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Thread: Frigate Action 23 April 1794.

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    Default Frigate Action 23 April 1794.



    This time I decided to deal with a Frigate action for those aficionados of the small ship encounters.

    This took place between a British squadron of five frigates under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren and three frigates and a corvette under the command of Chef d'escadre F. Desgarceaux during the French Revolutionary Wars. Three of the French ships were captured.

    The battle.

    Date 23 April 1794
    Location South-west of Guernsey
    Result British victory
    Belligerents
    France Great Britain
    Commanders and leaders
    F. Desgareaux ]Sir John Borlase Warren
    Strength
    3 frigates
    1 corvette
    5 frigates
    Casualties and losses
    2 frigates and the corvette captured.
    Pomone:
    80 killed and 100 wounded
    Babet:
    30 killed and 40 wounded
    Engageante:
    30 to 40 men killed and wounded
    Flora:
    1 killed, 3 wounded
    Arethusa:
    3 killed, 5 wounded
    Melampus :
    5 killed, 5 wounded
    Concorde:
    1 killed, 12 wounded


    On 21 April the frigate Minerva sighted four distant ships in the English Channel. The next morning Minerva met Warren's squadron, and passed this information on. Warren promptly set off in pursuit, and at dawn the next day, around 4 a.m., sighted three frigates and a corvette about seven or eight leagues (24.5–28 nautical miles) south-west of Guernsey. The French formed a line of battle, and Warren signalled his squadron to engage, with his own flagship Flora in the lead, supported by Arethusa. Taking advantage of the weather gage the British were able to force the French into a close action which lasted for nearly three hours, before the Pomone and Babet surrendered at around 11 a.m.


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    The Engageante and Résolue attempted to escape, and Warren ordered Concorde, Melampus and Nymphe to pursue, as Flora was in no condition to do so. After an hour Concorde caught up with Engageante and attempted to disable her, intending to then attack the Résolue, leaving Engageante to Melampus and Nymphe, which were following.
    However, while Concorde was engaged with Engageante, the Résolue dropped back and laid herself across Concorde's bows, badly damaging her sails and rigging to the point where she was disabled. Having made hasty repairs Concorde came up again to re-engage the Engageante, which eventually surrendered at about 1.45 p.m. Résolue fired a few shots and then made off, pursued by Melampus and Nymphe, who chased her into Morlaix, before returning to assist Concorde which was towing the crippled Engageante to port.
    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.

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    Ships involved.


    Britain.

    Flora, (36) Sir John Borlase Warren, flagship
    Arethusa, (38) Sir Edward Pellew
    Melampus, (36) Thomas Wells
    Concorde, (32) Sir Richard Strachan
    Nymphe, (36) George Murray

    France.

    Engageante, (26) F. Desgarceaux, flagship - captured by Concorde
    Pomone, (44) Étienne Pévrieu - captured by Arethusa
    Résolue, (36) Antoine-Marie-François Montalan - escaped
    Babet, (22) Pierre-Joseph-Paul Belhomme - captured by Arethusa
    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.

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    Sir John Borlase Warren.



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    Born in Stapleford, Nottinghamshire, he was the son and heir of John Borlase Warren (died 1763) of Stapleford and Little Marlow. He entered Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1769, but in 1771 entered the navy as an able seaman; in 1774 he became member of Parliament for Great Marlow; and in 1775 he was created a baronet, the baronetcy held by his ancestors, the Borlases, having become extinct in 1689.

    On the 12th of Dec. 1780 he married Caroline daughter of Lt.-Gen. Sir John Clavering. She died in 1839.

    His career as a seaman really began in 1777, and two years later he obtained command of a ship. In April 1794, as Commodore of the frigate squadron off the north west French coast assisting in the blockade of Brest, Warren and his squadron captured a number of French frigates. In 1795, he commanded one of the two squadrons carrying troops for the Quiberon expedition and in 1796 his frigate squadron off Brest is said to have captured or destroyed 220 vessels.[1] In October 1798, a French fleet — carrying 5,000 men — sailed from Brest intending to invade Ireland.[1] The plan was frustrated in no small part due to the squadron under his command during the Action of 12 October 1798.

    In 1802, he was sworn of the Privy Council and sent to St. Petersburg as ambassador extraordinary, but he did not forsake the sea. In 1806 he captured a large French warship, the Marengo, at the Action of 13 March 1806. He was commander-in-chief on the North American Station from 1807 to 1810. He became an admiral in 1810, and was commander-in-chief on this Station again from 1813 to 1814.

    While in Halifax he determined the late commander John Shortland's dog had been stolen from London and brought to Halifax.
    He had the dog returned to London to Shortland's widow. During the British invasion of Maryland in 1814, he led a detail of British troops that occupied Havre de Grace and set fire to much of the town, including the home of Commodore John Rodgers.

    He died on 27 February 1822. His two sons predeceased him.

    There is a monument to him in St. Mary's Church, Attenborough in Nottinghamshire. A popular figure in the area of his birth, there are a number of pubs named after him in Nottingham and nearby towns.
    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.

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    Captain Sir Edward Pellew.


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    Pellew was born at Dover, the second son of Samuel Pellew (1712–1764), commander of a Dover packet. The family was Cornish, descended from a family that came originally from Normandy, but had for many centuries been settled in the west of Cornwall. Edward's grandfather, Humphrey Pellew (1650–1721), a merchant and ship owner, son of a naval officer, resided at Flushing manor-house in the parish of Mylor. Part of the town of Flushing was built by Samuel Trefusis, MP for Penryn; the other part was built by Humphrey Pellew, who was buried there. He also had a property and a tobacco plantation in Maryland. Part of the town of Annapolis stands on what was, before the revolt of the colonies, the estate of the Pellews. On the death of Edward's father in 1764 the family removed to Penzance, and Pellew was educated for some years at Truro Grammar School. He was a pugnacious youth, which did not endear him to his headmaster. He ran away to sea at the age of 14, but soon deserted because of unfair treatment to another midshipman.


    Early career.

    1770s.


    In 1770, Pellew entered the Royal Navy on board HMS Juno with Captain John Stott, and made a voyage to the Falkland Islands. In 1772, he followed Stott to the Alarm, and in her was in the Mediterranean for three years. In consequence of a high-spirited quarrel with his captain, he was put on shore at Marseilles where he found an old friend of his father's in command of a merchant ship. He was able to get a passage to Lisbon and so home. He afterwards was in the Blonde which took General John Burgoyne to America in the spring of 1776 under the command of Captain Philemon Pownoll. In October, Pellew and midshipman Brown were detached for service in the Carleton tender on Lake Champlain under Lieutenant Dacres. During the Battle of Valcour Island on 11 October, Dacres and Brown were both severely wounded, and the command devolved on Pellew. Pellew extricated the vessel from a position of great danger by his personal gallantry. As a reward for his service, he was immediately appointed to command the Carleton. In December, Lord Howe promised him a commission as lieutenant when he could reach New York, and in the following January Lord Sandwich wrote promising to promote him when he came to England. In the summer of 1777, Pellew and a small party of seamen were attached to the army under Burgoyne, and he was present in the fighting at Saratoga, where his youngest brother John was killed. He and the rest of the force were taken prisoner. After the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, he was repatriated.

    He returned to England and was promoted on 9 January 1778 to be lieutenant of the Princess Amelia guardship at Portsmouth. He wanted to be appointed to a seagoing ship, but Lord Sandwich considered that he was bound by the terms of the surrender at Saratoga not to undertake any active service. Towards the end of the year, he was appointed to the Licorne which went out to Newfoundland in the spring of 1779, returning in the winter, when Pellew was moved into the Apollo with his old captain Pownoll. On 15 June 1780, the Apollo engaged a large French privateer, the Stanislaus, off Ostend. Pownoll was killed by a musket-shot, but Pellew continued the action and dismasted the Stanislaus, driving her on shore where she was protected by the neutrality of the coast. On the 18th, Lord Sandwich wrote to him: "I will not delay informing you that I mean to give you immediate promotion as a reward for your gallant and officer-like conduct." On 1 July, he was accordingly promoted to the command of the Hazard sloop, which was employed for the next six months on the east coast of Scotland and was then paid off.


    Peacetime service.


    In March 1782, Pellew was appointed to the Pelican, a small French prize, so small indeed that he used to say "his servant could dress his hair from the deck while he sat in the cabin.On 28 April while cruising on the coast of Brittany, he engaged three privateers and drove them on shore. In special reward for this service, he was promoted to post rank on 25 May and, ten days later, was appointed to the temporary command of the Artois, in which he captured a large frigate-built privateer on 1 July.

    From 1786 to 1789, he commanded the Winchelsea frigate on the Newfoundland station, returning home each winter by Cadiz and Lisbon. Afterwards, he commanded the Salisbury on the same station as flag-captain to Vice-admiral Milbanke. In 1791, he was placed on half-pay and tried his hand at farming on Treverry Farm near Helston, a property owned by his brother who was a senior customs officer of Flushing. This met with indifferent success, during which time he attempted to sell a bull, only to find that it was in the ownership of a neighbouring farmer.

