View Full Version : French Naval Activity During the War of 1812

02-29-2012, 15:49
I have read quite a bit about the conflict between the U.S. and British navies during the War of 1812, but I have not read much about French naval activity during that period. I know much of the French fleet was "bottled up" at that time. I did read in Roosevelt's book about President coming across Nymphe 40 and Meduse 40 during the night of December 4, 1813, so some French vessels evidently got loose. Does anyone have any knowledge of any actions in which French ships were involved?

02-29-2012, 16:22
Don't know if you would call this "action" and it wasn't in the Atlantic but..

The French Rivoli 74 was built in Venice and on her maiden journey, she was intercepted by a British 74-gun third rate HMS Victorious (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Victorious_%281808%29). Her crew was inexperienced, and in the ensuing battle Rivoli was captured.(22nd Feb 1812). She was subsequently recommissioned as HMS Rivoli. On 30 May 1815, she destroyed the frigate Melpomène (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=French_frigate_Melpom%C3%A8ne_%281812%29&action=edit&redlink=1) off Naples.

02-29-2012, 16:51
Just found this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_sail_frigates

Looking at this site there were quite a few engagements while the War of 1812 was occurring, based on the fact that many of the ships listed ended up British prizes during the period. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find out much about the battles when doing web searches.

02-29-2012, 17:10
Although I was looking for frigate actions, I came across this brief battle battle in 1813 involving several SOLs. I recall seeing this battle before, but thought it was much earlier in the Napoleonic Wars:

David Manley
02-29-2012, 23:07
Track down a copy of "The Naval History of Great Britain" by William James and you'll find many, many descriptions of engagements between British and French ships during the latter years of the Napoleonic Wars. I think its been scanned and put on the web by at least one organisation, so if you hunt around for a little while it should be relatively easy to find. I recall there was a scenario book put out by one of the smaller wargames publishers about 20 years ago that listed dozens of small ship actions from the period. I think I have acopy but I have no idea where it is. I'll do some digging to see if I can retrieve it.

Comte de Brueys
02-29-2012, 23:46
There wasn't much french naval action after 1805.

Have to check my books.

03-01-2012, 17:20
There was also a brief war between the French and USA navies during the early revolutionary period, the Quasi War: