74 Captain Lord Henry Paulet
    HMS Triumph 74 Captain Henry Inman
    HMS Bellona 74 Captain John Erskine Douglas

    Admiral Strachan's second squadron.
    Ship Guns Commander Not.es
    HMS Caesar 80 Rear-Admiral Sir Richard Strachan
    Captain Charles Richardson
    HMS Belleisle 74 Captain William Hargood Participated in the destruction of Impétueux on 14 September
    HMS Terrible 74 Captain Lord Henry Paulet
    HMS Triumph 74 Captain Sir Thomas Hardy
    HMS Bellona 74 Captain John Erskine Douglas Participated in the destruction of Impétueux on 14 September
    HMS Audacious 74 Captain Thomas Gosselyn
    HMS Montagu 74 Captain Robert Otway
    HMS Melampus 36 Captain Stephen Poyntz Participated in the destruction of Impétueux on 14 September
    HMS Decade 36 Captain John Stuart

    Admiral Duckworth's squadron.

    Name:  Admiral_Sir_John_Thomas_Duckworth_(1748-1817).jpg
Views: 32
Size:  170.8 KB


    The third principal British squadron deployed during the campaign was never intended to take part in it. Admiral Duckworth had been ordered to lead the blockade of Cadiz in November 1805, following the destruction of the French and Spanish fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October. Finding the blockade of the survivors at Cadiz dull, Duckworth sailed south in search of Allemand's expedition, leaving just two frigates to watch the Spanish port. Allemand escaped Duckworth, but on 23 December he was informed of the depredations by Willaumez's squadron and sailed to intercept him. On 25 December he discovered Willaumez but was unable to catch him eventually abandoning the chase and retiring to St. Kitts in the West Indies to take on fresh supplies. There he was joined by several ships of the Leeward Islands squadron under Admiral Cochrane and also learned of the arrival of Leissègues at Santo Domingo. Sailing to intercept the French squadron, Duckworth successfully encountered them on 6 February 1806 and in the ensuing Battle of San Domingo, captured or destroyed all five of the ships of the line, carrying his prizes to Jamaica. Duckworth then returned to Britain, leaving Cochrane with a number of vessels to patrol the Eastern Caribbean in anticipation of the arrival of Willaumez.


    Admiral Duckworth's squadron.

    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS Canopus 80 Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis
    Captain Francis Austen
    Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
    HMS Superb 74 Vice-Admiral Sir John Thomas Duckworth
    Captain Richard Goodwin Keats
    Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
    HMS Spencer 74 Captain Robert Stopford Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
    HMS Donegal 74 Captain Pulteney Malcolm Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
    HMS Powerful 74 Captain Robert Plampin Detached to the Indian Ocean on 2 February 1806
    HMS Agamemnon 64 Captain Sir Edward Berry Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo
    HMS Acasta 40 Captain Richard Dalling Dunn
    HMS Amethyst 36 Captain James William Spranger Detached to Britain on 26 December 1805
    Admiral Cochrane's reinforcements
    HMS Northumberland 74 Rear-Admiral Alexander Cochrane
    Captain John Morrison
    Joined at Basseterre on 21 January 1806. Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo.
    HMS Atlas 74 Captain Samuel Pym Joined at Basseterre on 21 January 1806. Engaged at the Battle of San Domingo.
    HMS Magicienne 32 Captain Adam Mackenzie Joined off Santo Domingo on 5 February 1806
    HMS Kingfisher 16 Commander Nathaniel Day Cochrane Joined at Basseterre on 1 February 1806
    HMS Epervier 14 Lieutenant James Higginson Joined off Saint Thomas on 3 February 1806

    Admiral Cochrane's squadron.