    The Russians offered him a command in the Russian navy but Pellew declined the offer. He was still struggling with the difficulties of his farm when the revolutionary government of France declared war on Great Britain on 1 February 1793.


    Wartime service.


    Pellew immediately applied for a ship and was appointed to the Nymphe, a 36-gun frigate which he fitted out in a remarkably short time. He had expected a good deal of difficulty in manning her and had enlisted some eighty Cornish miners who were sent round to the ship at Spithead. He put to sea with these and about a dozen seamen, plus officers—who were obliged to help in the work aloft. He filled his complement of crew by pressing from the merchant ships in the Channel, but with very few seasoned navy men. On 18 June, Nymphe sailed from Falmouth on the news that two French frigates had been seen in the Channel.

    At the Action of 18 June 1793, Nymphe fell in with the Cléopâtre, also of 36 guns and commanded by Captain Jean Mullon, one of the few officers of the ancien régime who still remained in the French navy. After a short but very sharp action, Cléopâtre's mizenmast and wheel were shot away, making the ship unmanageable, and it fell foul of the Nymphe. Pellew's crew boarded her in a fierce rush and captured her. Mullon was mortally wounded, and died trying to swallow his commission which he had mistaken for the code of secret signals in his dying agony. The code thus fell intact into Pellew's hands, who sent them to the admiralty. Cléopâtre was the first frigate taken in the war and was brought to Portsmouth, and Pellew was presented to the king on 29 June by the Earl of Chatham and was knighted.

    Pellew transferred to Arethusa in December 1793. In 1794, Arethusa was part of the western squadron of frigates based at Falmouth under Sir John Borlase Warren. On 23 April, the squadron engaged one of these to the southwest of Guernsey, the stronger British force quickly overpowering their opponents in an action where Pellew's Arethusa played the primary role in fighting the Pomone, at the time the largest frigate in service. Pomone surrendered after an engagement that lasted less than half an hour. The French had suffered between eighty and a hundred casualties; Arethusa had only three dead and five wounded. Warren's squadron went on to destroy one frigate and capture another. They also drove two corvettes ashore, Alerte and Espion, both of which had been Royal Navy sloops. (The French later refloated Espion after Pellew refused to burn either, as they contained wounded men.) The squadron also captured many vessels from French coastal convoys.


    Service in the French Revolutionary War.


    By 1794, he was Commodore of the Western Frigate Squadron. In 1795, he took command of HMS Indefatigable, the ship with which he is most closely associated. The squadron also comprised the frigates HMS Argo, Concord, Révolutionnaire, and Amazon.

    He was a good swimmer and noted for saving the lives of several seamen who had fallen overboard. The most striking life-saving event was on 26 January 1796 when the East Indiaman Dutton was carrying more than four hundred troops, together with many women and children, when it ran aground under Plymouth Hoe. Due to the heavy seas, the crew and soldiers aboard were unable to get to shore. Pellew swam out to the wreck with a line and, with help from young Irishman Jeremiah Coghlan, helped rig a lifeline that saved almost all aboard. For this feat he was created a baronet on 18 March 1796.
    On 13 April 1796, off the coasts of Ireland, his squadron captured the French frigate Unité, and the Virginie nine days later.

    His most noted action was the Action of 13 January 1797, cruising in company with HMS Amazon, when the British sighted the French 74-gun ship of the line Droits de l'Homme. Normally, a ship of the line would over-match two frigates, but by skillful sailing in the stormy conditions, the frigates avoided bearing the brunt of the superior firepower of the French. In the early morning of 14 January, the three ships were embayed on a lee shore in Audierne Bay. Both the Droits de l'Homme and Amazon ran aground, but Indefatigable managed to claw her way off the lee shore to safety.

    Pellew was also responsible for pressing young violinist and composer Joseph Antonio Emidy who had been playing in the Lisbon Opera orchestra.


    Admiralcy and peerage.


    Pellew was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1804. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the East Indies Station. It took six months to sail out to Penang, so he took up the appointment in 1805. Following his return from the east in 1809, he was appointed to the position of Commander-in-Chief, North Sea from 1810 to 1811 and Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet, from 1811 to 1814, and again from 1815 to 1816.

