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Thread: The Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne.

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    Default The Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne.

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    Background.

    In 1809 the Royal Navy was dominant in the Atlantic, the French Atlantic fleet trapped by close blockade in the French Biscay ports by the British Channel Fleet. The largest French base was at Brest in Brittany, where the main body of the French fleet lay at anchor under the command of Contre-amiral Jean-Baptiste Willaumez, with smaller French detachments stationed at Lorient and Rochefort. The squadron at Lorient comprised three ships of the line and five frigates under Commodore Amable Troude, watched by its own blockade squadron of four ships of the line under Captain John Poo Beresford.

    In February the Brest fleet put to sea for an operation against the British forces in the Caribbean planning an attack against the French colonies in the Caribbean. In late 1808, the French learned that invasion was planned of Martinique and orders were sent to Willaumez to concentrate with the squadrons from Lorient and Rochefort and reinforce the island. Willaumez was only able to escape the blockade when winter storms forced the British fleet to retreat into the Atlantic, his ships passing southwards through the Raz de Sein at dawn on 22 February with eight ships of the line and two frigates. A single ship of the line, HMS Revenge, had remained on station off Brest, and sailed in pursuit.


    The Chase.


    Willaumez's fleet discovered Beresford's ships off Lorient at 16:30 in the afternoon and Willaumez ordered his second-in-command, Contre-amiral Antoine Louis de Gourdon, to drive Beresford away. Gourdoun brought four ships around to chase the British squadron of HMS Theseus, HMS Triumph and HMS Valiant, with the remainder of the French fleet following more distantly. Beresford turned away to the northwest, and his objective achieved, Gourdan rejoined Willaumez and the fleet sailed inshore, anchoring near the island of Groix, with the route to Lorient clear.
    Early on 23 February Willaumez sailed again, taking his fleet southwards towards the Pertuis d'Antioche near Rochefort after sending the schooner Magpye into Lorient with orders for Troude to follow him to the rendezvous. Troude found that the tide was too low to sail at once, and so sent a squadron of three frigates ahead, under the command of Commodore Pierre Roch Jurien. These frigates were the 40-gun Italienne, Calypso and Cybèle, which sailed together on the evening of 23 February southwards in the direction of Belle Île. Their departure had been observed by Beresford's force, which remained off Lorient to watch Troude but sent the 38-gun frigate HMS Amelia under Captain Frederick Paul Irby and 18-gun brig-sloop HMS Doterel under Commander Anthony Abdy in pursuit.

    At dawn on 24 February, near the Île de Ré, Amelia closed on Cybèle, forcing the other French frigates to fall back in support and open fire, driving the pursuers back. As Irby dropped off, sails appeared to the south. This was a British squadron from the Rochefort blockade commanded by Rear-Admiral Robert Stopford with the ships of the line HMS Caesar, HMS Defiance and HMS Donegal. Stopford had been stationed off the Chassiron lighthouse when Willaumez had passed, and he had sent the frigate HMS Naiad under Captain Thomas Dundas north to notify the rest of the British Channel Fleet that was in pursuit. Naiad sighted Jurien's squadron and signaled Stopford, who set a course to cut Jurien off from Willaumez, leaving the frigates HMS Amethyst and HMS Emerald to watch the French fleet.


    The Action.

    Jurien recognised immediately that his force was severely outnumbered and steered for the coast in search of a safe anchorage. The best available was the town of Les Sables-d'Olonne, which had a small harbour protected by gun batteries. At 09:10 Amelia was in range to fire on Cybèle's stern before the British frigate dropped back to join Stopford's rapidly advancing force. The French then anchored under the batteries of the town with "springs" on their anchor cables, a system of attaching the bow anchor that increased stability and allowed the ships to swing their broadsides to face an enemy while stationary.

    Stopford was not intimidated and at 10:30 his squadron bore down on the French in a line of battle led by Defiance and followed by Caesar, Donegal and Amelia. At 11:00 Defiance, with the lightest draught of the ships of the line, was able to close to within 600 metres (660 yd) of the French squadron. The British ship opened fire and took fire in response from the frigates and batteries. At 11:20 Caesar and Donegal joined the attack, followed at 11:30 by Amelia. The concentrated fire of the large British ships was far too heavy for the French and at 11:50 Cybèle and Italienne cut their anchor cables and drifted away from the British and onto the shore. Neither crew was able to continue in the fight as burning wadding had drifted from Defiance and set them on fire. At about this time Caesar withdrew to deeper water to avoid grounding and Defiance veered anchor cable to turn its fire onto Calypso.

    Within minutes Calypso had also veered its cable so that Italienne, now beached, could resume fire on the British squadron, but the frigate overcompensated and drifted stern-first onto the shore. The British ships continued their fire until the rapidly falling tide forced them to retire one by one, with Defiance being the last to retire at 12:15. The squadron then returned for one more pass, the final shots fired by Donegal, before Stopford ordered them to withdraw.

    Aftermath.

    The British ships at Les Sables-d'Olonne were not seriously damaged, with minor damage to the rigging of Donegal and Caesar and damage to the rigging and masts of Defiance. Three British sailors were killed and 31 wounded. French losses were more severe, with 24 killed and 51 wounded. Although Stopford's dispatch on the action makes clear that attempts to repair the French ships began almost immediately, it is widely reported in British accounts that three ships were destroyed. The French were in fact able to salvage two of the frigates. Cybèle was wrecked beyond recovery, her hull so much holed by rocks that she was sinking. Calypso and Italienne were brought into port, but the battering they had taken was too severe for repairs to be effective and Calypso was broken up, while Italienne was sold to private merchant concerns as unfit for further military service. Cocault was court-martialed for the loss of Cybèle and unanimously honourably acquitted on the 2nd June 1809, the court finding his conduct "worthy of the highest praise".