    Name:  Admiral_Sir_Alexander_Inglis_Cochrane_(1758–1832).png
Views: 32
Size:  95.7 KB


    Following the Battle of San Domingo, Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane, newly knighted, gathered a small squadron in anticipation of the arrival of the second French force under Willaumez. Based at Carlisle Bay, Barbados, Cochrane's forces patrolled the Leeward Islands for the French force during the spring, eventually locating Willaumez's ships at Fort-de-France on Martinique on 14 June 1806. An attempt to blockade the port ended in failure as several ships were damaged in high winds, but when Willaumez sailed on 1 July, Cochrane had planned ahead, and brought his squadron to Tortola, blocking the passage through which Willaumez would have to sail to attack the valuable Jamaica convoy, then gathering off Saint Thomas. With his squadron, Cochrane successfully drove off Willaumez on 4 July without a fight, and the French admiral retired to the Bahama Banks to await the convoy's passage northwards. Cochrane spent the next month preparing the convoy for its voyage, which it began during August while Willaumez was out of position to the north.

    Admiral Cochrane's squadron.
    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS Northumberland 74 Rear-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane
    Captain John Spear
    HMS Elephant 74 Captain George Dundas
    HMS Canada 74 Captain John Harvey
    HMS Agamemnon 64 Captain Jonas Rose
    HMS Ethalion 36 Captain Charles Stuart
    HMS Seine 36 Captain David Atkins
    HMS Galatea 32 Captain Murray Maxwell
    HMS Circe 32 Captain Hugh Pigott

    Rochefort blockade squadrons.

    Name:  220px-Sir_Home_Riggs_Popham_from_NPG.jpg
Views: 33
Size:  15.7 KB


    Although other British forces were deployed during the year, most were engaged on other operations incidental to the main Atlantic campaign, such as the expeditionary force to the Cape of Good Hope under Commodore Home Riggs Popham. In addition, a number of blockade squadrons were deployed to the major ports of the French Atlantic coast. These forces contained the French warships still at anchor in the ports and restricted the return of French warships from service at sea during the campaign. These forces included a Channel squadron under Rear-Admiral Thomas Louis, whose ships intercepted and captured a frigate of Commodore Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite's squadron on 27 September, and blockade forces off Cadiz under the distant command of Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood and Brest under Admiral William Cornwallis. Cornwallis in particular was particularly effective: under his watch, only one French ship of the line successfully entered or departed Brest harbour during the year.
    There was one blockade force that played a particular role in the campaign, the force deployed to the waters off Rochefort, initially under the command of Commodore Richard Goodwin Keats. Under Keats, the French squadron under Louis La-Marre-la-Meillerie was intercepted on 17 July, HMS Mars capturing a frigate and chasing the others into port. In August, Keats was replaced by Commodore Sir Samuel Hood, who was to achieve one of the more notable victories of the year at the Action of 25 September 1806, when a French convoy of seven ships sailing to the West Indies was intercepted and defeated. Although Hood's force captured four large modern frigates, the French fought hard and Hood himself was seriously wounded by musket fire, losing an arm.

    Commodore Keats' squadron.



    Name:  Richard_Goodwin_Keats_2.jpg
Views: 33
Size:  133.0 KB
    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS Superb 74 Commodore Richard Goodwin Keats
    HMS Mars 74 Captain Robert Dudley Oliver Captured frigate Rhin on 17 July
    HMS Africa 64 Captain Henry Digby
    Keats' squadron also included two other ships of the line.

    Commodore Hood's squadron.

    Name:  Northcote,_Samuel_Hood.jpg
Views: 33
Size:  165.9 KB
    Ship Guns Commander Notes
    HMS Monarch 74 Captain Richard Lee Engaged at the Action of 25 September 1806
    HMS Centaur 74 Commodore Sir Samuel Hood Engaged at the Action of 25 September 1806
    HMS Mars 74 Captain William Lukin Engaged at the Action of 25 September 1806
    HMS Windsor Castle 98 Captain Charles Boyles
    HMS Achille 74 Captain Richard King
    HMS Revenge 74 Captain Sir John Gore
    HMS Atalante 16 Commander John Ore Masefield
    Last edited by Bligh; 08-13-2017 at 08:43.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  2. #2
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    The French protagonists.