    In 1814, he was made Baron Exmouth of Canonteign. In 1816, he led an Anglo-Dutch fleet against the Barbary states. Victory at the Bombardment of Algiers secured the release of the 1,200 Christian slaves in the city. For this action, he was created 1st Viscount Exmouth on 10 December 1816. Following his return to England, he became Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth from 1817 to 1821, when he effectively retired from active service. He continued to attend and speak in the House of Lords. In 1832, he was appointed Vice-Admiral of the United Kingdom and Admiral of the Red Squadron of His Majesty's Fleet, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, also of the Royal and distinguished Order of Charles the Third of Spain, of the Military Order of William of the Netherlands, of the Royal Sicilian Order of St. Ferdinand and Merit, of the Military Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazare of Sardinia, Knight of the Most Honourable and Most Ancient Order of the Annunciation of the Royal House of Savoy, High Steward of Great Yarmouth, and one of the Elder Brethren of the Hon. Corporation of the Trinity House.

    He bought Bitton House in Teignmouth in 1812 and it was his home until his death in 1833. He was buried in Christow on the eastern edge of Dartmoor on 30 Jan 1833.
    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.

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    Captain Thomas Wells.





    (1759 – 31 October 1811) was a Royal Navy officer who became Commander-in-Chief, The Nore.

    Naval career.

    Wells joined the Royal Navy in 1774. During his naval career his commands were: Swallow (1781), Fury (1782), Champion (1782 - 1783), Iris (1790 - 1792), LaConcorde (1793 - 1794), Melampus (1794), Defence (1794 - 1798) ad Glory (1799- 1804. Windsor Castle 1804. 1805-1807 Zealand, as Rear Admiral of the Red. 1807-08 also as Flag Officer.

    He became commanding officer of the frigate HMS Melampus in early 1794 during the French Revolutionary Wars. During this time Melampus participated in the Action of 23 April 1794, during which the British took three vessels, Engageante, Pomone, and Babet. Melampus had five men killed and five wounded.

    He went on to be commanding officer of the third-rate HMS Defence later in 1794 and commanding officer of the second-rate HMS Glory in 1799. He acted as a pallbearer at the funeral of Lord Nelson in October 1805. After that he became Commander-in-Chief, The Nore in 1807 and was promoted to Vice Admiral of the Red in 1808.
    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.

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    Captain Sir Richard Strachan.

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    Strachan was born in Devon on 27 October 1760, the eldest son of Lieutenant Patrick Strachan RN and a daughter of Captain Pitman RN. His uncle was Sir John Strachan, fifth baronet. Strachan entered the Royal Navy in 1772 at the age of twelve, serving first aboard HMS Intrepid. He sailed with Intrepid to the East Indies, before moving to HMS Orford, then under the command of his uncle. He went on to serve in a number of different ships on the North American Station, first aboard HMS Preston under Commodore William Hotham, followed by HMS Eagle, the flagship of Lord Howe.

    Early career.

    Strachan went on to serve aboard HMS Actaeon off the coast of Africa, and in the West Indies. On the death of his uncle on 26 December 1777, he succeeded to the baronetcy. He was promoted to lieutenant on 5 April 1779 and was then appointed to HMS Hero in early 1781, under the command of Captain James Hawker. Aboard Hero Strachan was part of Commodore George Johnstone's squadron, and was present at the Battle of Porto Praya against the Bailli de Suffren on 16 April 1781. After this action, Hero moved on to the East Indies, where Strachan moved to take up a post, first aboard HMS Magnanime and then aboard HMS Superb. It was whilst aboard Superb that Strachan was present at the first of four actions that took place between Sir Edward Hughes and de Suffren, the Battle of Sadras on 17 February 1782.

    First commands.

    After acquitting himself well, Strachan was promoted by Hughes in January 1783 to the command of the cutter HMS Lizard, and then again on 26 April 1783 to be captain of the frigate Naiad. Strachan's next appointment was in 1787 to HMS Vestal. He sailed in the spring of 1788 for China, carrying the ambassador, the Hon. Charles Alan Cathcart. Cathcart died during the journey, as Vestal passed through the Strait of Banca, and the ship returned to England. Strachan and Vestal were then ordered to the East Indies again, to join a squadron under the command of Commodore William Cornwallis. On arrival, Strachan was reassigned to HMS Phoenix. In November 1791 she was ordered to stop and search the French frigate Résolue, which was escorting a number of merchant ships believed to be carrying military supplies to support Tippu Sultan. Résolue resisted Phoenix and a brief fight ensued before Résolue struck her colours. The French captain insisted on considering his ship as a British prize, so Cornwallis ordered Strachan to tow her into Mahé and return her to the French commodore.