    Stopford had hoped that his attack on Jurien's squadron might draw Willaumez's fleet out of the anchorage in support, where they might be surprised and defeated by the British fleet. Willaumez however made no movement to prevent the destruction of the frigate squadron. Stopford returned to watch the French fleet from the anchorage at Basque Roads, where he was shortly after joined by the British fleet under Admiral Lord Gambier, and was present although not directly engaged in the Battle of Basque Roads in April at which the French fleet was defeated, losing five ships. Willaumez had been replaced in March by Zacharie Allemand, whose defensive positions were unable to prevent a major attack by fireships on 11 April followed by a bombardment by conventional warships. In the aftermath of the battle Gambier was accused of failing to effectively support the attack and faced a court-martial in July, although he was acquitted and returned to command.
    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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    Order of battle.

    Commodore Juien's squadron
    Ship
    Rate
    Guns
    Commander
    Casualties
    Notes
    Killed
    Wounded
    Total
    Italienne
    40
    Commodore Pierre Roch Jurien
    6
    17
    23
    Driven ashore and badly damaged. Salvaged but sold out of French service.
    Cybèle
    40
    Captain Raymond Cocault
    8
    16
    24
    Driven ashore and badly damaged. Salvaged but damaged beyond repair and broken up.
    Calypso
    40
    Captain Louis-Léon Jacob
    10
    18
    28
    Driven ashore and badly damaged. Salvaged but sold out of French service.
    Casualties: 24 killed, 51 wounded, 75 total

    Rear-Admiral Stopford's squadron
    Ship
    Rate
    Guns
    Commander
    Casualties
    Notes
    Killed
    Wounded
    Total
    HMS Caesar
    80
    Rear-Admiral Robert Stopford
    Captain Charles Richardson
    0
    0
    0
    Rigging lightly damaged.
    HMS Donegal
    74
    Captain Pulteney Malcolm
    1
    6
    7
    Rigging lightly damaged.
    HMS Defiance
    74
    Captain Henry Hotham
    2
    25
    27
    Rigging and masts damaged.
    HMS Amelia
    38
    Captain Frederick Paul Irby
    0
    0
    0
    HMS Dotterel
    18
    Commander Anthony Abdy
    0
    0
    0
    Casualties: 3 killed, 31 wounded, 34 total
    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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    Commodore Pierre Roch Jurien

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    Born at Gannat in Allier, La Gravière entered the service under the name Jurien Desvarennes as a novice pilot on the corvette La Favorite in May 1786.

    Volunteer aspirant on the frigate La Flore 29 November 1787, aspirant, 1st class, and ship-of-the-line ensign on the corvette L'Espérance on November 1791 and January 1793, he was named ship-of-the-line lieutenant on 6 Vendémiaire, year III, and captain of a frigate on 24 Nivôse, year VI.

    He participated in the Entrecasteaux expedition, which Louis XVI and the Constituent Assembly directed to search for the earlier La Pérouse expedition, as well as conduct scientific research in the Pacific Ocean.

    In the year XI, he commanded La Franchise during the Léogane Affair. In his report, the vicomte de Rochambeau, general-in-chief of the Army of Saint-Domingue, made note of him as an officer distinguished by his intelligence and bravery and demanded he receive the rank of ship-of-the-line captain, which was granted on the 13th of Ventôse.

    In the year XII, he was made a French legionnaire in Pluviôse and an officer of the order on 25 Prairial. He received the latter again in February 1809. He fought in 1809 at the battle of Sables-d'Olonne, employing three frigates which were forced to retreat by three British ships-of-the-line.
    On 5 July 1814, La Gravière was named a knight of Saint Louis.

    On 13 November of that year, he was the commander of a division which went from Rochefort in order to take possession of Île Bourbon. On 10 February 1815, he reached the cape; on 6 April, he installed the new governor of the island; and on 27 August, he moored in the Roadstead of Brest.

    He was promoted to counter admiral on 28 October 1817, named president of the electoral college of Finistère on 10 March 1819, made a commander of the Legion of Honour on 28 April 1821, and commanded the French Brazil station the same year.

    Made a Commander of the Order of Saint Louis on 22 May 1825, he commanded the French station for the Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico. He was one of the commanders of the Baron Mackau's expedition to Haiti which forced it to provide reparations to former French slave owners from the island.
    He was named on 7 January 1827 as the naval prefect of the 4th arrondissement and on 5 November as the president of the electoral college of Charente.

    Vice Admiral and peer of France during the July Revolution, inspector general of the French Navy for the 2nd and 5th arrondissements in 1832, grand officer of the Legion of Honor on 22 April 1834, Grand Cross of the Order on 22 June 1841, Admiral Jurien was later made part of the 2nd section of the General Staff of the French Navy.
    He was the father of another French admiral, Edmond Jurien de la Gravière.

    He died in Paris on 14 January 1849.
    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 Raymond Cocault.

    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.
    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 Louis Léon Jacob.

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    (11 November 1768 – 14 March 1854) was a French admiral.



    He was born at Tonnay, Charente, was educated at Rochefort, and volunteered from a clerkship in the marine bureau to the navy (1784). He was promoted to ensign in 1793, served as a lieutenant on the Ça Ira in her fight against a superior British force on 14 March 1795, and was taken prisoner when the ship was captured.


    After his release, Jacob was appointed to the frigate Bellone. He took part in the Battle of Tory Island and was again taken prisoner when Bellone surrendered to Ethalion.


    Jacob later took part in the campaign in Santo Domingo in 1801, was Captain at Granville (1805), helping Piémontaise in Saint-Servan, capturing two gun-brigs HMS Teazer and HMS Plumper near Chaussey, and after that served at at Naples (1806).
    in 1805 he introduced a system of semaphore signals which was long used in the French navy.