    Corentin Urbain de Leissegues.


    Name:  180px-Corentin_de_Leissegues_-_Marine-Offizier.jpg
Views: 29
Size:  11.4 KB

    Leissegues joined the Navy in 1778, at age 20. He served on the frigate Oiseau and took part in patrol in the English Channel, before being transferred on the Nymphe. In 1780, he was promoted to lieutenant de frégate and joined the Magicienne.
    In 1781, Leissegues served under Suffren and took part in the campaigns of the Franco-Indian alliances. He received a wound at the head during the Battle of Providien.
    From 1785, Leissègues served in the North Sea on the frigate Vigilante. Promoted to sous-lieutenant de vaisseau, he served in the Indian Ocean aboard the frigate Méduse from 1787 to 1791. He took his first command with the brig Furet, off Newfoundland.
    Leissègues was promoted to Captain in early 1793 and put in command of a convoy bound for Windward Islands. Arriving at Guadeloupe, he found the island in British hands, and launched a 4-month campaign to re-take it. He was subsequently promoted to contre-amiral.
    Upon his return to France, Leissègues was put in charge of harbour inspection from Saint-Malo to Vlissingen. He was then given command of the harbours of Ostend, Vlissingen, and Antwerp, as well of the naval forces stationed near Walcheren.
    Leissègues later led a naval division to Northern Africa to reduce attacks by Barbary corsairs. He managed to obtain assurances in Algiers and Tunis, bringing back presents and the ambassador of Tunis to Paris. The same years, he ferried General Brune to Constantinople.
    In 1806, Leissègues lead a five-ship squadron to reinforce Santo Domingo. A British squadron led by vice-admiral John Thomas Duckworth intercepted the convoy, and destroyed it in the ensuing Battle of San Domingo.
    On 7 April 1809, Leissègues was put in charge of the defence of Venice. He was tasked to provide for Corfu, where he stayed until the surrender of the island to the Allies, in 1814, upon orders of Louis XVIII.
    Leissègues returned to Toulon in August 1814. He served under the Bourbon Restoration until 1818, rising to vice-admiral.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  3. #3
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    I have found no information on Leissegues' Captain Julien-Gabriel Bigot,but did come across this sketch in a Russian language manuscript.


    Name:  Captain Julien-Gabriel Bigot.jpg
Views: 28
Size:  88.9 KB
    Julien-Gabriel Bigot

    Excepting this.

    Bigot de la Robilardierre (Julien-Gabriel)
    Born: 4 April 1761
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1774
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 5 January 1799
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 1 January 1812
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1798
    Died: 14 March 1817

    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 08-14-2017 at 09:30.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  4. #4
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Commodore Louis-Marie Coudé




    From French translation.

    The son of a merchant, he embarked at the age of 14 on the ships of the East India Company.
    Engaged in the Navy on the occasion of the War of Independence of the United States,
    he came to the rank of Rear Admiral.
    He retired in 1810 and was elected deputy of Morbihan in 1815, during the Hundred Days.



    Born: 17 December 1752
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 176Captain de vaisseau 3rd class: 30 October 1793
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 1 January 1794
    Chef de Division: 21 March 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 23 September 1800
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1806
    Died: 10 February 1822


    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 08-14-2017 at 09:38.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  5. #5
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Cocault (Raymond)







    Born: 20 March 1768
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1781
    Captain de fregate: 24 September 1803
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 12 July 1808
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds received while in the service of France: None
    Died: 5 November 1839

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  6. #6
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Garreau (Pierre-Elie)





    Born: 2 September 1766
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1781
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 11 March 1799
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 1 January 1808
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds received while in the service of France: None
    Died: 25 February 1841
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  7. #7
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Henry (Jean-Baptiste)





    Born: 26 February 1757
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position:1768
    Captain de vaisseau 3rd class: 2 November 1794
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 21 March 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 23 September 1800
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 1 January 1807
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: : 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur:14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1787, 1806
    Died: 10 July 1818
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  8. #8
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Laignel (Patrice-Gaspard)




    Born: 17 March 1769
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1783
    Captain de fregate: 22 September 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 24 September 1803
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur:14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1806
    Died: 27 March 1855
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  9. #9
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Amiral Jean-Baptiste Philibert Willaumez.