    Off the French coast.

    Strachan returned to England in 1793, and was appointed to command the frigate HMS Concorde and in spring 1794 joined a squadron patrolling off Brest, under the command of Sir John Borlase Warren. The squadron engaged a rival squadron of four French frigates on 23 April 1794 and succeeded in capturing three of them. Strachan and Concorde had forced the surrender of one of them, the frigate L'Engageante. Strachan was then appointed to the 42-gun HMS Melampus which was attached in the summer to the main British fleet. In spring 1795 Strachan was dispatched in command of a squadron of five frigates to cruise off the Normandy and Brittany coasts. He was highly successful at this, capturing or destroying a considerable number of French coastal craft, many laden with military stores and conveyed by armed French warships. On 9 May 1795, he captured Crache-feu, a French three-gun vessel.

    Command of the Diamond and the Captain.

    In 1796 Strachan was appointed to command HMS Diamond, after her previous captain, Sir Sidney Smith had been captured during a cutting-out expedition. On 31 December 1796, Strachan captured the French 12-gun brig Amaranthe, which the Royal Navy took into service as HMS Amaranthe.

    Strachan commanded Diamond until 1799, when he took command of the 74-gun third rate HMS Captain. He took her off the west coast of France, at times operating as part of a squadron, and at other times alone. On 5 November 1800 he came to the assistance of the stranded and sinking HMS Marlborough, which had struck a ledge of rocks near Isle Grouat during the previous night's gale. Captain’s boats were pushed through the surf and were able to take off Marlborough’s officers and crew.

    Later that month, on 17 November, Captain chased a French convoy through the Teignouse Passage between Quiberon and the Ile de Houat, and tried to keep them from reaching safety in the Gulf of Morbihan. Despite his efforts, the convoy reached the cover of a 20-gun corvette, and a number of coastal forts the next day. The situation changed when the hired armed cutter Nile attacked the corvette and forced her aground in Port Navalo. The corvette struck her colours, at which point boats from HMS Magicienne attempted to board and capture her. They were driven off by fire from the corvette and returned to Magicienne. Strachan meanwhile devised a plan to attack the French.

    Later that day, Magicienne was ordered to approach, to draw the fire of the batteries. Strachan ordered Lieutenant Hannah and a party of seamen and marines into four boats, which were towed into the harbour by Suwarrow; while Nile and HMS Lurcher towed another four more boats manned by Marlborough’s men who had been rescued by Strachan three weeks previously. Under heavy fire of grape, round and musket-balls from the shore battery high above, they boarded the corvette, and set her on fire. They then re-embarked and began heading back towards Captain, when the corvette blew up with a tremendous explosion. The British lost only one man killed, when a shot hit the fluke of Suwarrow’s anchor, ricocheted, and struck the head of a sailor. Seven others were injured.

    In January 1801, Strachan almost died when Captain struck a rock off Ushant with such force that she started taking on water at almost 3 inches a minute, which constantly increased. The damage was so severe that the incoming water nearly overloaded the pumps. She eventually made it into the Sound on 11 January attended by HMS Fisgard and the cutter from HMS Lord Nelson. Captain fired distress guns until she reached the narrows, when all the boats from the dock and the fleet came out to assist her. Captain eventually made it to the Hamoaze, and went back into Cawsand Bay on 5 May.

    Command of the Donegal.

    In 1802 Strachan was appointed to command HMS Donegal. Whilst serving aboard her, he was made senior officer at Gibraltar and ordered to watch the combined French and Spanish fleet at Cadiz, under the orders of Nelson. Whilst on this station, she spotted and gave chase to the large 42-gun Spanish frigate Amfitrite in November 1804. After pursuing her for 46 hours, Amfitrite lost her mizzen-top-mast and was subsequently overhauled by Donegal.

    A boat was dispatched from Donegal and the Spanish captain was brought aboard. Sir Richard did not speak Spanish and the captain did not speak English, so it was with difficulty that Sir Richard attempted to inform him that his orders were to return the Amfitrite back to Cadiz. Sir Richard allowed the captain three minutes to decide whether he would comply with the order, but after waiting for six minutes without an answer, opened fire on Amfitrite. The engagement lasted only eight minutes, and resulted in a number of deaths, including the Spanish captain, who fell to a musket ball. Amfitrite surrendered and after being searched, was found to be laden with stores and carrying dispatches from Cadiz to Tenerife and Havana. She was taken over and later commissioned into the Navy as HMS Amfitrite. Donegal would later make another capture off Cadiz, taking a Spanish vessel carrying a cargo reputed to be worth £200,000.