    He took part in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne.

    He was made a rear admiral in 1812 and in 1814 defended Rochefort.


    He retired on the Restoration, reentered active service in 1820, was Governor of Guadeloupe from 1823 to 1826, prepared the expedition against Morocco and Algiers (1827), served on the Admiralty Board until 1834, when he became Minister of Marine, and was aide-de-camp to Louis Philippe until 1848.

    He died on the14th of March 1854.
    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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    Rear Admiral Sir Robert Stopford.

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    Stopford was the third son of James Stopford, 2nd Earl of Courtown, and his wife Mary (née Powys). He joined the Royal Navy in 1780 and became a Lieutenant in 1785. Commander Stopford was captain of Ferret between December 1789 and October 1790. In 1790 he was promoted to captain at the age of 22 and was briefly captain of HMS Lowestoffe.



    Stopford fought at the Battle of the Glorious First of June in 1794, commanding the frigate HMS Aquilon (32). During the battle Aquilon had the task of standing off and repeating the signals from the flagship. Aquilon also towed the Marlborough out of the line of fire when she was dismasted, for which Lord Howe thanked him personally. One of Stopford's officers on Aquilon was Francis Beaufort, the inventor of the Beaufort Wind-Scale.

    On 10 March 1796, Stopford was captain of the fifth rate frigate HMS Phaeton, of 38 guns, when she engaged and captured the 20-gun French corvette Bonne Citoyenne of Cape Finisterre. Stopford took her back to England as his prize. The Royal Navy then bought her in as HMS Bonne Citoyenn, a sixth rate sloop of war. During his service in the Channel, Phaeton captured in all some 13 privateers and three vessels of war, as well as recovering numerous vessels that the French had taken.


    In 1799, Stopford was appointed captain of the 74-gun third rate HMS Excellent in the Channel Fleet. He sailed Excellent to the West Indies where he hoisted a commodore's pennant and served for eight months as the Commander-in-Chief of the Leeward Islands Station in 1802.


    In 1803, Stopford became captain of the ship of the line HMS Spencer (74), in Horatio Nelson's fleet.

    He became a Colonel of Marines in November 1805 and received a gold medal for his conduct at the Battle of San Domingo in 1806, while still in command of Spencer. Stopford was wounded during the battle; he recovered, but the wound would plague him for the rest of his life.





    He took part in the British invasions of the Río de la Plata and Battle of Copenhagen of 1806-07, and attacked Rochefort in 1808. Stopford played an important part in the Battle of the Basque Roads. He was appointed to command HMS Caesar (80), with a squadron of two ships of the line and five frigates. On 23 February 1809 he fell in the four French frigates under the batteries of Sable d'Olonne, an action which left them disabled. Stopford continued his blockade until Lord Gambier chased a fleet of ten French sail of the line into the Basque Roads and assumed command. In the summer of 1809 he was called as a witness at the Court-martial of James, Lord Gambier which assessed whether Admiral Lord Gambier had failed to support Captain Lord Cochrane. Gambier was controversially cleared of all charges.


    In 1810, he sailed to South Africa to become Commander-in-Chief of the Cape of Good Hope Station. He directed the operations that resulted in the capture of Java when on 8 August 1811, the Dutch settlement of Batavia capitulated to the British under Stopford and Lieutenant-General Sir Samuel Auchmuty. The British fleet consisted of some 100 vessels, including eight cruisers belonging to the East India Company. He was appointed
    Stopford became Rear-Admiral of the United Kingdom in 1834. His last active post, in his early seventies, was as commander-in-chief of the Mediterranean fleet during the Syrian War against the forces of Mehemet Ali. As Vice Admiral on board HMS Princess Charlotte (100) and subsequently HMS Phoenix, he was in command of the combined British, Turkish, and Austrian fleet during the bombardment of Acre on 3 November 1840. For his services in the Syrian War, Stopford was given the Freedom of the City of the City of London and presented with a commemorative "freedom box". The ornate silver and oak box is part of the collection of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The following year he became Governor of the Greenwich Hospital at Greenwich, with the rank of Admiral.


    He is buried in Greenwich Hospital Cemetery. The cemetery was largely made into a pocket park in the late 19th century but his name is listed on the west face of the Officers in the centre of the park.
    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 Charles Richardson.

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    Nationality British
    Roles Naval Sailor
    First Known Service1794

    Last Known Service17.12.1847
    Date of Death10.11.1850


    Event History

    Date from Date to Event
    1794 Royal George (100), Master's Mate
    1.6.1794 Glorious 1st of June
    4.8.1794 Lieutenant
    9.10.1802 Commander
    5.1803 1804 Alligator (28), Commander and Commanding Officer
    27.9.1804 Captain
    31.12.1804 1805 Centaur (74), Captain and Commanding Officer
    12.1806 1810 Caesar (80), Captain and Commanding Officer
    27.2.1809 Action at Sables d'Olonne
    28.7.1809 12.1809 Walcheren Expedition
    7.1810 8.1814 Semiramis (36), Captain and Commanding Officer
    24.8.1811 Action in the Gironde
    4.6.1815 Appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath
    7.1819 2.1822 Leander (58), Captain and Commanding Officer
    7.1821 5.1822 Topaze (38), Captain and Commanding Officer
    10.1.1837 Rear-Admiral
    29.6.1841 Appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
    1847 Received the Naval General Service Medal with a clasp for the Defeat of the French Fleet, capture of six sail of the line and one sunk whilst serving on Royal George on 1794/06/01
    17.12.1847 Vice-Admiral