    (7 August 1763 – 17 May 1845)


    Name:  Amiral Jean-Baptiste Philibert Willaumez..jpg
Views: 23
Size:  201.8 KB

    He was a French sailor, Navy officer, and admiral of the First French Empire.
    Willaumez joined the French Navy at the age of 14, and proved a competent sailor. Having risen to the rank of pilot, he started studying navigation, attracting the attention of his superiors up to Louis XVI himself. He became an officer and served under Antoine Bruni d'Entrecasteaux in his expedition to rescue Lapérouse and explore the Indian Ocean and Oceania (including Tasmania, also known as Van Diemen's Land).
    At the French Revolution, Willaumez rose in rank and served in Saint-Domingue, where he led a brilliant defence of the frigate Poursuivante against the 74-gun HMS Hercule in the Action of 28 June 1803. He fought the Haitian Revolution, commanding the station of Saint-Domingue.
    During the Empire, in 1806, Willaumez commanded a squadron in Atlantic campaign of 1806. He sailed to the Cape of Good Hope, Brazil and the Caribbean, disrupting British trade and harassing their forces. However, the insubordination of Prince Jérôme Bonaparte, who served as Captain of Vétéran in his squadron, forced him to miss a rich convoy. Later, a hurricane damaged and dispersed his ships, of which three were ultimately lost; the others limped back to France one by one.
    In May 1808, he attempted to regroup the ships scattered in Brest, Lorient and Rochefort into an eighteen-strong fleet to support the French colonies of the Caribbean; adverse weather and the poor state of the squadron thwarted the plan and he ended being blockaded in Rochefort, leading to the Battle of the Basque Roads, and fell out of favour with Napoléon.
    After the war, Willaumez served at the Council of Naval Constructions and as Pair de France. He authored a dictionary of naval terms and sponsored a collection of ship models! (Sounds familiar)

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  10. #10
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Henri de la Blanchetais (Antoine)




    Born: 24 February 1766
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position:1781
    Captain de fregate: 22 September 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 6 March 1805
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1813
    Died: 1 October 1843
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  11. #11
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Faure (Gilbert-Amable)





    Born: 5 April 1755
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1779
    Captain de fregate: 5 September 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 22 September 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 23 September 1800
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: None
    Died: 31 December 1812
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  12. #12
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Commodore Krohm (Joseph-Hyacinthe-Isidore)

    Name:  Le_chevalier_KROHM.jpg
Views: 14
Size:  18.8 KB

    Born: 16 August 1766
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position:1778
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 13 January 1794
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 24 September 1803
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur:14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1782, 1795
    Died: 21 March 1823
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  13. #13
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Jérôme Bonaparte


    Name:  Jerome_bonaparte_von_westph.jpg
Views: 14
Size:  36.4 KB



    Jérôme was born in Ajaccio, Corsica the eighth and last surviving child, fifth surviving son, of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino. He was a younger brother of his siblings: Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte, Lucien Bonaparte, Elisa Bonaparte, Louis Bonaparte, Pauline Bonaparte and Caroline Bonaparte.
    He studied at the Catholic College of Juilly, and then served with the French Navy in command of the Vétéran 74 before going to the United States. On 13 December 1805, captained by Jérôme Bonaparte, she departed Brest as a unit of Willaumez division, in the context of the Atlantic campaign of 1806. The division was scattered by a hurricane and Vétéran found herself isolated. She cruised off Quebec, destroying merchantmen and skirmishing with Royal Navy forces. She eventually returned to France and escaped the British blockade by fleeing into Concarneau, thanks to the experience of a sailor who had been a fisherman in the region.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  14. #14
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Bretel (Jacques-Francois-Ignace)





    Born: 30 July 1764
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1781
    Captain de fregate: 27 September 1796
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Died: ?
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  15. #15
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Contre-Admiral Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois.