    On 23 April 1804 Strachan was made a colonel of marines, and returned to England in HMS Renown. On arrival he was immediately appointed to HMS Caesar and placed in command of a detached squadron including three ships of the line and four frigates in the Bay of Biscay. Whilst sailing off Cape Finisterre on 2 November 1805, the squadron encountered four French ships of the line that had escaped from the Battle of Trafalgar under the command of Rear-Admiral Dumanoir le Pelley. Sir Richard pursued them, bringing them to battle on 4 November. After a short engagement, known as the Battle of Cape Ortegal he captured all of them, completing the destruction of the French fleet. Strachan was promoted to the rank of Rear-Admiral of the Blue on 9 November 1805. When, on 28 January 1806, the thanks of both Houses of Parliament were voted to those who had fought at Trafalgar, Strachan and his command was specially included. He was also (by special Act of Parliament) rewarded with a pension of £1,000 a year. On 29 January he was created a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath (KB), and the City of London voted him the freedom of the city, and awarded him a sword of honour.

    Later career.

    Strachan was soon back in service, being dispatched early in 1806 to search for a French squadron reported to have sailed for America. After searching for some time, he failed to locate it and instead returned to watch the port of Rochefort. Thick fog and poor weather covered the port in January 1808, and allowed the French to sail out undetected and escape to the Mediterranean. Strachan gave chase, joining Admiral Collingwood's forces, but the French were able to gain the safety of Toulon. Strachan was ordered to return home, where, in 1809, he became Commander-in-Chief, North Sea watching the Dutch coast.

    On 9 June 1809, he was appointed as the naval commander of an expedition, consisting of 264 warships and 352 transports carrying 44,000 troops, to attack the island of Walcheren and destroy the French arsenals in the Scheldt. Strachan was ill-qualified for the position, lacking both the experience and the temperament to hold a joint command in such a complex combined operation. Whilst he was careful to attend to the details of the problems that the Navy might encounter, he failed to consider the army's problems. Relations with the army's commander, Lord Chatham, quickly became strained and the ambitious Walcheren Campaign ended up being abandoned, having only achieved the capture of Flushing. A period of angry recriminations followed the withdrawal, with Chatham presenting a narrative to King George III in 1810, blaming Strachan for the expedition's failure. Strachan defended himself, declaring that the ships had done all that had been required of them. He nevertheless became the scapegoat for the failure, and was not given any more assignments.
    The confusion and conflicting accounts led to the following doggerel verse:
    Great Chatham, with his sabre drawn,
    Stood waiting for Sir Richard Strachan;
    Sir Richard, longing to be at 'em,
    Stood waiting for the Earl of Chatham.

    Later life and death.

    Despite these controversies, promotion being entirely on the basis of seniority, he was made a Rear-Admiral of the Red on 25 October 1809, a Vice-Admiral of the Blue on 31 July 1810, Vice-Admiral of the White on 12 August 1812, Vice-Admiral of the Red on 4 June 1814, and Admiral of the White on 19 July 1821. After the defeat of Napoleon, and his temporary incarceration aboard HMS Bellerophon in 1815, Strachan set out to see the man he had spent most of his career fighting to defeat. Napoleon himself was apparently aware of Strachan's deeds.
    On Thursday he (Napoleon Bonaparte) gratified the spectators with his appearance frequently on the poop and gangway, on which occasions the British, as well as the French officers, stood uncovered and apart! One of his officers intimating to him, that Sir Richard Strachan was in a barge alongside, Bonaparte instantly took off his hat, and bowed to him with a smile.
    Sir Richard Strachan died at his house in Bryanston Square, London, on 3 February 1828.
    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
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    Captain George Murray.

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    George Murray was born in Chichester in January 1759. His father was Gideon Murray, Alderman of that city. He began his naval career at the age of 11, when he was entered in the books of Captain Francis Banks's HMS Niger, which was serving in the Mediterranean, as a captain's servant. His proper service in the navy probably began in 1772, when he joined HMS Panther, the flagship of Commodore Molyneux Shuldham, for service on the Newfoundland Station. He then transferred to the flagship of John Montagu, the 50-gun HMS Romney, and again in time to join Sir Peter Parker's flagship HMS Bristol for the attack on Sullivan's Island on 28 June 1776.
    He moved into HMS Chatham after this and continued to serve with Parker along the North American coast, participating in the occupation of Rhode Island in December 1776. After receiving favourable reports of his conduct, Vice-Admiral Lord Howe requested Murray's services and he was transferred to HMS Eagle. Murray went on to see action in Howe's campaigns to disrupt the French fleet under comte d'Estaing in the summer of 1778.