    Vice-Admiral of the White Sir Charles Richardson, K.C.B., joined the Royal Navy as Captain's Servant in H.M.S. Vestal (Captain R.J. Strachan), November 1787; after accompanying an embassy to China he removed with Strachan to H.M.S. Phoenix 36 guns and 'was present on the 19th of Nov. 1791, while cruising off the Malabar coast in company with the Perseverance frigate, in an obstinate engagement. This was owing to a resistance on the part of the French Captain of La Résolue of 46 guns to a search being imposed by the British upon two merchant vessels under his orders. La Résolue's colours were not struck until she had herself sustained a loss of 25 men killed and 40 wounded, and had imposed upon the Phoenix 6 killed and 11 wounded.
    Whilst serving on the East India station Mr. Richardson was for several months employed in the boats in co-operating up different rivers, with the army under Sir Robert Abercromby in its operations against Tippoo Saib. Having attained the ranks of Midshipman and Master's Mate and having fought with H.M.S. Royal George in Lord Howe's actions of 29th May and 1st June 1794, Richardson was appointed Lieutenant in H.M.S. Circe (Captain P. Halkett), August 1794, and serving in the said frigate he was promoted to First-Lieutenant during the great mutiny at the Nore; where his efforts in preventing the crew from acquiring the ascendancy gained him ( in common with his Captain and the other officers of the ship) the thanks of the Admiralty.
    The Circe forming one of Lord Duncan's repeater Frigates in the action off Camperdown on the 11th of Oct. 1797, Lieut. Richardson on that occasion carried out an important exploit. Fearing lest the Dutch Admiral, De Winter, after his own ship had been dismasted and silenced, should effect his escape on board some other vessel, he volunteered to go in an open boat and take him out. Succeeding in his object he had the honour of presenting him in person to the British Commander-in-Chief [Admiral A. Duncan]; who in consequence promoted him to his Signal Lieutenant in the Kent 74 (Captain W.M. Hope). In the following year Richardson was sent with the expedition to Holland, where he commanded a division of seaman, attached to the army under Sir Ralph Abercromby, from the period of the debarkation near the Helder until the surrender of the Dutch squadron under Admiral Storey.With the conclusion of the expedition Richardson was ordered home in charge of a Dutch 68 gun ship.
    After assisting Abercromby again, this time in Egypt, he transferred into H.M.S. Penelope (Captain the Hon. H. Blackwood) Following this he was nominated Acting-Commander H.M.S. Alligator of 28 guns, armée-en-flûte, in July 1802, Whilst aboard that ship Capt. Richardson directed the movements of the flotilla employed at the reduction of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice in 1803, and was highly spoken of in the public despatches for his exertions at the taking of Surinam in the spring of 1804. [London Gazette 1804, pp. 755, 761]. On the 6th of July in that year he was, in consequence, invested by Sir Samuel Hood with the command of the Centaur 74, the ship bearing his broad pennant, an act which the Admiralty confirmed on the 27th of Sept.
    Richardson returned to England in March 1805. Appointed to H.M.S. Caesar (bearing the flag of his old friend and patron Sir Richard J. Strachan), in January 1806, he was employed in the latter off Rochefort and subsequently in the Mediterranean, On the 23d of Feb. 1809, the Caesar, then bearing the flag of Rear-Admiral Stopford, but still commanded by Captain Richardson, assisted , along with the Defiance and the Donegal, at the destruction of three French frigates in the Sable d'Olonne. On that occasion his ship sustained considerable damage in her bowsprit and rigging, by the fire from several batteries under which the enemy had sought refuge.

    He next served with Strachan in the expedition to the Scheldt, during which the town of Camvere offered it's surrender to Richardson, he being the senior naval officer being present on shore. Terms were agreed with him and Lieutenant-General Fraser, During the investment of Flushing he landed at the head of a brigade of seaman, and commanded a battery of six 24-pounders with much effect. His services throughout the operations were so important and his zeal and bravery so very conspicuous that he elicited the public praise of the Earl of Chatham, the Military Commander-in-Chief, and the high approbation of Lieutenant-General Sir Eyre Coote, who conducted the siege, and of Major-General McLeod, commanding officer of the Royal Artillery.
    Richardson exchanged into the frigate Semiramis, for service off Lisbon during April 1810. Whilst serving with the latter in company with H.M.S. Diana (Captain W. Ferris) at the mouth of the river Gironde, on the 25th of.August.1811, they discovered 4 sail under the escort of a brig of war.The Diana accounted for the Teazer (formerly a British vessel) whilst Richardson succeeded 'in driving on shore, and burning under the guns of the batteries at Royan, Le Pluvier a national brig of 16 guns and 136 men. The Semiramis suffered only 3 wounded, for which exploit Richardson again received the thanks of the Admiralty. Richardson then went on to capture a large number of prizes, including the Grand Jean Bart, privateer of 14 guns and 106 men. The Semiramis was paid off on the 29th of August,1814, and Richardson was shortly afterwards nominated for a C.B. as a reward for his meritorious conduct during a period of more than twenty-six years passed in active service at sea, and in co-operation with troops on shore in every quarter of the globe.
    After three years with H.M.S. Leander Richardson was appointed to H.M.S. Topaze, 'and proceeded in her from Pulo Penang to China, where 14 of his crew were dangerously wounded by the natives, while employed filling water at Lintin. Two Chinese having been killed by the Topaze's fire, disputes ensued with the authorities at Canton, which led to the suspension of all commercial intercourse, the embarkation of the British factory without passes, and the departure of all the Hon. Company's ships lying in the Tigris. At length, however, a Mandarin of high rank was sent on board the frigate to discuss this unpleasant affair; and he proving a sensible and moderate man, the business was satisfactorily adjusted, and matters restored to their former footing, in the spring of 1822. Richardson was invalided to the Cape of Good Hope in that same year.
    He was a Rear-Admiral in 1837, K.C.B. 1841, and Vice-Admiral of the White, December 1847. With his prize money which had made him a wealthy man, he purchased the estate of Painsthorpe Hall, East Yorkshire where he died, aged 81 in 1850.
    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 Pulteney Malcolm.