    Name:  linois10.jpg
Views: 11
Size:  55.3 KB



    Born in Brest, Linois joined the French Navy as a volunteer in 1776, when he was 15 years old. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1791 after participating in the American War of Independence. From 1791 to 1793 he was posted to Isle de France (now Mauritius) where he served in the French forces in the Indian Ocean.


    After his return to France in 1794, he was based in Brest. Linois was captured by the Royal Navy at the Action of 7 May 1794 while his ship was protecting a convoy of wheat from the United States. He was exchanged and promoted to captain, taking command of the 74-gun Formidable. The following year he was captured again at the battle of Groix, where he was twice wounded and lost an eye; he was again exchanged. In 1796 he took part in the Expédition d'Irlande as a chief of division, leading a 3-ship of the line and 4-frigate squadron, with his flag on Nestor. Arrived in Bantry Bay, the generals opposed a landing, and the squadron headed back to Brest, taking three prizes on the way.


    On 12 April 1796 he was captain of Unité when HMS Révolutionnaire captured her. Revolutionnaire had no casualties because the French had fired high, aiming for her rigging; the British fired into their quarry with the result that Unité suffered nine men killed and 11 wounded.


    In 1799 Linois was promoted to Rear-Admiral (contre-amiral) and sent to the Mediterranean under Admiral Bruix. As second in command of the squadron under Admiral Ganteaume, he attacked Elba in 1801. Then in command of a small squadron based in Cadiz, he fought a larger British squadron under Sir James Saumarez in the Battle of Algeciras. His squadron prevailed during the first part of the battle, capturing HMS Hannibal, but on the return to Cadiz, two Spanish ships who had joined him were fooled into firing on each other by a British night attack and were lost.


    In 1803 Napoleon Bonaparte appointed him to command the French forces in the Indian Ocean and, flying his flag aboard the 74-gun-ship Marengo, he harried British merchant ships across the ocean and into the China Seas. At the Battle of Pulo Aura in 1804, a squadron of French naval ships commanded by Linois encountered the British China Fleet of lightly armed merchant ships. The British ships outnumbered Linois' forces, manoeuvred as though preparing to defend themselves, and some flew naval ensigns. The tactics of the convoy commodore Nathaniel Dance fooled Linois into believing that the British fleet was defended by naval escorts and he retired without attacking the virtually defenceless British.


    During his squadron's return to France, Linois encountered a large British squadron under Admiral Warren off Cape Verde. In their engagement, known as the Action of 13 March 1806, Linois was wounded and captured again. Napoleon had ended the practice of exchanging officers and Linois remained a prisoner of war until Napoleon fell in 1814. In 1810, while held by the British, Linois was named comte de Linois by Napoleon.


    Following the Bourbon restoration, Louis XVIII named him to be Governor of Guadeloupe but as Linois supported Napoleon during the Hundred Days he was forced to resign after the battle of Waterloo. He was court martialled but acquitted in 1816. However, he was placed in retirement and never served again, although he was appointed as an honorary Vice-Admiral (vice-amiral) in 1825. He lived in Versailles, where he died in 1848.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  16. #16
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Vrignaud (Joseph-Marie)





    Born: 23 February 1769
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1779
    Captain de fregate: 21 March 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd Class: 24 September 1803
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds received while in the service of France: 1806
    Died: 26 June 1841
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  17. #17
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Captain Bruillac (Alain-Adelaide-Marie)





    Born: 21 February 1764
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1776
    Captain de fregate: 21 March 1796
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 22 September 1798
    Member of the Legion d’Honneur: 5 February 1804
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: None
    Died: 20 January 1836
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  18. #18
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Extra information thanks to Neil.