    Home waters.

    Howe and Murray returned to England in 1778. Howe was disaffected by his experiences of command in North America, and consequently did not bestow patronage on those junior officers under his command, as was the custom. Instead a friend of Murray's father, Captain George Montagu arranged for him to draw up a record of his service and good conduct in the North American campaign, which was then passed on to the First Lord of the Admiralty, John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich. He passed his lieutenant's examination on 19 November 1778, and quickly received his commission on 31 December that year. He was to be second lieutenant aboard the 32-gun HMS Arethusa, under Captain Charles Holmes Everitt. It was to be a short-lived appointment as on 19 March 1779 she ran aground and was wrecked on the Breton coast while chasing a French frigate.] Murray was captured and became a prisoner of war, spending the next two years in captivity and occupying himself with the study of the French language and naval regulations. He was released and exchanged when he came to the attention of the French authorities after chastising an American privateersman for wearing a British uniform.

    East Indies.

    Murray had made it back to England by early 1781 and received an appointment to the 64-gun HMS Monmouth as her first lieutenant. The Monmouth, commanded by fellow townsman James Alms, set sail to the East Indies in April 1781. Murray also took part in the Battle of Porto Praya against the Bailli de Suffren, and went on to face him again with Sir Edward Hughes's fleet off the coast of India at the Battle of Sadras on 15 February 1782, and at the Battle of Providien on 12 April 1782. Murray moved aboard Hughes's flagship, the 74-gun HMS Superb shortly after the engagement at Providien, and went on to take part in the battles of Negapatam and Trincomalee, being wounded in the latter.

    Murray received his first command on 9 October 1782, that of the fireship HMS Combustion, but he was promoted to post-captain three days later and appointed to the 22-gun storeship and former Spanish privateer HMS San Carlos. He remained with her during the last engagement between Hughes and de Suffren, the Battle of Cuddalore on 20 June 1783, after which he was transferred to the 64-gun HMS Inflexible for his return to England.

    Years of peace.

    Without active employment following the Peace of Paris and the end of the American War of Independence, Murray spent several years in study, residing in France for a two-year period in order to refine his language skills. The Nootka Crisis in June 1790 led to Murray's return to service in command of the 32-gun frigate HMS Triton. He continued in her for the next few years, and by April 1791 he was occupied in surveying the Great Belt, and the approaches into Copenhagen. He spent the remainder of the peace serving at Halifax and Jamaica, returning to England in June 1793 after the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars.

    French Revolutionary Wars.

    He was appointed to the 36-gun HMS Nymphe in March 1794 and went on to serve as part of Sir John Borlase Warren's squadron. He was present at the Action of 23 April 1794 off Guernsey, where Warren's four frigates fought an engagement with three French frigates and a corvette, capturing two frigates and the corvette. He was still in command a year later when he and the Nymphe were engaged in Lord Bridport's victory at the Battle of Groix on 23 June 1795. He took advantage of a brief period of shore leave after this to marry Ann Teesdale on 15 September 1795, but was back at sea two weeks later, in command of the 90-gun HMS Formidable.

    Jervis and Cape St Vincent.

    Murray's next assignment was to take command of the 74-gun HMS Colossus in 1796. He sailed to join Sir John Jervis's fleet and took up station commanding the inshore squadron blockading Cadiz. While there the Spanish admiral of the port invited Murray to attend a bullfight, offering his nephew as a temporary guarantee of Murray's safety. Murray saw action at the Battle of Cape St Vincent on 14 February 1797, where he and Colossus formed up near the centre of the British line. As the British ships broke through the Spanish line and tacked around to engage their van, Spanish Vice-Admiral Joaquin Moreno in the rear saw an opportunity to exploit a weakness in the British formation. Pulling forward in his flagship Principe de Asturias he came across the bows of the British line, cutting between HMS Orion, which had already tacked, and HMS Colossus, which was just preparing to. He then fired a broadside at the vulnerable bows of Colossus, damaging her main foreyard and causing her to miss stays. She began to drift out of the line while Murray and his crew struggled to regain manoeuvrability. Seeing her predicament, Orion dropped back to cover Colossus with a broadside. Despite this setback Colossus only sustained five wounded during the course of the battle, which ended in a British victory.

    Loss of the Colossus.

    Murray continued to serve with Jervis until he was despatched to join Horatio Nelson in the Mediterranean. He rendezvoused with him at Naples, but the Colossus was by now so worn out that Nelson sent Murray back to Britain as a convoy escort, and carrying a cargo of artefacts from Sir William Hamilton's collection. The Colossus reached the Channel safely but a north-east gale blew up, forcing Murray to seek shelter in the waters off the Isles of Scilly. He initially anchored in St Marys Roads but the storm worsened and her anchors dragged, and on 7 December 1798 she ran onto a ledge of rocks and was wrecked. There was one casualty in the sinking, and many of Sir William Hamilton's treasures in his collection were lost with her. A court-martial was convened, at which Murray was honourably acquitted of blame and assigned to command the 84-gun HMS Achille with the Channel Fleet. In March 1801 he was moved to the 74-gun HMS Edgar and assigned to Sir Hyde Parker's Baltic expedition, where it was anticipated that his previous experience in the Baltic would be an asset.

    Nelson and Copenhagen.

    Detached with Nelson's expeditionary squadron for the expeditionary assault on Copenhagen on 2 April, Murray was given the task of leading the British force into the harbour, using channels he had helped to chart a decade earlier. She eventually passed by four Danish ships, taking fire from each one, before anchoring opposite the Jylland, which she engaged for the next four hours of the battle. By the time the truce was concluded, the Edgar had taken casualties of 31 killed and 104 wounded. During the peace negotiations with the Danish, and the subsequent foray to watch the Swedish forces at Karlskrona, Murray developed a strong rapport with Nelson, who had replaced Parker after the latter's recall to Britain.

    Captain of the fleet.

    With the resumption of hostilities after the Peace of Amiens, Murray returned to sea in command of the 74-gun HMS Spartiate, but word soon reached him that Nelson had requested him to be his captain of the fleet in the Mediterranean. Murray was initially reluctant to accept the offer, and on being asked why, replied that the nature of the service was such, as very frequently terminated in disagreement between the admiral and the captain; and he should be extremely unwilling to hazard any possible thing that should diminish the regard and respect which he should ever entertain for his lordship.
    Nelson's response was to express agreement with Murray that such situations could occur, but reminded him that
    on whatever he [Murray] might be called, or whatever measure he might be directed to carry into execution, he never should forget the intimacy which subsisted between them; and even, should anything go contrary to his wishes, he would wave the rank of admiral, and explain, or expostulate with him, as his friend, Murray.
    Murray then accepted the post, and remained with Nelson as his captain of the fleet during the blockade of Toulon between 1803 and 1805, and the subsequent chase of Villeneuve and his fleet to the West Indies and back in 1805. He had been promoted to rear-admiral on 23 April 1804, but declined to raise his flag so as to be able to continue on with Nelson. The fleet returned to England in August 1805, where Murray learnt that his father-in-law had died, leaving him as executor of his estates. While Nelson sailed to take up command of the fleet blockading Cadiz, Murray was compelled to remain in England and attend to family affairs. Nelson did not therefore have a captain of the fleet at Trafalgar, for as one biographer stated "none but Murray would do".

    Later service.

    Murray's last operational command was in November 1806, when he was assigned as commander-in-chief of the naval forces involved in the operations to capture Buenos Aires, supporting General John Whitelocke's soldiers. Murray and the naval forces were for the most part limited to conveying troops, and subsequently organising their evacuation.] He returned home in January 1808, and was promoted to vice-admiral on 25 October 1809. A nomination to be a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath followed on 2 January 1815] and later the same year he was elected Mayor of Chichester.
    He died suddenly at his home in Chichester on 28 February 1819.
    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
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    I could find no information on two of the French Captains, and very little on any even in French translations they are only mentioned by name as being at this particular battle.
    For what it is worth below isa what I gleaned from my investigation.
    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.

  9. #9
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    Captain Etienne Pevrieu.





    Born: 9 November 1746.
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1761.
    Captain de fregate: 21 March 1796.
    Captain de vaisseau 3rdclass: 19 June 1796.
    Captain de vaisseau 2nd class: 23 September 1800.
    Captain de vaisseau 1st class: 1 January 1810.
    Officer of the Legion d’Honneur: 14 June 1804.
    Wounds recieved while in the service of France: 1801.
    Died: 7 May 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.

  10. #10
    Admiral of the Blue.
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    Captain Antoine-Marie-Francois Montalan.





    Born: 19 March 1767.
    Entered naval service either commercial or military position: 1787.
    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 recieved while in the service of France: None.
    Died: 22 March 1822.
    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.

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