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    (20 February 1768 – 20 July 1838) was a British naval officer. He was born at Douglan, near Langholm, Scotland, on 20 February 1768, the third son of George Malcolm of Burnfoot, Langholm, in Dumfriesshire, a sheep farmer, and his wife Margaret, the sister of Admiral Sir Thomas Pasley. His brothers were Sir James Malcolm, Sir John Malcolm, and Sir Charles Malcolm.

    Event History.



    Date from
    Date to
    Event









    3.3.1783

    Lieutenant









    3.4.1794

    Commander

    3.4.1794
    11.1794
    Jack Tar (14), Commander and Commanding Officer









    22.10.1794

    Captain

    1795
    1798
    Fox (32), Captain and Commanding Officer

    1.1.1798

    Attack on Manilla

    22.1.1798

    Attack on the fort of Samboangon

    6.1798
    4.1802
    Suffolk (74), Captain and Commanding Officer

    1801
    8.1803
    Victorious (74), Captain and Commanding Officer

    1804
    3.1805
    Renown (74), Captain and Commanding Officer

    1.1804
    3.1804
    Royal Sovereign (100), Captain and Commanding Officer

    3.1805
    7.1809
    Donegal (76), Captain and Commanding Officer

    6.2.1806

    Action of San Domingo

    27.2.1809

    Action at Sables d'Olonne

    11.4.1809

    Battle of the Basque Roads

    11.1809
    1811
    Donegal (76), Captain and Commanding Officer

    13.11.1810
    23.12.1810
    Actions at La Hougue

    8.1811
    1.1812
    Royal Oak (74), Captain and Commanding Officer









    4.12.1813

    Rear-Admiral of the Blue









    4.6.1814

    Rear-Admiral of the White





    2.1.1815

    Created 1st Knight Commander of the Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath

    1816
    1817
    Newcastle (50), as Flag Officer, Rear-Admiral of the White









    19.7.1821

    Vice-Admiral of the Blue





    1828
    1831
    Appointed Commander-in-Chief — The Mediterranean Sea

    5.1832
    1835
    Donegal (76), as Flag Officer, Vice-Admiral of the Blue





    24.4.1833

    Appointed Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath





    3.5.1833
    18.12.1833
    Appointed Commander-in-Chief — The Mediterranean Sea


    1778–1793, Midshipman to Lieutenant.


    He entered the navy in 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, on the books of the Sibyl, commanded by his uncle, Captain Pasley. With Pasley he afterwards served in the Jupiter, in the squadron under Commodore George Johnstone, and was present at the action in Porto Praya and at the capture of the Dutch Indiamen in Saldanha Bay. In 1782 the Jupiter carried out Admiral Pigot to the West Indies. Malcolm was thus brought under the admiral's notice, was taken by him into the flagship, and some months later, on 3 March 1783, was promoted to be lieutenant of the Jupiter.

    He continued serving during the peace, and in 1793, at the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars, was first lieutenant of the Penelope frigate on the Jamaica stationn, under the command of Captain Bartholomew Rowley. The Penelope's service was peculiarly active. In company with the Iphigenia she captured the French frigate Inconstante, on the coast of San Domingo, on 25 November 1793; she captured or cut out many privateers or merchant vessels; and Malcolm, as first lieutenant, commanded her boats in several sharp conflicts.

    1794–1804, Post-Captain.


    Early in 1794 Commodore Ford took him into his flagship the Europa, and on 3 April promoted him to the command of the Jack Tar, which he took to England. On 22 October he was posted, and a few days later appointed to the Fox frigate. In February 1795 he convoyed a fleet of merchant ships to the Mediterranean; thence he went to Quebec, and afterwards was employed for some time in the North Sea. Later on he was sent out to the East Indies, and towards the end of 1797 into the China Seas, under the command of Captain Edward Cooke, in whose company he entered Manila Bay under false colours, on 14 January 1798 in the bloodless Raid on Manila, and carried off three Spanish gunboats. After some further cruising among the islands the Fox returned to India, where, on 18 June, Malcolm was appointed by Rear-Admiral Rainier to be his flag captain in the Suffolk, and afterwards in the Victorious. He continued to serve in this capacity during the war. On her homeward passage, in 1803, the Victorious proved exceedingly leaky, and, meeting with heavy weather in the North Atlantic, was with difficulty kept afloat till she reached the Tagus, where she was run ashore and broken up. Malcolm, with the officers and crew, returned to England in two vessels which he chartered at Lisbon.

    1804–1805, Battle of Trafalgar.


    In February 1804 Malcolm went out to the Mediterranean in the Royal Sovereign, in which, on her arrival, Sir Richard Bickerton hoisted his flag, and Malcolm was appointed to the Kent, then with Nelson blockading Toulon. He was, however, almost immediately sent to Naples, where, or in the neighbourhood, he remained during the year. His transfer to the Renown in July did not change his station. It was not till the beginning of 1805 that he was permitted to rejoin the flag, and to exchange into the Donegal, in time to take part in the celebrated pursuit of the French fleet to the West Indies (see Horatio Nelson). On the return of the fleet to the Channel, the Donegal, with others, was sent to reinforce Collingwood off Cadiz, and was still there when Nelson resumed the command on 28 September.