    Bigot de la Robilardierre (Julien-Gabriel)

    24th March 1798 commanded a 40 gun as a Lt on death of Captain Latour off Sumatra 1796.
    28th June 1798 in an action with 3 British frigates was run aground and dismasted.
    25th April 1799 commanded a 74 Jean Jacques Rousseau during escape of Admiral Bruix from Brest.
    14th Dec 1806 commanded the 120 gun Imperial with Vice Admiral Leissegues. (At Brest).
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  19. #19
    Admiral of the Blue.
    Admiral
    England

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Notts
    Log Entries
    7,055
    Blog Entries
    22
    Name
    Rob

    Default

    Contre-amiral Jean-Marthe-Adrien L'Hermite.

    Name:  Jean_marthe_adrien_lhermitte-antoine_maurin.jpg
Views: 5
Size:  163.7 KB

    Early career.

    L'Hermite was born to the family of a counselor to the Bailiwick and Présidial of Cotentin.[1] He joined the Navy in 1780,[1] at the age of 14 as a novice on the coast guard cutter Pilote-des-Indes, cruising the English Channel, and on which he distinguished himself during the capture of an English privateer off Chausey.

    In 1780, he joined the Northumberland as a volunteer and took part in the battles of the American war of Independence.[1] In 1784, when many French naval ships were put in the reserve, L'Hermite left the Navy and worked as first officer on the fishing ships Modeste and Surveillante off Newfoundland.

    In 1787, with Castries's reform of the Navy, l'Hermite took a commission as a sub-lieutenant on the Achille, and later of a number of smaller units that escorted merchantmen. One of these was the Goėland, which was escorting the fishing fleet from Granville to Newfoundland.

    French Revolution.

    English Channel and Northern Sea.

    In February 1793, when war broke out against England, L'Hermite was first officer on the frigate Résolue, and he engaged in commerce raiding in the Channel and off the Atlantic coast of France. Promoted to lieutenant in August 1793, he received command of the Tamise, recently captured from the British by the frigate division to which Résolue belonged.

    After extensive tests, Tamise conducted two patrols in the Channel, capturing over 60 prizes, and was then attached to Montagne, the flagship of the Brest squadron. As such, she took part in the Glorious First of June, in which she ferried orders from the admiral to other ships.

    In 1795, l'Hermite took command of a frigate squadron bound to raid commerce off Ireland, with his flag on the frigate Seine.[1] The squadron captured over 80 of small vessels, including HMS Hound, a 16-gun sloop returning from Jamaica, on 23 August. L'Hermitte then led the frigates Seine and Galathée and a corvette to Christiansand, visiting several harbours of the coast of Norway to capture English merchantmen that had fled there. Trapped by cold and disrepair, his ships were forced to spend the winter of 1794-1795 there, where sickness weakened their crews. He returned to France with three prizes, though a storm wrecked Galathée off Penmarc'h.

    Indian Ocean.

    From February 1796, L'Hermite captained the frigate Vertu in a squadron led by Admiral Sercey, bound for île de France.

    He took part in a number of small actions, and was wounded in the Action of 8 September 1796.
    In 1798, he took command of the 46-gun frigate Preneuse.[5] He was tasked to ferry ambassadors sent by Tippu Sultan to Île de France to request help against the British. Spotting two Indiamen off Thalassery, L'Hermite decided to attack. He captured them after a one-hour fight, and in spite of a lightning striking Preneuse's main mast.
    When they arrived at Surabaya, the crew of Preneuse mutinied when L'Hermite decided to send the captured flags to Admiral Sercey. Subsequently, five men were court-martialed, found guilty of mutiny, and executed by firing squad.L'Hermite then set out for a three-month patrol in the Chinese seas with Preneuse and Brûle-Gueule, under Don Álava.

    In 1799, upon their return to Mauritius, the ships were blockaded by a British squadron of three ships of the line, a frigate and a brig. The French took refuge in Rivière noire, sent seven guns ashore and kept the British at bay for three weeks, before the British squadron renounced and departed.