    On 17 October Donegal was sent to Gibraltar for water and a hurried refit. On the 20th Malcolm learnt that the combined fleet was coming out of Cadiz. His ship was then in the Mole, nearly dismantled; but by the greatest exertions he got her out that night, and on the 22nd she sailed from Gibraltar with her foreyard towing alongside. It was blowing a gale from the westward, but she succeeded in getting through the Straits, and on the morning of the 24th rejoined the fleet, too late for the battle of Trafalgar, fought on the 21st, but in time to render most valuable assistance to the disabled ships and more disabled prizes. She captured the Rayo, which had made a sally from Cadiz on the 23rd; and in the night of the 24th, when some of the prisoners on board the French ship Berwick cut the cable and let her go on shore, on which she almost immediately broke up, the Donegal's boats succeeded in saving a considerable number of her men. She afterwards took charge of the Spanish prize Bahama, and brought her to Gibraltar. Writing to Sir Thomas Pasley on 16 December Collingwood said: "Everybody was sorry Malcolm was not there [sc. at Trafalgar], because everybody knows his spirit, and his skill would have acquired him honour. He got out of the Gut when nobody else could, and was of infinite service to us after the action."

    1806–1816, Captain to Rear-admiral.

    The Donegal continued off to cruise off Cadiz till the close of the year, when she sailed for the West Indies with Sir John Duckworth, and took an important part in the battle of San Domingo, 6 February 1806. Malcolm was afterwards sent home in charge of the prizes, and in a very heavy gale rescued the crew of the Brave as she was on the point of foundering. He received the gold medal for St. Domingo, and was presented by the Patriotic Fund with a vase valued at a hundred guineas. In 1808 he was engaged in convoying troops to the Peninsula, and in 1809, still in the Donegal, was attached to the Channel Fleet, then commanded by Lord Gambier, and took part in the battle of the Basque Roads. In the summer of 1809 he was called as a witness at the Court-martial of James, Lord Gambier which assessed whether Gambier had failed to support Captain Lord Cochrane at the battle. Gambier was controversially cleared of all charges. In November 1810 Malcolm led an attack on a French frigate squadron anchored at Saint-Vaast-la-Hougue at the Action of 15 November 1810, which ultimately led to the destruction of the Elisa.

    The Donegal was paid off in 1811, and Malcolm was appointed to the Royal Oak, which he commanded off Cherbourg till March 1812, when he accepted the post of captain of the fleet to Lord Keith, his uncle by marriage. He was promoted to be rear-admiral on 4 December 1813, but remained with Keith till June 1814, when, with his flag in the Royal Oak, he convoyed a detachment of the army from Bordeaux to North America, and served during the war with the United States as third in command under Sir Alexander Cochrane and Rear-admiral (afterwards Sir) George Cockburn. On 2 January 1815 he was nominated a K.C.B., and during "The Hundred Days' War" commanded a squadron in the North Sea, in co-operation with the army under the Duke of Wellington.

    1816–1838, Commander-in-chief.


    In 1816–17 he was Commander-in-chief on the Saint Helena station, specially appointed to enforce a rigid blockade of the island and to keep a close guard on Napoleon Bonaparte. He was advanced to vice-admiral on 19 July 1821, and Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet from 1828 to 1831. In 1832 he commanded on the coast of Holland, with the fleets of France and Spain under his orders; and in 1833–4 was again commander-in-chief in the Mediterranean. He was nominated a G.C.M.G. on 21 January 1829, and a G.C.B. on 26 April 1833.
    In the final years of his life, he became Chairman of the Oriental Club which had been founded by his brother General Sir John Malcolm.

    He attained the rank of Admiral of the Blue in 1837. He died at East Lodge, Enfield, London, on 20 July 1838
    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 Henry Hotham.

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    Vice-Admiral The Honourable Sir Henry Hotham KCB GCMG (19 February 1777 – 19 April 1833) was officer of the British Royal Navy who served during the French Revolutionary, Napoleonic Wars, and the War of 1812, was later a member of the Board of Admiralty, and ended his career as Commander-in-Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet.


    Event History


    Date from Date to Event
    6.6.1794 Lieutenant
    9.1794 1795 Mignonne (32), Commander and Commanding Officer
    13.1.1795 Captain
    7.1795 7.1797 Dido (28), Captain and Commanding Officer
    1797 1799 Blanche (32), Captain and Commanding Officer
    1.1800 5.1802 Immortalite (42), Captain and Commanding Officer
    26.1.1801 28.1.1801 Capture of the Dédaigneuse
    4.1804 2.1806 Revolutionaire (36), Captain and Commanding Officer
    4.11.1805 Battle of Cape Ortegal
    3.1806 1810 Defiance (74), Captain and Commanding Officer
    27.2.1809 Action at Sables d'Olonne
    1810 1813 Northumberland (74), Captain and Commanding Officer
    22.5.1812 Action off Lorient
    4.6.1814 Rear-Admiral of the White
    4.6.1814 4.1815 Superb (74), as Flag Officer, Rear-Admiral of the White
    2.1.1815 Created 1st Knight Commander of the Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
    2.1831 1834 Saint Vincent (120), as Flag Officer, Vice-Admiral
    30.3.1831 19.4.1833 Appointed Commander-in-Chief — The Mediterranean Sea


    Biography.

    French Revolutionary Wars.

    He was the youngest surviving son of Beaumont Hotham (2nd Baron Hotham from 1813) and Susanna, daughter of Sir Thomas Hankey. He joined the Navy in 1790 (aged 13) serving aboard Princess Royal, the flagship of his uncle Rear-Admiral William Hotham. He went on to serve aboard Lizard, Lapwing, Victory and Aigle, and finally once again with his uncle, now a Vice-Admiral, aboard Britannia in the Mediterranean.



    Hotham was present as a midshipman at the Siege of Bastia in April–May 1794. He was subsequently commissioned as a lieutenant on 6 June 1794 (aged just 17) and was given command of the prize sloop Fleche in November 1794. He was promoted to captain on 13 January 1795, in the prize frigate Mignonne, and later commanded the sixth-rate Dido and the fifth-rate Blanche.
    Hotham was in command of Blanche on 5 February 1797 when she and Inconstant, Captain Thomas Fremantle, captured the ship Fortune of Philadelphia. On 20 November 1797 he captured the French privateer brig Le Coureur, of 14 guns and 90 men, after a three-hour chase. On 27 December 1797, about 170 nmi (310 km; 200 mi) west of Porto, he captured the Bayonnois, a French privateer brig of six guns and 40 men, after a 16-hour chase. The brig had sailed from Bayonne 31 days previously and had made no captures.



    Blanche was paid off in August 1798, and Hotham was appointed to the frigate Immortalité in early 1800. He operated in the Bay of Biscay, taking several prizes. Late on the evening of 12 September 1800 he captured a small Spanish vessel laden with stone, but while boarding her observed two French privateer ships, Brave and Bellone coming out of the Gironde. He was obliged to scuttle the Spaniard to make chase. The French attempted to evade him during the night, but Hotham anticipated their movements, and was still following the next day. Unfortunately he lost them the second night, having pursued them for 259 miles. However, on 20 September, he recaptured the English ship Monarch, of 645 tons, laden with timber, which had been taken by Bellone four days earlier. On the 22 September, off Cordouan Lighthouse, he chased a French brig, and by 9.30 p.m., had come within musket-shot, when both vessels unexpectedly grounded near Noirmoutier. The brig was wrecked; but Immortalite refloated herself the next morning, suffering nothing more serious than the loss of an anchor, cable, and boat. On the morning of the next day, the 24th, he spotted the French letter of marque schooner Constance, carrying a cargo of coffee and sugar from Guadaloupe to Bordeaux, but the privateer lugger Cynthia from Guernsey, captured her before he could intervene. On 26 October 1800 Immortalite, in company with Thames and Beaulieu, captured the French privateer Diable à Quatre, of 16 guns and 150 men, and on the 29th a letter of marque schooner, sailing from Guadaloupe to Bourdeaux, with a cargo of coffee. Hotham was also present in Immortalite at the capture of the French frigate Dédaigneuse on 27 January 1801. He then, on 14 April 1801, captured the French privateer brig Laure, of 14 guns and 78 men. She was 15 days out of St. Malo, and had captured a Portuguese vessel sailing Bristol to Lisbon, and had made 17 other captures in previous cruises. On 27 July, assisted by the presence of the frigate Arethusa, he captured the Invention, an unusual privateer designed and commanded by M. Thibaut. She was 147 feet (45 m) long, but only 27 feet (8.2 m) wide, with four masts, and carried 24 guns on a flush deck, and a crew of 210. She had sailed from Bordeaux nine days before on her first cruise. Towards the close of the war in 1802, the Immortalite was blockading the port of Brest.

    Napoleonic Wars.

    Soon after the renewal of hostilities in May 1803, Hotham obtained command of the 40-gun frigate Imperieuse, and in the same year he recaptured a South Sea whaler, homeward bound in the Channel.



    He was appointed to the frigate Revolutionnaire in April 1804, conveying Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex from Lisbon to Portsmouth in August. In September he escorted an outward bound East India fleet, before proceeding to Halifax. On 1 December 1803 Imperieuse recaptured the ship Britannia, and on 4 November 1805 he assisted at the capture of four French ships by Sir Richard Strachan in the Battle of Cape Ortegal.

    In March 1806 Hotham took command of the 74-gun Defiance, in the squadron of Rear-Admiral Robert Stopford. On 23 February 1809 Stopford's squadron fought three French frigates in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne. The three French ships were anchored off the port under the protection of coastal batteries, but Defiance, Caesar and Donegal closed in, and fired on the French ships until forced to withdraw by the ebbing of the tide, damaging them to the extent the one was subsequently broken up, and the other two declared unfit for naval service and sold. Defiance was much cut up and had two men killed and 25 wounded. In 1807, Hotham was employed on the coast of Spain, co-operating with Spanish forces. On 24 June, shortly after the French withdrawal from the north-western ports of Ferrol and Corunna, Hotham landed a detachment of seamen and marines to destroy various batteries commanding the bay, and also captured the castle of San Felipe, still under the command of French sympathizers. On 23 December 1809 Defiance recaptured the ship Ellison from the French. On 1 June 1810 he captured the French chasse-marées Syrene, Eugene, and St. Yves.



    Hotham then took command of the ship Northumberland. On 5 November 1810 he recaptured the Zodiac, and on the 9th captured the Venus. On 22 November 1810, he captured the French privateer ketch Glaneuse, of 14 guns and 85 men, after a two-day pursuit, after preventing her from capturing a British packet ship. On 4 April 1811 he destroyed two chasse-marées, but not before removing 63 casks of wine from them. In 1812 Hotham was serving under Rear-Admiral Sir Harry Neale off Ushant, and was sent by him to cruise off l'Orient, to intercept three expected French vessels. In the ensuing action on 22 May Northumberland, assisted by the gun-brig Growler, encountered the French frigates Ariane and Andromaque, both of 44 guns and 450 men, and the brig Mameluke, of 18 guns and 150 men, near the island of Groix. Hotham skilfully manoeuvred his ship so as to force the enemy to ground themselves. Northumberland then opened a steady fire at point-blank range until the ships were abandoned and burning.

    War of 1812.

    In December 1812 Hotham was appointed Captain of the Fleet to Admiral Sir John Borlase Warren on the North American Station. On 4 December 1813, he was promoted to rear-admiral, and nominated a Colonel of Marines. From 4 June 1814 he served under Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane. On 17 December 1814, he submitted to the Admiralty a list of 82 American vessels captured, burnt, and destroyed by his squadron between 6 August and 9 October 1814. This does not include the frigate USS President, captured by four ships of his squadron on 15 January 1815.



    Hotham was made a Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath on 2 January 1815, having his investiture on 12 April.

    The Hundred Days.

    On the renewal of the war in Europe, following Napoleon's return from Elba in March 1815, Hotham commanded a division of the Channel Fleet, flying his flag in Superb. In July 1815 Hotham was stationed in Quiberon Bay, from where he sent Captain Frederick Maitland in Bellerophon to blockade the port of Rochefort. Reinforced by Myrmidon and Slaney, Maitland prevented Napoleon from fleeing to the United States, and took him to England, from where he was sent to his final exile in Saint Helena.

    Post-war career.

    On 25 March 1818 Hotham was appointed a member of the Board of Admiralty, his position being renewed in March 1819 and February 1822, serving until March 1822. On 28 May 1825 he was promoted to vice-admiral, and returned to serve on the Board of Admiralty in September 1828, renewed in June 1829 and July 1830, until November 1830. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean on 30 March 1831, and on 4 July 1831 was made a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George.

    One of Hotham's more notable acts as Commander-in-Chief was claiming a new territory for Britain. In July 1831 Commander Charles Henry Swinburne of Rapid reported a volcanic eruption and a column of vapour rising from the sea, some 26 miles off Sciacca, Sicily. Within a month it had grown into a roughly circular island of black volcanic sand about 3 miles (4.8 km) in circumference, and 74 feet (23 m) above sea level at its highest point. Hotham, in his flagship St Vincent, sailed to the new island and on 1 August sent his flag-captain Humphrey Fleming Senhouse ashore with a landing party to raise the Union Flag, and claim the island for Britain under the name "Graham Island", after the First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir James Graham. Later the Sicilians also landed, hoisted a flag, and claimed the island under the name "Ferdinandea", after King Ferdinand II of the Two Sicilies. The French made a claim to the island under the name "Julia", as did the Spanish. Diplomatic arguments continued until December 1831, by which time the island had been washed away leaving only a seamount 26 feet (7.9 m) below the waves.



    Hotham died suddenly of an intracranial hemorrhage in Valletta, Malta, on 19 April 1833, and was buried at Msida Bastion Cemetery in Floriana on 24 April.
    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
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    Captain Frederick Paul Irby.

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    Rear Admiral The Hon. Frederick Paul Irby CB DL (18 April 1779 – 24 April 1844) was a British Royal Navy officer and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk.

    Birth.

    Frederick Irby was born on 18 April 1779, the second son of Frederick, 2nd Baron Boston and his wife Christian (née Methuen).

    Early Royal Naval career.



    Event History


    Date from Date to Event
    6.1.1797 Lieutenant
    1.1800 6.1802 Jalouse (18), Commander and Commanding Officer
    22.4.1800 Commander
    14.4.1802 Captain
    10.1807 5.1813 Amelia (38), Captain and Commanding Officer
    27.2.1809 Action at Sables d'Olonne
    24.3.1811 Attack on the Amazone
    7.2.1813 Amelia vs Arethuse

    He entered the Royal Navy on 2 January 1791, serving on the Home and North America and West Indies Stations. As a midshipman in HMS Montagu he was present at the Glorious First of June in 1794. On 6 June 1797 he was promoted lieutenant and appointed to HMS Circe, in which he was present at the Battle of Camperdown.

    He was wrecked off the Texel in HMS Apollo on 7 January 1799. Promoted to commander on 22 April 1800, he became the captain of HMS Volcano, a bomb vessel, moving in 1801 to HMS Jalouse operating in the North Sea.

    Jalouse, while under his command, was instrumental in saving HMS Narcissus when she was driven ashore on the coast of Holland. Irby's youngest brother, Charles Leonard Irby, was a midshipman on board Narcissus, having joined her on 23 May.



    Post captain.

    Promoted post-captain on 14 April 1802,he appears to have been placed on half pay. He married Emily Ives Drake, sister of Lady Boston (and hence his sister-in-law), on 1 December 1803. He was appointed in command of a unit of the Sea Fencibles in the Essex District in 1805, and on 7 August 1807 his wife died giving birth to a son. He returned to sea to command HMS Amelia in December 1807, serving under Rear Admiral Stopford on the Home Station.

    On 24 February 1809 he took part in the Battle of Les Sables-d'Olonne, which drove three large French frigates aground and destroyed them, gaining the special approval of the Admiralty.

    In 1811, in company with HMS Berwick and HMS Niobe, he destroyed the French frigate Amazone near Barfleur. He became the senior officer on the West Africa Squadron later in 1811. The Action of 7 February 1813 between Amelia and the French frigate Aréthuse ended his naval career. Captain Irby was seriously wounded and after 1813 he saw no further active service. The seventh report (1813) of the African Institution expressed the organization's gratitude for Irby's efforts in reducing the slave trade.

    Later life.

    He settled in Norfolk, at Boyland Hall, near Norwich, and on 23 January 1816 he married his second wife, Frances Wright. They had three sons and four daughters, including Leonard Howard Lloyd Irby, a famous ornithologist, and Paulina Irby, a revered hero of Bosnia. In 1831 he was appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) and in 1837 promoted to rear admiral. He served as a Magistrate and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, and died on 24 April 1844
    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.
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    Commander Anthony Abdy.



    Captain Anthony Thomas Abdy was born in 1780. He was the son of Reverend Thomas Abdy and Mary Hayes. He gained the rank of Captain in the Royal Navy.

    Commander, April 29, 1802; appointed to the Zephyr fire-ship, in 1804; to the Dotterell brig, about Nov. 1808; and to act in the Tonnant 80, off Ferrol, about June, 1809: his post commission bears date Oct. 21, 1810.
    He married Grace Rich, daughter of Admiral Sir Thomas Rich, 5th Bt., on 12 August 1808 at Bath, Somerset, England.

    He died on 9 June 1838 at Clapham, Surrey, England.
    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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