    On 4 September 1799, Preneuse engaged a British frigate squadron that she had approached in the fog and mistaken for merchant vessels, escaping after a furious fight that cost her 40 men.
    In October 1799, off Cape of Good Hope, Preneuse was spotted and chased by the 54-gun HMS Jupiter, which was cruising to intercept her. After a 22-hour chase, L'Hermite engaged Jupiter and managed to manoeuver into a favourable position from which he sent her a raking broadside at pistol range, forcing her to sail back to Cape Town
    to avoid boarding. His ship damaged and with 80 of his men killed of wounded, L'Hermite returned to Mauritius.


    Name:  Preneuse-lhermitte5.jpg
Views: 5
Size:  56.5 KB

    Scuttling of the Preneuse


    On her return to Mauritius, Preneuse ran into the 74-gun Tremendous, anchored in front of Port-Louis. As she attempted to escape by sailing in shallow waters, the 50-gun HMS Adamant cut her retreat. Erratic winds then grounded Preneuse on a coral bank, and she came under fire from the two ships of the line, able to return fire only from her stern chasers. L'Hermite sent his sick and wounded ashore and was taken prisoner by Commodore Hotham, who boarded Preneuse and burnt her. Ailing, L'Hermite was received with extreme courtesy by Hotham, and release on parole with his staff a few days later. He returned to Île de France a hero, the population celebrating him and a 15-shot saluted being fired in his honour.

    Career during the First Empire.

    L'Hermite returned to France in October 1801, where he was received by Bonaparte who promoted him to Captain, and called him "the Brave". He took command of the 74-gun Brutus to ferry her from Lorient to Brest, then of the 80-gun Alexandre, and eventually of the 120-gun Vengeur, as flag officer of Admiral Truguet. L'Hermitte's rising star came to a halt, however, when Truguet was dismissed after speaking against the rise of the Empire, and for one year l'Hermite was left without a command. He was nevertheless made an Officer in the Legion of Honour at the founding of the Order in late 1805.

    In 1805, L'Hermite took command of a squadron tasked with raiding commerce in the Atlantic and in the Caribbean, with his flag on the Régulus; the squadron further comprised two frigates and two fireships. The squadron departed Lorient on 31 October 1805 and cruised off the Azores, Cape Verde, the coast of Africa up to Benin, crossed the Atlantic to Brazil, and sailed towards the Caribbean. On 6 January 1806 they captured HMS Favourite. In August 1806, a storm dispersed the squadron and L'Hermite lost his frigates, and he was forced back to Brest by an epidemic of scurvy. in the Iroise Sea, he ran into four British ships of the line blockading Brest, but managed to elude them and reach Brest harbour on 2 September 1806. Having captured around 50 ships and 10 million franc worth of goods during his 11-month campaign, L'Hermite was promoted to rear admiral and made a Baron of the Empire.

    In October 1808, L'Hermite was put in command of the Rochefort squadron, raising his flag on Ville de Varsovie. He also served as a rapporteur in the Council of war in the aftermath of the Battle of the Basque Roads. By mid-February, his failing health had forced him to resign his command and he never again occupied a command at sea.
    From 1811, L'Hermite was préfet maritime in Toulon. In 1812, he briefly commanded the Mediterranean squadron, which did not sail at the time. His chronic illness forced him to rely on captain Christy-Pallière, who supervised the harbour, to relieve him.

    After the Bourbon restoration in 1814, L'Hermite commanded the Ville de Marseille. Louis XVIII sent him to pick up the Duke of Orléans and his family in Palermo. This task earned l'Hermite the cross of the Order of Saint Louis.
    During the Hundred Days, L'Hermite declared himself in favour of the King, which caused his immediate dismissal.
    L'Hermite retired in 1816 with the honorary rank of vice-admiral, and was made a Knight in the Order of Saint Louis.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •